Our gear passed the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry inspection for dangerous importation of noxious pests. The boots seemed as dangerous as R’s antibodies for his research. The guy in front of us in line was returned his tent only after the MAF washed it. Ours was deemed clean enough.
Air Tahiti Nui is a winner. Great service in LAX, where the check-in agent volunteered to put us into better seats forward in the aircraft. Comfortable plane, quiet in the air, the tiare flowers handed out when we got off the plane in Papeete so they could ready it for our next leg. I hadn’t really wanted to go back to Tahiti, but if I could fly that airline, I might reconsider – getting there on Corsair was so painful, but that was a different story.
Michael and Effie took us on Saturday to Piha Beach for a short hike to get some fresh air and see a bit of the country. The Christmas trees are starting to come into bloom – Michael tells us that by Christmas the countryside will be aflame in these red-blossoming trees. We watched the lifegaurds practice launching inflatables into the surf, and climbed up a hill that the Maori used as a fortress. No bugs, no bears, only birds in the forest.
On Sunday we sat in the glorious sunshine and then took a drive around the Auckland downtown and harbor for sunset. Walked out on Mt. Eden for a fabulous view of downtown and the harbor.