Friday, July 18, 2014

Godzilla Tour of Destruction

United Airlines 155 Majuro - Honolulu
Today is one of those days that never seems to end.  My Friday the 18th will last 40 hours because I'm crossing the International Dateline.  I'm on the Godzilla tour of destruction, visiting three locations that were attacked in the most recent movie.  Starting in the Marshall Islands, I'll have layovers in Honolulu and San Francisco on my way back to Washington, DC.

There was a time that I thought the Continental Island Hopper was the greatest thing ever.  Now I am old and jaded.  The flight from Majuro to Hawaii is the second worst flight in the world, surpassed in misery only by the flight from Pohnpei to Hawaii.  It's not so bad when you are just going to Hawaii, but if you are connecting it sucks because you lose a night of sleep.

I checked out of the Robert Reimers Hotel in Majuro just before 5 PM and the hotel staff drove a group of us travelers to the airport about 30 minutes later.  In the van was a fellow University of Richmond alum; Tom is the legal council for the Pohnpei Senate and lived in Saipan in the 1970s.  I've known Tom for a few years, but didn't find out these two facts until this trip.  It turns out we know a lot of the same people.

The Majuro airport was bustling at 6 PM.  People who fly in and out of Majuro usually fly often, so the premier line was just as long as the regular line.  When checking in the United staff open your luggage and manually give it a search.  I've never thought to ask what they are looking for.  It could be fish.  About half of the suitcases leaving Majuro are coolers, and the United staff has to help ensure everyone is following the procedures for traveling with raw fish.

There is an amazing bar called Harry's hiding in a small room behind the check-in counter.  In all of my previous visits to Majuro I had not noticed it existed.  The place has more character than most bars in Micronesia.  It's a great way to cap off a great trip.

After two beers, the fearless travelers piled through security and into the departure lounge, where we proceeded to drink two more beers and snack on tuna jerky, which is some of the most pungent, yet delicious grub ever made.

The flight itself was uneventful.  The flight was full, but I had an exit row seat with an empty chair between me and the person in the aisle.  I had a nice chat with her; she was an environmental lawyer and we talked about the work we each did in the islands.  After some time, we each pulled out our respective books and politely ignored each other for the rest of the flight.

The flight left Majuro at 8:05 PM and landed in Hawaii at 2:50 AM, the morning before we left.  Thanks to the International Dateline, with a long layover, you live the same day twice.  With a short layover, you arrive just hours after you left.

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