Last day in Paradise

Papeete Travel Blog

 › entry 19 of 21 › view all entries

Woke about 6:00 but went back to sleep ‘til about 8:30. Packed the carry-ons, and had breakfast in the Panorama. They had set up a bag-check in the Italian restaurant so we dumped the carry-ons there. The ship was docked at the main pier right in Papeete so we went into town to walked around and buy a few things. We had planned on having lunch in town but were running out of steam so we returned to the ship. That was a mistake as the buffet was really crowded. We were not supposed to use the main dining room as that was for embarking passengers. After lunch we went to sit by the pool as the sun began peeking through. Russ and Janet joined us. Eventually, it started getting too warm so I moved up to deck 10 to get some breeze.

I sat there alone for a long time until the others eventually joined me. Together we watched the sunset at 5:30. I thought maybe we’d see the green flash again but we didn’t. Based on the loud cheers and clapping elsewhere on deck, I assume some others caught it.

We’d been scheduled to leave the ship after 7:00 but suddenly there was an announcement that, due to a protest march through Papeete by air traffic controllers scheduled for 6:45, we’d be departing early. (I had sudden fears of a problem with a strike at the airport but they were unfounded. The march was apparently a show of support of striking controllers in France. The French really like their strikes and protests.) We quickly grabbed the checked bags and rushed to the buffet to stuff some food down.

After bidding farewell to Russ & Janet, we headed for the gangway. Winston and Natalie caught up with us and said a final good bye as well. It sure is hard to say good-bye to all these people who had become such good friends! A bus was waiting for us but the airport was an absolute zoo! The checked luggage was all arranged in rows to be identified and claimed but there was an absolute mob of people in line to check in. Getting there early probably exacerbated the problem because the airline check in was not even open! It took two hours to get through to the departure lounge and that, too, was mobbed. The scheduled Air Tahiti Nui flight (ours) and the chartered Omni flight were scheduled to depart within 15 minutes of each other and the passenger loads from those two jumbos made for pretty intolerable conditions. If the Omni flight is chartered, it seems to me they could offset the departure times a bit more to avoid the mess but I’m probably missing something. With all the mess, we pushed back at 10:13, only 13 minutes behind schedule.

As expected, the plane was jammed and, since we had inside seats, it was a tough trip. I knew this would be the worst part and it was.

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photo by: alexchan