“Hey, Jim”, I can hear you saying, “Why is this blog item datelined Honolulu? I don’t see Honolulu on your itinerary.”
This was going to be a story about how unexpectedly well, how remarkably well, in fact, that this trip has gone. How we never missed a flight nor a train. How every piece of luggage arrived where it was supposed to be when it was supposed to be there. How we never had a bad hotel except in the outback where our expectations were reasonably low. How we never had a really bad meal. How we never lost anything. How incredibly healthy we’ve been. How warmly we’ve been greeted and treated everywhere we’ve gone.
But then we got to the last 24 hours of the trip.
First, Jamie dropped and broke her camera. But our glasses are half full and we said, “What the hell. All the photos are still there on a memory card and it could have been worse — it could have been Day 1 instead of Day 184.”
While we were waiting to board our flight at the Sydney airport, we tried to recall any bad experiences we’ve had. Our best efforts failed. All we could come up with was a very short, truly insignificant list (below).
We boarded our 3:20 pm flight for the United States, had delicious Business Class meals, rolled down our fully-reclining seats and prepared to sleep in the arms of Morpheus until we were gently awakened for a scrumptious breakfast just before landing in the USA.
No such luck.
About 7 hours into the 14 hour flight we were shaken awake in a pitch black cabin by a flight attendant who said, “The plane is having electrical problems and the flight is diverting to Honolulu.”
To make a long story short, we landed in Honolulu, sat on the tarmac for three hours before they finally cancelled the flight and let us leave the plane, waited an hour for our luggage, and then waited another two hours in line with 400 other people who all needed to find alternate flights back home. They gave us vouchers for cabs and food and a hotel room and sent us on our way.
Consider this the answer to the question, “When would you least want to go to Hawaii?” We spent most of our day in Honolulu sleeping. We’re still here and we’re not quite sure when we’ll arrive back in the good ol’ USA.
But enough of today’s negative fiddle faddle. Remember when I said we put our heads together to come up with a list of every bad experience we’ve had in the last six months? We managed to count them all on one hand:
The Trans-Siberian train – Hey, it wasn’t the Ritz, but it was a crazy, once-in-a-lifetime experience that we’ll laugh about for the rest of our lives. And unlike today’s United flight, it arrived at its destination on time.
The flight from Hong Kong to Perth – Our flight got cancelled and we ended up flying through Manila and Melbourne, but we still ended up in Perth less than five hours after we were supposed to arrive. Not bad. And we had quite a little adventure being whisked through the bowels of the Manila airport and past security in order to catch the flight to Melbourne.
The Australian rental car fiasco – It was a pain in the ass, but it all worked out ok in the end
That special night in Beijing – The one Jamie has forbidden me to talk and/or blog about. Horrible as it was, it makes me laugh out loud every time I think about it. And if she were being honest, she’d have to admit that it makes her laugh, too. (Mysterious, huh?)
Hard to believe, isn’t it? 185 perfect days interrupted by a few minor inconveniences. You know it’s been a great trip when spending the day in Honolulu is the worst memory you can come up with.