The Return via Honolulu
Our connecting flight to Newark didn't depart until 8:00 p.m. the day of our arrival in Honolulu, so we had made a reservation at the Doubletree Hotel Alana in Waikiki. We caught a cab to the hotel and hit some very heavy traffic for it being only 6:45 a.m. We were only in the hotel for about 10 hours, but due to the odd hours, we were charged for a day and a half. From the outside, the hotel has a very 1950-ish appearance, but the room was quite nice. We finally got to bed at around 7:30 a.m., rising at about 1:00 p.m. in time for a few hours on the beach at Waikiki. Then it was off to the airport again.
12/1/2000 HNL-EWR Continental Flight 14, McDonnell Douglas DC10-30 N17085
Here's a bit of trivia about this flight: it's the longest scheduled flight in operation between two points in the United States. After downing some decent shrimp cocktails at an airport concession across from our departure gate, we boarded our plane. This aircraft was relatively new by DC10 standards, built in 1979. However, the interior had seen better days. This was an ex-Finnair plane, and while the interior was completely retrofitted with the Continental standard fixtures, the intercom phone on the flight attendant station in front of my seat was still labeled "Finnair".
This flight was the second of two red-eyes in a row (the Island Hopper being the first), with a departure time of 8:00 p.m. for the 8-½ hour flight. We left on time with an extremely long takeoff roll from Runway 8R and began our lengthy flight over the Pacific. We made landfall at Salinas, California about five hours later. Dinner was served, and three movies were shown. I watched the last half of "The Replacements" and all of "The Wonder Boys" before trying to get some sleep. Liz was wide-awake and watched "Love and Basketball" in addition to the movies I saw. Breakfast was served about an hour out of Newark, and we had an on-time arrival there at 10:00 a.m. Being deposited into the cold bowels of New Jersey directly from Hawaii is a big shock to the system. We retrieved our luggage, waited about a half-hour for the Connecticut Limo van back to Norwalk, and boarded for the 90-minute ride. This ride would have been more pleasant had it not been for the woman behind us who insisted on yacking on her cell phone all the way from the George Washington Bridge to Stamford, well over an hour.
So, all in all, this was a great trip. Everything went incredibly smoothly - the Island Hopper delay was our most significant mishap. We were initially intimidated at the prospect of going solo in Tokyo, but it turned out to be no big deal. We did find that the eastbound jet lag is far more difficult to overcome than its westbound counterpart I'm still having trouble as I write this, nearly 48 hours after our arrival back in the USA. In total, we traveled about 17,600 miles on this journey.