Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti

October 25th, 2007 at 10:14 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

Day 3 of our Pacific Journey We started the day off with a delightful breakfast at the Tart restaurant at our hotel, checked out leaving our armada of luggage in storage, and walked to Beverly Center, a shopping mall in Beverly Hills. There, Linda got her right ear re-pierced (graphic photo here). We followed up with lunch at P.F. Chang’s, where the ambiance was apparently so mellow the kids could not stay awake and both sprawled into slumber on the bench we sat on.

This is a good time to point out that our general rule when it comes to choosing dining establishments when traveling is that we avoid fast food as best we can, and we try to avoid chain restaurants too. Instead we try and pick something interesting and when possible, reflective of local culture and cuisine. However, at times, we’re left with having to chose between the lesser of evils, and such was the case here. Don’t get me wrong. We actually really enjoy P.F. Chang’s, but had there been another sit-down restaurant nearby which wasn’t a chain, and offered good variety, we would have chosen that instead.

After rousing the kids enough out of their slumber to get them to eat something, we took leftovers with us, grabbed a cab back to the hotel, and met up with our driver Gennady again. He took us to LAX for our flight to Tahiti on Air Tahiti Nui. Check-in was smooth, even with all the luggage we had, although attempts to wangle an upgrade to business class proved unsuccessful (not enough seats and they wanted too much money).

Let me pause here to say that rarely have we seen flight crew more attractive, and more attractively dressed than those for Air Tahiti Nui. All were slender – men and women alike – with beautiful faces, and vivid uniforms reminiscent of elegant Hawaiian shirts (or more appropriately, Tahitian shirts). In flight, the woman changed from formal jacket and skirts into flowing, flowery muumuus, and almost glided down the aisles. Simply graceful and stunning. Sadly we did not get any photos of these icons of the sky. U.S. airline flight attendants could certainly learn a thing or two from those on our Air Tahiti Nui flight.

After seven and a half hours in flight in the sardine section of the plane, we arrived safely and almost uneventfully at Papeete (pronounced “Pah-peh-eh-the”)’s Faaa (pronounced “Fah-ah”) airport on Tahiti. I say “almost” uneventfully because I suffered a major eating mishap – I managed to spill my entire hot dinner dish of chicken in glutinous sauce into my lap. Cleaning up was a challenge, but my appetite was assuaged by the leftovers from P.F. Chang’s. Fortunately we brought those (and did not have them challenged by TSA as a dangerous substance) aboard with us.

After landing, it was another half hour in line for immigration and then a few minutes collecting our array of bags and we were out of the corridors of foreign entry bureaucracy and getting lei’d. The lei-er was a young woman by the name of “Center”, also known as Lily, and the leis were wonderfully fragrant and oddly reinvigorating. She brought us to the large van the hotel had arranged for us, at even though she was petite, measuring just a bit north of five feet in height, she could haul heavy luggage with the best of them. In fact, she was offended when I gallantly offered to put the bags in the van myself instead of her.

A 20 minute ride later, and we were at the Le Meridien hotel in Punaauia (no recollection on how that’s pronounced, but it’s not as an English speaker would remotely expect), and shortly thereafter in our connecting rooms with a combined pool and ocean view (although viewing any significant part of the ocean required a minor acrobatic feat – one of potential injury – on the balcony). The rooms were spacious, with nice bathrooms offering a separate tub and shower, but the beds were too soft.

Considering we had just lost another three hours due to the time zone (GMT-10, no daylight savings observed) and it was around 11pm local time (making it 5am Bonaire time) we were wiped out, and crashed almost as soon as we turned off the lights.

Thus ends Day 3 of our Pacific Journey.

I’ll provide a separate post with links to photos once we find a decent enough Internet connection to upload them.


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2 Responses to “Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti”

  1. The European Richters Says:

    We are anxious to see the photos, especially two of them: Linda with re-piercing and the slim Tahiti Air attendants 😉


    PS.: The book I finished writing in September has been accepted by the publishing house and might be (?) in the bookstores even before this Christmas.

  2. The European Richters Says:

    although it’s great to see how the Richters are doing on this trip and what hotels and restaurands they are frequenting, I would love to see also some of the scenery in your photos. As you are on the first leg of the trip I hope you still can give us a bit of feeling of those exotic places. You are a good photographer, so move on it.

    Love, mom.