I stepped out of the flight gate at the Honolulu airport, and into another world. This world was strange, yet somehow familiar. There was the Starbucks, and the frazzled travelers, but to my left were huge open-air panorama windows. These did not look out onto grey pavement, and unruly Colorado skies, but into a lush forest of palm trees and tropical scents. The moisture of the air clung to my cheeks, and made my already thick hair seem much thicker. But the awe slipped away, as I struggled to find the baggage claim. My beloved boyfriend was still looking about him with admiration and the joy of a child, but I felt hot and was scurrying away to find my luggage.
Down the escalator we went, and into the more familiar world of spinning luggage and unpleasant sounds of machinery. I frowned wondering where our famous lei greeting was. After all, we had requested it, they should have been at the gate. My head was full of visions of grass-skirted Polynesian women smiling and hanging fragrant necklaces around our shoulders. We waited patiently on a bench, thinking perhaps they would come find us there. Finally, David went in search of the traveling agency, and I soon followed. After a few minutes of waiting, a tanned teenage boy came out of the back and examined us with bored annoyance. After explaining that we had not received our leis, he yawned and tossed two of the flower garlands at us.
Here ya go, he said, and disappeared into the door from which he came. David and I exchanged glances, and wondered if this was an omen. I decided firmly not to let this minor setback get in the way of my enjoyment of this trip.
We now had to find the rental car, which involved more waiting, this time in the hot sun with other disgruntled tourists. Fortunately this didn't take quite as long as our non-existent greeting, and we were soon cruising down the highway, marveling at the deep hue of the water. It is like no other color in the world, deep turquoise blending into a pungent royal blue. We swam through it in our minds, as we struggled through the traffic. Once in Waikiki, we circled, looking for our hotel, like a hawk for prey. When we finally found it, we were directed to the parking lot. Or rather, the vertical wall that led to the lot. I clutched at the arm of the door, as the little white two door we had rented scaled the wall, absolutely positive it would slide back and we'd die before ever getting to do anything. But the car made it, and we were soon on our way to our hotel room. Of course, I still left nail marks in the arm rest every time we took the car somewhere.
The hotel was a nice hotel, as hotels go, with a small, two bed room, and a very tiny little shower with no water pressure to speak of. I can only assume that if all the sand came off in the shower that we weren't enjoying the full experience. I was expecting a bath tub, and had a number of romantic ideas shattered at the sight of our mini shower.