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Old 05-05-2013, 10:45 AM   #16
MissMet
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Day 2- Jet Lag & Island Tour


What a great first day in Hawaii! I slept in one hour increments- meaning I woke up every hour until 2:30am. Once it hit 2:30am I could not go back to sleep. I didn't mind so much because I had a lot I needed to get organized and I wanted to leave this morning as early as possible. So I got up, cleaned up my first blog post, organized all our stuff for the car & got ready. Matt got up at about 4am and we leisurely got ready together laughing & carrying on like it was 4pm!

Today we were doing our own island tour. I had researched all the places that were a must visit, found their location and then created my own "Circle Island Tour" and if you ask me, mine was way better than any of the tour bus tours. Not to mention it was just us going at our own pace. I had planed this tour to be our first morning so that we could take advantage of our jet lag.

Our first stop was to hike Diamond Head Crater, an old volcano. It's best to get there as early as possible, they open at 6am, to beat the crowds and more importantly, the heat! We left the resort at about 5:50am. Our GPS still wasn't working, however as we were walking out the door I figured out why. For whatever reason, it never finished downloading the Hawaii map! It was too late to fix it, i'd have to do that tonight, so we relied on our Franko Map & I did have the GyPSy GPS Tour Guide App. Matt had looked over the map and came up with his own idea of how we should go, but I was apprehensive because it involved small, neighborhood roads and I remember from my last visit how crazy some of the roads could be. We figured we'd just head in that direction and let Larry (that's what we named the tour guide App) take over. Now, that tour guide app doesn't give you directions per say. It's GPS activated so it will kick in at certain moments and say, "If you look on the right you will see Diamond Head." or "If you want to visit Diamond Head, stay in the right lane, our exit is coming up ahead." We were worried about morning traffic heading into Honolulu from Aulani, but there wasn't really any. One area it slowed for just a bit but nothing like we were expecting at around 6am. So we followed Larry and all was well, until Larry wanted to take us the scenic way thru Waikiki Beach. We figured we'd follow him since he's the tour guide. So we get pretty close to the main drag of Waikiki Beach then Larry suddenly tells us to take a left and once we get in the left lane, he tells us that we're headed for the Punchbowl Crater. Um? Thanks Larry, but we don't want to be headed that way. We had been talking and were paying attention to him a little earlier when he told us to stay put if we were headed for Waikiki. We only heard make a left, so we did. Well, that was it. I was panicked. Looking back, I really don't know why, but I was. So I'm panicking and Matt is yelling at Larry. So we get all turned around, because we're now in Waikiki where the roads make absolutely no sense. Finally, we get ourselves back on the H1, like our original plan, and tell Larry to shut it for a while. We end up following Matt's original plan and it worked out. We saw a nice scenic view of the neighborhood and then we were there.

We arrived at Diamond head at 6:50am, thanks Larry! It was already really busy, but just with tons of tour buses full of Japanese tourists. They were all already at the top and making their way down. So after a "peeps stop' we headed up the hike. The hike was more strenuous than I thought it would be. I'm not as in shape as I thought I was, because this hike hand me huffing and puffing. The trail is 1.6 miles round trip and climbs 560 feet from the crater floor to an elevation of 761 feet. The path is rocky and very uneven for most of the hike and at times very narrow. It also includes going thru a long tunnel and worst part, three different sets of stairs- 74 steps, 99steps & then the final 55 steps that puts you at the top of Diamond Head with a panoramic 360 degree view of Oahu. Gorgeous, minus the general sweatiness of yourself and those around you as well as the obnoxious amount of flies. Once we were up there we took pictures and video for a bit and then headed back down. Only once I was almost to the bottom I remember the binoculars, the heavy binoculars, that I had carried in my backpack the whole way up. Awesome. If you are interested in more about the hike this is an awesome, informative website. Diamond Head Hike Information

We got back to our car and pulled out at exactly 7:50am. So from pulling in to pulling out it took Matt & I exactly an hour. We were headed across the street to the Community College to partake in some farmers market fun, Hawaiian Style. This was awesome. I had read a bunch about it before coming so I was ready to eat. We first, got some Passion Fruit Cheesecake and then Matt got some from parmesan and butter coated corn on the cob while I waited in the tremendous line for the market's famous, Pesto Pizza and then we finished it up with a shrimp roll, a Thai Iced Tea and a pineapple juice. Being from NY, don't ask our honest opinion on it, but for those outside of the NY area, I can see why you would find it amazing. Everything sold at the market is local to the Hawaiian Islands. They have everything. The market is only held on Saturdays from 7-11am. We spent about an hour there and then decided to move on, but not before watching the world's worst driver try to back out of a parking spot. Oh. My. God.

Our next stop was the Pali Lookout. Before leaving the KCC Farmers Market we took the top down (of the car!) for the first time this trip. Driving the Pali Highway in the convert able is so worth it! It's beautiful and Matt's first look at the Hawaii he had always imagined. After a visit at the lookout, we headed to the Byodo-In Temple for my "Lost" loving hubby. Apparently, in the tv show someone get married there. I don't know. Once there Matt looks at me and says, "Let's pray.". Uh? We're standing in front of a giant Buda and we are NOT Buddhist, rather, Bible believing, grew up in church our whole lives, Christians. I was so confused. Bad timing. So once out of the Temple we said a quick prayer of our own, just to Jesus instead.

After I though my hubby was trying to convert us, we headed up highway 83 also known as the Kamehameha Highway for a nice scenic drive along the ocean up to the North Shore. We stopped at Turtle Bay to take a look around and then it was time for some lunch. Giovanni Shrimp truck to be exact. North Shore is famous for the shrimp trucks and now we know why. Even MattyBoy is not a seafood guy loved their scampi shrimp. So good. Matt also got a shave ice which was very good. Next is was to Waimea Vally Botanical Garden for a nice hike landing us at our first waterfall of the trip, that Matt swam in. I kept a bench company while playing paparazzi. We tool the $4 shuttle back to the entrance. Highly recombined, especially if you have been up since 2:30am and already hiked Diamond Head. I was feeling it. The hike here is only three quarters of a mile but there is some hills and one giant hill that you'd have to climb up to get back- it's all paved though. We didn't go thru any of the other trails since we were pretty beat.

Next we were headed to Laniakea Beach (Turtle Beach) where Matt did an incredible driving maneuver that you had to see to believe. Basically we had parked on one side of the street but realized that we needed to move, so Matt sees a spot exactly opposite us, across the bumper-to-bumper street. Wham-bamb two maneuvers later we are parked exactly opposite where we were causing only a minor traffic jam. It was impressive. People on the street must have thought we were nuts, but we knew what was up. Once on the beach we were lucky enough to get to see a giant turtle sunning himself on the beach. We took some pictures and video and then Matt headed in the water for a bit while I kept some nice shade company. He was only in the water maybe 10 minutes, since this wasn't really a planned swimming day. While he was in the water I saw I local catch an octopus and where it on his head. It was an interesting time.

Our final stop of the days was at the Dole Plantation, only really to have a Dole Whip. We got there right around 2pm accompanied by a pretty serious rain storm. We sat in our car for a while waiting for it to pass. We were having fun Facebooking and talking smack. Once, the showers calmed, we made a run for it. We enjoyed some Dole Whip, looked around a bit and then headed home.

Once back at Aulani, Matt showered and I changed and then we headed for an early dinner at the awesome restaurant across the street, Monkeypod. It was happy hour and they had an AWESOME live band. Happy Hour offered half price appetizers (except any with seafood), $9 pizzas and $4 beers and cocktails. Matt and I ordered the truffle fries and pumpkin ravioli which were both amazing and then Matt got the Margarita pizza and I got the one with pepperoni, kalamata olives, onions & green peppers- a glorified supreme. The pizzas were also very good! Then we split a strawberry creme pie, which they are very famous for an we now know why. Wow! It was like a light cheesecake almost. So good. Once we were finished eating we stopped over next door at our first of many ABC stores (glorified 711) to get a case of water and our first souvenir for who else, my nephew Austin.

We were wiped. We got back to our room and while Matt sat on the balcony, I laid in bed fixing the GPS. It fixed itself while I slept. Matt came and joined me and we both were our by 7pm. We are actually enjoying the jet lag since it's helping us with our early morning days. We have one more tomorrow and then tomorrow night we will force ourselves to stay up as late as possible and stay in bed as late as possible. We haven't really been able to enjoy much of the resort at all, because we've been gone or sleeping. We were going go in the hot tub last night, but that didn't happen. Monday we'll really get to enjoy the resort.

Well, I'm off to bed. I have an appointment with some sharks in the morning and I've been a nervous wreck since about 4pm this afternoon. I'm not even nervous about the sharks! I'm nervous that I'm going to get seasick & how freaking cold the Hawaiian water is. My Jersey Boy doesn't think the water's that cold, but for this prima donna, it is!

*I'm going to start uploading all our pictures to our photo site, probably tomorrow night. The link is at the top of the blog. Enjoy.
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Old 05-05-2013, 12:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissMet View Post

* Pictures are on the blog www.serenitynowtravelblog.com

They boarded the plane from the back to the front, we of course were in the front so I was a little worried about overhead storage space, but once on board we didn't have any issue. We were in a row of two seats to ourselves and made ourselves at home pretty quick. Our plane took off at 10:25am so only 25 minutes late. I really like Hawaiian Airlines. They had a pillow and blanket on each chair waiting for us, no charge. Hawaiian Airlines offers complementary meals and I was impressed, for the most part. They served us a drink and trail mix once we were in the air, a little while later they served us lunch, then our movies were suddenly interrupted with the cutest video of dancing, singing concession stand items, just like you see at the old drive-ins, announcing that the "snack bar" in the galley was open. The snack bar remained "open" the rest of the flight, which had complementary drinks and snacks as well as the fancy snacks & drinks for purchase. A bit later they offered us a fruit and cheese plate which really hit the spot. There was complementary food & drinks and then premium snacks, meals and drinks for a charge. They even served complementary red and white wine with our Chef Boyardi. Everything they served was an American product and good quality. Lots of Hawaiian items too. Chocolate covered macadamia nuts, shortbread cookies, Kona coffee & all the POG juice you could want. (Passion fruit, orange & guava juice blend. Hear that? That's angeles singing as I type, "POG". I feel like the flight went pretty quick. The last 2.5 hours was the doozy. That was the longest part of the flight. Oh, and remember Matt not needing any snacks on the plane. Ha! Guess who was upset he didn't listen and bring some snacks on board.


Did you fly "first class"? Being in a row with 2 seats sounds pretty good---can not stand the 3 seat & 3 seat configuration on so many planes. Does Hawaiian Airlines charge an additional fee for these seats?

Planning a trip to Aulani in October and need to purchase our flights soon. So many options!! I really like the idea of not having to change planes more than once---no non-stops from our home airport, but could travel with only one change. Can't decide how to break up the trip. DH and myself with
2 adult children/spouse and granddaughter (3 yrs old) planning to make the trip. We only have experience with "short" flights and am not sure how a looooong 10-11 hour flight would be.

Looking forward to the rest of your trip report. Sounds like you are having a great time.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:51 PM   #18
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Glad you made it safely! Sorry the check-in experience was so hectic. Sounds like things have worked out now.

Is Oahu traffic the nightmare everyone says it is? That's my biggest fear going into this trip. I guess you guys did Diamond Head on a Sunday, so things might be different, but dealing with rush hour there could screw up the plans.

Hope you guys continue to have a blast!
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Old 05-06-2013, 02:16 PM   #19
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Finally had a chance to see your photos, which look great. Looks like you are in the Phase 1 Ewa Building, which should give you a great view of the sunset.

I know you can see Diamond Head from the top floors at Aulani, but could you see Aulani from Diamond Head?

Again, thanks for taking the time to post your photos!
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:33 PM   #20
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Day 3- Sharks in the water.

Aloha. We're back after a Murphy's Law kinda day. We're still in Hawaii, so we can't complain too much, but this day has had some major ups and some major downs. It started last night with a phone call from our Shark Tour operator. We've planned to go cage diving with sharks for quite a while now. Believe it or not, it was this scaredy cat's idea and Matt was the one a little nervous- about the sharks that is. I was very nervous about getting seasick and the temperature of the water, since I am quite the baby with water temps. All the reviews I had read talked about how rough the water was and that at least one person on each outing throws up. I'm usually okay with seasickness, but not great. I really didn't want to be the one hurling over the rail, so I followed everyone's advise: go out on the earliest charter possible and ask to be the first in the cage. So I booked the 7am charter and was planning to request first as soon as we got there. Well, last night I started getting really nervous. I've always had anxiety issues and they use to be A LOT worse- like not being able to ride in a vehicle worse. So at about 4pm yesterday my butterflies started and a more somber mood came over me. At about 5pm, while we were at dinner, I missed a call from the captain. I noticed it so I headed outside and called him back. They were having boat issues so they were pushing us back an hour. Great. I know it's only an hour, but that was not "the early charter" anymore so my nerves were really going. I freaked out for a bit then pushed it out of my mind the best I could after a sweet pep talk from Matt.

This morning I woke up at 3:30am. A step in the right direction, I guess. One hour later than yesterday. I worked on my blog, then got myself ready to go up to the North Shore for a nice swim with sharks. No big deal. Matt got up and left me to me nerves- it's the best thing to do. Don't try to "calm me", that won't work, just pretend I'm not in the room. Really. So we quietly got ready in a very somber mood. Ha! The captain had told us to give ourselves an hour to get there- so we left at 6:30am. After taking our first step in the lobby my heart sank a bit more. It had obviously just poured. I tried not to panic and figured that it's probably not even raining where we were going. Not so much. We drove the 40 minute ride to the North Shore in on and off pouring rain with ominous black clouds surrounding us. Ugh. It really felt as though we were headed to our very own funeral. I knew that if it was bad weather the water would be even more rough. I had realized that it was around 1pm at home & it was Sunday, so I knew my family was having Sunday dinner together and I need to say my last words, so I called them on the last bit of the drive. I joked with them about how ridiculous my anxiety issues are in that, a year ago today I was headed for my wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner and today I was headed to swim with sharks and I was actually more nervous headed to my wedding rehearsal than to swim with giant monsters that want to eat me! Not. Normal.

Once we arrived we were greeted by the Captain and Matt's first words to the man was, "Since we're first here can we be first in the water?". God, I love that man... and the captain too because he said, "yes". The weather had also cleared over the water. A bit of clouds, but no rain. So we got ourselves on the boat and we were told another bit of good news, normally there's 19 people on the trip, this trip only 10. Less people, less time on that rough water. Score! So after waiting what felt like an hour for the last guy who was late, we were finally on our way. We found out that we were only headed 3 miles out. Great news. We also got to see a whale far in the distance- well, we saw the water from his blow hole.

First shark sighting.
The water roughness at first didn't seem too bad and really I was feeling pretty good. Next thing I know we're headed to get into the cage. They told us the most dangerous part is getting everyone in and out of the water, they gave us instruction on how to get in and then gave us our snorkels. Matt & I were first with three other young guys. I was last into the cage so I could watch everyone else get in. Finally, it was my turn. I took my first step and was pleasantly surprised at the water temperature. It wasn't as terrible as I feared. Once in the water, they move the boat away from the cage, so you're really floating out in the sea totally surrounded by sharks. I know it's hard to believe but it really didn't feel scary to me at all. I know it should have, but I wasn't scared. There were about 8-10 sharks ranging in size from 5-8 feet long. We were in 450 feet water, surrounded. The sharks just circled us and even swam right below us, but very peacefully. They were within 1-2 feet from us most of the time. At one point one swam right at me, then turning at the last minute and swam by almost touching the cage bars that I was holding. At that moment I got more, not nervous, I'd say "respectful" of what I was doing and backed away from the cage for a bit. Then, I was right back, it was too cool. We were in the water probably 30 minutes and it was awesome. I was so glad I had done it and I rather be in that cage than back on that rocking boat. Once it was time to get back on the boat, they brought the boat back up alongside the cage and secured the cage to the side of the boat so that it would be a little more stable. I was the first out, since I was closest to the ladder. Awesome. Climb up a ladder in your swim suit in front of a bunch of guys. I'll bet none were looking since Matt was right behind me though.

(these photos are from Matt's camera, but he mainly took video once we're home I can upload mine as well.)

Once on the boat it was cold and rocking! I got my towel and then immediately called my mom to let her know I was still alive. Once I got off the phone and was no longer distracted and no longer on an adrenaline rush, I was feeling a little queazy. So I sat huddled up in my towel, clenched jaw, waiting for the next, and only other group, to have their turn. Luckily, for us, they didn't purchase the video so they weren't in the water near as long as we were, so the agony wasn't too prolonged. The ride back I was feeling it, but fighting thru. We made it back to shore by 9:30am, so it wasn't long at all. Perfect amount of time, because I think any longer and I would have been really sick. Out of our group, no one got sick, although there were two girls that had to lay down the whole way there and back because they were really feeling it.

Once on shore I slowly started to feel better. Matt was feeling great and was hungry so he made a stop at McDonalds for some apple pies- the real ones! Hawaii is the only US state that still deep-fries their apple pies. Other countries also still deep-fry them because they understand that fast food is not supposed to be healthy. Anyway. I was still too queasy to have anything deep-fried but I was getting better by the minute.

The rain started up again on our drive back home. We were supposed to be going on a nice scenic railroad ride thru the Ko Olina resort area, but so far that was not looking promising, but it was still early. So we headed back but first stopping at the Leonard's truck that is close to our resort. We were finally going to try "malasadas"- a Portuguese donut filled with amazingness. We ordered six, 4 custard, 1 chocolate and 1 coconut. I thought they were good, but a little over-hyped, but Matt loved them! They messed up our order and gave us 4 plain, so after going back the let us keep the original 4 and then gave us an additional 4 with custard. Score. We ate them in the parking lot, which is shared with a Kmart and many other stores.

We had forgotten to pack Matt's vitamins for his knee and he was having some discomfort so we had been meaning to stop and get them, so it was perfect to be sitting in a Kmart parking lot. As Matt was getting out of the car his knee flared up, I guess that's how to put it. He has had a problem with this knee for a long time and has already had two surgeries. A few months ago we think he aggravated it and so he's had a bit of discomfort on and off for a while. Now it PAIN. We think the Diamond Head hike took it to the next level. He had been okay after Diamond Head and he didn't have any trouble at the later hike by the waterfall, but this afternoon something definitely changed. It was getting worse and worse as he walked so we headed back to our resort.

At the resort, we started calling all the local pharmacies looking for crutches. We must have called 12 stores and they either were closed because it was Sunday, sold out of the proper height or didn't sell them. We soon realized that we were going to have to wait until tomorrow when everything was open. So Matt sat on the balcony and iced his knee. It was still raining and the weather report wasn't looking promising. I decided I need some lunch since so far all we've eaten was donuts. Matt didn't want anything, so I headed down. One complaint about Aulani is the walkway to the "fast food" restaurant is not covered. I was going to have to walk in the rain to get my food & then I didn't want to leave Matt long so I was going to carry it back thru the rain to get back to my room. The parking garage is also a walkway outside, uncovered. Bad planning, although supposedly Hawaii only has "passing rain storms". Not so much. So I headed down, but once down there I figured I'd give the front desk a shot and see if they had any ideas about our crutches fiasco.

Tonight is our luau at Paradise Cove and I knew that he was going to need something and a wheelchair was out since the luau is on the beach. I had the nicest cast member, Paul, help me. He spent 40 minutes with me calling every store on the island he could think of. He even talked to another cast member about it who was going to go home and get us his set, since he was the same height, but he had no idea where they were and if he still had them. I was blown away by the effort he put. If it wasn't Sunday, they would have had their contact bring us crutches immediately with free delivery. Ugh. So after 40 minutes of phone calls he found a store that had one set left and would not hold them for us. He gave me the address and told me it was about 20 minutes away. Great. No food stop for Lisa. I nearly ran back up to the room, got gimpy and then headed for the car. Crap. I have to drive. I wasn't thrilled with this plan since, as you're seeing, I have anxiety issues and driving in an unknown area in a new car is a big trigger for me. So I gave Matt the rules, "Speak when spoken to" and "Don't give me advise about driving, it'll only make it worse.". In my head I gave myself a little pep talk and then off we went.

The drive wasn't too bad. We were mostly on the highway we've gotten familiar with. We got there in about 20 minutes and the place was crazy. We thought it was best to send Matt in since parking was going be an issue. I circled until I finally found a spot and waited for his call. 15 minutes pass and nothing...this can't be good. Finally my phone rings. It's Matt. They guy didn't read the height on the one set even though the cast member specifically asked him about the heigh. So no crutches. I was so mad. Then I look at the clock, it's 2pm. We have to eat, get back to the resort, shower and get dressed and give extra time for Matt to walk to the car, since now we were drive next door to our luau, since walking there was now definitely out. So Matt gets back to the car with a brace and a candy bar for me. Isn't he sweet? Stopping for lunch was out, so we hightail it back to the resort.

We got ready and ended up getting to the luau at 4:50pm- 20 minutes late. We didn't miss anything and actually, I think it helped us get even better seats. We were right next to the stage. Perfect! Matt was really hurting and I really didn't know what to do. I tried to have him walk as little as possible, but it was hard since the pre-luau activities are so far apart. Finally we got to our seats for dinner and it began to rain. Awesome. Paradise Cove doesn't cancel a show, they just hand out ponchos. Thanks. So we spent the evening sitting in the rain in ponchos at "Paradise" Cove. I was so frustrated I almost left three different times. I think Matt had a better attitude than I did, but we made the best of it and still enjoyed ourselves. We'll laugh at the memory some day. Literally, if it had to rain our entire 15 day vacation, this is the ONLY bad day and of course it's the one abnormal rainy day they had.

After the luau, we got back in the car and drove the 2 minute drive back and then I helped Matt all the way back to the room. We had wanted to go in the hot tub, but we thought that was probably worse for his knee. I had also planned to surprise Matt with the special stargazing offered at the resort, but that wasn't happening in this monsoon. So we just went to bed hoping that tomorrow, our first wedding anniversary would give us something to smile about.

Sorry I haven't been replying. I'll get back to you all later tonight and I finally upload all of our photos onto our photo site. For now you can see some photos on our blog.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:44 AM   #21
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You are much braver than me. I've seen the movie "Jaws" and I remember what happened to Richard Dreyfess when he decided to go into a shark cage in the water. The only thing that I'd find scarier than jumping in the ocean surrounded by sharks is signing up for hula lessons. No way.

Hope Matt's knee is responding well to the ice and rest. Years ago my wife twisted her ankle really badly when we were in Norway, and ever since she has always traveled with an ankle wrap in case it acts up. Now, her knee is acting up and she was just prescribed a knee brace, so we'll probably always travel with it too.

Thanks, again, for posting your photos!!
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:12 PM   #22
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Day 4- An Anniversary We'll Never Forget

Today was our first wedding anniversary. A year ago today, I married my partner in crime and we were going to celebrate, in our own weird way. I woke up at 3:30am again, so no improvement on my jet lag today. I got myself dressed right away so that I could start the hunt for crutches. I also worked on the blog and reorganized the room a little bit. Matt got up and he was still hurting, so it wasn't just a bad dream like I hoped. We wished each other a Happy Anniversary and then I was off to get him ice for his knee and then the hunt for crutches began, now that it was Monday and more places were open. We also decided that we definitely needed to see a doctor because we had no idea what was going on with his knee, would he need surgery, would a hot tub make it worse, etc. So Matt got on the phone with his insurance to find out local places that took his insurance, while I cleaned up our room so housekeeping could walk. Normally, I keep my hotel rooms super organized, but this trip has been far from normal.

We found out that both the place that almost definitely has crutches opens at 8am and one of the Orthopedists also opened at 8am. So we jumped, well Matt hopped, in the car and this wild child drove us over to get my man some crutches while Matt called Doctors. The Doctor that opened at 8am was on vacation, how fitting, so it was on to the next doctor whose office opened at 9am, but was right down the street from where we were going for the crutches. We make it to Ace Medical supply, that Matt called, Ace Hardware for the rest of the day, and they had our crutches waiting for us. There was this big hub-bub about not selling them to us because I didn't have a Rx...I was about to climb across the counter and strangle someone. Another woman came of override the system and finally we had crutches.

It was about 8:35am so we decided we'd just drive to the doctor down the street that opened at 9am and sit in their parking lot and wait. Stalkers. We didn't want to bother with an ER because really, they wouldn't be able to do much and would just recommend us to go to an Orthopedist. We knew it was a long shot to get any appointment, especially the same day, but we were desperate. Finally, it hits 9am so Matt calls the office. They have one appointment left for the entire next week, it's today at 12:15. Bitter-sweet news! We were so lucky to score an appointment and not too mention, so soon. However, it's our first anniversary, we're at the doctor's office now at 9am and we'll have to be back in 3 hours, we're thirty minutes away from our hotel and we have a couple's massage at 1pm. Awesome. So Matt made the appointment and then we find out that the doctor was not at the office we were at today, but in downtown Honolulu. Wonderful. So we head back to our resort to make our 10:30am breakfast reservation at Ama Ama.

Once back at the resort I went to the front desk to cancel our spa appointment. They were going to charge me a cancelation fee- even after the entire story. Really?? So we rebooked it for tomorrow and hoped that would't be a problem. Next we headed to the restaurant and tried to get in early, which we did. Breakfast was very good. Matt ordered the Loco Moco, a traditional Hawaiian breakfast of rice, gravy, hamburger patty and two sunny-side-up eggs on top, which he loved. I got the HUGE breakfast burrito, that was very good but the chili they put in it over-powered all the other ingredients so it just tasted like I was eating a bowl of chili. I wouldn't get it again. We also got the Hawaiian bread selection which we loved! It had orange-macademia nut muffins, coconut cream pockets, guava danishes and croissants. My favorite was the coconut cream pockets and Matt's favorite was the guava danish (they call them "fans"). I also order the POG juice (passion, orange & guava juice) and Matt got the tropical iced tea. Breakfast was very good and we had a great view. It was a nice moment in the middle of our crazy day to stop and remember that it was our 1st anniversary.

After breakfast Matt wanted to try the pool real quick before we had to leave for the doctors, but we didn't know if we were going to have any issues with traffic since it's Monday, a work day, and we were headed into Honolulu. We would be driving at 11am so we didn't think we would have any issues, but we had no idea. So we just decided to head out early and maybe there'd be something to do near by. The drive was uneventful and pretty easy. The GPS worked great. We got there 45 minutes early. It was a sight to see. The doctor's office was right in the out-skirts of Chinatown. There was NOTHING around so we figured we'd just go in and see if they could take us early. Upon walking into the packed waiting room, you could feel the breeze from everyone in the room turning their head to stare at us white folk. I felt like announcing, "Yes, we're not from around here. We know.". We checked in and waited 50 minutes for Matt to get his x-rays and then we were finally in to see the doctor.

The doctor was quite the character. I don't even know how to describe him. He went to school in New Jersey, so he loved reminiscing with Matt about Jersey (yaaaawn). He asked Matt about his medical history on the knee. It felt like Abbot & Costello's, "Who's on First", because the doctor could not keep the dates of Matt's surgeries straight. I sat the in the corner trying not to laugh. After about a 15 minute exam the doctor couldn't find anything. He came to the conclusion that Matt would need an MRI and that we should wait until we got home. He thinks it could be his meniscus or a cartilage issue, but only a MRI would answer that. Awesome. So he gave us our instructions...he can swim, but shouldn't ever put more than 50% weight on it, stay on the crutches until we get home and the hot tub is okay. He also gave us a prescription for Vicodin that Matt did not want, but I took the prescription just in case. We don't have to fill it but it's good to have. The doctor and nurses were great and felt so bad for us. They were giving us tips on places to go and even helped jimmy-rig Matt's crutches so they'd be more comfortable, since they are already scraping up his hands. They only took cash or check, so THANK GOD, I had not taken out the wad of cash I had been unnecessarily carrying, like I was planning on. We had no idea how much cash we had on us. So I start counting my cash. Matt's insurance is terrible and he has a $2,000/year deductible and then it kicks in. Since we were paying out of pocket they charged us the absolute minimum they could for the visit and the x-rays and then they gave us an additional 20% off. They were awesome. So it came to $209.86. I had $190 in my wallet, Matt had $26. So I paid the bill and then we had just enough left to pay for the parking. We were left with $3. Ha! Talk about cutting it close.

On our drive home we stopped at Best Buy to pick up a new charger for our camera, since it was a half a mile up the street. Then it was back to the hotel. We had our anniversary dinner tonight at Roy's across the street from our hotel. The drive back was uneventful, we had no traffic at 2pm headed out of Honolulu. Once we got back to the resort Matt was determined to finally get to try the pool and lazy river, which I've also been dying to do, but I had calls to make. I reluctantly sent Matt by himself to the pool, I was so worried someone would steal his crutches or something, while I went up to the room. My first call was to change our massage AGAIN to Wednesday so that way tomorrow would be a totally free day to go swimming. Next, I called and canceled Matt's surf lessons that was scheduled for Wednesday- that I already paid for with a Groupon. Ugh. Now for the biggie, to find a wheelchair rental for the rest of our stay. We both realized pretty quick how miserable it would be for Matt to have to use the crutches the rest of the entire trip. The cruise ship alone is daunting enough. So I found a company that would rent us a wheelchair for the rest of our stay. They're delivering it tomorrow to Aulani and then we just leave it in our cabin at the end of the cruise and they will pick it up. They only charged us $75 when the price on the website was $100. Nice. Then I had a moment to myself, so I sat in my hotel room all alone, laughing. What irony. Four years ago was my first visit to Hawaii. I traveled with my parents on that trip. My mom was about to have a total hip replacement just after our trip so she was completely wheelchair bound. That whole trip I pushed her around all of Hawaii and on the NCL Pride of America. I did enjoyed myself on that trip, but we missed out on a bunch. The whole trip I reassured myself that one day I'd visit again with my hubby and then we would get to do the adventurous stuff that I missed. Who would have thought four years later, I'd be back, married to a perfectly healthy man and still end up pushing a wheelchair in Hawaii. God's got a real sense of humor. After my laugh (if you don't laugh, you'll cry), I headed down to the front desk to see about getting a wheelchair in the meantime, then I headed to the car to get our camera that we had left in the snorkel bag. Matt got back to the room just after I did. We were going to open gifts but we didn't want to be rushed so we just started to get ready for dinner.

Our reservation was at 6pm. Originally, we were going to take a nice stroll to the restaurant, but I didn't not want to arrive to Roy's all disheveled and sweaty from my first go at pushing a wheelchair in four years. So I went and got the car and picked up Matt at the lobby and we drove across the street. Ha! Dinner was as amazing as all the reviews I had read. I was so happy we stuck with Roy's for our anniversary meal. I had been so all over the place with where to go and this was perfect. Originally we were going to drive to a restaurant in Waikiki. Imagine me driving thru Waikiki trying to make a dinner reservation and then navigating the sidewalks with Matt, in our nice clothes. Thank God I stuck with Roy's. We had a great waiter and the view really is pretty. We sat outside right on the golf course. It was really pretty and it finally started to feel like it was our anniversary. We took it all in and just tried to put the crutches out of our mind and think about our first year together married. We ended up having a great time and boy did we laugh. It was exactly what we needed.

After dinner we were going to open gifts and head to the hot tub. I ended up asleep immediately and Matt watched a little TV until he fell asleep. That's real life right there. Was it the most romantic day of our lives, in the natural view, no, not at all. But it really was. Our day was exactly what love and marriage is, "...for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.". One day we're going to look back on this crappy situation and boy are we going to laugh.
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdrl View Post
So, I presume your Aulani villa is overlooking the Waikolohe Valley? We loved waking up every morning and hearing the morning chant. Occasionally, I'll read posts from Aulani guests who "complain" about the noise from the pools or from the entertainers at the 'Olelo Room. But for me its all part of the sights and sounds of Aulani.

If you get a chance, stop by the DVC Preview Center and sign up for a tour of the Grand Villa. If I ever win the Powerball lottery, I'd love to stay in an Aulani Grand Villa for a few days.

I'm curious about the status of the construction projects. If DVC is still using Grand Villa #1001 for its tours, then you should have a great view of new kids' splash zone and the new infinity pool that is under construction.

Hope you have having a great time in paradise!
Yes, we are overlooking the Waikolohe Valley in the smaller Ewa wing. We are the second to last room before the bigger wing, right near the elevators on the 15th floor. We LOVE hearing the sounds from bellow!! We can see the walled off construction area from our balcony in the distance- it looks far from done. And the outdoor area of the spa is still closed. Other than the spa, it has not affected us in any way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamiamjo View Post
Great report so far. I'm glad you were able to get your room changed.
On our first trip to Hawaii, we were on Maui, staying at the Ritz Carlton. We were all excited to see our view. When we checked in, we were given a ground floor room, which we didn't think would be too bad, but as soon as we walked in and looked out the patio door our spirits were crushed. About ten feet from our patio was a cement wall, which was basically all we could see.
It's funny now, but not so much at the time.
Enjoy your trip, and thanks for sharing!
Oh, my gosh! How terrible. Thanks!

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Originally Posted by blondietink View Post
Can't wait to hear more! We are going to Waikiki /Aulani/Maui in September!


Quote:
Originally Posted by NC State Tigger View Post
Did you fly "first class"? Being in a row with 2 seats sounds pretty good---can not stand the 3 seat & 3 seat configuration on so many planes. Does Hawaiian Airlines charge an additional fee for these seats?

Planning a trip to Aulani in October and need to purchase our flights soon. So many options!! I really like the idea of not having to change planes more than once---no non-stops from our home airport, but could travel with only one change. Can't decide how to break up the trip. DH and myself with
2 adult children/spouse and granddaughter (3 yrs old) planning to make the trip. We only have experience with "short" flights and am not sure how a looooong 10-11 hour flight would be.

Looking forward to the rest of your trip report. Sounds like you are having a great time.
We were not in first class. Our plane was 2-3-2. If you go to seatguru.com you can check out the plane you're on and get a bunch of info on which seats are good & which are bad. They only charge extra for exit row & bulkhead, which I would NOT recommend since your TVs & tray tables are in your arm rests so they're not able to be lifted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
Glad you made it safely! Sorry the check-in experience was so hectic. Sounds like things have worked out now.

Is Oahu traffic the nightmare everyone says it is? That's my biggest fear going into this trip. I guess you guys did Diamond Head on a Sunday, so things might be different, but dealing with rush hour there could screw up the plans.

Hope you guys continue to have a blast!
So far we have not had issues with traffic. I'll keep you posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wdrl View Post
Finally had a chance to see your photos, which look great. Looks like you are in the Phase 1 Ewa Building, which should give you a great view of the sunset.

I know you can see Diamond Head from the top floors at Aulani, but could you see Aulani from Diamond Head?

Again, thanks for taking the time to post your photos!
I didn't notice Aulani on Diamond Head, although I didn't think to look.

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Originally Posted by wdrl View Post
You are much braver than me. I've seen the movie "Jaws" and I remember what happened to Richard Dreyfess when he decided to go into a shark cage in the water. The only thing that I'd find scarier than jumping in the ocean surrounded by sharks is signing up for hula lessons. No way.

Hope Matt's knee is responding well to the ice and rest. Years ago my wife twisted her ankle really badly when we were in Norway, and ever since she has always traveled with an ankle wrap in case it acts up. Now, her knee is acting up and she was just prescribed a knee brace, so we'll probably always travel with it too.

Thanks, again, for posting your photos!!
I'm with you on the hula lessons. So sorry about your wife's injury in Norway. At least we were in the US so it made it a little easier.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:31 AM   #24
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Well, so sorry to hear of Matt's knee problems. We always get trip insurance when we travel, especially when going on a cruise. We have 2 disabled young adult sons, DH is officially a "senior citizen" now so this is a good reminder I need to buy that insurance now! You never know what might happen when you travel.
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:55 AM   #25
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My goodness, you guys have been through a lot in the last couple of days! Sorry you've had to deal with all this between the weather and Matt's knee. I hope you guys get the chance to slow down and relax, and that you're laughing about all of the headaches soon!
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:32 AM   #26
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Day - Snorkeling with Gimpy

Today was our first day totally free. We decided despite the injury we were still going to spend the day beach-hopping to check out some snorkeling spots I had read about here, we started the day with opening our anniversary gifts since we didn't get to yesterday. I'm going to the MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field!! My jet lag is getting better- I woke up at 5:30am. We decided to head up to the North Shore and work our way back down to Aulani. We left at just around 9am. We still didn't have our rented wheelchair- it was arriving at the resort some time around noon. We did have Aulani's borrowed wheelchair, but it's a standard wheelchair so I did not want to be lifting that thing into the trunk of our rental car. So we continued with our regular routine, I go get the car and pick Matt up at the lobby.
We headed out to the North Shore at just after 9am. We didn't hit any type of traffic on the drive, although we did have a small hiccup when trying to get gas for the first time in our rental car. It wasn't a big deal, just couldn't figure out for the life of us where the gas tank door release button was. Turns out, there isn't one. Ha! We are in a Chrysler 200 convertible. We were going to go with the Mustang, but the guy at Enterprise said he would go with the Chrysler since it is much more comfortable and has more luggage space. Thank God we listened, because now we have a wheelchair in addition to our luggage.

We arrived at our first stop, Shark's Cove (Pupukea Beach Park), at just after 10am because of the gas stop. Parking was pretty full, but we found a space pretty quick. Now What I didn't remember reading about was how difficult this place is to walk to from the parking lot. We found this a lot today. I should have taken pictures of the "walkway". Basically, Matt spent most of the way down on his but, while I carried the backpack, snorkel gear and crutches. When we first got there and I saw the "path" I thought (and still think) there is no way Matt should have tried to get down there, but Matt was determined. So it probably took us about 15 minutes to get down there. We had one nice, older gentleman offer to help, but really there was no way to help Matt- didn't think to ask him to carry one of my heavy bags! This area is really cool, but bring swim shoes as it's rock everywhere!

Matt got himself situated and we used this time to figure out our new beach routine. I'd walk with Matt to the water's edge carrying his snorkel mask and then once we got to the water, I'd take his crutches and he'd move himself into the water like a beached whale. It's quite the site. I didn't go in because the deep part had a lot of waves and I'm not good with waves, especially when you're surrounded by rock! The other part to the left, the tide pools, were really cool looking but I was way too intimidated to go try and explore it on my own. Not to mention I was a nervous wreck anytime Matt was in the water. I did not think this was a good idea at all. When the doctor told him he could swim, I'm pretty sure this is not the type of "swimming" he was meaning. I was a little more comfortable with the idea since there were so many people in there, that if he struggled they'd be able to help him. So I just took some pictures and a lot of video while waiting for Matt. We don't have any shots from snorkeling since Matt didn't want to have to worry about a camera as well as everything else he had going on.

After about 30 minutes I was relieved to see Matt headed back to shore. He said it was amazing and he definitely would want to come back again. The climb back up was more difficult for Matt, he shouldn't have been doing it, but what are you gonna do? He basically "monkey-crawled' his way up, this time only a woman offered help, which was an extremely nice thought, but there wasn't much she could do for him. I was really impressed with Matt's climbing moves but I'm just nervous he's way over-doing it. Glad I got that Vicodin RX. One of us is gonna need it by the end of this trip!

Our next stop was the beach at the Turtle Bay Resort (the resort Forgetting Sarah Marshall was filmed at), Kuilima Cove. This is described as a great place for beginner snorkelers and they are accurate. It was pretty dull compared to Shark's Cove, so we didn't stay long. This beach is at least like a normal sandy beach, so he only had to deal with walking on sand with crutches- a walk in the park after our last adventure.

We were pretty hungry by this point so we decided we'd go for a shrimp truck lunch again. Matt wanted to go back to Giovanni's while I wanted to try Macky's since it gets just as many good reviews as Giovanni's. So we decided on Macky's. It was about a 10 mile drive from Turtle Bay, heading back towards Aulani. The set up is similar, covered tables, sink to wash your hands and the menu is slightly better at Macky's. The price is also lower and you get more food compared to Giovanni's- additional salad & pineapple at Macky's. Our order of shrimp at Giovanni's was slightly over-cooked, but the garlic was in your face good. Where at Macky's the shrimp is cooked perfectly and they butterfly the shrimp for easier peeling and the taste is more well-rounded- more butter flavor than garlic. So if you're a huge fan of garlic, definitely go to Giovanni's. If you prefer a few more options (coconut shrimp, original shrimp, fruit plate) and garlic is not your main reason for living, go to Macky's.

After lunch we headed back towards our hotel to visit our final snorkeling spot that is pretty awesome, by reviews, and only less than a mile from Aulani, Kahe Point Beach Park, also known as, Electric Beach. Another beach that was difficult for Gimpy to navigate to, but not near as bad as Shark's Cove. Also, when getting there, the signs are not real clear and all you see are giant cliffs dropping to the water. You have to walk all the way to the right, when facing the water. After a little bit of a walk you'll see the small sandy beach that you can climb down to or if you go more to the right, there's a windy path that's not too bad. This beach is awesome for snorkeling and a lot of people come here to learn how to scuba dive. You need to be a good swimmer though. The best area for snorkeling is probably about, I don't know, 100 feet out and the waves are a pretty good size. I won't get into all the details here, you can read about it on the link above, but the reason this place is so good for snorkeling is because the pipes from the power plant enter the ocean to cool the water inside, so the water temperature is much higher here. Due to the higher water temp, their is tons of fish and you can even find turtles and dolphins. A very cool spot, but like I said, you gotta know your limits. As soon as Matt was in the water I was a nervous wreck. I could barely see him most of the time. Then as I'm sitting there I'm realizing that even if I could see him at all times, if he was struggling, there is nothing I could have done for him. So now I'm trying to talk myself out of panicking and praying like never before. Nice and relaxing day at the beach, right? Ugh.

Finally, after what felt like forever I can see Matt headed back for the shore. Thank God!! When he gets back, I immediately tell him what a bad idea that was to which his response is oh, so annoying and oh, so male, "I know...Yeah, there's nothing you could have done for me, but say good-bye.". Thanks, Matt. So after I was done panicking, for one day, we decided to head back to the resort for me to finally get a taste of the pools. On our climb back up, the nicest local saw Matt struggling from the parking lot and rushed down and walked along side Matt in case he couldn't make it. It was really sweet. He walked us practically to the car while talking to us about the "much better (safer)" beaches that we could go to, that weren't so difficult to get to. Yeah, where were you this morning when we were rock-climbing at Shark's Cove?

As we drove back to the resort we had our first sight of the horrendous traffic we had heard about. The westbound lanes (the road you'd take to Aulani from, well, anywhere) was a standstill at about 2:30pm. We were so happy we were headed the opposite way and literally, only less than a mile. (You cannot walk to this beach from Aulani.) It looked bad, but it was right at Aulani and past it, so we don't know how far it went, it possibly may not have affected driving to Aulani.

Once back at the resort, I headed up to the room with all the stuff and I told Matt I'd meet him at the pool. Once in the room, I dropped the stuff, got Aulani's wheelchair and brought it down to return it and pick up our rented one that arrived this morning. With fire engine red wheelchair in hand I went Gimpy searching. Not as simple as you'd think. I guess the look on my face was a dead give away because one of the people who workers at the pool asked me, "Are you looking for the guy on crutches?". I swear, even the cast members have magical powers. So I explained the whole thing and about how I hadn't even been to the pool yet so I wasn't sure where I was going. So he told me to go get my wrist band and towels and that he would take the wheelchair and find Matt. He was so sweet- Matt says it's because I was in a swim suit. So I got my towels and wrist band (you have to check in and receive a colored wrist band each day to swim in the pool) and then went to the main pool like the guy directed me. There he was with my wheelchair but no Matt. I get to him and he says, "Man, he moves fast for a guy on crutches. I can't find him.". Then just a few moments later, there was Matt. We were expecting him to be in the pool, but he had gotten some seats all the way in the back row.

Once I found Gimpy, we headed in the pool. My first moment to enjoy this amazing resort. In researching this trip I read on and on about the water temperature of the pool being so chilly. I have no idea what these people are talking about and I am literally the biggest baby when it come to water temperature. It was like bath water. So nice. So I finally am in the pool at Aulani and what happens, someone did something in the pool and not even 10 minutes after I get in there, they close the pool. Seriously?? So we decided to go in the lazy river, which is just as warm as the pool and really nice. Very Typhoon Lagoon-esk if you ask me. After two trips around I announce that I finally want to try that double-decker, infinity hot tub, that I've seen so many pictures of. So we get out of the lazy river and walk in the cold breeze all the way to the other side of the pool area, where the hot tub is. When we get there we see a "pool closed" sign in front of it. I swear. We feel like we're on that episode of the Brady Bunch when they went to Hawaii and stole that idle or something. So I immediately start grilling Matt to see what he stole and how we can resolve it. Ha! It's now 4:15pm so we just decide to head up to the room a little early and try to make happy hour at MonkeyPod.

We decided to walk to MonkeyPod since we had a wheelchair, forgetting about the monstrous hill, that you would only notice if you had an injury, Aulani is perched upon. I of course did not bring athletic shoes, because I was not planning on pushing a wheelchair, so off I went down this steep hill, in my flip flops, using all of my body weight to keep Matt from going flying. It wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be, but I was just a tad nervous of getting him back up that hill. After the hill it was a nice walk over to MonkeyPod where we had another great meal. Well, I didn't really like mine, but that wasn't their fault, I shouldn't have ordered it. We had a great waitress and they had that same band there again. We sat outside with a view of Aulani across the street, surrounded by tiki torches. Really nice. I took a bunch of video.

After dinner we headed next door to the ABC Store (like 711) to pick up some Maui Onion Potato Chips for Matt that I have heard so much about. Apparently, they're really good. Then we headed back to the resort. Matt said he'd just crutch himself (did I just make that up?) up the hill, but I wanted to give it a shot. I need to get back into the wheelchair pushing groove and know what I can and can't do, so this was my trial run. I did it. I pushed him up that crazy hill. I could barely stand by the top of the hill but I did it. The positive is, I don't think I'm going to gain very much weight on this trip, so yay me! After we got back we had wanted to spend our last evening in the hot tub, which I have yet to try, but I was just so tired from such a strenuous day and the thought if getting back into a swim suit after I had just showered sounded awful. I know I will forever regret that decision, since I never got to enjoy Aulani at night, but I just couldn't do anymore and I would have been miserable the whole time anyway. Matt decided he was going with or without me, so he hobbled himself down there while I just laid in bed, trying to not be too bummed about the situation. Didn't work out too well.

I have started to upload all of our pictures to our picture site. We still don't have the pics from one of our water-proof cameras or the videos- those will be when we get home. Enjoy. http://serenitynowtravelpictures.shutterfly.com
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:29 PM   #27
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Just joining in - we're thinking of jumping ship from DCL so that we can cruise Hawaii (but will probably add Aulani too if we can). Sorry you've had some problems along the way, but at least your 1st anniversary will be memorable!
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:11 AM   #28
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Hope your last full day at Aulani is sunny and dry. Looking forward to seeing more photos of Aulani (I never tire of looking at photos of Aulani)!
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:14 PM   #29
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Day 6- Couple's Massage & Waikiki

Today I woke up pretty emotional. I think with everything that's been going on I was just in "fix it" mode and it all hadn't really set in until this morning. I woke up at 4:30am on our departure day. I was getting us ready to check out of my dream resort that I didn't even feel as though I had checked into yet. I missed out on my favorite part of this whole trip and the waterworks were-uh-comin'. I held it together because I didn't want to make Matt feel bad...until I called my mom while I was packing the suitcases. Why do mom's have that power over you?? I couldn't hide it from my mom even over the phone and once she asked, "What's the matter? Are you okay?", enter Typhoon Lisa. I cried... I mean I cried. I'm sure it's a mix of exhaustion and sadness, because it was pretty intense. Oh, and remember holding it in so I wouldn't make Matt feel bad? Um. Yeah. He was sitting in the same room as me when I went into my downward spiral of full on female emotions. There that went. Now I have my mom worried and trying to cheer me up, I'm a mess and I have been unsuccessful at making Matt not realize how sad I was about all that we missed. Great job, Lisa.
After I hung up with my mom and the waterworks subsided, momentarily, Matt and I tried to figure out our plan of action for our final morning at Aulani. We decided to finish loading up the suit cases and have bell services hold them. Then we were headed down to the pool to swim a little and get lunch before our couple's massage and then after the massage, head to Waikiki to check into our new hotel.

We headed down to the pool at about 9:15am. We decided I'd look for some breakfast since Matt had just pigged out on a medium bag of the must-try, Maui Onion Potato Chips. Tip of the day, there's no breakfast options by the pool. So I decided I'd just wait until lunch time. Tip of the day part deux, there's minimal lunch options by the pool!!! More on that later. So we decide that we're going to go try the Menehune Adventure Trail (interactive scavenger hunt). So we're off trying to find the DVC Community Center where you pick up your devices (iPads) to start the hunt. After circling around and around pushing a wheelchair up and down the unnecessary hills, we find it. I get inside, wait on the line and then am told it doesn't start until 10am. Ugh.

So we decide to try at another one of my must dos before leaving, the double decker, infinity hot tub. That was finally a success and boy was it pretty! After spending about 10 minutes in there we decide that we're not going to have time to do both the Rainbow Reef Snorkeling and the scavenger hunt with the massage coming up at 12pm, so after a long back and forth, we decide on Rainbow Reef Snorkel. Great plan. Go to the hot tub and immediately follow it up with the coldest water on property. It's so cold in there! Very much like Typhoon Lagoon's snorkeling reef except it's not a "pass thru", so you can swim in all different directions for as long as you want. We ended up timing it right with a feeding time, which I highly recommend. We only had one of our waterproof cameras, so Matt took the helm at underwater paparazzo.

Here you can see the double-decker factor. We were int he bottom one.
After about 30 minutes we decide to go get a light lunch before our spa appointment. Pfft! So the famous, One Paddle, Two Paddle, the main "fast food" option at Aulani, is only open from 5pm-8pm??? The only options left was a hot dog stand that was next to the shave ice stand. There's also the newer food stand down by the beach, but when we made the stop there at breakfast time to check it out there were no hours posted. Getting down there with a wheelchair is quite the task, so there is no way I wanted to do that again, especially if I wasn't even sure it'd be open. So annoying. So I sucked it up and had a hot dog and potato chips for lunch. Matt decided he'd wait for dinner. Smart choice on his part. It was lousy. If we had more time, we would have gone and ordered appetizers at Off the Hook, but we had the massage at 12pm.We could have eaten at the spa, but I didn't know what to expect with that.

After my hot dog, we headed to the spa. Originally, the plan was to arrive at the spa an hour before our treatment to enjoy an outdoor spa experience with a bunch of different "spa showers" and hot tubs. That area, of course, is closed during our stay due to construction. Do we get any compensation, no. Oh, well. Just tack it on the list. Anyone see the episode of the Brady Bunch, when they go to Hawaii and one of them steels the idle and all kinds of bad things happen to them?? Well, I've started grilling Matt on what he stole since we got here.

Our spa experience was really good. I've heard a lot of great things about Aulani's spa and they are right on. It did make me realized how spoiled I was on our honeymoon, though. The spa at our Sandals Resort in Antigua was even better! That's not a knock at Disney by any means. It's an unbelievable spa. We got the Couple's Lomi Lomi Massage that included hot stones and these stick things. Really cool...er hot. It was a nice way to finish our "stay" at the doctor's, I mean, Aulani.

After our massage, Matt wanted to try some workouts that we were suggested in the fitness center since it was such a good one and we didn't know what kind of fitness center awaited us in Waikiki. So I went up to the lobby to finally take a look around and get some pictures before we headed out. I also called my mom again, and she made me cry again. I knew I just needed to get out of Aulani and head to Waikiki. Once I got to Waikiki, I'd be excited and I'd be much better. Matt could not understand that at all since I was sad I didn't get much time at Aulani and I just wanted to hurry up and leave, but it was done. There was no going back and all the stuff I missed out on, I couldn't really enjoy in an hour or so. We didn't know how long it would take us to get to our hotel in Waikiki with traffic. Plus we had to check in, unload the car, unpack, get ready and then get ourselves to our dinner reservation at 6pm. So we said our last good-by to Aulani, but not before I ran in the gift shop to pick up something to remember our visit.

We were on the road to Waikiki at 2:30pm after the amazing valets helped load up our suitcases and now wheelchair into the car. Thank God for them, because I don't know what I would have done! It took us under an hour to get to our hotel in Waikiki, the Outrigger Regency on BeachWalk. We did hit our first rough patch of traffic, though. It was at about 3:15pm heading into Waikiki. The last 4.5 miles before our Waikiki exit was a stop-and-go parking lot. It only added 7 minutes to our arrival time, but I can see why it can be so bad. I was very nervous getting to our next hotel, since this is more of a condominium hotel and the entrance is right on the street, no pull thru or anything. Parking is very limited so they don't guarantee a space. I knew the parking lot entrance was just past the hotel, so I told Matt we'd go right to it, get inside and then see if anyone could help us with our bags. All I could think was, "What if there's no parking...how am I going to get Matt and all our stuff into the hotel...".

My worries, like most of them, were in vain. We got there and we found a parking spot, headed in and the front desk called for a bellman to come help. It was going to take the bellman a little while to get to us, so the guy at the front desk came out to help us. All the staff here are really nice and helpful. I'm sure if you talk to negative Matt, he'll tell you it's my swim suit, but I think that's just his way at complementing his wife- it's cheaper than flowers.

Once we were to our room, top floor, "partial ocean view" I started to feel myself again. I was excited. I just love Waikiki. I know it's not for everyone, but I really like the whole feel- especially at night. Matt & I got ready for dinner and then headed out. Matt wanted to try on his crutches, but he had misunderstood how far it was, so our first stroll along Waikiki was not too enjoyable. We just took our time, but it was definitely really tough on Matt. Not to mention, people are just plain rude and self-centered. I can't tell you how many people cut him off or didn't move to the side to make room for him. It's maddening sometime. I'm just bracing myself for with the wheelchair.

We finally made it to our restaurant, the famous Duke's. We got there a little early so we told them we'd wait for a good seat "on the rail" so we would have a nice view of Waikiki Beach at sunset. We only waited a little bit and were seated "on the rail" just we were all the way down by the hotel's pool with a giant bush blocking our view. Oh, well. We tried. We had a great waiter. We put in our order and then came the next challenge, navigate the salad bar with Matt. I decided it would be best for me to walk Matt up, get his food, walk him back and then I'd get my food. Worked out well and the salad bar only got busy on my turn up there. I swear, children should not be allowed to help themselves at a salad bar. Seriously.

Right at the perfect time, our entrees came. They were so good! I got the prime rib and Matt got the filet with sautéed onions. Both were extremely good, as was the salad bar. I love Duke's. I remember it from 4 years ago and it was just as good as I remembered. While enjoying our meal we were dumbfounded with the man at the next table. He was obviously on a date, and he did not shut up, EVER. Literally, from the time Matt & I sat down, until we left the man never stopped talking. I have never seen anything like it and I'm married to the one and only, ChattyMatty. Matt had nothing on this guy. He never let the woman talk. I mean never. It was so funny. Matt & I were just dying. Who needs a gorgeous sunset view with dinner when you have this kind of entertainment? After our entrees, I didn't even need to look at the menu to decide on dessert. Hula Pie. Macadamia nut ice cream, oreo pie crust, chocolate fudge topping and whipped cream. Uhhh-mazing. Matt and I couldn't finish it, it's so big.

After dinner we waddled our way back to our resort. I was having bad contact issues, since getting salt water in my contacts back at Rainbow Reef. So we made it back to our resort and headed to bed, this time feeling much better than I was last night. Although, before going to bed, we decided to sit on the balcony for a bit. When we came back in from the balcony and headed for bed, we noticed our "do not disturb" sign, that we had hanging on the outside of the door, was now jammed in our door jam right where the door handle is. It looked as though someone was using it to try & pry the door open like you do with a credit card. I'm not sure that's what had happened, though. The other thing I thought may have happened is that this is a "condominium" hotel. No daily housekeeping, so maybe a worker saw it hanging and knew there really was no point in it being there and our door is open to the outside. Maybe they were just trying to "give it back to us" so that the wind wouldn't take it during the night? I don't know. It was a creepy way to go to bed, to say the least.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:15 PM   #30
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Day 7- Snorkeling & Stank.

This morning I woke up at my usual 2:30am, but this time I forced myself back to sleep until 5:45am. I could have probably slept even later, but this was the final get moving as early as possible morning. Today were were headed for Hananuma Bay to snorkel which opens at 6am and gets very busy fast. Once the parking lot is full, they close it and you are left circling until enough people leave for them to reopen it. So as you can imagine, we wanted to get there early so we didn't wast our morning driving in circles. We got ourselves ready pretty quick and we were on our way. The bay is 9.5 miles from our hotel in Waikiki. The good news was we were going against the flow of traffic so we didn't have traffic issues. Most of the drive there is on this same I wanna say 6-8 lane road with traffic lights and a 35 mph speed limit. In the morning, traffic is so bad headed into Waikiki that this road has cones up, forcing all but one lane to be headed westbound, into Waikiki, and only one lane headed eastbound for Hananuma Bay. We didn't hit traffic and got to the bay at around 7:10am. Thankfully, the parking lot was still open. We did not bring the wheelchair since we wouldn't be able to use it on the sand and I knew there was an optional shuttle to take you up and down the massive hill.


Hananuma Bay is a protected beach/coral reef that has a paid admission. You must watch an instructional video before heading down so that you don't destroy the coral reefs that are everywhere, which people still do anyway. They had this song in the video that was not meant to be funny but Matt and I found it hilarious. It's supposed to be the fish singing and it has lyrics like, "don't step on me....don't feed me, I have plenty...". It was so funny. We were dying. Once the video was over we headed for the shuttle, which didn't charge us for Matt. The shuttle is $2 per person for all day use, which I recommend. That hill is steep and your bags will be heavy, at least ours were. I was carrying three bags today, so I was very grateful for that shuttle. Matt said for me to give him the backpack, but I didn't think that was a good idea.

Once we arrived at the bottom of the hill, we found a spot to put our stuff. This place is gorgeous and has coral everywhere, even all the way up to the water's edge. It's a little difficult to navigate in areas since the coral is expansive and you're not allowed to step on it, so navigating can be a challenge. Matt went right in, but it was only 7:30am and if I got in the water now, I would have froze for sure. So I sun bathed while calling my mom and then reading my book, Long Shot by Mike Piazza.

Matt was out there for 90 minutes and then headed back to shore to get me. It was perfect timing because I was hot and ready to get in. This was the first time I was using my new snorkel gear, so it took me a bit of time to get everything just right. We headed out, but I told Matt I only wanted to stay in the bay. I will tell you, if you stay in the bay, in my opinion it is not worth the trip. That area is where all the kids are and they step all over the coral there, so it's grey and the water is real cloudy. You will see some fish though, but the snorkeling conditions were not that great. Now, if you leave the protected bay area, in Matt's words, "you'll see the best snorkeling he's ever seen.". Matt saw all kinds of beautiful coral, fish, turtles, etc. He said it was amazing. My problem was that while he was in there the life guards made an announcement twice about the currents out there and that if you're not a strong swimmer or comfortable with your equipment, don't go out there. Awesome. That got me nervous, and once I'm nervous I'm not near as good at snorkeling. I hyperventilate trying to adjust myself to being used to breathing thru the snorkel. It's jot not good. So that's why I choose to stay in the lesser, protected area.

I snorkeled for probably 45 minutes. It was fun, but very challenging at times as there are some areas that get real shallow over coral so you have to be careful how you swim to not hit it and cut yourself. I'm glad I did it and it's a nice, go at your own pace, type of snorkeling, which is right up this scaredy cat's alley. If I can do it, anyone can do it. We both had our own underwater cameras. Mine is more for pictures and Matt's is for video. I cannot upload from mine until we get home, so you won't see very many underwater shots from this one until we get home and can upload the pictures and videos. I'm not about to spend my vacation editing videos.

I decided I had had enough so I left Matt for the shore, while he went back out to the better area. I laid in the sun reading my book, enjoying life. This day was finally turning out like a vacation day I had planned. Everything was going right after 6 days in Hawaii and I was finally relaxing and taking it all in. I laid there for another 2 hours while Matt snorkeled and sunbathed. His knee has not been giving him any pain and we know it's because he's been resting it so much between he crutches and the wheelchair. So I was glad for him that he could do this and not be in any pain.

We were ready to head out at about 1pm. Our next stop was lunch at Honolulu Burger Company. Originally, I was going to bring sandwiches and enjoy them at the Bay, because I assumed we'd be there most of the day. With Matt's knee, that really wasn't an option because he definitely would have over done it. We were also going to go over and check out Sandy Beach, the beach where From Here To Eternity was filmed and see the blow hole, but we didn't care to much to do so. We've never seen the movie and we have another blow hole to visit when we're on the cruise. I'm sorry, but I can't take myself seriously writing that sentence, especially knowing my brother's going to be reading this and he always brings out my 13 year old (boy!) sense of humor. *snicker* Blowhole *snicker*. Anyway!

Lunch was great. How can you not love a burger?! The restaurant was only about 1.5 miles away from our hotel, so the drive was pretty quick. We decided we'd park the car at the hotel and then walk to one block over to Waikiki beach. We had no dinner reservations to rush to tonight, so we figured this would be the perfect opportunity to swim the famous Waikiki Beach. Well, I was not about to get myself all sandy and wet again, so I held up a tree while Matt swam. We didn't stay long since this is not Matt's kind of beach. He likes waves. So we headed back to the hotel.

Once back at the hotel, The Outrigger Regency on BeachWalk, Matt iced his knee while I caught up on typing my blog. It takes me just over an hour for each of the blog posts so I knew I had to get yesterday's at least written so that tomorrow morning I wouldn't have two to write. So since I was talking so long, Matt decided to get in the shower while I finished up the blog.

I finally finished up the blog and it was about 5pm, so I headed for the shower. I got in the shower and thankfully, just before I started to wash my hair the water just stops. I turn the faucet on and off and I get nothing but the sound of air. Awesome. So I start yelling to Matt that I have no water and he answers with some useless comment like, "Hmmm.". So I get myself out of the shower and check the sink, nothing. Oh. My. God. So I get back dressed in my sandy, saltwater-covered clothing and head for the kitchen to check the sink in there. Nothing. So I ask Mr. Helpful to call the front desk. We had just had the maintenance guy up here about an hour earlier because we had a smoke alarm chirping due to low battery. So we wait the 15 minutes it took the guy the last time we called him. I explain the situation but he didn't get that it was all the faucets, not just the shower. So when I show him the sinks as well, his reaction was priceless. I knew this was going to be a problem. So he headed out to investigate and said he's be right back. An HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER I decide to just get dressed without showering after a full, hot and sweaty beach day and we'll just go have a now late dinner. Awesome. Juts when I start to relax. So as I reapply my make-up and try and make my hair look halfway decent, Matt heads down to talk to the front desk to get an idea of what going on.

As I'm about to head out the door to meet Matt in the lobby, our phone rings. It's Matt telling me that the front desk offered to let me use a different room's shower. Thanks. That would have been helpful and hour and a half ago. It's now almost 7pm, and our jet-lagged butts have been going to bed at 8:30pm most nights. So that would mean we wouldn't get dinner until at least 8pm. Not to mention, I just reapplied my make up. Ugh.

So off we went to dinner. This was my first go at pushing Matt in the wheelchair in Waikiki. It wasn't as bad as I thought, but maybe it was a good thing that I never got to shower, since by the time we reached our restaurant I was covered in sweat. It was still pretty hot out and I was working for my dinner. Going up and down all those curbs were not as tough as I feared, in that I never had trouble getting over them and forcing Matt to have to get out of the wheelchair, but it was tiring. People also are super annoying and don't give you any help. They cut you off, they don't move to the side and walk with there whole party lined up, line dancing style, talking up the entire sidewalk. It's just rude. You can tell the people who have never had to push a wheelchair before. They don't think how hard is it so be pushing it up a ramp and have to stop short and then restart again because they can't simply move one step to the side. Ok, I'm done.

We make it to our dinner spot for the night. Now, let me explain. I had researched restaurants like a maniac before coming. The second most, highly rated restaurant in Waikiki is where we were headed for dinner. It is not the type of food I would choose and actually this was Matt and I's first try at it. I just figured it was so highly rated, it mush be good. It's so popular that there is a long line outside the restaurant just to place your oder. We both were not super hungry so we figured this would be the perfect night to try it since the line wouldn't be near as painful.

Upon getting to the restaurant it dawned on me on why it's so highly rated- half of Japan vacations here! It's not being rated by Americans or any other nationality, for that matter, but 95% Japanese, just like the restaurant goers represented. Here I thought we were trying something new that we were late to the party on, but we found out quickly that most of America has not made it to the party yet either. We were at Marukame Udon, an Udon noodle place. So we get on the line, and I almost leave it about three times, but I force myself to stay and try it. We can always stop somewhere else for something with a little more substance and flavor if it's bad. Now I know why most of Japan doesn't seem to have a weight issue. It wasn't terrible, but it definitely wasn't good. We both got the "beef" noodle bowl, but the broth tasted like fish- big time. Guess what Matt hates- big time. Fish. He took it like a champ and I will say the longer you eat it the less fishy it tastes. We're still not sure if that taste was in fact fish or really what we were eating, but it was an experience. The food actually filled us up and Matt ate all of his. I apologized to Matt quite often throughout our meal, but he was great about it. Probably because he feared another epic meltdown from your's truly after the whole no water thing, that we still didn't know what was going on with. Last we left it with the front desk was, they had no idea what was wrong, all the rooms that number's ended in 5 had no water, they thought it was from the construction from next door, but the workers had left for the evening. Awesome. They would "leave us a note" when they found the issue. I guess there's not someone at the front desk throughout the night. I don't know.

After our taste of Japan, we walked around Waikiki and checked out the Duke statue. Then I did a tiny bit of shopping. We wanted to head to Yard House so that I could finally try a new dessert of theirs that I've been dying to try, but the wait was 50 minutes, so we decided to get some snacks and drinks at the nearest ABC store and enjoy them on our balcony.

Once back at our resort, not knowing if we would have to change rooms- God help them if we did, we found out that the water problem is fixed. So I finally head for the shower to get the Pacific Ocean and all of it's habitants off of me. It was the best shower ever. We never got any explanation of what happened, as they still don't know themselves, so we'll see if it happens again. Murphy's Law Vacation...that's what I'm dubbing this one. We're at least at the point that when the next negative hits us, we just laugh. I mean, you can't make this stuff up. The day I finally feel relaxed and on vacation, up no water. I mean really.
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