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Mpls, MN, United States

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hawa(II)

I'm finally feeling guiltier about not blogging than about not reading for my exams, so here are the camera phone pictures from Hawaii:

The full album is here (you can leave comments on pictures!), and a few pictures from the real camera will follow; unfortunately, I left that cord in Honolulu, and don't have it yet. I also thought I had packed batteries, but didn't find them, so I used only the camera phone for the last few days we were there.

It was really a magnificent trip, and I could feel all sorts of toxins draining out of me (though it wouldn't really have been a vacation if I hadn't replaced some of them with a different sort, would it have?). As you can see from the pictures, we did a lot of lying on the beach and a lot of eating.

I tried to be a good sun-citizen, wearing my sunglasses and big hat and taking down an entire 16 ounce bottle of SPF 45 nearly single-handedly, but still managed to catch some tan (and burned a little bit snorkeling the first Saturday, though I wore a shirt and shorts out the next week). I like looking a little sun-kissed, but I have to keep reminding myself that it's just damage, and that I have too much of that as it is. Sigh.

In addition to beach-lying and eating, we did some other vacation-y stuff. We snorkeled twice at Hanauma Bay, where we saw lots of fish, including the state fish of Hawaii (the humuhumunukunukuapua'a, which April likes to call either a "statie" or "the humma humma fish"), a huge rainbow fish I could hear gnawing on the reef, and an eel. April took some underwater pictures, but I haven't seen those yet. We hiked Diamond Head, which had some fantastic views (pictures to come), but was frustratingly glutted with people. April and I had facials and massages at a tiny spa close to the apartment, where Fuki, a large Japanese man, was so focused on his work that he breathed heavily through his mouth pretty much the whole time, including when he was on top of the table ("Excuse me, excuse me") and pulled me into some of the best stretches I've ever had (one of which he enacted by slinging a towel under my jaw and rotating my head from side to side). When he first started working, he asked if I had been in an accident. I mentioned last summer's crash, but said it was probably mostly just tension. When he found out I was a PhD student, he said, "Lucky for you that I am good therapist!" Was he ever.

We did the Pearl Harbor monument and the Dole Plantation in the same day. If you go to Oahu, I think you're pretty much culturally obligated to do the former (I was there with my senior class 10 years ago, and that would have held me for life, probably), but Dole is pretty much straight-up commercial tourism. We paid to tour the garden and take the little train ride around the plantation, and then had pineapple softserve (for Chris and me) and a pineapple float (for April).

On Monday, April and I took the bus to Pearl Harbor, where we met Chris to drive farther north to the Polynesian Cultural Center. It was the first time for all of us; it had been an optional activity on my class trip, but being poor and more interested in beaching, I had visited Waimanalo with friends instead. This time we got the package that included entry to the villages, an IMAX film, a luau, and the evening show. Even with Chris's substantial military-connection-discount, it was pretty expensive, and if I were to do it again, as a childless vegetarian, I would probably opt just for the evening show. It was fun seeing the demos and playing the games in the villages, and I liked the orchid leis at the luau, but the food (at least the veggie options available) wasn't very good, and I got plenty of singing and dancing at the evening show. Still, the admission goes to help support education, so I can't complain.

The next day, April and I took the bus to Kailua beach, which was quieter and cleaner than Waikiki and had better waves. The bus doesn't go quite there, and although the guidebook mentions a shuttle, I never actually saw one. We had to wander through a few residential streets to get to the park, which led to one of my favorite moments of the trip; after asking directions of a couple of guys working on a house and chatting with them momentarily, one called after us, as we turned to leave, "You guys are beautiful!" His Montreal accent, and the somewhat baffled inflection on his last word, left me giggling all day.

So, Wednesday we flew out and now I'm in the desert. My Thursday travel ended up being rather a nightmare, despite the cavalier tone of my last post; I got an e-mail a bit before I was to catch my bus that my flight to LA had been delayed, meaning I would miss my connection to Palm Springs. I called United, and they assured me that they had put me on a flight to San Francisco, that would make it to LA in time for me to make my connection to Palm Springs. However, the SFO flight was to leave 70 minutes before my LAX flight, so I grabbed my things, literally ran to the bus station, and just caught the bus. At the counter, they were very nice to me, apologized for the long trip I was about to have ('turns out, of course, it ended up being much longer than it looked at that point...), and escorted me to the front of the security line. When I arrived, panting, at my gate, I discovered that the SFO flight had been delayed 20 minutes... and, long story short, as you may have guessed, I ended up missing my connection to LAX and had to be put on a later flight. I'll spare you the weeping and gnashing of teeth, but will just say that although they did finally get me to LAX, the soonest they could book me to PSP was the next evening (sans vouchers/options for car, hotel, food, or even apologies); that my parents drove the entire way to LAX to rescue me; that my luggage didn't arrive until the next afternoon; and that I WILL NEVER FLY UNITED AIRLINES AGAIN IF I CAN HELP IT.

Anyway, now I'm in the desert. Yesterday there was a coyote in the backyard. This is the picture I got of him after I went back inside to retrieve my camera phone; he's on the other side of the fence here. I put a circle around him in case you can't see him--he's so well camouflaged that I had to study the picture at full size to find him, even though I'd taken it!

9 comments:

K L said...

What an adventure thus far! Missing the bus, flirting with Montrealians, massage, tropical drinks, and even coyotes. I envy you.

K L said...

Except for flirting with those guys, I probably wouldn't have done that myself. Probably.

Curly Sue said...

Grrr. Even reading the story of your mistreatment by United infuriates me. I had a similar situation in Chicago, though without the complicated connections and long distance travel arrangements. I can't believe, though, that you didn't even get a place to sleep or anything to eat.

On a happier note, thanks for the trip summary! It sounds like a great vacation.

I think that the Polynesian fire dancers that I saw in Branson were affiliate with the Polynesian cultural center in HI. In fact, I'm pretty sure that it's run by Mormons, which explains the Branson connection. Weird, huh?

Ern said...

Sounds and looks like a great trip! Well, except for the return trip issues. I definitely want to go to a luau of some kind next time I'm in Hawaii.

swinte said...

So. Envious. :-)

Heather said...

It sounds like an eventful, yet relaxing trip. All that beach lying reminds me of when we did lots of beach lying in Greece. Mmmm . . . Greece. We were just talking about the speedo in the Olympic stadium incident this evening and I missed your whole family. Tell everyone hello.

strovska said...

oh, that sounds like a wonderful trip except for the transportation complications. until i got to that part i felt like i was vicariously detoxing.

nmrboy said...

re: bad service from airlines; there's usually some higher body to which you can pass your complaint, and it's worth knowing in advance what regulations the company has to hold to (in europe its EU261, answerable to the air traffic user's council), which will stipulate what you're entitled to in terms of food and shelter in the event of delays/cancellation. they are usually required to, but won't, volunteer this information at the time. february last i flew ryanair, who are dreadful (frankie boyle's comment on ryanair: china has a better history of human rights violations), and it took over a year and several sarcastic letters (which i rather enjoyed writing) before we got refunded the money it took jodi and i to get back to where we came from. but once you pass the complaint off, it's not your time you're wasting.

true story. not interesting, but true. i'll go now.

n.

CëRïSë said...

Kuyler, on vacation, one never knows!

Leah, yes, that is weird; I'd forgotten that Branson is Mormon, and didn't know about that PCC connection until Hawaii.

Erin, yes on luau (especially, probably, if you're not veg)!

T&H, aww, I miss you guys too! Thanks for reminding us about the Speedo incident. =)

Rachel, I'm so glad you got to vicariously detox!

And Neil, I thought your story very interesting, as well as inspiring; I'll be writing United.