Posts Tagged ‘bus’

 I am afraid this Hawaiian tour is beginning to be an epic novel and I still have not found my photos, but I have borrowed some that mom had copies of.

Grand Circle Island Bus Tour: Oahu Grand Circle Island Tour with Dole Plantation – Trusted Tours and Attractions – eTicket Center- At $63.67 for an adult, it is a bargain, when you consider the cost of renting a car and purchasing gas.

I am not really a group tour person. I like to shoot off on my own and discover new things, and we had intended on taking the tour and then renting a car one day, but we never did rent a car on Oahu. The public transportation is excellent and most of the outlying things we wanted to see included free shuttles to get to them. And, mom’s penpal of sixty years (and her husband) took us on their own tour one day. Our driver was an excellent guide who made the tour interesting and personal. He was from Wisconsin and told us that living in Hawaii wasn’t any more expensive than living in Wisconsin (what with heating oil, winter clothing and winterizing a car) and it was a heck of a lot warmer.

We saw the Dole Plantation, where mom could get her fix for a pineapple soft serve, Halona Blowhole, Sandy Beach (with an awesome kite display), and Windward Oahu (I think that is the west coast). I enjoyed Byodo-In Temple and mom liked feeding their gold fish. There was north shore beaches and Waimea Bay and Kona Coffee farm. It was 120 miles of gorgeous scenery with enough stops, and time at them to be enjoyable. It departs around 8:15 am and returns around 5:45. It’s a really good tour and they pick you up at most of the hotels.

I believe we stopped in Haleiwa and, unless I am mixing it up with another town, it was a charming little town with artisans. I still remember the ceramic fish with bamboo chimes that I fell in love with and wished I had gotten. I go more for quality and hand crafting now-a-days and would rather have spent a bit more on it than on purchasing t-shirts and such.

GERMAINES LUAU: Aloha Top Ten > Activity Details > Germaines Luau 

ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY,  THE BEST LUAU ON THE ISLANDS, at least that we found, and we hit at least four of them. We were picked up near our hotel, included in the price of the ticket, and taken twenty-seven miles from Waikiki to a private beach. “Cousin K” (enough to make the trip worthwhile right there) entertained us on the bus and got everyone in the mood to party. Although, if I never have to hear, “Just hang loose, ust have fun, sipping on a drink and lying in the sun, Don’t try to fight it, it ain’t no use. When you’re in Hawaii, you should just hang loose.” I will be eternally grateful.

Mom is a reserved lady and I wasn’t getting up on the stage doing the hula, but I have to admit it, we had a blast. I’m sure the three free drinks you are given doesn’t hurt the mood, even though it had busloads of tourists, it still felt like a party with people you know. My only complaint was, as I remember, I wish it was right on the waters edge. We were in the sand though and they had tables, in front, where you sat in the sand at a low table and then regular style picnic banquet tables for those who needed to sit on a bench.

But, the biggest treat was the all you can eat traditional Hawaiian Buffet. It was the BEST FOOD in HAWAII. And, that was considering I was not over my Bacterial Bronchitis, and on nasty medication and barely ate more than one bit of anything. However, it was still the best of them all.  The menus is on the link above. Well worth the $66.13 per adult, when you consider there was several hours of entertainment. And they definitely had the best entertainment, including the most awesome fire dancers. 

I have admitted now to being a lame tourist, but you can be as reserved as you want and still have fun or you can go dance on the stage. Other luau’s do not come close.

Atlantis submarine: Atlantis Adventures

This was one mom wanted to do, even though she worried about getting down into the submarine. She did fine with the ladder and they were very helpful. The coral reef was fairly new though, I believe they had sunk airplane or ship hulls to build it and this was nine years ago, so is probably better. It was still fun and I would do it again. We saw some neat fish, turtles and a shark. It’s not something you get to see in Indiana, obviously and they have the sub on three of the islands.

Polynesian Cultural Center: The Official Site of the Polynesian Cultural Center and Alii Luau

This is a pretty interesting, yet all tourist attraction. The drawback is that you will never see all the village shows you want because they all start at the same time. They have villages for Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga as well as other exhibits. Their mission is to “preserve and portray the cultures, arts and crafts of Polynesia.”

It’s on 42 acres and has a nonprofit center so that students of nearby Brigham Young University Hawaii can work their way through college by “sharing their island heritage with visitors.” They have hands-on activities and exhibits going on throughout the day and then at designated times, they do demonstrations and therein lies my complaint.

The demonstrations, as I remember, were always spaced two hours apart and each village did them at the same time, so that you could never, in one day, see all of them. You have to decide where you are going when. At the end of the day there was a canoe pageant that was cool. But, our favorite part was the evening show.

Their “Horizons” night show (and I do not believe you can do the luau and the show) was awesome and held in an open air auditorium and, at that time told the story of Hawaii. We really enjoyed it and for $58 per adult, you get admission to the seven villages, a tram tour, IMax and the night show. It is a good deal.

 Before we left Hawaii, we would return to this island one more time and see Hilda Silva, mom’s pen pal since that was one of the main reasons for our trip. They have written to each other, since they were teenagers. Which for all you young folk, means hand writing on paper and sending it through the Postal service.

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I found my Hawaii trip book. While we were on the trip, I kept a journal of the interesting things that happened. When we got home, I had some spare time and made a Hawaii trip book. I was teaching art to homeschoolers; with the Casper Area Christian Home Educators and we were going to create some books, so my excuse was education.


But, I now digress, as if I don’t all the time, to insert some illustrations, make corrections and add a few forgotten items. 




The illustration(and photo)above, on the left, is Robert. I think it is too small to see, but he’s waving out of the pinkish van. Robert was a cute little bowlegged two year old (not four), who had fallen in love with my mother. Mostly, all he could say was “Wa at?” (This meant “What’s that?”) He was a curious little boy with bananas and pop tarts and a buzzing raspberry noise, that sprayed juice on everything, every time a car passed by.


When the van arrived in Douglas, Wyoming, we were transferred to a small bus and eventually large bus. In Denver, we purchased tickets for yet another bus to take us to the airport and were told it would leave in ten minutes. Four requests, and an hour and a half later, I again inquired as to when it was actually coming. We were told that the bus had left the bus barn and not been heard nor seen since. They did not seem too concerned over losing a bus. I guess it happens frequently.


They did pay for mom, myself and a German law student, to cram into the back of a cab, with our luggage. I was afraid to ask what the cab driver had in the trunk that took up all the room, necessitating us to hold our luggage.


The illustration above (picture on right) makes us seem like we are merrily singing on our way, but we were NOT. Screaming, yes. Singing, no. Trust me on this. We were white knuckled as we pray for our lives in this 90mph wild ride to the airport.


Mom and I then called the motel to get our ride from the airport. When we arrived at the motel, we were met with stunned silence upon learning that we had to be at the airport at 3:30 am. Bless his heart, the poor driver who took us, from airport to motel, offered to take us back in the wee hours of the morning.


Mom’s luggage was flagged to be checked at the airport in Denver and she was hauled off to a private room to watch her undies being pawed. We were never sure what contraband she carried, but we think a little odd folding flashlight may have been deemed dangerous. I insisted all my rolls of film be checked by hand and they were NOT happy with that either. This was before 9/11 and I found it hilarious, later in the trip, when I set off one of the airport security machines in Hawaii. They stopped me from emptying my pockets, and turned their machine off before waving me through, unchecked, stating it was probably just my hair clip.



The plane was worse than riding the bus or taxi. I’m not a big fan of flying. It is crowded, claustrophobic and boring.  I still had bacterial bronchitis and was on some heavy duty medicine, so every time the plane banked, rose, dropped or moved, I had intense vertigo. That lasted for one hour, 23 minutes and 16 seconds, until we landed in Salt Lake City. The next plane was larger and either, I adjusted, or it was a smoother ride, because the vertigo stopped and two hours later we landed at LAX.


Mom being a small town girl and not having worked in Chicago for many years as I did, never learned “street” rules and big city eye avoidment. So, a “friendly” man followed us around the airport in the early morning hours until we caught our plane for Hawaii. She was a bit nervous about this. My response was, “I told you not to look him in the eye.” I’m not at my best when I have to go through two 6am’s in one morning.


We had our first Hawaii touchdown in Maui. It was a short lay over so a group of us stood out on the lanai and breathed in our first breath of tropical air. It is heaven on earth. I was ready to put down roots and still dream about it. I wanted to call home and tell them to sell everything, ‘cause I was staying.


The air smelled with a delicate scent of flowers and the temperature was perfect. It is like being enveloped in a perfect cloud; not too hot, nor too cold, not too dry, nor too wet.


Tomorrow: The little plane that couldn’t, Our lower floor reserved room on the 16th floor, and being kidnapped by Pleasant Hawaiian with one pat of butter and no water refills.

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When mom took me on her dream trip to Hawaii, a few years back, she wanted lots of Hula watching, lots of luaus and lots of scenery. What we got was a bacterial/viral infection, too much luggage, a banana spitting boy, food from TGIF, and credit card fraud. A good time was had by all.


First, we packed way too much stuff. I will plan ahead with coordinating clothing to make sixteen outfits from three separates. I have heard it can be done. Did you know that it takes your clothing, sent USPS, a month longer to get home, than you will?


Second, I had a ball planning our vacation, but when I took our desires, like how many days per island, etc, to our travel agent, she had her own ideas. And, when we got home, we found out she had also supplied several other customers with trips on mom’s credit card. She won a two year complimentary stay in the state facility, all expenses paid.


Okay, what part of my brain actually thought it would be fun to take the bus from Casper to Denver, rather than being driven in a car? “It will be an adventure.” I so foolishly said. First, the BUS does not do that drive. Instead, you take a van, packed with people and one little banana eating boy.


I have mentioned my mom’s proclivities toward, shall I say, obsessive compulsive neatness, on my blog. The first leg of our trip was a van ride from Casper, Wyoming to Glenrock. On the van, an adorable little toddler took quite a liking to this grandmotherly lady.


He kneeled on the seat in front of her and proceeded to eat his banana while fondling mom’s cane. It took twelve wet wipes to clean that up. I mean, I would not have been happy but she actually took it all in good sport. He got quite excited when cars would pass us and did one of those buzzing, with tongue out things, spitting banana juice to make a car noise, every single time. Mom got quite a banana bath on that one.


After stopping at every three house town between Casper and Denver, we arrived in Denver, and waited and waited for the bus to take us to the airport. It was finally reported that the bus did indeed leave the station this morning but they had no idea where it was. Now, I would have been concerned about losing a million dollar Greyhound bus, but they took it in stride and told us they were paying for a taxi ride, for four weary travelers, to get to the airport. Mom, I and two others piled into the cab for the Wild Ride of Mr. Toad.


There was so much luggage that it was smothered our laps and jammed our legs. The upside was that it did serve to keep us in our seats as the cab driver drove 100+ miles per hour, weaving in and out of traffic, to get the girl in the back with us to the airport in time for her flight. Mom didn’t even mind the plane after that cab ride.


Next installment: The infection that refused to leave, homeless in San Francisco, TGIF

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