Tahiti: Day 1

Although I was greeted with no lei, I was pleasantly surprised to hear and see some traditional song and dance as I stepped into the Faa'a international airport. At the tail end of an insanely long voyage, I was waiting for customs while carrying my personal luggage and a box containing two domes for the imager that was to be installed here in Tahiti. After making it through, I picked up the rental car and drove toward the hotel with my google map directions. I was worried about driving a stick-shift; that should not have been my concern. My directions had neither times nor distances to my turns, just street names - for streets that had no labeling as far as I could tell. About an hour after meandering here and there I realized that I'd past my hotel four times...

I awoke with the sun and prepared to visit the site. I had a better google map today, and I navigated successfully to a closed gate. After frustratingly thinking this was wrong, I got lost again. Then I turned on GPS and chose a different route (luckily the map of Tahiti was cached before I got here). After arriving to the site, took a tour of the three pre-planned possible locations of the imager. Trees are the primary concern here. While some could be trimmed to improve visibility, there are quite a few very tall trees that are either off the property or are too large to be trimmed. Site 1 has decent visibility except for the tall trees that block some views. Site 2 is very close to the road and emergency exit and also has the same tree problem in the south. Site 3 has the best view of the ocean, but terrible vertical visibility.
Lunch was interesting. We brought an empty pot to this cookery and ordered pineapple chicken. They cooked it in a large wok and poured it into our pot and wrapped it up to bring back to work. After lunch, I made some estimations of the elevation angles the instrument could get at the various locations and sent back panoramas from each of them. I scouted out other possibilities to get some height over the trees. Some discussion was had over placing the imager on the roof without an AC, but two fans (intake and outtake). This would be easy and light enough to accomplish. I'm told that the temperatures during the night are at maximum 25 C. Also the altitude of the site means no salt in the air, but it still can be quite humid. For the type of AC they want the ground may be the best way to go if it is a necessity.

While most of the researches work 7:30 to 4:30, I stayed to watch the sunset at 6:00. Not really, but it was a gorgeous sight to behold as the clouds rolled in. I needed to stay past sunset to see what the lighting conditions were at the site. My concerns were the houses next door to the site as well as the city lights and the airport. From my initial observation, I concluded that it was extremely dark here atop the hill. The city was very dim, houselights were not present at the time either. My one problem was the possibility of the motion search lights going off if someone was to work late, especially on night when tsunamis were a possibility. This would have to be discussed tomorrow as jet lag set in. I called it a night and planned to stay out later tomorrow. I got back to my hotel after making only two wrong turns. I grabbed a quick bite to eat and fell asleep. Day one - complete.
NOTE: If returning to Tiare Tahiti Hotel, there is only metered parking 8am-5pm (100 XPF/hr) or a parking garage nearby (150 XPF/hr). Also no free wifi, you need to purchase hour cards to use it or charge your credit card (480 XPF/hr).

PS: If you love French bread, they serve it with breakfast, lunch, and dinner!