Friday, February 08, 2008

Hawaii 2008

For most of last year my sister and I worked diligently trying to convince the extended family that it would be more fun to take the family to Hawaii for Christmas week than to partake in the annual gift giving orgy that I wrote about in my last post. My mom was all for it. If Amanda was healthy enough I knew she'd love to go back to Hawaii. (That poor girl is sick every Christmas and this year was no different.) Bek thought it was a great idea. Hannah doesn't really remember the summer we spent in Hawaii because she was only 4 years old at the time so it took her a little while to come around to our side. Jake doesn't even know what Hawaii is so his vote didn't count. Paul thought going to Hawaii was a wonderful idea until it was explained to him that he wouldn't be getting a bunch of gifts Christmas morning. That was a horse of a different color and Paul didn't like it one bit! I knew that I could show him pictures of us in Hawaii and he would remember how much fun he had and then he would say, "Off to HAWAII!", but then when we got there and there were no Christmas gifts he would be furious. Paul doesn't really know how to compromise. His idea of compromising is to agree with what ever is being offered to him but then expecting the outcome to include the bargain and whatever it was he was supposed to give up in the compromise.

Our only holdout was my brother in law. He really wasn't a hold out. He was just not able to commit to a trip because when we wanted to plan the trip he was scheduled for non-stop work filming a TV show in Canada. He liked the idea of fun in the sun because he was up to his knees in snow. Then the writers strike came around and really put a monkey wrench in the works. While this would have been a good time to take a vacation....everyone in the industry has no idea when their next pay check is coming so planning a family trip to Hawaii wouldn't have been a very sage idea. It was decided the trip would have to wait for a better, financially stable moment. The kids were a little disappointed but I think Paul actually breathed a sigh of relief.

I really wanted to go to Hawaii so I told my mom and Amanda that I'd pay the expenses for them to go to Hawaii with me. My mom was packed in no time and Amanda had to bow out. She was just on the end of a bout with colitis and just the excitement of the possibility of going to Hawaii made it flair up again. Acute Chronic Infectious Colitis...the gift that keeps on giving. So it was just me and my mom.

I had a town car pick us up and my mom got a huge kick out of that. This was my mom's first experience in a chauffeured town car and she got a huge kick out of it. This picture is blurry because I took it with my cell phone.

We made it to the airport with time to spare so we lived it up and went to the LAX Starbucks. Of course I managed to slop coffee down the front of my jacket and since we all know that a coffee spill is a gift that keeps on giving I had the coffee stain on my jacket through out my entire trip.

We had really good seats for our trip over to Hawaii. Mother got the window seat and I had the middle seat. The girl in the aisle seat was friendly and quiet. That, in my opinion, is the perfect stranger/seat partner.

Before we even took off I decided that I wanted my reading light turned on. I pushed the button and turned it on but it seemed to be shining on my mom so I reached up and tried to adjust it. Below please find the results: I quickly put it back where it belonged but it didn't quite snap back in to place as I had hoped it would. Please note the gap in the middle of the fixture that is not present in the fixture to the left of it:

I didn't tell anyone that I had broken the plane. I figured that this was on a "need to know" basis and I didn't think anyone needed to know.

Once the plane was leveled off in the air they made all of the announcements about "deplaning" in the event of a water landing, where to find the barf bags and where to find the exits. Then they announced that there was no food included on this 5 hour flight unless you wanted to purchase it. It's a good thing I wasn't hungry because I wasn't about to pay $6.00 for a small can of Pringles. Along with the food they were selling head phones. I purchased two sets of head phones and mother and I put them on immediately. There was no sound. When the flight attendant came back toward our seats I told him that our head phones were not working. He told me that the head phones probably worked just fine...but the audio on the entire right side of the plane was out. Of course, we were sitting on the right side of the plane. I sat there dumbfounded for a minute and then when the next flight attendant came along Mother asked if there was anyway we could get a refund on our head phones. It was, very heavy sigh, explained to us, rolling of eyes, that the head phones were not for purchase ONLY for the use on the airplane, they were for use anywhere we could find an antiquated 2 prong outlet. I convinced Mother that we could use them on our flight home and the exasperated flight attendant could go back to the very important and highly trained job of attending the flight. The girl next to me slept and mother and I read magazines, did cross word puzzles and ate Cheese-Its.

We arrived in Hawaii at a little after 9:00 PM. I breathed a sigh of relief because I felt like I was at home. I. LOVE. HAWAII. We had to wait a little while for our luggage to come off of the plane. It was no surprise when my mom's make up bag was the very last piece of luggage to come down the pike.

From the luggage carousel we walked to the car rental agency. Thankfully there was no line to wait in and we were helped immediately. My heart sank when I was told that they had a Hyundai saved for us. I asked them if they had any convertibles available. They said they did and then asked us if we had any luggage. (No. I come to the vacation capital of the world and I don't bring luggage.) I told them that my mom and I each had a suitcase and then they wanted to see it. I asked them what this was all about and they said that they were afraid that our luggage wouldn't fit in a convertible's trunk. (Apparently they thought we were going to put our imaginary entourage in the back seat.) Once they decided that our luggage would fit in the trunk they gave us a Mustang. We paid the extra amount so that we could have a GPS system.

After driving my tiny little 4 cylinder Mitsubishi...when I started driving the Mustang it felt like I was driving my house. It was very heavy but it would go very fast when I just barely hit the gas. Mother was in full backseat driver mode before we even got out of the airport parking lot.

It took me several times behind the wheel before I learned how to listen to the voice on the GPS. And oddly enough I mistakenly drove us to the same vacant parking lot on at least 3 occasions.

When we got to our hotel we thought that it looked nice enough and were anxious to get in and get unpacked.

They gave us the room keys and I sent Mother up to the room while I finished checking in. When I got up to our room Mother was standing outside of the room in the hallway. "Our room is really small.", she said. It couldn't be that small I thought and besides we were only two small people and we were only going to be in the room long enough to sleep so what would it matter. Then I went in the room.

This was the total sum of our room. There was a teeny weeny bathroom just beyond the left corner of the bed and that was it. No couch, no table, no desk. There was a small dresser with a nice flat screen TV and that was the extent of the accommodations.

I went back down to the lobby and begged them to put us in a bigger room. For 5 minutes the clerk insisted that there wasn't a bigger room available but then one magically appeared. Even though the hotel was "non smoking" the previous tenant had smoked in the room and the lady who had just checked in to that room deemed it unacceptable and was moving out. I told him, "WE'LL TAKE IT!"

The new room was only a couple of feet bigger but at least it had a couch and a coffee table so it felt a lot roomier. I washed my face as Mother started to unpack. I could barely hear my mother speaking over the din of the water but she got louder and louder. She was cussing. Apparently Mother had packed nail polish remover. It was in a tightly sealed bottle and put inside two plastic bags that were tied closed. When her bags were being inspected they opened the bags and opened the bottle and then didn't put the lid on tightly nor did they re-tie the bags. There was nail polish remover on every piece of her clothing and, oh boy, did it smell up that tiny little room. We rinsed out as much of her clothes as we could and then we laid the rest of her clothes out to dry. Welcome to Hawaii!

I can't remember the order in which we did the following things in the next 4 days but here are pictures of the highlights of our trip:

This was the view from our hotel. Waikiki Beach was on the other side of that wall, (and down a couple of blocks):

The turtle pond at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Bashful flamingo at The Hilton Hawaiian Village

The beautiful new wedding chapel at the Hilton Hawaiian Village:

Penguins at the Hilton Hawaiian Village:

Water Lily at the Hilton Hawaiian Village:


Two Mustangs at Diamond Head. Ours was the blue one. Guess which one I tried to get in to when we were leaving Diamond Head?

You can't really tell how far it is from the street level to the water level...but it's a very hefty descent. I'm proud to say that Mother made it all the way down, helped me look for sea glass, and made it all the way back up and didn't expire. She counted the steps up and it was somewhere around 700 steps. This is Mother at Diamond Head not having a heart attack. (She was actually watching for the mongoose.)
And she found one! This is Riki Tiki Tavey at Diamond Head:
This was my 5 th trip to Hawaii and the only time I saw more than just the flick of a tail of a mongoose. Yes, this is the south end of a north bound mongoose but just the fact that I got a picture of this guy amazed me.

The Lighthouse at Diamond Head:

The ocean view from a gully at Diamond Head:

Roosters and a hen taking a dirt bath at Diamond Head:

We went on a whale watch luncheon cruise and Mother got sea sick. She never hurled but she sure didn't feel very well. I stood on the very nose of the ship waiting to see the whales. There were two whale tail sightings but they were so brief that I didn't really get to see anything. I was walking back to the side of the ship to check on Mother when I saw a pod of spinner dolphins. Some of them had pink bellies and they were all jumping and spinning and generally looking like they were having a lot of fun.
We went to "Samira's Country Market" to try out their shave ice. We figured it couldn't be any smaller or funkier than Matsumoto's. We were wrong.

This was the entire dining room. I was standing in the door way when I took the picture. My kitchen at home, in my single wide mobile home was bigger than their kitchen. This is a mom and pop place. Mom is sweet and nice and accommodating. Pop is a total grump. I had a coconut shave ice with sweetened condensed milk drizzled over the top. It was pretty yummy but when I got to the middle of it there was no syrup. :(

You can always tell a fancy schmancy place by their fine linens:
(They gave me a Kleenex.)

Or by their hoity toity menu:

We had an early dinner at Haliewa Joes :

I had a spectacular pasta dish and a lovely glass of merlot and Mother had prime rib. When the sun was shining we could see the Haliewa harbor, then when the sun went down the yard surrounding the restaurant was illuminated by tiki torches. I LOVE tiki torches!

Our dinners came with orchids:

Can you imagine growing something this pretty in your front yard? There were butterflies and humming birds all over these flowers.

On New Years eve we went to the Clock Tower Mall and went shopping for a couple of hours and then had a very sensible dinner:

We listened to "Kapena" for about an hour before we headed back to Waikiki.

Kelly Boy from "Kapena" on New Years Eve at the Clock Tower Mall:

We tried to visit my mom's boyfriend but he wasn't home:

Pretty fuzzy purple flower in someone's yard:

Breakfast! (Gee, can you tell that I didn't get very much sleep during my vacation?)

The trip was a whirlwind of shopping and adventure. It was over waaaay too soon. We had to be at the airport by 12:00 for our 2:15 flight. The picture below shows what time we actually got to get on the plane. We had to sit on the plane for another hour and a half with no explanation as to why we weren't going anywhere.

This time our seats were in the bulkhead. At first we thought it was kinda cool because you have leg room for days...but then we discovered that while the rest of the plane is watching tv on screens that are almost the size of a mattress...we would be watching tv on a screen that was this big:

In the end...we needn't have worried. This time the entire entertainment system was down and NO ONE had access to the movies or the music. I'm happy to report that Mother didn't strangle anyone with her useless headphones.

We arrived at LAX almost 3 hours late and then had to wait for another 2 hours for our baggage to arrive on the carousel. I got home after 2:00AM and in to bed around 3:00AM. After 3 hours of sleep the alarm went off and I got up and went to work.

All in all...I'd rather be in Haliewa.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

But no matter what.... " you were in Haaa Why EE!"

If only I could remember how to get there!

4:24 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

I need to go there. Apparantly I need to ask you for tips, eh?

4:53 PM  
Blogger MinaG said...

Glad you upgraded to a larger room... Love the photos of your trip, and all the details about it. Makes me want to go.

4:55 PM  

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