Aloha Hilo!

 

My plan from Seattle to Honolulu taken around 7:30am

Getting underway was as usual as could be expected. I got three hours of sleep, freaked out because I was hungry but no food sounded good, got super stressed about TSA and probably left a dent on the seat in front of me in the car because I was holding onto it so hard (Dad, you’re not a bad driver, but you were definitely sleepy). This was all topped by the fact that I forgot my cell phone charger. Luckily I realized this fact about five minutes from home so we were able to go back and retrieve it.

Every time I fly I get stressed out about TSA. I don’t know why and I have no logical reason to be, but I get butterflies, dry mouth, everything. Flying is awesome, getting to the airport is okay, but TSA freaks me out. Of course, I forgot to take my laptop out of my backpack as I went through security and the agent just rolled her eyes at me as I pleaded for forgiveness. It’s 7:30am, my brain does not work until at least 9am, if I’m lucky. They should count their blessings that I remembered to take off my rings. I usually forget that. I also somehow got out of the full body scanner. Don’t know how that worked. The last ten times I’ve flown I’ve gone through the scanner and it’s preferable. So much easier than having to be patted down. But I didn’t even need a pat-down this time! I was so proud of myself.

I think my favorite moment at the airport had to be sitting at Gate A11 at 7:59am and seeing a grown man walk up from behind me to the window, place a stuffed monkey in front of the window and take a picture of it, assumedly for a scrapbook or Facebook album. Totally made my day right there. Thank you, random guy with the 16″ Monkey. I needed that smile.

I think it finally hit me that I was going to Hawai’i when I saw the tail fin of the airplane through the window. That lady with the giant flower in her hair just exuded warmth and happiness and nothing could be farther from welcome on a dreary, foggy Seattle morning.

The flight was incredibly long concerning I had to relieve myself starting halfway across the Pacific. I swear, the flight attendants must want you to have an uncomfortable bladder with all the soda, water and coffee they push your way. The breakfast wrap was extremely edible, however. The length was aided by my iPod giving me some background noise and the view from my window. The clouds look like hundreds of steamed humbao and it made me hungry for Chinese food.

I have something to admit. I watched the in-flight movie and actually cried. They showed the new movie, “Dolphin Tale.” It was a typical tear-jerker family film, but boy, did it jerk some tears from me. I won’t say much to ruin the story, but the family dynamics and situations made me cry more than the dolphin getting a new tail. Just sayin’.

View from where I was sitting at the Honolulu airport. This turned out not to be my plane... They switched gates on me without telling me.

My first glimpse of the island made me smile. We descended through a huge cloud bank (which was gorgeous, in and of itself), and saw nothing but ocean. Then the deep cobalt turned to a light turquoise and, all of a sudden, there was land. After five hours of water and clouds, there was land.

And that was just the flight into Honolulu. From Honolulu to Hilo (I don’t want to say it for fear of sounding weird, but I am so it’s okay) I could see the shadow of the airplane on the clouds below and around it was a double rainbow haloing the plane. It was so cool! I felt like I was inside Robot Unicorn Attack.

On top of that, Hilo’s airport was like something out of an old Hollywood let’s-pretend-we’re-in-the-tropics sort of thing. It was awesome. Open-air, palm-frond thatched, the whole nine yards. While we waited for everyone to get into HIlo we went downtown to the farmer’s market where I bought a pineapple, two limes, three giant avocados and a bunch of bananas for less than 10 dollars. Totally awesome. Contrast that with the price of gasoline – over $4.15 per gallon – and you understand why you buy locally-grown products.

As appointed by the tour members, "Cornerstone 2.0"

The view from behind the girls' house (aka "Cornerstone 2.0")

Nathan and Josh having a moment while viewing the large expanse of ocean before them

The author having fun with his camera and the Hawaiian coastline

And now that we’re settled into the house we’re about to have a spaghetti dinner then go to bed to get up and do some provisioning and touring as well. By the way, the birds here are so amazing. I can hear so many birds and other nocturnal animals calling to each other and it’s possibly one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard.

Well, off to bed to sleep before church tomorrow! Aloha!

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