We left with heavy hearts as we gave a goodbye kiss to our four legged companion with a nervous lick. This was by far the hardest thing about going away. The packing, the renting of the house, the stress of renovating a laundry was small in comparison. There is something about the look that our four legged friends gives you that has the ability to tear your heart out. Tears flowed freely, but it was not a goodbye, but more of a “see you in a while”. The flight out of Canberra was an earlierish one, but was met head on with a farewell from Vicki.
As we boarded our Qantas flight we sat back into our seats, it seemed that we were one seat short of the cockpit and nearly sitting on the hostesses lap. Which I personally don”t see a problem with. We gracefully transited to the international departures, where it seemed that we had 15 minutes to clear immigration and be at the departure gate. Something in Jayde’s mind prompted her to contact the Air Tahiti check-in desk to ask a question about our bags which Qantas had advised would go right through to Easter Island. To our dismay this was far from the truth, it seemed that if we had not checked, it would have been a one pair of undie stay on Easter Island.
As we cleared immigration at Sydney Airport, the words “Could Mr Fulton and Ms Douglas please immediately make their way to gate 52” echoed through the busy terminal. Several swear words later we handed our passports to the staff at the gate, who graciously took them without a smile and advised us that someone had made a mistake and that we didn’t need to rush to the gate after all. This was our first impression of a airline which I have yet to be impressed on. So without a book and no breakfast, we waited to board our flight. 15 minutes later, our rows were finally called.
We boarded our Airbus that would take us on our first leg of our international journey. Apparently, the request of “Gluten Free Meal for Mr Fulton”, translates to “Vegetarian Pasta Dish with Bread Roll for Ms Douglas” in Air Tahiti speak. It seems strange that on an airliner, that there is no food that does not contain wheat, except the HUGE fruit platter that I saw in Business Class. 8 hours later we were able to get to a lounge where I had my first feed since the night before we left in Australia. It seems strange, and I feel somewhat bad as I think about the poor third world nations that are starving, but a small bowl of olives and two double shot rum and cokes really don’t cut it as a meal after over 24 hours of no food. Needless to say, with two double shot rum and cokes,
I slept well on the LAN flight from Tahiti to Easter Island. There was no loss in translation on the LAN flight, “Gluten Free” means “Gluten Free”. However, I was going to have to get use to the stable diet of fruit, as this was the best that they could do. Now I was hanging to get hold of something that I could actually chew. We were greeted at Easter Island by a member of the Bird Man Tribe that is local to the island. The comparison would be to imagine putting a chicken on your head and blowing into a shell whilst waving a big stick. Needless to say that minimal sleep, little food, and the humid weather, led to a bit of a giggle. Our hosts for the next four days met us at the arrivals hall and our stay on Easter Island has begun…..