Steve's China Blog

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Long and sometimes strange journey

Wednesday morning I woke up early and worked an early shift so that I could finish work that day and go to the airport in the afternoon for my flight to Beijing. Traffic to the airport was a bit heavy since it was the beginning of a holiday in China (Dragon Boat Festival), but I made it to the airport in time for my flight. Of course, my flight was then delayed 2 hours so I ended up arriving in Beijing really late. By the time I got to Jackie's apartment it was almost midnight, and we had to get up in a few hours to catch our early flight to Tokyo.

To get to the airport we took the subway. There is a subway station close to where Jackie lives and the whole trip took about 45 to 50 minutes. It was the first time I had been on the subway in Beijing, and it was not too crowded that early in the morning. When we got to the airport we checked in at the Northwest Airlines counter, and it turns out that there was a problem with Jackie's passport.

Normally you need to have at least 6 months remaining on your passport, and Jackie's passport was going to expire in something like 5 months and 20 days. We were not sure if they were going to let Jackie fly to the US, and I really had no interest in going on this trip by myself. After a few minutes the person working at the check-in counter gave Jackie a disclaimer to sign that stated she was willing to take the chance and fly to the US with less than 6 months remaining on her passport and we could go.

We slept through most of the flight to Tokyo. Our stopover in Tokyo was more than 7 hours, so we had plenty of time to wander around the airport and visit just about every store there. Jackie bought some snacks and I bought a book called Dirty Japanese for some friends in Chengdu who are studying Japanese. We found some interesting choices in the soda machine...

Some drinks in a soda machine in Tokyo airport

We found a nice sushi place and ate there. We had some miso soup, some spicy tuna sushi, some shrimp and avocado sushi, and a salad with some different type of sashimi. It was really good, especially since I had only eaten airplane food the day before and would be eating airplane food for the next day too.

Getting ready to have some sushi

Our flight from Tokyo to Honolulu left on time, and we arrived in Hawaii a little early. For some reason I was thinking that the flight would be more than 10 hours, but it was only a little over 6 hours. When we got to Honolulu and were going through immigration they spotted the problem with Jackie's passport and we had to visit the INS office there. Normally people with this particular passport problem have to pay some fee of $540, but they gave Jackie a waiver for the fee.

View of the coast of Big Island from the air

Our connecting flight to Kailua-Kona airport on Big Island was only 40 minutes, and after arriving on Big Island we got ourselves a rental car... a cute little red 2-door Jeep Wrangler Sport. On the way to the hotel we stopped at a little scenic overlook place and took a few pictures, and I also pulled out my laptop which had directions to the hotel (which I had forgotten to printout when I was back in Chengdu).

A view from a scenic overlook on the way to our hotel

Me with our little red jeep. Happy to finally be in Hawaii

We are staying at the Holua Resort at the Mauna Loa Village, which isn't really a hotel. It's more like a condo resort complex, and is really nice. We have a big living room, 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a kitchen, and a big balcony outside with a view of the ocean and a golf course.

Entrance to the resort

In the evening we decided to go to a place called Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill, which I had read about on the internet. It was a little hard to find (we found it by accident really), but the food was really good.

Jackie ready to go out to dinner

We had calamari for an appetizer, some grilled fish called ono with some steamed shrimp for the entree, and a glass of wine.

Enjoying some calamari

After dinner we drove to a nearby Safeway to get some food for breakfast and some snacks the next day. We didn't spend too much time at the grocery store since we were both pretty exhausted from our trip; so we just bought some fruit, juice, coffee, nachos, salsa, and a bottle of wine. After leaving the store we were walking up to the jeep, and Jackie noticed that the jeep I was walking to was not red, but green. Where was our jeep? Oh great, someone stole our jeep!

We went back into the store and asked them to call the police for us. Some of the people that worked at the store went out to double-check if our jeep was missing or not. Sure enough... no red jeep. Just a green jeep where we had parked our red jeep. After a few minutes the police showed up and we walked over to where our jeep had been, and the policeman shined his flashlight on the green jeep... which then turned red! The green jeep was actually our red jeep! Under the yellow light overhead it looked green. Does this look like a red jeep to you?

How our jeep looked under the yellow lights in front of the Safeway

It was strange. Anyway, everyone was relieved that our jeep had actually not been stolen. Jackie and I got back to our place at a little after 9:00pm, and we decided to call it a night. It had been a very long and eventful day and we were both in need of sleep.


  • That jeep looks red to me. What were you two smoking. ;)

    By Blogger Luekutus 14™, at 7:38 PM  

  • Steve,

    Stay away from the Kona Bud. It is too strong for you. Do you have any nature treks planned?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:51 PM  

  • Did You two get drunk? :-) Enjoy your trip. Tony

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:14 AM  

  • All I'm smoking is some Japanese cigarettes I got in the duty free.

    Stay away from Kona? The riptide or the coffee? Haha!

    We haven't got drunk yet. Jackie had her first Mai Tai. I'll post more about that later.

    By Blogger Steve Harms, at 2:57 AM  

  • This exact thing happened to me and my dad in Arizona once. We went in to some store and when we came out, there was no red car to be seen. We almost called the cops too until we realized what the lights had done to the color of the car. It was very, very strange! Glad I am not the only one this has happened to.

    By Blogger Gabby Girl, at 10:49 PM  

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