Saturday, July 10, 2010

60 Days of Summer - Day 1: The Longest Day

With Maui and Bahrain located virtually opposite longitude and latitude on the globe you have the choice of going East or West. We always fly via London with American Airlines as it is consistently cheaper and we are rather addicted to collecting AAdvantage miles which certainly mount up quickly when it is a 22,000 mile door to door trip. There is a funny story about which maybe I will share another time.

The more miles the better! We recently dropped from Platinum to Gold status from not flying enough and that cost us dear!

Being as we live right by the beach in Bahrain I have never actually got round to buying a roof rack so going to the airport is rather funny with board bags hanging out the back of our small VW Golf while we drive down the highway trying to avoid being hit by crazy drivers. At least when your board bag hands 4 feet out the back of your car they can’t get as close to your rear end as normal. Possibly because I had dedicated my previous post to the lottery of travelling with gear we got rather lucky (well extremely lucky thanks to Liz’s magic at the check in counter), they didn’t even weigh the bags and you can be sure that they were all over weight. I wish that had taken more but you’ve got to be happy with only paying 46BD ($122) for two bags of gear that less than 6 cents a mile per bag.

The longest day begins…

12:00am Friday (11:00am HST Thursday) picked by taxi from Floating City, Amwaj Islands, Bahrain (we had checked in earlier).

1:30am Friday (12:30pm HST Thursday) depart Bahrain on a rather hot and sweaty British Airways flight to London. Not much sleep.

6:30am Friday (7:30pm HST Thursday) arrive in London. With 4 hours in London early on Friday morning we had planned to meet family at the airport for a rare get together over an English breakfast. Andy was also bringing me a slalom board and sails so more excess baggage negotiations, again they went better than expected; we seem to be on rather a roll here. Was great to see everyone and lovely to be able to get a proper bacon sandwich, something that is rather missing in both Bahrain and the USA!

10:55 Friday (11:55pm HST) depart London for LA. 10 ½ hours seems like a long time and yes in Economy it is; no more to say! Some sleep but not enough.

I always try to travel on AA, it makes a differnce when you collect miles and usually they are quite good even if today they were not great. I do own AA stock so maybe I am biased?

2:10pm Friday (11:10 HST) arrived LAX. Exhausted! We have already been in airports or planes for almost 24 hours and still have to negotiate the immigration line which seemed to take forever but always good to hear a load speaker announcement “For those travelling with surfboards they will be brought to the baggage claim area” but the repeating video on big screens telling everyone about how to enter the US were rather tiresome by the 3rd run through. The magical words “WELCOME HOME” seemed to give us both a new lease of life; it was great to be finally back on US soil after 10 months on self imposed exile. After dropping off bags we were in search of decent food but just before our order came we realised that our flight was boarding then to our shock horror we were informed that our upgrade had not been processed for the first time in something like 8 years I’d have to suffer economy on the LAX-OGG of my route, I was really looking forward to my ice cream, nuts and strawberry sauce desert! Seems our luck had run out. We have recently lost platinum status from not flying enough last year and that meant that we didn't get first choice on the seats!

4:55pm Friday (1:55pm HST) finally the last leg to OGG - probably the best airport in the world ok probably I am a little biased but it holds so many special memories from my first arrival to Maui some 15 years ago to getting engaged to Liz in baggage claim next to carrousel #3. OK it wasn’t that bad, if you forget my broken seat, the line of people for the toilet in front of our space and no AA I don’t want to pay $8 for a blanket because it is too cold. We have been rather spoiled I guess and the ice cream in 1st really IS that good. However bad this leg of the journey could be I would rather have been right there sat in seat #9C than anywhere else in the world.

7:36pm Friday HST Friday finally arrive OGG. Collect bags, meet up with the US portion of our family and make our way 5 miles up the road to our North Shore retreat (8:46pm HST), a small house on a 2 acre plot a couple of hundred yards from the beach (and no we don’t own it, yet!).

OGG - home sweet home!

Door to door – 33 hours 46 minutes (including about 4 hours sleep)

Still plenty of time to get to Flatbread in Paia for some food, couple of beers and a good catch up with Anne (Liz’s sister), Tom (Hot Sails Designer + Anne’s husband) and Liz’s Mum, didn’t see Colin (Paia/Ho'okipa Legend) but I am sure we’ll catch up tomorrow. Was great to chat with Tom over a few Kona Firerocks and discuss new 2011 Hot Sails and a new range of fins (more about these in another post), looks like the waves are not going to be as good as expected but we are going to hook up and sail before going to a great party at a friend’s oceanfront house in the late afternoon, will be good to meet up with friends old and new and get the chance to sail off the beach in my friend’s back yard, don’t worry there will be pics and hopefully video (I get my GoPro tomorrow) in tomorrow’s post.

Since it's intoduction a few years back Flatbread in the heart of Paia has been a reall hit, a great place to meet up and catch up over a freshly cooked pizza and a few beers.

Kona Firerock, good fun beer!

11:59pm Friday HST - BED and not a minute too soon. Day #1 complete, I can’t wait to see the sunrise and the start of Day #2. I wish all days were 37 (24 hours + 13 time zone changes) hours long that way we could cram in so much more to our lives.

More to follow…

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