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Sunday Notebook

By admin Published: June 21, 2009

(Cell-phone photo from hotel-room balcony)

Right now I am in the distant time zone of Hawaii, trying to adjust to the change and the effects of extended travel, as part of a long anticipated vacation. A few notes after the jump.

But first, a quick other note: You may be seeing some odd looking posts here, like the "Waltz With Bashir" DVD column and HeldenFiles, below. These are links to Beacon Journal columns available on Click on the header to go to the complete piece.

And now, The Bride And I Take a Road Trip...

Saturday began early, with the drive to Cleveland and far larger lines than I expected at the check-in and baggage claim. Silly me. Thought early Saturday morning would be OK -- because I forgot that school is out, and lots of families are traveling. Fortunately, we had used online check-in and were able to move a little more quickly because all we had to deal with was our luggage. Security lines also long, but efficiently run.

But we had allowed ourselves an hour of time from getting to the airport until our flight took off, and by the time we got to the gate, the flight was boarding. Made it on, settled into the sardine can and handled an OK 2 1/2-hour flight. I mostly slept, but -- and I can't believe this -- there was actual food. Have gotten used to flights where a bag of pretzels is to be prized. I kept thinking that Continental is undergoing some customer-satisfaction survey right now.

In time to Houston, where we had about 50 minutes between flights and, by the time we hiked to the gate, our flight was boarding. Especially the way flights are packed these days, they're clearly allowing more time to get everyone seated. On the plane, more leg room, and strapped in for eight hours.

Longest plane flight I ever remember having on purpose. (There was one, many years ago, where storms kept us in the plane and on the runway for what seemed like days.) But they do try to keep your entertained. Individual monitors at the seats, for movies ("Confessions of a Shopaholic," "College Road Trip," "Madea Goes to Jail"), TV shows ("House," a sitcom grab bag); a channel showing roughly where the plane was in its flight, with updates on time, speed and the temperature outside the cabin; audio, of course, and video games. Spent far too much time losing at video poker, but it helped the hours go by. And more food! Lunch, snack, beverages. I also had a book with me, and slept some.

Honolulu on time. Then the rental-car adventure. We had very bad luck with a rental car on our last vacation, so switched from That Stinkin' Company to Avis. Didn't look good at first. Customers arguing to the left of us, customers arguing to the right us. But in between, people were moved along nicely, and we got our paperwork, our car and directions in timely and pleasant fashion.

Drove through Honolulu, got confused once, found the main street we needed, headed down along the beach -- and missed seeing our hotel. The road was packed with parked cars -- this is public-beach territory, with a big park across the street, and it was a Saturday afternoon; plus there are a lot of hotels along here, not all well-marked. Loop around. Tired, sweaty, grumpy. Didn't see it during second time around, pulled to the curb to check street numbers -- and there was the hotel. A bit of much needed good luck.

So here we are. Slept earlier than we planned, but slept well. Beach today. Touring later in the week. Occasional notes and maybe photos later in the week. Looking for happy days.

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