Not just a hobby, it's a way of Life

Saturday morning, it was time to leave the ship. We had planned to catch a shuttle to our hotel, but that was a bit of an issue. The port had only so much bus parking, and every time our shuttle would come through, there wouldn’t be a space. This would require it to leave the area entirely, and circle around to get back to come into the parking lot. It repeated this procedure at least three times we were aware of.

After a wait of well over an hour, we were finally on the road. The driver warned all of us passengers that there might be some issues getting to all of the hotels as there was a parade down on of the main roads in Waikiki. Fortunately, he was able to get us to our hotel. Unfortunately, we were not able to do much since the parade had blocked off most of the bus routes.

We were able to store some of our things and walked to the Ala Moana mall. We stopped in at Barnes and Noble for a frappuccino and some internet, our first dose since the airport in Salt Lake City.

We wandered back to the hotel, dropped off the laptop in Ramblin’s backpack to help lighten the load, and now that bus service was restored, we headed to Diamondhead. Frequent readers of the blog will remember my crushing failure at the Bunker Hill Monument. That was only 294 steps and 221 feet tall. This was going to be an .8 mile hike of ascending switchbacks with 74 steps, a 225-foot tunnel, 99 more steps,

Stairs to Diamondhead

then you would just about be at the 760-foot summit. How on earth was I going to be able to do this?

We started off, and I thank Ramblin’s patience to stop about every 30 feet for me to rest. The good news is there were great views along the way.

On the way to Diamondhead

Hanauma

And soon, I was triumphant!

Waikiki from Diamondhead

Inside Diamondhead crater

I don’t know if you can tell the magnitude of the place, but look at the center of the rim in the above picture. That’s a tunnel into the crater, so you don’t have to hike up and over, then up again to the summit. Here’s the view of it from the inside.

Tunnel from inside Diamondhead

And here’s the view from the outside.

Tunnel to Diamondhead

And if the view and the overwhelming sense of accomplishment wasn’t enough, here was one more reward for my effort.

Reward Hawaiian shaved ice

We made our way back to the hotel after a prolonged wait for a return bus (there is nothing that can make you feel forlorn as a full bus passing you up) and went in search of food. We ended up terribly underdressed at a rather upscale Chinese seafood restaurant. Oops. We returned to our hotel and prepared for the next day, a very long day of travel.

When you fly to Hawaii, you can get flights with very reasonable arrival times in the afternoon. On the way back, you’re taking a red-eye. Our flight was at 1:00 pm, and we wouldn’t see Indy until 5:30 local time the next morning. Oof.

A shuttle was scheduled to pick us up at 11:00 am, which should have been more than enough time to board our flight. The four stops after they picked us up did not help matters. Nor did one of the the security gates going down. We got into line at about 11:40 am, and the line was barely moving. There was another security area further down, but I kept seeing people walk down there, then come back into our line. Ramblin counted a person going through the scanner about every 3-5 minutes. There was no way we were making it. It was noon, and we weren’t even in the back-and-forth queuing area. I pondered how many hundreds of dollars this would cost.

We had just about reached the beginning of the queue, when they sent the whole line behind us to the other security area. The family directly behind us was on the same flight we were, and we all debated. I told Ramblin, “Whatever we do is going to be wrong,” but we decided to go for it.

Now it was 12:20 pm. The line was even longer since they had ushered everyone down there, but there were more scanners. We began moving rapidly. We hit the actual queue area and kept a steady pace. Yes. We made it all the way to the next in line to go through security, and suddenly they decide to start funneling passengers going to Japan through security. Oh. My. Word. Finally they ran out of people they could send in front of us, and we finally were scanned and deemed acceptable. At this point, it is 12:36 pm. We start the trek to our gate, weaving our way through the airport. Finally, we found our gate, with only six people left in the boarding line. Made it.

We had planned at least one hour of available time at the airport, during which we would get lunch. No lunch for us. When we boarded the plane, we were directed down the appropriate aisle to our seat. Since most people were already on board, the seats were mostly full. Including ours. What?! We arrive at our seats to find a man and woman sitting there. “Um, these are our seats,” I said. “No, these are ours.” I present my boarding pass with our seat numbers and letters. They produce theirs . . . and theirs is across the plane. There’s then much to-do about moving and leaving their luggage over our seats and us having to put ours elsewhere, then they need a cup they had crushed in the seat back passed to them, “Careful, it’s full!” Okay, who in their right mind puts a cardboard cup of soda in the seat back which smushes it flat? Crazy people.

Fortunately, the rest of the flight was uneventful until we got to LA. We hit some turbulence, some pretty good turbulence, and a few people screamed. We did come up out of our seats, confirming exactly why they tell you to leave your seat belt buckled. Once we were safely on the ground, we were starved. There had been a bit of a delay getting to approach due to traffic, so our layover of only about an hour had shrunk. Unbelievable luck that our next gate was just across from our arrival, I left Ramblin to guard our seats, and I went in search of food. There wasn’t much choice nearby, so I opted for a sandwich shop with, of course, a line. The line moved fairly well, though in my mind it was creeping, and $25 later, I had two wraps and a bottle of water. We devoured them, and it was time to board.

Four short hours later, we were back in Indy, a good 30 degrees cooler than what we left behind. As Ramblin had gotten no sleep, I was the designated driver. We stopped off for breakfast about an hour and a half from home. At last, we were back home to our fur-kids.

Hawaii was a beautiful, wonderful experience. I wanted to fall in love with the balmy temps and perpetual growing season, but it turns out my heart belongs to Maine.

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