In Los Angeles I already realized that I had made one mistake in the baggage. My trolley had almost everything needed for a few days. I had learnt my lesson years ago in Toronto. There, on a six-day trip, I had to wait for five days before I got my suitcase. Free shopping, true, but that is not the first thing I think of when I arrive in such a great city. And now, the trolley had everything on board to survive a weekend or bank holiday abroad. Everything except for extra pairs of shoes. Yes, I was wearing shoes of course, but those were my leather shoes for the days at work. And even for the most non fashionable man on the world, that was not an option in combination with short trousers. Luckily I had to claim my suitcase at LAX so I was able to switch the shoes. Not a big thing, but it did keep me busy.
The transfer and shoe switch in LA both went well and within three hours I boarded the Delta Airlines flight to Honolulu. This flight was fully booked and I checked the passengers to see if there were any celebrities among them. Probably I would not recognize most of them so I focused on the view outside. First I recognized the Marina Del Rey next to the airport, then the beach of Santa Monica and when the plane turned to the left, the Pacific Ocean was everywhere. The quick people scan learnt that there were just normal people on board of this plane. No hijacker in the seat next to me or if so, it was a small one that I could handle. No crying babies nearby. No talkative backpackers. So I was able to watch a movie without being disturbed. Free wifi was offered but there was no connection possible, so that was kind of disappointing. I got hungry and at the same time the flight attendant decided to sell sandwiches and peanuts. Not the cheapest but I managed to get two small clammy sandwiches filled with a kind of beef, lettuce and an oversized slice of tomato in exchange for ten dollar. I forced myself to find the taste somewhere in the sandwiches for that price. The flight went well and when we roughly touched the runway in Honolulu I could honestly state that I landed in Hawaii already three times before the final touch due to the bouncing. Or in other words, the captain of this Delta flight landed the plane in Ho…no..lu…lu… Probably he did that every time.
My first steps on Hawaii, marked in every travel guide around the world as a paradise on Earth. The sun went down minutes before and it was getting dark already. My stay on Oahu would be less than 24 hours, so I arranged my suitcase to go to Maui already. No need to pick up luggage and now I could try to find my way to the exit. I went outside and the Hawaiian sea breeze found my face immediately. Karin had arranged a hotel in Waikiki and I checked for the several travel possibilities to reach the beach area from the airport. A rental car was no option as parking would be difficult and expensive in Waikiki. I decided to take the regular bus service, which was the cheapest. Within minutes I found myself back in a bus between the Hawaiian locals and a few tourists. The route went through urban areas only and not the most pleasant areas at night. I was glad that I could stay seated in the bus when we passed Chinatown. It took about an hour before we entered the Waikiki beach area. The offline road map on my mobile showed me the best place to leave the bus and assisted also in finding my way to the Ohana hotel. I enjoyed the temperature and could not wait to drop my trolley and explore Honolulu. Hopefully Karin was still awake and willing to join me to the bar.
Kind of strange to meet a co-worker, and actually hometown neighbor, somewhere in Honolulu after approximately twenty hours of travel time. To knock on her door and see if she’s home. I dropped my luggage and we went outside to the beach for an evening walk. Karin had arrived one day earlier and she knew the right directions to go to the beach. Still we managed to get lost for a moment in a shopping mall but then we put our footprints in the sand of Waikiki Beach. The beach was almost empty but still a few people were swimming and having fun on the beach. On the right side there was the big dark Pacific. On the left the lights and tall buildings of Honolulu. We found a bar, famous for the Mai Tai and ordered two of them to celebrate the fact that we made it to Hawaii. Far away from everything and here to fulfill a mission. And proud to be the lucky chosen ones this year. Because we were here to work, not for a holiday. But it was the best place to work that we could imagine and for sure we would be able to explore Hawaii a little bit.