First, I would like to state that I love taking off in an airplane. It’s a cool sensation. After that, I can leave the whole thing and go by car. Fortunately, I have not had the experience, as my nephew did, of having a NEAR mid-air collision, or as a friend did of dropping 10,000 feet in one second, while mid-air.
Our plane, the same plane we had flown over the ocean from LAX, took off after our abbreviated stay in Maui. At 20,000 feet, it sounded as if they were lowering the landing gear again. It was making strange enough noises that everyone had stopped reading and was nervously looking around.
People, who had traveled across an ocean together, in complete silence, suddenly started chatting.
“Gee, is it time to make our wills out?”
“Wonder where the pilot is?”
“Notice, there isn’t a flight attendant in sight?”
We started making all those nervous, lame comments you make when you are afraid you are about to face your imminent demise. After all, we had listened to the engines for many hours, so we knew what they SHOULD sound like. We also began buckling up.
It was a very long half hour before the pilot finally came on the intercom.
“You’ve probably noticed that we lost our right rear engine shortly after we left Maui.”
Well, DUH! PROBABLY? You would have to have been deaf not to notice.
It also would have been nice, presuming he was not fighting to keep the plane in the air, to announce to the passengers that‘even though we have lost our right rear engine, we have three more or two more or even one more engine and we are not in any danger, but it would be advisable to buckle up.’ You know, just something, anything to make us feel like we were not alone in this; without any control.
The pilot continued.
“I don’t want you to be concerned by the fire equipment standing by in Honolulu.”
Which, as it turned out, was so far away that we probably would not have noticed the four fire engines, ambulances, etc at the far edge of the field, had he not told us? It certainly was not as worrisome as the frikkin engine noise we had been listening to for the last half hour or more.
He did bring us in for a safe, albeit bumpy landing and we thanked him with a rousing, well subdued, round of applause. Hey, I was happy, four take offs and four landings are enough to make me applaud being done with it, even without losing an engine. Which, by the way, makes me wonder–What exactly is the airlines definition of “losing” an engine? Did it actually fall off into the ocean? Or is it on the plane and just not working well, or at all?
We touched down, in Oahu, at 3:55 pm, Hawaii time and received a beautiful flower lei greeting. It smelled so good, no artificial perfumes, and almost made the rest of our troubles worth it. It was one of the few flower leis, placed on our necks during the next two weeks that we were actually allowed to keep. I had secretly paid for this when we booked the flight, so mom would be sure to have a nice one.
The first thing we did was look into a ship for coming home. Our “faithful” travel agent had abandoned us for Tahiti. Bet she wished she had stayed there, and she was probably on a plane with all its engines, so we just asked everyone about a ship home and got laughed at. The general consensus is that you have to book a ship three months in advance and pay $2,000 per person, so that was out.
On to the hotel:
Mom does not like to stay above the third floor. I have pointed out that an eighty year old lady will probably have as much of a problem jumping from the second floor, as the third, but three is her limit. We had reserved a third floor room, and were assigned a room on the sixteenth floor. Mom turned green and I threw a polite fit about it.
One of my jobs was to make the trip go smoothly and I was fast failing at that. They showed us the room, with an offer to move us if we could not accept it, and we found out that the pool jutted out two floors below us so we would only have to escape down two floors into a pool. Looked like fun to me and she was happy (By the way, she won’t stay on the ground floor either).
Mom wanted to see Don Ho, but he was out of town, so we decided to roam on down to the International Marketplace. We were told it was two blocks away.
Now, if you are traveling to Hawaii, this is a very important lesson. Read carefully: EVERYTHING IS TWO BLOCKS AWAY. It is the most miraculous place in the world. It does not matter where you are standing or where you want to go; just ask four different people, heck ask twelve different people and they will all say, “It’s two blocks that way.” I dealt with their “two blocks” joke for the next ten days.
The International Marketplace was eight blocks away really. A hike for mom, so we eventually, after walking a couple of blocks, grabbed a bus. It is an open air market, with one aisle of better class stuff and other aisles being bargaining aisle sales. Mom eventually got into the “will you take $5.00 for this,” something I doubt she had ever done in her life. It was just fun to wander after dark, in this tropical paradise, with all the new sites and smells.
The disappointing thing is that I never really found a section that I considered to be International. I like to find hand crafted things made by indigenous people. There was a lot of mass produced stuff at the market. But, obviously, I did not see the whole thing.
I promise tomorrow to tell you about being kidnapped by the “Pleasant Hawaiian” people.