My paranoid body clock as usual woke me two hours before my 2am alarm and again at 1:30 am as well.
I woke poor Flynn 20 minutes before our bell service arrived to drop us to the lobby for our 3:20 am Magical Express to the airport .
The bell service guy had us there so early, we managed to catch an earlier Magical Express than the one that had been booked for us.
Our driver’s accent was hard to understand; he said that our ride to the airport would take 75 minutes, which had me panicking about actually making our flight but I think what he actually said was ‘25 minutes, because that is how long our journey took.
Two tv screens at the front of the bus were playing cartoons quietly. As the bus began its journey, our driver somehow turned down the volume to barely audible when it was Disney cartoons and then turned UP the volume to ‘wake up, we want you to spend more money ASAP on another Disney vacation’ when the long Disney World ads came on. The transition between the two was jarring each time but *whispers* I actually found the ASMR-y tones of the lady doing the DISNEY WORLD ads soothing so I didn’t mind too much; the other members of my family were less impressed. It was not a magical ending to our stay, but it was free! I didn’t have to book a 25 minute ride with an XL Uber which is winning in my book.
At the airport, there were queues and confusion at the unmanned United luggage check-in. It took a frustrating half hour before we realised I that all that was needed was for me to type the flight confirmation code into the check in machine, and self-print my already-paid-for checked baggage, and we were done. Goes to show, we are only pros at hand baggag. This checked baggage gig is complex. 😜
So there I stood at the machine, printing off the luggage tags and our plane tickets when the lady struggling next to me burst out: ‘Excuse me, can I use your card? The machine isn’t taking mine!’
I looked at her in confusion for a minute before I registered that she was asking to use my credit card to purchase HER checked luggage! Huh? She wanted me to pay for her checked luggage?
‘Here,’ she explained. ‘ if I give you cash, can I use your card? My card keeps getting rejected and it won’t take cash!’
I gave a surreptitious glance at her cash wondering what counterfeit money looks like in real life…..
We have had so many experiences of people trying to con us, so I have become wary.
But she and her cash seemed genuine.
‘Ok’, I acquiesced
‘Oh good!’ She pointed at the machine ‘You insert it here, no-put the card this way’
I waited and then the machine burped unhappily and announced that it wouldn’t take my card either! So strange. We tried a few extra times and she had just begun shouting for assistance from a United attendant when I decided to try inserting it the way the instructions said, not the way the lady had been instructing me to do.
Bingo! It went through!
I earned myself a sweet $10 for that decision, because the luggage cost $30 but she didn’t have change and insisted on giving me $40. I see two shave ice in my immediate future!!
Our whole day consisted of two 5 1/2 hour flights back-to-back with a half hour in between to jump off one and get on the next. It was extremely tedious and I won’t try to recall any of it.
At least both flights had us all sitting together and provided complimentary entertainment.
But for goodness sakes, neither flight serves complimentary food. 😡
That is such a long time to be in the air- it is only good manners for them to give us a hearty feed! We brought our own breakfast choices onto our first flight but I caved and purchased in-flight meals for the second flight as we had no time to buy food at the second airport.
A drawn-out 12 hours later, we arrived in Honolulu! It wasn’t nearly as hot as I had imagined. Glorious lush green mountains surrounded us just as I had imagined.
Our Uber driver must have been polishing off a shave ice or three because he took about a thousand years to show up.
He found our accommodation no problem.
Our Airbnb condo is actually part of a modest hotel, Hawaiian Monarch Hotel. We are on the 38th floor! It is basically 2 bedrooms stuck together, one with kitchen facilities in it. But we are close to everything, so pretty happy.
We are a block from the Hilton Hawaiian Village which is like the Disney World of hotels and an actual village of shops that we can wander past and enjoy to get to the beach.
The views from our condo are I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E!
I slid the window open and the drop is right there- vast and gaping! It made me feel like I might actually try it- not want to but be compelled to- so strange! I shut the window hastily.
Bodie, Zac and I walked straight to a local supermarket to get staples and snacks so we could feel settled in. It’s kind of all about the food for us, isn’t it?!
We had a lovely dinner at Cheeseburgerland Waikiki which is opposite our hotel. As the Uber had driven past it, I thought it was the famous Cheesebuger in Paradise, but when I went over to check it out later, I saw it is called Cheeseburgerland Waikiki. Not the real deal, a cheap imitation, I thiought, but it looked vibing and busy with a football game playing and boasted some fun-sounding burgers on the menu. The smells wafting out drew us in.
Until we could locate Cheeseburger in Paradise this local Cheeseburgerland joint would do.
Our our burgers were fantastic! Such great flavors. I got home and looked up Cheeseburger in Paradise and discovered that the place we’d just had dinner in actually IS Cheeseburger in Paradise!
On the way home Zac got some sesame mochi from the little takeaway attached to our hotel. Sesame mochi is a sweet he has been telling us about since his trip to Korea and Japan. They are a unique and delicious taste sensation! ( I must post a photo later)
We crashed early as by now it was 2 am in Orlando and we had been awake 24 hours