I should state here that Military grandson is probably on his way to Hawaii this month, or next, for a tour of duty. Talk about luck. This boy has the best guardian angel ever. I’m just grandma, so no one lets me know what’s going on, of if he has arrived yet.
This photo is of my mother, during the 40s, in an authentic grass skirt and Hula wear that her penpal sent to her. Mom has always loved Hawaii and wrote letters to two Hawaiian’s at that time. One, Hilda, remains a friend and penpal to this day and had visited the mainland once to meet mom. This was mom’s chance to visit Hilda in her home. Mom looked her other penpal up in the phone book on the Big Island, and found his name, but did not call him. She remembers him fondly yet.
I loved Hawaii. I was not joking about moving there. I love the place. The air welcomes you, the people welcome you, the ocean is heaven, rainbows in the sky, flowers, nature, blowholes, fish, cute Hawaiian men. I mean what more could you want? And, since BrainDebris will probably be traveling to Hawaii next year, I want to fill her in on all the stuff to see and not to see. So, off we go—
Our erstwhile travel agent set it up for us (she deserved her jail time for this part alone- see part one), to have a complimentary breakfast with the “Pleasant Hawaiian” people who, she told us, would book the things we wanted to see. Later, in touring Oahu, I saw numerous kiosks where you could walk up and purchase tickets for the sights you wantto see, on the schedule you want without being held captive, for half the day, as we were.
I really wanted to go to the Urasenke Foundation Tea Ceremony that morning. I probably made a mistake in trying to plan our trip to get everything in and that is never possible. But, it didn’t matter anyway as we were held captive by the “Pleasant Hawaiian” people until noon and we were not getting out of their grip without a fight.
First thing was this pleasant picture. Pretty Hawaiian girl, nice lei’s, sappy tourists. They took our pictures, they took the lei back. REMEMBER: almost every lei you are given is for a photo op. You will give them back the lei and you will pay for the photo. The flowers in these aren’t even real.
I have to say that Oahu was the touristiest island we were on. I live in a tourist county, so I do understand. Everyone makes their income off of the tourists and since tourists are generally happy, the locals are happy, pleasant people.
I would highly recommend going to Oahu first and then relaxing on another island or two last; where the memories you take home will be a better picture of the real Hawaii. Also, save some money for the real treasures of the other islands.
Back to our complimentary breakfast-They gave us a commercial of an hour of slides. It was interesting but I would prefer seeing the sights in person. Breakfast was cold scrambled eggs, fruit and one cup of juice. ONLY one small cup of juice. I know because the woman at our table asked three times for more and was told no. Forty-five minutes later, we finally got water, but no pats of butter for your roll; nope, not allowed. It was like prison food.
Booking, in this situation was bad. You had a roomful of thirsty tired, hungry, angry people sitting in a lunch room only a few people to actually book your tickets for you. There are kiosks to book shows, tours, etc all over the island and your hotel can do this also. Skip the bad breakfast.
Then we were escorted to Maui Divers. Mom is a jewelry nut and she had a ball picking out jewelry. I did enjoy the tour of the jewelers at work, and we were given complimentary Champaign to open our checkbooks. Okay, I have a teeny cynic somewhere deep inside me.
Do not forget, we were still being held by the “Pleasant Hawaiian” people, who then put us on a shuttle bus and waited at every exit to direct us back to our bus, lest we escape and they lose their cut from the stores they took us to. One of the neatest, and maybe saddest, things we saw was in their parking garage. An open truck load of coral was being brought in for jewelry making.
Downstairs from the Maui Divers was the cheaper jewelry store. They wait with a bucket of oyster shells in hand to wrangle that last dollar out of you. I am pretty sure our upstairs purchases put us in the two pearl bucket category. For four dollars we each picked a shell and I’ll be darn if we both didn’t get double pearls in our shell. What are the odds of that happening? Wouldn’t we love to buy this gorgeous $150 earring setting? I handed her $8, for the shells and left with our pearls in a plastic bag. There were stands all over the island that you could try your luck with an oyster shell.
It’s kind of fun though. Okay, I’m a lame tourist.
Next stop, Hilo Hatties. It is considered a “must stop shop” but it was rather expensive and we found better deals elsewhere. I think there are a few things you can only get there though. I did purchase a pineapple candle and some candy to send back home. Eventually we were let off the leash and I could breathe fresh air again.
I don’t want you to think we did not have a good time, because we did. Oahu has some great sights.
What we missed: Mom did not want to go to Pearl Harbor. She felt it was too depressing. If I were going back, I would definitely go to the Waikiki Aquarium.
TOMORROW: What we did see on Oahu: The best Luau around, A great bus tour, Diamond Head, Polynesian Cultural Center, and mom’s high school penpal. A reunion made in heaven and more