Monday, December 17th, me and my two boys left for Hawaii. My boys had never been to Hawaii and they were incredibly excited, which, of course, made me happy. I also had an additional 19-year-old accompanying us on the trip, but since his parents had neglected to buy his plane ticket until about 7 days before the trip he wasn’t on our flight. In fact, HIS flight left Portland a whole day before ours and arrived 16 hours before we did. (His flight home left more than 24 hours after we did, but that’s a story for later). Anyway, when I was first advised of his flight info I was assured it would be okay since his parents “knew someone on the island.” I was left with the impression that the boy would arrive, said people would pick him up and take him home, we would pick him up at their house when we arrived and when we left we would drop him at said people’s home again. Right before he left, however, he decided instead of intruding on the people he would just hang out in the airport for the 16 hours between his landing and our arrival. I expressed my dislike for the plan, but the boy is 19 (almost 20) and not my child. If his parents were fine with that I really didn’t feel like I could say much and then I considered the fact that if there was any airport worthy of hanging out at for 16 hours you could do much worse than Oahu.
This is a picture of my younger son waiting for his brother to come downstairs so we can leave for the airport. He’s tired because he only got 90 minutes of sleep and he’s grumpy because his older brother who rushes him (and me) always — had the audacity to make us wait for him.
Blue Eyes had accidentally left his house keys at my house before we headed to Manzanita and since I dropped him off at home before I came home from the beach they were still at my house. While it was fine for one night he thought it might be wise to get his keys before we left for 7 days so he met us at the airport to hug me, kiss me, wish my boys a wonderful vacation and get his keys. This man is so awesome. He hugged me and said “you’re at the airport now; you can stop stressing out about missing the flight.” He read my face so incredibly well I hadn’t realized how stressed out I was (and of course I had no sleep the night before) I just melted into his hug and let it all go.
After we went through TSA’s lovely screening process we made our way to our gate, got hot chocolate and bottled water at Starbucks and waited. By the time we got to the gate we only had a little over an hour to wait, which was nice, but my 19-year-old loves to complain so he was not happy. Yet he was because he was going to Hawaii. Teenagers.
The plane ride TO Hawaii was brutal. We were all three seated in the middle three seats and I was in the middle sitting between my two boys. Felt like a sardine. Because of the time all we had had that morning was the hot chocolate to drink and no food but the flight crew advised us we would be served a complimentary meal so I was hopeful. I have boys. I can’t speak for girls because I have no experience, but boys who have not eaten can get especially grumpy. I was VERY hopeful. When the food was finally served, my hopefulness slipped away. Here is a shot of the “food.”
It was some chicken looking substance on top of what looked to be rice with peas and carrots, a crazy gross salad and something chocolaty looking. I’m a vegetarian so I did not touch the chicken or the rice, for obvious reasons. The salad I ate, mainly because I was starving and I confiscated my boys’ salads as well. My youngest son assured me the chicken was gross, yet he ate it out of hunger. The older one confirmed his assessment and ate his (and mine) as well. We all ate the chocolate cake and were grateful for it but a meal that was NOT.
When we arrived in Hawaii it was pouring rain. Pouring. Raining so hard that you couldn’t see out of the windows of the plane because of the amount of water constantly hitting them. I could have cried. Seriously. I live in Rain City U.S.A. Did I really pay this much money to come play in some other state’s rain?! I didn’t cry, however, because my oldest son was grumping about his ears being clogged, their refusal to pop, the long ass walk to the baggage pick up and the hysterically long wait for the luggage to even begin to come up the carousel. It’s incredibly hard to cry over some rain in paradise when you have an irritated teenager trying his hardest to make you as miserable as he thinks he is. Trust me on that one.
The 19-year-old who was waiting for us made his way from where he had been in the airport to meet us and it was a pleasant distraction for all of us to connect with him. He was happy to see us but he was (a) starving, because his plane got in so late that all the little food places were closed; (b) in pain because apparently he had a severe cold/flu thing and his throat was “on fire”; and (c) tired as hell because it wasn’t as easy to sleep in a chair as he thought it would be. I was so happy to have my youngest son with me. After the oldest grumped at me and stalked off to sit in a corner and wait for his friend to show up, the youngest walked over to me, smiled and said “my ears are fine and we’re in Hawaii, Mom!” I’m certain I squeezed him extra hard when I hugged him.
We took the shuttle to the rental car place and the two 19 year olds were in fine grumpy form until I pointed out that the shuttle driver’s name was “Bong” – yeah. I knew my audience. They thought that was funny as hell and went so far as to take a picture of Bong, with his name tag prominently showing, thank him profusely for the awesome ride to the rental car place and high-five him. Moods were definitely beginning to shift.
We got our car, it continued to rain, we got to the hotel and checked in. Once we got to our room the rain stopped for a bit and the sun came out and the boys took note of the beauty around them. Here is a picture of the view from our room and of my youngest son.
And here are the 19 year olds.
It was 5:30 p.m. at this point. If you factored in the time change it was really 7:30 p.m. on our time clocks and we had not eaten much of anything all day. I immediately took the boys to dinner at the hotel next door and when that was over I was blessed with three boys who were finally HAPPY at the same time. The one was still a little upset over his sore throat but I purchased some over the counter medication and he said it helped.
Here is a shot taken after dinner on our way back to the room.
I met my girlfriend Jenny in the hotel bar at 8 and we drank beer and talked for a couple of hours it was awesome for me to have the time to decompress with a beer (or two) and grown-up conversation after the flight over. The kids occupied themselves walking along Waikiki and then hanging in the room. They were all exhausted from the day of travel.
Day 2 we made our way to the North Shore to see some big waves. It was a lovely day at the beach which was made even lovelier when we saw on Facebook it was snowing at home! We hung out at the beach for a while, stopped at a fruit stand and just enjoyed the relaxing day. Here are some pictures.
We got back, went to Bubba Gump’s for dinner. . . .
If there was any question. . . yes, I needed alcohol. . .
And then made it back to the beach for the sunset . . .
Day 3 was Wednesday. The boys would likely tell you this was the best day. I took them to Hanauma Bay to snorkel first thing in the morning. They complained non-stop from the second we arrived about everything. It was Jenny’s day off and she was going to meet us at the beach. After I made a spot on the beach I texted her and told her the boys were complaining and I was not sure how long we would last at the beach – her reply was “Teenagers!” and then she said she was on her way. She got there not to long after that and I think the boys lasted possibly another hour after her arrival before they came in and let me know they were done and ready to leave. I was a little surprised, but not as surprised as Jenny because she doesn’t have children. Ha! After spending time with mine, I’m not sure she’s going to have children.
I wasn’t even sure they enjoyed the snorkeling experience until we drove back to the hotel. On the drive back to the hotel they talked nonstop about how cool it was to snorkel and see the reef and all the fish. I think I even said “you had fun?” a couple times just to hear them exclaim “YES! It was awesome!” The other event for Wednesday was a luau at 4:30 – the boys expressed their total exhaustion from snorkeling so I took them back to the hotel where they napped. While they napped I packed up the dirty clothes (yes it was only day 3, but my kids change clothes 3 times a day and they had neglected to pack enough clothes to make it more than 3 days changing that often) and walked down the street 15 minutes to the coin operated laundry mat.
It was a peaceful 90 minutes and to be honest, I enjoyed it.
When I got back to the room they were still sleeping so I left them a note and went for a walk, did a little shopping and came back to wake them so they could shower and get ready for the luau.
It was a scenic route to the luau so we left early and stopped at a couple of look outs to take pictures.
The luau was at Sea Life Park. I had splurged and purchased the Royal Luau tickets. They were a little spendy, but the perks of the tickets was a private tour of the shark exhibit, dolphin exhibit and sea turtle exhibit. There were only about 20 people with the Royal tickets so it was pretty spectacular. Here are some pictures from the tour of the exhibits.
After the tour we got our leis (either fresh flower or nut leis), we got our picture taken with the Chief and his daughter, the boys got henna tattoos, and then we got to sit at the front table and be served dinner (which was gross and super meat based) as opposed to walking the buffet line. Here are some pictures.
Once the show started, because of our seats we were easy targets. My oldest son was chosen by the chief to be one of four representative chiefs. He had to stand up, say a few words to the crowd, pour a little liquid from this ceremonial cup and then drink the rest of it. He did it all in good spirit and never once questioned what was in the cup. When he sat down he said it tasted like milky-dirty-water – but it was the experience he would not forget. Later the same four representative chiefs were called onto the stage multiple times to learn some ceremonial dances and be laughed at by the crowds. He was awesome and I was very proud of him for participating with a full heart.
At the end of the night all three boys found their way up on stage to learn the hula and shake their rear ends. They had fun.
On the ride back to the hotel they declared the vacation to Hawaii was the “best vacation ever” and the child who is not mine told me when he was rich and famous (because he is an aspiring snow boarder) because I allowed him to come on this vacation he was going to buy me a vacation home anywhere I wanted. The sentiment was sweet and I knew beyond any doubt that the boys were enjoying themselves.
I’m sure that was my, as well as their, best night sleep. I’m exhausted just writing about it so I’m ending this here.
Hawaii Part Two will follow soon.