Got up early today, had some breakfast and went down to reception to check out and call a taxi to the airport. The lady at reception managed to confuse us a bit, by asking us if we would like a ‘town car’ or a ‘taxi’. She said that the towncar would have a fixed rate and probably be cheaper than a taxi so we decided to go with that – it would be picking us up in 10 minutes. 20 minutes later a guy turned up outside and called our room number, so we went out and got into our ‘towncar’. This guy wasn’t actually the driver – I think he must have been the translator, because he said to the guy ‘something-or-other…Aiport’ and the driver gestured OK to him. The translator didn’t get into the car with us…I think he must just have got a free-ride into town with his ‘driver’ friend and helped the guy out by translating a little for him on the way!! Off we set….the meter was going up and up and there was no sign of the airport – it was a little further away than we thought (we arrived in Seattle by train so….)!
As we approached the airport, the driver asked us ‘flight number?’ to which we replied ‘Qantas’ …to which he replied ‘Continental?’ You can see where this conversation was headed….. As we pulled up to the domestic terminal, we passed by all the airlines….no Qantas!!?! The guy was trying to convince us that we meant ‘Continental’ but we knew what we meant….Eventually he dropped us off and said ‘Wait here I will ask’ We were running a bit short of time, and decided to get out and ask ourselves, thinking we would have more luck. We asked an attendnat at the American Airlines luggage desk, and he said ‘Oh Qantas, yes that’s inside here.’ We headed in the direction to which he had gestured, but there were again no signs for Qantas Airlines….we asked another luggage attendant who said ‘Oh, I don’t think there is Qantas here….’ Our flight e-ticket said Qantas Airlines flight 4105 operated by JetStar, but there was no Qantas or JetStar Desk….we started to get worried as check-in time was running out!! Then I spotted a free check-in attendant for Delta Airlines and decided to ask him…. he typed it into his computer and said ‘Oh this is actually going to be Alaska Airlines and the flight number is 851 – Alaska Airlines is all the way down there’ …????? We tried not to think too much about the wheres and why’s of the meaning of our e-ticket and made our way as fast as we could to the Alaskan Airlines check-in desk. It was a smooth check-in for once and both our suitcases were amazingly under the limit!! We usually find we have to pull out a jacket or book or something before they let us check our baggage!! Once we had our boarding passes it was a straight dash to the carry-on baggage screening lines. I think you should just turn up in your pajamas to the US airports – they practically make you undress and unpack all your stuff to put through the machine and then you have to get redressed and pack your bags again the other side!! Take off your shoes, your jacket, your belts, your watches, all electronic devices should be taken out, your laptop has to go in a box all on its own…I suppose it has to be done, but it always takes forever and creates queues as long as your arm!!
We made it through eventually and headed straight to our boarding gate where a line had formed and people were quickly disappearing down the embarkation bridge. Seio and I joined the line, found our seats and sat down….20 minutes later we were in the air and on our way to Honolulu.
It was a fairly long flight – 6 hours….except that it felt like a 12 hour flight as there was no food or entertainment at all!! Talk about a ‘budget’ airline…food was available for purchase as were headphones and personal DVD/movie players!! Seio and I just popped our iPods in our ears and relaxed for the next 6 hours.
Actually the flight lasted about 7 hours due to headwinds, but we made it to Honolulu airport in one piece – all our luggage in tow!!
As soon as we stepped out of the airport we warmed up – it was about 24 degrees and only a little bit humid. We quickly hailed a taxi and sped off to our Waikiki hotel.
Unfortunately it was only 1pm and we couldn’t check-in until 3pm, so we checked our baggage and headed out to explore the surrounding area.
5 minutes walk one way and we stumbled upon the famous Waikiki Beach – white sands, bronzed bodies (not mine…yet!), and surfboards galore!
We kept walking along the beachfront and hit all the shops, boutiques and other hotels. The atmosphere, the weather and the scenery are all beautiful here…truly relaxing!
At about 3:30pm we headed back to the hotel, checked in and hauled all of our bags up to the 8th Floor…..opened the door to room 811 and were greeted by a broken air-conditioner!! We opened the windows and it started to cool down so we thought we would leave the air-con switch set to Auto and see if it started to kick in later on.
After unpacking and relaxing for a while, we headed out for a walk to the beach to take in the Waikiki sunset – a beautiful sight!
We sat there in awe as the twilight hour passed on through. There’s something quite magical about this time of the evening, and somehow we managed to forget all about the rushing around at the start of the day, followed by that long and painfully-boring flight. Refreshed and now a little bit hungry, we decided to make a move before it became too dark. On the way back we stopped off at the local supermarket for supplies and headed back to our ‘warm’ hotel room!!
Yes, room 811 was still warm, but not unbearable so we decided to let reception know of our predicament in the morning…It had been a long day and we were ready for some shut-eye!