Monday, August 26th, 2002:

I gained entry into UA’s Red Carpet Lounges in Honolulu and Phoenix without incident, but as the LA-Phoenix leg of the journey home was in economy class (there wasn’t anything else on the tiny plane), I couldn’t get into LAX pamper-palooza. That the gatekeeper there referred to my boarding pass as a free ticket wasn’t lost on me — I earned that ticket, bee-atch!

For anyone jealous of my business-class vacation, don’t be. I’m pretty much over it. Yeah, there’s more legroom and yeah, you can drink like a fish if you want to, but for me it ain’t worth paying for either of those privileges. Even the elusive and exclusive Maple Leaf and Red Carpet Lounges can’t deliver on what they promise; they’re kind of like the VIP theatres at The Varsity — chock full of dumbasses like you and me, but who somehow think they’re better than everyone else. I’ll take Virgin Blue any chance I get, thanks!

My return to Honolulu was pleasant but a little rushed. Coming in from the Pacific side meant jet lag of the sleep-in variety, so no early-morning dip in the ocean for me. Instead I drove my rented convertible over to Pearl Harbor, and missed that memorial’s last ticket for the day. I didn’t feel too bad; apparently you spend twenty bucks to watch a film, then take a boat out to a cement block to hang beside the mast of the sunken Arizona, just peeking through the surface. Thankfully I could still get on board the U.S.S. Missouri, which I did — learning about America the war-monger was much more enlightening than honouring America the victim!

On my way back into town I returned to the Ala Moana Shopping Center, the only place I knew of to procure indigenous cuisine for less than twenty bucks. Through a misunderstanding I concentrated mostly on the laulau, consisting of pork meat (good) coated with pork fat (awful) wrapped in taro leaves (good)… And threw the poi out! I thought you had to spoon the tasteless, starchy purple goop on its own, not realizing I could dip my other courses in it, or as suggested to me, mix in some sugar and eat as dessert. Yeah, maybe next time…

I parked my car and walked Waikiki end to end, but by the time I got to the site of the free beachside movie it was time to haul my souvenir-filled bags to the airport. And here I am, 100K Aeroplan miles later, worn of body but broadened of mind. I’ll most definitely be doing this again. But the photos will have to wait… I need me some sleep!

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