I very carefully selected my wardrobe for our two week stay in Hawaii. I bought three new golf shirts, which proved to be too hot for me over there. I also brought two pairs of jean shorts. I should have started the trip with long pants.
Our dear friend Mike Mowat picked us up at 6:45 AM. We added our luggage into the cargo area of his new Honda SUV and joined our friends and fellow travelers Sue and Randy Lord inside for the short drive to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Our flight was scheduled for 9:30. We arrived in plenty of time at the airport and hours later found ourselves waiting for boarding.
Apparently, there was trouble with the flaps. New parts were ordered. We were given vouchers for breakfast. Hours later we were given vouchers for lunch. By the second round of vouchers, we were already in the departure gate area and some distance from an airport restaurant. We spent our vouchers on snack food. By the third-round of vouchers we were provided dinner, a hotel, and a shuttle ride to the Ramada Inn.
The trouble was we had to pick all our travel gear and walk back through the airport to the parking garage and shuttle service. Since no one really knew where we were going, there was some confusion. There are two Ramada Inns close to Sea-Tac. Our vouchers simply read Ramada Inn. Luckily, we got on the right shuttle and headed to the right hotel for our little group of disgruntled passengers.
The hotel staff was nice and our room was fine. The problem was that we wouldn't be there overnight. We needed to check-in at the airport by 10:30 PM. It turned out we could have returned to the airport by 3:30 AM the next morning, but who knew?
We checked in at the hotel and then looked at the hotel restaurant menu. The Lords and the Domans decided to have an early dinner, which would give us time to relax before dinner and then a possible after dinner nap before hopping on the airport shuttle at ten. Some of our fellow passengers had the same idea, so soon after Peg and I came down for dinner and took a table in the restaurant, the place began to fill up with familiar faces.
Peg and I arrived in the Ginger Palace several minutes before the Lords. We ordered a beer for me, and a glass of wine for Peg along with some appetizers. Sitting there we listened to the conversations. Once Randy and Sue joined us, we expanded our horizons. I heard the word Rotary and was glad I was wearing my Rotary Past President's Pin from the Rotary Club of Tacoma #8.
One of our group members had been president of the Edmonds Rotary the year before I joined Tacoma Rotary. He looked kind of familiar. He thought I looked familiar. It turned out we had both been trainers at the Sea-Tac Red Lion for a big training seminar for new Rotary presidents who are about to take office.
The Ginger Palace was wonderful. The waiter was friendly and very helpful. The food was delicious. Peg's salmon was on the verge of being over-cooked, but we've had worst from well established seafood restaurants.
My steak and lobster was excellent. The steak was delivered between rare and medium rare. The lobster gave me pause. When it was served I was taken aback that the lobster tail was cut into bite-size pieces. I had misgivings about it being over-cooked, but no. I added lemon juice and butter for a perfect meal. I would certainly consider dining at the Ginger Palace, again.
We left Randy and Sue to continue talking with our new friends. Peg and I retired to our room to read and nap.
A little while later she had cramps in her feet (too much walking on concrete at Sea-Tac). She asked me to get her a Gatorade to help with her cramps. I went down to the lobby, but refreshment machines had no Gatorade. The restaurant had no Gatorade.
The hotel desk clerk suggested I try the service station four doors away towards the airport. I had already answered questions about my attire, "Do all people in the Pacific Northwest wear shorts in winter?" I had to laugh, however at the expression of a pedestrian I met on the way to the service station. He was dressed in a parka with a muffler around his throat and lower face. I was dressed in my jean shorts, golf shirt, and a sleeveless fleece vest as I trudged through the rain and snow. He looked at me and gave me a wide berth, just in case I was crazy. I wasn't crazy, but I was cold.
When we arrived back at the airport, we all went through security for a second time and then did the long walk again out to the departure gate. We waited and waited and then boarded and waited and finally were asked to leave the airplane and wait some more. Back in the waiting room the Hawaiian Air attendant began explaining the situation. Although Peg and I just sat and listened, some passengers raised their voices in complaint. The attendant reminded us that she had been waiting just as long as everyone else and mentioned that she could call security. No one wanted pepper spray and so the complaints dulled down a little bit. Since it was less than a week to Thanksgiving, all flights were booked and there was no way the airlines was going to bump someone else. There was no place else to go . . . although canceling our trip was an option. We had trip insurance . . . but we waited.
All in all, I thought Hawaiian did a good job. In all the change of plans, shuttling back and forth, boarding and deplaning, I lost a book I purchased just for the vacation and Sue Lord lost her camera: both were casualties of travel.
We arrived in Honolulu, trekked through the airport to our connecting flight and landed in Hilo a little over twenty-four hours late. Our rental car was waiting for us and as Randy drove to home of our hosts, Donn and Debbie Irwin, we called to let them know were only minutes away. They were preparing breakfast for us.