Escape from the tundra in the frozen north

6 Mar

2014-03-05 Trip Report Hawaii

March 5, 2014 has finally arrived.

for the last 4 months i have lived in the frozen tundra of a small island off the east coast of the United States. It’s a tiny island sandwiched between the largest island in the United States and the mainland.

My island is so small that when standing on high ground in the middle, you can see both the large island to the east, and the mainland to the west. While this island is technically part of the United States, we are repeatedly reminded that, Culturally, we are more like europe than the US.

i don’t go on vacations, i go on adventures. the time is densely packed and i go either alone or with dear friends. we have our own individual goals and develop common goals along the way. our adventures are marked by living like the locals and leaving no stone unturned.

sometimes we refer to these goals as ‘bucket list’ items. This adventure will be with “M”, he writes a blog called ‘’. “M” is an aspiring writer and foodie. One of my advisors tell me he is just finding his voice in that profession. read his blog yourself and see if you like it, i’ll bet you will. When I travel with “M” our common values and goals that we amplify in each other is:

FOOD (you can say we’re both foodies). Local food, produce, ranching, cuisine are fascinating.

CULTURE (doesn’t matter if we speak the language or not, we want to live like the locals live – and we make friends and relationships along the way).

HISTORY AND TRADITION – with that understanding most of there would be only commercial crap – not adventure.

what you will NOT find is us going to places to stay IN a hotel, go on pre-made tours, Or sit by the pool and drink all day. No going to exotic places to ride a zip line or roller coaster (unless of course, it’s cedar point and we’re going there to ride the coasters). btw, we are both coaster enthusiasts.

anyways, back to the frozen tundra on my island. From my house i can see the airplanes approach pattern to three different airports – two on the big island, and one on the mainland. I can see the airport on the mainland which is where i will be flying out of this morning. How long will it take me to get there?

I rented a car the night before to begin my trek to get to the airport. I could have taken my own car, but the winter has left the roads in hellish shape, and my car has stupid wheels and tires that could break if i fall into one of the bombed out section of road. Plus the parking at the airport for a 6 day trip would cost over $200. I could take a cab for a cool $100, but the rental car is only $48 (plus $3 for gas). I could even take a combination of trains. Unfortunately , the trains are antiques that have dealt as poorly with the frozen tundra as governor christie has with keeping traffic flowing over the George Washington Bridge. I fear if i take the train, it will be predictably delayed for an unpredictable length of time and i’ll miss my flight. The provincial airport has only one non-stop flight per day and i don’t want to take the chance of missing it, so i rent the car. Some people say americans cars handle the best, some people say foreign cars handle the best. i say nothing handles like a rented car. potholes are just not an issue, nor is parking at the other end.

I have a direct non-stop flight from EWR to HNL,

I leave my apartment in the west village at 7:08 to make a 9:20 flight. I leave manhattan island through the holland tunnel, hit a little traffic (and a few potholes that would have incapacitated my car) and did not get lost to newark “liberty” airport like i did two weeks ago on my trip to maui. Abandoning New Jersey Transit was smart.

i drop the car and get on the airtrain. each airtrain terminal is new and sparkling, the airtrains are nice too, except i can walk faster than they locomote. but i get to terminal C, find the pre-check line and am through TSA security in under 2 minutes.

unlike last trip, most of the moving sidewalks and escalators are working, and the ceiling isn’t leaking into buckets everywhere you look (probably because there’s no water outside, just ice.) I find a place to buy a couple of sandwhichs for the 12 hour flight (yes they serve food, but it is usually rancid, disgusting and inedible, so i bring along a sandwich.

this is the first of the travel reports




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