Hawaii: Day 1/Travel

When I found out the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association annual conference was going to be held in Honolulu, I was ecstatic. Kristin and I immediately started planning to extend the conference travel for a vacation. Neither one of us had ever been, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go. I submitted a proposal on Native American musicians that was accepted, so we booked our trip.

It was a few hundred dollars cheaper to fly out of DFW, so we reserved a hotel for Monday night since our flight Tuesday morning was at 7:21am. We ate supper at the Cheesecake Factory with two of Kristin’s cousins, who were flying to San Diego the same day we were leaving. When we got back to the hotel, I discovered that I forgot my pjs, so we went to Walmart so I could buy some cheap ones to make it through the trip. I was so frustrated, because I had just bought new pjs for the trip and forgot to pack them.

We set our alarms for 3:30am and prayed that we would wake up on time. The hotel let us park our cars for free, so we needed a way to get to the airport. The hotel shuttle didn’t start running until 7, so we decided to call Lyft. Neither one of us had ever used this service, so we were a little nervous that they wouldn’t come on time. Thankfully, the car arrived on time and took us to the airport with no problems other than a driver who complained about customers who don’t tip.

Our flight from DFW to LAX was uneventful. When we landed at LAX, we had only about an hour to get to a bathroom, grab a quick lunch, and find our gate. We grabbed a sandwich at a cute little French market and ate while we waited to board.

IMG_0466The six hour flight to HNL went by pretty quickly and the views coming into Oahu were incredible!


We landed about 1:30pm and took a shuttle to the hotel. After we got checked into the Ala Moana Hotel, we walked to the Ala Moana Center, the world’s largest open-air shopping mall to find some lunch. It was surreal ordering Mexican food from a menu written in English and Japanese. Interestingly enough, they didn’t have cheese dip. Who’s heard of Mexican with no queso?!


Hawaii is 5 hours behind Central time, so even though it was early afternoon, our bodies were telling us it should be supper time and soon bedtime. We knew that we needed to power through, or else, we would be messed up for the rest of our time in Hawaii. So we changed into our swimsuits and walked down to Ala Moana Beach Park and laid on the beach for a couple hours napping. We saw our first of many Hawaiian rainbows, a super cool Indian banyan tree, and rowers in front of Diamond Head. It proved to be a nice, relaxing afternoon.


We were so tired by 7pm that we decided we would just order in pizza. It was all we could do to stay awake until 9pm (2am our time!). Our adventure had just begun.


Málaga: Day one

I began my journey to Málaga in Little Rock at 10:28 am Monday morning, had a three-and-a-half- hour layover in Atlanta, and arrived in Paris at 6:10 am Tuesday morning. I had hoped that I would be able to sleep on the plane but that wasn’t the case. After going through security for a second time at Paris and making it through customs, I had another 4 1/2 hours of free time before my final leg to Málaga. The Charles de Gaulle Airport is a huge airport with lots of shops, so I had plenty to keep me busy–makeup, handbags, clothing, perfume, tea, and duty-free. You could tell it was an older airport, but they had modernized parts of it, including the women’s restroom. I think my favorite part was the Yamaha piano that was available for anyone to play. It was tempting, but I didn’t play it. I finally boarded my flight in Paris and was able to sleep the whole two hour flight to Málaga, a much needed rest. Once I landed, I went to international baggage claim, which was probably the most unorganized mess. There were four carousels and only one had any signage letting passengers know which flight was being unloaded. After 45 minutes of waiting with no bag in sight I finally spoke to the border policeman and asked what I could do. I  ended up having to file a claim with the airline, but when I did, the agent told me that my bag was the only one that they had been able to locate, and it was already on the next plane. I was so thankful that a nightmare was averted. They delivered my bag by 8 this evening. It was so good to see Elizabeth!  Once I got to Elizabeth’s apartment and freshened up, we walked to get lunch and had delicious kebabs. Elizabeth was able to order for us in Spanish. 🙂 After lunch we took the bus downtown and did some shopping and sightseeing. The wooden chairs in the street are part of set-up for next week’s Holy Week activities that include parades, processionals and costumes. Unfortunately, when we got to the beautiful square, it was full of bleachers. Now I’m off to bed to catch up on my sleep.

Day Ten: Last day in Anchorage

Monday was our last day in Anchorage. Hard to believe that the time had gone by so fast! Both of our flights left late so we slept in a little bit and spent the morning packing and deciding what we were shipping home. After we got checked out of the hotel, we went downtown. I had seen a hoodie at the beginning of the week that I wanted at Trapper Jack’s but talked myself out of it. Well after looking at hoodies all week in every gift shop we visited, I did not find one that I liked as well. So we went back to Trapper Jack’s to get my hoodie. 🙂 We ate lunch at Sack’s Cafe, where I decided to eat the Alaskan Reindeer sandwich, which was delicious!

Reindeer sandwich with cheddar, pickled red cabbage & dijon...delicious!
Reindeer sandwich with cheddar, pickled red cabbage & dijon…delicious!

When we went to say goodbye to Grandma, we found out that someone hit her parked car while it was right outside of her apartment! She had just gotten a new car a couple of months before, so it was really upsetting that someone would hit her car and flee the scene. Hopefully, her insurance will be able to fix her car.

The entire time we were in Anchorage, Aunt Paulina tried to get us together with her son Mike and his daughter Mika. Unfortunately, it never worked out. Well they lived on our way to the airport, so we stopped by their apartment to see them. I had actually met Mike and Mika several years ago when she was just a few months old. He had gone to Mississippi to get her and stayed at our house in Marianna for a few days. It was really special to see Mika now that she is 12 years old and practically grown!

Aunt Paulina, Mika, Daddy and I
Aunt Paulina, Mika, Daddy and I
Cousins: Mike and Daddy
Cousins: Mike and Daddy

After a quick visit with Mike and Mika, it was time to head to the airport. 😦 Daddy’s flight left at 8:11 to go back to Little Rock, while mine didn’t leave until 12:36am for Seattle. We had time to enjoy a nice supper before we parted ways. I was so glad I got to spend my first visit to Alaska with Daddy. It just made the time that much more special. We packed our time with so many wonderful activities. I definitely hope I get to go back soon!

Our last picture in Alaska