Monday, August 19, 2013

Hawaiian Vacation, Part 3

The seventh and final day, Friday, was a bit low key. It was our second day at port in Nawiliwili and Mom and I stayed on the ship. I went to the second art auction put on by Park West. This time I had more champagne and, perhaps because of the champagne, I actually purchased some art! :-) Here's what I should be receiving in a few weeks (anyone wanna help me choose frames for them?):
  • Regal I by Peter Nixon
  • Athena II by Peter Nixon
  • Dove in Flight by Zamy Steynovitz (sorry, the link was taken down from the website)
The auctioneer gave away prizes throughout the event. He also promised a piece of art and a bottle of champagne to the loudest/most enthusiastic participant (he did this at the first auction as well). I decided to try to win this time around and I clapped and yelled for everything. Unfortunately, the auctioneer thought it was the people next to me making that noise and they won the competition (they hardly made any sounds at all!). There is a happy ending to this story, though--I had befriended a young lady from that group and she told me when she won that she doesn't drink. I jokingly said "I'll gladly take the champagne off your hands!" So after she went to claim her prize, she walked over to me and handed me to huge bottle of champagne. How nice!

After the auction, the ship made a pass of Nā Pali; first on the port side and then on the starboard side. I got some good shots, fortunately.

I had a yellow notepad on which I'd been taking notes for the whole cruise. At the end of Friday, I wrote "Three glasses of champagne, 1 glass of wine, and 3 works of art." :-D

One other thing of note from the cruise: Our steward, Gerry, was a really helpful guy. He also made towel animals for us every day. Be sure to check out my photo album on Facebook to see them all!

On Saturday, we docked at Honolulu again and disembarked. I was sad to leave but happy to have had such a wonderful experience with my mom. Thankfully the fun wasn't all over just yet! We had to disembark that morning but our planes didn't leave until after 10 that night. So we took one last excursion--the Grand Circle Island Tour. It took us all the way around the island of Oahu. The picture to the left is a couple of volcanic rock islands off the coast. Here are some interesting things I learned on the tour:
  • Waikiki Beach is man-made. They bring in sand every 6 years.
  • Most of the palm trees are non-native (like these fishtail palm trees to the right).
  • When taking this tour, you should sit on the right side of the bus, so you can get pictures of the beautiful water and not just the mountains. :-p
  • Billboards are illegal and RVs are not allowed in parks.
At the end of that excursion we were taken to the airport. We arrived somewhere around 5:30. Then Mom and I had dinner and wasted time until it was time to go to our separate gates. This is where things got even more interesting (but not in a good way).

My flight was to depart at 10:15. We boarded around 9:50. We taxied to the runway and I thought we'd be leaving soon. Then the captian announced that there was a sensor on the front of the plane that wasn't working properly and that we had taxied back to the gate to have the problem looked at. A few moments later he said it would take about 40 minutes to look into and that we could leave the plane if we wanted to. Since it was only 40 minutes, I decided to stay put. Two hours later, the captain announced that the problem couldn't be fixed and that the flight was cancelled (sound familiar?). Then the gate agent told us that there was a convention in Honolulu and that all the hotels in town were full (also sound familiar?). So I got to spend the night in the Honolulu airport. Being stranded in Hawaii might not be such a bad thing, but being stuck in the airport makes it a bit less enjoyable.

I called the number they gave us to rebook my itinerary. The soonest they could get me off the island was 12:30 Sunday afternoon, and that's if I was willing to change airlines (which I'd vowed I'd never do again after the trip to Honolulu). I was desperate so I took it. Then I tried to figure out what I was going to do for the next 11 hours. I decided that sleep was a good start. I put my suitcase behind me and my new Hawaii bag under my head and attempted to sleep on the floor. It was cold and very hard. Eventually I gave up on the floor and went to a chair. The armrests were in the way and I couldn't get comfortable. Next I tried this weird-looking plastic chair on the end of the regular chairs:

I put my suitcase beside the chair, put my Hawaii bag on top of it for a pillow, and put my legs over the arm of the first black chair. Still not very comfortable, so I took some shirts out of my suitcase and used them as cushions under my head and my hipbone. I slept this way for about two hours, which is surprising considering that the airport was piping in Hawaiian music the whole time (nothing against Hawaiian music...hearing music ad nauseum will turn me off of anything, except Muse).

After that couple of hours of non-restful sleep, I decided I couldn't stand it anymore. I got up and chatted with another couple who'd been on the canceled flight. The wife said "I used to enjoy Hawaiian music. Now I think I hate it." I wholeheartedly agreed with her. She and her husband then went upstairs to try their luck with getting back into a gate. I played on my Kindle for a while, then decided I'd go upstairs as well. I put my bag through the agriculture screening (for a second time) and checked in at the United counter. Then I went to my gate. It took a while to get to the gate because the Honolulu airport is very spread out. I guess the one good thing about that is that since the food and shop areas were so far from the gate, it wasted time walking back and forth.

We were each given $20 in meal vouchers because of the canceled flight. As if that made up for it. We should've been given travel vouchers as well. But that's beside the point... Around 7 am I decided I'd use one of the vouchers to get some breakfast. I went to Starbucks (one of the few places open) and got a chai latte and a cinnamon twist. When I returned to the gate, I wasn't allowed to enter. There was an international flight coming in and because of customs or something, no one was allowed inside the gate. I was told the gate would open at 9. So I found a seat outside the gate, plugged my phone in to charge, and called my dad.

After 9, I went into the gate and played with my Kindle some more. It really helped the time to pass, thankfully. Somewhere around 10:30 or so I went to one of the lobby stores and tried to purchase a Sudoku book and some macadamia nuts with a voucher. The clerk told me that I couldn't use my voucher there, despite the fact that the gate agent told me I could use the vouchers "anywhere in the airport." I already had my heart set on the items, so I put them on my credit card. Then I went to Burger King and spent the rest of the vouchers on lunch. I got a kid's meal and a little Cinnabon even though I wasn't that hungry. I wanted to use as much of the voucher as possible, you know? I ate the hamburger and fries slowly and then had the Cinnabon closer to time to board.

I can thankfully say that there were no more catastrophes after that. We boarded the plane for the 12:30 flight and there were no instrument malfunctions. Even though I was now going to San Francisco instead of Phoenix for the first leg of my trip, I didn't get to see my mom (who had flown to San Francisco and then spent the night at a hotel before finishing her trip home). But I made it safely home on Monday morning instead of Sunday evening, and then immediately went back to bed. I spent the entire day catching up on sleep, resumed life on Tuesday, then went on another trip Wednesday (that's another story for another day!)...

Despite that adventure at the end, my overall Hawaiian trip was a success. I definitely want to go back to Hawaii, and maybe just visit one island this time. So, to the beautiful state of Hawaii, I say "Ahui ho!" (Until we meet again!)

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