50th Anniversary
Hawaii Trip
November 1-8, 2007

First Day - Thursday, November 1st

We left the house and headed for the airport Thursday, November 1 about 6:30 am. Parked the Explorer fairly close to one of the pick up stations in long-term parking. The shuttle arrived about the same time we parked and the driver graciously waited while we dragged our luggage to the bus, along with my bum knee. More on that later.

Our flight was to depart at 8:50 and we made it to check in a bit after 7:00. So, there was plenty of time to get through security and find a cinnamon roll and coffee for a relaxed breakfast. Our only problem in security was Judy's baggies. We learned that the liquid containers must be in their own separate bag where her stuff was all in one. The TSA agent was only a little short of surly in explaining that.

We boarded the plane, a Canada Air Jet 900, approximately on time but waited impatiently as the scheduled departure time came and went. Finally it was announced that the flight crew had arrived late last night and did not have the required rest time so we waited while they rested an additional 45 minutes before finally leaving. About an hour into the flight, I looked out the window and saw what I felt pretty sure it had to be Sandia Peak. Right after that, there was a fairly large and straight north to south river, surrounded by a rather large city, that could only be the Rio Grande. I thought, "this must be Albuquerque." That was nice sighting for our 50th. since we were married there in 1957. The captain verified that fact shortly thereafter.

About another hour later, we landed in Phoenix where we were supposed to have almost a two- hour layover, plenty of time to make the connecting flight. Being already at least 45 minutes late and having no idea how far we had to walk, we went as fast as my knee would allow. That turned out to be barely fast enough. We arrived at gate B29 and left from gate A26. Each terminal wing at Phoenix must be almost as big as our entire airport and there are two B wings. We landed at the one farther from the A wing so had quite a long hike. We made the gate area just in time to get a short rest before boarding for the next flight.

The ticket agent in OKC put us in the same row but opposite sides of the aisle in the 757 leg from Phoenix to Honolulu. For the price of one vodka and orange juice, I negotiated a seat trade with the young fellow actually booked next to Judy so we were able to sit together for the six- hour plus flight. Just a few minutes out of Phoenix, we encountered fairly dense, low-level cloud cover and never again saw ground or water until about halfway to Honolulu.

On landing, we had another very long hike to find the baggage claim area that for some unknown reason was pretty well hidden from the public. Apparently the baggage crew had as hard a time finding it as we did since it took about another 30 minutes before luggage finally began to trickle down the chute. We eventually collected our stuff, which luckily was all there, and made our way out to the rental car shuttle pick up area. Along with a dozen or more other customers, we waited another 40 minutes for the Alamo bus. During that time there were at least three of almost every other rental companies buses but only one large, empty Alamo shuttle sped by. In spite of all the frantic waving and yelling, he went right on down the street.

After we finally got a bus and were delivered to the Alamo lot, we found probably 30 people already queued up to get their cars. Soon, an agent let us know that those with confirmation numbers could go to one of several kiosk machines and do the remaining paper work there rather than wait in line. Fortunately we had a confirmation number but the process still took several minutes as the instructions were always cryptic and often incomplete or even wrong. We had our choice of two Impalas. Judy chose the gold one rather than the silver after a quick inspection for damage. The guard at the exit gate gave us instructions how to find the hotel and pointed out a pretty large area of at least scratched off paint on the right front bumper that I managed to miss. This was our first experience with the generally friendly and helpful attitude of all the service people we were to encounter in Hawai‘i.

Without further incident, except for the eight or nine miles of Honolulu traffic, we found the hotel, checked in and went to our room in the Tapa Tower for a well-deserved short break. By this time my right knee was so bad that it was all I could do to walk, keeping it absolutely straight and dragging the foot along. To fill in some background, the knee actually stared hurting the day before and I had no idea why but assumed I must have done something to injure it. By now it was many times worse. Anyway, I was not going to be up to any sort of wandering around or searching out a place to eat.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village is an almost self-contained resort with five hotel towers, a wedding chapel and a pretty complete shopping village. Looking through some of the brochures we got at check in, we found CJ's New York Style Deli listed in the village and decided to try it for dinner. That was where we first experienced the "sticker shock" of Honolulu. A corned beef sandwich was $14 but it was large and included more french fries than I could eat. Judy's BLT was about the same, size and price. Along with the sandwich, I got a Kona Big Wave ale. It did cost $8.75 in the village (somewhat less away from the main tourist areas) but was good enough that I had a few more over the next week.

After a relaxing meal and a fair amount of people watching, we managed to drag my leg back to the room and, our internal clocks still being on Central Daylight Time, made a fairly early evening of it. That was all for the first day of our first trip to Hawai‘i. Yes, that's how it is properly spelled. I think that punctuation is necessary in order to know how to pronounce many of the words.

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