Thursday, October 3, 2013

Waikiki-The Quest For Rest


To say this past year has been the most emotional of my life would be a gross understatement.  Don't get me wrong, I don't mean it was all bad, it certainly wasn't....just emotional.

The Plan vs. Life

We all come up with The Plan. 
It can be simple, complex, long term, short term....whatever it is, we all have one.
Early last October, The Plan was the May 2013 trip to Waikiki now.  Rooms are available, I have enough points for a free plane ticket, and all I'll have left to do is spend the next eight months saving, dreaming, and waiting patiently. 

Life, however, does not care about The Plan.  Life will barge in and do as it pleases, sometimes granting wishes you didn't even know you had, sometimes just rolling over you and laughing at you along the way.  

At the end of October, our pug, Pahoehoe, started walking funny.  We got him right in for x-rays, and found that he was born with a deformed vertabrae right between the shoulder blades, narrowing of the spinal column in the same spot, and muscle tension.  All of these lead to severly diminished use of his back legs.  Multiple trips to the vet for physical therapy, and laser thrapy treatments meant no money was going into savings.

The Plan would have to be postponed.

 Pahoehoe, God bless him, adjusted much quicker than I did.

Learning to care for (and clean up after) a slightly broken dog, followed by a busier than busy holiday season, followed by a bout of winter depression and anxiety, nearly did me in....but, Life came along and smiled on us big time.

Somewhere along the way, my husband (of 23 years) and I became reacquainted.  We spent the next several months, reconnecting and rekindling, and are happier now than either of us has been in our lives.

(Awwwwww.....that's mushy!)

In our 23 years together, NOT ONCE has Husband ever gone to see the doctor for a full physical.  This summer, I finally get him pushed in to see both a doctor and a specialist.
All tests reveal that (other than the fact he's a man) there's not a darn thing wrong with him.

The trip to Waikiki (which was rescheduled for September) is now only a couple weeks away.
   Out of the blue, Pahoehoe starts squinting, and pawing at one his right                                
A quick trip to the vet reveals a scratch on the surface of his right eye.
A second trip to the vet reveals, it's not healing.
A third trip to the vet reveals it's not healing.
A trip to the optometrist  reveals 4 eyelashes growing on the inside of his eyelid scraping his eye.  He'll need surgery to remove them.

(You'd think the poor guy could catch a break!) 

(The surgery to remove these was simple.....the price tag was not.) 

Finally, FINALLY, I know that both Husband and Pug are happy and healthy.

    Somehow though, both seem to require full time care.
I need a break.

Dear God, please just get me to Waikiki.

  Wednesday, Sept. 25th

It wasn't until the plane sped down the runway, and the wheels left the ground, that I finally exhaled.  I'm going to Waikiki!  It's REALLY happening!

After a pleasantly uneventful flight, my plane lands at 10 am.  I'm here.

I arrive at The Breakers and am so pleased that nothing has changed.
It suddenly doesn't feel like it's been 2 years since I was last here.
It doesn't even feel like I'm arriving on my vacation.
It feels like I'm coming home.


The Plan for today is....nothing.  As much nothing as possible.
Before the nothing can fully begin though, provisions are needed.
Thankfully, there's an ABC Store right across the street.

Ok, the fridge is stocked, the suitcase is parked in the room, the swimsuit is on....
time to make the grueling walk from my room to the pool for lounge time.

I love the pool area's always nice and quiet.

After a couple hours, lounge time concludes.  Next up, lunchtime.
Not wanting to overexert myself, I have lunch right on the property at
Wasabi Bistro.

Having studied the menu extensively on-line before this trip, I already know what I want.

The Ahi Poke

And the Papaya Motoyaki

A half papaya filled with shrimp, scallops, mushrooms, zucchini, a delicious white sauce,
and baked to a bubbly, golden brown.
Both were wonderful.

Lounge time and lunchtime have really taken it out of me. So, next up...nap time.

There are 2 beds in my room,  one is a twin size (I use that one as my suitcase parking station) the other is supposedly a full size.   At 5'7", with my head on the pillows, my toes touch the bottom of the bed.  If I open my arms in a wide stretch, my fingers hang over either side.  I'm comfortable enough, but, if two people planned on sharing this room and this bed, they'd better love each other very, very, much.

Before my day concludes I give myself a manicure, pedicure, and facial.
I do feel slightly guilty that I never put out the effort to walk to the beach at least long enough to look at the ocean.
Thankfully, the guilt does not prevent me from falling fast asleep.     

Thursday, Sept. 26th

I'm up early this morning.  The Plan for today holds only my traditional, "first morning of vacation", wave at friends and family in front of the Duke statue web cam. 
I spend some time beforehand just sitting on the beach and giving thanks for what promises to be a beautiful and relaxing day in Waikiki.

Promptly at 7 am, I take my place in front of the statue and wave like the dorky tourist that I am.  I need a picture of myself too, so, I grab the nearest tourist I see and ask if she'll do the favor.  After she poses me this way and that, taking more pictures than I really needed, I grab hold of her and force her to wave at the friends and family as well.
There's a small Asian family (grandmother, daughter, grandchild) waiting patiently for their turn in front of the statue, and I try to get quickly out of their way.  Grandmother has 2 cameras and when she starts speaking to me, showing me the cameras, I assume she'd like me to take their pictures for them.  Nope, a gentle push on my shoulder finally makes it clear that I'm to pose (along with my new photographer friend) along side her family for a group photo.

Alrighty then!

Everybody's ohana in Waikiki!

Having successfully completed The Plan, I wander leisurely back toward my neighborhood and start to think about breakfast.  I'm not in the mood for anything too heavy.  Maybe just some fresh fruit.  (Oh, and a side of bacon!)
I could go to the Shorebird...I know they'll have what I want there.  But, they do a buffet for breakfast, and frankly, I don't feel like standing up and going to get my own food this morning.  I feel like being pampered and having my food brought directly to me.

Ocean House it is.

There is plenty of seating available this morning, but, the hostess has me wait just a few minutes so she can get me a table right up against the railing for a great ocean view.

I order their Fresh Fruit Sunrise

A delicious assortment of fruit topped with yogurt, granola, and honey.
(Oh, and a side of bacon!  Let's face it, bacon makes all things better!)
After a lovely breakfast, I head back to my room just long enough to get into my swimsuit, and I'm back on the beach for lounging by 9 am.
This stretch of beach, front and center of Ft DeRussey Park, has always been my favorite.
 It's usually one of the quietest areas (for a stretch of beach in Waikiki) and the ocean bottom is nice and sandy here, making it easy to get in and out of the water.
For the next couple hours, this is my home.

Once I've had enough sun, I decide to head back to the hotel.  Maybe I'll stop at an ABC Store on my way for a little light shopping.  (One never knows what one may need from ABC.)
This particular ABC Store is located at the end of Lewers (just across from the Halekulani) and I've been here many times, but, they've changed since my last visit...they've changed BIG TIME
The first thing I noticed was the exterior face lift.

The inside had been completely remodeled as well.
Still everything you'd expect to find-but lots more of it.
We also now have a full hot and cold deli case....

As well as a HUGE liquor section.

I've finished shopping and have just enough $$ left to hang out at the Shorebird and enjoy a Lava Flow (or two).
As I'm walking through Outriggers hall of shops, something catches my's a Red Dirt Shirt with a big Humuhumu on it.  My husband would love this.  Just out of curiosity I check to see if they have his size.  They do.  But, only one.  I'll need to get this now.
Good-bye drink, hello dirt shirt.
My husband is a difficult shop, so I'm really pretty excited to have found something I know he'll love.
On my way out, I stop at Starbucks (I have a gift card) and pick up a sandwich, salad, and banana, and enjoy a lovely poolside lunch back at The Breakers.

Late afternoon.  I've napped, and scraped the last of today's allowance from the safe.
It's time to head back to the Shorbird and get that Lava Flow!

I'm feeling pink today!!
I enjoy a couple drinks and nice conversation with a young couple from New Zealand
before calling it a day.
 A beautiful day.

 Thank-you Waikiki.

Good Night!
Friday, Sept. 27th

The Plan today is larger than the previous two days.
Hang out at the International Marketplace and shop a bit.
Get a massage.
Watch the fireworks on the beach.

Whew!  I hope I can handle it all!

I start my day with a morning swim.  Ok, ok, I call it a swim, but really, it's more of a float/tread water kind of thing.  Either way, it's a lovely time in the water.

After a couple hours, I'm ready for a small breakfast.
Maybe just a spam musubi from the ABC Store.
I'm almost at the ABC when I end up somewhere I NEVER thought I'd end up in Waikiki...

What can I say?  It's pancakes and spam for $5.95!!

Finished with breakfast, it's time to initiate phase 1 of The Plan.
I pull some $$ out of the Friday allowance envelope and head for the IMP.
The two big things on my shopping list are an aloha shirt for my husband, and a new leather bracelet for myself. 

  On my last visit (two years ago) I bought this bracelet (with my name stamped on it in Hawaiian) and, I just love it!  I wear it all the time.  I'm really hoping that the little kiosk that sells these is still around. 

It is with both shoppers excitement and heavy heart that I enter the International Marketplace.

For the last time.

 All the shops and kiosks will need to be shut down by the end of the year to make way for the construction destruction in 2014.

Oh, I know this place is old, rundown, doesn't have the best prices, or really anything worth buying....I know it has some shady corners that you don't feel you should go into, and in some places a funky smell....but, darn it!  It was something unique, and I loved all it's tacky, touristy glory!

Look!  It's still there!  The leather bracelet kiosk.  Ok, now that I know they're there, I'll go do some shopping around, and stop here on my way out.

Everyone here is having close out sales.


I know, freaky tiki...I know....I'm sad too.

I had planned on spending a couple hours here, but, somehow I managed to spend my allowance in just under 30 minutes.  I never even made it back to get the bracelet I wanted.  Looks like I'm going to have to come back tomorrow.

I DO have $5 left.  Looks like I can get a shave ice from Puka Dog before I leave. 
 Puka Dog is now Hula Dog, but, other than the name, everything looks exactly the same.

As I step up to the counter, the gal working says, "Wow!  I LOVE your shirt!"
I smile, "Thank-you, I made this myself!"
She's impressed, I can tell.  "You did a great job, I love rainbow colors!"
In keeping with the spirit, I order the rainbow shave ice.

 I'm feeling rainbow bright today.

I haul my plunder back to my room, then walk back to the Royal Hawaiian for my massage.

Before my massage, I spend 15 minutes relaxing in the nice, deep, hot tub.

I was lucky enough to have a 50 minute massage here back in 2010.
I was also lucky enough to have Yiu Cheung as my masseuse.  
I remember, when I first laid eyes on Yiu, being worried....I mean, he was just a tiny little guy who looked to be about 12 years old.  As it turned out, he gave me the best massage I have ever received.  I booked this appointment 2 weeks in advance just to make sure I could get him again.  (This time I'm making a big splurge and going for the 80 minute massage!)
I'm surprised when I see Yiu...he's a good 2 or 3 inches taller than the last time I was here, and his voice has gotten deeper too.  Yiu Cheung is growing up.  (Wow, maybe he really WAS only 12 the last time I was here!)

Like my previous visit, I have my Lomi Lomi massage in one of the garden cabanas.

I can sum up my experience in one word....Ahhhhhhhhhh....
It was spendy, but, oh so worth it.

After I've showered and dressed, a staff member comes in to refill the towel cabinet.
She looks at me and says, "Wow, I LOVE your shirt!"
I smile, "Thank-you, I made this myself!"
She takes a step back, "You Lie!"
She's impressed, I can tell.

After I leave the spa, I head over to the Sheraton thinking maybe I'd have an appetizer at 
Rum Fire.

As soon as I walk in, a guy sitting at the bar says, "Wow, I LOVE your shirt!"
I smile, "Thank-you, I made this myself!"
He's impressed, I can tell.

Short Story Break

This past spring and summer my husband and I played Tie-Dye Summer Camp.
We had loads of fun.  (Though a few things around the house are now a funny color.  Thankfully it seemed to wash off Pahoehoes' paws fairly well.)

  Tie-dye guitar shirt

After that, tie-dying turned into sponge dying.

It got pretty intricate.

Ok, back to the story

The outdoor patio area at Rum Fire is closed for a private function, so, I choose a small indoor table near the window.  I pick up a menu to look over the appetizers, but before I even open it I realize I'm not comfortable.  There's live music playing, a lot of people chatting and enjoying their feels too loud and crowded.  
Ordinarily, I don't mind a bar crowded with happy tourists, but, after my wonderful massage, I feel the need for a little more serene atmosphere.  I decide to try somewhere else.
Sorry Rum Fire, maybe next time.

I walk to the Outrigger Reef and head into Kani Ka Pila.

The live music hasn't started yet, it's not crowded, and even the families at the pool are quiet.

The palm trees, quiet surroundings and small waterfall give me the serene atmosphere
I was looking for.

I order the Hawaiian beef stew and a dinner salad.

 (God bless any restaurant that serves a dinner salad of mixed baby greens instead of iceberg.)

Ok, the beef stew tastes suspiciously like a can of Dinty Moore, but, it's warm, comforting, and served with a big scoop of rice.  I am relaxed and happy.
The relaxation continues back at the hotel....I don't think I'm going to be making the walk back to the beach for fireworks.  I decide it's alright to skip it this time....I'm a grown up.  I've seen fireworks before.
It's only a short time later that I hear the first Boom! of the show.
The little kid in me can't stand it.  I wanna see!  I wanna see!
I run to the back of the hotel (which is just as close to my room as the pool) hoping to catch a glimpse of the show.
(Other than an annoying streetlight in my way, it was a fairly good view.)
Good-night Waikiki, thank-you for another wonderful day.

Saturday, Sept. 28th

The only thing on todays agenda is another trip to the International Marketplace so I can get the bracelet I wanted.  Until then, nothing but beach time.
The sun isn't even fully up yet, but, I can see no reason to wait.  I'm suited up and on the 
beach by 6:40 am.

I swim, I stretch, I lounge....I leave my spot only once.  Just long enough to grab
something for breakfast.

     Bacon, egg, and spam musubi and a hot bowl of clam chowder.  Nice!

By 10 am I feel like I'm relaxed enough to get myself cleaned up and head back to the IMP.

It is with both shoppers excitement and heavy heart that I enter the IMP.
For the LAST, last time.

I go straight to the little bracelet kiosk.  There's nothing else I need, but, I'm not taking any chances of possibly spending all my allowance too soon.

(I skip the little pug purse.)

This time I get my bracelet stamped with both my Hawaiian name and my husband's.

(Awwww......that's mushy!)

Important purchase made, I take a final walk through.

I leave feeling thankful that the IMP was still here for me to visit one last time.

Today is the Aloha Festival Floral Parade.  This is also something I've seen before, but, on my way back to the hotel I feel compeled to stop and watch awhile.
(Turns out my inner child loves parades almost as much as fireworks.)

Once back at The Breakers, I check my fridge for leftovers, and enjoy a little leftover chicken caeser salad, topped with a little seaweed salad, and a beverage out by the pool.

I miss my The Husband and The Pug, but, oh man, is it going to be difficult
giving up this life of relaxed luxury I've had the last few days.

Late afternoon I decide to go (again) to the Shorebird for a drink.
I've never had a blue hawaiian before, and feel like it's time to try one.

I'm feeling blue today.
At first, I didn't care for the drink much.  It was pretty bitter and pretty strong.
(By the end of the drink though, neither of those qualities bothered me much.)

On my way back to my room I stop at the ABC Store.  I have $11 left on a gift card that needs to get used up.  I put that $$ toward the purchase of a white t-shirt with the ABC logo (gonna dye that when I get home!) and a beer.  
I did ask at the front desk if alcohol was allowed out on the patio and the guy working just laughed and said, "you're welcome to have all the drinks you're welcome to have all the drinks you want!"  Then, he put on his stern face, pointed his finger at me, and said, 
"Just don't fall in the pool!"
I didn't.

I spent an hour or so out by the pool chatting with my husband (via face time) and trying to beat him at words with friends before going back to my room and packing it all up.

(My purchases.)

Thank-you once again Waikiki!  Good-night.

Sunday, Sept. 29th

No time for a swim this morning.  I'll need to check out by 9 am in order to catch my flight home.  There is plenty of time though for a last stroll through the park, and along the beach.

It's going to be a beautiful day!

There's also enough time for breakfast, so, I walk to Eggs & Things.
(Just up the street from The Breakers.)

After a wait of maybe 3 minutes, I'm seated at a tiny table right up on the railing with a great view of the street below.

Todays breakfast, portuguese sausage, eggs and rice.


(Heavy sigh)  It's time to go home.

This trip may have been my least adventurous, but, it was, by far, my most relaxing.
And that is exactly what I wanted.

Next time, I will do more.
I will try to make it out to Haleiwa.
I will get out and experience the nightlife along Kalakaua.
I will get to try out Me BBQ.
I will make it to Art On The Zoo Fence.
I will actually READ the book that I brought everywhere with me.

Well.....anyway....that's The Plan.



1 comment:

  1. Came across your blog and love it! I've been to Hawaii 5 times and have always gone with friends but have been thinking about going alone next time and was looking for advice. Your posts give me the confidence to give it a try!


About Me

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From the time I was in grade school, I knew I wanted to travel to tropical destinations. I grew up loving blue oceans, palm trees, tropical flowers, and anything coconut scented. Finally, at age 34, I managed to take my first tropical trip. (Bahamas) I was hooked! Since then, every spare penny has been saved for the next vacation... every spare moment has been spent planning the next vacation... and the moments after that have been spent talking about and documenting that vacation. To date, I have been to Hawaii 8 times, the Bahamas 4 times, Las Vegas 6 times, New York (right after Sept 11th) Alaska and the Baja Penninsula. I decided to start this blog to document all my continuing adventures....let's hope there are many!