9 AM Continental flight from LA to Honolulu, arriving 11:30 AM. Before takeoff I was about to change seats, having been placed in the wrong section where there was no meal service. I was placed in the first seat behind first class where no movie is shown and smoking is permitted. The seat next to me was vacant and it turned out to be an excellent window seat with no seats in front and more legroom. Al, the in-flight supervisor, buckled up in the vacant seat on takeoff and offered me free drinks because of the seat change.
He took the seat again when a smoker was looking for a place to sit down. While the movie was being shown, he returned and we chatted about airline procedures and he showed me the coded passenger manifest with the VIPs circled in red. One being a man in first class who was aboard the flight that crashed on takeoff in March – – – destination – – – Honolulu. Great morale builder! Before deplaning, Al presented me with a bottle of the finest champagne ($3.49 a bottle) and I enjoyed it during my first two nights on Oahu. He was an attractive, personable, seat companion and provided an excellent beginning to a great vacation! I was too late though – – – he was getting married to another New Zealander on Saturday. Aloha!
A guide from Kuoni met our group at the airport and told us to take the tram to the other terminal where we would board our bus for the hotel. After being unable to get on the first two crowded trams I was separated from the group and half an hour had elapsed. By the time I located the group, everyone had already been leied!! Saved my first $8.00 because I wasn’t in the photographs.
Upon arrival at the Waikiki Outrigger about 1 PM, I asked the tour guide for local bus numbers and schedules to the Cultural Center at the north end of the island, 40 miles away. There was no return bus service that night so she called the center to see if I could arrange a ride on one of the tour buses already there. A man there told her I could ask for “Uncle George” at window two, pay $5.00, and get a seat back to my hotel.
Business concluded, I went up to a lovely eighth floor room with sitting room and balcony, overlooking Waikiki Beach, with luggage already delivered. After strolling the beach a couple of hours, I bought a cheese dog and piece of chicken and headed for the local bus.
The buses were jammed with people going home from work and after standing a while on the second bus I gratefully flopped on the backseat over the engine.
The ride along the coast was beautiful and well worth the 25¢ fare. My plans to eat along the way were foiled by a sign right over my head for bidding smoking, eating, or drinking. However the one and a half hour ride on the “hot seat” over the engine provided the perfect spot for my food, and I arrived with a toasty, warm cheese dog and revived the old fashion of wearing “hot pants.”
It was 6:30 PM when I arrived and all but one of the ticket windows closed, with Uncle George nowhere in sight. Looking perplexed, I was approached by a person wanting to know if he could help “Lady.” Feeling like an idiot I said I was looking for my Uncle George. He informed me that I could find him out in the parking lot past the buses. After wandering about unsuccessfully, he called out and said he’d take lady to Uncle George. We arrived shortly at a small secluded building, and doubts were definitely forming in my suspicious mind as his half covered crack led me up the steps. He opened the door and told me to go in and I was thankful that I had not had a chance to eat that greasy piece of chicken. Twenty or thirty half dressed drivers lay sprawled on carts and sitting around poker tables chanting to “come on in.” Reject was pulling me by the arm but I quickly started back down the steps and said I’d take a rain check. Finally, Uncle George himself came out and discussed my return trip, but said to look him up after the show. Not intending to return to this lion's den, I inquired as to just where he might be and he said “just outside the gate.” Anxious to retreat, I settled down in a lovely outdoor restaurant and feasted from my brown bag before the Polynesian show began.
The show was well worth the uneventful trip and, with a beautiful outdoor setting and a large talented cast. Early reservations provided me with an excellent third row center seat, from which I was able to take pictures during the well lighted performances. The conclusion came all too soon, not only because of the entertainment, but it was time to resume my search for Uncle George. After reviewing the troops lined up outside I finally settled on my first choice and felt relieved when he answered to his name. After the pay off of five dollars I lost no time in locating my return bus. Climbing aboard, I informed Pablo, our driver, of my presence only to learn that he was one of the returning passengers. Forget Pablo, I found a seat and vowed never to run away from home again by myself! Pablo turned out to be a never discovered shorter Jerry Lewis and because he would not be able to sleep on the return trip, was determined to keep the passengers from doing so as well. He kept us entertained with his discarded joke file and raced along the highway flashing on the inside lights when we passed other buses so we could give them the finger! Different ones took turns leading us in groups singing with old Hawaiian songs like “you are my sunshine”! One LA fan got a little static when she led us in “take me out to the ball game” —- if the Dodgers don’t win it’s a shame!!
No one ever got a greater relief with Ex-Lax than I got when my feet touched down in front of my hotel. Back on home ground my fearless instincts took over and I ventured across the street for a late night shopping at the International Marketplace. Finally giving in to exhaustion at 11 PM (2 AM mainland time) I retreated to my balcony with a nightcap of champagne and then plopped my head on my only security link with home my smooth satin pillowcase.