Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Adventures In Paradise - Part 6 Finale

Note: At last, here’s the finale to our Hawaiian vacation in October.

On Wednesday, October 14, Larry woke up feeling ill. It might have been a stomach flu or food poisoning from dinner the night before, but he wasn’t well enough to go out or do anything for the day.

On the other hand, I finally felt well enough to get outside. Even though I was still coughing, I decided a walk in Waikiki was in order. So, armed with cough drops, Luanna and I set out to explore. This has always been one of my favorite activities when we’ve stayed in Waikiki in the past. I adore discovering neat little shops and funky places where I’ve found special items in the past.

Our first stop was at the Outrigger Hotel. On my last trip, I discovered some nifty nail polish that changed color in the sunshine. I wanted to get some more for our great nieces for Christmas. Unfortunately, the store was gone.

We checked the prices at the Shore Bird, one of our favorite eating places in town. Since our first trip to Hawaii, we’ve always been able to find discount coupons in the little magazines found on every street corner in town. Not so this time. I couldn’t find any, even online. And the breakfast buffet was now $15.95 per person. I’m sure the food is still good, and the view is spectacular, but the buffet at the Hale Koa was delicious and several dollars cheaper. We decided not to go to the Shore Bird on this trip.

After that disappointing trip, we went on to the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. For years, we visited the Little Hawaiian Craft Shop on the top floor of the center to find unique gift items made by local craftsmen. On our return from Japan, we stopped in. By that time we had gotten to know the sweet ladies who ran the place. They told us they had sold the business and were moving to Oregon. Although the shop is still listed online, we couldn’t locate it.

It was hot out with high humidity and no breeze, so we stopped for a coke.

Then we walked across the street to where the International Marketplace used to be. This was where we found more funky little stores with unique items. It was always one of our favorite haunts in town. Now it’s going to be rebuilt into a new, upscale shopping venue. Just what Waikiki needed, more outrageously priced stores.

We did find a few little kiosks along a driveway between Kalakaua and Kuhio, but neither of us bought anything.

When we finally emerged onto Kuhio, we looked for the last Perry’s Smorgy. We couldn’t find it. We finally asked a gal who obviously worked in the area. She said it had closed. Perry’s had originally occupied the space where Duke’s is now located. There used to be a second one on the corner where Trump Tower stands. The one on Kuhio was the last—and it was gone. Yet another favorite place to fall in the upscaling and modernization of Waikiki.

We trudged back to the hotel in the heat. Along the way, we stopped for a shave ice—except that it wasn’t really shave ice. It was a snow cone. Real shave ice has actual shaved ice! The ones at the hotel were also snow cones. At least they had some of the tropical fruit flavors. Those at the hotel offered more generic fruit flavors. And neither place added the ice cream or adzuki beans. At least they were cool, and we found a bench where we could rest.
I got some yogurt for Larry for dinner and went to the hotel restaurant with Len and Lu for dinner.

By Thursday, the 15th, Larry had recovered enough to go surfing. He had some good waves, and came back refreshed.

We decided to walk over to Cheeseburger for lunch. It should have been a walk in the park—literally. The restaurant is located a short walk across Ft. DeRussy from the hotel. What could be easier?

Well, it could have been lots easier! We got to the corner where we should have been able to cross directly to the restaurant. Unfortunately, the street was under construction. We talked to a man on the crew, and he told us to go back a block and another fellow would let us cross there. Unfortunately, this route was over uneven ground and grass. Len and Larry decided to backtrack a block, cross the street, and take the sidewalk back to the corner. Lu and I decided to take the ‘shortcut’ the construction worker had suggested. So we tramped down to the corner. Another worker met us there. When we asked to cross the street, he refused to let us. Instead, he pointed to the light more than a block back in the direction from which we’d come—half a block from the hotel where we’d started. “Cross at the signal and then take the sidewalk back to the corner.” He would not be budged.

So we followed his directions. We finally got to the restaurant—after covering more than double the original distance. The guys hadn’t reached the corner yet because they had to wait for signals. By the time they arrived, we heard the words “forced march” from both of them. We were all relieved when our tall, cold drinks arrived, and we all needed sustenance after the difficult journey. We returned by the shorter route.

The next morning, Larry decided he wasn’t going to do any more surfing, so we all walked the three blocks to the surfboard shop. Next door was an International House of Pancakes, so the three of us got a table and waited from Larry to join us.

When we got back to the hotel, we did laundry so we’d have clean clothes for the trip home the next day. We also got our boarding passes for the flight home. However, later in the afternoon, we received notice that our early morning flight had been cancelled because of equipment.

The airline had booked us on an afternoon flight—in separate center seats far apart. Since we flew into San Francisco, we would not arrive until late in the evening—too late for a connecting flight to Santa Ana.

I immediately contacted the airline and complained. We had booked these flights over six months ahead and had requested at least one aisle seat and to be together. I also booked a room at the Best Western in San Francisco for the night. Another unwelcome and unexpected expense.

At least we had the chance to eat another brunch at the hotel with Len and Lu. Since they also left in the afternoon, we were able to take them to the airport in the van, which saved them the cost of a shuttle or taxi.

When we arrived at the airport, we found that our seats had been changed so we sat together on the aisle in the very back of the plane. At least this was better than the seats we’d originally been assigned.

The boarding process in Honolulu was the absolutely worst we’d ever seen. Completely disorganized with long lines and strange order for boarding. A gal behind us said she’d had a friend who was supposed to fly out the day before, but the plane had mechanical problems and had to return to Honolulu. We wondered if they had used the aircraft we were originally assigned in order to get that flight out.

With the boarding delay, we left late, meaning we arrived in San Francisco later than scheduled.

We stayed the night (what was left of it) at the Best Western. They offered a continental breakfast at the hotel, as we decided to take advantage of it since our flight left at 6:30 a.m.

The plane we flew from SF was one of the smallest commercial jets we’d ever seen. Two seats flanked a very narrow center aisle (only one-seat wide). At the back of the aisle was the door to the restroom. (Yep, it was tiny, too)

I kept wondering where the flight attendant was going to sit. She finally pulled her seat out from behind the last row of seats like a pocket door. It barely fit in the aisle.

This flight arrived in Santa Ana late and baggage claim took forever. Bob and Bernie were waiting to pick us up. Unfortunately, they had also had to wait.

We’ve always said there was no such thing as a bad trip to Hawaii, but now we’ve had to modify our opinion. Although we did some wonderful things and spent time with great friends, this trip was fraught with more than its share of problems. We may never return to Waikiki. (How many Tiffanty and Kate Spade and Rolex and other unaffordable stores do we need?) However, we look forward to returning to Maui and Kauai and the Big Island in the future. Maybe Molokai again, too.


  1. This is interesting, Lorna. When we were in Waikiki a few years ago, I was disappointed then. I liked the "Pink Lady" and the Sheraton ? Surfer because of my interest in iconic hotels. However, Kauai was much more what we expected of Hawaii. Also, Maui. For someone from Virginia, the flights are forever. We flew once from St. Louis, and that was a nine-hour flight. One time we flew back into San Francisco and were in those center seats next to a heavyset man who took up more than his own seat, so I can relate. One thing for certain, we can always expect change, and often that is not for the best!

    1. We agree. Change is inevitable. We consider ourselves very lucky to have made our first trip in 1978 when everything was still relatively unspoiled. We will go back to Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. However, we may not return to Oahu--despite the surfing there. If we do go back, it probably won't be to Waikiki.