I awoke on Thursday knowing the end of our trip had come.  Looking out the lanai, I saw that the sea had calmed enough for the parasailing boat, the submarine and the dinner cruise boats to be back in operation.  A large white cruise ship had also pulled into the harbor while we slept.  We went for a last swim and it seemed to feel extra good.  While we started packing, I was drying our bathing suits in the handy laundry room downstairs.  With everything nearly all packed, we walked downtown a last time to have breakfast at Akiís.  We were disappointed that our favorite waitress Josie wasnít there but we had an enjoyable meal anyway.  The town was busy with the tourists coming off of the cruise ship.  Even though we were leaving, Kailua would go on with its busy streets, tropical sunshine, moist fragrant air and happy vacationers.  We stopped to say goodbye to Mark.  While John went across the street to buy some 100% Kona coffee beans and macadamia nuts to bring home, I picked out a colorful hanging for my garden from Markís collection called the Goddessís Earring.  Every time I see it I think of our weeks in Kailua.  I have hung it over my computer until the weather gets more favorable but it looks so good there I donít know if it will ever make it into my garden.

When we got back, our room was frigidly cool.  Theyíd finally fixed the air conditioning.  Ah well, I guess we learned we could tolerate the heat and humidity just fine.  John had already done the express check-out so we only needed to turn in our keys.  We packed the last minute items and went out for a last look at the turquoise sea and the white frothing surf crashing on the rocks below.  I felt just a little sad saying farewell to this scene but I was already looking forward to returning to my own piece of earthly paradise.  We live in a place where many people come to vacation.

We got to the airport two hours early which proved to be perfect.  They put you through at least four separate inspections each one involving a long line.  Once through, we stopped at the restaurant and had food too good for airport food.  The flight was on time and full.  There were four or five other couples on that flight who were also flying on to Eugene, Oregon.  As we gained altitude, we passed over the tiny uninhabited island Kahoolawe and then Maui which looked like a deeply faceted jewel set in a sparkling blue sea.  The flight was long but reasonably comfortable.  I enjoyed watching a baby across the aisle.  She watched me for a time too and we shared smiles.  By the end of the flight, even she was getting a little cranky.  Maggie from Kailua, who was sitting behind me, had gotten quite looped and she was telling everyone that she hadnít been off the island in fifteen years and how weird it felt to be leaving it.  She was headed to Vegas for her sonís wedding.

Once down on the ground in San Francisco, we saw that our flight to Eugene was delayed for nearly two hours.  It seems that before taking off from Salt Lake City there was a minor problem with a seat belt in the cockpit and while they were fixing that an inebriated passenger got rowdy and had to be carried off the plane causing the delay.  We met another couple who had been on the flight from Kailua and we wiled away the waiting time by sharing stories of our vacations.  Finally the flight took off and in a little more than an hour we touched down in Eugene.  It was well after midnight and we were visualizing how good it was going to feel getting into bed at the Valley River Inn.  However they were taking a long time letting us off the plane. They announced that they were having trouble getting the door to the luggage compartment open.  They finally let us off and we headed to the baggage claim area.  John called the Valley River and they sent a taxi out to meet us.  Meanwhile weary passengers lounged in a semi-circle around the silent and empty conveyor belt.  The taxi arrived but still no luggage.  The driver kindly said heíd wait for us.  After an interminable half hour the bells rang and the lights flashed and the luggage started making its way down to us.  By the time we laid our exhausted heads down on soft pillows it was after two in the morning, but we were pleased that our vacation had gone so well.


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