MAI TAI'S AT THE PINK PALACE
HONOLULU - Managed the last day in Hawaii to get in a little surfing and paddleboarding (think standup surfing with a giant kayak paddle) without being too embarrassed. Spent a great night at the Royal Hawaiian hotel (sorry, they prefer Royal Hawaiian A Luxury Collection Resort, which is still somewhat under construction but in beautiful shape and almost ready to re-embrace the world in its lovely, pink walls on the shores of Waikiki Beach. A true classic that dates back to the romantic days of Hawaiian travel (it opened in 1927).
And even if there's still some work to be done at the hotel, the marvellous Mai Tai bar is open and ready for business. It's where John and Cindy McCain first shared a drink together, only a couple miles from where U.S. President Barack Obama was born. There's great service at the bar, located just a few feet from the gentle waves of Waikiki Beach.
For the record, here is mixologist Joseph Gottesman's recipe for his royal mai tai, which is a half-ton better than a lot of places that simply dish out some cheap rum and a squirt of sweet fruit juice:
1 oz, Ro Matusalem rum, 1/2 oz. Cointreau, 1/2 oz. cherry/vanilla puree, 1/2 oz. Amaretto, 1 oz. Fresh pineapple juice, 1 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice and 1 oz. Coruba dark rum.
Apparently the original Mai Tai from way back when simply had rum, orgeat (an almond syrup) and dark rum, without the fresh juices. Just thought you'd like to know.
HONESTY IN THE AIR
Flying on a United flight into Chicago and the captain comes on and apologizes for the empty seats in the front of the plane. United allows people to spend an extra $77 U.S. or so if they want "economy plus" or some sort of special seat with extra legroom, and apparently they weren't all sold out. The captain, I think, came on the intercom and told folks please not to try to move into the empty seats.
Fair enough, but he was actually pretty good about it, apologizing for the way things have turned in the flight business these days and joking that at least passengers weren't being charged for the air they breathe.
Not yet, but give the airlines time.
NO SPIDER VACUUM
A huge disappointment to look in the United SkyMall magazine and not find one of those giant vacuum tubes for sale that allow folks to get rid of spiders that rest in corners of the ceiling, just waiting to pounce on innocent victims. I always got a charge out of that particular ad in previous airline magazines, so perhaps one can still buy one for the arachnophobiac who has everything.
Despite the lack of electronic spider suckers, there's still no shortage of great gadgets for sale in the airline magazines. I like the "non-UV wand" that kills E. Coli and salmonella on food with just a wave, not to mention certain death for dust mites, lice and fleas. Plus the motion sickness relief band, the portable stairs to help your pet climb onto your furniture and the lifelike sculpture of Bigfoot, not to mention the motorized, inflatable pool lounger, complete with drink holders for the floating Homer Simpson in all of us. The mini-doughnut machine certainly has to be popular with Canadians, and who could live without a dispenser that gives out paper towels with a wave of your hand (helps prevent the spread of germs!).