Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hawaii Log = Day 1

Tuesday, October 28
It’s 8:00 a.m. in Detroit and I’m sitting at Gate A66 of the Northwest Airlines terminal, waiting for the next flight toward Maui, our final destination today. Our day almost didn’t begin at our planned time this morning. In my seventh year of retirement I’ve gotten out of the long-practiced routine of setting the alarm on the clock-radio.
Before going to bed early at 9:30 last night, I pushed all the right buttons to change the digital alarm display to 3:30 a.m. I slept fitfully, and woke often, peering with bleary eyes at the glowing numbers, but was totally unaware when Jane woke up to do the same. She noticed something that I didn’t with my frequent clock-checks. I had failed to move the switch that actually turns on the alarm, and if she hadn’t gotten up to correct it, we might be waking up just about now, dismayed at missing our flight!
The concourse here in Detroit looks like something out of an old science fiction magazine, with big talking faces on huge wall-mounted television screens, and a bullet shaped red tram gliding silently along up near the upside-down steel rod trusses that support a curved corrugated ceiling.
The airport at Minneapolis-Saint Paul was clean, efficient, and not particularly memorable. Our Northwest Airlines flight left from there for Honolulu on a huge wide body Airbus A300. In a plane two thirds the length of a football field, the aisles seem to stretch out forever. Each seat had its own entertainment center, complete with a small screen TV screen on the back of each seat, stereo earphones, and an armrest controller that allowed the selection of your choice of about 20 different movies on demand, as well as a variety of video games to keep you occupied for the eight and a half hours we were in the air.
It seems that all airlines have stopped providing complementary meals, even on very long flights, so the apples, granola bars, and snacks we’d brought were a welcome supplement to the soft drinks that were offered.
Since the last time I was in Hawaii the airport at Honolulu has grown and changed so much that I didn’t recognize any of it any more. Of course the same amount of change has also happened at the airport in Richmond. Anyone who had not visited the former Byrd Field since 1991 would not recognize any part of RIC today.
The final leg of our trip necessitated claiming our baggage and dragging it about a quarter of a mile to the next building. The Sun was low and so was our energy as the plane made the final turn past a ridge where huge windmills were generating electricity and coasted down toward the airport at Kahului, Maui. We were soon in our rental car, making our cautious way through heavy traffic past the town of Pa’ia on the way to Haiku on the road to Hana.
Our Friends Lisa and Ed P. made us feel welcome, and we stayed up chatting until 10:30 p.m. We realized as we dragged toward bed that we had been up for 25 hours!

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