Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Aloha - Hello and Goodbye to Hawaii


This was my fifth trip to the islands.  The first trip I made to Hawaii I had anticipations of being greeted with hula dancers and flower leis.  At least that's what I'd seen on TV. That doesn't happen unless you booked a tour and that's part of the package you booked.  Passengers used to unload by walking down the aircraft steps onto the tarmac. Of course, that's all changed now and landing in Honolulu is like landing at any other airport.  It's still exciting and most people landing with you are all on vacation. There are a few who visit for work ... just like Tammi.  Not me though ... she could work.  I was going to play.

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The flight was 5 1/2 hours from the west coast and with a 3 hour time difference, we arrived at 10:30 in the morning …. thus, a whole day was added to my stay.  As it turned out this first day was certainly appreciated since several of our last few days would be cancelled.

After checking into the Marriott, Tammi was off to work and on an appointment she didn’t know she had.  Me … well,  I certainly am not one to sit around and wait to be entertained.  I was off too but I was going to check out the beach.  First, I walked down to the Hilton Hawaiian Village, the big building in so many pictures of Hawaii with the rainbow down the front.

Terry and I had stayed there a couple times including on our honeymoon many years ago.  They used to have little penguins that wandered the grounds.  If they were still there, I couldn’t find them.

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The water was beautiful and the beach was packed.  That was no surprise.  I expected lots of people.  The sand on the beaches in Hawaii isn't like the soft talcum powder white sand of the Caribbean or even of Florida.   I'm guessing it has more to do with the lava rock.  However, it's sand and the water is beautiful.  Who can't love being in Hawaii?

Tammi had a full day but was back in time for dinner at Shore Birds. This place was on the beach and it was a “grill your own” buffet restaurant -- we didn't know that when we sat down.  Bottom line -  you pay a lot of money to cook your own food.  What a gimmick!

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The next day started early for both of us.  Tammi was off to meetings and I was off to the beach again.  I wanted to check out the Queen Surf Beach.  The winds had started coming in and even though the waves weren’t really big, there were quite a few surfers out and NO, I wasn't one of them.

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Cooking our own.
People enjoying the sunset.

By going on a tour in the afternoon I figured I'd get to see a little more of the island.  There were five of us on this tour. The original had over booked so an extra van was added to take the remaining five.  We visited one beach after another and I thought it was awesome.  Some beaches were packed with sun worshipers and others with people snorkeling.  I loved the rugged beaches. However, we did have a sour puss on the tour.  He tried to sleep in his seat, complained about being bored, was tired of seeing beaches, didn't want to stop anymore and was extremely annoying.



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My tour didn’t get back to the hotel until after 6:00 and Tammi was there waiting for me.  We were both hungry and ready to head down the beach one last time.  Even though we were both exhausted from a full day, we had a mission ... food, beach and shopping.
  
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Wind surfing
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Riding the waves
I don't really have much to say regarding the two hurricanes heading towards the islands or the earthquake that happened while we were there except for why me and why then?

Tammi’s company had “ordered” her to change her flight and get off the island.  There went my free hotel and the luau we had planned! The hurricanes were big news on the island.  Everyone was scrambling, talking about the storms and even our hotel had warnings all over about emergency plans.  Grocery stores were running out of supplies and airlines were starting to cancel flights.  Some folks were panicking and others were excited about the storm and the possibility of big waves for surfing.  

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As with any storm, you just never know how or if you are going to be effected by it.  Tours, restaurants and stores were already talking about shutting down Thursday evening.  Was Iselle going to be a hurricane or was it going to be downgraded to a tropical storm?  Only time would tell but they were preparing for the hurricane. Flooding was the biggest concern.

From what started out as a decent chance of flying standby off the islands, turned into disaster.  I ended up purchasing a red-eye flight for late Thursday night.  Would the flight go?  Would the plane even arrive?  If it didn’t, I needed to find an alternative.  Thus, when Tammi changed her flight to early Thursday morning, I decided to go on to the airport with her and try for an early flight just in case the flight I had booked didn’t fly ----- mistake!  The problem is that there were over a hundred standbys on just American Airlines.  Can you imagine how many standbys on all the other airlines?  I should have stayed and played.

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Every flight off the island was sold out.  Well, not every flight.  You might find one first class seat available on a flight or two.  Most of those seats were available for a couple thousand bucks or more.  One I found Thursday afternoon was just under $4700! 

I could have gotten on a flight to LA but by the time the plane would have landed, I would have been sleeping in an airport anyway.    I also could have made a flight to Dallas just prior to my booked flight but then, the flight from Dallas to Portland the next day was oversold.   Finally, I gave up and figured I’d just wait to see what happened.  If my late flight actually departed, it would be good.  If not, there was lots of floor space for sleeping at the airport. I'm experienced in sleeping at airports.

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My header ... why do all the hula dancers have to be girls?

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Clouds are rolling in.
 
When the time came to finally board my flight, I was ready.  It had been a terribly exhausting and stressful day.     From takeoff until landing in Phoenix, I slept the whole way. The flight to Portland was a piece of cake.

However, we aren't through with Hawaii.  We want to go back (maybe) and Tammi has another business trip scheduled in October.  What's the chance an earthquake and two hurricanes will hit the islands again when we're there? We will see how that works but we also have plans to go to Virginia in September to visit Justin so it's a priority thing.

I took a zillion pictures but not only is it difficult to upload a blog with lots of pictures it's also difficult to read a blog with lots of pictures if you don't have good internet.  Many times I have to scroll on through a blog because I can't see the pictures.  This blog probably has more pictures on one blog than I've ever posted before.  It's probably the most wordy too because I took away my self-imposed limit to get it done but oh well.
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Life is back to normal now and the following day we moved our motorhome into storage and headed towards the home base.  Maybe that’s where we’ll be for a bit and maybe not.  That definitely depends.

‘Tis life on the road.

Airline travel is hours of boredom interrupted by moments of stark terror.

22 comments:

  1. The photos are gorgeous. Glad you had fun while it lasted. I am also glad you two got out of there while the gettin' was good.

    There's always one party popper in the group!

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    1. He was a real party pooper for sure.

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  2. We have only been there once. Your pictures sure make us want to return soon:)

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    1. I was just there and I want to go back too.

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  3. Bet you were glad that sour puss (you were very nice in calling him that, I probably would have used stronger descriptive words) was just on that short island tour and not sitting next to you on the flight home! ;c)

    I bet you're already researching October flights to Hawaii!

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    1. Actually, I'm researching flights but those to Norfolk so you're close!

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  4. Great photos of Hawaii - especially the pics of Hanauma Bay - that sure brought back some great memories for me. I'm shocked to hear the Shore Bird is still in business! Wow, Paulette and I went there on our honeymoon and she wasn't too impressed that we had to make our own dinner!!!

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    1. Interesting that you know all about Shore Birds. Tammi had chicken and didn't like the idea of not knowing whether it was done or not. Thus, she ate the mango, the salad and not the chicken. Cooking our own was not what we had expected.

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  5. Ah, the memories. We went to Hilton Hawaiian Village for Dave's R&R from Viet Nam in February 1968. We have been back since. My favorite tour was a van tour of the lava fields. We accidentally signed up for the wrong one which turned out to be a great mistake as we loved it.

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    1. The Hilton Hawaiian Village was very popular for R&R from Vietnam. It was packed during the late 60's.and early 70's. We were there twice during that time period.

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  6. I'm happy you got to do some sight seeing before spending forever in the airport. We've been to Kauai twice and there was just nothing like it. I prefer Hawaii to the Bahamas.

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    1. I much prefer Kauai to Oahu and also Hawaii to the Bahamas. We've never been to Maui and some folks say they like it best of all.

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  7. You have so much patience. I'd be a basket case with the airport and flight cancellations.

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    1. I can't say it's patience. It's years and years of doing it.

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  8. Sounds to me like Murphy was chasing you all around the island. We are just glad you are home safe and sound.

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    1. I thought about Mr. Murphy too. I think he had me in his sights. Hopefully, he's lost my track now and is following someone else around.

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  9. Sound like a quick whirlwind trip, too bad that weather had to send you home early.
    Loved the great pictures too.

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    1. As they say, hindsight is 20-20. I should have stayed as the trip was too short.

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  10. Ah yes, a whole day at the airport....I know those as well :-). Glad you managed a couple days of beaches and the photos are great - so funny to see all those people "lined up" to view the sunset. I'm sure in their photos it looked like they had the place to themselves!

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    1. It's the days and nights at the airport that get you down! You're right in that all those people got great sunset pictures. I just got pictures of them taking the pictures.

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  11. Ed and I went to Maui on our honeymoon. Loved it. Would love to go back to the big island though.

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  12. I think I'd like to do all the islands I haven't been too. Maybe a cruise through them?

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Thanks for taking the time to comment.