We left Chicago on the afternoon of the 23rd. Our flights were ticketed through to Kona, but our first flight out of O’Hare took us to Oklahoma City overnight, which was a bit of hassle when having our bags tagged properly. The airport was hopping, but once we sorted out our bags we sailed through TSA Pre-check and were lucky enough to both be upgraded for our short flight. OKC was a fairly small airport, and the shuttle for our hotel (Hyatt Place) arrived promptly. The hotel employees were very friendly and helpful, and arranged for the shuttle to take us to our flight the next morning at 4:30am, despite the normal operating hours starting at 5. We headed right next door to the hotel for dinner at San Marcos, a local Mexican chain, and ended up having a fabulous dinner.
My Negra Modelo was served in a giant, heavy goblet, and the rim was lined with lime and salt. I’d never had a beer served that way, but I liked it. I could barely lift the glass, though!
The next morning came all too early when we woke up at 4am. Little did we know (spoiler alert) that we wouldn’t get to really fall asleep again until the equivalent of 5:30am the next day.
We sat on our plane in OKC for 40 minutes as they filed paperwork that had somehow been overlooked, and then while they deiced the wings. We had a 65-minute layover in L.A. and a transfer from the remote terminal to the main terminal, so things were not looking good. We did miraculously make our connection, but our luggage wasn’t so lucky. We landed ahead of schedule at the Kona Airport, waited around for bags that never showed, filed a claim, and then waited for about an hour at Budget to pick up our rental car. The lines at the rental place were absolutely ridiculous – not enough people working (most of the time we were waiting, there was only one person behind the counter), and more people arriving to stand in line every 10 minutes or so. We eventually got our car, though, and immediately made a bee-line for somewhere to eat. We ended up at Fish Hopper in Kona and it was fabulous! Since it was already 2:00 we opted for a handful of light appetizers – a cup each of clam chowder (possibly the best I’ve had), an excellent Cobb salad garnished with tropical fruit, and melt-in-your-mouth ahi poke (with little pieces of mango).
Then we made a brief stop at Costco to pick up some things. While there, I saw that our bags had been loaded onto the 5pm flight from LAX, so that perked me up a bit. We headed for our B&B, about 30 minutes south of Kona in the Captain Cook area, and checked in with our hosts, Heather and Bud. They are a lovely, warm couple, and their B&B Mermaid Dreams is an absolute delight. I’ll be writing a separate post on the B&B. Heather & Bud were kind enough to offer a Christmas Eve dinner for all the guests, which was very welcome after our long day. They had a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and it was delicious!
We enjoyed talking to the other guests, couples from Argentina (currently living in Orlando); Omaha, Nebraska; and Germany (currently living in Beijing), as well as Bud, Heather, and Heather’s mother Connie, who just moved to the big island two weeks prior! The flight our bags were on was delayed, but we saw that it landed shortly after 9pm. Just before 11, we got a call that the bags were on their way. Ha. We were so exhausted, but we had to stay up to wait for the delivery. Time kept passing in agonizing fashion. I didn’t have any way to get in touch with anyone to ask them to come in the morning instead, or to ask how much longer it would be. Finally, as we were about to give up and crash at 12:30, Domingos got a call and was told it would be at least another hour. He asked the guy to call when he was close, and we let ourselves sleep for a bit. We did indeed get our bags at 1:30, the very last stop the delivery guy made – he said he lived nearby and had already returned the official vehicle to the airport and was finishing up in his own car. So glad we could be very last on the list. At least we got our bags and there was nothing damaged or missing! It was a huge relief to finally fall asleep.