Friday, November 16, 2012

Dispatch From Hawaii

I have been, lo these past five days, residing in a hotel in downtown Honolulu while I do some work for a valued client.  It is a trip that I had intended to make a few weeks ago, but Superstorm Sandy got in the way.  I arrived here Sunday evening, and I fly out tomorrow (Friday) night.

As I prepared for the trip, folks would wink and nudge at me, convinced that a "business" trip to Hawaii could not possibly be mostly or all business, and that a fellow like me would necessarily find his way into some off-hours fun.  They could not have been more wrong.  As I sat in the airport last Sunday, I began to feel the tell-tale signs of a little scratch in the back of the throat.  By the time I landed in Hawaii, I knew I had a cold.  By Monday morning, I was full-bore into the worst sinus infection of my life.  I've spent the last four days slogging through daylight hours with a pounding head and a throat on fire, before heading to bed at somewhere between 4 and 5 PM for 13 hours of sleep in two hour increments.  It seems that was about as much sleep as I could get before I had to roll over and find some new position from which oozy stuff could find its way down from my sinuses. 

It is now Thursday night, and I am finally feeling human.  And so, I give you this brief dispatch.

1.  Hawaii has a bit of a third world feel to it, or at least this part of Hawaii does.  There are pockets of staggering wealth and beauty, interspersed with serious poverty.  In fact, it appears that Honolulu has no planning/zoning commission to speak of.  Great architectural marvels reside next to extensive parking lot/bar zones.  Car lots dot the Nimitz highway along the water.  Sorta strange.

2.  As I walked through the Mall adjoining my hotel tonight, I kept walking past stores replete with extensive collections of winter clothing.  I couldn't figure it out.  Ain't no cold weather here.  But then.....I remembered...there's LOTS of cold weather in Japan.  And it appears that Hawaii is just about the most favorite place for Japanese folks to vacation.  Everything in my hotel is in English and Japanese.  Folks that look like me are very much in the minority.  Hence, the winter clothes.

3.  Hawaii is really, really far away from the East Coast.  Ten and a half hours from Newark.  If I flew in the other direction from Newark for ten and a half hours, I think I'd be somewhere in Turkey.  That's a long way away.

4.  I have a little chip on my shoulder about this place.  It has a lot to do with it having been Barack Obama's home.  It also has to do with how overwhelmingly this place votes for him.  I know, not a good reason to not like a place, but good enough for me.

5.  I made use of a "Doc in a Box" operation the other day to treat my ague.  I started to avail myself of the splendors of the military retirement health care system, the one I spent 21 years qualifying for, but then decided to use the convenient Urgent Care facility down the street rather than deal with the bureaucracy of the Tricare system and getting care "out of area".  For $164 I was seen by a wonderful old (Japanese) physician who spent time with me, asked me lots of questions, diagnosed my condition and handed me meds.  It put me in the mind of how fee for service medicine isn't such a bad idea, with insurance used for mostly the big stuff.  Perhaps we'll get these options out of healthcare reform, someday.

6.  I will be flying the "red-eye" tomorrow night.  Generally, this is a good experience, as I am a good sleeper on planes.  Last time I did this however, flying back from California, I was surrounded by a legion of teenaged Washington-bound school trip tourists whose hormones did not allow them to shut up throughout the trip. 

Ok, that's enough for now.  Carry on.

1 comment:

"The Hammer" said...

37-13 didn't help either.

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