Friday, February 25, 2011

Got my hair done today.
It actually didn't look like it needed it but I think the sun bleached it out a little.
She went blonder if that is possible, makes the grays blend better.


While I was sitting there with the foils on my head, the salon owner came by with her camera and said that was the best foil job ever and took a few photos for Facebook and then took more afterward because I am so pretty. Or at least my hair is.
I dumped FB again for a privacy reason (actually I just de-activated for a while til I figure out why weird people who I don't know can see my pics and posts) but now I want to get on there and see my trainwreck self on there all foiled up with no place to go.


notice, I have no tan


The sun.
Haven't seen it in a while and boy do I miss it.
My husband asked me what I was going to miss the most from Hawaii and aside from the warm weather, beautiful beaches and throes of Japanese tourists people bumping into me everywhere I went, I'm gonna say I am going to miss the banana macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup that I ate every morning at the Hula Grill.
And the little bird that shared them with me.


One of the things I noticed right away was how many Coach stores there were.
Waikiki is like 3 miles long and there were, I think, 5 Coach stores. I went in every one of them and only bought 1 thing. A pair of shoes.




I have already worn them quite a few times, love them.


I don't have time to go through my trip today so I will just talk about the pros and cons of our trip.

Pros:
  • Warmth. Even on cloudy days and on the northern part of Oahu where it is windier, I was rarely chilly. And oh man, did that sun feel good.
  • Location. We could walk out of the hotel on one side and step right in the sand. The other side was a boardwalk with tons of shopping. The International Market was right across the street. Everything was within a 3 mile walk. A beautiful walk complete with statues, the beach, stores, restaurants, and mostly sunshine.
  • Colors. The greens were so bright, flowers blooming, ocean turquoise and skies were blue even on cloudy days.
  • It was bright. Even when cloudy, the skies stayed bright. None of that gloomy winter sky.
  • Palm trees. I will never get sick of looking at them with marvel. Never have I seen a palm tree in person so I'm sure I looked dorky staring open-mouthed at all the palms when we landed.
  • Scenery. The banyans, colorful buildings, foliage, flowers and shrubs were nothing like what we have in the Midwest. I did love seeing Elephant Ears in winter.
  • Mountains. (or volcanoes) I have seen some in the Ozarks but nothing like those.
  • Food. Oh. My. Word. We ate some good food. Fresh fish, juicy pineapple, steaks, even burgers and the eggs tasted like eggs (my husbands words- I do not ever eat eggs) I would wake up wondering what we were going to eat that day. Spoken like a girl who will never see a size 2. Or 4 or 6 or 8....... I ate some weird stuff too which goes into the con category. I had macadamia nut crusted marlin at Duke's- so good. Amazing sushi at Sansei, tuna, salmon, shrimp cocktail at the Westin bar-mmmmm. We ate our weight in hot wings for snacks. I should do a post on the food alone.
  • Drinks. Also a pro and a con. The drinks at the Westin hotel beach bar were to die for. I had my share of Obama Mama's and it is the only time I have loved Obama. You couldn't drink on the beach (although people did it) but sitting at that bar mere feet from the sand with the breeze in my hair and a hula girl and band nearby was amazing. If we ever go back, we will be staying at the Moana Surfrider Westin. Beautiful. I had yummy fruity drinks at the Hard Rock Cafe as well. And at Duke's. I had Big Wave Golden Ale beer at Cheeseburger in Paradise, in fact, I had 2. Yum. At the sushi place, I had her bring me her fave martini. It was fruity and minty. It reminded me of an orange slice that had been dropped in a yard filled with fresh cut grass clippings. I guess that was a con. The next martini I had was raspberry melon. It was good.
  • Ocean/Beach. I have seen the ocean a few times. At the Jersey Shore and Mississippi. In winter. I have never swam in the ocean (it burned my eyes a bit) or walked barefoot in sand. It is harder than it looks. The waves threw me around a bit but the water was warm and the sand never felt hot. I loved lying on the beach although I regret not doing it more.


  • Clothing. Wearing shorts/skirts/flip flops/tanks in February. Looking at all the beautiful flowered dresses and shirts and beach clothing.


  • Skin. I actually had a tan before going but after a few hours on the beach in full sunblock, I had a nice color. Mr. Funny ignored the sunblock and got a slight burn on his face but put some on late and avoided worse burn. I wore little makeup and bought some super bright lipgloss which looked great.
  • Lack of responsibility. No kids, work, dogs, laundry, dishes, phones ringing, blogging, email, cleaning, etc......  We could stay up late (we didn't) drink all we wanted without having to worry about driving (I did), sleep in late (I didn't), throw clothes all over the room (I did)
Cons:


  • Distance. We got lucky, we left at 8am and got there about 3:30 in the afternoon. There was a 4 hour time change and the flight from Salt Lake to Hawaii was 6 1/2 hours. I don't like to fly so of course I had to take Xanax before we took off but it seemed like we spent a ton of time either in airports or in the air. I got very swollen ankles and eyes with all of the air travel and planes have little room for stretching so it was kind of irritating. On the way home we left at night and got home the next evening and I didn't get jet lag or confused on the time but I was a little tired and puffy. Unless you can go for 2 weeks, it is too far away.


  • Expensive. Everything was very overpriced. I knew this before we went but it was still shocking that breakfast was $35. We ate the same types of things we eat at home but we skipped fast food type places. We did go to Starbucks a few times for iced coffee and tea but I had a giftcard for that. Drinks were pricey and not at all strong. My husband joked that they were probably watered down since he likes to drink citron vodka straight and never even felt a buzz. I kind of agree. As much as we drank, I never got remotely tipsy. The Coach bag I was eyeing was $700 but online and at the local store here, it is under $500. Gasoline was one thing that was cheaper. Sunblock was double what I pay. The tours were overpriced and car rental was high. Like I said, I knew things would be that way and I am used to living in a very reasonable area but it was still amazing how much we spent. It is definitely not a trip we could take every year.


  • Tours. This is where I get pissed. We booked a tour through the hotel to Pearl Harbor. She told us it would be an early morning trip and we would be back by 1:30 or 2 and still have the day at the beach. The shuttle trip would be short and we would visit the USS Missouri battleship and the Arizona plus all the other sights of Pearl Harbor. We met at 6:30, picked up a bunch of other people, got there around 8, got our tickets and found out we couldn't tour the Arizona till 11:20. We thought we would get lots of time to explore the battleship but had to wait at the bus and stand in line a lot. Then when we got to the ship, it was a guided tour and the guide was 1,000 years old and spent way too much time droning on about the things above the deck. With 10 min. to spare, we broke free and went to the rooms on the ship to take photos. We were the last ones on the bus and the others never even got to see below deck. Since my husband was in the navy, he was very disappointed, as was I. We finally got to the Arizona which only took a half hour or so, had lunch, got back on the bus and the driver drove all over the place including a cemetery while he talked about Spam, Obama, pineapples and Don Ho. He told us where Bruce Willis and other actors live and at some point a few of the passengers asked to be let off to walk because we sat in non-moving traffic for so long. They beat us back to the hotel and missed their luau which was scheduled for 2:30. We got back around 3:30. I told my husband to cancel the snorkel/whale/dolphin trip for the next day because it was the same tour company. They were complete jerks about it until he told them he would dispute the charges on his credit card. They refunded the money. On the way to the airport to go home, the driver told us the tours were a joke and that we should have rented a car for Pearl Harbor and found a local company with a boat and bought our own snorkel gear. Live and learn.


  • Hotel. We had asked for a king bed in a ocean view room. They told us they had none available and we got a room with 2 double beds. It was quite the snuggle bed but the view was nice. The bathtub was a small square size. Shaving my legs was hilarious. The walls were paper thin. The desk where they sold the tours (and apparently time shares) was right by the elevator and every time we would walk by they would call out to people to come hear about some great deals, free breakfast, etc.... It was harassment for sure. I ignored them and once I even said hell no. In comparison, the Westin seemed serene and inviting. The restaurants at our hotel were nice though. The bellmen were nice and some of the front desk staff were nice.


  • Sand. Boy it gets everywhere! I got it on my scalp when the waves would toss it through the rough water. I think there is still some there. It was on our shoes, in the rental car, in our clothes. My first experience with sand.


  • Friendliness. I didn't feel like most of the people were welcoming. I think the overcrowding has got to be annoying for the locals although most of the people I asked were from other parts of the states. Those were the friendliest. Again, I am used to living in a town where everyone waves and knows each other. I will shout out to the super sweet ones: the guy in full makeup working at Sephora, the waitress at Hard Rock Cafe from Texas, the sweet waitress at Duke's, the fun bartenders at Westin Moana Surfrider beach bar, the sweet girls at Starbucks, the cute local girl at Sansei, the guy's working the store at Hard Rock-very helpful, Gladys who sorks at Coach and sold me my shoes, all the other coach employees, the woman I bought jewelry from at one of the hotel gift shops, the very nice bellman from our hotel- he got tipped the best. There were 63 ABC stores in a 3 mile radius. ABC's are kind of everything stores and where we got water, soda, towels, sunblock, a few souvenirs and other stuff on a daily basis. Not one employee in any of the stores was helpful, smiled, or said to have a nice day or thanked us for coming in. Ever. It became a game for me to talk to people and see if they would smile or talk back. Even other tourists were odd. On the bus on the way to Pearl Harbor, nobody talked to one another. It was bizarre. (Actually one older guy spent some time hanging with and talking to my husband but I think they were both ex-navy.) Considering I say thank you to every single customer I see every time I work, this was strange. It was the same in New York.


  • Service. Wait staff reminded me of Eureka Springs. One speed. Getting drink refills was difficult. The only great service we got was at Duke's. Hula Grill was delicious and the food came quickly but they never checked back, refilled coffee or water. You had to flag them down. The waiter at Roy's was slightly decent. The waiter at the burger place dropped the food off and never came back. Maybe I am just picky but I train my servers to check back and refill drinks and then pre-bus the table, and thank the guests. It only happened at Duke's and after we got to talking to the waitress at Hard Rock Cafe and told her we owned a restaurant, she improved a bit. Again, getting another drink took 15 min. each time.


  • Valentine's Day. Our anniversary. My husband reserved us a table at Roy's, it was highly recommended and the earliest they had was 10:15. They had a limited menu. They told him it would be a dining "experience" The first course was a sashimi sampler. 2nd course was beef tartare with a quail egg (raw) broken over the top (I despise eggs) and the entree I chose was filet mignon with whipped potatoes and corn froth. Yes, corn froth. Which is essentially the foam of corn. My steak was brought to me well done. My husbands was perfect. Since I ordered mine on the rare side of medium, I sent it back The waiter was ticked as a turtle. I was very nice about it. The second time it was better. I ordered a bottle of wine and drank it myself because the 2 martini's I had were missing vodka. The wine was good, the steak was ok, the company was great and the room was cold enough to hang meat. The waiter and I made up and he offered me a jacket. A chefs jacket. The next course slips my mind, oh wait, it was a ball of goat cheese, but dessert was a strawberry bomb. The coffee was very good. I worked in fine dining for years, I have eaten some odd things and I am not a redneck where food is concerned. I was confused by the corn froth. I would have liked a salad. A little pear salad or even a caesar. The quail eggs over the giant hunk of raw meat was disconcerting. I have eating thinly sliced steak tartare. This was too much. We ended the night with a walk on the beach.


Traffic. We rented a car to go to the north part of Oahu to explore quieter beaches. We found some but that part of the island was cloudy. We ended up pretty far away and hit insane traffic at 3:30 in the afternoon. Reminded me of the New Jersey turnpike. We sat in traffic on the shuttle on the way to and from the airport and on our Pearl Harbor tour.


Hair. My hair was course and frizzy the entire time. I guess it is the sea air because as soon as I got home it was soft again.


We knew the beaches would be packed, it would be expensive, a long trip etc. Overall, it was a nice getaway but I just started to relax and it was time to leave. I would like to go back, maybe Maui next time, but I think our next trip will be to either Florida or our friends house in the Bahamas. There were too many people there to fully relax. There was lots to do and we walked all over the place but it seemed like we were always in motion. When we were on the beach, I felt like we were missing out. Even though we ended up missing the whales, dolphins, snorkeling, and surfing, we shopped, ate, drank, talked and enjoyed each others company. I wish I would have spent more time lying on the sand doing nothing. I would have loved to take the little one and felt guilty as he would have surfed and had a great time.


For those who asked, getting my eyelashes dyed was not what I expected. The dye wore off after a day or two and today when they asked me how I liked it, they insisted on refunding my money.


We ended up having to buy another suitcase after buying 5 towels, a messenger bag from Hard Rock, a dress,11 shirts, lots of books and such at Pearl Harbor, 3 pair of shoes, and some jewelry. I expected to buy more but I got everyone something meaningful. The boys adored their Hard Rock Honolulu shirts, the little one got the bag, books, Pearl Harbor commemorative coins, a model battleship, shirts from Pearl Harbor, autographs from 3 PH survivors, some pictures and posters, 2 dog tags with his name on them, the big one got a very cool lightening bolt Swatch watch. I got myself the shoes, a t shirt, a summer dress and a Hawaiian themed Swatch watch and some perfume and makeup. My husband got his mom a very nice collectors Marine Corp coin in honor of her husband who was retired from the Marines and fought in his share of wars. He bought himself some great stuff at Pearl Harbor, took amazing photos, and I got him a shirt from Hard Rock. I got some other things for a few employees and my family as well and we were packed to the hilt.

7 comments:

  1. Sounds like you had a great time in Hawaii! I've been there before and loved it also.
    I used to have the same problems on facebook, until I put everything on "friend only". Go to your account and click on 'Privacy Settings' and you can do it there. That fixed my problem. The only thing others can see is my profile photo. Hope it works for you.

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  2. oh, and by the way...Your hair looks great!!

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  3. It's a shame that the con's list is so long, but sounds like it was an experience and like you said you live and you learn.
    I was wondering why you didn't look so happy on the pic with the chef's jacket (well explained). Also, very cute flower headband.
    Gloria

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  4. hey, you look fabulous!! and you do have a bit of a tan. or your hair makes you look darker.

    i have never been to hawaii, my hubby has several times, thanks to the air force. but he was always compensated, so he didn't have to shell out the big bucks. i always wanted to go, maybe one day. we lived in okinawa, japan for 4 years. he said the islands were similar, just hawaii was more touristy. oh, and okinawa doesn't have volcanos. but we have the beach here where i live, so i'm happy. just about 15 minutes to the ocean. and we lived in CA for 5 years, about 2 hours from the ocean there. when i first met my husband, we lived in NE. so i got my midwest in too. my sisters still live there in omaha. boy do i get around....life of a military wife. ha ha!

    anyway...thanks for all that info...if we get to ever go, we know what to avoid and go for! have a wonderful and restful weekend!!

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  5. My nephew lived in Hawaii for a few years. I swear if we ever get to go I am going to drag him along as tour guide.

    All in all it sounds like a wonderful trip - even if there were some serious cons.

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  6. like your hair!! cool that it is featured on Facebook!! I'm with you for that same very reason about not enthralled with Facebook; that's why my account is deactivated, though I know you can control things with privacy settings.

    Sounds like an interesting trip. I like how you broke up the pros and cons. I had to laugh aloud when you were describing the food (and not being a size 2 etc, that made me really laugh, I'm the same way here, LOL :)

    I think every touristy type of place is like that; you would think the wait staff would be more attentive, but perhaps they are so burnt out dealing with tourists, etc, but still no excuse, for the money being charged, the service should be outstanding. Reminded me of Santa Fe as far as clerks not helping out or volunteering to help a customer.

    next time you want palm trees, do visit us :) Got tons here, but the weather won't be quite as warm in February as Hawaii

    LOL with the extra suitcase too; we've done on trips before

    all in all I'm glad you got some special time away with your special man :)

    betty

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  7. Sounds like you had a good time all in all...yep the plane trip is LONG! I adored Maui much more than Oahu. Maui was affordable (at least for what we did).Oahu is the big city...we couldn't believe the traffic jams at 7pm! We also ran into rude locals.Our rental car was towed the 1st night we were in Oahu...$250 to get it out of hock! We plan on going to Maui only this summer and taking the kids with us this time. :/

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