Early Rising and Smelly Australians
In keeping with my natural dislike for early mornings, and especially ones that require waking up before sunrise, I set up triple redundancies for making sure I didn’t oversleep, including using my room’s alarm clock, requesting a wakeup call from the front desk and my cell phone’s alarm feature. Needless to say, I was up and ready to go with a few minutes to spare. Paul was waiting downstairs, already having taken one of our group to the airport and I wasn’t the last person he’d be taking out there today. Again, you can’t beat his dedication to service.
I arrived at a surprisingly busy Honolulu International Airport, but made it through security relatively fast. In fact, I found myself with over 90 minutes to kill after passing through security. Compared to my fighting through crowds at Dulles and the mad dash at Dallas/Fort Worth, it was nice to sit down and have some coffee and a bite to eat before boarding the plane. Since we were flying with the wind, the flight time back to the mainland was just over four hours, but they were spent next to an Australian couple who were nice and meant well, but had a certain odor about them. I don’t know if it was just their lack of cleaning up after whatever they did the night before, or the God-awful “silent but deadlies” the girlfriend was tooting next to me the whole time, but it made for a long flight back.
I Don’t Love L.A.
I arrived at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on time and with a good two hours to spare until my connecting flight. However, it took most of that time to figure where the Hell my connecting flight was. I quickly discovered that the airport could not care less how travelers find their way around. LAX is arranged with 9 terminals, each housing different airlines. In theory, this makes things easy if you’re connecting on flights that are on the same airline. Unfortunately, my connecting flight was on different airline, so once I was off the plane, the information screens only told me what was arriving and departing for that specific airline, and none of the others. After wasting loosing a piece of my youth spending time waiting for a not-so-helpful help desk clerk, she informed me that I needed to leave the terminal and walk down to another one that was – naturally – at the opposite end of the airport. In addition, after trying to figure out LAX’s not-so-helpful guide maps,* interrogating loitering TSA agents and playing 20 questions with bottom-dwelling airport staff passing by, I discovered that the terminals are completely separated from each other. This means I needed to leave the secure zone terminal I was already in and go through security AGAIN to get to my connecting flight’s terminal and gate. As I stood in a very long security line (Both in front of and behind two families with kids who were 1) not happy, and 2) making sure everyone in the airport was aware of this), I reflected on how DFW at least tells you where you need to go, even if it’s on the far side of Texas. I decided right then and there that LAX is my new, favorite airport to hate.
* I’m not exaggerating by any means when I tell you that except for the “You Are Here” marker and where the closest restrooms and gift shops are, LAX’s guide maps offer absolutely no useful information.
The flight from LAX to Dulles was uneventful, though a little amusing because I discovered that the man sitting next to me had personal space issues. I took a small amount of humor in watching him either lean more and more into his wife on the other side of him, or curl up into a smaller and smaller ball if my elbow came anywhere close to him on the armrest we shared. Arriving at a quiet Dulles (It was 1:00 AM local time), I navigated an obstacle course of weary, tired travelers to the baggage claim, made trickier by dodging a few kids who were dressed head to toe in Disneyland memorabilia. It was half cute/half frustrating trying to grab my bag as one kid was habitually looking for his, being oblivious to who he tripped or whacked with any number of Mickey Mouse-laden toys and whatnot flapping about.
A short cab ride later I was home early Easter Sunday morning, my home safe, secure and blissfully free of pet stains. I took a quick shower and collapsed into my own bed with visions or hula girls and tiki idols dancing in my head.