The holidays brought us together in the most wonderful way…a family vacation to Hawaii! We live in Michigan, so it is a requirement our travels bring us somewhere warm, and the hotter the better. The other constraint we have when traveling is we must fly Hubs beloved Delta (because he’s some point rock star and I learned last year when we flew United that he is a big baby when demoted to Zone Five boarding) and staying at a Marriott Vacation Club (another point thing).
When I first booked this trip, in August, I was pleasantly surprised there was availability for eleven days. I went ahead and set us up for December 17 – December 28. After all, this is a long flight and I knew the kids would drive me to lose my damn mind somewhere over the Pacific. Then in September when I went to purchase the airplane tickets I took a quick check at the kids holiday schedule and realized…I had looked at the wrong school calendar year and they were not out of school 12/16 like I had thought but instead 12/21! SOOOO I scrambled, called Marriott and had to take what I could get, which was 3 days in Maui and five days in Oahu. Fuck it, it’s Hawaii not Michigan so I went balls to the walls and booked it and bought the plane tickets. Eight days is better than no days, and who cares that we have to change islands?
The flight was uneventful until we landed at LAX with only 55 mins until our departure for Maui, tight but not horrible. However we had to sit on the tarmac for three hours waiting for a gate, making that 55 minute connection pretty much impossible. To Delta’s credit they held the flight for the 50 of us that were about to miss the connection. I took this to mean good things were ahead, and they were, kinda.
We arrived at our hotel at 2 am, (which is really 7 am our time) exhausted. I almost didn’t even mind my son squishing a mega sized cockroach with his shoe and graciously bringing the dead bug up to my face. That kid, he’s so sweet. Collapsing into our beds we slept soundly until we had to wake up five hours later for our first scheduled event. See when I travel I like to schedule every day to maximize our time anywhere, my husband LOVES it. So first up…my girl got surfing lessons from the cool locals at Rivers to the Sea surfing school. She got up on her first try and enjoyed it for about 45 mins before exhaustion and coldness set in, BUT this was an hour and a half lesson. I may have guilted her and reminded her of the hissy fit she threw when she thought we were missing our flight to Maui because, “alllllll I wanted to doooooo waaaaassss surf and now I can’t.” She rallied and made it the full hour and half.
That evening we enjoyed a very cool catamaran ride with Teralani Sailing to see the North Pacific Humpback whales that had migrated from Alaska to Maui for some loving and birthing. The dinner was pretty gross, and then the wind kicked up and my kid’s cup went flying out of his hand and nailed me in the mouth at about 30 knots. It was as awesome feeling as it sounds, and left me with a fat lip for a few days.
The next day was zip lining with the kids, hubs bowed out and truth be told I look forward to the time that I can opt out of this activity. We were dropped off at Skyline Eco Adventures and he bolted before I could learn the mistake we had made with our shoe selection for the day. Both my daughter and I were wearing the uber fashionable Keens, but they are NOT permitted. Left with little option (eating the tour cost or sucking it up) we were handed used black ankle socks and shoes that might have come out of Salvation Army in 1980. Mine were brown, or as I refer to them shit cloppers. I quizzed the owner, “Was this information on the website because I honestly didn’t see it.” I learned it was, and it was also on the checkout form when I booked it. I suggest BIG BOLD LETTERS next time for those of us that book adventures when we are drinking. I also had to step on a scale for the first time in months, lets just say I’m now doing Weight Watchers and exercising daily.
Our time on Maui was short but good, Lahaina was my favorite town. I may have looked up housing prices you know…just in case (the studio condos were going for $450K so yeah…that’s a little steep). We spotted many humpback whales, hit some museums for my son, had a lovely dinner at Honu Seafood and Pizza (the crab meat macaroni was DIVINE), zip lined, surfed, and no one got sick. Oh how Oahu would change that.
The next morning we left for Oahu. We landed in Oahu on Christmas Eve. We had a few hours before we could check in so we hit Pearl Harbor. Hubs dropped my son and I off while he and the girl looked for a parking spot, which apparently was not to be had. After an hour of circling the parking lot they opted for a close by McD’s for a bathroom and lunch break. When the boy and I tried to enter we were informed that my backpack was not permitted. Sooooo off to the baggage check we went. The boy and I hit one of the two outdoor museums, and I purchased tickets for the Bowfin Submarine – knowing Monday when we returned there would not be enough time to do everything in one day. My son read every plaque, every sign, and absorbed every nugget of info. Eventually (2 hours later) hubs found a spot and joined us for the Bowfin Museum and tour. Afterwards we headed to our hotel, 45 minutes away. And then I learned I’m an idiot.
“Babe, where’s my bag?”
“What are you talking about?”
“I left my bag in the car, but it’s not here.”
“Um you did no such thing.”
I then remembered at 4:45, with Pearl Harbor closing at 5 pm, that I had checked my bag at Pearl Harbor. Oh and they were closed the next day because it was Christmas. So I was out my meds, and my wallet with my credit cards and $150 in cash. Side note….the park service rocks because I got my bag, cash, and meds back Monday morning when we returned to Pearl Harbor.
That evening we had dinner reservations at Disney’s Aulani resort. Disney does everything big so I figured it would be a wonderful meal, it wasn’t. Just before we left for our reservation my daughter complained of not feeling well. There was no way we were missing this meal so she again rallied and we headed out for our 7:30 reservation. We hit the gift shop full of screaming kids before dinner and scored some kid ibuprofen, pepto bismal, and a thermometer; cause what’s a vacation without purchasing meds at exorbitant prices? She spent the meal with her head on the table, my son complained about the kids being noisy, and my husband just stared me down wondering why the fuck we were even there. BUT DAMMIT it’s Christmas Eve and we are doing this! So suck it up people and just enjoy your God Damn meals, or lack there of one.
By Christmas morning the girl had bounced back a bit. Hubs ran to Walmart to get some supplies while the kids and I hit the beach. After about thirty minutes my daughter declared “my head hurts so bad I can’t move” while my son complained the man made lagoon had no shells. Ahhhh…This is what it’s all about. We packed up and left the beach in under an hour. As the day wore on my daughter got sicker, and by dinner time was running a 102 fever. Hubs and the boy had Christmas dinner at the hotel restaurant (which the food was deemed ho-hum) while I made Ramen noodles for the girl (thanks gift shop for stocking this!).
Monday I took the boy to Pearl Harbor while Hubs enjoyed four hours at the Urgent Care with the girl. Pearl Harbor was an amazing experience, and really every person should go if they can; the stories, the museums, the Mighty Mo where WWII ended (that took us three hours to tour even though it says only two hours), to the USS Arizona floating memorial where oil can still be seen glistening on the water top, even 75 years later. The whole place was something I will never forget. It really was a solemn awe inspiring day and I am thankful that my son loves history so much that we got to experience all of it.
Meanwhile strep was ruled out for the girl, but the doc prescribed a z-pack for her because she had had a cold for over a week and maybe that was the issue. We then learned at 6 am the next morning that she is allergic to azithromycin when she woke me up complaining of the itchy bumps all over her trunk and neck. I promptly woke up Hubs and sent him out to get Benadryl. Funny thing, you know what’s not stocked on Hawaii? Benadryl. He went to two Walmarts, a Safeway, and Longs Drug Store before opting for some Allegra which worked to relieve the itch, but not the bumps so she was a scaly freak for the next five days.
Our final day on Oahu I had scheduled a private tour with Adventure Tours of Hawaii. Shane Sochocki, the owner, picked us up promptly at 10 am and showed us a side of Oahu we would have never seen, literally we went to the windward side. We stopped at the Pali Lookout, swam (well everyone but me did because BRRRRR that water was way to cold) at a waterfall, walked along a cool beach, saw a Hawaiian Monk Seal (one of 1200 in existence) sunning her pregnant self on the beach, hiked to a WW II bunker for my son who said, “Look a pill box” before going to check out the surf on the rocks, ate fresh fruit from a farm stand, checked out the North Shore surfers (my favorite part of the day), snorkeled in the North Shore cove tide pools (again I opted out because seriously that water was chilly), and watched JP the turtle return to the ocean while the sun set before ending our Hawaiian Adventure at a surf shop for me who collects t-shirts. This was by far the best day of the trip, and we were never rushed. I highly recommend Shane if you are ever in Oahu and want to experience the real island.
Our last day we flew out at 5:55 pm so we had some time to kill and went back up to the North Shore area to check out Haliewa. A quaint town that just so happened to have a top rated eatery, Kono’s, and the best shaved ice on the island, Matsumoto’s. It was the perfect ending to the whirlwind trip and we took Shane’s advice and got a scoop of ice cream on the bottom of our shaved ice and it was phenomenal.
We boarded our plane in Oahu and took off with a direct flight to Minnesota, 9 hours away, and then a quick connection to O’hare (Chicago). I was of course geeked we were in first class (that Delta point thing!) and demanded hubs take pics of me, really just to mortify him and it worked. I intermittently slept in a twilight state (even though I took 10 mg of melatonin) while the girl zonked out, and the boy was WIDE AWAKE for the whole plane ride. We arrived back in O’hare at 8:30 am to cold but sunny weather where the boy proceeded to crash at the baggage claim.
I think 8 days was a little too short to do two islands, but it wasn’t 20 degrees, and the sun was out the whole time. We were blessed with numerous rainbows too. The people of Hawaii were all lovely, and who could blame them they live on some of the most beautiful islands in the world. All in all a typical trip, someone got sick, there were setbacks, I may have spent one night in the bar trying to regroup but I’d call it a success.
Side note…all opinions are mine, and I did not receive anything for my recommendations.