A Travellerspoint blog

Day Fifty - Back Home

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Some ten hours after taking off from Honolulu we landed in Auckland, New Zealand. We've lost a day but for me the flight was reasonable. I managed to sleep a little and we were provided with a late supper and an early breakfast. The terminal was a delight after the horror of Honolulu.

As we were 'Transit' passengers we were only required to submit to a security screening. We assembled in the Departure Lounge with the largest collection of passengers we've experienced. Our seat numbers gave us a hint at the size of this aircraft. Seats were 41H and 41J. We were impressed by the size of this Boeing 777 with Economy Class rows having 9 seats in three groups of three. Our seats were isle and middle but the young lady who had the window seat offered to let us take it. Not that you could see anything but that enormous starboard wing.

We were offered breakfast again and the two and a half hour flight was almost comfortable. Landed in Melbourne where we had to navigate the hurdle of the automated passport checking process. That's something we've had problems with in the past. Apart from delays caused by the large number of passengers and difficulties experienced by some we 'sailed' trough smoothly. Collected our luggage and joined the extended queue for customs clearance. Nothing to declare, welcome home, through you go.

Off to look for the Virgin check-in desk. Turns out that it is next to where we arrived and we'd been expecting the need to travel on a transfer bus !! The Baggage Drop queue was the longest in the hall, Does everyone do 'on-line check-in' these days ?? It is all a bit beyond me. despite the apparent confusion we were processed in good time and we were on our way to security screening for the last time this trip. Yippee !!!

Waited in the comfortable lounge to board yet another ne aircraft type. A brand I've never heard of, Embraer ERJ-190. Built in Brazil it is a very comfortable narrow body jet seating about 100 with four sears per row. The flight lasted just under an hour and at 14:30 local time we touched down at Canberra Airport.

We were met by Natalie and Amy who made light work of our luggage. They delivered us to our little home where we faced the task of finding our way around again. We hadn't been here that long before we left and now we're getting used to being there all again.

A pretty lame end to this series, thanks for following and hope you've got something from the experience.

Last image for this trip is a snap of the Melbourne Airport. You can view the image by following this link to my main album.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 15:07 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day Forty Nine - It Never Happened

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

This is like the thirteenth floor of a hotel or Deck 13 on a cruise ship, they just don't exist. Because we crossed the International Date Line from East to West we left Honolulu on Monday and landed in New Zealand on Wednesday. Really messes with your mind 8-)

There are no suitable images from today so I've put up one of the airport from yesterday. You can view the image by following this link to my main album.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 13:54 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day Forty Eight - The Long Wait

Monday, 12 October 2015

Today is the day we check out of the Holiday Surf Hotel and spend a lot of time at the airport for our late night flight towards home. For the first time on this trip we have rain. The rainfall intensity on parts of the island has triggered Flash Flood Warnings. Because the hotel lobby opens onto the main road we'll have to wait for our shuttle out on the side street. Could be interesting.

Will pause here for now and pick up again at the airport - perhaps.

Didn't get to add anything. The shuttle was early and picked us up at 10:50. The driver stopped at a 7/11 for a bite, we should have taken up his invitation to pick up some lunch too. Before long we were dropped off at the Air New Zealand check-in. We knew we were not going to check-in luggage for the 22:00 flight just yet.

Set off to find somewhere to sit and find some food and a drink. Not likely. Whatever facilities exist in this third-world airport are on the other side of the check-in and security. After walking back and forth we finally found a Starbucks Kiosk where two sandwiches a coffee for me and a juice for Jenny set us back over $30. We stayed in their outdoor setting - there's no air-conditioning this side of the terminal, until we felt we'd exceeded our welcome. Wandered some more with all bags on a trolley ($5 - but at least no time limit) and found some reasonable seating outside the airport administrative offices. We sat there and sat there leaving only to find the restrooms. One of the security guys admitted that the airport was "not very user friendly", bit of an understatement !!

We'd been advised that the Air New Zealand desk should open four hours before departure.

So with nothing better to do started a queue at the check-in desk at 17:45. As the expected opening time there was no sign of activity and no other passengers lined up behind us. At about 18:30 another family arrived, they'd been told that the departure time had been put back an hour. With nowhere better to go we stayed sweltering in the heat and humidity. Happy Travellers ?? No, not really.

Just after 19:00 the check-in process started and there was a surprise in store. Air New Zealand luggage allowance is one checked bag per passenger. Yes another US$ 100 to get that third bag home. Bags checked in we head to the security screening where for the first time in ages I'm the one pulled aside for the extra drug tests. They focused on my laptop for some reason. No drama and we're through to search for our departure gate. Turn Right and walk past many shops, all closed. We find the departure gate lounge - closed until after the arrival of the incoming aircraft only another three hours to wait.

Jenny heads off to look for some food and drink and returns with some Burger King 'goodies'. It appears that the other end of the terminal is still operational to cater for United and Delta late flights.

The departure lounge is much cooler and had been closed for some time so it was like stepping into a refrigerator. Over the next hour the lounge fills up and about 22:45 we commence boarding the Boeing 767. Looks like our luck has changed we have seats in an emergency exit row which provides easier access and more leg room. It is close to midnight by the time we take off.

There are no suitable images from today so I've put up one of the church from yesterday. You can view the image by following this link to my main album.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 13:27 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day Forty Seven - Mass at St Augustine Church

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Slept better last night and woke up just before the alarm. Plans for today are very limited as we want to conserve energy for tomorrow's dash across the Pacific.

Jenny expressed a desire to attend Mass today. Found the web site for the St Augustine Church only a little over 15 minute walk from here. We arrived early and I captured some quick images from the back of the church. Jenny stayed and I spent the next hour and a half wandering the famous Waikiki Beach and surrounds. I was impressed with the number of ABC Stores that pop up everywhere, made me wonder how they all survive.

The sky was overcast which reduced the sting of the sun but I had a wet shirt even before we arrived at the church. The beach at this time was almost deserted but there were a number of enthusiasts riding the surf. I marvelled at the enormous Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa. The property has about 1200 rooms and has many retail outlets that are open to the public. One of them is a coffee shop that is branded Seattle's Best, when I Googled the image I found a hit on Wikipedia

"Seattle's Best Coffee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Starbucks, is a speciality coffee retailer and wholesaler based in Seattle, Washington. Wikipedia"

The mass ended after about an hour, I collected Jenny and we walked back to the hotel. The sun came out as we walked back and it became increasingly hotter.

Spent a significant amount of time confirming that my essential applications on the laptop were still functioning correctly. Some have lost their settings but most work as they did before the upgrade to Windows 10. Still a lot of exploring to do.

Made myself a 'Hawaiian' sandwich, or at least my version, for lunch. Two slices of bread, a slice of ham, a slice of pineapple and a slice of cheese. It must be Hawaiian because it tastes almost the same as a pizza of that name. Also experimented with some yogurt placed in the freezer for a while. Required a short burst in the microwave to dig it out of the bowl. Very refreshing.

Whiled away the afternoon and finished off some of our provisions. Dinner tonight and breakfast in the morning will consume almost all we have. We'll squeeze in an early lunch before we check out tomorrow. Having the ability to self-cater is very convenient and allows us plenty of idle time without having to venture out in the heat and crowds

Tomorrow will be a long day in transit as we fly firstly to New Zealand then to Melbourne and finally Canberra. I've no idea when the next posting will appear. There are many high priority tasks to be attended to when we get home.

Thank you for sticking with me through all this trivia, I hope you've got something out of it.

Today's image of that non-Starbucks coffee shop sign. You can view the image by following this link to my main album.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 19:45 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day Forty Six - Recovery in Honolulu

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Had a bit of a rough night sleep wise. Bit of 'jet lag' as well I guess. Got up about our usual time and had some breakfast. First priority was to write up yesterday's expenses. All my credit card entries will need to be reconciled once I print off the statements. That will be a massive task as each entry will need to be adjusted to reflect the exchange rate and the transaction fee.

Reviewed some images captured in Fort Lauderdale before we left and than sat down to write up the events of yesterday. I find that I need to do that task as soon as possible to guard against excessive memory loss. That task was completed just before 10:00

I can feel the heat of the outside radiating through the closed and curtained window as I sit in the 'living room' of this studio suite. The bedroom is the only one with an air-conditioner, in this room the best available is a ceiling fan. The windows are mainly louvred glass which even when shut allow a significant flow of air. In general the studio has a strange mix of good quality fittings and dilapidated furnishings all brought together with some recent paint. The finish is of a poor standard and the living room suffers from excessive clutter.

The front door is solid and looks to have been recently replaced as have the doors to the bathroom and bedroom. The bedroom has reasonable wardrobes, a large comfortable bed, two bedside tables with lamps and a dresser with a flat-screen TV. There's also a 'spare' chair from the dinning setting. There isn't really anywhere to stash the luggage and no space to set up the 'office'. The air conditioner helps to drown out the noise of the traffic below.

The living room contains the kitchenette, a microwave, coffee machine, a substantial fridge, electric stove with oven and a sink. The cabinetry has seen better days and there's no provision for a dish drainer or an area to prepare food. The remainder of the room contains two single beds, two square tables, three dinning chairs and a lounge chair. The lower of the tables has the TV, VHS and DVD player, a lamp and the telephone. I've managed to set up my 'office' and charging station here. The 'spare' beds have been pressed into service as luggage stands. All items are pretty much crammed together and it isn't possible to open some of the cupboards without moving the dinning table.

All in all it looks like a less than professional attempt at a renovation that misses the mark in many ways. Having said all that there are signs that they keep trying to provide a budget service.

Relaxed for a while then went out for lunch and another provisioning run. We had lunch at the Royal Hawaiian shopping complex food court. Lots of variety available. Then wandered through the hotel to the beach and took some photos. From there to the Food Pantry for another pineapple, a bargain at $1.29 per pound (make that $3 per Kg). Delicious when freshly cut and skinned.

Back to the room and adopted the horizontal position for an hour or two. It is hot here but the breeze keeps the humidity down to a tolerable level.

Thought the image of Waikiki beach would be appropriate. You can view the image by following this link to my main album.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 23:54 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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