Friday, April 10, 2015

Hawaii

One of the world’s great vacation destinations is Hawaii.  Or so I am told.  Paris, London, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Florence, Athens, Amsterdam, well, I’ve been to a few more than these cities on business trips, and I also was able to take time to enjoy my visits to those wonderful places.  But Hawaii?  Oh, well.

The company where I worked for so many years usually brought the Hawaii managers to Los Angeles for our twice-yearly business meetings.  It was just more convenient and cost effective for them to come to me rather than for me to visit them.  In Los Angeles, I could simply bring a lot of managers together for fewer meetings and save a lot of time.  Actually I could save about four days of time, and my time was very valuable to both my company and to me.

This arrangement worked well for several years until I decided I wanted to see Hawaii.  I knew I would have limited time to spend in the islands, about four days maximum, so it was necessary to be as efficient as possible, but still, I thought I could get in some sightseeing.  However, it was not to be.

I was in Chicago 24 hours before the meetings were to begin in Hawaii, but the time difference between Honolulu and Chicago gave me a bit more time to play with, so I thought I was safe even though I was cutting it a bit close.

I drove to O’Hare International where a company jet was to fly me to LAX in Los Angeles.  From there, I would take a commercial jet to Honolulu International.  I planned to grab a taxi to a hotel and get a couple of hours rest before meeting with all the gathered managers at the company store in Honolulu the following morning and afternoon.  Then I could take about two days for myself and see what I could see.  But the company jet had a few in-flight problems forcing us to land in Denver.

Denver’s Stapleton airport that evening was not the busiest place I had ever been.  In fact, there were no flights out to Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, or just about anywhere else until about 5am the next morning.  I didn’t have much choice but to wait.  I did manage to get my fight from Los Angeles to Honolulu changed, although it meant I would need to fly coach instead of business class.  I’m a big guy, so the thought of a long flight in coach was not appealing; however, I needed to get to Honolulu.

I purchased my ticket for the next flight to Los Angeles, but when it came time to board, I was bumped.  I had to wait until about 10:20am for the next flight.  Bumped again.  I did get on the next plane, but my rescheduled flight from Los Angeles was already in the air without me.

At LAX I discovered the flights to Hawaii were every other day in this off-season of early May.  So I had a long layover.  The managers awaiting me were notified of the situation, and we made the best of it.

Finally I arrived in Honolulu.  I walked down the steps to the tarmac where I was greeted by a dog looking for a fight.  Just where he came from was anyone’s guess, but he decided he didn’t like my left leg very much.  A couple of airport workers pulled him off of me, but my suit pants were shredded, and the leg needed some medical attention.

I was taken into the terminal where a staff nurse examined my leg, cleaned it up, and applied about a pound and a half of bandages.  Good enough.  I had a meeting to get to. 

As I walked out of the First-Aid office, I heard my name over the airport speakers.  It was one of the managers I was to see that afternoon.  He was waiting for me in a nearby room.  I walked into the room to find every manager ready for a meeting.

“We just got word from Chicago that you need to be on the next plane out.  It leaves in about seven hours, so we decided to meet here and get it over with."

About seven hours later I was bound for San Diego where I would transfer to a flight to Chicago.  Best Hawaiian trip I ever had.