What I learned on vacation

Two days ago was already the one month anniversary for Lisa and I. Man is this marriage thing going fast. We were so unprepared that the evening consisted of leftover Chinese food and a couple episodes of NewsRadio. Lisa mentioned the frozen top of the cake, but neither of us were in the mood to break it out – we’ll see if it makes it though year one.

But time is most certainly flying by. I can’t believe we’ve been home for almost two weeks, and yet it feels like Hawaii is 2 years in the past. Last night I was talking to one of the VPs here at work as he prepares for his trip out there this winter, and I felt jealous of having that in the future rather than the past. It was a lot easier to leave the islands than it was to deal with it once we got back. While I continue to delay actually writing about the trip, let me share with you some insights I learned while on my honeymoon:

  • Hawai’i ain’t the Carribean – Yes, it’s absolutely beautiful and can be very relaxing, but we’re not talking about a place like the Bahamas where everything moves at half speed. There are natives and tourists alike who will get pissed at you doing the speed limit, and there’s plenty of hustle and bustle going on in the towns.
  • The water is an angry mistress – You know when you’re at the Jersey shore, and everybody’s “riding the waves”? You know, they jump up when a little swell that’s chest high rolls by so they get lifted? Yeah, on a calm day during the dry season the waves will body slam you on the beach and then drag you, kicking and screaming, back for more. The beaches are beautiful, but scary.
  • Natural wonders take effort – People didn’t build roads near blowholes and God didn’t build blowholes nears roads, so get your hiking boots on. I absolutely loved all the hiking we did, but man was it real tough in areas. The long walks through forests were nothing, it’s the 100 yards over battered lava rocks and boulders that’ll get you. We’re probably both in better shape now than we have been in years.
  • CHICKENS! – You may not know this, but the most populous wild animals on those islands appear to be chickens. Some hurricane busted them loose years ago and they’ve been taking everything over. It’s really quite amusing, and we actually kind of enjoyed the rooster that woke us up regularly on Kauai, but I get the definite impression that Hawaiians hate them like New Yorkers hate pigeons.
  • Kona – That’s really all I need to say. If you love coffee, you will kill for Kona. If you only sorta like coffee, you’ll probably still be willing to commit at least pett theft for Kona. It has a wonderful taste and the low acid and caffeine content means less jitters and stomach woes. We probably brought back at least 3 pounds for ourselves (ok, we’re giving some of it away).
  • Luggage expands – Even if we didn’t buy anything to bring back, I swear our clothes gained about 10 pounds on the trip. Then you have the whole frustration of packing all liquids in the big bags because hand cream can take down a Boeing. I swear, bottles of wine must be at least 5 pounds each.
  • Made in Taiwan – What’s the point of buying gifts and mementoes of places you visit, unless you actually visit Taiwan? I tried to limit my spending to items made in Hawaii, but that’s much harder than you might think. Souvenirs suck.
  • Airports suck – Almost everyone we dealt with at the airports – at ticketing, security, etc. – we’re pleasant and helpful. It still didn’t change the fact that it would take us 4 hours to travel between islands when the flight is half an hour.
  • These people know their pig – I had ham, sausage, and bacon all in one sitting. I got to see an entire kaloa roasted pig falling off the bones. Hawaiian cuisine rocks. And while I did eat plenty of seafood (amazingly only had sushi once), beef and pork was a much bigger part of it than I expected.
  • Note to self: islanders age well – We met a guy who looked to be in his late 40s (maybe early 50s). He was playing in an over 65 baseball league. This was pretty common out there. Lots of people looked younger than they were.
  • Hawaii is owned by ABC – No, not the TV station, the store. It’s a slightly touristy WaWa/7-Eleven type store. Except there’s one every ten feet.
  • Hilo Hatties rocks! – While ABC is slightly touristy, Hilo Hattie is the ultimate tourist store. You don’t need to go anywhere else to get your fill of aloha shirts, macademia nuts, tiki gods, or dashboard hula girls. Every exotic destination should have a store like this!

Alright, that wasn’t nearly as funny as I had been hoping. But I just need to get this crap out so I can start posting for real again. Possibly the oddest note about the whole trip was the Internet access. We stayed in a Sheraton, a bed and breakfast, and a studio condo. The Sheraton was the only place that didn’t give you any (at least not for free). My faith in hotels is wavering.

3 thoughts on “What I learned on vacation”

  1. Yeah, on a calm day during the dry season the waves will body slam you on the beach and then drag you, kicking and screaming, back for more. The beaches are beautiful, but scary.
    The ocean mugged me when I was there with my family, many many years back. I remember taking my cheap little bodyboard out, then I was wet and upside down, and then I didn’t have glasses anymore. It sucked, but the trip was great overall.

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