This should have been posted earlier, but I haven’t been feeling well. Anyway, here it is.
So, the trip in review:
Flights: Long and awful. Way too many small children screaming at the top of their lungs for way too long (read: the entire flight(s) home). Not nearly enough bloody marys. Bad movies (didn’t even watch them to pass the time). Bad food. The divider between coach and first needs to be soundproof, not a mesh screen. Running to make a flight isn’t fun and happens to me way too often.
Hotel: Nice, but they charged a dollar per local phone call — even to their own in-the-hotel restaurants. Yeah. Nothing was given away at this place. No robes for customer use (extra $), $22 a day for a parking spot, and $7.50 domestic bottled beer, like budweiser, in the hotel bar. It had five buildings and a mini-town full o’ stores and restaurants in the complex. A lagoon, as well. And a lot of kids.
Food: Lots of sweetness, even in foods not usually sweet to me, like waffles and pancakes. Lots of cheezburgers, too. And pineapple. Loads and loads of pineapple. Coconut syrup was tasty. The fresh fresh mushroom omelette topped with their house salsa/hotsauce fro Eggs and Things was absolutely delicious. I haven’t had fresh coconut in over a year and it was even better than I remembered it. Giovanni’s (shrimp truck!) hot and spicy shrimp rocked. The noodle shops that served ramen were awesome, as long as they took USD and credit, not just Yen. Poolside nachos were downright detrimental to one’s health. Much better nachos at the Royal Hawaiian.
Drinks: Oh my, it took my this long to get to this one?! One word: Mai Tai. So many variations, so many presentations. We sampled many of them, but the one we make at home, based off of the Royal Hawaiian’s recipe, still reigns superior. (Don’t believe me? Drop by one day and I’ll make you one and you can be the judge.) Mai Tais aside, a lot of drinks featured MIDORI… and were delicious.
Hula Grill presented their Mai Tai in a theatre-esque comedy/tragedy tiki face mug. We liked it so much we brought it home with us. Another great presentation was from Cheeseburger Waikiki with their Mai Tais coming in a souvenir plastic pineapple drinky bank. And don’t think it’s not sitting on my desk right now keeping me company.
Camera: It took great photos until we were washed into a reef by a strong wave. The enclosure leaked and the camera is toast. I lost 60 of so of my photos and all of my videos. I have an email into Olympus for a repair estimate, but I have a feeling a new camera is going to be the option. I’m also hoping that a local computer wizard can work some magic with recovery software and restore my photos.
Injuries: A few, but mostly minor. Skinned knees from coral (see above) and an injured nerve in a foot from walking too far in flip flops. In my defense, it didn’t feel that far at the time.
Snorkeling: Cold water but great fish. Tried as we may, we couldn’t get the puffer fish to puff. Some neat rainbow colors and lots of stripes on some. Sea cucumber was as gross to see in the water as in photos. No turtles in Turtle Bay (or anywhere else, for that matter). Awesome to get out four times in a week, even with deflated puffers and a turtle-less bay.
Thing learned: Read the buoys to gauge the best waves to surf. (Thanks, Raymond.)
Best story: About a thirty-something couple we first saw on the flight from Pittsburgh. They boarded right in front of us. He had very limited use of his left side; he could walk, but with a horrible limp, and she held onto his arm. When they left their house that morning, she told him they were going shopping in town. When they got to the airport, she said it was a surprise, and they got on the flight to Phoenix. Then, as we’re boarding the Hawaii flight (they were right in front of us again), we made a joke about seeing eight of the fourteen Hawaii bound Pittsburgh passengers in line and were counting to make sure we all made it. (The flight was so late. The pilot announced that if your connection was before 10:30 you’d be re-booked. Ours was 10:35, and it was that close.) He didn’t turn around, but she did, and explained that he had just found out they were going to Hawaii when he saw the sign at the gate; he thought Phoenix was the end of the surprise. In Hawaii, while we were waiting to be shuttled to our hotel, the were waiting to be shuttled to their cruise ship. I don’t know what she had planned after that and I don’t think I want to. Just seeing someone successfully execute a stunt like that was sweet enough.
I didn’t get to hike Diamond Head, ride a water trike, or paddle an outrigger canoe. Those three aside, we did everything we set out to do.
I recommend going for longer than a week since it takes so long to get there. But I ate well, slept well, drank well, and relaxed, so it was a great trip.