July 18

Flights and Cooking

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March and April 2020 are sort of a blur. I'll say it several times as I write, the whole thing was a bit surreal.  Hawaii issued mask mandates and shut down public gatherings, dining in and the like. They also started to limit access to parks, so getting out wasn't really possible.

Of course, being the hermit type that I am, it wasn't really a problem.  I had my computer games and the code I was writing, Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime. At least, it didn't this early in the whole pandemic thing. I vaguely missed the ability to go and sit at Starbucks or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and people watch, but this wouldn't go on for long, would it? 

Apart from that, one of my friends had work from home orders for her work, so the two of us would sit in the apartment in comfortable companionship as the day progressed. It was nice - and we got to play with Wolf.

It was in March the news came - flights to Australia were cancelled. Not postponed, cancelled.  I don't blame Hawaiian Airlines or any airline, for that matter. The commercial reality of flying into a country with a small number of people onboard makes the business unfeasible.  It was a commercial decision and I fully respect and support that.

I rebooked that flight - July was the earliest flight out from Honolulu to Sydney.  No worries, I booked it and decided to check flights from elsewhere  Transit through the mainland etc etc.  Not only had prices skyrocketed at this point - again, I don't blame the airlines - but the mainland cities were experiencing a high number of Covid infections and the information about staying safe was ... patchy. 

It was then the stories of people who had actually booked flights and paid for them were getting bounced. Their flights were being cancelled or they were being removed from them and they had to wait to find a new flight. 

People were camping out in airports for days. Some people were stranded in the intermediary cities for weeks until a new flight could be boarded.  Let me be clear, in many of these cases, booking the flight wasn't a problem - actually getting on the flight and arriving at the end destination was. 

Was it the airlines fault? No, and yes. I'm enough of realist to understand that airlines are businesses and operate under commercial realities. They made decisions based on their business. I made decisions based on that.

Were was the Australian Government in all this? Well, that's a good question. The 'shelter in place' order changed to 'return home'. We couldn't of course by that point - the Government had introduced incoming visitor caps.  They - the nefarious 'they' - were pointing fingers blaming us for not coming home sooner.  

Despite their earlier advice - which at one point they denied giving. I seriously thought that my depression had made me misread their earlier advice until my friend said that she had read the advice and I wasn't going mad.

So it was, we hunkered down and accepted what was happening.

It would all be over soon.

Cooking

The one thing I did do, and still do, here in Hawaii is cook. I know, I know, everyone cooks, right? Well, I didn't really. In my earlier years I didn't, for various reasons and after I divorced and started living alone, there really wasn't any real motivation to do too much serious cooking. After all, I was happy with my home made Mac and Cheese, 2 minute noodles and the like. 

Being in a place with three adults though and being at 'home' most of the day, I could arrange things so that I could ensure dinner was ready when people got home.  It was something I could do and, equally as importantly, something I wanted to do. So, my cooking repertoire slowly expanded.

My friend had been gifted an Instapot for christmas in 2018 and introduced me to it. It was ... interesting. I'd never pressure cooked anything before and had heard nightmare stories about pressure cooking going wrong. I was also an indifferent cook at best. 

Don't get me wrong - I'm still a somewhat indifferent cook, just not as indifferent as I was.

After using the Instapot for the first time, I was hooked though and my search for new and varied meals to prepare.  I'll share them over time, but I say one thing to people who are time poor but like nice food - get an Instapot, you'll never regret it. 

The first two things I learned to do in an instapot, was to poach chicken which we used for lunches and boil eggs.  Yes, you can boil eggs and the results are outstanding. 

To say, during this time I've become a more than competent cook, would be fair.

No photo's this time - it was a quiet period. 


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