Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Aloha Hawaii

August 27th, 2011

Bit taken aback. Was sure my Dad had told me to get laid in Hawaii. Admittedly been on the road for almost two years, but Honolulu was only ever meant to be a one night stop-over, not stand. A simple misunderstanding. Lei being those flowery garlands worn on the islands. Popular, it strikes me, because most of the women around here have, well, pretty much nothing else to wear.

But far more outrageous though were the shirts worn by the Hawaiian Airlines cabin crew. Quick to say "I want one" as I boarded. "Come and work for us!" the response. It was attire that suited the in-flight entertainment. Settling on 70s Disco hits in my headphones. It was that or Korean pop music. Dozing off dreaming of Spandex and wondering if "Get Dancin’" (by the fabulously titled Disco Tex and The Sex-O-Letters) was indeed the inspiration for the theme tune for the "Muppets".

In truth, I was just happy to finally embark. I’d been up since five to get the bus to Melbourne airport. Greeted by chaos, glad I’d given myself my usual pessimistic margin for delays. Short hop to Sydney. Too lethargic to venture out of the terminal, instead eking out the last of my Australia dollars on strong coffee. Catching up on the blog. A few e-mails. Waiting for check-in.

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When a plan comes together..

August 5th, 2011

Coming together. Finally. Plan for the on-move to Alaska in a month or so’s time. Suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised by the complexity. The frustrations. For, in terms of hours in the air, it does equate to flying roughly half way around the world. Pacific a big ocean. Ask Thor Heyerdahl.

All airlines now booked. Confirmations received. Hospitality in Anchorage. Sorted. Press release for local media. Done. The first draft had been a bit ambiguous. Suggesting, like Kazakhstan, I’d been detained by border guards in Australia. But, truth was, I had been. Sydney airport. And I’ve no plans to let them off the hook. Ever. No longer any regrets about atmospheric nuclear tests.

First impressions do count. And it’s looking good for the US. Friendly, helpful Consular staff in Sydney. Very understanding when it looked like the Chilean ash cloud might mean I’d miss my visa appointment. Generous offers of hospitality from Anchorage. Pretty informative replies from US Customs and Border Protection to my queries about prescription medications and emergency rations. And lots of practical advice on sharing the woods with bears.

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Hopping to Hawaii

August 4th, 2011

Last piece of the jigsaw. Securing a flight with Hawaiian Airlines from Sydney to Honolulu. Actually, have managed to get a seat held at roughly the online price. For three days. Unable to purchase directly because they don’t accept UK credit cards.

So now just the issue of paying for it. Which turns out to be not quite a straightforward as you’d imagine. Have to use a UK agent. They have to agree a double currency conversion from Australian dollars to US dollars, and then, finally, into Sterling. And I’m insistent on using my credit card so I get to enjoy the statutory protections it offers for large purchases.

I’d been a bit suspicious of the agent at first. Their website has links to Hawaiian Airlines. But not the other way around. And there are some typos. And just because they have a .co.uk domain doesn’t actually mean they are based in the UK. In fact, one of their staff works out of France. And their UK number seemed to be permanently connected to the answerphone.

So I’d double-checked with the airline directly. Making sure phone numbers tally. Staff names correspond. Checked their IP address. Maybe I’ve been doing this for too long.

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