Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oahu: On our way; finally arrived. Yeah! Aloha from Paradise!!

So we are on our way to Honolulu finally. Let me tell you about our little adventure at the start of the day.  I checked in online yesterday and I got boarding passes for everyone all the way through except for my leg of the journey from Vancouver to Honolulu. Apparently I had to get it at the airport.  When Mom and I went to check in, the agent was a bit cross with me for arriving late for my flight.  She said the flight was leaving at 6:30am and I arrived at 6am.  I said according to my boarding pass, the flight was leaving at 7am and asked her why I was not contacted with a schedule change.  She looked at her screen and said that the flight was leaving at 7 and begrudgingly said “my apologies” which sounded quite insincere.  She then took our passports and reprinted the boarding passes and gave them back to me.  I told her that I had requested a wheelchair for Mom so she went and got one and handed it over to me. I got mom seated in the chair and realized that the agent still had our passports so I asked her back for them.  She was total attitude. 
So there I was, trying to wheel Mom and two pieces of carry-on luggage and my handbag.  In the meantime I was looking for Karran and Sophie so that they could give me a hand.  I had no idea if they had checked in or not so after 10-15 minutes, I proceeded through security.   Did I mention that the luggage conveyor belt was also not working (at our new airport) so we had to stack the luggage on the floor and hope that it would arrive at our destination. We finally got through and proceeded to our gate where the flight was already boarding.  Karran and Sophie were already there so we proceeded to the plane and had a slightly late but otherwise relatively uneventful flight to Vancouver. The day had not started out too good.
When we arrived in Vancouver and Bena’s flight was 45 minutes late.  Apparently some birds got caught in the engine and fortunately for her, the pilot did not have to pull a Hudson (emergency landing on a river and passengers having to bail out of the plane) but that did delay her flight for 45 minutes. It arrived at 9:15 so I waited for her while Karran and Sophie went with Mom to the US departure gate.  We hurried to meet them and then proceeded to the security checks.  Karran, Bena, Mom and Sophie went through with no issues.  The problem was with me.  I had no boarding pass for Honolulu.
By this time the flight was already starting to board and we still had to get through US Immigration and the departure was at least another 6-7 minutes walk from there.  The security person told me to wait and she would get me a boarding pass so I had to remove all my stuff from the security line and stand off to the side while the other passengers passed and looked at me like I was a criminal or something (for holding up the line).
The boarding pass took another 15 minutes and it really should have taken a minute or two because there was a Westjet agent just on the other side of the security check point.  It was about 10am by the time we cleared US immigration.  Then I walked very fast (that marathon training came in useful today!) while Mom, Sophie and Karran got a ride on the airport golf cart. The agent at the gate looked harried and asked for the boarding passes and passports.  I practically threw them at him (not in anger but in haste) because they kept saying that the plane was waiting for us.  I could joke that I was so important that the plane waited for me but I think God was watching over me and knew that I deserved this break (although I may not think it was such a good thing when this is all over).   
We finally got settled in the plane and I took several deep breaths to catch my many breaths that I lost along the way. Okay, so how did I end up with no boarding pass for me?  Well here is what I think happened.  I checked in everyone and printed their boarding passes except for my Honolulu portion which I could not print for some reason.  I told Karran and Sophie that if they got to the airport and checked in before me, they could re-print theirs – which they did.  When I went to the airport, I reprinted mine and Mom’s but only got our Winnipeg/Vancouver portion.  The agent reprinted them with the luggage tags but I think she may have forgotten to give me the Vancouver/Honolulu as she had done with the passports.  I saw the passports on her desk but didn’t see the boarding passes or I would have asked her for them too.  She handed me back some documents but there were only two boarding passes instead of 4 and the US Immigration card.  The boarding pass that Mom got through with was the one I had printed for her yesterday.  Soooo, (that was me taking another deep breath!). 
After all the craziness, I settled in and pulled out my dissertation notes and started to do some work on it.  An hour into my notes, I was feeling extremely famished and  started calculating that I had only eaten about 3 hours prior but in fact it was about 5 ½ hours since I had something to. I forgot that I had turned back my watch to Vancouver time which is two hours behind Winnipeg. No wonder I was starving!! I bought a nice chicken and orzo salad and had that to eat. Now that I am satiated, I can speculate about whether Dad was telling us that we should be having a family vacation with him. So Dad if you are looking down, we know - we are not alone. You are with us.
Part way through all this, Karran said he doesn’t know how I do what I do. He agreed to buy me as many drinks that I want or that will make me drunk.  Two problems with that: 1) I am not a drinker, and 2) it would only take a few sips of alcohol or anything that will cause drowsiness (read cough syrup, Gravol, cold tablets, antihistamines, etc.) to make me fall into a sleep state that only 28 hours of sleep will cure. So I’ll just ask him instead for precious metals and/or precious stones (there is yet to be a precious metal or stone that I could not befriend). Which reminds me, on the plane Bena gave me a ring the size of which could easily cover two fingers . It’s a Just Because ring – I think. It doesn’t exactly go with my Goretex jacket but who cares? It’s fashionable and I am on vacation so I can dress any way I like – almost.
"Just Because.." ring
I am writing this on our transpacific flight Mom and Bena are sleeping. Karran and Sophie are playing cribbage. More to come. Later.

It's now past later and we just came back from the Rainbow Diner (recommended by the shuttle driver from the rental car company).  First time I think I was in a diner.  The ambiance was good but I am not sure that I can say the same for the food.  They were certainly HUGE portions which two of us could easily shared but we each got one order and ended up leaving more than half each. The weather is so perfect.  The sun set very quickly and we just sat and enjoyed the tropical breeze.  We came back to the hotel and Bena, Karran and Sophie said that they were going to buy some juice and stuff but they went into a liquor store.  Mom and I came back to our rooms (we have two rooms for the 5 of us). I have to say that the view from ours is gorgeous. I can see the ocean from the balcony and from Mom and Karran's room, they can see the mountains.  Beautiful. 
View of Waikiki Beach
It's now 11:30pm Winnipeg time so I am going to have a nice hot shower and sleep with my balcony door wide open to enjoy the breeze.  Makes me feel like I am in Guyana (except for the humidity, mosquitoes and heat).  Good night.

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