Friday, June 29, 2007

iPhones In Paradise

All the way home on the plane last night I swore to myself that I would be the only person in the world to NOT write about the iPhone today... but I guess - like trying to sleep on a plane surrounded by kids - it's impossible.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let's backup for a minute - I just got back (at midnight last night) from a glorious 10 days in Hawaii. It was for my in-law's 50th wedding anniversary, and for the first 6.5 days we had a group of 23 people there - all family. Then Brenda and I, along with our two kids - took another 3.5 days together, alone.

The trip was great - spending long days at the beach and pool, getting sunburned beyond recognition, sleeping in (until 7:00 am, yeah!) - getting our drink on after the kids collapsed into bed. It was really a great time. The resort was really nice, and even with all those family members - everyone got along great.

After the hoards took off - we were able to burn up some of my Marriott Miles at the Waikiki Beach Marriott where we were shoehorned into a tiny room with two roll-away beds and an awesome view of Diamond Head and the beach (30th floor!). We got to ride an outrigger, see the kids slammed head first into the sand by waves ("body surfing"), hang out by the pool, get sunburned beyond recognition, get our drink on after the kids go to bed... you get the idea.

I left my computer at home - and hardly thought about work at all (that's what happens when you have an EXCELLENT group of people working with you!). I only talked to the office for less than 20 minutes the entire time - and each time they had closed another 6 figure deal. NICE!

Anway - back to the object of everyone's obsession - the iPhone...

>sudo command shutdown process iBob...
>command completed successfully

Thank God for command line prompts! Sorry, but old cynical Bob had to shut down that damn iBob before he waxes eloquent about that damn iPhone. OK, we get it. It's a phone. It's an iPod. Who the hell cares? Yes, it's cool, yes, it's nice. But it's also $600! Plus a two year contract that starts at $60/month! For a phone! In 2007!

Whew. That feels better.

And while old iBob got the high points of the vacation, there were some "bumps" along the way. Let's start with ATA (All Together Atrocious) airlines. Even when travel sucks and all airlines treat their customers like crap - this company really rose to the occasion. Their stewardesses were rude, they didn't take CASH on the plane, they had just enough snacks for the first 10 rows, and I think they hand carried each piece of luggage from the plane individually to the baggage claim carousel on the back of a 90 year old donkey.

In general, I'm a fan of the Marriott folks. This facility is only a couple of years old and still in good shape. It's their "Vacation Club" (timeshare) property so you get a whole kitchen, washer/dryer, etc. No maid service (only a once a week "freshen up") - but it worked out great. They also finally got a decent restaurant (Chucks Steakhouse) - if you want to spend $40 per person per meal per day. The best bet is to go into town and buy groceries and grill your own meat and fish (complimentary outdoor barbecues with all utensels included).

BUT If you can ditch the kids for a night out - check out Azul at the JW Marriott in Ko Olina. NICE. Pricey, but very, very nice. Great food - great service - great wines - great times. If you're into sushi and sashimi - you MUST go to Roy's in Ko Olina (across the street from the JW) for lunch (preferably after a spa day at the JW!) at the golf course. The course sucks, but the sushi and sashimi with an ice cold beer is to die for.

Now, after experiencing all these nice places to stay and eat - the service is about what you expect. Pretty good, people are nice, etc. but there was one place that really stood out. Not the Marriott. Not any of the restaurants. The place we got the best service was... Enterprise car rental.

Really. Not kidding.

After driving, parking, shuttle, bag check in, 5 hour flight, 40 minutes gathering bags, 25 minutes waiting for the shuttle - I was in no mood for any typical car rental crap (I had killed off iBob about two hours into the flight).

They must have just done a special Hare Chrishna-esque training program there - because when we got there a guy greeted me, shook my hand, looked me in eyes and really wanted to know how I was doing. There were two people at the counter, I was the only guy in line - so he calls another guy over to help me. They actually found my reservation, with the car I requested (mini van), for the price quoted, didn't bullshit me about the insurances and fuel gouging stuff, then they brought the car around, turned on the air, and even helped schlep our 100 pieces of luggage in. Then, they made sure I knew how to get to the highway (no small task!).

Huh. I have absolutely ZERO to complain about.

Not kidding.

On the return trip, it was the same. The check-in chick was nice, expedient, and even though I kept the car one day longer they didn't gouge me - they printed my receipt, the bus guy again helped schlep the luggage and bam. Done. That was easy.

Then back to the horror of ATA (and the oversold flight, and the rude stewardesses, and the 1 hour wait for bags, etc), etc. etc.

I'm tired from my vacation. I need a break.

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