My mind can't help but go back to this:
I am not sure how I did it, but I got on the plane from Hawaii and came back to Utah. It was not easy to leave a warm, beautiful place and come home to the cold and snow. I suppose my being here is proof that David is strong enough to carry a one-year-old, a laptop bag, and a screaming and kicking 34-year-old woman onto a plane. I still check the weather report for Honolulu. How helpful is that?
The only snow I dealt with in Hawaii was of the pineapple- and coconut-flavored kind.
Sure, there were drawbacks about taking a baby (there would have been anyway with my swelling and tiredness), but there are benefits as well. I suppose a lot of people do not take their babies on their Hawaiian vacation because I noticed early on walking through Waikiki with our daughter:
1) We got more smiles and interaction.
2) We got better service. Sometimes, free add-on foods "for the baby"
3) I was a rockstar. Or mom to one.
4) People remembered us when we returned to a restaurant or store.
5) The guys paid to pull people off the street for timeshare presentations left us alone. (They know you can't get a babysitter for their 2-hour shpeal.)
One afternoon, BabyDhis and I were in a restaurant for lunch (David was at work) and a flock of 8-10 Japanese girls at a nearby table caught sight of Baby Dhis. They came and surrounded her, taking photos with her as if she was Hello Kitty, squealing Japanese mixed with the occasional English "so cute." The restaurant liked the good vibe this brought and we ended up with free food.
With or without child in tow, Hawaii in any form is a blessing! The weather was warm, the breezes delightful, the rains surprisingly short, the people hospitable. What I saw of Oahu reminded me a lot of my birthplace (minus the large Asian population). I even found that one of the fruits I had as a child and had not seen since grows a close cousin in Hawaii! Their lychee is very similar to Venezuela's mamon. That was a time warp!
Baby Dhis enjoyed the beach until she realized the grainy stuff wasn't coming off her hands.
And it took her a little bit to get used to the water...
(Forgive the quality of the video. We didn't bring the video camera, so this was taken on my regular camera.)
She did awesome though at the Polynesian Cultural Center, even though we spent a looong day and night there. I, on the other hand, was a whiny baby. My feet swelled up, my shoes didn't fit half way through our visit, and I wanted to make sure David knew and hadn't forgotten since the last time I had told him 20 minutes prior.
There is plenty to see and do at the Polynesian Cultural Center, so plan on spending more than one day there!
If you are ever on Oahu, I recommend:
- Leonard's Bakery- try a malasada; kind of like a creme-filled doughnut.
- Hanauma Bay-- it's $7.50 per person UNLESS you go at 6am, then it's free! AND you get to see the sun rise over the mountains! Stay as long as you want; it's not just a beach; it's a preserve and sea lab, so everything is in pristine condition.
- Polynesian Cultural Center - though, don't try to do it all in one day
- Matsumoto's shaved ice- There is shaved ice advertised everywhere; don't waste your money. Go to Matsumoto in Haleiwa. (Say NO to the beans!)
- Ocean House - a more upscale restaurant; They know how to handle food! Everything was DELICIOUS!
- The swap meet at the Aloha Stadium- Cash is king! I found though that I had a better handle on haggling when I asked "do you take credit cards", found someone who did, and THEN asked for a better price. They would almost always say, "fine, but it has to be cash" to which I responded gladly with cash.
- Verbano's Italian Restaurant-- the one on King Street, at least.
- Taking a fair-skinned, blue-eyed baby- You get more smiles and better service.
- Pearl Harbor- some images in the brief video of the tour might be too graphic for little kids. Take a tissue.
The gentleman in the center is Capt. Robert G. Kinsler (RET), who was a private when he was at Pearl Harbor during the attack of December 7, 1941.
Next time, I would like to:
- go on a shark encounter- go out in the ocean, get in a shark cage, wait for sharks to swim up
- see an active volcano
- see the waterfalls
- take photos by the Laie LDS Temple
- visit Dole's pineapple plantation- we drove past it but did not stop since we had limited time
- sleep more
I do not recommend:
- packing your days full- that's not very islandy to be running around like crazy
- Spada Restaurant- they present themselves like puffed-up peacocks, but the food falls flat
- ABC stores- They are like convenience stores without the gasoline and they are ON EVERY FREAKIN' BLOCK. Their souvenir and beachwear prices seem "cheap" at first; hold off on shopping until AFTER you've been to the swap meet.
- Waikiki's beach- It's a sand strip narrowed by encroaching hotels; head for almost any beach north of Waikiki.
- Courtyard Marriott (formerly the Wyland Hotel), despite their friendly and helpful staff, the building needs "re-evaluation"
[Posted song: "Spread a Little Aloha" by Mana'o Company]