Wednesday, December 29, 2010

First Day: Is that Napali ... or Newark?

We traveled all day, we braved the airport crowds and the teeny tiny airport meals, but it was all worth it as I gaze out of my window to see ...

Oh yeah ... this is the life. And I know I promised you pictures of Napali, but instead you get NEWARK!!!!

We had a good day yesterday - some leisurely packing, a few stops for drinks, tears and goodbyes and then dinner with my parents. I stayed up too late fiddling with the house and backing up every single file in duplicate and then couldn't sleep.

But got to the airport by 8:00am for our 10:30am takeoff to Newark after which we were to connect to Honolulu.  Delayed until 13:05 and then boarded to take a trip out to the runaway and back to the gate again because Newark was backed up after the blizzard. We finally deplaned at 16:10 - plenty of time for our 16:15 connection to Honolulu which was also delayed.

Ran like crazy until we flagged one of those long golf cart thingies that cruised us to our gate at exactly 16:15.  Transient euphoria to see that the take off time had been delayed to 16:50 - plenty of time!

Overtired overweight Hispanic Continental ticket agent: "I'm sorry sir that flight is closed."

Overtired overweight sweaty dad: "What do you mean? We have boarding passes!"

Overtired overweight Hispanic Continental ticket agent: "That flight is closed. You're not getting on. Go to gate 31 and speak to customer service."

Overtired overweight sweaty dad: "But the flight doesn't leave for 35 minutes! It's still at the gate and they're still loading luggage."

Overtired overweight Hispanic Continental ticket agent: "The flight is closed. Gate 31." (picks up the phone)

So what to do? Given the thousands of grubby, tired and pissed off passengers lying around the airport everywhere and the "Don't fuck with me" expression on every single airline employee, I decided that screaming, yelling and threatening had probably been tried to little avail. Besides getting arrested on the first day of the epic adventure would be bad form.

So I ran towards gate 31 only to see a ginormous throng of tired grubby really pissed off looking people. Ahah! The lineup for customer service. Instantly recognized that this would be at least a two hour futile endeavor.

So I did the manly thing: I begged! And it worked ... kinda. I returned to the overtired overweight Hispanic Continental ticket agent and at least she confirmed seats on tomorrow's flight for us, instead of putting us on the infinite standby list.

Why would this tired airline employee go out on a limb for us? Out of the goodness of her New Jersey heart? Trish and I doubt it. A more likely version: she most likely put standby passengers in our seats when we didn't show up before last call. When we did show up, she felt a little bit bad for screwing up our trip and made sure we got on tomorrow's flight.

Next, we spent 4 hours trying to find our luggage. Our flight number was not on the board to indicate which carousel it will come out on. Wierd! Waited 50 minutes in the luggage services line to be told that it would be on carousel 9 in 15 minutes. Three hours later, an overhead announcement that they had located our luggage!

Where was it? ON THE PLANE TO HONOLULU! Our luggage got on but we weren't allowed on.

Then the infinite lineup for cabs, the slick Lebanese town car drivers offering $100 lifts for 20 minute rides (we got one for $50) and our room at the Comfort Suites in the armpit of Newark.

So not such a great start, but definitely an adventure and 221 days still to relish. But everyone ended the day in good spirits with the hope that tomorrow night really does see us looking out of our condo onto Poipu beach on Kauai.


  1. Seriously, I did not know if I should laugh with you or cry for you!! What an adventure already!!
    I really hope the view from your next room is much better too.

  2. What a great idea, Craig. I hope you continue with the blog. Sorry day one was not as planned but it is something you certainly will never forget and can laugh about on your return.

    All the best to you and your family,
    The Koch family.