Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Farewell, Hawai'i--You were Awesome

Here are a few random photos of the beautiful place that is Hawai'i. Rich has more on his camera but he came back to a 15 hour day at work today so he's asleep. We'll put them up soon!

Our last few days were spent a lot like the previous few days....we walked, spent time on the beach, shopped, ate, napped, read, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our stay. I had a wonderful aromatherapy massage one morning; the massage therapist was from Hawai'i but had spent a summer in Anchorage. I didn't relax as much as I could have because we talked the whole time.

Friday night we had dinner at a bar overlooking the surf and then joined the crowd at the annual Korean Festival to watch a subtitled movie called "Sophie's Revenge" right there on the beach. We were also further entertained by the Friday night fireworks display. On Saturday, we rented a car and drove the whole island of Oahu. We browsed at a Farmer's Market, stopped at a couple of beaches and a state park on the North Shore, and went snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. The water was a little rough and I was kinda nervous at first, but got over it and had a good time swimming with the fishes. No turtles this time, though.

Sunday we had to check out of the hotel in the morning but our flight was not till 9 PM so we had the whole day to run around. We drove off in search of the Aloha Towers and/or ChinaTown. Someone, who shall remain nameless, apparently took the map up to the room the day before and now it was missing. Rich was fairly confident that he knew how to get around (he IS from Hawai'i, after all!) He found his way to the Aloha Towers to shop and we had Sunday Brunch at Don Ho's restaurant. Well, I had the brunch and Rich had loco moco, which he'd been craving. Seriously, the Sunday Brunch at the Grand Aleutian is a million times better. I am not just saying that! This one was pitiful. We just sorta randomly ended up there--it's not like we were especially excited about the place anyway, but I was sorely disappointed in the selection and the quality of the food. It is really a shame that I am so spoiled that I would rather eat at home than just about any restaurant.

So we wandered the shops and bought a set of candle holders to take home. We usually try to buy something "local" to remember our trips. They will look nice in our new house!

No vacation is complete without a visit to Whole Foods so Rich can stock up on various supplies that he can't get in Unalaska. Since we had no map, we asked the waitress for directions and thought we knew what we were doing....but ended up driving aimlessly for a little while. I called Information and got the number for Whole Foods, where a very helpful clerk gave me directions to the store, which he stated was right near the mall....so we could do more shopping! Rich still wanted a map so he made me jump out of the car to grab some of those free tourist brochures off a bin on the street (my punishment for losing the map) He took a photo of me running to the bin but it's terrible so I am not posting it. :)

We drove through China Town but did not stop to do anything--it looked pretty deserted on Sunday. Then to Whole Foods, aka Chef Bye's Heaven, where we lamented the fact that we had endured the food at Don Ho's when we could have eaten much better at the store! After stocking up on various oils, spices, cheeses and gadgets, we made the rounds of the stores in the mall and discovered a movie theater. Since we still had so much time to kill, we decided to go to a matinee. The pickings were somewhat slim but we chose "Cyrus," which was actually a lot better than I expected. Funny, but also had a pretty good story to it.

Then off to the airport after gassing up the rental car and returning it with a minimum of complications (as opposed to some of our previous adventures). Alas, no first class upgrades were available this time. We had aisle seats across from each other, which I was grateful for, otherwise I would have been in the middle seat. Rich was lucky enough to be sitting next to a couple who were arguing with each other for much of the trip. Talk about awkward! I was next to a couple who were rather loud and demanding but at least they were not fighting.

We thought maybe we could sleep since it was an overnight flight but neither of us was able to get any rest. I could not get comfortable to save my life. It was a very long five and a half hours to Anchorage. We arrived at 4:30 AM local time and had to wait around till 9 AM for our flight to Unalaska. No sense going to a hotel so we laid down on the seats at Alaska Air and got a couple of hours of sleep. Went to Pen Air about 7 AM and it was PACKED. Apparently flights had been cancelled the day before, and there were several morning flights going to various towns. Around 7:30 they started announcing that two flights to King Salmon, one to Dillingham, and the 8 AM to Unalaska were all on weather hold. That's not what you want to hear when you have not had a good night's sleep. Then our flight was added to the list on hold. I wanted them to just cancel altogether so we could go to a hotel and take a nap! Finally around 10:30 we were loaded up and told we would be stopping for fuel in Kodiak. Kodiak?? Everyone was asking each other if we'd heard correctly. We don't ever go to Kodiak. We thought the Pen Air staffer had made a mistake and meant to say Cold Bay, which is a typical stopping point. But no, it was Kodiak. Oh yeah, Rich has photos of that, too. :)

I've never been to Kodiak so it would have been fun to have a layover there but we didn't get off the plane, just got some fuel and headed for Unalaska. Had a few bumps coming down but nothing major. Home! It's always good to get back, despite the fun of traveling and seeing family and friends. On the other hand, it was cold and rainy when we stepped off the plane. Luckily, I'd changed into jeans and a hoodie before boarding! Somehow those 80 degree days are already a distant memory.


Suzassippi said...

Well it sounds like your typical adventures! Please feel free to come get some of the oppressive 90+ temperatures (and the 100% humidity) that we are enjoying down south. I didn't know Rich was from Hawai'i--did he know the President?

Gigi said...

Yes, he was born in Honolulu. But left before the President arrived following his birth in Kenya. :)

Betty said...

Glad you finally got your massage! I agree with Susan - it does sound like your "typical" trips. Love to see the pictures when you post them.