Day #58 - Crossing the Equator

Today was a transit day where we left the USA after six weeks (plus one week in Canada) and head south to our third country.
This meant crossing the equator and entering the southern hemisphere, Tahiti being our destination.
After packing our bags (and the obligatory checking their weight), saying goodbye to our friend Jose, we headed back to Hawaii International Airport for our flight. 
Kona International Airport as we said before, is a very cute airport with everything effecitvely being outside! However, our love for this sweet airport was tested when it came to boarding since all the gates' announcements were hard to distinguish, no signs above the gates to confirm which flight they were boarding and the gate on the departure board didn't match the gate on our boarding pass. So we got a little frustrated in the heat! Nevertheless, we did get on the right flight on time. 
We had to take a short hop to the island of O'ahu to Honolulu Airport. Many people are surprised as I was that the capital and largest city isn't on the biggest island.  I guess the fact the big island had so many active volcanoes on it might be a factor!
The flight to Honolulu was a quick up and down affair; we were in the skies for less than 30 minutes. 
A short layover before boarding the next flight to Tahiti - just under six hours this time. 
Once we had settled into our seats and seen the safety video, the captain came on to inform us that he was expecting two bouts of severe turbulence during our flight and that we should remain in our seats with "seatbelts securely fastened" as much as possible. While neither of us are nervous flyers, it's not exactly our favourite activity.

We were sharing our flight with what looked like a football team, all in matching shirts and it didn't help that James pointed out it's always the planes with sports teams that go down! Thanks for that tipbit!😂 Actually, they turned out to be a dance group competing in a competition on the island. And the fact you're reading this means we landed safely! As for that turbulence? Well I think the captain steered us away from the storms (since our flight took longer than planned) and we experienced only the slightest shakes. 
Although we landed on, there were still a few more hurdles to overcome. Firstly, the plane had to be fumigated against coconut flies. This entailed remaining on the aircraft for 15 extra minutes while the cabin crew walked up and down the aisle spraying cans of pesticides into the overhead luggage bins. Those still wearing COVID masks felt very smug!
The welcoming band at Tahiti Airport - they must have been playing for hours!
Immigration proved a challenge too. Not because of the process but because post-brexit and entering a french territory, we are now in the slowest moving line, in tropical late night humidity. It took an hour to get through the line by which time it was nearing midnight. A 20 minute taxi ride took us to our hotel and we were given such a wonderful warm welcome by the receptionist that we instantly forgot how tired we felt and began to relax after a day's traveling.

The hotel is stunning. Although we arrived at night and couldn't see much of the outside surroundings, we could hear the sea as the waves crashed onto the shore. Subtle lighting throughout the hotel gave everything a romantic moonlight vibe as we strolled through the complex admiring the serene pool, the foyer's water garden, sculptures and the sun terrace.
Our room is to die for. A huge bed, balcony, walk in shower (complete with essential oil infusions) and the star attraction: a jacuzzi. Insane.
So, after such a tiring day (how can sitting down all day being transported around be so exhausting?! Yes, I can hear your sympathy!!) it was time for bed and let the sounds of the ocean rhythmically send us off to sleep.