Saturday, April 10, 2010

March (Reserve Month) Madness

March is my reserve month.  I have a reserve month 3 times a year, in March, July and November.  For my non-airline friends, that means that the company "owns my soul" for the entire month.  Okay, not really.  It just means that I am not in charge of my own schedule and that for certain days during the month I have to be available to fly on short notice if the company needs me.  Usually, I don't fly much on reserve, so I plan projects around home and generally play lazy.

It is pretty simple to keep my bags packed and with me, my uniform items hanging together, and to stay within 2 hours driving distance of DFW.   It calls for a little creative packing, since you can end up in wintry Europe, summery South America, or the Caribbean or Hawaiian Islands.  Packing a bikini in your bag doesn't take much room, but sometimes lugging the overcoat is tiresome through Miami and San Juan.

This month I flew a trip early in March with a San Juan, Puerto Rico layover, followed by a Guatemala City layover.  There was not much time to spend in either place, so comfy pajamas were all I really needed.  I was sorry that I didn't have longer in Guatemala City, because I would have loved to take a bus to Antigua, Guatemala, where I have spent a lot of time through the years studying Spanish, learning about the city, and climbing the volcanoes at whose feet the city lies.

I have climbed all three of these volcanoes, Volcan de Agua, Acatenango, and Volcan de Fuego.  I have seen Volcan de Fuego during some forceful eruptions, as you can see above.

 I was treated to a view of these volcanoes from my balcony in Guatemala City.  Rain storms were moving in so it was a brief glimpse, but enough to whet my apetite for a climb.

On the left side is Volcan de Agua, rising out of the clouds behind the first range of mountains, reaching a height of 12,000 ft.  I can't prove it, but on a clear day they say you can see the Pacific Ocean.

Toward Antigua is another active volcano which I have climbed,  on a guided tour.  We climbed Volcan Pacaya during the day, but we returned at night during a pouring rain.  We walked by rivers of flowing lava, and heard the close up fury of the volcano gods.  It was not an easy climb, but it was definitely memorable.  Find information about this volcano at the following link

I flew one more trip at the end of the month.  It was a back to back all-nighter to Buenos Aires, Argentina.  You fly all night, sleep all day and fly home on the night of the day you arrived.  I hate this kind of trip.  I don't choose to fly them myself.  I want a layover!  I want to get out and taste the food, meet the people, see the sights and learn a bit about whatever part of the world I am visiting.  So my reserve month is over, little pain, no gain, back to flying where I want to go.

My first trip in April I went to Honolulu.  You know that I love our hotel, and it's location (see blog posted 2/8/2010).  My room was perfect this trip, offering a great view of  the surfers on Waikiki Beach, and overlooking the huge waterfall in the lobby of the hotel.

I decided to eat at the "Top of Waikiki" again, longing for a taste of their delicious kobe filet mignon served on a hot rock.  I was very dissappointed to find that they had taken it off of the menu.  I know it was popular, so I can only speculate that it had become too expensive or too time consuming to serve.  I'm sorry to see it go.
The view from the top was as spectacular as usual, especially as the sun set and the lights came on.

 I also took the time on this trip to seek out some information about abalone fishing.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I remember when it was legal in California to dive for abalone.  I remember the  large,  buttery, delicious abalone steaks that we ate so many years ago, before they became endangered and a  moratorium on diving for them was put in place.

The abalone here in Hawaii are different than the large ones I remember.  First of all, they are farmed, and sold all over the world, especially in Asia.  These are smaller (younger?), or a different type all together.  I did see some for sale at the KCC Farmer's Market in February, but they were being eaten raw, like oysters on the half shell.   Apparently they are also eaten grilled, or prepared in sushi dishes.  I am not terribly fond of sushi, but I will have to try them grilled on a future trip.  Here is a link to another blogger, with much more information about the subject.

Easter Sunday started out with a drizzling rain, but the sun came out by mid morning and the streets and beaches were crowded with tourists and locals enjoying the day.

I had coffee in a rocking chair on the veranda of the Moana Surfrider (with Mama), walked along the beach for a while, then visited the International Market and purchased a Hawaiian print apron to wear on the plane. Watch for me on you next flight to Oahu, with a hibicus flower in my hair, wearing this colorful print!



ronno said...

it's about time you got a topper with a Hawaiian theme! i have surfboards and flowers on mine.

Beijingmike said...

Hi Mary,

You travel blog is great and I think you could have a job as a travel editor if you ever want to "switch hats." Your pictures are marvelous. Do you want to hear about my Tulsa layover last week?.....I didn't think so LOL. Have a great day!
Mike Spencer