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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Safe In Hawaii

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 4/15/2024
Occurred: 6/29/2021
Page Views: 846
Topics: #Coronavirus #Arizona #Maui
It's been a wonderful month's visit, but it's time to go home.

All good things must come to an end, and that also applies to vacations, I've been visiting some of my kids in Arizona for the past month, but I miss my husband, our dogs, and our home. I also miss clean air and moderate temperatures. So, it's time. And today is the day.

I spent much of yesterday packing and preparing my new Microsoft Surface (thanks, John!) for the trip, downloading software and a copy of this website onto it so I could write this very entry.

I had to get up early, not wanting to miss a chance to say goodbye to "the littles", as we call my youngest grandchildren before they trotted off to school.

My friend (and ex-husband) Michael picked me up at 8:30 AM to take me to the airport for my 11:30. My ankles, especially the right one, are still bothering me although they are much better than they were a month ago. I'm wearing a boot Jenny got me when I arrived, and you'd think that would have gotten me a wheelchair when I got out of the car. But I had to get the wheelchair myself, and loaded my bags onto it, and then walked it to the ticket section myself.

I was directed to self-service kiosks, which were mobbed. When I finally got to one of them, and entered my locator number, it was unable to find my reservation. Yet, there it was, right on my phone. I had to walk back to the head of the line. "Well, that didn't work," I told the agent who was directing traffic. He asked one of his co-workers to help me out, but the co-worker proceeded to help out everyone but me. Finally, the original guy had pity on me and took me to the non-self-service agents, where I learned that my reservation was for a flight next month, on July 29!

Jenny had gotten the ticket, and had to cancel it and then send me money via Venmo to pay for a new one on the spot. Various airport folks then wheeled me through Security and then to my gate.

It's a 5.5 hour flight. My flight to Arizona was an almost-empty red-eye and I slept. This flight is almost full, but luckily the middle seat in my row is unoccupied. Still, I don't think there's going to be much sleep. Still, in addition to writing this blog post, I can watch the travel monitor app on the screen in front of me.

Since I didn't have headphones, I was reluctant to watch a movie on the panel, which was another option. So, I pretty much watched the whole live automated flight information loop for five hours.


So, eventually, we landed, and I thought my adventures were over.

I was wrong.

The wheelchair guy that met me at the door of the plane took me up the ramp, then asked, "Where is your QR code?"

"My what?"

"Your QR code. Your QR code!"

"I don't know what you're talking about," I said, getting frustrated.

"It's on your phone. Your QR code."

I turned on my phone and brought up the American Air app with my flight information displayed. "That's all I have," I showed him.

Still unsatisfied, the young man proceeded down the hallway to a set of desks blocking access to the elevator and escalators and baggage claim and freedom. He planted me in front of a desk with a bored-looking man in a uniform. "I need your QR code," he said.

"Apparently, so do I," I replied. "But I still have no idea whatsoever what you're talking about."

"You don't have your QR code? Why not?"

My voice began to tighten. "I don't have any idea what it is. This is the very first time anyone has mentioned it to me."

"You get it through Google. Do you know how to work Google?"

"You can get over 10 billion pages through Google, including over 1500 of my very own. Have you been to my site?"

He asked to see my phone and brought up a specific site, which he called "Safe Hawaii" but was actually http://travel.hawaii.gov. Apparently there was this Mandatory State of Hawaii Travel and Health Form that anyone coming into the state, even people who live here, are supposed to have filled out prior to arriving. I'd have been happy to, if I'd had any idea it was supposed to be done, or even existed.

I suspect that there might have been something in the small print on my original email, but if so there was nothing warning me that there was something to be filled out.

The online form was, in addition to being poorly advertised (simply being indexed by Google isn't advertising), was so poorly-designed that the poor guy had to attempt three different times to get it submitted.

The delay took 90 minutes, during much of which time I literally believed that I would wind up spending the night in some kind of immigrants holding cell.

But eventually I did make it through and to Keith, waiting at the curb, with my baggage (only one piece more than when I left).

Keith was happy to see me. But the dogs went insane with joy, climbing clear into the front seat to try and sit on my lap and lick the skin off my face.

We plan to camp at Papalaua until the first of July, then return home. We do not want to be in any touristy sections of Maui for the 4th of July weekend if we can help it!

But, damn, it's good to be home.