Friday, November 12, 2010

Tahiti - Day 1: The Flight

As most of you know we were WAY too excited to get our butts out the door and on the road to begin this adventure. Everything went off without a hitch. Except for my normal “fidgety” self (mostly out of anticipation), both Adam and I were relaxed and tried to enjoy everything around us including the rather short flight to Los Angeles. Adam set me up with the window seat, my typical preference, and himself in the middle. This turned out to be a rather good thing as the gentleman that sat next to Adam was a salesman (to the nth degree!) and yapped at us all the way down to southern California. Of course Adam took the brunt of it as he was in the middle, but he seemed to be enjoying the ear chewing and constant questioning from the guy. I, on the other hand, tuned out about half way through the flight as I got kind of sick of the name dropping and constant exaggeration about this guy’s adventures. As most of you know that is a real switch for the two of us. But overall the flight was nice, and although the companion we had in our row seemed to go on endlessly, he was a nice guy and still pleasant to have next to us.
We had a lot of time to kill at LAX after our 5:30pm arrival as our flight to Tahiti did not depart until 11:00pm. And since we could not connect our flights between carriers (Alaska to LA and Air Tahiti to Tahiti) we had to collect our bags and switch terminals, so that allowed us to kill a few minutes. I was only slightly concerned when we caught the LAX terminal transfer bus and realized the bus number was 666. Once I realized the Sandra Bullock was not driving and Keanu Reeves was nowhere in sight, I felt more at ease and the images of “Speed 3” faded away.
We walked through the International Terminal to get our barring straight for when we could actually check in (probably not until 8:00pm) we went and had some food and well deserved beer to help smooth out the nervous anticipation. The people-watching was awesome! Does anyone in LA wear anything but sweatpants?? Seriously. And the poor guy at the bar, once his head finally stopped falling in every direction like he was a bobble head doll, succumbed to sleep with his head completely fallen backwards and mouth agape (kind of like my Mom in the car most of the time), looked like a human Pez dispenser. I got a nice picture of that one. Oh, the pleasures we have at the expense of others. 
We finally got to check in and saw that a line had already started forming at the Air Tahiti counter. Bummer. But wait!!! We are in Business Class for this long flight! We gleefully bypassed all the suckers in coach waiting to check their bags and ushered ourselves right up to the counter! I tried to contain my smugness as much as possible, and I will admit it was a little tough. But we got ourselves all set and then made our way through security and ultimately to the Air Tahiti Lounge! Woo hoo!
Actually the lounge was a collective for all the international carriers, so there were quite a few people occupying the space, anxiously awaiting the call for their lengthy overseas flight. We of course did not care and felt as though we were a couple of kings at that point. Open bar! A couple of drinks, a few pictures, and several Facebook status updates and responses later our flight was called.

The gate was stuffed full with people! Of course the Airbus 340 is a huge plane, so that was no surprise. But we bypassed everyone and got ourselves settled at the front of the plane. We had nearly an hour before the flight was to actually depart, so that gave us ample time to sip champagne, get our necessities in order (books, iPod, etc.), have more champagne, take a couple of pictures, and check out the seat adjustment……….look! This adjusts back almost completely flat! Business Class is sweet! Oh, and we were handed a little flower by the flight attendant to that had such major fragrance to it. It turned out to be a Tiare……essentially the Tahitian Gardenia. They are everywhere. And, even if you can’t see them, you most certainly are made aware of their presence close by due to the delightful fragrance.
We back out away from the gate 15 minutes early and actually lifted off the runway right at 11:00pm. They don’t mess around! The flight attendants change clothes……as if it were the 2nd act of a performance or something and continued to attend to everyone’s needs.
Time for sleep! I made sure to have a Lunesta with me on the plane as I knew that sleep would not come otherwise and proceeded to snooze for a solid 5 hours. Are we there yet??????

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