Blog Three, Dates: July 19 – July 27, 2022
Hawaii Trip – Granddaughters 16th Birthday Celebration
This trip was made during our 2022 Creede Season
We started talking about a nice trip for Addi and Lily a few years ago to celebrate their 16th birthday. In December 2021 when shopping with Addi for Christmas, she kiddingly said she wanted to go to Paris France, and surprisingly, Papa said sure that we can do a trip to France. However, after she and Lily collaborated, Hawaii was decided. We started researching the best island for teens since we had already visited Maui with our kids (their parents) when they were Lily and Addi’s age. Oahu, Hawaii, and Sheraton Waikiki were decided on for our destinations and the plans were put into motion. Papa with his wheeling and dealing chose to use frequent flyer points and hotel reward points. He took advantage of a 60,000 award for switching his AA Airline card and a 75,000 Marriott award bonus for getting a Sheraton Bonvoy card. Those points combined with what was left from his million miles of work travel and we were able to get our airfare paid, and most of the Sheraton Waikiki was paid for using our new Marriott Bonvoy credit card awards.
Our 2022 season in Creede, CO started May 16, so we had several weeks at our seasonal RV site before heading back to Dallas for our July 19 departure out of DFW with the girls to Hawaii. Our youngest daughter agreed to dog-sit for us in Creede so she drove there a few days before we needed to depart. She decided she would rather enjoy two weeks in the 70’s temperatures in Colorado versus the 102+ in Dallas.
On Tuesday, July 19, our 7 hours and 45-minute flight was an early morning departure and with the 5-hour time difference from Central Time (CST) to Hawaii (HST) zones, we landed in time to enjoy a full afternoon on our first day in Hawaii. The 12th-floor seaside hotel room gave us an awesome view of the infinity pool and beach from our balcony. There are two pools, the Infiniti pool for adults (viewable from our hotel balcony) and a second large family pool with a slide, and a waterfall, and strangely, believe it or not, it is the only area at the resort that has hot tubs, actually, two which are usually occupied by small children.
Every day from the first to the last, we had beautiful weather except for the few showers that came and went quickly. It was recommended to pre-book any special activities because they sell out. In March 2022 we pre-booked and paid for three events, the Hawaiian Parasail for the two girls, a group catamaran cruise as part of the Hilton Turtle Snorkel, and our biggest event the Chief’s Luau. The city bus is the most efficient and best economical way to travel in Honolulu. After many years of international travel, we learned to take advantage of local public transportation when possible. The senior rate with a U.S. Medicare Card is $1.25 for each adult. Accompanying Students under 17 also only pay $1.25. So it was approximately $5.00 for the 4 of us one-way. An economy car rental is approximately $85.00 per day, then the Sheraton Hotel charges $45.00 per day to park in their garage. Traffic in Honolulu is very busy and the street layouts are complex. We just couldn’t see the value in paying approximately $130.00 a day to have a car and then take on the frustration required to navigate the busy, traffic streets and highways.
The trip to Luau was a long one to the other side of the island and for that, we accepted the group tour bus connection provided by the Luau promoter. We also used an inexpensive Uber car for two other long trips (the Pearl Harbor Memorial and Airport return). The airport/Hotel connection on arrival was a Taxi ($50). We estimate a car rental for 7 days would have been about $1000. We went everywhere we wanted to go and in total, our transportation was about $300, significantly less than renting and parking a car.
We were exhausted the first evening after the long flight and day on the beach. We took a walk around the Hawaiian Royal Center (Mall), had dinner at the poolside Edge restaurant, and then early to bed. Up and ready to go Wednesday morning, breakfast at the Island Vintage Coffee, city bus to Diamond Head State Monument Diamond Head State Monument – Hawaii State Parks. It was a little cloudy with light rainfall when we were hiking, and although mostly an uphill hike, we all enjoyed it. There was an awesome view of a lighthouse from up top, but the cloudy day made it a little difficult to see. We were able to walk under a narrow opening built into a slope of a crater that served as a military gun and battery, providing us some shelter during the heavier yet short-lived rainfall. After our hike, we returned to the hotel, changed into swimsuits, rented a paddle board for the girls, and spent time between the beach and pools. Most of the restaurants have long waits, and reservations fill up quickly, so your only choice is to wait in long lines to get a table.
Yard House https://www.yardhouse.com/locations/hi/honolulu/waikiki-waikiki-beach-walk/8316 was our choice for Wednesday evening, we were able to sit at the bar tables until our over 2-hour wait for a food service table was up, it went by relatively quickly as we people watched and visited with one another. This also gave us plenty of time to decide what we were going to order. It was an exceptionally special day for the girls since the restaurant staff brought each their slice of chocolate cake with candles to celebrate their 16ths. It was a very nice day!
The parasail was scheduled for Thursday and they only allow one guardian/adult onboard with minors in order to allow more room for the actual parasailers (they do charge $50 just to ride in the boat as a guardian). Papa stayed on shore for the little over 1-hour we were out. Addi was very excited, and Lily was a little nervous, as seen on her face when they were suiting them up. Overall they both enjoyed it, but Lily said she probably would not want to parasail again. Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Lagoon, located near the boat harbor, was a nice place to hang out before and after parasailing. Fort DeRussy Military Reservation is in the same area and this brought back memories of our parents (Dad Hilan and Mom Delores) who were stationed in Hawaii at one time while Hilan served in the Military. It was one of their best and most memorable times.
Our parasail boat crew recommended renting surfboards from Moku Hawaii Home | Moku Hawaii which is considerably less expensive than the beach rentals at our hotel. The disadvantage was the boards were too large and heavy to carry from Moku rentals to our hotel beach area. So, our beach time was spent with the rental boards at the nearby but very crowded public beach approximately 1-block from Moku. The girls were determined to try surfing amongst the crowd of people with boards out on the Pacific. There were surf instructors and students, experienced surfers, and our newbie girls trying to learn to surf among the crowd. Fortunately, we only rented the surfboards for 2 hours, and even then we ended up returning them about least 30-minutes before they were due back. Addi was hit a couple of times, the second being the scariest as another newbie surfer ran her board right on top of Addi’s board which she was sitting on and it knocked her off. Also, unrelated to our surfing mishaps, the umbrella we had purchased for sun protection kept pulling up out of the sand and the wind carried it away and sometimes knocked other beachgoers in the head. It was quite the experience at the public beach and so we decided we did not want the experience a second time. The Sheraton groomed and private beach really is the way to go!
Addi had been requesting Sushi for dinner and so Thursday was our Sushi night. Doraku Sushi Waikiki – Doraku Sushi did not offer same-day reservations, but it was within walking distance. Lily had made it clear she did not want sushi, a prior view of the online menu showed an option for Lily “Kobe Style Sliders with French fries,” so all was set for us to go and wait for a table. Addi excited, Lily apprehensive, we all ordered and within a few minutes, the waiter returned to inform us they had just sold out of the sliders! Lily was coerced into ordering grilled teriyaki chicken and fries without the teriyaki sauce. Lily did not like her dinner, so we went to Canes Chicken in the mall for her dinner after we finished at Doraku’s.
The Turtle Snorkeling activity was scheduled for Friday, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. More especially, Papa, Addi, and Lily, since after about 45 minutes in the water, Nana got seasick. The water was a little rough. She had to leave the group, and make it back to the boat where she immediately got very sick to her stomach. The turtle snorkeling included a boat ride after returning from snorkeling. Everyone except Nana enjoyed it, as she was still dizzy and nauseous.
While walking around the shopping area we noticed signage for “Skybox,” a restaurant on the 3rd level of the International Market. Skybox promoted nightly Karaoke and they serve a casual menu. Lily who has experienced Karaoke at Jellystone and Six Flags, with Papa’s urging, signed up to sing “Chasing You,” by Morgan Wallen, Papa provided support and sat right beside the stage as she sang. Nana and Addi clapped loudly for her along with the packed audience. We were proud of Lily’s courage and confidence. There were a few other good singers, one sang a few Elvis Presley songs, like Blue Hawaii.
We also noted a beautiful enormous tree growing inside the International Market’s rotunda which was where Skybox was located. We later learned that tree is called a Bayan tree.
Pearl Harbor was on our agenda. There is no charge to visit Pearl Harbor – USS Arizona Memorial, but it is highly recommended that you book a reservation online before arriving. We learned this upon arriving and we had not pre-booked a tour. The Uber driver from our hotel, a native of Hawaii and a long-time tourist guide, said he did not think we would be able to get in without prior reservations because it was Saturday and the park is busy with tourists. Thankfully, there is a standby line for Arizona Memorial and all we needed to do was wait for just a little over an hour we made it onto the tour boat that takes you across the bay to board the Arizona Memorial museum where a ranger narrates and provides interesting commentary.
Our Luau was booked through the Sheraton Waikiki and it was one of the most expensive activities we did on this trip. It was the Chief’s Luau and we were a little disappointed when our shuttle arrived at a Water Park. The water park was closed for the day and we were led to a special section outdoor, section setup for luau seating in front of a huge outdoor stage. The ticket included an all-you-can-eat buffet, and each of us received a weave-type headband along with large beads leis. As the performance began, our disappointments melted away. The show was colorful, action-packed, educational, Hawaii friendly, and overall, just wonderful. The climax was when Chief started a fire by rubbing a stick. He transferred that fire to a larger wood pile and then one by one, the male dancers began lighting and tossing flaming swords and spears. In the end, the lights were dimmed and you could see about 30 dancers all with flaming props. It was amazing.
The girls were upset that we did not go up on stage when the announcer asked for couples who were celebrating their anniversaries to come up to the stage area (our 33rd was celebrated on June 9). There was a dance for all the couples that came forward and they gave a bouquet to all the couples. There were only 2 couples who were celebrating more than 33 years (both were 50+ years).
The week included several times when we just spent time on the beach with the girls renting paddle boards or surfboards and just playing in the ocean. On our last full day, we spent the entire day at the two pools (Infiniti Pool and Family Water Slide Pool) at the Sheraton Waikiki.
We all had a wonderful 7-days in Hawaii and finished with our long overnight flight return trip. We left on Tuesday, July 26, at 7:30 PM HST and arrived back in Dallas on Wednesday, July 27, at about 7:30 AM.
Psalm 95:1-2 “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.”