Nanci Caroline Griffith (July 6, 1953 – August 13, 2021)

Nanci Caroline Griffith (July 6, 1953 – August 13, 2021)

I nev­er met Nan­ci Grif­fith. This, despite the fact that she is arguably my favorite musi­cal artist. And that is say­ing a lot. Because I am not prone to pick­ing favorites in any­thing. You see, gen­er­al­ly, I believe that when you pick one thing over all the oth­ers, it some­how lessens every­thing else. And I have a per­son­al­i­ty that just has a hard time doing that.

But Nan­ci Grif­fith was, for sure, my favorite singer/songwriter. I dis­cov­ered her when I was in my twen­ties, either on Austin City Lim­its or on Geor­gia Pub­lic Radio’s Folk Alley. I hon­est­ly could not tell you which one it was. But once dis­cov­ered, I quick­ly pur­chased every sin­gle one of her records. And I played them all the time. Over and over.

I made cas­sette tapes and played them in the car, back in the days when cars had cas­sette tape play­ers in them. Ha! I bought all the CDs when they came out, and I down­loaded all of them to my com­put­er, phone and tablet, just as soon as I could. I’ve pur­chased her music in one form or anoth­er across forty years and sev­er­al for­mats. You could pick just about any room in my house and find some­thing with her music on it.

Nan­ci Griffith’s music took me home, at least in my heart, because I could feel it, even when it was talk­ing about some­where else, and some­times some­where I’d nev­er even been. There were oth­er times it took me back to favorite mem­o­ries — the five and dime (or as I knew it, “the dime store”) — and the Woolworth’s counter, although mine was in Asheville, North Car­oli­na and she wrote about one in down­town Austin, Texas, and anoth­er that was a big two sto­ry affair in Lon­don.

I’ve only ever dri­ven through West Texas, but I know it like the back of my hand because of Nan­ci Grif­fith. Same with Blue­bells and the Gulf Coast High­way. I knew the love she sang about, and I’ve been somebody’s fool. I came from farm­ers who loved the land and suf­fered through the Great Depres­sion, and I felt the weight of them work­ing their fields, and in some cas­es hav­ing to leave them behind for­ev­er.

On Grafton Street always makes me think of lost fam­i­ly mem­bers. Because it IS fun­ny “how my world goes round with­out” them. “You’re the one thing I nev­er thought I could live with­out. And I just found this smile to think about you. You’re a Sat­ur­day night. Far from the madding crowd.” Who could NOT feel the emo­tion and the loss and the love in that song.

And Ire­land? I’ve nev­er been, despite hav­ing Irish ances­try. But lis­ten­ing to Nan­ci Grif­fith sing about Ire­land took me there, with all things beau­ti­ful and all things ugly. Trou­bled times. She saw them, and under­stood their toll on all of us humans — from Ire­land to Viet Nam.

Nan­ci Grif­fith said many of her songs were not auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal, and that writ­ing them with­out hav­ing to tie them to real sit­u­a­tions and real peo­ple gave her the free­dom to explore oth­er peo­ple and places with her music. But when I lis­ten to her songs, I can­not help but think she always put a lit­tle piece of her­self in them, whether or not she posi­tioned them as her own mem­o­ries. If she didn’t, we’ll nev­er know. But I choose to believe she was a piece of every­thing she wrote, beyond the writ­ing of it, and just gave her­self the free­dom to change the details. In the end, she was a sto­ry­teller. And her sto­ries changed the world.


Rest in Peace, Nanci Griffith.

You remain my favorite musician, and my favorite story teller.

Letters from the South Pacific — 8/6/2021

Letters from the South Pacific — 8/6/2021

Last days.….

South Pacific — Photo Montage — Bora Bora

South Pacific — Photo Montage — Bora Bora

Letters from the South Pacific — August 2, 3, 4

Let­ters from the South Pacif­ic — August 2, 3, 4


You can tell when we have trav­el days because it’s prac­ti­cal­ly impos­si­ble to keep up with all that’s going on! We left Moorea, hav­ing spent a love­ly week on that island, and head­ed into our next adven­ture, which came with an extend­ed lay-over. By that I mean that we had a one night stay at the Inter­con­ti­nen­tal Air­port Hotel on Tahi­ti, before tak­ing a plane to Bora Bora the next day. Hon­est­ly, we were not par­tic­u­lar­ly excit­ed about it because we expect­ed a stan­dard air­port tow­er hotel with a nice room. Boy were we mis­tak­en!

First of all, the Inter­con­ti­nen­tal Air­port Hotel is a lush (and enor­mous) resort hotel that is a des­ti­na­tion in and of itself for peo­ple choos­ing to use Tahi­ti and Papeete as a base for their vis­it to the South Pacif­ic. It was absolute­ly love­ly (and the bell­men wore sarongs!). Sec­ond, our trav­el agent had upgrad­ed us to a larg­er room because of hav­ing to have us make the inter­im stop.

What we did not know was that he had also asked his boss to give us a sec­ond upgrade, or that all this activ­i­ty bumped up Stephen’s loy­al­ty card so that we got yet anoth­er upgrade.

We end­ed up in an over­wa­ter bun­ga­low over­look­ing the ocean, and it was AMAZING!!! We actu­al­ly wished we had a few nights there after see­ing the resort and the room!

Papeete is the largest city on the largest island of Tahi­ti. Like Hawaii, one of the Islands is also named for the gen­er­al area that is French Poly­ne­sia (118 islands, 67 of which are inhab­it­ed).

Papeete is also the largest city in French Poly­ne­sia, with just over 280,000 peo­ple. It is the stop­ping point and dis­tri­b­u­tion cen­ter for all the inter­na­tion­al ship­ping of mate­ri­als, food and com­merce. If com­merce came to a halt on Papeete, all the islands would suf­fer. There is also inter-island com­merce, but any­thing that is not native to the islands has to come through Papeete.

I digress to share this, because many peo­ple who come to Tahi­ti stay on Tahi­ti and in or around Papeete for both busi­ness and plea­sure. Over­all, though, the expe­ri­ence on the island of Tahi­ti and in Papeete is very dif­fer­ent from life on any of the oth­er islands. In Moorea, for exam­ple, the largest town has less than 5,000 peo­ple, and the pop­u­la­tion of the entire island is just over 16,000! And that’s one of the most pop­u­lat­ed islands after Tahi­ti itself. So again, very dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ences!

After our overnight treat in Papeete, we had a leisure­ly break­fast, then head­ed to the air­port for a quick trip to Bora Bora…we thought. In fact, due to mechan­i­cal prob­lems with not one but two of their air­crafts, Air Tahi­ti left us sit­ting at the air­port for almost four hours. Crowd­ed, hot, masked, and gen­er­al­ly unhap­py, most­ly because we were quick­ly los­ing an entire day on Bora Bora!

Final­ly, we board­ed the plane and made our way to Bora Bora. Now you have to under­stand, the air­port in Bora Bora is the ONLY thing on that par­tic­u­lar island! To get any­where else requires a boat. In our case, it was a speed­boat, and it was a quick-ish twen­ty minute ride to the Inter­con­ti­nen­tal Resort and Spa, which will be our home until we leave to head back home.

Now I have to say that hav­ing a process can be a good thing. But there are times that exten­u­at­ing cir­cum­stances make the process a bit if a pain.… This was one of those times. All three of the cou­ples on our boat were ready to get to our rooms — like now — but the resort had oth­er ideas. First, we got a tour one one of their carts. It’s a big resort so it WAS help­ful to get an overview. Then they deposit­ed us in a lounge area to “enjoy a com­pli­men­ta­ry bev­er­age” while they got our check-in paper­work ready. Final­ly they called us up to the front desk, did our check in, and invit­ed us to sit in anoth­er lounge area while we wait­ed for some­one to dri­ve us to our bun­ga­low. You can see where this is going.

When we got to our bun­ga­low, I was com­plete­ly blown away — by the loca­tion, the view, and the bun­ga­low itself. Although our accom­mo­da­tions at both resorts pri­or to this were won­der­ful, this one is over the top. We have an unob­struct­ed view of the moun­tain and the lagoon, where the water is between 3.5 and four feet deep. Great for snorkling. Not so much coral where we are but lots of fish.

The bun­ga­low itself is real­ly won­der­ful, and sur­pris­ing­ly large. We seri­ous­ly don’t need all this space…but I’ll take it! Stephen did an incred­i­ble job research­ing this, along with every­thing else. He is a mas­ter when it comes to fig­ur­ing out all the details as well as the big deci­sions! We’ve wait­ed years to take this par­tic­u­lar vaca­tion, and it was worth the wait. Now we get to relax and enjoy our last week in the
Sun on Bora Bora!

For Bora Bora pho­tos, see the next blog post!

Letters from the South Pacific • July 31, 2021 & Aug. 1, 2021

Letters from the South Pacific • July 31, 2021 & Aug. 1, 2021

A big part of this vaca­tion was get­ting away (get­ting real­ly far away) and relax­ing, so yes­ter­day and today have been a real plea­sure. No tours. Just pure and plain relax­ation, with a few spe­cial events.

Yes­ter­day, we enjoyed an ear­ly break­fast, fol­lowed by a morn­ing and ear­ly after­noon in the sun on the beach (with sun­screen for me). Stephen doesn’t need it. Then we did a lit­tle sou­venir shop­ping (and picked up mos­qui­to spray!). Let me tell you. Tahi­ti has those lit­tle “no-see-em” mos­qui­toes and they ill eat you up! Our first clue was when we found an elec­tron­ic mos­qui­to repeller inside our suite and one of those incense type repellers on the lanai. Sec­ond clue came in the form of bites! Yikes!

Good News!

The hotel gift shop, far from deny­ing the mos­qui­toes, had quite a selec­tion of mos­qui­to repel­lent. And it works. Between the incense and the repel­lant, you can enjoy the out­doors, and open the indoors up to the out­side with­out being eat­en up by mos­qui­toes! It’s the lit­tle things, right?

The sec­ond item of note yes­ter­day was the Poly­ne­sian Buf­fet Din­ner with Poly­ne­sian Dancers. Poly­ne­sian food is sim­i­lar in some ways to Hawai­ian food, but very dif­fer­ent in oth­ers. Pork and fish both play a big role, but pork is not only roast­ed but also cooked into a stew with local veg­eta­bles. And the fish. It is served cooked, but also raw, and the raw vari­eties are deli­cious and quite diverse. They serve a vari­ety of raw fish sal­ads, one of which was sim­i­lar to the one we had on our tour the oth­er day

. Oth­ers were done with Octo­pus, shell­fish and mixed fish. Still oth­ers were served like sashi­mi. All of them were quite deli­cious. Adding to the ear­ly Poly­ne­sian dish­es are the ones that came in as a result of both French and Asian influ­ence. Rice is com­mon as are dumplings and dim sum. There are also lots of cheese dish­es, both cooked and served as cheese plates. And of course there were the desserts! The desserts were absolute­ly deca­dent, and hard to resist (we real­ly didn’t, although we sam­pled and lim­it­ed our sam­pling so we were not com­plete­ly mis­er­able. The meal, although served buf­fet style, was not like a Hawai­ian luau. It was sim­ply a won­der­ful pre­sen­ta­tion of tra­di­tion­al Poly­ne­sian foods.

Let us Dance!

The “show” after din­ner was some­thing we almost passed on, hav­ing seen one too many Hawai­ian ver­sions. But because our tour direc­tor told us the dance group was hers and she danced with them we decid­ed to stay for the show, and I have to say it was a pleas­ant sur­prise. Poly­ne­sian dance, at least to me, seemed much more about shar­ing their cul­ture and less about being a shoe. It did not feel com­mer­cial, and it mixed the male and female dancers much more than any­thing I’d seen before. Over­all we stayed longer than we planned and enjoyed the show.

I have to digress here for a moment to say that there have been mul­ti­ple times when vis­it­ing Hawaii (which we love), that we have felt less than wel­comed by the natives. My sense is that they have a very pro­nounced love/hate rela­tion­ship with tourism. Here, at least to date, I have felt none of that. The Poly­ne­sians with whom we have inter­act­ed have been gen­uine­ly gra­cious and inter­est­ed in shar­ing their cul­ture with vis­i­tors. I also felt a much more suc­cess­ful blend­ing of the French cul­ture with the Poly­ne­sian cul­ture than I have ever felt in Hawaii between Amer­i­cans and native Hawai­ians. It would be a fas­ci­nat­ing study to com­pare the two his­to­ries, because the results, at least from my expe­ri­ence, are so vast­ly dif­fer­ent.

Today, Sun­day, has been a lazy day for us, most­ly spent at the beach soak­ing up the sun and/or enjoy­ing the cool waters of the lagoon.

Tomor­row, we leave for Papeete for one night before head­ing over to Bora Bora for our last leg of this jour­ney. It’s been so won­der­ful so far, and I am def­i­nite­ly not ready for it to wrap up. I am anx­ious to get to Bora Bora, where we have one of the huts that have been built over the lagoon itself. I real­ly can­not wait for that!

South Pacific — Photo Montage — Moorea

South Pacific — Photo Montage — Moorea

Letters from the South Pacific • July 30, 2021

Letters from the South Pacific • July 30, 2021

Today, we enjoyed an all day tour of the island — almost a full eight hours! We saw every­thing, and all sorts of things; learned about the island’s his­to­ry, its tra­di­tions and its peo­ple. Our tour guide was an incred­i­ble source of infor­ma­tion, and real­ly a lot of fun. There were just eight of us on the tour, and, as you will notice, when we were just with our group, we some­times went with­out masks. This was because all of us had been vac­ci­nat­ed, and had at least two, some­times three covid tests with­in the last forty eight hours. When we were around oth­er groups, we were always masked.

Masks Were Required everywhere, and that was a happy thing!

I have to say we found it fas­ci­nat­ing to be in a coun­try where the virus, and mit­i­ga­tion tech­niques like masks, had not been politi­cized. Lit­er­al­ly all the natives, tour guides, busi­ness peo­ple and hotel employ­ees wore masks, encour­aged mask wear­ing when any­one for­got, and rec­og­nized the impor­tance of masks and social dis­tanc­ing. When asked, they could not real­ly com­pre­hend why peo­ple would NOT take pre­cau­tions against the virus. Very enlight­en­ing, and very refresh­ing.


Nature’s abundance!

Our very first stop was as at a nature pre­serve which was run by a fam­i­ly that was pre­serv­ing all the native plants, fruits and, also the many med­i­c­i­nal plants.

We enjoyed a vari­ety of local­ly made jams and jel­lies as well as some oils and per­fumes.

We also got to check out their Vanil­la Orchid green­house, which I obvi­ous­ly enjoyed. The first pho­to was of a bloom. First time I’d seen a Vanil­la Orchid bloom­ing in per­son.

The sec­ond shot is some seed pods, which are still grow­ing.

These will need to mature, then be dried before they will achieve the full vanil­la fla­vor we all enjoy.

Mountain Views, and Scooby Doo!

We got to go to sev­er­al of the high­est peaks on Moorea, includ­ing “Mag­ic Moun­tain,” which has amaz­ing 360 degree views.

I have the say that the view real­ly was mag­i­cal, even if it made me think of Scoo­by Doo and Mel­low Mush­room Restau­rants.

The ride (up and down) was pret­ty spe­cial too with nar­row, some­times par­tial­ly paved roads, steep inclines and hair­pin turns. It was sort of like a Dis­ney inspired roller coast­er ride through the rain for­est.

We were bumped and twist­ed and turned all over the back of the four by four truck we were rid­ing in the back of, and the padded seats, while very much appre­ci­at­ed, were sec­ond to the roll bars and places to hang on when it came to gain­ing some sense of secu­ri­ty. Oi!

Next up, a pineap­ple farm, and this one was noth­ing like vis­it­ing the Dole Plan­ta­tion in Hawaii. This pineap­ple farm made every­thing from fruit juices to wine to rum to tequi­la — all from pineap­ples! We enjoyed a tast­ing of many of their prod­ucts, although both Stephen and I abstained from the alco­holic options. I have to say that if I hadn’t, I don’t know if I could have made all the way through the day!

Next was a trip up anoth­er moun­tain, where the views were once again fan­tas­tic. Before we got there, though, we saw the Criobe Moorea Research insti­tute, which stud­ies glob­al warm­ing and its affects on the coral beds in and around the islands of the South Pacif­ic, as well as the shrimp farms which pro­duce most of the shrimp con­sumed on the islands.

Then, it was up, up, up!

Anoth­er steep and wind­ing road (although all paved and in much bet­ter shape than the one to the top of Mag­ic Moun­tain!

Much of the moun­tain, and the val­ley below was once been owned by a Hawai­ian fam­i­ly, and when the Poly­ne­sian gov­ern­ment pur­chased it back from them, the stip­u­la­tion was that it had to be pre­served and nev­er devel­oped.


Every­where you cast your eyes, you find anoth­er breath­tak­ing view. And the moun­tain peaks them­selves are quite ver­ti­cal. Although most­ly cov­ered in ver­dant green jun­gle growth, it is clear that vol­canic rock lies just under­neath.

Look­ing up, you can see many of the famous peaks that are the remains of the long-gone vol­cano that formed the island, and look­ing down you can see two large bays — the Opuno­hu bay, and Cook’s Bay.

Both are large bays, but the Opuno­hu Bay is actu­al­ly so large and deep that whales some­times swim into the bay. This is Whale sea­son in Tahi­ti, but we have not seen one so far.

Down from the moun­tain­tops and down to the beach, where we enjoyed a relax­ing time and had a love­ly lunch of raw fish, cocoanut milk, lime juice, raw car­rots, raw cab­bage onions and lime juice. There was also pineap­ple, cocoanut bread, a cocoanut con­coc­tion that was rem­i­nis­cent of tofu (but sweet), papaya, and more. Need­less to say, we were not hun­gry at the end of our meal.



And finally the Waterfall.

The Water­fall” was the high­light of the trip, at least accord­ing to the web­site, and, although I should prob­a­bly not have attempt­ed to go up to it, it was def­i­nite­ly worth see­ing. We’d heard all sorts of sto­ries about it since we’d arrived, the most con­cern­ing being that there had not been enough rain and it was not as dra­mat­ic as usu­al. Nev­er­the­less, it was part of the trip and we did not want to miss it

The road up to the water­fall was unpaved and fair­ly rough, and wound through a col­or­ful local neigh­bor­hood, com­plete with rust­ed out cars, chick­ens, goats, dogs, cats, notable char­ac­ters (one of whom informed our tour guide that it was his moun­tain and his water­fall, and that we need­ed to pay him to go see it).

Our tour guide said it was nei­ther, and that he just want­ed some mon­ey for a drink or two, but she gave him some cash any­way just to mol­li­fy him. Some­times you just got­ta go with the flow.…

When we final­ly arrived (at the lit­er­al end of the road), we got out and stared up at a fair­ly steep, wet and mud­dy trail. We set off at a pret­ty good clip, which I was not real­ly able to keep up with, but I was still mov­ing along…then the trail got steep­er and wet­ter, the mud got mud­di­er and the leaves got. slick­er. I had to stop and take a break. Stephen could see I was strug­gling so he came back to check on me. We stopped for a few, then pro­ceed­ed on. That was about the time I slipped and (almost) face plant­ed into the trail and the mud. Afraid to fall and out of breath, I almost stopped. Then one of our fel­low tourists came back, and between he and Stephen, we got with­in sight of the water­fall (with only one mishap that soaked my right foot and show) in one of the many brooks flow­ing down the moun­tain and across our path. At that point, I looked up at the next part of the trail, and the rope I’d need to use to climb it, and I sug­gest­ed that Stephen and Dylan just go on with­out me. For­tu­nate­ly (or unfor­tu­nate­ly), both of them, along with out tour guide urged me to try it and I did. We made the last leg up to the water­fall, and although wet, sweaty and exhaust­ed, I have to say it was worth it. It was, no mat­ter what any­one said about not enough water hav­ing fall­en, just spec­tac­u­lar! And we got to rest.

I have to say that going up to, and com­ing down from  the water­fall real­ly restored my faith in peo­ple. Let’s face it. We were with three oth­er cou­ples. All straight — one in their ear­ly for­ties and from Min­neapo­lis (and with whom we struck up an imme­di­ate com­er­aderie), anoth­er new­ly­wed cou­ple in their ear­ly thir­ties (from Paris), and a third cou­ple, also new­ly­weds, very young and seem­ing­ly a bit uncom­fort­able around us. She was very South­ern and blonde, and he was of either Japan­ese or Kore­an descent, although both had grown up in the Unit­ed States. I caught them chat­ting about one or both hav­ing gone to a Chris­t­ian col­lege and so I assumed that like­ly was the rea­son they were a bit frosty to us. But I digress. Dylan, the hus­band of the cou­ple from Min­neapo­lis, had real­ly come to my res­cue on the way up to the water­fall, and both he and Bruno (hus­band of the French cou­ple) both did so on the way back down, and as much as I hat­ed admit­ting it, I need­ed the help. Two hip replace­ments and not being in the best of shape real­ly told on me. Those guys didn’t have to help. Stephen was doing his very best to help me and I could prob­a­bly have made it with just his help, but this hon­est and open act of human com­pas­sion real­ly got to me. Once back to the car, every­one seemed more open. It felt like, some­how, my need had pulled us all togeth­er as a group. Every­one chat­ted more on the way back, and all of us exchanged emails. Stephen put togeth­er a won­der­ful pho­to album for every­one and shared it. Moments like these are restora­tive.

What a Day!

Letters from the South Pacific • July 29, 2021

Letters from the South Pacific • July 29, 2021

Thurs­day was a sun/relax day for us. Ear­ly morn­ing we had a light rain that moved over the island short­ly after the sun came up, leav­ing sun­ny skies and a calm sea. We enjoyed cof­fee on our lanai before walk­ing over to the hotel restau­rant for break­fast.

After break­fast, we hit the beach, care­ful to apply lots of sun­screen (at least I did. Stephen nev­er needs it), and fad­ed into the com­fort of warm ocean breezes.

Lat­er, we explored the lagoon, walked the beach enjoyed the view from our lanai. We also took a short cab ride into town where we sou­venir shopped and hit the gro­cery for some essen­tials. Luck was ours when we saw a local bak­ery truck unload­ing fresh baguettes. The locals, who clear­ly knew the sched­ule, were wait­ing for the bread to be unloaded. We wait­ed along with them and brought one home (along with cheese) and wine for me. We fin­ished the day at the hotel restau­rant before call­ing it a night.



Letters from the South Pacific • July 28, 2021

Letters from the South Pacific • July 28, 2021

July 28, 2021 was a day most­ly missed, at least by me. The overnight flight (just under eight hours) was most­ly enjoyed by sleep­ing passengers…all except me. Try as I might, I could not get com­fort­able or sleepy. I dozed a lit­tle but not much, so when we arrived in Tahi­ti, I was large­ly a sleep deprived zom­bie oper­at­ing on autopi­lot. Once off the plane, we were shep­herd­ed into an arrival area, com­plete with bright lights and a trio singing tra­di­tion­al Poly­ne­sian music. It was love­ly, It was loud. Obvi­ous­ly these folks have been doing the tourism thing for a long time.…

Although the steps through immi­gra­tion were a bit of a blur, they were com­pli­cat­ed by, guess what? A COVID test! every­one had to take a COVID test pri­or to clear­ing cus­toms. For­tu­nate­ly, no one in our group failed the test, and so we were set free into the wait­ing arms of all the tour com­pa­nies, trav­el agents and oth­ers wel­com­ing friends, fam­i­ly and vis­i­tors to the islands. We received our leis, board­ed the van to take us to the fer­ry (our first week is on Moorea, which is only acces­si­ble by boat, and found our­selves at the dock at a lit­tle before 6am. Every­thing was closed and no one was there to greet us.

Under nor­mal cir­cum­stances, I would have just brushed off. But as a sleep deprived zom­bie, it was more than I could take. Our van dri­ver tried to help. He said that because we were ear­ly, there would be no one to meet us at Moorea, and so we should wait for the next ferry…in two hours. So, we wait­ed until some­one arrived to open the fer­ry office, left our lug­gage there, and went upstairs in search of some­thing to drink, and a bath­room.

Two hours lat­er, we board­ed the fer­ry, after dou­ble check­ing to make sure our lug­gage made it aboard, and head­ed off to Moorea. The sun was just com­ing up and it was breath­tak­ing. Worth all the wor­ry, and the stress.

Letters from the South Pacific • July 27, 2021

Letters from the South Pacific • July 27, 2021

Even before the trip to Tahi­ti began, the COVID pan­dem­ic decid­ed to add some dra­ma to our trip. And all despite mas­sive amounts of prepa­ra­tion on Stephen’s part. He’d done all the prep. work (we thought), includ­ing get­ting a COVID test 48 hours pri­or to depar­ture. We select­ed the one that all the paper­work we’d received said was required to enter Tahi­ti. And so we left our hotel in Los Ange­les ear­ly, intent on hav­ing a low stress check-in and overnight flight.

Every­thing was fine until we arrived at the Air Tahi­ti Nui gate to check in. While the agent was going through our paper­work, I not­ed that the young cou­ple to our right was hav­ing trou­ble. They were being told they need­ed anoth­er test.

At about that same time, our agent informed us that the test we had tak­en was also not one that was accept­able. We argued back (in a nice way), and showed her the paper­work we’d received telling us which test to get. She spoke to her super­vi­sor, but in the end, they told us we need­ed a dif­fer­ent test. Argh. We, along with the oth­er cou­ple, had to get from the inter­na­tion­al ter­mi­nal, to the LA bus, which took us to the place where you could get a taxi or uber or lyft, then took a taxi to the clos­est urgent care (Reliant)  that offered imme­di­ate COVID tests of the kind Air Tahi­ti would accept. And all less than four hours before our flight. There, we were joined by yet more pas­sen­gers in the sam boat as us, includ­ing one charm­ing fel­low on his way to Aus­tralia. We got our tests, wait­ed for the results, got them, then called a lyft to take us back to the airport…at about the time anoth­er per­son who had tak­en the test got a pos­i­tive result. Despite all the pre­cau­tions, elec­tron­ic viral killers, etc., they had to lit­er­al­ly clear the place. Thank­ful­ly, we were already out­side. The reverse trip was eas­i­er. Our lyft dri­ver took us, in addi­tion to the oth­er cou­ple, new­ly­weds from New Jer­sey, direct­ly back to the inter­na­tion­al con­course, and we made our flight with time to spare.

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