Thursday, April 11, 2013

Departing Hawaii Post

It is nearly four o'clock in the afternoon here at Honolulu International Airport, and my red-eye flight departs in four hours.  The hotel allowed me a late check-out to 2PM, but seeing no profit in sitting in the lobby there, I decided to take a shuttle here where I could set up and think/blog/people-watch.  Solidifying my reputation as the world's most inconsistent impulse buyer, I jumped on the First Class upgrade when I checked in online this morning like a hobo on a ham sandwich.  Now a few hundred dollars lighter in the wallet, I have decided to economize and not purchase entry into the hermetically-sealed wonder of  the United Lounge (though--perhaps it comes with the ticket?).  Instead, I have camped out in the main drag of the United terminal, plugged into a convenient wall outlet, and join you now for a little blogging.

This part of the terminal is open to the elements, and while it is not uncomfortable, it is indeed sultry, something reinforced by my betrackpantsed rig.  For those interested, I have on the white UVA ball cap, a tasteful aloha shirt, the Adidas track pants, flip-flops, and a fleece tied around my waste for 10 hour flight warmth.  I look comfortable, yet silly.

My plan is to occupy myself intellectually until 5:30, at which time I will head to the mediocre restaurant here that serves a sirloin steak.  This has been a good week from a carbohydrate perspective, though I did find it difficult to pass up the wonderful bread and butter at two straight nights at Ruth's Chris.  Exercise was consistent too, yet when I get home Friday and weigh in, I fear there might not be too much progress, as the pure amount of fats and proteins I ingested was admirable.

I have a feeling this might be my last trip to Hawaii for a while.  The contract that I'm working that brings me out here ends at the end of May, and I don't know what the prospects are for follow on work, especially given the freak-show that currently passes for defense policy/budgeting etc.   While this was a good trip, I do find myself thinking that all in all, Hawaii is over-rated.  At least the places that I've gone, these large, factory resorts in Waikiki.  Real travelers tell me that there is a "hidden Hawaii", and I'm sure it is beautiful.  I just think that the Kitten has really rubbed off on me when it comes to travel.  She would not stay where I was this week if you paid her to.  She likes little spots, a few other guests, privacy and quiet.  I can't even begin to describe the poolside scrum, and the beach density was high. 

A new wrinkle on this trip was getting to observe various stages of Japanese weddings being held at and around the hotel.  Kinda has a Vegas feel about it.  The brides all look beautiful and traditional, while the grooms seem to be trying to outdo each other in how far they can go with stretching the tuxedo theme.  Clearly there is a "gangsta" motif being exploited.

The panel went swimmingly today, with General Dan presiding (and then jetting off to Guam to oversee the arrival of some Air Defense gear being sent there in honor of Dennis Rodman's friend in North Korea).  I was on generally good behavior and from the reviews I've heard, made some good points.  Certainly, there were a few very senior heads bobbing when I was rambling, which usually is a good sign.  Had some hard things for the folks there to hear, but they seemed to take it with aplomb.

The next six weeks are going to be an absolute grind, so this little respite couldn't have come at a better time.  Ok, that's all for now. 

1 comment:

NavyAustin said...

Wahoo - with your retired military status, I highly recommend you try a stay at Bellows Air Force Station on the southeast coast of Oahu, and at Kilauea Military Camp on the Big Island.

Not plush. Bellows is essentially cinderblock double-wides, but you will have a virtually private beach (all beaches in Hawaii are public, but this is military and restricted access. Spectacular sunrises, sun-dappled ocean, palm trees, barbecue pits. Circa 2007, had to go to the common area for Wifi. And, like $60 a night.

Kilauea Military Camp is near Volcano, Hawaii. Fly from Oahu to Hilo (the low-rent side) and there are nice falls to see in Hilo. An easy drive to Volcano - stock up on groceries. KMC you can get 2 and 3 bedrooom cottages, and walk across a 2-lane "highway" and be at the Kilauea Caldera - a crater 2 miles across. The KMC nightlife is gentle and from another era - volleyball courts, tennis, basketball, a 4-lane bowling alley. Perfect family getaway.

With our savings, we took a flight in a helicopter from Hilo airport over the active volcano - which only a week earlier, had begun venting magma, at the Pu'u O'o vent. Seeing fresh molten earth roll across the lava plain and consume trees is stunning.

Agree that much of the downtown Honolulu area is a humid version of Las Vegas/Los Angeles - crowded, cash-mad, luxury shopping harsh and tacky. But the military has some hidden gems worth looking at.

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