And I Can Cook, Too

Monday, February 26, 2007

February 15, 16, what I thought was the 17th, 2007

I Come To The Land Down Under

I spent my last night in Hawaii mostly intoxicated yet with my eyes wide open, so as you can no doubt imagine I was the vision of loveliness when Kim arrived at my front door at 5am. To my credit, I was also awake, dressed, packed, and ready to go. Walter, who had come over the night before to say goodbye, loaded my bags, gave me a hug, and whispered a final “I love you” before I climbed into the jeep and sped off for the airport. I fought off the tears as we drove over the Koolau Mountain Range that had been the view from my living room window for the past six years. We arrived at the airport, and Kim, good friend that she is, recognized that simply dropping me off was out of the question. I just might not get on the plane. Or I might just get on the wrong plane and go home to my mother after all. Hell, leave me alone in that airport and anything could happen. Kim thought it best to at least be sure that I was in the right terminal. At the ticket counter we asked about the possibility of an upgrade, and with what would have been delight had I been able to muster any, found that I could fly first class for a mere additional $150. Needless to say, I took the offer. We proceeded to security, where we made the unfortunate discovery that I am not, in fact, a minor child in need of an escort, and Kim would not be allowed to walk me to the gate. Hey, it didn’t hurt to try. Another hug and another final “I love you”, and for the first time in over nine years I was on my own.

About ½ hour prior to boarding, I decided it was time to take Sarah’s parting gift: an anti-anxiety drug designed to take the edge off of everything from getting a divorce to selling your house to last minute and somewhat inappropriate declarations of love to moving to a country you’ve never been to before. Without the right visa. I boarded the plane and immediately asked for a mimosa. With my drink I was handed a little flight bag with a blanket, sleep mask, socks, and of course the requisite headset. I arranged my travel pillow and blanket, sipped my cocktail, and prepared for take off. As we climbed to 30,000 feet, I sipped a second cocktail and thought about all that my ex-husband and I had said the night before. I wasn’t having a change of heart, exactly, but I couldn’t help but wonder if things would have turned out differently if we’d had that talk years ago. Why, for example, had I never known that he thought I was good in “The Weir”? And when was the last time I’d heard “you’re beautiful”? Why hadn’t I known all along that he’d always believed I would amount to something? Most importantly, where the hell had Sarah gotten these amazing anti-anx

I woke up in Sidney.

My first thought upon disembarking at the Sydney airport was that it looks absolutely nothing like the Hawaii State Convention Center. My second thought was that I had to collect my luggage and change airlines. I paused briefly, and remembered that the last time I’d changed airlines mid-travel my luggage had been lost for almost a week. I was determined not to let that happen again. I proceeded to baggage claim and along with the rest of the crowd waited the arrival of my bags. First came the bright red Nike duffle, no mistaking that one. Shortly thereafter I spied my tremendously large Ross Dress for Less green jumbo suitcase with the sticker across the front that read “Heavy! Use Your Knees!” that the ticket agent had slapped on in Honolulu. I collected the monster bag and checked in for my next flight, which was blessedly uneventful, and two hours later I arrived in Adelaide. I picked up my bag and turned for the door. It was at this time I discovered my first blunder: My cleverly identified overly heavy Ross Dress for Less had a lock on it. A lock that wasn’t mine. Hmmm, I wondered. What were the odds that some nice baggage handler had developed concern for my clothings welfare and attached a lock to my bag that I would magically know the combination to? I thought it over and decided that the odds were not very good. Just to be sure, however, I opened the bag’s outside pocket and removed the contents: a honu coloring book. Hmm, I wondered. What were the odds that Kim had snuck a honu coloring book into my bag as a little way of reminding me of home? I thought it over and decided that the odds were not very good. Sadly, I made my way to lost luggage, handed over the bag I had stolen, and gave contact information for my now lost luggage.

I located the nearest payphone to call the hostel that I’d reserved to confirm their address. It was at this time I discovered my second blunder. Adelaide is one day ahead of Hawaii, and so although I’d left Hawaii on Feb. 15th, in Adelaide I’d left Hawaii on Feb. 16th. Because it was a 12-hour flight that landed the next day, I’d wrongly assumed that I would arrive in Adelaide on the 17th. Whoops, that timing goes the other way! I’d arrived on the 16th, and the hostel was full. “No problem!” I thought, spying the customer service desk, “There’s got to be a hotel around here somewhere.” I approached the girl behind the desk and explained my dilemma. “I’m so sorry” she said, grimacing, “we’re quite full this week. The only place we’ve got a room is at the Airport Hotel.” After being assured that the Airport Hotel had a restaurant, which at that moment was my only concern, she made the booking and within minutes the shuttled had delivered me to the hotel door. And what a hotel it was. My feet stuck to the spongy floor, the lobby was dark with cigarette smoke, and the other guests looked like they were paying by the hour. But hey, what did I care about any of that when there was in fact a restaurant right across from reception. “What time does the restaurant close” I inquired, thinking a quick shower might be nice. “Oh, you can’t get anything now” the woman behind the desk replied. “Not anything at all?” I said, in my most pitiful “please feed me or I am going to die” voice. “Well, maybe just some wedges” she said, “but you’ll have to have room delivery, and that’s three dollars more.” “What are wedges?” I asked, not really caring but just wanting to know what I was in for. “Well they’re $6.50, but you’ll have to have them to the room for $3 more, so that’ll be $9.50 plus tax.” “No, what ARE wedges?” I asked again, wishing to death I’d called the Hilton. “Well” she said, clearly perplexed and not too far from irritated, “they’re WEDGES. You know, thick chips!”

Meekly I signed my registration form, ordered and paid for my wedges, and made the way to my rent by the hour room. Moments later my wedges arrived. I managed to stay awake long enough to shove $3.75 worth down before I was once again fast asleep.

2 Comments:

  • At 4:23 PM, Blogger Lora said…

    Sweetheart! This was a big day for you! So touching and yet so appropriate for the beginning of this big adventure.

    Smooches,
    me

     
  • At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    thank you. You will be bigger than the Beatles!

     

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