You Haven’t Arrived Until You’ve Been Hustled

Day 2 of travel and already it’s been exciting! Left Honolulu on Sunday afternoon for the 8 hour flight to Atlanta. Spent the day sleeping at Hollee’s house! THANKS GUYS! Then met my mom at the airport for our flight to Africa.

When I got on the plane, I asked the attendant how long the flight was. She said, “15 hours and 3 minutes.” I turned to mom and said, “It’s 15 hours, Mom.” And the flight attendant said, “Don’t forget the 3 minutes.”

While I was not excited about the prospect of being on the plane that long, I was looking forward to the movie extravaganza. I had been told that the 777′s have screens in the back of the seats that entertain you the entire flight.

Mom had the whole flight planned out. We would chat until midnight, then she would go to sleep. I planned to watch movie after movie… it would be a treat! We got on the plane and my mother’s screen wasn’t working. Then came an announcement that we would be delayed taking off because the entertainment system was on the fritz.


They ended up rebooting the system twice and got it working after about a 50 minute delay. Well worth the wait in my opinion. I couldn’t imagine 15 hours on a plane without some fictional person’s drama to keep me entertained. And apparently the crew couldn’t imagine it either!

I experienced a tiny thrill after lift-off when I scrolled through the menu and found at least 6 movies that I had missed because date nights are few and far between. We each picked a movie and pressed play and… nothing. The system wasn’t working. We were able to get the monitor in the empty seat between us working, but there was no sound… and the Japanese subtitles didn’t help any.

I have to give the crew a nod of appreciation. They tried. They rebooted that system at least 7 times (I’m no longer a fan of Linux). To no avail.

Believe it or not, it wasn’t that bad. For whatever reason, I arrived feeling pretty good and not a bit achey. It felt more like 10 hours than 15.

When we arrived, we sailed through “passport control” and then flew through customs where the officer who approached me said that Hawaii was a scary place. I just nodded and smiled. I didn’t realize at the time that he was a customs officer, since he talked and walked with me at the same time. I guess that was my inspection.

After we exchanged our currency we were descended upon by the porters. Two guys took our bags without really giving us a choice at all and we trotted along behind trying to make small talk. My guy had never heard of Hawaii. A minute later, we arrived at the shuttle terminal and I hand our guy some money… he pulled out a much larger bill and said, “We’re working the night shift, we don’t take any less than this.” He said that he and his friend would split it.

I hadn’t worked my head around the exchange rate yet so I agreed. When I took out the money he changed his mind saying that they each deserved that amount.

I said, “No, you can share it with your friend like you just said.”

We went back and forth a few times before he shook my hand and said, “a tip is a tip” with a sunny smile and disappeared into the night.

I knew I had been hustled, but I wasn’t sure for how much. Finally did the mental math and realized that I had tipped him a little less than $14 for 60 seconds of chit-chat and pushing a cart. But that’s okay — he was happy. I’m happy now that I realize I didn’t fork over a fortune.

I’ve been duped at least once in every country I’ve ever visited. (In Nepal, Kerry and I got squeezed by a 7-year old.) Just one more little story to add to the many I hope to acquire while on this amazing adventure to get daughter #2.

Whatchya thinkin stinkin?

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