- Australia Trip Report: Introduction
- United 777 First Class: San Francisco – Honolulu
- Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach
- United Club Lounge + United Global First 747 Honolulu – Tokyo
- Thai Airways First Class A380 Tokyo – Bangkok
- Thai Airways Royal First Class Lounge & Spa Bangkok
- Thai Airways First Class 747 Bangkok to Sydney
- Christmas Eve on Darling Harbour
- Hotel Review: Park Hyatt Sydney Opera King Room
- Park Hyatt Sydney: Room Service and Breakfast at The Dining Room
- Sydney Opera House and Manly Beach
- Hotel Review: Hilton Sydney
- Air New Zealand Lounge + United 747 First Class: Sydney – San Francisco
- 6 Observations about Sydney
On the day of departure, I was running pretty late for the airport. I had intended to take BART to the airport, but my sister instructed my brother to drop me off directly at SFO (something about trains being less than safe), and my brother would not budge. We came into a great deal of traffic about halfway there and when it became clear we’d never make it to the airport on time, my brother dropped me off at the downtown Berkeley BART station. I made it to the gate just as boarding began.
I was flying an old United 777. I realized this as soon as I sat down – not just because of how ancient the cabin looked, but when the flight attendant came around with a box of cassette tapes. My first thought was, “Did Blockbuster have a fire sale on their old VHS tapes?” I was kind of thrown off and in disbelief when the FA walked up to me, holding a box of these like a peanut vendor at a ballpark, and asked if I wanted to watch a movie that wasn’t on the IFE. I hadn’t even checked out the IFE and was trying to imagine how awful it must be if they’re handing out tapes. I declined, and she made her way around the cabin, recommending films like “Meet the Millers” and other new releases I wasn’t paying attention to.
Lunch was served pretty quickly. I make it a point not to order chicken on a plane (it’s always crack powder dry) or steak (it’s always tough and overcooked), so I got the Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni. Oddly, there was a piece of smoked salmon along with some vegetables that were left untouched. It was a decent meal, though not terribly flavorful. The FA’s seemed friendly and enthusiastic about their jobs.
Since I hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before, I dozed off after lunch. As old as this plane was, the fact that it had a lie-flat seat was pretty impressive. It was a short 5-hour flight that went by quickly. I would have a layover in Honolulu, where I was hoping to relax and prepare for the sleep deprivation that was to come.
Since this trip was so last-minute, I hadn’t had a chance to book my hotel yet. I stopped by the luggage carousel and quickly booked the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach. There were two reps from Speedi Shuttle standing nearby, offering rides to various hotels, including the Hyatt. The fare was $14 each way or $26 roundtrip. I was told the shuttle departs every 15 minutes. It took nearly 45 minutes before the shuttle arrived. As soon as we entered the freeway, I understood why – traffic was insane! The hotel was just 9 miles from the airport, yet it took about an hour to get there. At least the shuttle was comfortable and air conditioned.
I’m pretty sure our driver was on something, because in addition to being a weirdo, he circled the same hotel three times before dropping passengers off.
During the ride, we noticed a huge tent city right under a freeway overpass. One of the passengers sitting in front of me claimed “the government” pays to send homeless people from colder states to Hawaii during the winter so they don’t freeze to death. I have yet to find evidence that this is true, but if any of you can confirm/debunk this one way or another, I’m all ears.
I eventually made it to the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, an experience I’ll outline in the next post.
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