Why you should read the fine print (day 321)

And I thought my holidays were going so well.

By good old serendipity I found a place to stay in Hilo (I mean, why organise anything before you arrive) with the Minnesotans and a bunch of others. Turns out the same people who put us up in Oahu have hired a big-arse house outside of Hilo and invited a bunch of people to stay. Yay for me.

Satellite tv, hot tub, beer, comfy (super-king size) bed (even if I did have to share), ping pong table, good company, and amazing banyan trees across the way. What more could you ask for? (Or, for what more could you ask?)

First day of the tourney went really well too. An excellent team. We were 2 and 1 and looking good for a semis spot.

And the party was a rocking good time too. Even if it was closed down by the police at midnight (something to do with being in a public park). At least we didn’t give up without a few rousing renditions of some popular classics (‘Is this the real life…’).

It turns out Hilo is the wettest city in America. It rains 250 days a year, so they tell me. So they tell me now. No one was that surprised when it started bucketing down on Saturday night. A few eyebrows went up when it rained torrentially all night and had not stopped on Sunday morning. In fact, it ended up raining till Monday morning (with a very brief respite on Sunday afternoon).

But even that did not stop the good times. We blew off the Ultimate (they did play, but only 40% of the people actually showed up to get cold and muddy), bought breakfast things, hired movies and secured some beer and made a day of it. Not so bad, all in all.

Monday morning dawns. At least the rain has stopped. What better to do before heading back to Honolulu on the 2:30 flight (that time is important) than chow on down at Ken’s House of Pancakes?

So imagine the scene. 8 of us, sitting around a corner booth table Monday morning around 11:30 (ditto that time) in a pleasant pancake palace. I had the corn fritters. The pancakes were good too.

We are talking about our various travel plans (everyone is leaving Hilo soon), you know the way you do. And I think to myself, ‘I might just check my flight details’. Then I read the date. 25 February. Hmmm. I ask someone the date. 25 February. Hmmm. I check the date with someone else. It is still 25 February. Yes, they are sure.

There is something important here. If only I could get past the indolent haze that has descended on my post-corn fritter mind.

Ah. Now I get it. I am leaving today. And my flight is at at 2:30pm (to LA). And I am on the wrong island, booked on a too-late plane to Honolulu. I would rate my chances of catching my flight at a big zero percent just now.

It is important to retain perspective at times like these. We head off to the airport. There are no flights before 1:30. That gets me in at 2:30. Maybe if my plane is delayed leaving Honolulu…

So I call Qantas (parenthetically, the pay phone did not work as expected, so all the calls ended up being free – a measly compensation for missing the plane, but still Providence obviously did not want to punish me too hard). In my mind I am thinking that I am providing Qantas with an opportunity to show me how great they can be. Far more positive than thinking what a huge problem this probably is for them (although not as big a problem as for me, I guess).

The lovely woman in Arizona I end up speaking with informs me that no, my flight to LA is right on time. Time for a new plan. After considering many alternatives, we eventually settle on some flights that get me to Vancouver on Wednesday morning, almost exactly 24 hours late. Better than it could have been, I guess. And it cost nothing to change it. I love round-the-world tickets.

So here I am at Hilo airport. Waiting for the 1:30pm flight to Honolulu. And not going to LA. Funny how your day can change just like that. And all because you don’t really read all the pieces of paper that say 25 February. And especially you don’t read the one that says ‘Monday 25 February’. Oh well.

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