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SATURDAY, JANUARY 13, 2001

I had slept instantly and without waking until 4:00. When Heidi woke she found me catching up with words in here. We were up and dressed and waiting on the wake-up call at 6:00 before we could go down to breakfast (included in our room price). I was not eager to eat because I was already full of butterflies but the buffet was so fresh and attractive I found myself trying this and that.

As soon as we finished eating we regretted our pleasure and had to make several service trips before we got enough pills in us to settle down to travel. By 7:15 we were lugging our even heavier bags out the door and at 7:25 the cab duly arrived and we were on our way to the airport. Here, even before a security check was the agricultural inspection Heidi had so dreaded. Yet she knew that each of her plant purchases had the big red stamp on them so she was okay. As her biggest bag went down the conveyor belt the guy stopped it. He had seen something suspicious! It looked like an apple. In front of a now-growing line of others, we had to walk around to the back of the area. All of our other bags were set on the floor so we could not grab them and run away. First the man showed Heidi what he was seeing and asked her what she had. I could see she was trembling. As she saw the shapes of other things in her bag she guessed that it was a round candle. But he had to see it. She had to find her keys, the ones for this bag and not the other, and get the two locks to unlock. The lines across the way got longer and longer. The man was very polite but very determined to be calm. He had all day to wait and nothing made any difference to him. I was feeling as if in the presence of a barely contained bulldog, when Heidi finally was able to reach down into the middle of the bag to pull out the plastic sack of candles. Instead of looking into the sack, he put the bag back on the conveyor belt and ran it though his machine again. The offensive object was gone. Now he asked to look into the sack and saw that there was a round candle just the size of the 'apple' he had seen. We could not get out of there quickly enough.

As we stood in the luggage check-in line I saw Heidi was still shaking. Even though a breeze was blowing though this outdoor airport, it did not cool either of us enough for our faces to stop burning. Rid of our bags, Heidi headed off to a magazine stand while I dashed into a gift shop hoping to buy gum for my dry mouth. When I found out that they had none, I went over to the shop where she was just walking out. As we talked (had she seen gum in here?) I spied a book on Hawai'ian origami that I wanted to add to my collection. How she laughed as she opened her sack to show me she had just bought the same book!

As we waited to load our plane we tried to work one of the designs (yes! I actually had origami papers in my purse) but we were too nervous to concentrate. The arriving plane was late so we had to wait even longer while it unloaded but finally we were off and waving good-bye to the Big Island with the giant wings of an Aloha airplane. It was so interesting flying so low over the other islands that we were in our descent before we expected it.

Yes, we had a long walk clear through Honolulu's airport, plus a shuttle bus ride. But our wait in Kona meant that we had no waiting here and began boarding directly.

Heidi remembered (I didn't) that I had wanted to call Werner from Honolulu so I made a very quick call that caught him by surprise. We were soon in our seats. Just two on a side, so we felt happily alone. They were very comfortable seats until it was announced over the inter-com that everything was ready to go except we had no pilots. They had to track them down to get them aboard! When they announced the results of that success we were also informed that the computer was broken. A man was fixing it but, the pilot warned, if the database was missing they would need an extra hour to install it. People who had to make connections with other flights (meaning Heidi also) would have to deplane to rebook their flights. Most of the others got off just to run around. I stayed here pressing my pen to these yellow pages.

Back on the plane Heidi said she had called Werner to tell him of our delay. Like a very old lady I was again impressed with the convenience of these new-fangled inventions.

We finally took off at 12:15 and it is now 3:50 HST and it feels as if the plane is descending. I've changed from my sleeveless sundress into the long pants, long-sleeved t-shirt and thermal shirt ready for the mainland January and home.

EPILOG

After some research on the web, I did order a ukulele. It is not as easy to play as it looked but I do enjoy plunking my way around simple songs. I can play "When the Saints Go Marching In" on all four strings without looking at the music! And I am still reading in The Early Serial Publications of The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The entry for February 20, 1918 reads: [From T. A. Jaggar's description of the Halemaumau crater at Kilauea] "On February 20 at 11 a.m. the relative level of lake [molten lava] to bench [hardened lava 'shoreline'] appeared the same. Crusts were heavy, the southeast cove appeared larger and there was fresh overflowing through the east gulch. Lava was welling up through the wall crack under the south station [observatory platform] and this crack was extending itself westward and producing fresh fall of rock. The crags [mountainous islands of layers of hardened lava] were all higher and steeper, the east ledge tumbling to pinnacles. The northwest fill [down fallen talus] was still higher, and the hissing of the vents was less, giving off the color of pure sulfur vapor. There slight flows in the afternoon, but up to midnight there was no marked change in the level of the lake which remained 20 feet below the rim of Halemaumau."

The End 

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Hawai'i with Heidi Copyright Jane Reichhold 2001.

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