HICCS travels

Travel to the HICCS conference in Hawaii began. (This is a long post)

Battery trouble
Of course the adventures began at home. Stefan Haefliger had kindly lent me his spare set of powerbook batteries (the exploding ones which were never returned to Apple). However, during the night I could hardly sleep as I tried to imagine what would happen if some kind of explosion would go off in my handluggage. I don’t want to go to Guantanamo, so I thought this might not be such a good idea. The more I thought about it, the more I became absolutely sure that the batteries would indeed explode, so I’d better not take them with me, but where should I store them in the meantime, living in a wooden house. I put them safely in our fireplace and could start my trip to Hawai.

Zurich Airport
Almut brought us (Matthias and me) to the airport at half past 4 in the morning (thanks Almt, I love you!) where we checked in and went through the passport control. Matthias then remembered that he had forgotten to deposit his GA (train ticket) at the train station counter. So we had to get out of the restricted area again to get to the counter, however before 6AM it is not possible to leave the airport as the only exit is through the regular customs exit and they don’t open until then. A friendly employee then opened the automatic doors just for us wondering what why we would be leaving the airport before the first arrival. Matthias deposited his GA (after we waited until 6.16 when the counter opened and we went all the way back. From then on everything went smooth until the start except that Matthias had to leave his new Deodorant behind as it was over 150ml.

San Francisco
After a long flight we arrived in San Francisco with a beautiful view over the area during the landing approach. The immigration officers were really relaxed and friendly. The customs guy asked us were we had our main luggage when we wanted to continue to our connecting flight. “It’s checked through all the way to Hawai” we answered. “No, you’ll have to pick it up and re-check it” was his reply and indeed our luggage already circled on the belt. We picked it up, re-checked it just 100m further again. After a fat Burger (note to myself: Willow Street Wood oven Pizza is not necessarily to be recommended for friendliness nor quality) we watched a Dvd and drove the terminal-connecting AirTrain back and forth as we had a total of 5 hours waiting time there. Matthias bought a drink just before checking in and during the next security check he was duefully presented with the options of leaving his drink behind or leave the area immediately and drink it up. So he was escorted behind the fencing lines (although unwillingly, arguing that he could drink just some of the liquid until he reached the permitted maximum quantity) where he stood with two security guards. After finishing his bottle he had to re-queue at the security check go though the detector where the same lady which had examined him before undertook a thorough check. (It might not have helped that he set off the alarm twice by forgetting to take of his watch and his belt :-)).
We finally made it to the gate in time, but the time was not half as boring as I had it imagined to be.

Kona, Hawaii
Finally the flight to Kona, Hawai went comparably eventless. We just had to wait for 50 Minutes to get our luggage and later the same amount for the rental car, as everybody seemed to want one. The clerk overheard some complaints and simply said: “Just get used to it. Everything goes a little bit slower here.”

First impressions on the hotel tomorrow. Tired… falling into my bed now.