13 October 2005


Aloha!  Greetings from the island of Oahu in beautiful Hawaii!
I know, I know… two vacations within the span of one month!!!
What can I say… you have to strike a good balance between work and play…  I think I’ve found the sweet spot!
Problem is that I don’t have more vacation time to take now.  Pity… 
OK, so let me recap what’s happened thus far!
We dropped our puppies with their grand parents over the weekend.
What a heart breaker that was.
Knowing we wouldn’t see them for almost two weeks… that’s though!
Apparently though, they didn’t even whine when we left.
The good thing is that we know they’re in the best care with grandma and grandpa… come to think of it, they’re probably being spoiled rotten!  So much for all the training huh? 
So we returned home on Sunday.
Packed, watched the Colts brush of the Jags and the Cowboys simply pummel the Eagles!
Had dinner with our friends next door to wrap up the weekend.
OK, woke up on Monday.
Got to the airport with plenty of time to spare.
Boarded the ATA flight and then… well, the ground crew had found a problem with the Boeing 757′s Auxiliary Power Unit (APU).  The result was that they had to replace the APU.  So we de-boarded the plane again, went to get some brunch from Subway in the airport and then waited for the work to be completed.  We finally managed to get off the ground about an hour and a half after our scheduled departure time.
The flight to Vegas was about 4 hours or so.  Upon landing we got off to stretch our legs.  Being Vegas, there was some slot machines right there in the airport.  OK, so I took $10 to play the quarters machines.  Amy took $5 and I took $5.  I won $2 and $1.50 and normally I don’t replay winnings, but they starter boarding the flight, so I just stuck it into two machines.  I stated playing both at the same time and lo and behold… I struck a winner for $20.  I know, big deal, but at least my streak of never loosing when I go gambling is still in tact! 
Then we started the looooooooong flight to Honolulu.  The flight, about 8 hours, was tiresome.  Of course, we got to see two movies during the flight.  The first, "Bewitched" was OK I guess seeing as it was free.  The second movie, "Guess Who" was much better.
When we finally got to Honolulu, the pilot made one of the more forgetful landings I’ve ever experienced!  I’m sorry, but as a former military pilot, I’m kinda critical about these kind of things.
Anyway, we were just glad to finally be on the ground again and able to stretch our legs.
We hopped on a shuttle to our hotel, the Holiday Inn in Waikiki.  We waited about 20 minutes for the shuttle, but at $16 it was much less expensive that a cab.
One of the first things we noticed was that it gets dark very early over here.  By 19h00 it’s pitch black outside.  Of course the wonderful 74 degree temperature is great given we were leaving Indiana in the 50′s.
Got to the Holiday Inn and checked into room 1004.  The view isn’t great, but then we don’t intend to spend much time in the room anyway! 
We were tired from the long flight, so we just stayed in, ordered room service and by the time 19h30 (00h30 Indiana time) rolled around, we were wiped out.  So we went to bed.  Of course, Amy woke up around 04h00 (09h00 Indy time) and turned on her bed light to read.  Well, that woke me up, so I sat up and started reading too.  Next thing I know, she turns off her light, rolls over and goes back to sleep! 
Well, I’m up, so I stayed up.
On Tuesday, we went to explore and see where everything is.  Waikiki has everything within walking distance, so we have not needed to rent a car yet.  We found the wharf and the Waikiki beach very quickly.  We also found a supplier for our stacks and stuff in the "ABC Store".
We spent the remainder of the day on the Waikiki beach.  Umbrella and seat rental is a little stiff at $30, but if you book in advance (and pay in advance of course) you can get it for $20 per day. 
I went snorkeling, but the water was too murky to see much.  It was fun just floating on my back for an hour though.  Its amazing how quickly you can unwind in an island paradise like this!
We felt like seafood, so we went to the Chart house for dinner.  I had the Yellow Fin Tuna and Amy the Red Snapper.  Dinner ran about $90, but they had a desert to die for.  It was some kind of caramel ice cream with Macadamia nuts, Kiwifruit, Blue Berries, Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries and Banana.  Yum! 
 Still being on Indiana time, it being dark by 19h00 and there being nothing much on TV, we called it a night around 20h30.  I was missing my Tempurpedic bed and did not sleep to well on the hotel bed so when Amy stirred around 02h00, I woke too.  We decided to rent a movie through pay per view.  We got "Mr. & Mrs. Smith".  Good movie.  Pretty funny at times.  Of course, after about the first half hour, Amy rolled over and went back to sleep!!!  Mmm… I see a trend here! 
Any way, the movie finished around 4 AM and went back to sleep as well.  Finally woke up around 06h30.  I had decided to try another beach where the water might be more clear to allow some more snorkeling.  We were going to visit Hanauma Bay.  So we packed our stuff and walked over to the Hilton for the bus pickup around 09h30.  We caught the #8 but to Waikiki shops.  We transferred over to the #22 bus at 10h00.  We were the first Waikiki stop and that was a very good thing.  The bus was practically empty when we got on, so we took two seats right at the front.  There must have been at least two dozen stops between Waikiki and Hanauma Bay and at every stop, more people got on.  By the time we reached Hanauma Bay, we had given new meaning to the phrase "Squeezed in like sardines".  We were fortunate to have seats because aside from someone bumping into you every once in a while, it wasn’t a bad ride.  Of course the price was right costing only $2 per person!
Well, we finally made it to Hanauma Bay around 10h40.  Then we waited… and waited… and waited…
Of course, some of us did not like waiting… what with the long bus ride and all…   Just get to the beach already!!!
We finally managed to get our tickets, $5 per person, at 11h01 but wait… yes, MORE waiting!  We still had to see the conservation video on the bay.  The video is only 15 minutes, but our view time was at 11h15 so we waited for another 1/4 of an hour.  The movie over, we FINALLY managed to get to the beach.  Given the time, we decided
I rented a "dry" snorkel set for $9.  Its the set that has the snorkel that doesn’t allow water in.  Well worth the extra $2.  Let me just say that Hanauma Bay was well worth enduring the wait and hassle!  I had a 27 exposure underwater camera which I filled up in about 10 minutes.  When those photos have been developed, I will post them here.  Pity you don’t get waterproof digital cameras! 
Anyway, spent most of the day snorkeling.  We left and caught the 15h10 #22 bus.  The driver wasn’t the most friendly of people.  He was about to complete his shift, so he was getting a little antsy I guess.  Anyway, we got dropped at the end of his route instead of 2 stop earlier where we could catch the #8 bus again.  We decided to just walk the last bit back to the hotel.
All in all not a bad day.  Here’s some more pictures of Hanauma Bay:
Now we have an "Ambassador Luau" event at the Polynesian Cultural Center planned for today.  It’s going to be great starting at 12h00 and not ending till 22h00!  A full day indeed!
Tomorrow we’re planning to take a helicopter ride around the island.  Fun!

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