June 23rd:

My day started with a phone call at 1:15am. It woke me up enough to listen as the answering machine got it, but I was out of bed as soon as I realized who was on the line: American Airlines. They were calling to say that my already-rescheduled flight to Dallas-Ft Worth was going to be delayed, which would make me miss my connection there. Fortunately, they had an alternative - they could re-route me through Chicago, and get me to Honolulu 2 hours earlier. The bad news was that the Chicago flight was leaving at 6:26 am instead of 8:24 am.

I took the offer. My next order of business was to call my ride to the airport and reschedule, and then I went back to bed for about an hour. Got up at 3:00 am, put the finishing touches on the packing (basically just the toiletries), fed the cat, and at 4:30 the car arrived.<\p>

I also managed to squeeze in a little internet action, where I selected my seats for my rescheduled flights. I ended up in the exit row for both, and that was absolutely a good idea. The AA site teased me a little by showing me the opportunity to put in an upgrade request for the Chicago flight - it seems as if, because these were rescheduled flights, they weren't classified as 'reduced-rate economy', which meant I could buy upgrades for them, subject to space. Sadly, space wasn't available. Maybe next time.

At the airport I checked in my two bags, and got through the security check point with no problems. It was while waiting for boarding that my total lack of sleep began to catch up with me - sitting around doing nothing isn't easy on 3 or 4 hours of sleep.

The first leg of my trip to Honolulu took me to Chicago's O'Hare on a McDonnel-Douglas Super 80. I left from gate A7, and sat in seat 21A, which was, as already mentioned, an exit row. The best part of this was the leg-room, which was amazing, even better than the normally good leg-room in coach on AA. The trip was just about 2 hours long, an hour and a half less than the trip to Dallas, and I made it through without any trouble.

After eating breakfast in Chicago, I waited around some more at gate K11 for the second leg of my trip to Honolulu to begin. The Boeing 767 left on time at 8:55 am (CDST), and I was in seat 20A, which was not only an exit row, but also a bulkhead row (extra, extra leg room). To make things even better, seat 20B was empty. The flight lasted some 8 and a half hours, which was oddly about the same time the trip from Dallas would have been. This wasn't quite as easy to endure, even with the leg room. The arm rest between the seats didn't lift up, the cabin was cold (though we had blankets, which I really needed), and the hardest thing of all was that it was 8+ hours long! The in-flight movies were Racing Stripes (I didn't listen), and The Incredibles (I listened to about half). I tried to sleep, but wasn't all that successful despite my tired state - the situation was just too uncomfortable to drop totally off for very long. The flight wasn't totally full, with plenty of seats open in the coach cabin, which was nice.

The flight landed eventually, and I got my bags, caught a cab to the Waikiki Sand Villa hotel, and checked in. The hotel is nice, not luxurious, but nice. My room is a little small, but it is a corner room (which I requested), with a view of the mountains, canal, and golf-course to the north of Waikiki. The windows open, and the balcony outside goes around the corner. The view is nice, especially of the outrigger boats in the canal.

After calling my sight-seeing tours and events to re-confirm my reservations, I headed out to walk around a little and find some lunch. I didn't go too far because I didn't want to get lost. The weather was nice, with a stiff breeze and some clouds. I didn't manage to find the ocean, but I know where it has to be. I had lunch at Denny's at about 3:00 pm local time (6 hour time difference, I believe). On the way back to the hotel, I stopped in a supermarket for some drinks and snacks (the store is across the street from the hotel). I spent a few hours watching TV, then went back out at about 8pm for dinner, which I found down near the waterside (sunset had passed, so I didn't see the surf) in a nice little sushi restaurant. I'll do more exploring tomorrow, including the ocean and Diamond Head, before my first event, a luau in the evening. I'm pretty tired at the moment (10:21 pm), so I'll leave this account now.

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