Diamond Head - Kris taking his own Pic
I wanted to update my blog during the trip but those following Facebook know that my website was blocked by the ship. Kinda fun thinking my site is too smutty for Holland America. Plus, it was 75 cents a minute on a very slow connection.
We got in the cab at 1pm unsure how long it was going to take us to get through customs. Turns out they were ready for us. There was a line - up of walkers, wheelchairs and crutches. Kris fit right in and was grinning when he realized he was the youngest one in line. Some of the old widow ladies looked at him like he was fresh meat.
This was a great vacation that was so easy - 8 minutes in a taxi, 10 minutes through customs and boarding, 5 minutes to unpack and we were eating lunch on the Lido deck. No airports, no muss, no fuss and literally 23 minutes from leaving the house I could feel myself beginning to relax. As we pushed off from the dock at 5pm I felt positively giddy with relief and excitement. I had been waiting for this holiday for what seemed like forever.
Day 1 found my brother somewhat seasick and he spent the day in bed while I enjoyed running around the ship discovering everything and falling into a stupor during my afternoon at the Spa where I had a mini facial, neck, hand and leg massage. I would say that it set the tone for the whole trip except that the young lady administering my treatments said I needed extensive work as I had bags under my eyes, blocked pores, wrinkles and age spots. These however, could be treated with about $300 worth of face gunk. She did finish with " you look pretty good though for a grandmother". Nice. Kris was still pukey when I dressed for our first formal dinner and the thought of lobster had me very excited but worried that I forgot to pack any Spanx. Kris missed dinner but thankfully we had been blessed with fabulous tablemates and I enjoyed an evening of good food and great dinner conversation.
Day 2 Kris was up and about. The seas were still somewhat rough but I loved it. I also love roller coasters so this was pretty tame. I read my book, ate, napped, played in the casino, ate, walked the deck, napped and ate.
Day 3 - lost the slot tournament. Lost the poker tournament. Lost the blackjack tournament. First time asked if Kris and I are twins. I said yes, just 10 years apart with him being the older. Took Hula lessons and tried to make a lei. Mine did not look like any of the others. Odd since I followed the directions same as everyone else.
Day 4 found me getting my clock cleaned and dancing the night away - basically by the same people. I made my way to the Crows Nest after dinner and found myself being asked "c'mon toots, lets dance" by a shipboard 80 year old giggilo. I was also invited to play in a late night poker game by 4 octogenarian card sharks. They cleaned my clock and took me for $50. I was invited back for the next night. Seems they have a regular game going each night. It was fun and they were very interesting with lots of tall tales.
Day 5 was the last day at sea. I had chosen the late seating for dinner as I find it best if I am busy or have been eating all day. I need time to have my stomach settle. Seems that since most of the folks on board are elderly, they all chose the early 5pm sitting and our dinning room was less than 1/2 full. This meant we got great service. The weather was finally actually hot and the water had changed color from that deep blue to the beautiful azure blue. I went for a swim in the outdoor pool at the back of the ship. It was great until some old guy tried to drown me. These pools are not huge but he thought he would cannonball off the side and grab my shoulder as he hit the water.
Day 6 - Honolulu, Oahu. We were docked for 2 days. Having never been to Hawaii before I wasn't sure what to expect. I watch Hawaii 5-0 and all the Magnum PI episodes but I still thought that Honolulu and Waikiki were on two separate islands and not as big as they turned out to be. It was also humid. I wasn't expecting that. Not Florida humid but still..... Kris and I were so excited to be there that we were one of the first off the ship. We stood on the sidewalk looking around and trying to decide which direction to go when we were told that we could take the bus on the corner and head to the international marketplace in Waikiki. It was great - a huge maze of shops and I was on the hunt for a couple of light, cotton sundresses. Turns out I had not packed very well and with the heat and humidity I really needed something that was light and airy. We wandered around for about 3 hours before heading back to the ship so that Kris could rest. Once he was settled, I headed back out to explore on my own. As I wandered the downtown area I noticed all the worker-bees in their suits and couldn't help wondering how on earth they could wear suits in this heat. Plus, I was suppressing giggles that I was not amongst them toiling away.
Day 7 - We figured that the best way to see the whole island of Oahu was to rent a car. It was great! We traveled the entire island and saw the bonsai pipeline beach where the big surf comes in, the pineapple plantation, had coconut shrimp from a truck, shopped with the locals in the grocery store in search of cheap nuts and coffee, drove into the Diamond Head crater and wandered on a beach that was totally bereft of any seashells. It was a perfect day. That is, until we tried to get back to the car rental place. For such a small place, it is crazy with traffic and streets that change name and direction mid-way. After filling up with gas, we tried to get back to the rental agency - for over an hour. I was ready to ditch the car and call them to come pick it up. We were in a bit of a panic at one point wondering if we would miss our ship and have to fly home. More panicked when we both realized that our passports were still on the boat. We made it with just 15 minutes to spare. It was a great day!
Day 8 - Lahaina, Maui. This beautiful spot required a tender ride to shore. That was a bit tricky. Even though the ship was still, the little boat we had to walk the gangplank to board was rocking and rolling A LOT. I got grabbed under the armpits and basically thrown on. That was nothing compared to this little old lady - they heaved her on like she was a sack of potatoes. I liked Maui even though we only saw a small portion. We went in search of more coconut shrimp in our neverending quest to find the best. It was pretty good but I would save judgement until the last island stop. We wandered through a park with the 2nd largest Banyan tree in the world. Kris and I had no idea what it was. It was so cool to see a tree grow into another tree and again and again. I hope the picture captures it properly. It was a great day as we ended it watching folks learn to surf.
Day 9 - Hilo, Hawaii. Holy crap on a cracker! The highlight of the trip. So far, each island had been so different from the last and Hawaii was no exception. Especially considering the whole place is sitting on volcano's, After spending the morning in a farmer's market we headed back to the ship to pick up our ride to the airport. I was very excited until.......they insisted on weighing me. What?????? I turned my back and stepped on the scale. I warned the young man that he better not say the number out loud and if I turned up on YouTube or something with my weight, I would come back, find him and send him to Alaska without a parka. (it was a biggest threat I could think of for someone who had spent his entire life on the islands)
After a 7 minute safety video and strapping on of a lifevest that looked like a fanny pack, we headed to the tarmac. Well, I headed out to the tarmac. Kris got the royal treatment and was taken around the airport in a golf cart. It was sooooo cool! We had headsets and microphones so we could talk to the pilot. He started off playing the Magnum PI music and zooming off the ground nose down. It was so cool I couldn't help clapping my hands like an excited kid. We bobbed and weaved out over the ocean and then the crater where we could see the lava bubbling and the steam rising as it hit the ocean before heading over to see some truly wonderful waterfalls. Kris started to feel pukey again. I had the time of my life. Again asked if we were twins.
Day 10 - Nahwiliwili, Kuai. Again we rented a car and I got to see where Puff the Magic Dragon lives in Honelei. We went from one end of the island to the other and saw some truly amazing sights. We managed to make it to the Waimea canyon - where they shot Lost and Jurassic Park. They say it is the Grand Canyon of the pacific. All we saw were chickens and fog. The sun broke through for about 10 seconds and then the fog rolled back in. However, I got a picture of the sign so ya'll would believe we made it. The drive was pretty spectacular and then it was another rush back to the boat. We made it with 10 minutes to spare.
It was time to say good-bye to Hawaii as we set sail for the 5 day journey home. Only one last stop in Victoria where we were meeting family for lunch. Those 5 days sailed by faster than they did on the way there. It cooled off by day 3 and the color of the water changed and got rougher. We knew we were headed home. My heart grew heavier with each passing minute. I would truly miss people waiting on me.
On day 12, I again got my ass handed to me on a platter during the poker tournament. This time, it seems someone took pity on me and sent me a bottle of wine for dinner. On the brightside, I came in 3rd this time in the blackjack tournament and won a dinner for 2 in the specialty restaurant. We took advantage of it on our final night. It was a meal to remember and I think I am still full. Basically, the trip back was much like the trip over - napping, reading, eating and losing - money, not weight.
Time to disembark. We were given a 9am time to get off the ship. We awoke early to make sure we had time to eat one last time. I looked out the back of the ship and it was quite surreal to see us being followed by 2 other cruise ships and 2 tankers under the Lions Gate bridge after not seeing a single other vessel the whole time at sea until Victoria.
We made our way when our number was called, to the baggage area to pick up our 4 bags. While trying to juggle the 3 carry-on bags, Kris's walker and him on crutches, in the crush of people, I slammed my toes into his walker. Pain shot right up my shin but we pushed forward and into a cab for the short ride home. My toe throbbed like a toothache but since this is not my first rodeo, I just sat on the couch after lugging everything in and kept it elevated. It stayed elevated for about 5 hours when I could stand it no longer and caved. I didn't want to go to hospital. I knew that if the same doctor that took care of my broken ribs - both times, was on call, he would laugh at me for being such a big baby - or an incredible klutz. However, with my toe bent at an unnatural angle, I thought perhaps I should have it looked at if I didn't want to be constantly turning left for the rest of my life. After the doctor stuck a needle into my toe and another beside my toe and then telling me to grab the bed rails and bite on my pillow, he pulled. Tears sprang to my eyes and spilled down my cheeks. Four hours after arriving, I hobbled home, took some tylenol and crawled into my own bed. It's really amazing how heavy my sheets actually are. The weight baring down on my toes (now 3 hurt after the needles and pulling) was quite incredible.
Ah well, today I have 3 bruised toes and 558 emails from work to go through. I have done 50 pounds of laundry and one more day before I head back to the office where I will be wearing sandals for a couple of weeks.
I feel a little depressed that it is over. I need to be wealthy so that I wouldn't have to save for 2 years for the next cruise. Back to 7-11 and my friday night financial planning ritual of lotto play. Someone has to win - why not me?
Stay tuned as I hobble back to a normal routine. I have a road trip to Alberta coming up and who knows whose path I may cross.