Tuesday, September 06, 2011

...Two Weeks Later Part 1: Los Angeles to Honolulu

I had planned to be much better about updating my blog during this transition, but in our defence, we had a lot going on and limited internet access until late last week.  So without further ado, here's a part one of what we've been up to since my last post:

After a week of driving from Memphis to Hermosa Beach, CA we had our first multi-night stay in the same place since we left Lafayette on August 20.  I woke up pretty early on Wednesday August 24 and set out to get our car ready for dropping of at the shipper later that afternoon.  This mainly involved me getting all our personal belongings out of the car and giving it a thorough wash.  Although the Autozone and carwash in Hermosa Beach were only a couple of miles away, the whole process of washing the car took about two hours because of the ridiculous amounts of traffic.  Little did I know that this would just be the beginning of my experiences with gridlock.

After washing the car and having some lunch, Roxi and I borrowed my brother Garrett's car so that we could caravan to the port in Long Beach to drop of our car.  The process wasn't terribly complicated so much as it was a lot of sitting around and waiting our turn.  Apparently, Wednesdays are the last day to get cars on the next outgoing ship so they are the busiest day of the week at the port.  Had we known this, we might have planned our travel accordingly, but there we were.  In reality, it wasn't so bad but we did have to wait about an hour before they processed and inspected our car. 

With that finished, we headed back to Hermosa Beach.  We spent the rest of the afternoon and much of the evening relaxing.  Rather than cook dinner again, we went out to eat with Garrett and Nicole and tried to fathom what we were about to do.  It still seemed so unbelievable!

On Thursday August 26, I woke up early as usual and set myself to getting us ready to make it to the airport on time for our flight.  Roxi and I did I final luggage check, loaded up Garrett's car and said goodbye to Nicole as she left for work.  Garrett dropped us off at LAX on his way to work and now it was really setting in: we were about to travel to Hawaii on a one-way ticket!

Check-in went pretty well although we found out that we had oversold tickets.  It really seems like that is information that you as a consumer should be privy to when you purchase a plane ticket.  I certainly would have considered a different flight if I had been given notice that this was an oversold flight.  But since I had been in this position before, I wasn't worried yet.  My biggest concern at the moment was getting through security and to our gate.

Security proved to be a much bigger deal than check-in.  We had so much stuff packed tightly into our bags, I guess we both seemed suspicious.  Roxi and I both had no trouble going through the body scanners but our carry on bags were completely unpacked and checked through by screeners.  When they were done going through our things, we were left to repack our bags as best as we could in the middle of the airport.  Again, it wasn't so bad but it was still security theater as far as I'm concerned. 

We got some breakfast and checked-in at the gate and we were still on the oversold list.  This made Roxi a little worried but since I'd had this happen before and made it on a flight, I was still okay.  Sure enough, ten minutes later when I checked with the gate agents again, they had our boarding passes.  Not long after, we boarded our flight and there was no turning back now...we were island bound!

The flight from LAX to Honolulu was only five hours and we slept for much of the time.  Before leaving Garrett and Nicole's I had downloaded a few movie rentals from iTunes so we watched one of them when we couldn't sleep anymore.  By the time the movie was over, we were in range of the islands and Roxi took a couple of good pictures of the Big Island and Maui before we had to put our electronic devices away in preparation for landing on Oahu.

The Big Island

The Big Island (left) and Maui (right)

After we landed and got our bags, we had a long wait to get our rental car but eventually we made it out of the airport area and began our adventure on Oahu.  We had so much to do it was a little overwhelming but we were both hungry and we happened to find a great fish taco restaurant called Wahoo's and had a delicious lunch that was so large, it would end up being our dinner as well.

After lunch we decided the best thing to do was to check into our hotel so that we could feel grounded before we tried to tackle our next orders of business like finding an apartment.  We had found a good rate at the Aqua Aloha Surf & Spa in Waikiki and it turned out to be on the same street as the hotel we stayed in on our honeymoon!  Needless to say, we were familiar with the area which was a plus since there was so much that was still unfamiliar to us about the island.  Twenty-eight days after deciding to make the move to Hawaii, we were here and pretty proud of ourselves for accomplishing so much in such a short time.

Thanks to our friend Jay Mac Sanders in Houston, we had a connection with a Realtor in Honolulu who was going to help us figure out where we should try to find a place to live.  We talked to Sandy shortly after checking into our hotel on Thursday afternoon and scheduled a time to meet on Friday morning to start looking at rentals.  Feeling like we had accomplished a fair amount of business, Roxi and I rewarded ourselves with a trip to the beach.  We dug through our luggage to find our swimsuits and headed for Waikiki Beach.  After the very short walk we got in the beautiful blue water that was the perfect temperature for the heat of the afternoon and had a relaxing swim.  We still couldn't get over the fact that we were in Hawaii!

After the swim we went back to hotel before venturing out to the nearest grocery store to stock up on supplies.  We had to constantly remind ourselves that although we were in paradise, this is not a vacation but rather a change of venue for our lives.  We had booked the room we did so that we would be able to make dinner and lunch and save our money for living expenses for the next year or more.  We drove to a nearby Safeway which seems to be the chain grocer on the island.  I knew that groceries would be more expensive in Hawaii but I was shocked by some of the prices.  Even more surprising was the amount of savings that we could get if we had a club card.  After getting our essentials for our first week in the hotel, I took a chance of asking about a club card at the service desk.  Since I couldn't prove I had moved to Hawaii, I wasn't sure that I would get a card, but they gave me one and told me to enter my address online when we were settled in an apartment.  Score!

We took our groceries back to the hotel had some dinner and settled in for bed.  It had, after all, been a very long day considering that we added three hours with the time change.  We were exhausted and knew that we had several more long but exciting days ahead of us.

Day 9: LAX to HNL: 2,556 miles


Katie Lady said...

I am loving reading all about this, please keep it up! Totally jealous, what a wonderful adventure!

Wes Raine said...

Thanks for reading Katie! I'll try to keep writing when I can!