Hawaii 2009

I love my job, I got the Hawaii training again, I flew down a couple of days ahead of time so I could squeeze in a dive. I had a direct flight on the way down, I opted to pay the extra $25 to get an exit row seat and it was worth it. I left Minneapolis at 11:30 AM and arrived in Honolulu at 4:10 PM. Once I collected my luggage I was off to find the rental cars. I was stumped for several minutes until I saw the Waikiki  buses, then I remembered from my last trip here that they will take me to the rental car location.  I feel sorry for first timers to the Honolulu airport, they must wander around for hours trying to find the rental cars.

 

I fired up my GPS and headed to the Doubletree Waikiki, I had stayed here last time and it is definitely a nice hotel for the money. My room was $120 per night, of course I had to pay a parking fee for my rental car. I unpacked and headed out to explore Waikiki. I eventually ended up at Cheeseburger in Paradise for dinner, just down the block from the Doubletree.  It was 8:00 PM by the time I ate, 12:00AM Minneapolis time so I was ready to eat and go to bed. I don't know why I ate at "Cheeseburger" again, I didn't care for it much the last time I was here and I liked it even less this time. My burger was greasy and some weird spice, ginger I think, that I didn't like. They also up-sold me on everything; I ordered a beer and they gave me a 23 ounce beer, they asked me if I wanted fries and for some reason I assumed that they were included with the meal (I blame the jet lag), so my beer and cheeseburger cost $24 plus tip.

I woke up early Saturday morning, 6:00 am, like I always do because of the four-hour time change. I ran and lifted weights at the Doubletree health club facilities, not bad facilities, decent weights and cardio equipment. After my workout I walked to a greasy spoon diner a couple of blocks from the Doubletree called Wailana Coffee House. It is the perfect cafe, it looked like it hadn't been remodeled since the sixties, they have autographed pictures of celebrities, I assumed had eaten there, in the entrance and the place was packed. I was by myself so I was able to quickly get a spot at the counter. I am normally a pancake person but since I worked out I needed protein, I opted for the ham and cheese omelet- very good. I was seated by the cashier and I noticed something odd, the customers would bring their check to the cashier to pay and the cashier would ask if they wanted to leave a tip. Over sixty percent of the people would say no; what a bunch of cheap asses.

 

I spent the rest of the day researching dive shops and just hanging out. I went to the Ala Moana Mall looking for sandals. I spend the afternoon on the beach, patrons of the Doubletree can use the beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The Hilton is amazing, beautiful shops, nice restaurants and a gorgeous stretch of beach. I swam and read a while enjoying the eighty degree temps knowing it was snowing in  Minneapolis. I was craving Thai food for dinner and I though Honolulu would pe the perfect place to get good Thai food, I was wrong. I ate at  Keo's Thai Restaurant and it was not good, our Thai restaurants in Minneapolis are much better.

 

I got up early on Sunday (again), had breakfast and waited for the dive shuttle. I called Dive Ohau on Saturday and booked a two tank dive.  We had over twelve divers  going out, they split us into groups of four so even though the boat was crowded we had only four divers per dive master.  Our first dive was a wreck dive, it was nice, we saw a large turtle and the dive master coxed an eel out of a cranny on the boat.

 

The second dive was shallow, it was thirty to forty feet and it had an amazing start, our group entered the water, the dive master and I were in the lead and the rest of the group was not far behind. The divemaster and I saw it at the same time.  Later I said it was  twelve feet long the dive master said eight feet, I would guess he was right. It was tiger shark. I immediately knew it was a tiger; the square nose and barely discernable stripes on its side. It slowly swam past, within twenty feet of us, not paying much attention to the two divers gawking at it. The divemaster had his Nikon DSLR and was shooting HD video of the shark. I had ruined my camera during my last dive in Isla Mujeres, so I got no pictures, no video. I've dove and snorkeled with nurse sharks and Caribbean reef sharks but this was even more amazing! After the shark swam past the dive master (a college student), looked at me wide-eyed and I could hear him yell "wow" into his regulator. The rest of the dive was just a blur after having seen the tiger at the beginning. The dive master promised to send the video to me or post it on YouTube but he did neither, even though I emailed him once I got back to Minnesota. Below is video from YouTube of a tiger, not the one I saw, but from the video you can see what an amazing animal they are.

 

 
 
 

I walked back to the hotel after the dive and showered. I headed out to find a sports bar to watch the Vikings game. I was in luck, the game was originally suppose to be a noon game televised locally but the Vikings and Cardinals were both at the top of their division so the game was moved to Sunday night back on the mainland, about 2:00 PM Hawaii time. I did a search on Google Maps and found Moose McGillycuddys, it fit the bill for the game, it had a lot of flat screen TV and served beer and burgers. Unfortunately the Vikings lost!!

 

Monday is always an easy day for seminars. All I have top do is set up the equipment and that usually doesn't take more that three hours (normally I am flying in). The seminar is being held at a Liberty dialysis clinic in Waipahu. It is  about a twenty minute drive from my hotel to the clinic, however, my GPS let me down and it took about fifteen extra minutes to find the clinic. The set up went smoothly until I tried to connect my computer to my LCD projector. I had just upgraded my netbook to Windows 7. I heard that if your hardware works in Vista it will work in 7, wrong! My USB to VGA adapter did not work. I had to fix it so I could give my PowerPoint presentations. Luckily Mike, our salesperson, showed up. He had a 3G adapter for his computer so we were able to access the internet and go to the manufactures website and download a Windows 7 beta driver for the adapter.

 

Class went well, they have a bright group of people working for Liberty. We met Thursday morning to perform annual maintenance on the machines at the clinic and it went really well, we were done by 11:00 PM. I packed up my equipment we had lunch and I left for the airport.

 

I was suppose to stay one more day and go back into the clinic on Friday to make sure that the machines didn't have any issues but I had to cut my trip short to leave for Bolivia on Sunday. My flight was not until 9:00 PM so I went back to the Borders in Honolulu, I was going to use their free wifi and to check my email and check in for the flight but the coffee shop area was packed, not an emply seat in the place. I decided that I would go to the airport, I was about five hours early but I couldn't think of any other place to just hang out.

I grabbed dinner at Kona Brewing Company in the airport, it was quite good. I connected in LA and arrived in Minneapolis shorltly after noon. I only had a short time at home to repack my suitcase and get ready for Bolivia.

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