May 9, 2002

    This was the day to fly to Honolulu. We got up early and left the hotel room at 6:30pm. As anticipated, there were some extra steps of security checks for the check-in baggages and the security check at the entrance to gates had a long line. But having some time margin always gives mental ease. We two, together with some other passengers but not all, were subject to the second security check at the gate before boarding. We took American flights to Honolulu with a transfer at St. Louis in the first class, because the cruise company provided them that way as a part of promotion. The airplane 767 from Ft. Lauderdale to St. Louis had TWA painting, and reminded Shig of the fact that TWA had been acquired by American. In St. Louis, we saw a plane painted in the American colors but with a TWA logo on the tail. Probably this was the ultimate painting of the former TWA planes. A flight in the first class was, of course, comfortable and Sue joked "Let's fly always in the first class". It took 3 hours from Ft. Lauderdale to St. Louis, 1 hour for transfer, and 9.5 hours from St. Louis to Honolulu. We spent time reading books and dozing.

    We arrived at Honolulu Airport at 4:30pm. For Sue, this was the first visit to Hawaii ever, and for Shig the first visit since trans-Pacific jet liners ceased to stop by at Honolulu for refuel. Shig told Sue that Honolulu Airport used to be a shabby singled floored building without any boarding platforms when Shig came here first in 1962, but we had to walk today for long from a satellite to the baggage claim. The taxi driver, Park-san, happened to be a Korean American, born in Osaka, and either wanted to speak Japanese or wanted to be good to us by speaking Japanese. We asked him to stop by at Aloha Tower, Iolani Palace and the Statue of King Kamehameha before taking us to Hyatt Regency Waikiki.

    We were given an ocean view room at the 21st floor of Hyatt. But we soon set out to watch Hawaiian dance performed in an adjacent hotel of Sheraton. A pretty Hawaiian-Caucasian girl danced graciously and Shig took pictures with tele-lens, of course. Then we dined at a near-by Japanese restaurant "Odoriko". Shig took Nabeyaki-Udon and Sue took Sushi, to taste the first real Japanese cuisine since we left Tokyo 2.5 months ago. We walked in the dusk, in Waikiki Beach and International Market.

    Here everyone seemed to speak Japanese, and the ratio of Japanese guests was quite high. It was fine and convenient with us, but we felt somewhat unpleasant about young Japanese people we saw here. Many of those seemed to be epicureans interested only in enjoying themselves with opposite sexes. Epicureanism is fine only if people have other aspects of life worth living. We thought we saw American epicureans on the sunset cruise boat in Key West, but they were only a small portion of visitors to Key West. Here, Japanese epicureans are the majority of visitors.

    Because of the jet lag, we went to bed early.

 Honoluluまで飛ぶ日だ。早起きして6:30amにはホテルの部屋を出た。予想通り預け入れ荷物の安全チェックのスッテプが増え、ゲート入口での安全チェックには長い列が出来ていた。しかし時間の余裕があるということは精神的安らぎをもたらす。我々2人は、全員ではないが他の乗客の一部と共に、乗り込み前にもう一度第2段のチェックを受けさせられた。American航空のファーストクラスでSt. Louis乗換えでHonoluluまで行く。クルーズ会社Radissonが販促の一部としてこういう航空券を呉れたからだ。Ft. Lauderdaleから米国の主要都市までのファーストクラスを提供しますというのに乗った訳で、結局は自分が払っていることにはなる。Ft. LauderdaleからSt. Louisまでの航空機767はTWAの塗装がしてあったので、そうだったTWAはAmericanに買収されたのだと思い出した。St. LouisではAmericanの塗装で尾翼にTWAというロゴのある飛行機を見た。多分これが元TWAの機体の最終的な塗装なのであろう。ファーストクラスでの旅は勿論快適で、スミヱは「これからはファーストクラスにしましょうよ」などとドキッとするような冗談をいう。Ft. LauderdaleからSt. Louisまで3時間、乗り換えに1時間、St. LouisからHonoluluまで9時間半掛かった。我々は本を読み、まどろんで過ごした。

 Honolulu空港には4:30pm頃到着した。スミヱにとっては最初のHawaii訪問であり、重悳にとっては太平洋を飛ぶジェットがHonoluluで給油しなくなってから初めての訪問だ。スミヱは「エッ、Hawaiiに行ったことがないの」と馬鹿にされていたそうだが、態々来る所じゃないという考えがあったからだ。重悳はスミヱに、最初に1962年にここに来た時にはHonolulu空港は貧相な1階建ての建物で搭乗プラットフォームもなく地面を歩いたものだと話しながら、しかし今回は搭乗サテライトから荷物受取所まで長々と歩かねばならなかった。タクシーの運転手Parkさんが偶々大阪生まれの韓国系米人で、日本語を話したかったか、日本語を話すことで我々にサービスしたかったかどちらかだった。彼に頼んで、Aloha Tower、Iolani Palace、Kemehameha大王像で止まりながらHyatt Regency Waikikiに入った。

 Hyatt21階の海側の部屋を貰った。Waikikiの浜が目前だ。しかし間もなく出掛けてお隣のSheratonで行われたHawaiian Music & Danceを見に行った。ハワイ系白人系混血と見えた美人が優美に踊ったので、重悳は勿論望遠レンズで撮影した。それから近くの「踊り子」という日本料理屋で夕食をとった。重悳は鍋焼きうどんを、スミヱは寿司を食べた。東京を2.5ヶ月前に出てから初めての本格的な日本料理だった。夕暮れの中をWaikikiの浜と、アクセサリ類と衣類の店がBanyanの大木の下に並ぶInternational Marketを歩いた。

 ここでは誰でも日本語を話すようだ。また日本人観光客の割合が非常に高い。それは結構だし我々にとって便利でもある。しかしここで見た若い日本人には少々不愉快なものを感じた。その多くは男女の相手と面白おかしく過ごすことだけに関心がある享楽主義者に見えた。多分英語にもHawaiiの歴史にも関心は無い。享楽主義も結構だが、有意義な人生の別の面があってこそだ。米国人のそういう享楽主義者を、Key Westの日没クルーズで見かけたが、それはKey West訪問者の極く一部だ。ここでは日本人の享楽主義者が観光客の大勢を占めている。日本は豊かになり過ぎた。このままでは日本は落ちぶれる他ない。


May 10, 2002

    Sue got up as early as at 4:30am complaining that the itinerary had become much busier since we got off the ship. This was the day for the trip to Hawaii Island, also called Big Island. Yesterday's taxi driver, Park-san, took us to the airport. After passing through the long line of the security check, we took Hawaiian Airlines to arrive at Kona Airport of the Big Island at 8:15am. We tipped the taxi dispatcher at the exit and requested him to call a taxi as soon as possible. A taxi came with a female driver Tanabe-san who spoke beautiful Japanese learnt from her mother from Okinawa. We drove north along the Route 19 and arrived at Blue Hawaiian Waikoloa Heliport at 8:35am where check-in for the helicoptor trip was to be completed by 8:45am. But we found that helicoptors wouldn't fly this morning because of inability of seeing volcanos in the thick clouds on them. Guests were mostly re-scheduled to other days, but we insisted that we had to ride within today and got seats for 11:45am check-in.

    But what should we do during 3 hours by then ? We asked Tanabe-san to take us around the island. She was glad to do so but she said that the Big Island was as big as one half of Shikoku Island in Japan and that we had to select which part we would drive in. After brief discussion, we selected the northern part of the island. We drove to the northern tip to Pololu Valley Outlook to see a beautiful scenery with high cliffs as in Izu Peninsula in Japan. In the town of Kapa'au, there was the "original" statue of King Kamehameha. This statue was once lost in the sea because the ship carrying the statue wrecked. The insurance on the statue made it possible to recreate the statue and it was erected in the downtown of Oahu. Later the original statue was salvaged and it was located here in Kapa'au where the king was born and raised. We drove up on the Route 250 to Kohala Mountains and drove down to the town of Waimea, where employees of huge Park Ranch lived. On our way we could see among clouds three major mountains in this island; Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Hualalai. On Mauna Kea, the highest, we could see many astronomical observatories at the top including "Subaru" built by Japan. Because we didn't have much cash to pay the taxi driver, we compromised to end up with arriving at the heliport earlier than its check-in time of 11:45am.

    At 12:15pm, thirty guests rode on five helicoptors and started the trip one after another. We flew around the north foot of Mauna Kea and on the City of Hilo, to reach above the active volcano of Kilauea. We could see red hot lava flowing and burning trees not far from a house still inhabited. It was the most spectacular view. We left Kilauea and landed at Hilo Airport for refuel. After a short rest, we flew up again. This time we flew along the north-east shore of the island, where high lava cliffs were formed by erosion and much rain feeded many high falls. Especially, a V-shaped valley in the north-east side of Kohala Mountains had many beautiful high falls. We crossed over Kohala Mountains and landed back to the heliport at 2:20pm. Tanabe-san waited for us at the heliport and took us to the airport. It was a wonderful two hour trip.

    Although we could take an earlier flight, we chose to stay with the original schedule and took a meal in the airport. Kona airport was unique that it consisted of many small huts around a court. This structure seemed feasible only in this west side of the island where it would not rain often. At Honolulu Airport, Park-san picked us up and drove us to Hyatt. According to his advice, we went to a Japanese restaurant named "Shogun" and took Yosenabe. Taste was great but Shig was frustrated at slowness of services. We felt a little tired and went to bed early.

 スミヱは船を下りて以来旅程が厳しくなったと文句を言いながら4:30amに早起きした。今日は通称Big IslandのHawaii島に行く日だ。昨日のタクシー運転手Parkさんが空港まで連れて行ってくれた。安全チェックの長い列を通り、Hawaiian Airlinesで8:15amにBig IslandのKona空港に到着した。出口に居たTaxi Dispatcherという名のタクシー手配師にチップを渡し、出来るだけ早くタクシーを呼んで欲しいと頼んだ。タクシーが来たら女性ドライバの田辺さんで、沖縄出身のお母さんに幼時から習ったという美しい日本語を話した。19号線を北に走り、Blue Hawaiianというヘリ会社のWaikoloa Heliportに8:35amに到着した。8:45amまでにチェックインするように言われていたが、どうも様子がおかしい。聞けば火山の上に掛かる厚い雲のために火山が見えないから午前中は飛ばないという。客はほとんど他の日に振り替えられたが、我々は今日じゃないと駄目と言い張って11:45amチェックインの便に席を確保した。

 しかしそれまで3時間どう過ごそうか? 田辺さんに島巡りを頼んだら、喜んで引き受けてはくれたが、Big Islandは四国の半分もあるのでどの部分をドライブするかを選択して欲しいと言った。若干の議論の末、島の北側に行くことにした。北端までドライブしてPololu Valley Outlookで伊豆半島のような高い岸壁のある美しい景色を見た。Kapa'auの町にはKamehameha大王の"Original"の像が立っていた。像は運搬中の船が難破して一度は海に沈んでしまった。像に掛けてあった保険で像をもう一度造ってOahu島の中心に立てた。後日"Original"の像は引き上げられ、王が生まれ育ったここKapa'auの町に立てられた。という経緯だそうだ。250号線でKohala山に登り、下ってWaimeaの町に出た。大牧場Park Ranchの従業員が住む町だ。途中で雲の隙間から、一番高いMauna Kea、それに次ぐMauna Loa、1801年に大噴火したHualalaiが見えた。 特にMauna Keaは頂上に日本の「すばる」を初め多くの天文台が建っているのが見えた。タクシーに払う現金をたくさんは持ってきていなかったので、11:45amのチェックイン時間より早めにヘリポートに行くことで妥協した。

 12:15pmに30名の客が5機のヘリに乗り、次々に飛び立った。Mauna Keaの北斜面を回ってHilo市の上を飛び、活火山Kilaueaの上に到着した。 赤く融けた熔岩が流れ、木々を焼いているのが見えた。そこからあまり離れていない場所にまだ人が住む家があった。真に壮大な光景を見た。Kilaueaを離れ、Hilo空港に燃料補給のために着陸した。短時間の休憩の後また飛び立って島の東北の海岸沿いに飛んだ。ここでは浸蝕の結果高い熔岩の絶壁が形成され、降雨量が多いので高い美しい滝が沢山出来ている。Kohala山を越えて2:20pmにヘリポートに戻った。田辺さんがヘリポートで待っていてくれて空港に連れて行ってくれた。素晴らしい2時間だった。


May 11, 2002

    This was the day for flying back to Japan by JAL. After packing, we took a breakfast in the hotel and walked briefly along the Waikiki Beach. As we ate, we noticed a large population of Japanese people in the hotel. Shig wanted to say that it was like a Japanese hotel, but noticed soon that even hotels in Japan didn't have that high ratio of Japanese. As we asked, a hotel clerk said that in average 70-80% of the guests were from Japan. Earlier we lernt that this hotel was owned by a Japanese company Azabu Tatemono. Park-san took us to Honolulu Airport. Probably because of the Golden Week vacation season in Japan, the gate entrance from the JAL area had an unbelievably long line for security check. We averted it by entering through the adjacent entrance. We wondered why they didn't do this or why nobody told this to them.

    The international business class in JAL was very comfortable. We read and napped.

    Shig summarized the knowhow to get through the security check as follows;
1. Know whether your shoes have metal. If so, remove your shoes before passing through the gate, and put them on the X-ray conveyor, because body check is more cumbersome.
2. Remove everything from your pockets and remove all smallest metal out of the body, such as a belt, glasses, a watch, pens, rings, coins, hair pins etc., and put them in the bag, because the baggage check is more efficient than the body check.
3. Don't put your metal back to your body until you finally sit in the plane, because security checks are repeated, sometimes even at the time of boarding.
4. Carry your passport ready to put out, because you must present your passport or other government-issued ID with your picture several times before you get into the plane.

 いよいよJALで日本に飛ぶ日だ。荷造りを終えて、ホテルで朝食をとり、Waikiki Beachを少し散歩した。Hawaii州花の黄色いハイビスカスが美しかった。食事中にホテル内の日本人の人口が大きいことに改めて気付き、日本のホテルのようだと言おうしたが、日本のホテルですらこんなに日本人の割合は高くないことにすぐ気付いた。質問したところホテルの係員は、平均70-80%は日本人だと言った。このホテルは麻布建物の所有だと昨日聞いた。恐らく日本で盛んに顧客獲得努力をしてパック旅行を主催しているのであろう。レストランではほとんどの人が食券で食べていたから。Parkさんが我々をHonolulu空港に連れて行ってくれた。ゴールデンウィークのためだろうが、JALの領域からゲートに入る入口には信じられない長さの安全チェックの列があった。我々はそれを避けて隣の入口から入った。なぜ皆そうしないのか、なぜ誰もそれを教えないのか不思議なことだ。



May 12, 2002

    We crossed the date line and at last came into the last day of the trip. The plane circled before Narita to make time adjustment and landed at Narita smoothly.

    A strange thing happened at the baggage carousel. While Shig was wainting for two baggages we checked in at Honolulu, Shig saw a baggage very similar to what we handed to the baggage handler IPS at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Being puzzled, Shig looked at the name tag and found it was one of the very baggages we handed to IPS expecting that those would be delivered to our home. Why was it there ? Looking around, Shig saw other two baggages we handed to IPS. Immediately after those, two baggages we checked in at Honolulu came out. The fact that IPS baggages were not delivered to our home and we had to handle those was a demerit. But the merit was that the custom process had become very simple. After that simple custom, we handed all five baggages to a domestic baggage handler Sky Porter for delivery to our home in tomorrow morning. But how was it possible for IPS to have known my flight back to Tokyo ? What happened if Shig didn't notice the "similar" baggage before finding the check-in baggages to go away ? Those remain a riddle.

    We took a limo directly to Hachioji, for the first time. Despite occasional traffic congestion, it was comfortable.

    When we reached home, our son solved for us a part of the riddle above. On the previous day, there was a call by a baggage handler to the phone number attached to the baggages, and our son told him of our flight number. But the rest of the riddle persisted.

    Our 2.5 month around-the-world trip was thus finished successfully.


 荷物受渡しのカルーセルで妙なことが起こった。重悳がHonoluluでチェックインした2つの荷物が出て来るのを待っていると、FloridaのFt. Lauderdaleで荷物運送会社IPSに預けた荷物と非常によく似た荷物を見かけた。黒い布製のカバンに色ベルトをきつく掛けた様子が、多くの旅行貨物の態様と異なり目立ったのだ。不思議に思いながら荷札を見ると、まさにソレだった。香港で買い増したカバンで、自宅に配送してくれることを期待してIPSに預けた荷物の1つだった。なぜそれがここにある? 見回すとIPSに預けたあと2個の荷物もあった。その直後に我々がHonoluluでチェックインした荷物も出てきた。IPSの荷物が自宅に配送されなかったため我々が取り扱わねばならぬことになったのはデメリットだが、メリットとしては通関が非常に簡単になったことだ。その簡単な通関の後これら5個の荷物を国内の荷物運送会社Sky Porterに託して明日自宅に配送してもらうことにした。しかしIPSがなぜ我々が東京に戻る飛行便を知り得たのか? もし重悳がチェックインした荷物を発見して立ち去る前に「酷似した」荷物に気付かなかったら、どうなったのだろう? これらは謎のままだ。




'02/ 5/ 12 点描  74日間の旅行の立ち寄り先32箇所を各1-2行で表現すれば。

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