It has been a busy five days. I had to fly to Honolulu on Wednesday (when they harvested my Mourvedre) for two days of business meetings and returned late last night. I have some very irreverent observations. Now much like my wine habits, I am somewhat of a snob. So I have learned in flying that picking one’s seat on the airplane is the difference between being merely uncomfortable and being in extreme discomfort. Since I fly Hawaiian airlines out of Sacramento, I can purchase an aisle exit row seat for a small fee because there is lots of leg room, easy access the restroom if the pilot will ever turn off the seat belt sign, and you get to get on with their first boarding so you can find a place to put your bag close to your seat. This bag thing is critical because since with the fees for extra bags, everyone is toting a ton of stuff. Then they try to put everything (not just the one bag) into the overhead bin. I hate amateur travelers. But I digress.
As you are sitting in the waiting area you start to total up the overweight people. No, I don’t mean 10 or 20 pounds overweight, I mean 100 or more pounds overweight. The state of health of Americans is amazing, and when you are terrified that one of these weight challenged people may be seated next to you in your seat and theirs, you really start to take note. The second thing you notice is the number of elderly that are traveling. Since I am traveling in an exit row and I take my exit row duties seriously, you know that some of these people are going to have to be carried out so you can’t just leap out of the plane and save yourself. But that would be an extreme and highly unlikely scenario. The real issue with many elderly flying is that when they go to the restroom, they camp in there. So if you are like me and need a relief once or twice a on a five hour flight, you have to pick your opportunities very carefully or you are going to be busting at the seams. My favorite is to skip dinner (I use the term “dinner” loosely) and as the food cart goes by, blocking access for most of the rest of the plane, it is time to make a run to the bathroom. Oh, one other tip. Don’t wait until the very end of the flight to use the restroom or you will be standing in line with about forty other passengers. Pace yourself.
The flight and the meetings were in Honolulu. I would personally never vacation in Honolulu. It is like Disneyland with sand. It is wall-to-wall people. I usually stay in Waikiki and I just don’t get the attraction. There are giant high rises with tons of shops where you can buy everything you could have bought at home cheaper. Then there is the beach, which is more like a crowded swimming pool. I am of the age where laying in the sun is not an attractive activity, but trust me, that is an idea that is lost on many beach goers. Here is something I have been pondering lately. If you are 40 pounds overweight and have a tattoo, if you ever loose weight will the tattoo be wrinkled? There were so many people who should not be showing skin, showing skin and tattoos in embarrassing places. Except for a few admired exceptions, it looked like corn feed beef was everywhere.
I will say that you can have some very good meals there. If you are staying in one of the beach front places and you are paying $500/night for a room, you should be able to afford some of the nicer restaurants. I returned to one of my favorites, Azure, in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. I wanted a really nice piece of fish and a good glass of wine and they never let me down. They had fresh Mongchong, which is my favorite local white fish along with a nice pinot and it was a real treat. Should I be worried that the headwaiter remembered me?
The other excellent meal I had was a business meal with our proposal team and our Japanese partners. We went to Sarento’s at the top of the Ilikai Hotel overlooking the city and the ocean. We had a front row seat for the Friday night fireworks at the Hilton. I went all Italian (Osobuco, and Italian salad (Chopped Salad Gabreilla). I must say that the ordered wine (I didn’t have any say in it) was okay, but not memorable. But it was a delightful evening, with good company, and the food was outstanding.
So ended another quick-in, quick-out in Hawaii. I will spend a week there later in November where I will get a chance to explore more in the evenings. I would love to go to Maui, which I understand is a whole other experience, but that cannot be fitted into the agenda. I did stop by my favorite Italian/Japanese wine bar to visit my friend Matsa, but he had moved on and now it was Italian/Korean as the bartender was a very pretty Korean girl. I did strike up a conversation with her mother and we exchanged memories of Korea. Her Mother is a beautician and said she could fix my hair so she may get a chance next visit. What could it hurt?