Thursday, May 9, 2002

San Francisco to Sydney - Day 25

Day 25 : San Diego to Honolulu, Oahu

Regular readers will know by now that I don't like early starts. So you can guess how I felt about getting up this morning before 6:00am for a short flight to LA, followed by a lengthy transit stop and then an even lengthier flight to Honolulu. In truth though, it wasn't all that bad.

Our first flight, from San Diego to Los Angeles, was in a 30-odd-seat twin-prop SAAB jet. The cruising speed for these planes - about 300 mph (480 kph) - is only about 60 percent of that of jets such as 767s, but even at SAAB-speed the flight time is only 32 minutes. I think that the airlines use SAABs for this flight because they're concerned that they couldn't get a jet up in the air and then down again without repeatedly overshooting Los Angeles.

The second leg of our journey, from Los Angeles to Honolulu, entailed a 5½ hour flight. This was, thankfully, smooth and uneventful. Debbie and I declined to pay $5 each to rent a pair of headsets to watch the single movie on offer : surely there's no more telling a sign that the major airlines are in financial trouble than when they start to do things like this.

Flying into Oahu Debbie was in charge of in-flight photography today - she had the window seat - and she snapped off a few photos as we approached the island of Oahu. One of these photos appears at left. It's a very pretty approach, with green hills, mountains and volcanoes interspersed with houses, streets, parks and watercraft, the telltale signs of human habitation.

Coming to Hawaii, we'd hoped for warm, sunny weather, knowing that we'll soon be back in Australia for our third successive winter. Well it's certainly warm, but it's also overcast and exceptionally humid. We're hoping for a big overnight storm to reduce the humidity and blow the clouds away.

Ocean View from Aqua Marina You might recall that we paid extra for ocean views in San Simeon. Well here in our Honolulu hotel we got them thrown in for free (see the circled portion of the photo at right). We'll not be mentioning it to the front desk.

We opted, for a small incremental daily fee, to use our room safe. Opening it we discovered that the previous guest had neglected to clean it out and had left his most precious assets behind : a pair of Nike Airs.

With too much time on my hands today and thoughts of Dr Seuss still rattling around my head, I decided to pen the following tribute. So, with sincere apologies ...

Plain Plane Refrain

Today we caught a little plane

No, not a train; a tiny plane

We caught today a little plane

Which touched down on LA terrain.

And then we caught a bigger plane

Still not a train; a larger plane

Yes, next we caught a bigger plane

Which took of from LA terrain.

Both planes we caught were very plain

They looked the same; unlike a train

We caught planes that were very plain

Plain planes they were, distinctly plain.

The second plane, the bigger plane

(Though both were plain and both were planes)

Was plainer than the smaller plane

And not a plane which I could name.

And neither of these two plain planes

(which were not trains) had come from Spain

These planes were clearly not from Spain

Where rain falls mainly on the planes.

Our second plane, the bigger plane

Plainer of planes, and hard to name

Did not fly over any plains

This plain-free plane, our plainer plane.

The smaller plane, the less-plain plane

Flew over plains, and will again

That plain plane, lesser plain of planes

As it departs LA terrain.

So here I end this tale of planes

A plane refrain which talked of rain

I end this set of plane quatrains

And honour Doctor Seuss' name.

Let this serve as a demonstration to you of the dangers of mixing too little sleep, too much caffeine and far too much time in a confined space.

Originally posted by TC

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