Sunday, July 20, 2014


At last, it’s time to go back to Hawaii!  This trip is to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary and to complete a Bucket List item, i.e. find a geocache in all 50 states.

We started the trip by driving to Chicago (Picking up 5 new geocaching Illinois counties along the way.) and
Volcano in the Cascades
visiting Carl and Heather.  We picked them up and made our way to Turquoise in the Roscoe area.  This is the four of us’ favorite Turkish restaurant in the area.  We feasted on mussels, manti and kebaps…ahhh…comfort food!

Our first flight was O’Hare to Seattle on American.  It seemed that all was going well, but at the last minute a maintenance tech showed up to tell the captain that a hole had been found in the baggage compartment.  A hole?!?!  After about 30 minutes the hole was repaired (I’m thinking that better be a damn good patch!) and we were on our way.  No more events on this flight other than beautiful views of the Cascades Mountains.

Next flight is Alaska Air to Honolulu. They close the door and all seems to be going well.  All of a suddent there is a mini-conference of flight attendants.  They confer in whispers and then open the door and announce that a “customer” has an issue and wants off the plane!  They then escort a little girl, maybe 5 or 6 years old, off the plane. Then the head flight attendant says we were lucky; if she had waited to get upset and we weren't more than halfway to Hawaii then we would have had to turn back.  Whew!

Finally, our plane gets pushed back and we quickly take off.  We settle into our first class seats and prepare to relax for the five and half hour flight.  We get our drinks and warmed nuts and start to watch a movie.  Ahhhh!!!   About ten minutes into the movie a teenager rushes to the front of the plane.  I figure he’s in a hurry to reach the forward bath rooms.  But no, he’s here to give us a show!  He grabs a plastic bag from the flight attendant and proceeds to heave into said bag.  And heave.  And heave.  And heave.  I’m as sympathetic as the next person (Gina, is that you next to me?), but why did he have to turn around and perform so mightily right in front of us?!?!?  He was standing next to the restroom; surely a far better place for such activities!  At last he’s persuaded that we've enjoyed the show, but now he needs to perform for the folks in back.  He slightly bows and goes to entertain the rest of the plane.
Sunset over the Pacific

After that, the rest of the flight was pretty boring.  Eat, drink, watch movies and snooze.  Repeat.  But then about two thirds of the way through the flight the captain keyed his mike and said, “Is there a doctor on board?”  Seriously, I've heard of this in movies, but in real life?  I heard someone shout, “I’m a doctor.” and quickly there was a rush of flight personnel to the middle of the plane.  I could see someone was down in the middle of aisle and surrounded by people trying to help.  Finally, the situation appeared to have been resolved and the flight finally landed.  As we were taxiing in the captain once again keyed his mike and asked everyone to remain in their seats at the gate.  Medical personnel were boarding the plane to assist a family with a medical issue.  Soon about four medics were on board and they soon escorted out the young man who “performed” for us earlier.  He was quite pale and shaky, but did walk out on his own.  His family followed him out and we finally were allowed off the plane. 

Whew.  We were finally in Hawaii.  Aloha.

(P.S. I hope that young man recovers quickly…but is it bad of me to hope he’s not flying back on the 28th with us?)

Our ocean view
Our hotel is the Marriott Beach Resort, Waikiki.  It’s at the far Diamond Head end of Waikiki.  From our balcony we can see all of Diamond Head and we have an ocean view.  (I’m watching surfers as I type this.)  We've been to this hotel before and we love where it’s situated. If you want nightlife, shopping and beach you turn right out of the hotel’s front door.  If you want peaceful surroundings and beach you turn left.  For us, it’s the best of both worlds.

Our first day had three primary goals: 1. Find our 50 state geocache.  2. Shop at Crazy Shirts until it hurts. 3. Stay awake until 8:00 PM.  We fueled up at the breakfast buffet and headed out!
Happiness is our 50th
Geocaching State!

Our first goal was to find that cache.  We walked along the beach for about a mile towards Diamond Head. 
Blue and turquoise waters, palm trees, white sand, banyan trees, hau trees, flowers everywhere….yes, this was tough bushwhacking but we had to get to get to that cache!  Took us just a few moments to make the find and finally we had completed a  Bucket List item that took two and a half years and 50,000 miles of travel!  What an awesome feeling!

Next up, Crazy Shirts!  Mona loves Crazy Shirts.  In her mind, any place that has a Crazy Shirts store makes it a worthy destination!  So, here we were where Crazy Shirts was born and where the mother ship of Crazy Shirts is located, at the International Market.  We turned back from the cache
"Is this heaven?"  "No, it's Crazy Shirts!"
location; walked past our hotel and headed deep into the heart of Waikiki bound for the mother ship.  International Market is located just four blocks from our hotel so it was a quick walk….but….wait….what?  We got to ground zero and there was NO INTERNATIONAL MARKET.  Instead, there was a construction-grade plywood wall with square windows.  Through those windows you could see a bulldozer cleaning up the last remains of the market.  All that remained was the magnificent banyon tree in whose branches we once sipped mai tais.  No International Market.  No Crazy Shirt Mother Ship.

Saddened, we turned away and began the long weary trek back to the Marriott.  But wait, what's that ahead on the left?!? Could it be that wonderful store of shorts, and tops just waiting on Mona’s credit card!  Yes, a new Crazy Shirt store on Waikiki!  Mona entered clapping her hands.  She was rushed by the store staff and they whisked her off to her own private wonderland.  Me, I puttered about for a bit and then wandered down Kalakaua Avenue seeking companionship. A couple hours later we linked back up and I lugged her bags back to the hotel.  Afterwards it was time to scope out the beach.
One of the things we love about Waikiki is the never-ending string of beaches and hotels.  None of the beaches are private so you can start at our hotel and walk for miles on the beach.  If you go Diamond Head (East) you can find some secluded beaches pretty quickly.  If you go Ewa (West) you’ll find beaches packed with people from all over the world along with hotels and beach bars right along the beach.  We went Ewa.
We wandered through mazes of beach-clad bodies scattered among surf boards, outrigger canoes and lifeguard stations. We gawked as appropriate especially when we saw wahinis (young women) in skimpy bikinis carrying surf boards above their heads and threading their way to the surf.  (For some reason Mona wouldn’t allow me to take pictures to illustrate so you'll just have to use your imagination.)  All this sun and surf made us thirsty so we had to stop at the Moana’s Surfrider Beach Bar and have our first mai tais of the trip.  Several people have asked us to have a mai tai for them and we take this commitment seriously.  Hence many more mai tais to come! 

Finally, it was time to resume our trek and we continued Ewa.  More sun, more surf, more bodies, more of everything!  Again we thirsted and again we stopped.  This time at the Shorebird Beach Bar.  Here we found mai tais for $3.50!  That’s a great price for commitment filling so we had a couple!  Gotta love these beach bars!

Finally, it was time to hit our third goal of the day….sleep…but not till 8:00 PM.  We went back to the Marriott and went out on the Moana Terrace for dinner.  There we were serenaded by a duo playing old soft rock favorites and we dined on fish tacos and Hawaiian flatbread else.  And, of course we had mai Tais, and these were free!

It was almost 8:00 and we were exhausted.  We laid in bed watching the clock tick down the final seconds and finally it was time!!!  Sleep.  Sleep.  Sleep.

Aloha and good night!

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