Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ironman-Hawaii Day 1

Ironman WC Travel--Wed Oct. 5

Very excited to be heading to Hawaii for the first time and to attend the "Super Bowl" of Ironman Triathlons--THE Ironman.

Flying over the ocean is rather boring.  Not much to look at.  Although I did reminisce about being on a ship at sea.  I had made the voyage from Seattle to Australia twice.  Approx. 35 day crossings.  About 6 days to Hawaii where the closest we got was within 6 miles of Waikiki Beach.

I guess my desire (lack of) was tainted by my father's negative jeers about the 50th state.  Too hot, humid, bugs, ugly, expensive, dirty, unfriendly, etc.

While I looked out the window I did see two ships about 1,000 miles off shore.  One was a container ship heading north and the other a cargo ship heading south.  Sometimes I miss those days.  Sense of adventure.  Hint of danger. Something unique. Makes it interesting.

Long flight.  Got up once to walk around and go pee. 

Made it to Honolulu.  While flying over I saw Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial.  Would love to come back someday.  So much to see and do.  Was impressed with the sights, sounds and smells of Hono Airport.

SIGHTS:  Loved the outdoor air of the airport.  Much of the shops were outdoors but under cover.  There was also a tropical garden in the middle.  Lush green plants, water ponds and even fish.

SOUNDS: Immediately when the plane reached the gate, local music was piped throughout the plane.  Upon entering the terminal I could hear Hawaiian Key Guitar music.  Was very pleasant.  Much better than the elevator music of Anchorage and Seattle.

SMELLS:  Mmmmm.  Hawaiian food smells good.  They like their pork and chicken, mixed with the sweetness of tropical fruits and it is pleasing.  I took a pic of a restaurant that is just chicken.  Wendy likes chicken.  There is also the smells from the fragrant flowers.  They have flower stands that will make you a fresh lei.  You can also buy a miniature tropical plant.  I wonder how in the heck could I get one home and then how would it survive in that climate?

Had to take a shuttle bus to the inter-island terminal to catch my next flight once I got to the gate for the flight to Kona it was Ironman-Logo-Themed stuff all over the place.  People talked in different languages, too.  German, Australian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese.

Decided to change seats to the exit row.  More leg room.  Sat next to a couple from Raleigh, NC.  His friend is doing Ironman.  He did CDA in 2005.

Touched down onto the Big Island there isn't much to this airport.  All completely outdoor, ticketing, security screening, baggage claim, etc. is all outdoors.

There is a nice breeze blowing but it is humid and kind of warm, but very pleasant for sure.

I have about 3 hours to wait until Gretchen and Brad arrive.  I hung out at the baggage claim.  I like to people-watch.  For the most part, I can pick out an Ironman athlete--besides the IM Tattoo, "Biggest, Baddest T-Shirt", IM logo hats, luggage tags or bags.  They have a typical appearance.  Usually tall, very skinny, most men have short hair, shaved legs, athletic (expensive) running shoes.

My coach was right about the T-shirt thing.  I am glad I didn't wear my "Ironman in Training 2012" shirt but opted for the more unique BMW Adventure motorcycle rider shirt.

While watching people get their bags you can see how people act differently in new/unfamiliar surroundings.  While they figure out logistics (location, bags, travel, etc.).  Also the sad faces when they realize their bags or more importantly, bicycles, didn't arrive.  Lots of fancy bike boxes, crates, bags, etc.  I still think Tri-Bike Transport is the way to go.

Sister's plane finally arrived.  In waiting for them at the gate, I looked around and saw about 8 people holding up signs.  Obviously here to pickup someone whom they had never met.  So I quickly sketched out a sign in my journal in big letters, "SISTER ALOHA."  And held up the sign as she came through security.  She cracked up laughing.  We are so silly.

Collected their bags and then headed over to the car rental place.  The lady tried to upsell us on everything.  First by telling us that the car would be much too small given our luggage.  Then the additional insurance, then a GPS system and finally pre-purchasing the fuel in the tank.  No, no, no and no thank you.

Made it to the condo and wow.  This was pretty cool.  A very basic condo with 1 bedroom, bath, kitchen, laundry, living room with a pullout couch and a balcony.  It was nice.  Comfortable.  We immediately saw a gecko.  Very cute.

We dropped some stuff down and then headed out for Safeway.  While driving through town, we could see the Ironman Village and all the ironman logo stuff and people out biking and running.  We were so excited!!!

While at Safeway, wow!  Island prices are different than the mainland.  We had to think seriously a few times whether or not we wanted to pay double for something that we could get back home.  Our total bill, after savings, was $157.00.  Ouch!  But we kind of split it, sis paid $100 and I picked up the rest.

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