It has become a habit of mine to get to the Airport far earlier than required. This time was no exception to the rule. Due to having days of flying ahead of me, I decided to walk the 4kms to the the airport. This would test my new Keen shoes, as well as give me a fair idea of the weight I was carrying, and how far I could carry it.
The next 6 months or so will see my partner Amelia and I travel through USA, UK and South America. So this minor road test would let me know where I am at.
The hot Sydney spring day had me in a sweat, but the load and shoes were good. Time to check in….in 4 hours time. The check in counter was not open yet but I decided to take a seat near where the queue would form and wait patiently for the counter to open.
Whilst waiting I met a kiwi girl who was flying to Hawaii to watch Placebo. She had recently watched them in Sydney and in Melbourne and was going to a 3rd gig in Honululu. Amazing dedication for a very average band. However the conversation helped pass time and before I knew it I was checked in and ready for the plane.
The first thing I noticed about the Hawaiian Airlines plane was the funky cabin lights. The cyan and magenta gave it a disco feel. I was getting excited. The flight took off on time; 9pm on the 12th of September. Sydney looked stunning on our ascent. And due to the bullshit rules of no mobile phones being turned on, being now out of play, I was able to take a stunning photo of Sydney city at night time. It’s such a beautiful city. The last year living in Cronulla with my beautiful partner made life real easy. But easy can get boring and I was happy to be on my way. The flight to Hawaii was very smooth and seemed to fly by.
Coming into land at Honolulu brought back memories of the last time I was here as a 5 year old in 1987. Althought it has certainly built up a lot in 30 years!
I was expecting a fairly smooth check in through customs, but boy was I wrong. I got absolutely grilled by the guy at immigration who was dead certain that I was coming to the USA for work. I told him the I was going to a wedding in Orlando, however, he said “there is no wedding in Florida, it’s flooded, I think you are going there for work.” “I’m not” I replied. He asked what I did for work and I told him IT. I gave him a McAlpineICT business card which did nothing to help my cause. “So you own your own company and you are coming here to work” – “Yes I own my own company, but no, I am not working, I am going to a wedding”. “You’re working” “No, I am going to a wedding, after 2 weeks in Orlando, I am going to Colorado, then Michigan, then New York and then we fly to the UK”, “After you finished working”.
Eventually he let me in, even though he still said I was working but hey. I guess he was just doing his job.
Honolulu airport brought back so many memories. The entire place was exactly the same as 30 years ago. I could not believe it. Even the old analogue flight detail boards were still up (though no longer in use). I recalled the sound they made as the flight details changed. Amazing that it is a sound no longer heard.
My flight to LA was 3 hours away, so I perched up at a bar, happy that I had entered the USA, and grabbed myself a massive beer. Upon ordering my beer, the bar tender asked me if I wanted a shot with that. Hahaha, I thought to myself, we are not in Sydney anymore.
The bloke I sat next to was a rancher from Humbolt in North California. He was sinking a number of cold ones before his boat arrived (he flew over ahead of the boat) full of cattle to feed the many hungry Hawaiians. He was a interesting man and had been in the military for a number of years. He spoke fluent Arabic and appreciated the swear words I had learnt from a Lebanese boss many years ago. He also gave me a fantastic quote “Beer cannot be bought, only rented” and with that thought we both left the bar for an overdue wee, said our goodbyes and I jumped on my plan to LA. With only 5 hours to go until I was at the mainland, my excitement was bursting at the seams.