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!

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