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More Aloha!

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

It might sound funny to say it, but I never tire of being photographed with smiling bridge players, especially the women. I would have come “back” much sooner if I had known I was going to get such ego-boosting attention. You will note in the photos that they always had some flowers on me. That’s the way they do things in Hawaii, I suppose. No complaints from here, mind you.

On Saturday, I got to sit in on a Youth bridge session at the club. Thanks to Busaba Williams and many of her friends, there is a large contingent of young players in Hawaii. You would think all these young people would all be out surfing 24-7 – How about that? Another new phrase for me – but Busaba, who is an absolute ball of fire, has them bidding their heads off and taking tricks like crazy. It was great to see all the young faces at the bridge games.

One of the young players I met in Hawaii.

One of the young players I met in Hawaii.

I have to say that the highlight of my trip was being invited to the wedding ceremony of Busaba and Luke Han at the Outrigger Canoe Club. Just like so many other spots in Hawaii, the club is in a primo location.

I’m guessing you have heard of Diamond Head, one of the most famous places in all of Hawaii. It’s a volcanic cone that looks like a big mountain from a distance. Lots of people like to climb it, and for good reason. When you get to the top, the view will knock your socks off (I already had that phrase…from the “old days”).

Well, the Outrigger Canoe Club is located below the slopes of Diamond Head and near Waikiki Beach. Okay, I can’t resist: Waikiki means “spouting fresh water.”

Anyway, Busaba and Luke made a fantastic couple, all dressed in white for their wedding day. I wasn’t around when she was chair of the 2006 Fall NABC in Honolulu, but everyone tells me Busaba and Luke made one of the best tournament organizing teams in ACBL history.

Don’t Busaba and Luke look great?

Don’t Busaba and Luke look great?

Their wedding was fabulous, and everyone seemed so happy for them. I didn’t even know Busaba that long, but I would guess it would be impossible not to like someone with her charismatic personality – you might find her photo next to “vivacious” in the dictionary.

After Busaba and Luke got hitched, they headed off for Tahiti. Wow! I dropped a few hints about maybe tagging along, but nothing registered with the happy couple. I can’t say as I blame them. I definitely would have been out of place in the honeymoon suite!

I guess I should check my Blackberry now to see where I’m heading next. Just kidding; I haven’t achieved that level of hipness yet (I have trouble with even the elementary cell phones).

I guess I’ll just go with the flow. You’ll find out next time where I’ve been. See you in San Diego, if not sooner.

On My Way to Atlanta

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

My time in Toronto was wonderful, but I knew I would have to say goodbye to Canada at some point.
I was sad to have to leave but happy about my destination – the great city of Atlanta. I had heard a lot about the city and the bridge community there.

It’s not a short trip from Toronto to Atlanta, so I was more or less expecting to have a nice movie on my flight. When I departed Europe to return home after my “retirement” ended, I was surprised to see a screen on the back of the seat in front of me when I sat down in the airplane. I had never heard of or seen such a thing, and it took me some time to work out how to use it – the man in front of me complained about the fact that I was pushing too hard on the touch screen and disturbing him while he was trying to sleep. Eventually, I worked it out. I was intrigued by one of the titles I saw, Kung Fu Panda, and almost didn’t try it, but I did enjoy the film.

So you can see why I was a bit disappointed in the flight to Atlanta – no movie. Even so, I didn’t let it take the edge off the excitement of seeing a new place – and I did discover something I had never heard of – sudoku.

I was always a big fan of crossword puzzles, and when I picked up the in-flight magazine, I noticed there was a puzzle section. Imagine my surprise when I saw the grid where you put all the numbers. It took me some time to figure out what it was all about, but I was hooked.

It’s funny how they tell you all about things on the airplane before you even take off, like the masks that fall out of the overhead if something bad happens.

I can tell, if I thought an emergency was going on, I would be under the seat! The mask wouldn’t do me any good.

The staff on the airplane was very nice. They seemed very interested in me, and they warmed to the challenge of getting my seatbelt to fit soundly – not an easy task.

I was very pleased with the announcements about not smoking on the airplane. In the old days, you had to put up with a lot when you took to the air.

I was surprised to see that one of the flight attendants was a man. In my day, as you can imagine, they were all women and they were all called stewardesses. One thing has remained the same, though – they are all very pleasant.

The pilot talked to us a lot, too, letting us know that we were a bit late leaving Toronto but that he would try to make up the time on the way to Atlanta. I don’t know if he did because I had my eyes closed when we touched down. There was a storm in Atlanta and the airplane was shaking a lot. I was relieved, however, to note that the air things didn’t drop down. I took that to mean it wasn’t a huge emergency – just a bumpy flight.