In fall, my friend Christina had a change of plans and a spot in her tent for her trip to Hawaii opened up. So, when she asked me if I wanted to tag along it didn’t take me long to say yes. After all papers were handed in, all finals written and all christmas parties survived, we had so say goodbye to a number of good friends who returned to their home countries or other places, while we started the adventure to the beautiful state of Hawaii. Throughout the trip I kept a diary which I will publish over the next few weeks along with a great bunch of pictures. On December 14th, my alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning. It was still very dark outside – actually it was the first time I had woken up in Albuquerque and the sun wasn’t up yet – and it was time to get to the airport. Christina’s friend had volunteered to drive us up there so they picked me up around 5 am and off we went. After checking in our luggage and saying goodbye to my good friend and former neighbor Emily (who now moved to Washington DC) we went through security. The Albuquerque airport is not a very busy one, but mornings can be a little hectic because business people come in and leave. So the friendly TSA man decided to give Christina and I the “princess treatment” which means that you do not have to take off your shoes, jewelry and belts, and that you do not need to take your laptops, tablets and bags with liquids out of your bag. This makes security check much more pleasant and it was a good start into the day. As neither of us had had breakfast, we decided to honor New Mexico by having breakfast burritos – even though I wouldn’t have minded breakfast from Weck’s… but there is none at the airport. After breakfast, we went to the visitor’s viewing level to watch the sun rise. During the night, some snow had come down and covered the Sandia’s with a soft layer of white power. When the sun came up over the mountains, we were left with an impressive view:
Shortly after the sun had come up, it was time for me to board. Christina took a different route to get to Hawaii, so I wouldn’t see her until later that day. My first leg was from Albuquerque to Hawaii. Once seated on the plane, next to a very impatient elderly man – more about him later – it was announced that the flight would take off with a slight delay. Unfortunately, Albuquerque is not a very snowfriendly city. It sometimes feels as if a snowflake is enough to shut down the public schools. The aircraft was not a very large one and the snow on the wings was not a lot but it took the crew 45 minutes to free the wings from the snow. I mean look at the wings… that is not a lot of snow.
The flight to San Francisco was fairly quick and the air was very calm so no turbulences whatsoever. Once landed in the Bay, the airport hadn’t assigned the aircraft a gate so we ended up waiting an hour to get to the terminal. The impatient gentleman next to me started calling the stewardess every 5 minutes to inquire the status. I do understand that you get impatient when you have a connecting flight but his final destination was San Francisco. So he was just being slightly rude. The delay to get to the terminal had cut the length of my layover in half so I rushed to the food court to grab an early lunch. All I could find that was fairly quick and easy to eat was a Ceasar’s salad. It was very underwhelming. Rather bland dressing and a lot of the leaves were starting to turn brown on the edges. Definitely not worth the money. I used the time of the layover to charge my phone a bit and soon boarding began. The runway of San Francisco airport is right by the water so I took some nice shots while we taxied to take off.
Once arrived in Honolulu, I had to wait another two hours for Christina. So, I picked up my suitcase and went to look for a power outlet to charge my phone and kindle to keep myself entertained. Finding a power outlet in Honolulu airport is not as easy as you think it would be. But I found some other very interesting things that I took pictures of. What impressed me the most were the pay phones. While pay phones are on the verge of going extinct pretty much every where, there is a large number of there at Honolulu airport. But not only that, there are also phone books by the pay phones. Just like in the good old days. I don’t even remember the last time I saw a pay phone with a phone book. It made me feel very nostalgic and reminded me of my first vacation without my parents or grandparents. At that time I did not have a cell phone yet and every few days, my best friend and I would run to the pay phone down the street so I could talk to my parents for a couple of minutes and tell them about the things we did. That pay phone booth may have been the last one I have seen with a phonebook. I think that was in 2002 or 2003.
Christina’s flight came in with a 30 minute delay but better late than never. She had brought us some food while I picked up her luggage. It seems fairly common that the baggage claim at american airports is open to public and as I didn’t want anyone to snatch up my suitcase, I hadn’t eaten any dinner earlier, but soon realized that there are no restaurants or chains close to the airport. After eating pasta and Lasagna, we started making plans. By that time it was 9pm and we had to be back at the airport for our flight to Maui by 5am. So, we had decided not to book an airport hotel, as it was not worth it paying that much money for maybe five hours of sleep. A security guard told us, that a part of the airport remained open 24/7 and we decided to spend the time at the airport. Accidentally, Christina discovered that there was a celebration going on upstairs. We grabbed all our luggage and joined the celebrations of the Hawaii-Delta partnership anniversary. A live band and non-alcoholic cocktails lightened the mood in the lobby and we felt welcomed after a long stressful day.
A security lady then told us, that the best place to spend the night at Honolulu airport is behind the Starbucks. It is an area where a lot of security people are, rest rooms, and fountains with drinking water. After listening to the band for a while, we moved there and started relaxing for a bit. The benches at an airport may not be the most comfortable thing to spend a few hours on but it definitely was an interesting experience and we got some much needed rest.
By the way, we were not the only travelers who decided that a hotel was not worth the money for the night. About 20 people of all ages were gathered in the area trying to get some rest.
Well, well, well, well I finally get to share my trip to Hawaii. Not the most exciting day of them all but stay tuned. xx