Monday, April 7, 2003

March 24th - March 27th: Aloha Hawaii!

Monday, March 24th: Last night Rebecca was tossing and turning and moaning and I thought she’d have to go to the bathroom, so around 1 a.m. I put her on the toilet and she went pee and the back to bed. Not 5 minutes later she was rolling and groaning again and thinking that she and her sister simply couldn’t sleep together, I put her in the double bed with Nicholas.

Vomit all over the floor. And again an hour later. This may sound weird but Yay! There was a good chance she’d be all done with this before we even get on the plane. And even better, she didn’t even hit the bed. But if you’ve ever seen the game Roller Coaster Tycoon, you know what the floor of our hotel room looked like by the time we’d left and all 4 kids had used the floor as a vomit catcher. Yup, just like the results around your park if you don’t have enough handymen and you’ve built a really nauseating coaster. Thank goodness they were generous on the towels when we asked.
So, by 3:30 a.m. everyone was up and about getting dressed and heading to the aiport. Our flight was leaving at 6:16, but being an airport, it was open and people were already in line checking in at 4:30 a.m. We’d found out in our packing yesterday of all our stuff, that neither our giant umbrella nor the closet pole would fit into our suitcases. Well the closet organizer was an oversight for the packers and since it had been raining on Thursday and Friday when the house was being packed we had the umbrella. Yes, we should have kept the smallest umbrella, but no, here we were the largest one we could find with a big metal poking part at the end. We were stuck. The airlines have become very strict about what they’ll let on, no scissors, no knives (not even for meals), so we weren’t sure about the umbrella but figured we’d try it. The closet pole we didn’t think we’d be able to pull off so easily. At best, they’d say no, at worst they’d think it was convoluted weapon. So to avoid having to bring it to the airport and leave it there, we left it in the hotel room. Chances are we’ll need to order another one to replace it though, for the girls’ closet.
We head towards the security check and Rebecca loses her bit of breakfast on the airport floor. We tried our best to clean it up, but pray that this is the last of this bug. By the time we’re getting through security, a cleaning crew is already at the scene. Rebecca feels much better.
We arrived at the gate after checking ourselves in to Hawaii. They didn’t even blink at the umbrella which Ian carried as his personal item. Ok then, makes no sense to me but I’m not going to argue. We rode in cattle car for the 2+ hours to Chicago and switched planes. Though we were checked in all the way, this was the leg we were going to try for upgrades. For all of us. On the phone we were told several times that there were only 6 total seats available for upgrades and there were 7 of us flying. We didn’t know how it would work out, but just kept hoping. We decided that Ian and the girls would go into First Class when they boarded, leaving us with the boys (and shorter legs) in the back. But we waited and waited by the desk for everyone else to show up and board, held our breath and finally were called up. She printed us 3 new First Class boarding tickets! So the boys and I were set, but wait, mom was still here with her own ticket which she handed over and she got an upgraded seat too! Woohoo! Honolulu here we come. We packed the rest of first class, waved to Ian and the girls, and were off in comfortable style. We were fed constantly, and watered even more. The chairs were cozy, the boys fell asleep, even I fell asleep for the length of the Bond movie they showed, we saw the Grand Canyon, Ian made the girls try some of the stinky moldy cheese at snack time, the girls visited the bathroom more often than humanly possible and Jonathon received a comment from the folks next to him that he was the best traveling 18 month old they’d seen. All the kids were excellent, I couldn’t have asked for better from a 9 hour first flight. The girls had flown before on a flight from Florida to Virginia and back but that was years ago, and the boys had never flown. I was rather concerned about how Jonathon would handle it as he freaks out about the strangest things, but Nicholas was thrilled and Jonathon strained a few times to get out of his seat but all in all did fabulous. Snacks are definitely key.
So, 9 hours later, we look out the window and see the islands of Hawaii. And not long after we were landed and getting our bags. The girls saw bunches of people wearing leis, so I caved and bought 3 fresh flower leis right from the airport vendor. $40, up in smoke. For items that will die badly in a day or two. But we’re in Honolulu, probably the only time ever, so we’re going to splurge a bit. Or a lot.
The local time was mid-afternoon, but our bodies felt it was bedtime especially for being up since 3:30 a.m. Not being able to go right to sleep, we walked around the Hilton Hawaiian Village, a resort hotel with shops, restaurants, the beach, 3 pools and many other places to check out, but the biggest hit was the onsite zoo. Not a real zoo of course, but there were ponds everywhere filled with all colors of koi and many other types of sparkly fish. Nicholas’s favorites were the “bih bish!” as he pointed out the same fish over and over as we walked by. There were also parrots (some that talked, some not), flamingoes, ibis, and oddly enough, penguins. The penguins didn’t do much, but the turtles in the same pond were swimming around and that was cool.
We slowly meandered to a comfy outdoor restaurant right near the beach, the Rainbow Lanai, and no one was hungry so we had the simplest foods we could find. Some soup for mom and me, some fish sticks for the boys and Ian had a platter of fresh fruit. By the end of the meal, Rebecca was falling asleep in her seat and my world was starting to spin and get fuzzy. We managed to see the guy run around the village in his grass skirt lighting all the lanterns, and we saw part of a hula show by the pool. It was around 6 p.m. and we were all falling apart, so off to the room we went and did a literal crash into bed.
Tuesday, March 25th : After breakfast at a fairly decent 24 hour diner type place, Ian headed off to “work”, dressed in his suit for his INS consultation at the INS offices. He said he’d be the only one of the island in a suit and I do believe he was right. But he looked good and that’s all that matters.
After a short while of walking around the shops that were mostly closed so early in the morning, and buying some little bracelets for the kids, grandma the kids and I headed to the beach. I’d lathered up the kids well with sunscreen and they wore hats, but you know how moms are. We neglected ourselves and after only and hour at the beach, got ourselves nice and toasted. This should do real well on the plane trips on Thursday. The kids were spared entirely and had a fabulous time playing in the sand and wading in the water. Jonathon had no fear even when the waves came up and swept the sand from under his feet. Katherine kept asking for her swimming board. She just doesn’t want to accept that we didn’t pack it in the suitcase, but it’s in a box somewhere over the ocean now.
After only an hour at the beach, it was 11 a.m. and we were all ready for lunch and a break from the heat. There was a pizza place nearby, so once Ian returned from his morning INS training (via limo cab of all things), mom and I brought back a pizza while Jonathon napped. We were on the 17th floor, so the breeze was pretty good on the balcony and we could see the pools, the beach and part of Diamond Head.
We wandered around the resort and saw a wedding going on with a couple Hawaiian musicians. With the backdrop of a pond, rocks and lush greens, I bet it made some nice photographs. Passing by the social directors desk (we called her Julie the entire time we were in the resort) we signed up the girls for a full day of kids camp for tomorrow. It should be great fun. It says they’ll be fishing, swimming, having lunch and doing some projects. It’ll also free up mom and I to take the boys swimming.
We spent some time looking for a luau, and were surprised to find that luaus are simply not a common thing. They are scheduled once or twice a week in a few places, or you can plan one for you and twenty guests, but just going to one? Nope, not common. Oh well, we’ll miss that famous Hawaiian tradition. The ones we did see didn’t start until 7 or later, and with our jetlag there wasn’t going to be a way to stay awake that long. Instead, we settled on a Benni Hana right down the way and barely stayed awake through it much less ate anything. By 7 p.m. we were all very ready for bed. In fact before we’d all changed and gotten ready, Nicholas had already crawled into his roller bed and fallen fast asleep.
Wednesday, March 26th: Breakfast again at the same place. Go to a totally new state and practically all new culture… eat at a diner. Oh well. And everything comes with pineapple. Normal I suppose for the state where the Dole plantation is, but frustrating since Jonathon can’t eat pineapple. He loves it, but it does bad bad things to him. My mom was way more careful with Jonathon than I probably would have been, but it’s a good thing because if he gets sick, the next part of our trip would be miserable.
Ian took off in a cab for his day of INS training at the airport, we went to watch the penguins getting fed and at 8:30 we registered the girls for their day camp. Then we were free free free! OK, not really we still had the boys but they’re easy enough to cart around. It was enough time to head to the pool where we were totally confused as to how the whole pool thing worked. You need to check in, get a wrist tag, request towels, then try to find a place to camp out, only all the chairs were taken. So we put our stuff at a table where presumably you were supposed to order food, but no one kicked us out so I guess all was good. Nicholas had a fabulous time, jumping in, paddling around. Jonathon had a bad night last night, so he was less fun. He wanted to swim, but not really, then he did, then he didn’t, then he wanted to sit, then he wanted to swim. He didn’t know up from down it seemed. After about an hour it was time to eat again so we hopped over to the Tropics which is right between the pool and the beach. Ian joined us after we’d ordered our $50 lunch meal (fries for $4 anyone?) and while it was good it wasn’t –that- good. But it’s ok, like most meals we put it on our room bill. It all feels free!
Jonathon was very ready for his nap, so we left Ian and Nicholas to swim some more while mom and I headed up to the rooms to schedule the shuttle pick-up for tomorrow. Boy was that a mess. I told the guy that our flight departed at 3, so he scheduled a pick-up at noon which we all know is too late. So I called back to change the pick-up to 11 a.m. Only they had no record of my calling and making a reservation. Wait, I just called 5 minutes ago. Sorry, we don’t have any records. What do you mean? I just called! OK, let’s start again, we want to be picked up at 11. What time are you flying out? That doesn’t matter, we want to be picked up at 11. No, you have to tell us what time your flight leaves. I don’t want to be picked up at noon. Please, we need to know what time your flight leaves, at 3? Yes, at 3. Pick-up would be at noon. No, I want to change that and we want to be picked up at 11. Ok, pick-up at 11. I was so tempted to call back and make sure that I’d talked to a real person who’d actually written something down.
Nicholas was doing so well swimming and it’s not often he’ll get so much one on one time in the pool. By the time they returned from the pool, there wasn’t much longer to wait to pick up the girls. Ian and I collected them and only back up in the room did we all realize we’d forgotten all their clothes. They’d returned directly from swimming and were still in their swimsuits. Think we were still tired? The girls hadn’t really gone fishing in the lagoon like we’d hoped but instead had been given cups to try to capture some of the fish in the ponds. How cruel is that! Those poor fish. And Katherine had even caught one. Even crueler. They had snowcones as a snack and loved the swimming.
While the girls were getting changed and we were planning to pack up, Ian decided to check out our tickets and make sure everything was set for tomorrow. I came in and asked if all was well and he said no. We didn’t have 3 of our tickets. We had the printed itinerary for Katherine, Nicholas and Ian, but only Jonathon, Rebecca and I had the actual tickets to Manila. It seemed that the American Airlines ticket counter attendant who had done our tickets in Washington had taken 3 of the wrong sets of papers from our ticket folders. We fly out tomorrow. It’s 3 p.m. Hawaii time. This was bad.
For the next half hour we prayed that businesses would be open. It was already 8 p.m. on the East coast. He called American Express, he called Continental and luckily got real people at both places as he explained the story over and over. By the end of it, he had reassurances that upon arriving at the counter tomorrow, we would be issued 3 new tickets. With nothing else to do, he accepted what he was told and we fervently hoped that this would be one of those rare occurrences where one person said all would be taken care of, and another person would actually come through.
So Jonathon was up and we went down to collect the girls clothes. We passed another wedding at the same spot, this time with a harpist and Julie explained how wonderful and gorgeous, etc etc it all was. We decided to go watch the swan instead of hang around.
By 7 p.m. we were all wiped again, Nicholas had climbed into bed and fallen asleep and before the lights were out and we hoped that we’d all have a better nights sleep, even with the burn. We’d applied heavy doses of some allow with lidocaine but aside from making everything sticky I don’t know how much good it did.

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