Back in Tahiti!

Travelling in times of Covid is complicated, requires lots of organisation, paperwork and gave us one adrenaline rush after the other… First we had to beg the Haute Commissariat to accept our reasons to travel (we only got the okay for the return flight when we were already in Austria–quite exciting…), then there’s a form for the folks from quarantine (non-vaccinated travellers need a special transport to the place where they will spend 10 days of quarantine–luckily we’ve got our two shots already…), then there’s ETIS (application to enter French Polynesia and tracking once in Polynesia) and with all that we nearly forgot that Christian needed a new ETA (Canadian transit visa) for his new passport. We applied for it on the morning of our flight from Vienna, assuming that it would only take minutes (as it usually does), but it was still not approved when we reached the counter in Vienna, so the girl could only check us through to Paris–not yet to Papeete. A frantic search and phones calls to the Canadian embassy made us realise that there is NO way you can contact Canadian authorities about visa status–you run against walls and only get redirected to the same internet site over and over again…

Luckily the visa was granted while we were in Paris, so we could tackle the next queue at the airport in Paris. Again all out paperwork was scrutinised and only THEN we were sure that we would really be allowed to fly back home to our Pitufa! We left Paris at 11 in the morning on Saturday and arrived in Vancouver at 11 in the morning on Saturday after 9 hours of flight–quite mind-boggling… 2 hours later we boarded our plane again and were surprised to find that most other passengers had only booked to Vancouver–the flight to Papeete was almost empty, everybody could comfortable stretch out on a row of seats :-)

We arrived in Papeete still on Saturday, just before 8 p.m. and were informed that the passengers of the flight that had landed just before us were still queueing for health and quarantine inspections… Only after they had finished we were allowed to get off the plane, led through several mazes to a Covid test, on to paperwork inspection (passed!!!), on to await the negative result of our Covid tests and only then we were allowed to leave the airport at 9.30…

A huge team works at the airport to make all that testing possible, everybody’s friendly and helpful and even though it’s tiring to wait in endless queues after a long journey it’s great to see how well Tahitian authorities deal with the Covid situation!

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