1 June 07
Where to begin?
This was our first trip to Hawaii. A 5 ½ hour plane ride from Seattle is a bit much, but it’s a lot easier without kids. Big thanks to Nancy (my mother-in-law) for coming down here from Wisconsin for the week. My youngest got sick near the end of the trip, and Nancy didn’t complain at all about having to clean up puke from his bed. It was made easier by Jason’s “puke-and-rally gene” (right, Al?) because he was happy as a clam right after relieving himself. It’s hard to be mad in the face of such joy.
We get off the plane and head to Alamo Rental Cars. You must have your own car if you want to do Oahu correctly. Little known tidbit – if you arrive in the afternoon, do not pay for an upgrade to your rental car. Most of the economy cars are gone in the morning, so all they have left are the nicer ones, which they give you for the same price. We got a Trailblazer, which was quite nice. We headed to our hotel, the Prince Hotel on Waikiki, a 5-star humdinger where we were one of only two other non-Asian groups. That’s not much of an exaggeration.
Small world story. As I’m checking in, they ask for my last name. I say, “Chako,” and they reply, “John?” Sorry, my first name is Chuck (most people reading this blog know my real name, but since it’s out there for all to see, I stick with the nom de plum Dr. Chako).
Anyway, I’m surprised to see someone else listed at the hotel with the same last name. Since I have no relatives named John, it’s a weird coincidence. Imagine my surprise when the guy standing next to me hands over his credit card and I happen to see the name – it’s John! I introduce myself and as I’m shaking his hand, his wife remarks that we look a lot a like. It’s uncanny, really. John is the same age as my dad, and if he and my dad were standing next to each other and someone asked you to pick my father, I think you’d have a tough time.
We started comparing notes. Turns out there are tons of similarities.
- Both of our families are from Russia.
- Both families came to the US in the early 1900’s but were turned away at the border and forced to go to Canada.
- Both of our families moved to the states at the earliest possibility – his to Minnesota and mine to New York.
His grandfather was named George. I had a great uncle named George, but we know all of George’s offspring, and there are no Johns in there. There is a possibility that George had kids from a mistress, but no one in my family can confirm this. I asked John for more details, but he says that he doesn’t know anymore. I’m guessing we may be second cousins once removed. At most, we are 3rd or 4th cousins. Amazing.
Next – Waikiki, Diamondhead, Luau’s and throwing my wife into an active Volcano.