Friday, August 19, 2005

The torture of riding coach

Of the six legs of airtravel I had going to Hawaii, only the one from Chicago to Nashville was not completely full. That is the only one where my row of three had an empty seat. I was the very last person to get on that Southwest flight and I still got a window seat.

I admit it is an agony riding coach on long distance flights. I get along fine on short flights. If I were rich, I would still go coach on continental flights but I would upgrade on flights over water, to Hawaii or Europe.

At Nashville when I checked in, I found I was getting no frequent flyer credit. The leg to Chicago was on Southwest and the rest from Chicago to Honolulu was on ATA. They code share with Southwest but do not share frequent flyer credit so I could not get full credit on Southwest. Then the nice ticket agent tried to give me at least credit for the Chicago leg but the computer would not let her. Bummer.

These flights went through Chicago Midway. I had never been to Midway before. It is a nice little airport but Ken says it used to be sort of shabby.
This is the old airport that is close to downtown and I think they wanted to close it one time. Now Southwest is there and they have more flights and they seem to have fixed it up. I had never connected the two but I found out that it is name in honor of the men at the battle of Midway from World War II.

On the way to Hawaii my plane stopped in San Francisco and I was able to get out and walk a while. That helped. Beth flew from Houston to Honolulu. That was a long flight.

On the flight from SF to Honolulu I had interesting people on both sides of me. A middle-aged man was reading an old book Alex By Frank DeFord, the story of his daughter's illness and death from, I think, cystic fibrosis. I found out that the man sells books on Half.com, where I now buy almost all my books.

On the other side was Jeff Lee, from Seattle, a young man with the most understanding wife. She is pregnant with their first child but let him go to Hawaii for a bachelors' party.

Hawaiiana Hotel

After arriving in Hawaii about 9:30 at night, I splurged and took a taxi to the hotel.

The taxi went by H2, the interstate highway in Hawaii. Yes, they do have interstates in Hawaii, although there are no states to connect to. Got to get that federal money, you know.

I was used to going by Nimitz Highway and missed it. I don't know why because we went that way when we took the shuttle back to the airport. Nimitz is very industrial and not scenic. No reason to feel nostalgic about that.

I arrived at the Hawaiiana Hotel on Beachwalk Street. The desk clerk gave me a key but also called Beth and told her "Your mama is here!" I thought that was cute.

Our room at the Hawaiiana was on the second floor of a concrete block building. The galley kitchen had some cabinets, a counter-high refrigerator, two burners, and a microwave.

The room itself had a double bed and a twin, plus three chairs, a table, an end table, and a dresser. The bath had only a shower.

Everything was worn out and rather shabby, but that is what you get for $89 in Waikiki. Oh, I do think the carpet was rather new.

They have remodeled some rooms and for those they charge $225.

Beth and I have no standards so we were happy with out choice.

The grounds are fantastic with all the tropic plants. Flowers drip everywhere. There are two small pools.

Right now there is a lot of construction on Lewers Street, the next street over, so that adds to the usual busy hum of Waikiki. Also the air conditioner in our room was loud.

The ocean was about a block and a half away. Kalakaua Avenue, the main drag, was half a block the other way.

In Hawaii they do not say North, South, East, or West. They use Hawaiian words meaning toward the sea, toward the mountains, toward Diamond Head, and away from Diamond Head. The words for toward the sea and toward the mountains both start with M, contain a K, and then have all those vowels in them. I never am able to remember which is which.

The use of those words is so common that outside one hotel I saw some big valves that were labeled with the words meaning toward the sea and toward the mountains.

News from Hawaii

One big Hawaiian story while we were there is the use of the shaka sign among Hawaiian National Guard in Iraq.

The shake is a hand signal meaning hang loose, hello, and a bunch of other good things. The Hawaiian troops had been using the sign freely over there to the delight of troops from other states.

Unfortunately a sentry used the shaka sign when a general went by in a car and now they have been forbidden to use the sign at all now.

I understand about military discipline and know that a salute would have been more appropriate but they should not have banned the sign completely.

Another story was about wildfires in the inland part of Oahu.

The most controversial story was and is about the court ruling about the King Kamehameha schools.

A Hawaiian princess left ther estates to be used for the education of Hawaiian youth. Today that trust is worth almost $7 billion. Hawaii is like Britain, unfortunately, and many people do not own the land under the houses they own. It is leased for 100 years, and a lot of it is from this Bishop Trust.

The estate supports schools for only children of native Hawaiian descent. The Appeals Court ruled that that is illegal.

Several decades ago there was an parallel case in, I think, Baltimore where someone had left money to run a school for white boys. That got struck down, of course.

There is a bill in Congress to make Native Hawaiians to have rights like American Indians.

I feel that most of us are second rate citizens. American Indians are the first rate citizens because they have all the rights I have but some more besides that.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?