Friday, January 27, 2006

Feeling Groovy

Finally feeling better! :) Good day with my new eating strategy. Not enough movement, but lots of school work done! Never seems to be enough time to spend with M. Doing the best I can. Dad is hanging in there.

Got a new mouse for my laptop woo hoo!

All of these post lately have been all over the place. I need to get a handle on that. That will be my new project.....starting tomorrow! :)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

216 Pounds, Is This Enough?

Yep, I actually weigh 216 pounds. Much like Kirstie Alley, I am somewhat astounded by this. I mean that I am astounded by how much I weigh....Kirstie Alley doesn't care so much about MY weight.

I blame my male friends. Yep, those sweet bastards! LOL I know this sounds weird, but even at 216 I still get a lot of positive male attention. Not just from friends, but men in general. I am in a very happy relationship right now. I am a confident, intelligent, if somewhat goofy woman. I'm just saying, maybe I would have noticed how much weight I had gained if I had gotten less attention. That hasn't happened at all. WHATEVER!

The bottom line is I am FAT. I need to lose some weight for my health and emotional well-being. I am starting today.

For supper tonight I had grilled shrimp, green beans, baked potato and a salad with ice water.
It's a start. I also did some Pilates this afternoon. Ya have to start somewhere. SO I am starting here and now.

Here We Are

Dad got out of the hospital on Monday. I was still not feeling well, but figured he would go home early in the day. I rushed to get downtown and then we waited on the doctor. We ended up leaving the hospital around 5:30pm! UGH It was a very, very long day.

Dad is so frail. He has gone down hill so much, even in the past few months. One thing I really noticed this time is how bent he is. He looks like at any moment he will fall over to the right.

When he went in to bed, I went to check on him. He was sitting on the rail of his bed. He was totally out of it! I had to literally pick him up and put him in the bed. He almost fell out of the bed several times, reaching for things that were not there. I came really close to putting up the rail of his hospital bed, but I was afraid he might need to get out of the bed in an emergency and he wouldn't be able to. Bless his heart, I just wish he would fall asleep and die peacefully. Don't get me wrong I don't want him to die, I just want him to find peace.

I am finally feeling better myself today for the first time in more than a week. I still have a little annoying hacky cough, but nothing like I had. Thankful to feel more like myself.

Biology tomorrow should be interesting, I have no idea where we are in that class. UGH Hopefully, I will get caught back up with little bloodshed! :)

MB is wonderful. He was such a sweetie this weekend when Dad and I were both sick. He spent time at the hospital with daddy and made sure I had food to eat for dinner! :) His sister was in the hospital 3 doors down from my dad! How weird is that?

Gotta get some sleep. School tomorrow.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Dad Back In The Hospital

No big suprise, Daddy is back in the hospital. He was really kind of pitiful today. I am glad that he is in the hospital where they can take care of him. Bless his heart, he is just struggling so. I have bronchitis! Woo Hoo! Lovin that! :(

So, I am at home typing this trying to take a nap...not sucessfully...too much coughing. My sister is downtown at the hospital with my dad. She went pretty much right after work. I hate that I am not going back down tonight, but I just feel awful.

Tomorrow is another day. Dare I say...a BETTER DAY! :)

Another bad day for Dad

I am about to take my dad back to the doctor. I feel pretty sure they will admit him to the hospital. This will be only 3 weeks since the last time. Before that it was 5 1/2 weeks. The times are getting closer between visits. We should have taken him in on Monday, but he didn't want to go. It has to be up to him at this point. Today he is so short of breath that he has to rest between each motion. It took him forever to put his shirt on. Going to the bathroom is an ordeal, and he is unable to fix even the most rudimentary meal for himself.

I really feel like we are getting close, very close to the end. It saddens me, but I want him to go peacefully. That is my constant prayer. Updates as they come.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Adventures In Alohaland Day 7

Day 7 Sunday On Waikiki Beach! If every day you could wake up in paradise, what would it be worth to you? The thing I keep thinking of, this is vacation. If I lived here, I would have to have a job. That work thing sure can get in the way of having a good time. Ah well, great breakfast at Duke’s as usual. Lot’s of families today for some reason. No bother, just noticed.

Went up to my room after breakfast and grabbed my light backpack that I purchased at the swap meet. Walked down the street to catch the Pink Trolley again to Ala Moana Shopping Center.

Had the same driver from last time. She is a riot. Lot’s of crazy people on the trolley. I think some people leave their brain at home when on vacation. That driver was so patient. Kudos to her for enjoying her job so much.

Looked around some of the shops I missed last time. Went back to Hilo Hatties for a few things friends from home had asked for. The bookstore was having a huge sale. I bought a couple of Hawaiian books for children. (I forgot to mention that when I went to the Swap Meet on Wednesday, I bought a friends twin 3 year olds these cool coconuts. They have something like a fish or a beach scene or a turtle and you mail them like a postcard! LOL They loved them!) And I bought one more Hawaiian history book for myself. Decided I had enough to lug onto the trolley and found my way back to the Pink Trolley.

The ride back was very enjoyable. A light rain off and on. It is very welcomed actually, cools you off. According to one of my guides, the Hawaiians saw sprinkles of rain as a blessing. I am trying to look at it that way here at home…not the same somehow! LOL

Back at the hotel, I dropped my purchases off in the room and headed down to Dukes for lunch. I made the mistake of sitting at my favorite little bar to eat! Alex was bartending and keeping things interesting at the bar. I had the excellent Chicken Quesadilla. Lot’s of food, but I managed to eat it all!

There were several of the old time beach boys there. The bar charges them $1.00 a beer and a huge discount on their food, if not free. These guys are so friendly after they see you a few times. They told me some cool stuff about the surfers out that day.

One of the guys started talking to me about how the true surfers paddle out, none of this towing in thing. He said he believes if you aren’t strong enough to paddle out far enough and aren’t fast enough to catch the wave you have no business riding it! LOL

These men are truly a treasure. Glad to see Duke’s recognizes their worth to the place. I have these guy’s names written down somewhere. I will keep looking for it. They were a trip. Very interesting and had hundreds of stories to tell. It took awhile for them to warm up, but when they did….it was worth it.

I mentioned that I intended to rent a car the next day to go out to the Arizona Memorial. One of the guys took me up to a young guy sitting there at the bar. He told him I was his friend and I needed to rent a car for the next day. That guy’s name was Pono, he was really nice and actually walked with me up the street to the Budget car rental place. They gave me a huge discount. One great thing about them, they give you discount coupons with your rental. I used several of them. They aren’t buy 1 get one free. They are either free items or discounted even for one. So good all around. I scheduled to pick the car up that night at 9pm, since I wouldn’t need it till the next morning.

I have truly felt that this trip was magical. Every person I met seemed to go out of his or her way to make sure my stay was great!

After thanking the guys for helping me so much, I went upstairs to my room to change into my surf shorts and tankini top for the sunset catamaran ride. The great folks with No Hoku gave me a discount on this ride since I went on the day ride yesterday. I think they do that for everyone, still it’s nice. Also, be sure if you want to do the sunset cruise you sign up in advance. It pretty much always sells out.

I went downstairs and had some time to kill. One of my favorite bartenders that I hadn’t seen all day, was at the big bar. He greeted me with what had become typical for me “Hey South Kackalackee! What’s up?” He asked how my day had been and what I was up to. I told him I was headed for the No Hoku. The whole time we were talking he was mixing drinks and without me asking hands me a lava flow in a plastic cup. He tells me this one’s on him and don’t fall off the boat! LOL So I graciously accept and walk out to the beach area of Dukes to wait on the boarding call for the No Hoku.

I finished by drink in time to get in line for the cruise. Nobuku recognized me and greeted me with a hug. Shogu helped me board the boat and brought me a mai tai. This time I decided to be adventurous and sit at the front of the boat. Not in the netting but just behind that. The solid part next to the sails. It was a great place to sit. Good view and lots of motion with the water. Got a little wet, but nothing like my first trip!

There were a lot of drunk people on this trip. I was not one of them. I had 2 mai tais. I met some nice folks who were there on business. They had just closed some huge $$$ deal in Honolulu and would be coming back on a regular basis to get the company off the ground. Some people have all the luck!

This was such a beautiful trip. I highly recommend it. They play great music there is an open bar and soft drinks. The crew is delightful and very safety conscious. They overall do a killer job. The view of Waikiki coming back in is just breathtaking. I took some photos, not sure where I am going to put them up, but I will post a link.

The ride back in was once again a trip, the conch blowing and people trying to get out of the way. It is a wonder no one gets hurt, cause there were some obviously oblivious people out there. But it all worked out just fine!

After giving my goodbyes with hugs all around to the crew, I headed back to the hotel. I headed upstairs to change in to some dry clothes. After combing out my hair, I was ready for some food and to go get my car.

I walked across the street to find some food. I sort of wandered and found a food court in the International Market Place for some fast food. It was filling and all I needed. I then had a Dole Pineapple Whip. It was awesome.

I left there and walked toward the car rental place. On the way I passed a jewelry vendor stand. They had nice gold and silver jewelry. I found a lovely plumeria ring. They gave me a great deal compared to Charleston. They didn’t have my size there, but did at their store. They told me I could pick it up the next day. It is really beautiful. It made me think of my mom. She loved to buy jewelry on vacation. I guess she was watching over me and laughing! LOL

The rental car went without a hitch. I found my way back to the Outrigger no problem and the bellmen took care of parking it.

Knowing that I was going to the Arizona Memorial in the morning, I decided to call it a night. I felt truly blessed.

I Miss My Mitten

Ugh! I have the worst head cold I have had in a long time. I am so sick of blowing my nose!

Now on to some random stuff.....

I finally bought the laptop I had been covetting! I love this thing. I am kind of addicted to it, seriously. I will be typing away and realise that it is 3am. I also find myself surfing the internet as if I just discovered google. This behaviour has to stop or I may never leave my bedroom again.

Dad is not doing very well. He is having trouble breathing, but he wouldn't let me take him to the doctor. He has an appointment tomorrow at noon. I am guessing they will put him in the hospital again. I hope so. He is really pitiful. He was crying and talking about my mom's death. Bless his heart.

That's all I got..

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Adventures In AlohaLand Day 6

Day 6 Woke up a little later than usual this morning and headed down to Duke’s for breakfast. YUM

The ocean was not churning quite as badly as yesterday so the catamaran’s are running! I decide to take the one I have seen out of my bedroom window every day. It is bright yellow and red, Hawaiian Royal Colors. The name it The No Hoku. It is located just to the left of the Outrigger Waikiki as you face the beach. You don’t need a reservation, you just show up and Nobuku will take your money, I think it is $25. Open bar and when the weather is right they let you snorkel/swim for a bit. The evening cruise is open bar, no swimming, sunset cruise.

The No Hoku is captained by Capt. John John, the crew for my trips while I was there was Shogu and Nobuku not sure of the spelling. Both the crew members were originally from Japan. They were so cool. Again, great thing about traveling alone, people talk to you. They took pictures for me and made sure I was having a good time.

There was not a full boat by any means, but a few families and some couples and me. They told us ahead of time that the waves would be pretty rough to be safe. I had a mai tai. It was great!
We cast off from the beach. The crew does everything from casting off to bartending to generally keeping people from being swept overboard or hurting themselves when the waves are crashing. They saved several folks from getting hurt trying to move around when it was choppy. And by choppy I mean we were leaving Waikiki and folks were surfing in to shore next to us! LOL

The ride was so worth it! I loved this! I have to tell you though, because the surf was so high, it was kind of sketchy a few times. A few people got really seasick. The crew did an excellent job taking care of them. The music was good. The mai tais were good. They had beer and soft drinks, etc. too. The views were spectacular going out around Diamond Head and back. I highly recommend this company. Lots of fun! Coming back in Nobuku stood at the bow (front) of the boat and blew a conch horn to move surfers and swimmers out of the way so that we could land safely on the shore. It was so much fun. Some folks were disappointed that they didn’t get to snorkel/swim, but it was obvious that the water was too dangerous on this day. The Capt was very experienced and I wasn’t afraid at all, but it was quite a roller coaster ride. I couldn’t help but squeal a few times it was like being a kid again. Too cool!

When we came ashore, I walked the few feet to the bar at Dukes for lunch! LOL It was pretty busy. I sat at the larger bar not my favorite small bar. I ordered a lava flow from a guy named Jesse. Well, he made it and then it proceeded to sit there at the end of the bar for quite a while. I was getting very frustrated, while he talked to some random hoochie girl and then took other orders. My drink still sitting there. Thank goodness my buddy Dustin came in to work. He said “Hey how’s it going South Carolina?” I said “Well, good except I ordered that drink that is melting down there and can’t seem to get it to me!” He walked over and got the drink and as he was handing it to me, Jesse realized what he had done. He came over and introduced himself, apologized and bought the drink for me. So, I guess no harm done. But watching him work, he is nowhere near as efficient as the others who work there. Oh well, there has to be one in every crowd! I ordered a really nice grilled chicken Caesar salad. It was very good and came in a timely manner.

While sitting at the bar the man next to me asked me what part of South Carolina I was from. I told him Charleston. His name is Chris, well, it turns out he is from Summerville, SC. That is like a suburb of Charleston, a town in it’s own right, but 15 minutes away. He still owns some houses in SC. Too funny to run in to someone from my state all the way in Hawaii! Then he introduced me to the guy sitting next to him. He had on a hat with all kinds of pins on it. Turns out this guy is from Australia and has been on this incredibly long journey visiting the United States and part unknown. His name was Stuart and he has so many truly hysterical stories to tell of his exploits. After about 4 huge glasses of ice water and listening to these tales, I headed upstairs for a shower and a nap.

After my nap, I ran across the street to see if I could find some aloha wear to wear to the luau at Paradise Cove tonight. I was really surprised to find 3 dresses that I really loved. 1 for the luau and the other 2 I could actually wear them anytime. Even at my size they were very pretty and the lady at the store gave me a great deal!

I ran back over to the hotel and changed clothes. I had to walk a couple of blocks to where the buses pick up for the luau. They gave me my bus number and off I went. I had Cousin Ten ( like the number). He was hysterical. The ride was pretty uneventful, and before we knew it we had arrived.

I got the upgraded package where they serve you at the table and your seats are close to the stage. It was perfect. I was about 3 people back from the stage and the show was fantastic. But I get ahead of myself.

Right off the bus, I had my picture taken with a really hot guy! LOL That was part of my package. Then they had a free mai tai. Not as good as the ones on the boat, but not bad. Then they show you your seats. At that point you can wander around the village at will. They have all kinds of activities you can take part in. I got a wrist bracelet of flowers and a drawn on tattoo. The man who did my tattoo is from Samoa. He is also the guitar player in the band that plays in the show. We were able to try the hula, that was a lot of fun. Also, a man was singing with a guitar. He was very good. There were also games to play. There were lines, but not too bad. I was able to do everything I was interested in. They then call everyone for the hukilau(sp?) That was fun and beautiful.

Then everyone is called to go see the pig being taken from the ground. They explain what will be served for dinner and explain it a little. Then they take your picture with the Royal Party. It was a lot of fun. The night I was there it was a full moon. That added to the beauty of the evening. The show was well done. The dancers seemed to really be enjoying themselves. The dances were beautiful and the fire dance was awesome.

By the time it was time to leave, I was tired and pretty much ready to go. I was really glad I didn’t have to drive. On the way home, I made friends with a couple who were visiting from NY. He is a professional musician, a drummer with a touring band and she is a professional dancer. They were so nice and we chatted the whole ride back. I met some of the coolest people on this vacation.

Walked back to the hotel, with my goodies ( glass I purchase, pictures and such). After the long day I had, I went right up to bed. Another perfect day of sunshine, new friends and good fun!

Adventures In AlohaLand Day 5

Day 5 Man, a girl could get used to this! I just love waking up and walking to the balcony to look at the ocean. Heavenly really.
Shower and watch the news, it is so funny to me how the surf report is part of the daily weather report. I love this!

Breakfast at Duke’s great as usual. Friendly folks from Nebraska were sitting by me with a very beautiful little girl. So well behaved, I was in awe. Great parents, cool kid.

Today is all about the shopping! I decide to take the Trolley to Ala Moana. I was given a pass by those cool Nebraska folks. There is a pink trolley that is dedicated to shopping I guess! LOL Anyhow, walked over to in front of the CheeseCake Factory to board the bus. Huge line! But some were there for the other trolleys so no worries, got on the first one. The ride was interesting, as this was one of the first stops. Took awhile, but I enjoyed the open air ride.

At the mall, I found a great deal on a video camera! Can you believe it? It was actually cheaper at the Radio Shack there in Honolulu than in Charleston! I bought it and an extra battery. Visited Hilo Hatties to get the goodies that went with my Big Kahuna package! Bought some coffee for some folks back home. Then also got some great shoes from a vendor in the middle of the mall. They are Crocs. Slippahs. Flip-flops! They are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn.

Feeling a little tired after all the shopping and my later night last night. I decided to head back to the hotel. Found the trolley really easily. Had to laugh at this one woman talking to her daughter “You know, I can’t believe that there aren’t any American’s here.” Unfortunately she was referring to locals. I said “Ma’am these folks are Americans!” I said it in my best Southern belle drawl all covered with sugar and smiled. My momma always said I could tell someone to go to hades and they would thank me. It’s all in the tone. LOL At least she had the decency to be embarrassed. I just kept walking. It really flew all over me, I know I was probably being to sensitive, but couldn’t help myself. UGH!

Got all my packages onto the trolley with me. The lady driving was hysterical. She really liked her job, you could tell. We got to the hotel in no time. In retrospect I guess my stop was the second in the grand scheme of things, cause on the way back we only stopped at the Hilton before my stop. Anyhow, it was a great little trip.

I took all my loot up to my room and decided it was time for lunch and I wanted to be in the air conditioning for a bit. So I went downstairs to the little deli sandwich place in the lobby. Now this place is kinda hard to find. It is right next to the washers and dryers. The sandwichs are cheap, freshly made and very good. I got egg salad sandwich, chips and drink for about $6. That is cheaper than home by about $1.50! I took my lunch back to my room. Took some Motrin and watched soap operas for a bit. Now, I didn’t have a full out hangover, but I was definitely aware I had been up late! LOL A nap was in order.

I got a call from my friend George. He and his girlfriend Des were going to pick me up to go to the Friday night Aloha Festival Downtown Melee. Basically a big street party. They picked me up in front of the hotel. It was great to see him again and to meet his very nice girlfriend. Shortly it was like we were all old friends.

We parked down by the Aloha Tower and walked the couple of blocks to the party. As we got closer to the crowd a man came up and gave Des and I both a rose. He wasn’t looking for money, he just gave us the flowers. We were a little dubious of the whole thing. He assured us he just wanted us to have them and walked away. Neither of us said anything and then both of us said we had watched to many horror movies. You know the ones where in a crowd the pscho “marks” his victims with flowers or some such thing so that his accomplice knows which women to take. Yeah, we were laughing so hard at our paranoia. We knew we were being silly, but it didn’t stop us from staying really close to George! ROFLMAO

There were street vendors with all manner of wonderful food. It was awesome. There was an excellent Military Band. They had a female singer and they played a lot of rock covers. We really enjoyed listening to them.

We were getting hungry and the band stopped playing. We decided to head back over to the Aloha Tower Marketplace and eat at Don Ho’s. Great idea, one problem though, they wouldn’t seat us. Apparently they were through for the night. Whatever. We ate at the restaurant right across the way from them. It was on the water and I can’t for the life of me think of the name. It was really good though. We talked and laughed and had a great time.

They were asking me if I had any trouble being a haole girl alone in Waikiki. They really seemed surprised when I told them that I hadn’t had any trouble. In fact in a few places I went to people thought I lived there. Probably because the folks at Duke’s new me by my first name at this point. And I have a purse that is one of those mailbag purses from a company called Da Kine. I have had it for a year, but I guess it is a surfer brand. Whatever, it was interesting for people to ask me if I was a local! LOL

After dinner, they dropped me back off at the hotel. They both had a really long work week and I believe she had to work the next day. At any rate, I was not quite ready for bed! I decided to go have a drink at Duke’s.

Davy was working again along with Mike. They again kept me pretty entertained. I also had a great long interesting conversation with one of the waitresses who had just gotten off work. Her name was Daisy. She was so sweet and we chatted for quite awhile. These folks were so easy to be with. Having worked in the tourism industry, I know that by nature folks who work around tourists are friendly people. It is in our genes I guess. Anyhow, they really made my trip.
There were two girls sitting at the bar that were in town on vacation. They were a hoot. One of them fell off the bar stool. They were a little uh, well hoochie if you know what I mean. They were however entertaining to watch….from a distance.

Folks, remember your bartenders and waitresses. Especially in a place like Honolulu. Most of these people are working a couple of jobs and going to school. When they work hard or go that extra mile for you…show them by tipping appropriately. 18% - 20% for exceptionally good service.

After a very long night…..Food and Beverage people party pretty hard….and I am old. I made my way up to my room and to bed. I am so glad I had a chance to meet these folks. They made my vacation very special by making me FEEL like a local. That’s it for Day 5. More to come.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

AlohaLand Day 4

Day 4 Another beautiful morning in Paradise! I woke up about dawn and took a look out toward the water from the balcony. Surfers making the most of the dawn patrol! Beautiful. Got dressed with a day of touring around town in mind.

I live near the ocean so, beach days were not all that high on my list. My biggest fear was getting sunburned and then not being able to enjoy my stay. I had plans to go kayaking this week at Lanikai or that area, but mother nature was not cooperating. The water was really dangerous during the time I was there. It was all over the news. The number of rescues happening each day just boggles the mind. So I decided to go out and have a look around.

I had another incredible breakfast at Duke’s my waiter Alec was really nice and took my picture in front of the Dukes sign. After the nourishment, I decided to call a cab to take me to the Iolani Palace for the early morning tour. It was well worth it. The taxi cost about $8 including tip. The Palace is quite impressive. The lovely ladies that help you put your booties on at the entrance were so sweet. They were fascinated with the fact that I traveled by myself from South Carolina! LOL

Also, turns out that one of the Hawaiian ladies has a daughter that used to live here and we chatted about that. She kept putting my face between her hands as she made her point about this or that. It was like speaking with my grandma when I was a child. Meant a lot to me, difficult to explain. Now that my mother has passed I am inordinately grateful for the time older women take to share their insights and affection with me. I was moved by her kindness.

The tour was so worth it. Our guide was incredible. Her husband apparently used to play pro football and they lived in California for years and now in Hawaii. She was late as she had taken the bus! The pieces they have on display were incredible. The etched glass in the doorways, breathtaking. The feather robes and the furnishings, just really impressive. Do it!

I left there and walked across to the Federal Building. The statue of Kamehameha is out front and inside they have a great little film and small display about Hawaiian History during WW11. Interesting to say the least. Life at that time was something many of my generation could not even imagine. That kind of sacrifice that happened back home during times of war. Well worth visiting and it was free. Very nice people there. You do have to go through a metal detector to enter the building as it is an active Federal Building.

Left there and decided to try my first jaunt on the bus. Turns out I was very intimidated by the sheer number of people waiting at the bus stop. We don’t really have much in the way of mass transit in Charleston. In the big cities I have visited in the past, I have gotten very used to subways. The whole bus thing though…I just couldn’t really figure it out! LOL

I got on what I thought was the right bus. Whew….stepped up to one of the seats on the side. Really nice girl who had just moved to the island from the Midwest to go to college. She was telling me what a difficult time she was having finding a place to live. She was really struggling with it. Making some contacts from the waitress job that she had gotten. Hoping something would come along. She was currently living in a hotel room with another girl. I kept an eye on the streets as we went along. I could not understand the driver at all and the bus was very crowded. We seemed to be in the area I wanted to get out at so I stood up when the bus stopped and went to exit the bus…..forgetting that I had stepped UP to get into my seat I fell really hard on my knee. It shook me up more than it hurt me. But it was bleeding. I got up and off the bus.

As the bus pulled away I realized I was a lot farther from my hotel than I had previously imagined! LOL So I walked a few blocks (5 or 6) and got back on the next bus that came by. This time I settled down a bit and really waited until I saw something I recognized! I got off just down the street from Moose McGillicuddy’s Pub. I went in there and looked at the menu by the door. The guy behind the bar was really friendly and I went inside for lunch. By this time my knee was hurting, I was sweating from the heat and from being unsure of where I was. ( I refuse to say I was lost!) I was really hungry too. It was about 2:30 at this point.

The waitress was at first kind of snotty, but then she saw my knee and her whole attitude changed. She ended up being really cool. She got me a bandaid and some ice to put on it. She also recommended the fish tacos, now let me say I live near the ocean and I love seafood. I do not usually like fish tacos, but I figured what the heck. THEY WERE FABULOUS! I also had a few lava flows. I got a newspaper and relaxed in the cool of the bar. I also made friends with these adorable Japanese kids that were there. They were probably in their 20’s. I took group photos for them and helped them decide what to order. McGillicuddy’s has a Japanese menu so that was cool for them. My meal and drinks came to $19.74. I was more than satisfied with the value for my money. I tipped the waitress $5.00 and went on my way.

I got back to my hotel to find a message from a friend who is stationed on Oahu. We knew each other from high school, our sisters are best friends. He and his girlfriend want go to the melee with me tomorrow night. It will be great to catch up with them.

After a shower and a change of clothes, I decided to head down to Duke’s bar. After my first night, I still wasn’t convinced this was a very friendly place. I walked up to the large bar and still couldn’t get waited on. Just as I am starting to question my status as a girly southern belle, I walk up to what looks like the waitress station at the little side bar. This adorable bartender asks what I will have, I order a lava flow. He makes the drinks and points to a seat at the bar that a guy is just vacating. I sat down and began what became a daily ritual for me. The bartender was really good at his very busy job. He introduced himself as Davy, he is a local. The barback was a relatively new guy named Dustin, from Chicago and the third of this trio was a really funny guy named Jake, from Oregon, I believe. They were like a machine. They were so friendly and fun. They kept me quite entertained.

I also found out why I was not getting waited on. They do not take orders from folks walking up to the bar except at designated spaces. It is great. That means if you are sitting at the bar and it is a packed night, there aren’t yahoos constantly leaning over you trying to get the bartender’s attention. Great policy!

In my many jobs in this life, I have had experience bartending and as a cocktail waitress. I had a blast watching these guys deal with people. As I am sitting there, suddenly about 20 + guys come in all at once. It seems that it is my lucky(ha ha) night. The Australian Navy has just come in to port! It was chaos and hysterical. These guys were so funny and so nice and rowdy.
Now, one of the other interesting policies at Duke’s is their one drink per person rule. When you go to the bar, you can only get a drink for yourself. If you are there with friends yall all have to go to the bar, you can’t just send one person for the whole crowd. I can understand it, it’s about the liability. They have to be sure that you all have id’s, etc. These guys took forever to get the gist of this. It was quite comical at first to hear them try to talk the bartenders into breaking the rules. They were having none of it. There were lots of little stories of the night. Great time had by all. I ordered some chicken wings and they were really good. They were $7.95 and worth
every penny. And the Lava Flows flowed.

I left just a little before closing. The guys were so nice and my tab was suspiciously less than it should have been. I tipped very generously and went up to bed. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow will hold. Sorry for the long winded post!

Adventures Day 3

Day3 Woke up to a beautiful sunny day! The balcony from my room had a table and 2 chairs. Not much space, but perfect for me. Looking out at the gorgeous clear blue water. Lot’s of surfers already in the water at 7am!

Went down to breakfast at Dukes. This was included in my room rate. WOW! Very ono. Incredibly nice wait staff. Didn’t have to wait at all and they sat me right by the beach, even though I was by myself. The service was good and the breakfast was too good.
After one last glass of POG, I went upstairs to gather my things and headed back to wait for my shuttle. Brigit at the bellstand arranged a shuttle with the company they always use. Tahiti Trans. They were awful.

The Korean driver was very angry when he picked me up. There was another couple waiting in front of my hotel. He yelled at them and told them they were at the wrong place. Then he closed the door in my face! The bellman banged on the door for him to open it back up. He did and said Swap Meet? I said Yes, sir. Okay, get in. I got in what looked to be an old car rental agency shuttle. With the place for the luggage and the whole bit. There was a family on there with teenage kids. They looked shell shocked. I was about to find out why. This guy drove like a lunatic and had some serious road rage issues. It was like a New York cabbie on steroids! ROFLMAO

After 2 more stops to pick up some other folks, he got a call on his radio and after some discussion in Korean, he made a series of turns around back to the first hotel he had picked the family up at. Who was standing there? The couple he had yelled at in front of my hotel! They WERE supposed to be on the shuttle, he had just ignored what they had said and yelled at them!
After a death defying drive to the Aloha Stadium, all of us decided there was no way we would possibly ride back with that lunatic.

Luckily when you are let off at the stadium, there was a lady there with one of the shuttle services (VIP TOURS) and you could pay $8 to ride back to Waikiki. They left every half hour. (I promise to gather all this info for you)

I walked around the stadium and bought t-shirts, a small daypack, some magnets for friends back home and wandered through the other stalls. Finally, my feet were giving out on me and I knew I had to get back and eat some lunch before my afternoon tour. I went back out and found the lady hawking the shuttle bus back. That was so easy, we got right on and headed out. Much less stress! LOL

Back at the hotel, I went back to Duke’s for lunch buffet. It was again awesome and the surf just a few steps away was still firing pretty big. No catamaran’s running today and the snorkeling I wanted to do the next day was not looking promising!

After lunch, I went upstairs and took a shower changed clothes for my afternoon tour. I had signed up through email before I left home with Mauka Makai Sacred Sites Tour. The owner and tour guide Dom is INCREDIBLE!

This was one of, if not THE highlight of my tour. It was a half day tour of the sacred sites of the North Shore. I am going to do one whole review just of that tour in itself. This guy knows his stuff and is an incredible story teller. I have been a tour guide for 15 years and believe me I am a hard sell. It was spectacular. The name of the company is Maukau Makai Tours.

After the tour I was exhausted! I walked over to the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center a little ways down the street and believe it or not I got a hot dog for dinner! Then I went upstairs to my room. I had a shower and watched some television. Before I turned in for the night, I sat on my balcony and just took it all in for a little bit. This trip was turning out to be just what I needed.

Adventures In AlohaLand Day 2

Day 2 Before I even begin, I have to say how much I missed my guy. HM really just committed himself to this relationship, when I get back, we have a lot to decide. He is so incredible. He is looking for a new house and has made a lot of life changes to be with me. Here I go heading off to Hawaii when he is right in the middle of a lot of drama. I am going to leave out all of the I MISS MY BOYFRIEND angst and just give the trip report! :) LOL

Woke up early due to the time difference. Opened up the balcony door and stepped outside to check out paradise. From my balcony the water looked so inviting, as did the beach. The big news of the day was the unusual swells to hit the south shores. Really large surf for that time of year. I had scheduled for a 7am pick up with Hawaiian Fire Surf School. I put on my bathing suit and surf shorts and packed a little bag with dry clothes and towel/sunscreen.

I went downstairs and walked through the lobby, out back to the beach. My first morning on Waikiki! The beach boys were starting to arrive and set up for the day. There was only one other person on the beach. I asked this very nice man to take my picture with Diamond Head in the backgroud. Unfortunately it was with my waterproof throwaway, not my good camera! But at least I know what it was! LOL

Off I went to Starbucks in the lobby and got a muffin top and some bottled water. I decided to take it out front and eat outside. Everyone seemed on their way to work. The trucks were delivering the produce and liquor & beer, etc. I found a place to perch on the edge of a planter almost right at the crosswalk to the International Marketplace. I am from the south and we speak to people as they walk by. I can’t help myself, it’s in the genes! A delivery guy with a hand truck of liquor boxes asked me if I was here on vacation and was I having fun. I told him so far, I had only been in town less than 12 hours!

Then a very handsome, you might say dapper, gentleman of probably 75 - 80 years old or so came across the street with a walker. He was smiling at me as if he new me. I smiled back. He said “Good morning! If I had known you were waiting for me, I would have come sooner!” He had a little twinkle in his eye and a huge smile on his face. He was very sweet. I told him I had been waiting for him all morning! LOL He was from Spain. He could not have been sweeter. We chatted for a few minutes about how lovely the day was becoming. He told me I was very beautiful and wished me a good day. He was so nice, not at all creepy. Just full of life.

The head bellman let me know when the van came from Hawaiian Fire. He also told me, he thought they were probably the safest way to go. They really knew their stuff. The van had a young couple on board when they got me. They were from California. The young man had family on the islands and had been there several times. The driver was great. He plays in a Polynesian really funny. Then we picked up a guy who was from somewhere like NY or Chicago….he was odd, but nice enough.

We drove a pretty long way out. The traffic was bad, but worse headed to town. The driver told us how most people work in town, but few can afford to live there. He had some interesting things to say. We went to Barber’s Point. It was deserted except for the HF van and us. The company says you can even meet them there and just rent boards and such from them, if you have a rental car. I personally don’t think I would have been able to find it, even with directions. Now that I know where it is, maybe, but there were lots of turns and really in the middle of nowhere.

We got out and were greeted by Ryan. He had us all pick up a bag with our reef shoes and rash guards. Everything was laid out by size. They really have this down to a science! I had a private lesson, he was my instructor. We did some land drills and then got in the water. Surfing isn’t new to me, but I haven’t surfed in maybe 20 years or more! LOL
We got in the water and the waves were breaking pretty good in what seemed like 6 or 8 wave sets. It was just relentless and the current was running really strong. The waves were about 6-8 feet pretty steadily. Then a few 3 - 4 feet mixed in. This was the biggest surf in the summer in something like…ever! LOL

Ryan, bless his heart tried to help me, he towed me out several times. I would start paddling out and feel like I was paddling in place, he would pass me and hook his toe on my board and pull me right out. I got up one good time and a couple more half ass times, but I am not in very good shape these days and not used to swimming in those conditions. A couple of times I could hardly get back on my board for the waves.

Before very long at all jet lag kicked in to high gear. I started getting sparkly things around my eyes….sure sign for me of a migraine coming on. I told Ryan, I thought I needed to go in. I was really afraid I would get hurt out there, with the water conditions and my condition! LOL
He gave me one last push and I rode in to almost shore. I really struggled to get the board out of the water against the currents. I finally got it out of the water and sat in one of the chairs they had under a tent. Ryan brought me some aspirin and tried to talk me in to going back out. He was a really nice guy and really knew his stuff. I highly recommend their company. They have a great program. They give you good solid instruction on land. Not just how to surf, but the safety in the water with the board.

I chose the first day of my vacation to do this cause of the time difference I knew I would be awake early. In hindsight, I realize I should have waited until I had rested some.
Everyone seemed to really have a great time. The ride back was just as much fun as the ride there. My head was beginning to get worse, but I wasn’t driving so no worries.

When they dropped me off at the hotel, I took my things upstairs and went down to Duke’s for lunch. It was very warm in the restaurant, but the surf was spectacular. There was quite a buzz all over town about it. People were literally leaving work to come down to the beach to surf.
Many of the catamaran’s that take off from the beach had to call the day off. In fact while I was having lunch one of the boats came charging up the beach almost all the way to the restaurant! People were scattering all over the place! The waves just pushed them in much harder and faster than normal. It was funny only because no one was hurt.

After having the buffet at Duke’s I went upstairs to take some pain medicine and put a cold cloth on my head. I took a hot shower and then lay down for a few hours.

Late afternoon, I woke up, got another shower and felt human finally! I decided to head over to the infamous International Marketplace. It was really something. There are so many vendors and unlike so many other tourist markets, they don’t really all have the same stuff! Some of it is repeated, but mostly unique stuff. Some junky touristy stuff and some really cool gifts, jewelry, t-shirts, etc. I walked around there for hours. I decided to just look around today and actually shop closer to my time to go home.

I started to get hungry around 7:30. Walking along, I heard some really good live music coming from upstairs. I finally found the staircase (after asking these really funny folks in the Quicksilver shop) that led up to Coconut Willy’s. This place is a must!

The music was a 3 piece band of older gentlemen. They covered almost every style of music imaginable. They also sang some really beautiful Hawaiian music in Hawaiian. The singer explained what the songs were about in a very easy style. Really enjoyed listening to these guys. They also did country songs and dance music as well as old Motown. When I walked in they were singing Cotton Eyed Joe! LOL

This place really has a neighborhood bar type of feel to it. I ordered a mahi mahi sandwich that was really great! While I was eating I had a nice conversation with a couple who were visiting from Ireland. The entertainment didn’t end with the guys on stage. There were about a dozen or so older folks (I’m guessing 60yrs old +) there dancing. They seemed to be part of a group, maybe a dance club? They were having the best time! They were swing dancing like you wouldn’t believe and they line danced up a storm. It was really fantastic. And somewhat hysterical as there was at least one hoochie mama in the group and a guy with an Elvis pompadour. Now these two were not together although they did dance together at least once. They were very entertaining, even though they didn’t know it! LOL

Around 11:00 I decided I had enough for one day and went back to the hotel. I sat out on my balcony for a little while and just enjoyed the beautiful view of the ocean and the breeze. Finally got to bed around midnight. Again, hope yall are okay with all this detail Will write more later.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Adventures In Aloha Land Day 1 (really long!)

Finally getting a chance to give yall my trip report from Sept!

The night before my flight I packed and worried and fretted until about 4:00am. I was leaving my amputee 83 year old father here in the house alone….was I doing the right thing? Since my mom died 5 years ago, I hadn’t really left him for much time at all. He is in a wheelchair and does most things for himself, but he is not as healthy as he used to be and forgetful…anyhow, I was a baby saying goodbye to him. He actually did great!

So, woke up after 3 hours fitful sleep and got the last minute stuff together and myself dressed. The cab horn sounded and off I went to the airport. I was lucky enough to have first class seats, not much difference from here to Atlanta….but boarded first and had plenty of legroom as I had a bulkhead seat. Short hop from Charleston, SC to Atlanta. Uneventful landing…the best kind.
Got my considerably heavy carry on together and walked through the airport. I decided a cushy neck pillow was just what I needed so I bought a bright pink one. (Buy one of these at home before you leave, they are much cheaper.) Got some breakfast and bottled water and it was time for my flight straight to Honolulu.

The first class on Delta was fabulous. They have individual monitors at your seat that fold up from the arm rest. They had 2 movies, but they also had sitcoms and other pretty cool stuff to watch. That kept me from taking a nap for most of the flight. They also had a screen that you could look at to see where the plane was flying over and how fast we were going, altitude and wind direction and speed. Pretty cool. Yes, I am a dork. The man next to me was very nice, friendly but not intrusive. They seemed to feed you every few minutes, I never even used the water or snacks I brought in my bag.

We hit some bad weather just before we got to the islands. The pilot told us we would have some turbulence. That was a little scary but we never hit anything too bad. The sky was really dark and ominous as we came to Oahu. The cloud cover was so thick you couldn’t see Diamond Head L . But as we came around the south side of the island and approached the airport from the west, it cleared up a good bit and there was a BEAUTIFUL RAINBOW right over the airport. I felt very welcomed to the island by the sky!

After getting off the plane, I made my way to baggage claim. It was about 7pm by this time. I found my bags and also found the really nice man with the limousine service a friend hired to bring me to my hotel. He helped me get my luggage and gave me a beautiful lei. I had to call him a couple of times to get the time right, they switched my flight number in Atlanta (boring not worth mentioning story). Inside the limo he had all kinds of wonderful fruit juices to choose from and a box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts! :) He chatted very pleasantly the whole way in to town, pointing things out to me as went. He was very friendly and knowledgeable. I will have to look up his name and info as I am typing this on my laptop outside.

We pulled up to the Outrigger Waikiki On The Beach about 9pm. Kalaukaua was really hopping. The bellman got my luggage and showed me where the escalator was located to reach the lobby. The lobby is beautiful with a huge outrigger canoe in the center. The front desk ladies were very sweet. I was exhausted from the plane trip and the time difference. You sit down and they look up your reservation. They had all my information and the room was prepaid. I used Hawaii Connections. They had the cheapest rates and were excellent to work with.

The bellman showed me to my room. He opened the door to a beautiful immaculate room. The view was of the hotel next door and of the water. The moon was very bright and the lights so I could see the waves gently rolling in to the sand. I was right above where the beach boys keep their surfboards chained up at night! :) The room had a king or maybe queen size bed, a couch, desk and television cabinet, and dresser. The bathroom was huge and had a separate little alcove for hanging your clothes and a free in room safe. Then a sliding door into the area with the toilet and bathtub/shower. The bellman showed me how to use everything and I tipped him for his trouble. The bathroom was excellent for a girl! :) There was a lighted mirror hanging on the wall and plenty of outlets. Underneath the counter was a refrigerator stocked with a couple of complimentary bottles of ice cold water.

I was starving and sleepy. Decided to head downstairs to the infamous Dukes! It was really crowded. I walked in to the bar area and tried to get a drink. I wanted to try the famous lava flows yall all talk about! Well, I couldn’t figure out why I was not getting served. I stood behind some folks at the bar forever. Finally, a little miffed, I went upstairs to the Hula Grill for dinner. I was beginning to think this whole traveling to Hawaii on my own thing was not such a good idea after all! Maybe they had some problem with women alone in the bar? I was VERY pouty about it. The view from the Hula Grill was excellent. Really beautiful. The water at night was breathtaking. I was seated right on the rail, very lovely restaurant. My waiter took forever to wait on me, I was really becoming one unhappy hungry sleepy single woman. Not a good combination folks!

Finally, he comes up and say Aloha can I bring you something to drink? Before I have a chance to complain, he then tells me about how he just had this huge collision in the kitchen and he had been cleaning all that up and didn’t see me. It mad the situation so much better, I have waited tables, I know how it can be. It didn’t hurt matters that he was adorable! J So my night started getting better. I ordered the filet, it was to die for, the beef was perfectly cooked, the vegetables were seasoned just right. I also had a couple of really great lava flows! LOVE THEM.

After my meal, he asked if I would like some dessert. I looked at the menu and chose the hula pie. OH MY GOD! That thing is monstrous! So, I did what any red blooded woman would do…….I ate all of the chocolate syrup off of it! :)

After paying my tab and chatting with my waiter, I went happily up to my room, walked out on the balcony and took a few pics. Then I turned on the tv and crashed. I slept so hard I didn’t even notice the TV was on until the next morning! More of adventures in aloha land later. Hope this wasn’t too detailed and boring!

Monday, January 02, 2006