Rough Business Trip

Yesterday, I returned from another business trip. This was an especially hard and difficult trip – NOT! My company sent me to Honolulu, Hawaii on this business trip. Woot!

There was business to be conducted but I did have some time for enjoying Hawaii. We flew out on Tuesday and arrived in the evening. We had a confirmed meeting on Wednesday and another on Thursday. We were trying to arrange a couple of other meetings for Thursday or Friday, so we planned to return on Friday night. As fate had it, we got a third meeting scheduled for Thursday but ended up having Friday free. All three meetings were a little over an hour in duration, so I did have some Hawaii time.

Upon arriving Tuesday evening, we checked into our hotel, the Hilton Waikiki Hawaiian Village right on Waikiki Beach and walked a mile or so down the beach to Duke’s for dinner. We met some other company folks that were in town on different business. It was a bit humid compared to the desert of Arizona, but the temperature was comfortable. Listening to the ocean while enjoying dinner was very relaxing.

After our meeting Wednesday morning, my colleague and I went for drive around the island heading East from Honolulu. He is a retired Air Force officer who lived on the island for 4 years, so he made for an excellent tour guide. We went and saw many of the points of interest that I had not seen to Hawaii during our cruise there in 2005. I saw lots of beaches and some incredible waves with surfers, especially at the Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore. We had dinner at a nice little local restaurant just across the road from the Kam highway on the North Shore and watched the sun set at the edge of a mountain and the ocean – quite spectacular.

After our Thursday morning and early afternoon meetings, we did a little shopping to pick up some stuff for our wives and families. We returned to the hotel and grabbed a couple of drinks at the beach side hotel bar. We enjoyed a very nice dinner in the 5 star hotel restaurant and I closed the night with a walk on the beach and couple more beach side drinks.

Since our Friday meeting didn’t happen, we decided to tour and headed West out of Honolulu planning to meet the point we cut off our tour on Tuesday. We saw a lot less touristy things on the calmer side of the island. We did enjoy a nice lunch at a relatively new Marriott resort on the beach.

Another thing that we did while we were touring on all days was visit every military installation we came across. As I mentioned, my colleague is retired Air Force, so he simply flashed his ID and we were on the base. We went and saw a lot of history. It was a bit different to drive around behind the USS Arizona memorial and stand on the shore looking at it versus going out by boat. The headquarters for the Pacific Air Forces still is riddled with bullet holes on the exterior from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor – quite moving. Walking around Ford Island and standing next to the control tower from Tora Tora Tora and just imaging the Japanese planes coming through the mountain pass was very interesting. We also drove around the docks (as near as we could get) and saw many vessels including attack subs, destroyers and other ships. I rather enjoyed touring the military bases and seeing the history you don’t normally see as a tourist.

Most flights back from Hawaii return in the evening or night. Our Friday flight was out at 11:00 pm and would get me home at 10:30 am on Saturday – a red eye. I wasn’t looking forward to that but managed to get 4 or 5 hours of sleep so it wasn’t as bad as I expected.

The flight back was the worst part of the wonderful business trip, but even then, not that bad. Several of the folks we briefed want us to come back with more details and see some other folks, so there my be a return trip or two next year. Who says business trips have to be dull and boring?