Sep 262014

Running on only about an hour of sleep, huffed it to Châtelet station to catch the RER to Roissy. Didn’t have long to wait, and soon the train arrived and I shared it with a group of sleepy French commuters. I was wearing the “Ch’ten Vacances” t-shirt I’d been wandering in Paris in all night, which led to a fascinating conversation with the gentleman seated next to me. I didn’t think anyone in France worked in August, so was surprised to see so many people in business dress on the train.

I’d managed to check-in on the United app, so had plenty of time to grab a tasty breakfast and some much-needed caffeine:


After fueling, passed the boarding pass control, and took the silly little escalators up into the terminal to try and find the Star Alliance lounge.  Up some elevators, down a random corridor, and greeted with this sign:


…because even at 8am, well over half the lounge was drinking.  Who knew there was actually a drinking age in France?  Don’t tell all the French parents who serve their kids wine with dinner that.


There was a small but decent selection of snacks and light breakfast, and it was a perfectly respectable lounge.  Internet was a reasonable speed, there was enough room to fit a seat, plenty of outlets, etc.  Overall, not too bad, except for the fact it was brimming with loud Americans talking about their trip of a lifetime to Paris.  Trust me, we don’t all need to hear about your shopping spree in Paris, or how much money you let your wife spend to make up for all those late nights you worked.  Ugh!

Security is in the individual satellite, but took less than 10 minutes to clear.  Made it to the gate just as boarding was starting, however, the boarding pass scanner was unable to scan mobile boarding passes.  Go figure.  After nearly half the plane had boarded, they agreed to just manually type in my seat number to board me.  I’d been suggesting this for 15 minutes already… the United staff at CDG were not among the friendliest nor most competent I’ve encountered…

United Airlines flight 991
Paris, Charles de Gaulle (CDG) to San Francisco, California (SFO)
Depart 10:05, Arrive 13:00 , Flight Time 11:55
Boeing 767-300, Registration N676UA, Manufactured 2001, Seat 1D

Figuring I was operating on Hawaii time now, where it was 10 pm, I chose a glass of bubbly upon boarding. Door closed on time, takeoff was quick, and soon it was time for a glass of Château le Jeff and some cashew pieces.  Overcooked and soggy/chewy nuts…mmmmm mmm good!


However, there was an upside. Garlic bread, and lots of it! This was the first of at least four or five helpings. Today’s appetizer? We present for your dining pleasure two shrimps and a lemon wedge!


Yup, that’s the entire appetizer!


Well, there was a salad too, complete with croutons that weren’t in a package. Getting classy!


Decided to go with the beef, which wasn’t actually bad. Cooked to a respectable medium, and some reasonably fresh vegetables. Not sure what the potato mush was supposed to be, but it was pretty disgusting.


Was offered a cheese course before ice cream…and a second cheese course.


Today’s sundae choice? Fudge and caramel. Obviously there’s a cherry shortage in France, because I only got one. For those of you counting, this is sundae #3 of this trip, and the fewest cherries to date.


At this point, having consumed what was likely well in excess of the recommended lifetime allowance of Château le Jeff, and running on almost no sleep, I collapsed.  For almost nine hours. It was absolutely glorious. I woke up with about 90 minutes remaining in flight, and a rather unappealing “snack” of some horrid chicken wrap with over-ripe fruit.  At least had it been the Jeff Burrito I would have gotten a tasty packet of that sauce with it…


First off the plane, closest gate to immigration (which I swear never happens to me at SFO – something was going right), and there was a huge queue for both citizens and visitors. God bless Global Entry, which had no line…until I handed the receipt to the cheerful CBP officer. “Where’s your luggage?” “Right here?” “That’s a small carry on bag, where’s the rest?” “This is it – I was only gone 48 hours.”  “Please step over here…”

Fortunately, the CBP drone I got for secondary was familiar with the concepts of mileage runs and country collecting, and it only took about 10 minutes to poke through my dirty clothes.  The Total Hockey sticker on my laptop got a comment of “my kid plays hockey, how the hell do you afford to travel?” so maybe that helped a bit too.

As I was grabbing a quad iced espresso at Peet’s in an attempt to feel human, I found out a friend from LA happened to be passing through SFO as well, so we caught up for a bit.  Was a pleasant surprise!  It’s amazing how small the world is when you travel.

Off to the gate for my HNL flight.  At this point it had been 18 hours since I left my hotel in Paris…and I really needed a shower. But it was not to be.

United Airlines flight 73
San Francisco, California (SFO) to Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL)
Depart 16:05, Arrive 18:35 , Flight Time 5:30
Boeing 767-400ER, Registration N66051, Manufactured 2000, Seat 1D

Pre-flight sparkling wine requested, and horror of horrors: “we don’t serve that domestically.” “Yes, to Hawaii you do, do you think you could check?” She came back about 10 minutes later, quite embarrassed, and left me the entire bottle 😉 Before you get too excited I think it was only a 187ml bottle, but hey, it’s the thought that counts. Note, it’s not just dark in Paris at this point, but almost in DC as well!


After takeoff, it was soon “lunch” time, and time for more Domaine Ste Smisek along with Jeff Brand Trail Mix:


I was being a bit of a smartass at this point when they came around for meal service, and said “let me guess….chicken cacciatore or pasta?” The flight attendant loved it…but clearly didn’t love it quite enough to dump the sauce out of the foil tin. This was three Hawaii flights now this trip, three chicken cacciatores, and three different presentations. Three different salad dressings as well!


I was liking this fudge and caramel combo (sundae #4 of the trip) but a bit disappointed that the Paris-Honolulu route clearly means you only get one cherry.  Boo.


I made up for it tho by asking for (and receiving) another sundae…with strawberries…but no cherry!  I’d never tried the strawberries before, and for the sake of science felt it was my duty.  5 sundaes consumed.


…at which point I passed out for another two hours before watching some tv on the iPad.

Upon landing, it would have actually been cheaper (even with parking) to rent a car, but I was exhausted, and didn’t feel terribly safe…or motivated…to drive.  Grabbed a cab back to my regular hotel (the Moana Surfrider) just in time for cocktail hour in their newish lounge. Received (after having to ask) an upgrade to a nice tower suite with a bit of space, had a shower, and went down to the lounge for a Kona Longboard.

Wandered Kalakaua Ave for a bit trying to walk off some jetlag, before heading back to my room to snap this shot of the sunset off my balcony. At this point it had been 25 hours since I’d left my hotel in Paris, I’d gone literally halfway around the world, and this sunset made me realized just how truly blessed I am to be able to do things like this. I’d already traveled 22,500 miles, nearly the entire distance around the world at the equator, and was still 5,000 miles from home!


I’d considered going out for a nice dinner at Alan Wong’s, but was way too tired to enjoy it, so just went next door to Duke’s for a plate of Kalua Pork nachos and a couple beers. Chatted with the bartenders a bit about my adventures (this was my 5th or 6th time there this year and they tend to remember their regulars) and made it back to my hotel around 10pm where I managed to pass out completely hard core after a very long day…and to top it off, it was going to be a very early morning!

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