Itinerary: Toronto (YYZ) - Vancouver (YVR) - Sydney (SYD) - Hobart, Tasmania (HBA) - Sydney (SYD) - Honolulu (HNL) - Vancouver (YVR) - Toronto (YYZ)
I'm fairly certain I've already told everyone I know about this trip, as it involved an extensive amount of awesomeness. So that I remember them in my old age, here is a summary of the facts of my fourth trip out.
Flying to Syndey takes a really, really, really long time. I mean, it's pretty mind-blowing. And this is coming from someone who has no problem with 16-hour shifts at work and pulling all-nighters playing xbox. This was like a waking nightmare. In a middle seat. With only an hour of respite at the Vancouver airport, so I couldn't even escape to see my sister and squishface (my nephew). To make it worse, I then had to try and stay awake for about four hours at the Sydney airport before boarding another plane in order to arrive in Hobart, Tasmania (which I still barely believe actually exists).
Tasmania seemed very nice. I was severely sleepfucked (sorry, Nan. It's the medical term) and didn't really have much of an opportunity to enjoy it, though. There was a very pretty mountain overlooking the city that I could see from my hotel window. I had some very good sushi, but nearly fell asleep at the table, I was so tired. I walked around the harbour and the little main street of shops before passing out cold and sleeping blissfully through the night.
Mount Wellington, I think
I picked up my patient in the morning and, along with her son, started the trip back to the States. She was a sassy old lady and I liked her very much. We sat in the lounge at Sydney airport and she told me stories about things like visiting the North Pole. They were the kind of stories I hope to have some day. The flight across the ocean was easily one of the worst I've ever experienced. I would have given an arm to go back to my middle seat in coach. The seats weren't the lay-flat beds in business class like on proper airlines, so I couldn't get the poor woman comfortable and, as a result, I couldn't rest either. Add to that the fact that I picked up some kind of mutant cold virus while in Sydney and I was completely miserable for about nine hours. The up side? We eventually landed in Hawaii.
I dropped my patient off at her beautiful home on top of hill overlooking Honolulu. I went down to my hotel, but check-in wasn't for several hours so I had some breakfast and wandered around for a bit. I had a Puka Dog, because I'm pretty sure I remembered seeing it on Bourdain's show. It was surprisingly tasty. I was still way before the normal check-in time when I went back to the lobby, but I must have looked so awful that the desk clerk took pity on my and upgraded me to the only room currently available - their luxury suite. After a short nap and a visit to the spa for the massage I promised myself for surviving the flight over, I was walking along the beach in Waikiki, dipping my toes in the warm ocean water.
Diamond Head, I think
From what I understand, Waikiki is generally considered the worst part of Hawaii. It's the tourist mecca and it's very cheesy. I have to admit, though, I fell in love with the Hawaiian-style kitsch of leis and luaus. I'm sure I wouldn't want to spend a ton of time in Waikiki, but for my two days, it was perfect. You can't look in any direction and not see something incredibly beautiful. It just happened that my one night in the city coincided with the NFL Pro Bowl celebration and the main strip was closed down after dusk for a giant 'block party' with vendors, concerts and people packed as far in either direction as I could walk. I figured that since I was again in very close proximity to the ocean, I couldn't pass up the sushi and I had what was easily the best meal of sushi I've ever tasted. Glorious.
The next morning, I woke up early and paid a visit to the hotel's concierge to set myself up with some surfing lessons. There's a very good chance that it was the most fun I've ever had. They must have thought I was absolutely bonkers because the entire time I couldn't stop laughing. I'd look at beach, Diamond Head, the sun, the surf and the city, and I'd laugh my ass off, thinking 'I'm getting paid right now'. If you ever get the chance to try surfing, I highly recommend it.
High on Hawaii after my surfing adventure, I went out in search of another unlikely Hawaiian experience. It wasn't long before I found it: a ukulele lesson. I sat down with ten elderly female Japanese tourists and learned to play Happy Birthday and You Are My Sunshine on that iconic instrument. Again, laughed my ass off through most of it.
Finally, after another glorious sunset on the beach, I asked the (is bell boy still an accepted term? Bell man? Bell person? Bell desk operator?) anyway, I asked that guy to call me a cab. He flagged me over a few minutes later when one of his buddies pulled up in my ride: a massive, white, stretched limo. It was the same price as a cab and he thought I'd like it. Like much of my time in Hawaii, I found it hilarious. In my sweet ride, I stretched my legs and breathed the ocean air on my way back to the airport and, eventually, back home.