Hawaii: Semo Arrivati or How to avoid looking like a tourist
After a 13-hour day of traveling, I made it to Honolulu.
I left home at 4AM, having been given a ride to the airport by the ever-generous Scott, who volunteered to wake up early and drive me to Baltimore Washington International Airport, which is so far away from DC it might as well be an international destination. Travel was uneventful-- so much so that it was eerie. Flights left on time, landed early, and gave me just enough time to walk to the next gate and take my seat on the subsequent plane.
I did get to see my share of airports. I think that hanging out with my brother, who plans airports for a living, has made me look at them with a new, and somewhat unusual, appreciation. From the tarmac, Denver International Airport looked just like it did in all the still shots I had seen on Colorado news, taken back when they were building the thing and I still lived in Peru (go figure why we got Colorado broadcast news on Lima cable tv). The tilted turrets of tented space-age polymer do evoke the image of snow-capped peaks and roadside drifts of the cold, white stuff. LA International airport was as congested as any of the city's highways during rush hour. The approach into the airport reminded me of flying over the rocky piles of soil and dirt that make up Lima's mountains. The thick cloud of brown crud that lingered over the whole city (I hear Angelinos call it smog)
ruled out LA as a potential place to live if I ever choose to move across the country. Honolulu's airport is stubbornly tropical, with a driveway that extends all the way to the gates and lots of open corridors--reminds me of where my dad teaches in Costa Rica.
Dylan, my college friend, fraternity brother and personal purveyor of all-purpose insensitivity, was waiting for me outside the gate. Faithful to his disregard for touristy things, he did not have a lei for me. I appreciated the gesture, as once I got a look at the Dalton family flying in from Carson City I realized that it could quickly escalate into a demonstration of distasteful floral carnage.
Making our way through amnesty bins for all forms of mainland-originated produce, the "Mahalo for your attention"s, and the overloaded baggage conveyors surrounded by assorted families, we eventually made it to the car. Dylan and I cought up on details and general pleasantries and such as Dylan's dad drove the car down H3, Hawaii's newest Interstate Highway.