Although it took Josie, my wife, and I a day and a half to get to HMR (the Helemano Military Reservation) near Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, the trip wasn’t as bad as it could have been. In fact, other than worrying about getting here, it wasn’t bad at all.
The only bad thing about being here is that my son, Jonathan, doesn’t own a vehicle. He doesn’t even have a driver’s license.
I had the tickets for me and Josie paid for since November 1, 2018. The first time American Airlines (AA) changed one of the legs was a notification on November 17. The next time was the night of February 22, the day before we left. That was the beginning of a series of flight delays.
The first leg of our journey was originally scheduled to begin at 7:04 am on February 23 at the airport sharing land with Eglin AFB. Because it was too foggy on the runway for the pilot to land, the flight was rescheduled. AA subsequently and automatically booked us on another flight. That flight was also delayed due to fog. We finally departed around noon.
That delay meant we wouldn’t make our connecting flight in Dallas on time. The airlines automatically booked us on another flight. After we boarded that flight, the pilot was an hour late. The airlines had already booked us another flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu, but we couldn’t make that flight either.
When we arrived at LAX, an AA agent was waiting for us. He gave us boarding passes for a flight the next morning. He also gave us hotel and meal vouchers. Everything, except for his leg work, had automatically taken place. We ate and we slept for a total of $20 out-of-pocket. I can only estimate that AA lost around $250 dollars of the $900 I spent for the tickets, solely because of delays.
The next morning, we flew out shortly after 8 am and arrived in Honolulu at around 12:30 pm local time. My son and his wife, Cathy, were at the airport to greet us. We took an Uber from there to HMR. The cost was $50, one way. I spoke with the driver along the way. He was Filipino, just like my wife, and he told me he’d been living in Wahiawa since the age of 14.
As I said, Jon doesn’t own a vehicle. $50 to the airport and $50 back using Uber isn’t too expensive if you consider other alternatives. I checked how much a rental vehicle would cost and it would have had to have been a minivan since SUVs weren’t available in this area. The cost of a minivan, just the rental cost, was $90 per day.
I understand why he doesn’t want to own a vehicle. He can go to Honolulu and back every weekend for about $400 a month. A new car payment plus insurance is going to be more. Cathy is in the process of getting a driver’s license and if she does, he may end up buying a car anyway. I can only recommend getting a used car he can afford.
Bus service may as well be nonexistent. Jon and Cathy would have to travel from HMR to Whitmore Village to catch a bus. That’s about 9 miles by the shortest route. How are they supposed to get there? Shoe leather express? HMR has no service (bus or shuttle) from the base to anywhere else.
Jon and Cathy live in old, substandard base housing at HMR. They’re waiting for new housing units to become available. Before Cathy arrived, Jon stayed in substandard barracks. Why does the Army put up with conditions the Air Force would refuse? HMR belongs to Schofield Barracks and it’s right next to a pineapple plantation.
Josie has relatives and friends living in Hawaii. She’ll probably meet up with one or more before too long. I lived on another island in the 1970s (for about 3 and half years while I was in high school) and I was stationed on the other side of this island for two years in the 1980s. I’m very familiar with the locals and how they speak — Pigeon English and other languages — so I won’t have problems communicating anywhere here.
I don’t know how long Josie and I will be living here. We’ll be going back to the Philippines for a few months but I can’t say when. There are other things that have to happen before I can make those plans. Josie has a ticket with Asiana Airlines for sometime in March for a short trip. The ticket was around $500, round-trip (yes, already paid for). I hope we can both do the same thing later on for only twice as much.