I will be copying verbatim from my travel journal. Anything in italics will be my thoughts post-trip.
So we arrived at Pearson three hours before take off. We weren’t sure what the lines were going to be like. It took us less than 20 minutes to check our baggage and go through security. Since it’s been years since I’ve flown, I don’t really know all the new rules, other than you may be strip searched at any time so bring some lube. I didn’t take my laptop out of my backpack. I figured the x-ray would be able to see that it’s a laptop so no big deal. My backpack and camera go through to the other side, they ask me if there’s a laptop in there (you already know there is so why ask??). I then take it out and it all goes through again, easy peasy. Mike was in the line beside me and the security agent looked at the two lighters he’d had and asked him which one he wanted to keep. Mike didn’t know what he was talking about and the man said, you can only have one lighter so which one do you want to keep? (because you can only start a dangerous fire with two or more lighters) Mike asked if he could give his wife the second lighter but she’d already gone through so we’re down a lighter.
We walked from one end of the terminal to the other. Mike was feeling anxious, this being his first time flying. I tried to make him feel better but I was anxious myself. I mean, what happens if the worst was to happen? There’s obviously nothing I can do for the kids at that point but I still worry.
Eventually we sat down in our waiting area around 1130 (after having eaten at the Tim’s and done our Terminal Tour). We didn’t board, or were scheduled to board, at 1300hrs. A young mother and her son had come along. He was an absolute cute and a joy to play with. He helped pass the time. His mother said our flight was delayed but she didn’t know by how much. Our plane was supposed to take off at 1330hrs. Considering the flight was delayed we were ready for take off at 1400hrs.
I slept through most of Ontario and all of Manitoba. Probably half of Saskatchewan, too. We were both super excited to get to Alberta and to get through it. We really wanted to see the Rockies. It didn’t happen. Well…not really. We were in BC and there was a LOT of overcast. Mike had the middle seat, I had the aisle and a gentleman with bad breath (poor Mike) had the window seat. It was amazing seeing Mike enjoy the view. Being above the clouds is amazing. Simply breathtaking, in fact. It was nice to see him appreciate that and enjoy it with him.
When we were crossing the Rockies the gentleman looked out the window and pointed out to us, through the clouds, the Rockies. We didn’t see much, obviously, but it was breathtaking. Flying into Vancouver airport was incredible, seeing all the mountains and just how different it is from Toronto. It’s too bad the weather was terrible. But that’s okay. Maybe on the way back.
After a four hour and a bit flight to Vancouver we both really needed a smoke. We knew we had enough time for one. One very quick one. We also knew we had to go through customs. We had an hour and 45 minutes. We walked until the last security gate before customs and asked the gentleman if we had enough time. We should have listened to his words carefully: If you think you have time, go here, turn left, smoke and then go back through security. We went for a very quick smoke then quickly got back to the American flights. Because we had left the secure area we had to go through security again. Except this time we’re going through the American security so we have to take our shoes off. It just seems silly to me but I guess an odd security check is better than exploding shoes. So we get through security and finally get to customs. The line up was so scary. Mike and I, without saying it to each other, both felt we weren’t going to make it. When we had 45 minutes until boarding we were both positive our second flight was doomed. The problem was that when we first got to customs our line was relatively normal, long but moving smoothly. Then a boat load of Nexus people (whoever the hell they are) came and, with only 3 customs windows open, the Nexus people got priority. Eventually 4 more customs windows opened and we finally got through. The customs agent that dealt with us noticed that Mike hadn’t signed his passport. Thankfully he let us through! Luckily, though, we got through customs and our gate wasn’t far away.
After eating a breakfast belt at 1020hrs Toronto time and 2 packages of cookies on the flight, we decided we needed food. I picked up a wrap for each of us. Vegetables, cheese and meat have never tasted so good!
Halfway through our wraps the lady at the West Jet counter, which is directly in front of where we’re sitting, announced that she had a message for Lindsay Martin. “Oh Christ,” I said. “This can’t be good.” A few people laughed, as did the counter lady. All I could think of were the kids and that Bill and Marilyn had decided against taking them for two weeks. Nope, there was a gentleman in the seat beside me with a service dog and the dog would need the space so would I mind moving? Not at all! So Mike had the aisle seat and I had the aisle seat across from him. He kept asking me to switch seats with him and I kept saying no. I didn’t want to sit beside a dog. Neither did he! I don’t know how friendly or well trained the dog is! However, the lady beside me, who was perhaps in her 60s or 70s, kept creeping into my area and kicking me with her feet, elbowing me. Not to mention she sounded like one of those people who have their voice boxes removed. Sadly she wasn’t using a little voice converter. I slept on the plane sporadically. Though after sitting on a 4.5 hour flight and now another 6.5 hour flight, you tend to lose feeling in your ass and thus don’t sleep well.
I have doubts as to whether the service dog was actually a service dog. When the flight attendants were going through their shpeel the one lady did a great job of it (and because we were going over the ocean they had to do the life vest bit). Everyone applauded because the lady at the front was rather comical and then the dog gets scared, gets up and starts to run away. I’m pretty sure service dogs are trained to deal with noise. Who knows, maybe I’m wrong. If I am then I apologize.
Finally. Finally we land in Maui. Landing gear has touched tarmac. Which was a little scary, I have to say. So all through any flight, if you get nervous and are worried, all you have to do is look at the flight attendants. If they don’t look worried then you shouldn’t be either. However when we landed we didn’t seem to be putting on any brakes and just kept flying across the runway, wheels on the ground, to the point that the two flight attendants in the front (we were in the first row, by the way) looked at the cabin door with strange looks on their faces. It kind of felt like we were going to take off again, either that or end up in the water. We get our bags. Mine was one of the first. Mike’s, of course, was about 20 minutes later.
We walk to the area where the rental cars are.
Okay, slight deviation. The airport here is all open, 70s style, all concrete with very few windows. When we land it’s raining (not hard) and the damp tropical smell permeates the air throughout the airport.
Back to the rental car.
So the booth is closed. As I’m rebelliously, and a little furiously, walking back to the airport (merely steps away), Mike asks me where I’m going. To look for a phone, I say. I’m going to call the hotel. Why, he asks. To have them pick us up, of course. (insert me huffing and puffing in anger) Well, cooler heads prevail. Mike read the sign on another car rental booth. There’s a shuttle bus that picks us up and takes us to the rental agency. Oh. Okay.
On a side note, how can so many families afford to take their kids to Hawai’i??
So we get to the rental agency and we get a Dodge Calibur. Pretty fancy. Not an SUV but not a regular sedan. And it needs an oil change….not our car so who cares.
So two lefts and one right takes us to Highway 350. We see a sign that says Kaanapali (they don’t put all their apostrophes on their signs so it should read like this: Ka’anapali) is 26 miles away. We’re both kind of shocked that it’s only 26 miles away. I knew the Island was small. Looking at it on a map or google earth is one thing, it looks big because you don’t have proper perspective, but to get there and read that the airport, which LOOKS far away, is only 26 miles away from our hotel.
It is roughly 1115 Maui time and I am awed by the sights, albeit dark ones. Haleakala looms to the left of us. Looms isn’t the right word. As we’re driving to our hotel we drive through the dormant volcano (the older one which is called the West Maui Mountains). Winding here and there. It may only be 26 miles but the speed limit maximum at one point is 55 miles per hour and for very good reason! Not that I have any idea what that is in kilometres, but it’s probably going to take awhile to get to the hotel. Before and after the volcano the highway, reminiscent of PEI highways (at one point one lane each way), is framed by trees. They hang over us with trunks that show their age. You can smell the green, too. The trees, the clean air, the Pacific ocean. It smells like clean, green air, untouched by a hundred or so years of pollution.
I cannot describe what it is like looking and driving through a mountain, especially when that mountain is actually a very dormant (possible dead?) volcano. And the size of it! I’m sure anyone who’s seen the Rockies would laugh at me. I don’t know which is higher but it made it more special for me knowing it was a volcano and not just a mountain (though I suppose technically, all mountains are probably dead volcanoes).
During our Vancouver to Maui flight, while the flight attendants were going through their shpeel, the lady said of the life vests: pull the cord and your life vest will inflate. If it doesn’t…then too bad. That made everyone laugh, of course. She was just kidding. There are two tubes that you blow into in case it doesn’t inflate. Chances are, though, that if I require a life vest AND the pull tabs don’t work, I’ll be too busy hyperventilating and in general panicking my butt off. I’ll just drown.
So we get to our hotel and check in. Walter tells us that there’s a bottle of champagne in our room because we’re on our honeymoon. Awww. It was some sort of upgrade our travel agent got us. We also got a free room upgrade.
We weren’t expecting much for our room. Standard hotel room and a queen size bed. Yeah, no. Our room is HUGE! Our bed is a king size. I don’t know, the room is huge. Our bathroom has a tub and a shower. I’ll have to draw a layout of the room. Mike took a video of it. Honestly, this room is better than any we’ve seen in Niagara Falls. And is bigger than most condos in Toronto!
So we changed into shorts and sandals and went to the beach. The water was like bath water. Ocean water! I love it! The stars were out and we could see the smaller Island of Moloka’i, though to say it’s small is wrong. It’s small in comparison to Maui, I suppose, but is actually huge.
When we were at the car rental place the lady said we had 3 cars reserved. Uh, we’ll just take the one, thanks.
So we came back to our room and drank our champagne. After being awake an untolled number of hours, champagne hits you rather hard. Especially when all you’ve consumed is a breakfast bagel belt, coffee, cookies and a wrap.
Day 1 of travelling is over. The moral of the day is do NOT, under any circumstances, believe you have enough time for a cigarette. Because believe me, you don’t!
Oh, and liquid pens explode on planes, as I found out on our Toronto to Vancouver flight.
So Mike’s parents drove us to the airport. Previously I had posted to facebook a helicopter tour that we were going to take, a full 65 minute Maui tour. On the way to the airport Mike’s Mom told us not to take any helicopters because they aren’t safe. We dismissed her comments. Why do I add this? It’ll be important later.