Friday, November 20, 2009

Hawaii, not paradise, but close

With Thanksgiving coming I guess the first piece of boring blog for me will have to be about a place I first saw and fell in love with on a Thanksgiving vacation --Hawaii.

My first trip to Hawaii was in November of 1982. At the time I was earning a living as Director of Operations for a world renown interior design and antiques dealership in Dallas, Texas and was traveling on business frequently. I had developed a taste for New York and Broadway Shows and was spending my Thanksgiving's in the Big Apple. About a month before Thanksgiving I was reading my Sunday Newspaper and happened to see an ad from Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays. The ad said I could spend 10 days in Hawaii and it would cost less (including air fare, transportation and hotel) than the 4 days I had planned for New York! Impossible. There is a hook in there somewhere, I was sure. I turned back to the ad several times and could find the hook, so I decided to call my 'secret agent' friend. Her name was Betty and she was a travel agent -and my secret. Betty was one of those jewels you run across in life. She liked her job and always went out of her way to do it well. I can not tell you how many times Betty had gotten my tickets at the last minute, reservations at hotels that were already booked, even tickets to shows the were 'sold out'. Betty was my secret agent. So, that Monday I called Betty and told her about the ad and asked her find 'the hook' and how much 10 days would really cost. She call me back 4 hours later and said there was no hook, the only thing was a $50 surcharge not listed in the add because I was traveling alone. Wow. 10 days in Hawaii for less than the cost of 4 days in New York. Not one to hesitate, I had her book me on the spot.

The day I left for my Thanksgiving in Hawaii adventure, the plane left at 8 am so I was at the airport at 6 am and it was 38 degrees in Dallas. My taste in clothes at that time was what you might call, bland. My shirts were button-down collar, solid color (albeit white) shirts and loafers. I did not even own a pair of short pants. It was a 10 hour non-stop flight and arrived in Hawaii and with a 5 hour time difference we arrived just before noon local time.

In those days they still brought the rolling staircases out to the plane. As I waited at the top of the stairs for the crew to get it set, I noticed ot was 85 degrees and sunny, very nice. I took my first look at Hawaii. The airport was pretty disappointing, it looked just like every other airport, so I looked around for a glimpse of something tropical --not much. I was a little disappointed until I looked at the mountains behind Honolulu and there it was. Green tropical hills, clouds just clearing over the mountains and then, the biggest and prettiest rainbow I have ever seen. Hawaii was saying "Aloha" to Gary - and it gave me goosebumps. I knew, inside, right then -Hawaii and I had started a love affair.

--Next time, "Kamehameha's Revenge" and Pearl Harbor......

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