It seems the only way to fly (cheaply) from Sydney, Australia to Honolulu, Hawaii is to fly through the night. Sigh. And this grueling, multi-time zone flight guarantees two things: a wicked case of jet lag, and arriving at your hotel at the absolute worst time.
When you arrive at 6:45 in the morning, no hotel in the world wants to see you. Last night’s guests are still in bed, the maids haven’t even arrived for work yet, and no matter how much sweet-talking you try, the bottom line is that it’s too early to check in.
We had arranged an apartment rental, and unfortunately, the building didn’t open it’s doors until 8 o’clock. So we did what any good Americans who’d been out of the country circling the globe for 6 months would do – went to 7-Eleven for a chili dog and Coke Zero breakfast! Nitrates and artificial sweeteners have never tasted so marvelous, and it was only sheer willpower that stopped us from getting a Dove Bar to top it all off.
At 8 o’clock sharp we wandered over to the apartment complex and discovered that the cleaners wouldn’t be finished until 1pm. Sigh again. What now? We could barely hold our heads up, and there was nowhere to wait. So we decided to use the tried-and-true traveler’s strategy – “Think Big and Blend In.”
Years ago we discovered that the key is to find a big, name-brand hotel with a nice lobby, join the throngs of tourists streaming in, and find a comfy place to sit for a few hours. We scoped the streetscape for recognizable names, and aahhh, there it was … the Sheraton; a veritable cornucopia of quiet corners with cozy chairs.
Luck was smiling on us and we found a couple of overstuffed armchairs, looking out over an emerald green lawn, Waikiki Beach, and the gorgeous, blue Pacific. The view was fabulous, but little did we know it came complete with entertainment.
Out on the grass a hula lesson was in progress. A beautiful young woman in an enticing sarong was trying to teach a group of stiff, awkward tourists the basic steps. She was a study in grace and poise, her long, dark hair blowing in the tropical breeze. While her hands told the story, the mesmerizing sway of her hips ensured that not only all the students, but a couple of jet-lagged gypsy interlopers paid close attention.
Needless to say, jet lag eventually descended and we took turns drifting off for a few minutes, but when our eyes opened, the view never changed and we couldn’t hope to find a more pleasant way to pass the time.
Terri & James
1. Ron Ardis via Wikimedia Commons
4. Frank Kovalchek via Wikimedia Commons