Tuesday, 5th January 2015
Happy Birthday, Les!
Yesterday morning, Shan made us pancakes for our farewell breakfast while we packed our suitcases. Once more, we donned all the snow gear and boots, packed our bags into the car for the drive to Calgary and our overnight stay at the Residence Inn Airport Hotel. The scenery has mountainous until we reached Kaninaskis and the plains, although there was still plenty of snow cover all the way to Calgary.
Our first stop was at Avis so that David could change the Yukon for a small vehicle, as a seven seater would no longer be required. Unfortunately, the vehicle he had ordered wasn’t available, so he was upgraded to a GMC Arcardia, which wasn’t much smaller than the Yukon! All went well until he tried to unlock it – the driver’s door opened but none of the others. After consulting a couple of Avis employees, consulting the manual (all else had failed!) and fiddling with the computer screen, Dave was told he would need to change to a different vehicle. Suddenly, one of the Avis men pressed a button and all the doors unlocked, so the suitcases were quickly loaded and we departed for the hotel. After a quick lunch with us in a private booth with its very own television, David said goodbye and returned to Banff to collect Aidan from his first day at pre-school.
At 3.20 am, the alarm went off, we showered and dressed and were down in the lobby before our 4.00 am shuttle pick-up. With the temperature still below freezing and snow on the ground, the snow boots were still being worn. After checking in without any trouble, we discovered that we would clear United States Customs and Immigration in Calgary before we departed – the queue was soooo long! I could not believe that there were so many flights leaving at that hour of the morning. Of course, after immigration comes security screening, but we did have thirty minutes in which to have a muffin and banana for breakfast before our flight to Seattle was called. The plane had two propellors! Also, two people didn’t bother boarding the plane, so we had to wait for their luggage to be removed. Fortunately, little planes mean only a few people, so it wasn’t long before we were airborne. Two hours later when we landed in Seattle, it was still dark and raining. As our cabin bags were taken from us as we boarded the plane (something to do with no where to put them), we had to collect them before entering the terminal and proceeding to our departure lounge. Having been told in Calgary that no food would be available on our flights, we bought a sandwich to have for lunch on the six hour flight to Honolulu. We took off on time (the weather was still very cold, wet and miserable) for what was a quite boring flight, with no in-flight entertainment, but food available for sale! I also bought a novel at Seattle Airport as my Kindle kept telling me the battery was low and needed recharging. Of course, it lasted until we landed at Honolulu.
Our American flights are starting to become monotonous: my new case (no longer pristine looking) came down the chute without any trouble. Some time later, Himself’s arrived on the scene – with the front pocket half ripped off! The Alaskan Airlines lady was very understanding and offered him compensation in the way of free miles on his Alaskan Airlines frequent flyer scheme. Explained this wasn’t any good as we would probably never fly with them again and really needed a new suitcase to get home. She gave us a new suitcase (not as good a quality, naturally) from the storage supply – it would seem damage is a common problem – so all the contents had to be transferred in the arrivals area before we left the airport.
We are staying at the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach and our window and balcony overlook the beach and sea. From the time we arrived at the kerb, the service has been fantastic – our luggage was whisked away to reappear in our room, check in was done seated at a desk, with lots of extras being thrown in, a box of cookies was delivered to the room and there is a voucher for a free gift from one of the hotel shops. We had dinner at Dukes Restaurant, with an ice cream from Haagen Daz (just across the road) for dessert. After such an early start – and the addition of three hours – we will probably have an early night.