Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Adventures in Paradise - Part 5

Note: After the devastating world events recently, it seemed frivolous to continue telling you about our Hawaii vacation, but I promised I would, so the tale continues here:

Friday, October 9, after the breakfast buffet at the hotel, we took the shuttle to Hilo Hattie. Our friends from the tour joined us both for breakfast but also on the bus. We were shocked to see “STORE CLOSING” signs outside. We asked and discovered the flagship store and warehouse in Waikiki would close in a couple of weeks.

We have many fond memories of our visits there. When we first went, we took a factory tour to see the clothing being made. Then in the first showroom, we could purchase all the various styles in the latest print. At that time, only clothes made on the premises were sold. Later, other manufacturers’ items joined the iconic Hilo Hattie styles.

At the entrance, we received our traditional shell leis, and then entered the store. Stocks seemed depleted and some areas looked empty compared to earlier times. We found a few items, including a Duke Kahanamoku shirt for Larry. Then we ate lunch at the café in the store.

The antibiotic had upset my stomach, and—How do you say diarrhea politely? I spent Saturday, October 10, in bed. Larry ate with the Rughs and rented a surfboard. Not very exciting for me, but he was ready to try the waves at Waikiki.

On Sunday, October 11, Larry got up early and finally made it into the water. He enjoyed one of the longest rides he ever surfed. He started at Number Threes, out from the hotel, and ended up about twenty yards from the Pink Palace (The Royal Hawaiian Hotel). The long walk back, after the long wave ride, wore him out!

We had tickets for the Sunday Brunch at the hotel, so we went with the Rughs. Again, the couple, who we accused of following us, joined us for brunch.

We spent another quiet day resting. Dinner was the weekend Mongolian Barbeque at the hotel. A pretty tasty meal.

By Monday, October 12, we were ready to spend some time sightseeing, so we took the van to Hilo Hattie again. We purchased another shirt to match Larry’s for his best friend and surfing buddy, Bob.

Then we went on to the Aulani, the new Disney resort near Makaha. We walked around and explored. It seems like a perfect oasis for families since it is self-contained. However, it is a long distance from Waikiki and other areas on the island. For adults, it seems a bit lacking.

However, lunch at the ‘Ama’Ama café was delicious. The hostess showed us to a table with very low chairs. Since Len is paralyzed, we feared he wouldn’t be able to get up once he was seated. However, our waiter recognized the potential problem. He not only took us to another table with higher chairs, he added an extra cushion for Len. This young man took lots of time to explain all the menu items and didn’t rush our selection. We noticed he gave the same attention to other diners he served. We left a large tip and thanked him for his outstanding service.

Before we left, Larry bought a beach towel with the seagulls from Finding Nemo on it. It says, “Mine, Mine, Mine.” I hope he’ll keep it at home to use with the spa, but I fear it will eventually end up at the beach. I just hope it makes its way home.

Road trip day! On Tuesday, October 13, after breakfast at the hotel, we piled into the van for a trip to the North Shore. We passed Hale’iwa Town, where we pointed out some of the places we’d mentioned in our book Murder in Paradise. We drove by all the major surfing spots, Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, and then through the Turtle Bay Resort. We continued around the island. By the time we reached the east side, it had begun to drizzle, so we went back to Waikiki across the pali.

For dinner, we decided to go to the Cheesecake Factory since we had a gift card. We asked at the desk, and were told which bus to take. We were also told it stopped in front of Trump Tower, a few blocks away. However, the bus stop was actually halfway up Beachwalk—more than half a block farther than we’d been told. I still wasn’t feeling well, and Len’s brace had rubbed a raw spot on his leg. Neither of us were into a long walk. (Which is why we decided to take the bus in the first place!)

We asked the driver what the nearest stop to the Cheesecake Factory was. He said he’d tell us when to get off. He took a circuitous route up to Kuhio and then down Royal Hawaiian, stopping at the DFS Galleria at the corner of Kalakawa.

We knew where the restaurant was, and Larry thought we should get off there. But the driver indicated the next stop would be closer. WRONG! He stopped in the middle of the main beach, about half a block beyond the Duke statue. From there, it would have been at least four blocks back to the restaurant. If we’d taken Larry’s suggestion, we’d have had a bout a two-block walk.

The only good thing about the trip was the driver didn’t charge Len for the ride.

Since we passed the Outrigger, we decided to eat at Duke’s. This has been a favorite spot for a nice meal ever since 2005, when it took over the spot Perry’s Smorgy once occupied. Unfortunately, the restaurant has gone the way of so many (including the Chart House, here in Dana Point.) We had enjoyed the restaurant overlooking Dana Point Harbor for years until they raised the prices and stopped offering the salad bar with entrees.

Same with Duke’s. The prices were much higher, and the salad bar (including bread) was an additional fee. Our waiter clearly didn’t understand the menu items. I ordered the opah lightly grilled with the mango chutney. This is how I’ve had it many times before, but apparently they have also eliminated that preparation. The fish was overcooked and served with a glob of mashed potatoes. Larry added the salad bar to his entrée, but he said the selection was greatly diminished.

We decided to pay for a taxi ride back to the hotel rather than take the bus.

The adventure will continue next week with our final days in Waikiki.

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