Tuesday, May 3, 2016

More from the islands or Hawai'i lll

After I had been on Oahu for about a week I had completed most of my analysis of the costs involved in the contracts that the company had on the books. I only had a few more jobs to look at and I already knew that, ultimately, our company would purchase them. We had branch offices all around the country but to have one in Hawai'i was pretty exciting...for me. I would be the one to set up the estimating system on their computers and then train the estimator(s). And so that was what happened. I flew home after two weeks and then there was the normal grind of getting on an airplane every Monday morning and returning every Friday night as I went from one boring branch office to another. Okay, it wasn't that bad, but I did dream of returning to Oahu and made tentative plans to, somehow. make that trip into a vacation for my wife and I.

My oldest daughter had been to the island of Kauai once and had told us that she thought it was the most beautiful place on earth. Okay. I knew that what I had seen of the island during my 6 hour trip some month ago had made me want to explore that small piece of tropical paradise further. I made that part of my tentative plans.

A few more months went by and then I received the call I had been waiting for. The deal had gone through and the business on Oahu was now another branch office of ours. And I was needed there to begin training! I called them and made the arrangements to meet with the estimator. Then I called my wife and told her that it had happened and we were going to Hawai'i; Kauai to be exact. I was going to be in the Oahu office for a week and then she would fly over on a Friday. I would meet her at the airport and we would go the inter island airline and fly off to Kauai. I already had a return ticket and had just changed the departure time to coincide with my wife's round trip departure. Perfect!

Off to Oahu and this time I would stay at the Ala Moana Hotel as the small Japanese hotel had no vacancies. When I got off the plane I made my way, confidently, through the airport, over to the car rental and then to the office. I was not a tourist anymore. I was a businessman. Okay, that's not quite true. It's very hard to be 'all business' when you are in Hawai'i. Driving down Ala Moana Blvd. I smelled the sweet air from the trade winds and enjoyed the most temperate climate. No AC for me.

I renewed my friendship with the office staff. We were now equals as our company was all employee owned. Then I set up the computers with our system and prepared for the first day of training. Tomorrow. I had spent 5 hours sitting on a plane and I was not going to spend another 5 hours sitting in an office.

I decided to visit the world famous Ala Moana Shopping Center. It was close enough to my hotel for me to walk there and I did. And then I walked all over the shopping center. It was a fascinating place as all of the pricing was in Japanese Yen first with the dollar equivalent below that. I noticed that I towered over 90% of the customers. At this time, Hawai'i was the premier honeymoon destination for Japanese newlyweds. It was during this time that I noticed someone taller than I, and I'm 6'-2". This man was tall, bronzed and was wearing a dark green 'lavalava', which is a sarong for men from Polynesian or Oceanic societies. He was very impressive looking and obviously Polynesian. I began to wonder if I could pull that off? Could I wear a lavalava to the office the next day? I came to my senses and decided that it wasn't the look for me.

That evening I drove down to Waikiki to see the sights. I also wanted to see the sand from Manhattan Beach CA. Yes, the sand at Waikiki came from Manhattan Beach, my hometown. Monied interests had come to Manhattan in the 20's and made a deal for barge loads of sand to be delivered to Waikiki as the sand there was not of the quality and quantity needed for the frontage of the luxury hotels there. It's hard to imagine towing barges filled with sand across thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean.

The next day it was back to business and I began my training sessions. This was always hard work as I had to convince an estimator that the spreadsheet program they had used for years was going to be dumped and replaced by some unknown software. In my time as a trainer and part of a software development team I had learned that most estimators considered the PC to be an unnecessary desk ornament. Hawai'i was no different and I had to struggle all week to convince the estimator that the software would help him and not hinder him. We made plans to come back in 3 months time.

In the meantime, I had vacation plans! I made my way to the airport and dropped off my car. My wife's plane was on time and we were soon in the air again, on our way to Kauai, where I had made a reservation at a small hotel that I had found via the Yellow Pages...

More later...

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