Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hawaii Diarii, Day 1

OK, I don't know what time it says on this post it is, but it's 11:10 p.m. Saturday night, Hawaii time, as I start writing this, which makes it about 5-something a.m. Hillsborough time.

I figured, since I can get online, at least on a limited basis, I'd share my adventures in the 50th state.

I'm in Honolulu, down by Waikiki beach, for the Asian American Journalists Association convention, later this week.

I'm still trying to polish the joke:

"The last time this many Asians invaded Hawaii, it was a bad day for anybody on a ship named for a state."

Let's establish a philosophy first, before I'm too jet-lagged to make any sense.

My newspaper gave me the time off to come to the convention, but I had to pay my own way. Therefore, I've adopted the philosophy that I'm going to do the convention thing right - go to the seminars (starting with a high-intensity business journalism seminar on Wednesday) and justify the time they gave me.

On the other hand, this is all on my dime, so I'm going to have some fun, too.

The pity is, it's Saturday night, right in the prime of the evening - the nightclub downstairs at the hotel is jumping - and I'm dead tired because, well, by my system, it's 5 in the morning, which is rough even for Mr. Night Owl me.

So that all said, let's recap Day 1.

• I made my flight on time, no small miracle considering by the time I went to bed Friday night, it was 7 a.m. Saturday morning, and I had to leave by 11 to get to the airport on time. (It helped the flight was delayed half an hour.)

• Mercifully, I got an aisle seat - this is a 10-hour nonstop flight.

• Even better, not only was I seated next to an attractive young woman who was pretty decent conversation, she was skinny as hell. Poor thing was boxed in by me and my shoulders, and the dude on the other side was just ginormous. Still, a plus for me, even if I did keep getting whacked in the arm by passing flight attendants.

• Continental served us four freakin' times, plus several rounds of juice. I slept through what I think was the "peanut" round, but I got a microwaved pizza for lunch (well, I had a bite at the airport, but I guess it was too early for dinner), a little mini-sandwich for dinner, some pretzels and cheese and crackers. Plus three cans of juice and some water. Considering some airlines are ditching the food entirely, not bad.

• Hawaii has a rule about importing anything that is or used to be alive. Fruits, vegetables, soil, animals, etc. That's OK - though it made me wonder how they handled the dog the pilot announced was on our flight. But the odd thing was, at the exit of the airport, there was a trash-receptacle-looking thing labeled the "amnesty bin," for dumping your contraband. The sign listed various things you could ditch, like fruits, vegetables... and pets. In a bin. I don't know. I've never been here before.

• Speaking of the dog, how the hell does a dog last through a 10-hour flight in a crate in cargo? Morgan couldn't go three hours without peeing somewhere, and the first time I left my little pup home alone for eight hours, it took six more to get the poop out of his hair and the doggie crate never really recovered.

• My stuffed-to-bursting suitcase survived the flight. Intact.

• I finished Preston & Child's latest book. A wee bit predictable, as they sometimes are, but excellent, as they always are. I took four books on the plane, cocky little bugger that I am, and fell asleep within 10 minutes of takeoff. So I only finished one.

• At the airport, there was a shop selling leis. So I guess in Hawaii, you can pay to get lei'd. Like certain parts of Newark, but different.

• Got to my room OK - it's supposed to be overlooking something (there are beach rooms, mountain rooms, etc.) but near as I can tell it mostly overlooks the hotel next door. But it's got a balcony, which rocks.

• The weather is great, even though it rained for about five minutes on the way in from the airport. Warm, breezy. Very nice.

• The only thing I did tonight was go for dinner (despite Continental's four feedings). I walked up the road from the hotel for nearly 25 minutes - I refuse to eat at a chain on vacation, like Planet Hollywood - before finding a restaurant. Lots of shops, though. This main drag is like the freakin' Short Hills Mall - Gucci, Bulgari, Tiffany, you name it, it's here - except every third store sells Hawaiian shirts, there are a ton of liquor stores and I spotted two adult video stores, a tattoo parlor and not one, but TWO indoor shooting ranges. Oh, and under the English, the foreign words are in Asian, not Spanish.

• I guess if you're a three-hour plane flight from anywhere, drinking, shooting at things or watching porn must seem like legitimate hobbies. Hell, I'm an hour drive from New York City and I regard all three as legitimate hobbies.

• I wound up at a place called Keo's, which touted itself as one of the world's great Thai restaurants. I haven't had enough food to say if they're lying or not, but it was excellent. The crispy noodles melt in your mouth, and if the crispy mahimahi wasn't particularly crispy, it was particularly delicious.

• I started drinking almost exactly three hours after I got off the plane. Yes, it was a girly drink. Yes, I drank from a straw. But it's Hawaii, for God's sake, they're all girly drinks with umbrellas and straws. But they all have RUM. Which may explain...

• On the way back, I passed about a dozen restaurants I would have cheerfully eaten at in my earlier, starving state. Which meant, of course, I wasn't on the same street I'd come up on. The 25-minute walk up became an hour and a half walk back, in which I passed the hotel twice, went into two OTHER hotels, and asked directions twice before finding my way home.

• The good news is, I found my way onto the beach - behind my hotel, as it turned out, but I went the wrong way - and I gotta say it was beautiful at night. I was pretty flustered and exhausted by then, and it sure would've been nicer if I were walking hand-in-hand with a girl under the clear sky and stars, instead of getting sand in my sneakers and wondering where the hell I was. But still, a nice moment. I'll bet it's a madhouse tomorrow during the day, but tomorrow night, I'm darn sure wandering back out. Now that I know where it is.

• Off to find the aquarium tomorrow. Then, perhaps, the nightclub. Or one of the nightclubs I passed while pondering whether to hail a cab. I even saw a strip club, but I didn't bring that much money. Besides, the women here are a) fine-fine-fine and b) scantily clad.

So far, so good. Hey, I'm on vacation, after all. Further bulletins as events warrant.

On to the next part!


Freak Magnet said...

Lucky dog. Even if you did get lost and had to pay your own way.

Renaldo said...

Diggin' the commentary.