Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 10 - Last Day, Oahu

Our last day in Hawaii. This is such a beautiful state, but in all honesty I'm ready to go home. I miss the kitties, I miss showering in something besides a 2x2 cubical that's rocking back and forth, (ever tried shaving like that... it's a trick!). I miss my full power hair dryer verses the 2 watt hair dryer they have in the rooms. And I miss being able to eat a meal without having to fight a senior citizen for it. Yes, the cutting in line thing has lost it's charm and is no longer 'cute'.

We get into port early in the morning but our flight doesn't leave until 10pm so we're hanging out on this ship for as long as possible. By 10:30 they're making us all get off because they have another batch of passengers coming on at noon.

Ed and I decided we've got a bus map, our luggage is all taken care of so all we have are the carry on's, it's time to see Oahu. We ask the information desk how far Foster Botanical Gardens are and he tells us, 'Oh it's just 6 blocks up'. I tell Ed that instead of paying $8 in buss fees why don't we just hoof it, it's only 6 blocks.

Well what this guy fails to tell us is that it's 6 blocks up, 3 blocks over, 2 blocks up again then another 3 blocks over. We think it's about a mile each way. And I have no problem walking a mile... HOWEVER, I have a 40 pound carry on around my neck, Ed has the laptop around his neck, it's around 85 degrees and about 200% humidity.

We did a very leisurely stroll around the gardens, took lots of pictures and lots of just sitting on the bench looking at the trees and flowers. All of it is very beautiful and inspirational.

This was such a huge tree that I made Ed stand next to it to get some perspective on it's size.

We get done at the gardens and hoof it back to the port where we find the most wonderful bar with TV, beer, free Internet and even a plug in for our laptop. We set up camp and stayed there for like 6 hours. The staff was really great, even brought us a plate of extra calamari they had made that was going to be thrown out free of charge.

And then our last Hawaiian sunset before we board the shuttle to the airport.

Day 9 - Hawaii Again, Hilo

We have our final excursion in Hawaii, the tour of Volcano National Park. We start get into port in Hilo and go find our meeting place for the excursion. Once the organizer person arrives she has us follow her to a large garage door and asks us all to form a line, which we do. They open up the garage door and there is a large tour bus awaiting us. And I swear to God every blue haired lady and gray haired man step out of the line we were in, walk to the front of the line and cut in front of everyone. Ed and I can't help but laugh out loud and neither can the couple in front of us who turns to us and says, "They're worse than teenagers aren't they?"

The good news is that they filled that bus up and we were able to get on the 2nd bus which was only half full. I told Ed that this actually worked out better since all the pushy people were on that first bus.

Again we had a fabulous tour guide named Jane. She gave us a little bonus tour of this park in Hilo. She did this on the condition that we promised we would all make it back to the bus on time. She then told us that the last person that made it on the bus had to do the Hula for the rest of us. We were 2nd to the last once and you can bet I was bookin it to the bus and throwing my husband to the wolves!

It's amazing the difference in terrain in just a few miles on this Island. This picture was taken at just about 10 minutes away from lush green rain forest. We are up at an over look of the crater of Kilauea Volcano.

At another stop overlooking the crater we found sacrifices made to the volcano god Pele. Our tour guide says she actually prefers pork and gin, but people still leave other things.

And of course we had to do the tourist thing and get a picture taken on top of the hardened lava from when Kilauea erupted in the 1980's. Isn't he handsome girls?

Last thing on this tour was the lava tubes. We walked through this long dark dark tube. They do have lights every so often in this tube so you're not going into total darkness.

And when we came out the other side we were back in rain forest.

Again, Hawaiian Sunset.....

Day 7 - Back on Maui

We're back on Maui today. Nothing too exciting except doing a little shopping. The picture above is of a HUGE Banyan tree in a park in Maui. I think I heard someone say it's the largest in the world, but I'm not positive on that.

The amazing thing about this stop is that we are introduced to the Humpback Whale. It's mating season for them and everywhere you look in the Ocean you find their flapping tales and mist spewing from their blow holes. They were a bit too evasive for my camers lens, but we did get to see quite a few of them.

The bartender on our ship did introduce me to a new drink though. Instead of Long Island Ice Tea, this is a Hawaiian Island Ice Tea. It was such a work of art we just had to take a picture of it. Luckily I was within crawling distance from our cabin when this was served.

Ed is still sick so we're not doing too much today.

Day 6 - Kaua'i

Until I visited this island I had always thought the most magical place on earth, or at least in my travels, had been the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. However, after careful consideration I have to move Kauai to the number one position.

This island is called the Garden Island and with good reason. Everywhere you look is lush beautiful green.

This morning Ed was off to play golf so I treated myself to the on ship spa for a facial. I can now say I've had one and don't really need to experience that again. $159 later and I still had the same face. I wish I would've gone with the message... probably would've been money better spent.

Today is the day we finally get our toes in some Hawaiian sand and take a dip in the Ocean. The water temperature isn't bath like, but it's still warmer than that pool on the ship. We have a wonderful relaxing time on the beach, get too much sun and both walk away with raccoon eyes from our sunglasses. This was just a perfect day other than somebody that brought their cell phone to the beach and was trying to talk to their baby on it. ("Hello Christian, hello Christian, I love you Christian, hello Christian, daddy loves you Christian, repeat about a hundred times and yes it will chew on your last nerve). This picture is from the walk back to the ship from the beach.

Back on the ship we sail around the coast and this is where it takes your breath away. This is where they filmed Jurassic Park, Six Days Seven Nights and a couple others I can't remember.

The scenery starts like mountains coming out of the mist. The mist is from the waves crashing into the rocky shore. There are several small waterfalls created by this as well.

I believe you can only see these from either a ship or a helicopter ride. Although we did see a couple of motorized hang gliders buzz the ship. (That's when Ed came out and asked why we were under attack).

There really is no way to explain this, so I'll just post a bunch of pictures.

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Day 5 - Kona

Another day in Kona... who can complain? Today we have an excursion for a glass bottom boat. Unfortunately Ed is down sick with a cold. I sure am glad we did all that disinfecting... everyone on this ship seems to be coughing and sniffling. But we manage through to the glass bottom boat.

At first I'm rather skeptical since they are telling us that we'll be back in about an hour. We paid close to $40 per person for this excursion and it's going to take less than an hour? None the less we get on board the glass bottom boat. They take us out over a coral reef and we have the most wonderful tour guide. He was just a fountain of marine knowledge.

The pictures are not all that great, partly because the boat is moving and the fish are moving. After many attempts at getting some decent shots of the fish I just started clicking the camera off in hopes that one would swim by at the right moment.

So here's your piece of Marine trivia for the day. These fish are called Butterfly Fish and they come in all sorts of varieties. The interesting thing about Butterfly Fish is that you will always see two of them together, no matter what variety they are. The reason for this is that these fish mate for life... and they really mean it! If one of them should die, the mate will stop eating and inevitably perish itself.

Pretty crazy for the animal kingdom isn't it? We humans don't even have that strong of bond.

After we were done with the coral reef our guide took us over to a spot where some Spinner Dolphins were known to hang out. We did get to see them, but they are so quick I really didn't get a good shot of them.

Another amazing sunset in Hawaii.

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Day 4 - Kona

We stayed on the ship this day. Hung out by the pool and did the hot tub. There was a guy with his son in the hot tub with me so I decided to ask the son if he'd been into the pool yet. The father replied with a laugh, "Yeah, as soon as the ice cracks on it". So the pool is still freezing cold.

One thing I am noticing is the feeding frenzy's are getting worse. Each day they close up the buffet at 11am and around 4:30 to get ready for lunch and dinner. There is still 1 of the 3 buffets open as well as an ice cream stand when this happens. You would think the ship was sinking and this was going to be these peoples last meal!

Now I'm not picking on the elderly here, I'm just calling it as I see it. For all of these things they form up a line and every single time either Ed or I are in one of those lines a little blue haired lady or grey haired man cuts right in front of us. They'll just step right in front of you, grab a plate and start grabbing the grub. I mean what the hell? Are we holograms? But I was taught to respect my elders so we both just let them do their thing and cut in line... then we sort of get a giggle out of it after it happens.

The only thing I did do today was learn how to make a lei. And this picture is just horrible of me, but I did want to show off the lei I made. As I said before, the make up kept just melting off my face so I finally figured I should quit wasting it and just be on vacation. So this is me with my electric hair and no make up... but don't look at that, look at the

Tonight we also went to another show on the ship. This one was a thousand times better, it was a group of performers doing snipe ts from about 5 Broadway shows. The singers we fantastic, costumes were great and we were both thoroughly entertained.

Still a couple of old fogies off to bed after the show.

There were a couple of good sunset shots though.

Day 3 - Golfing in Maui

One of the conditions in the cruise was that I go out golfing with my husband. I was told I would not have to actually play, but I could just drive the cart. I've played golf about 6 times in my life and personally I'm good for about 5 holes, then I grow bored with it and start to kick the ball around. Just not my cup of tea. But I've made a deal, I go along golfing for this one, the next one he's on his own and I'm at the spa on the ship.

There are only 2 guys golfing on this excursion, Ed and a really nice guy named Jeff from New Jersey. I drive the cart, or at least that's what I'm calling it. It never fails, every time I get in one of those things and catch a bit of a downward slope I feel like it's going out of control so I slam on the breaks, which in turn makes the most spin tingling squeal heard all through the golf course. And inevitably there's some guy right in the middle of his back swing and when he's done I get the most Gawd awful looks from

The scenery was wonderful, the foliage beautiful and I had the camera so I got some nice pictures on this journey.

We arrived back on the ship with just about an hour before it sailed off again to our next destination, Kona.
The evening was somewhat uneventful. We did go to see a show on the ship that night, it was a juggling act. And although he was a little on the lame side I give him props for being able to juggle on a ship that is rocking back and forth. He juggled golf clubs at one point which was impressive and had a couple of decent jokes, (I'm sweatin like Mel Gibson at a Bar Mitzvah.... I'm sweatin like George Bush at a Mensa Meeting).
Still adjusting to the time so we're old party poopers and back in the cabin and out like a light fairly early.

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Day 2 - Ohau

Still not used to the time change we both woke up at the butt crack of dawn, and since we were in one of the inside cabins, (no windows), we were really amazed that it was 5am. But that seemed like good a time as any to start our day.
We get ready and head to the buffet. Now for anyone that's ever taken a cruise you know that you usually eat your way from one end of the ship to the other. You've never seen so much food laid out as you will on a cruise.
One thing I am noticing is Norwegian Cruise Lines dedication to a germ free environment. Before you get on the ship they've got two people with spray bottle of disinfectant that smells like rubbing alcohol and a Dr.'s office, you must put both your hands out to be sprayed. Then before any of the buffets or restaurants there is a ball full of the same mixture of liquid to rub on your hands. This is actually reassuring to me, because the last thing you want is to get sick on your vacation.

We have our breakfast at the buffet and decide to take a stroll around the Aloha Tower Marketplace. Of course I had to stop at all the shops with the wonderful jewerly... black pearls, shells, and a unique style that is Island oriented.

Before heading back to the ship we catch a little hole in the wall coffee shop called, 'Bad Ass Coffee'... well when you see something like that you just have to stop and see if it's So we had ourselves one Bad Ass Cup of Coffee. Not bad and amazing it's still in business. There was a Starbucks 4 doors down charging of course around $6 for a cup of coffee. The Bad Ass cup of ice coffee was around $2.75.

We head back to the ship mostly because I've been dumb enough to bring along 2 new pairs of shoes for this vacation. And although the ones I'm wearing are just adorable, I now have blisters on my heal about 3/4" across on both feet. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
Off to the pool we go! There are 4 hot tubs in the middle of the ship bunched together like a clover with a deep pool on one side and a more shallow pool on the other side. After a bit in the hot tub I'm ready to venture into that pool. I get ankle deep and find that this pool is just like our last cruise, salt water pumped up from the ocean and is freezing cold. Back out of the pool I go. We did however get great amusement out of watching those kids all excited about getting into that pool only to do the same thing I did, ankle deep and right back out of that pool.

Ed tells me that it's been at least a 1/2 hour since he's eaten and is starting to get peakid so we prepare for dinner.
The ship sails at 6pm and we get a nice rainbow, (it was sprinkling off and on all evening, but that is typical of Honolulu this time of year I'm told).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ohau Hawaii Day 1... Getting there

Alrighty... we're up at the crack of dawn and on our way to sunny Hawaii! It's 6am and the temperature reading is a whole 2 on the register.

We are plenty early to the airport and are really hoping that everything goes smoothly since we only have about a 2 1/2 hour window to get from airport to port in Oahu... that includes getting luggage and finding our way to the shuttle.

We're on the plane and awaiting take off when they tell us that there is a mechanical problem with the plane that they are trying to fix. Ed and I aren't currently thinking about our small window to the ship, we're still too thrilled about our trip. Well an small delay turns into a long delay... at about 45 minutes late it hits me like a ton of bricks that this is shortening our window. Ed and I go into an absolute panic! This cruise has covered our lodging, meals and rental car, so if we miss that boat there is no way we have the funds to cover those things for then next 10 days... especially with Hawaii prices!

I get on my cell phone and call Norwegian Cruise Lines to find out what we do.... I give the woman our reservation number, (which she doesn't even look up), and she then tells me that the ship leaves at 6pm Hawaii time and we need to be on that ship by 5:00 pm, shortening our window even further! I ask her what we are suppose to do and proceed to get snippy with her as I inform her that THEY are the ones that booked this flight and why didn't they allow for some extra time? She tells me she'll have to transfer me to customer service and at that exact same time the pilot comes on and says we're finally ready for take off.... so off goes the phone.

Once in the air the pilot gives our estimated arrival time as 4:42 pm. Yep, that's when the tears came... I cried almost all the way to Hawaii. In between crying Ed and I strategize on how we would survive in Hawaii for 10 days with no money... I told him, "Well if you have to be homeless, I guess you couldn't ask for a better place to do it in". We have a plan for about the first week or week and a half, but figure the credit card would be maxed out after that.

We land in beautiful Honolulu! The second they gave the go ahead my phone was on and I was doing acrobatics trying to get a signal in a small airplane isle crammed with people trying to get off that plane. Eternal hold. At last someone gets on the phone and I race through our dilemma. This person looks up our reservation number and proceeds to tell me that our ship does not leave port until TOMORROW at 6pm! ARGH!!!! All that stress and worrying for nothing.

So now we can relax and enjoy our vacation. We step off the plane and into the wonderful Hawaiian air and something hits me that I'm totally unprepared for.... Mr. Within walking a few feet the make up has melted off my face and my hair looks like I stuck my finger in a light socket. I don't care though... I'm in Hawaii.

The rest of the day is somewhat uneventful. We get our luggage, find the shuttle and board the ship. After settling our bags in the stateroom we checked out the 12 floors of the cruise ship from top to bottom, found the bar and finally relaxed.

No pictures from this day since we were just trying to get settled in.