January 6 at 1:51pm via Facebook for Android:
"Begrudgingly leaving Hawaii."
January 6 at 2:07pm:
"Thinking about making a run for the ocean.."
January 6 at 2:10pm:
"It does not inspire confidence to be delayed while they try to fix the plane."
January 6 at 2:33pm:
"Ha! We're staying another night on united's dime! Aloha!"
January 6 at 4:52pm via Facebook Mobile:
"The opposite of flight 52"
The magic continues!
Hanging out in the departure gate of Keahole airport feels more like being at a neighborhood park or a swap meet than a boarding area. It's not quite clear whether or not you're actually going anywhere. It's Hawaii, everyone is just chilling and there's no need to rush. But the flight was supposed to leave at 1:20, and by the time I started playing with facebook on my phone we were already 30 minutes into the delay with nary a uniformed soul in sight.
The first announcements were vague, the plane needed repairs and they were working on it. That's a great feeling when you are getting set to fly on top of the pacific ocean for five hours.
When we were told that we were waiting for parts to be flown in from another island to fix our plane, I had a vivid clairvoyant vision of me and my kids wandering through the deserted corridors of LAX in the wee hours of the night. Everyone listening knew our fate, but human nature dictates that we wait politely to be told what comes next in these situations, right? Wrong. We didn't have to be anywhere until the following Monday, I wasn't having it. I knew I had to take action.
As I mentioned, there was nary a uniformed helper in sight. I asked the kids if they could handle hanging out with the luggage while I went to talk to someone. They grumbled their acknowledgement, and I hightailed it out of the secure area to the ticket counter. There were two like-minded people already there. A stuffy looking guy who was making a fuss, and a college student who told me that she'd been on standby for two days but she didn't really care, although she had already missed the first two days of the semester.
The stuffy guy talked to the agent for a while, then she walked away and he stewed. I asked him if he was rebooking for the next day, and he sort of hemmed and hawed weirdly, then said: "Well, I have to fly first class... and it's full for tomorrow." (pause) "You're probably not flying first class, so you should be okay."
To be fair, I did have a flower drawn on my bicep with a sharpie and mai tai on my breath. But still.
He only helped my cause though, because I knew he was being a pain and I was prepping myself to be the world's favorite distressed traveller*. I painted a worried look on my face as I made my approach. I explained that I was flying alone with my little children, and that I was really worried that this flight would not get us to LA in time to make our connection to San Diego. I asked if we could rebook for tomorrow. The friendly agent agreed that it was unlikely that we'd have a happy ending to this ominous travel tale, and said that there was plenty of space for us on tomorrow's flight. I gushed with gratitude and relief, and then asked the 20 million dollar question: "Will you help us with a hotel for tonight?" She furrowed and clucked and explained that because the flight was not cancelled, they could not give me a voucher. Oh, but I was meek. I was humble and submissive. "It's okay," I endured, "I'm sure we'll figure something out." "Thank you SO MUCH for everything you've done for us, you are so great. Ummmm, is there anything you can do? You know..... For The Children?"
*When the shuttle picked us up, the driver referred to us as the distressed travellers. We laughed and laughed and laughed all the way back to Kona.
We were shuttled back on down to Kona. To the same hotel where we had spent the previous night enjoying a luau. It was no Hilton, but it was right in town and it had a beach and a pool and a jacuzzi, and we were just stupid with happiness at our unlikely fortune.
We enjoyed a swim, then got right into our aloha glad rags and hit the town
That's 'Ahu'ena Heiau behind them, rebuilt by Kamehamaha the Great as his temple to the god of peace and prosperity.
We were back at the Kona Sea Wall, where it all began! We had the chance to revisit the places we had intended to revisit before leaving, like the Donkey Balls store to pick up a gift for daddy.
And we enjoyed the absolute gift of another Big Island sunset.
That night, my girl finally got a bed. She'd been such a good sport about sleeping on an air mattress or sofa for the duration of the trip. My boy and I shared the other bed, and he kicked me in the kidneys all night long. But it was worth it.
The next morning, we enjoyed the beach while a local outrigger club came in from the sea
And then we had a nice lunch before heading back to the airport
January 7 at 2:07pm via Facebook Mobile:
Thanks for coming along on my zen family love fest, kids!
Hau’oli Makahiki Hou ....Happy New Year