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Forty five minutes south is the famed Jersey Shore, beaches, marinas and Atlantic City. People are friendly, traffic is steady but not hectic..and if you don’t want to drive there then take the train from Penn Station…cheap as and they run both ways all day and most of the night.
You will be surprised at the greenness of NJ, I really like it, because I have a Daughter and two Grand children there it now holds a special place in my travelling heart.
So when it was time to fly back it was a bit of a mission. Linda (my better half, Wife, medical advisor, you name it, stayed on awhile at RB, so she drove me to Newark Liberty International, (up the GSPW, taking a right turn at the Jersey Turnpike) making good time - 40 minutes.
We kissed and hugged goodbye ‘til my Shuttle to JFK arrived and then I was off again.
The large mini bus only took 90 minutes or so...nice scenic trip around Queens past Coney Island onto Long Island at US$24 a bargain (wait until Papeete Ray).
Terminal 4 was still the outpost – in the doors, upstairs to check-in just under 3 hours before take-off. Air Tahiti Nui only had three check-in staff on for most of the one hour line up including first/business class and after completion and bags weighed, all passengers had to take them away to the security counter ourselves…well at least we saw them officially go off to the flight.
Then came another long wait..the queue to the entrance to go through security check, was already fifty feet long…sorry if that sounds complicated…but I did it carefully, so I got a small bottle of water and some Potato wedges to keep my energy up, I figured that it would still be probably 3 and a half hours before I get anything on the plane and hey! I was hungry!
I started something…a Russian couple in front of me took turns trying to find the source of my wedges…I don’t know why they didn’t ask…I could have shown them with sign language!
It was at KFC…they only thing I would order there.! (after two tries they ended up sharing some messy stirfry thing.)
Actually I don’t know about the other Terminals at JFK , but #4 is pretty poorly served with food/snack stalls etc. Newark is much better..I like the stand that sells steamed hotdogs (I mean real franks) wrapped in pretzel dough.
Even Auckland International has a Burger King ..I know what you’re thing but they’re BBQed- and therefore healthier for people who have had a ‘Heart Event’ like me!
The flight was memorable because I slept longer than I can recall on a US flight before...at least four hours, watched one movie only. The supper and snack before arrival, were very nice…and the coffee much better on this leg…oh! and I grabbed a glass or two of the Bordeaux again natch!
Just over 12 hours later we arrived in Papeete at fifteen past Midnight…that flight was going onto
Sydney and I had to wait 16 hours for mine to Auckland so my Buddy Ron Hunt at Travel Arrangements in Palm Springs had booked me into the Tahiti Airport Motel - right opposite the arrival terminal but on top of a steep hill so a taxi was needed.
Best quote I could get for the 2 minute ride was US$20 WHAT!!! (see why I was so pleased with the Newark to JFK fare?) The reception clerk at the Motel said ‘Tahiti taxis….the most expensive in the World’ believe it!!
My room was on second floor, clean and tidy, comfy bed and most important Aircon…it was still bloody hot and humid at one in the morning. I turned on the TV…mostly in French went happily to sleep after seeing the score on a news item about the All Blacks V Wallabies second Bledisloe Cup/Tri Nations decider .
Awoke four hours later, showered and then Schmoozed the friendly receptionist into getting a later checkout (11am) the one hour made a difference. I had prepaid for the room US$120 and a further 150 pacific francs Tourist tax (about US$2) was called on. Then negotiated my way down the steep hill with my two wheelie bags across the road to the terminal and felt better about splitting the 20 bucks into 10 each way….Mum would have been proud.
I then planted myself at a café under a fan (my biggest fan…sorry!) and read a novel until check-in time.
The flight to Auckland was a shared one on Air New Zealand a 767-300 and immediately the seats felt more comfortable or stronger...and I’m only a little guy as some of you will be surprised to learn. Crew had done a double banger there and back same day…but were up to it. They found me a Herald and a beer and I was happy.
No DVD player in the seat but I didn’t care I was on my way home with ‘auntie Herald to read’ and the five plus hours just flew….. with us safely landing in Auckland around 10.20 pm.
Footnote Chriss from Flight centre in Warkworth (who suggest I try this route) has now informed me that Air Tahiti Nui are not continuing that service direct to New York anymore…Instead going Papeete /Los Angeles/NY. Pity.
I enjoyed the flying part….and Bloody Al Qaeda will keep the Terminal elements as a pain in the butt for a long time to come ….until something gives.