Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April 15, 2008, part 2

There are no pictures from December 30th at all,
not one....

We started the day early, 6 am. Rise and shine!
Naomi and Ross! Your cab is downstairs!

And off they went to Oahu and a vist with Ross'
family. I heard later mostly about Daisy, his
grandma, who is in her mid to late 80's, about
4'8", Japanese, and who kept offering them ham
sandwiches! Wish I could have met her!

Courtney, Zach and I walked across the street at
about 9am - we were getting some breakfast stuff,
and also picked up some champagne and orange
juice for mimosas.....

At about 10, we were getting the breakfast ready,
I was looking online in the dining room, and all
of a sudden there was a huge pop and an even
bigger scream from the kitchen... aaaaaahhhhh!
Zach is going aaahhhh and Courtney is going oh my
god and I ran in there and apparently Zach turned
the wire on the champagne bottle one twist and
the cork popped out right into his eyeball...get
ice....I'm bleeding....get a towel....call the
cab back....wheres the hospital.....wheres the
emergency room......always point the bottle away
from yourself!!!....aaahhhhhh!

The front of my shirt became a wet mass with
Zach's head pressed against it, as the ice
melted......Sarah said I looked like I was
lactating (gee thanks!) Courtney was on the
phone with her Dad, a doctor, and her Mom, a
nurse, as we sped away in the taxi to the
emergency room, about 20 minutes away...

After many hours in the emergency room, it was
determined that Zach did not lose his eyeball,
that his sight had improved immensely, and that
he should have further testing when he got
home...please pay $200 as you pass the door, even
though you have insurance...

What a crazy, scary day!!

And we had luau tickets for 4:45 pm.... needless
to say we did not have time to change our
clothes! The "official" luau picture had Sarah
and I with stains all over ourselves and Zach
looked a bit like a zombie....

We were all so relieved that we did enjoy the
show yet again...although Zach had a huge
headache, and kept saying he would never drink
champagne again!

So here are some luau pictures from the first
luau you havent seen yet - and some more photos
of Allie in her luau outfit!

More tomorrow! A better day in Hawaii for sure!

Love, Mindy

April 15, 2008

The 28th of December arrived, warm and sunny.
While we did not have the "perfect" weather in
Hawaii, meaning it was often really windy and
cloudy - we did not get poured on, and we were
warm enough to wear shorts and t-shirts....

We hung out on the beach in front of our condo
for a while, watched the surfers, read some books
and magazines, and decided that after dinner that
night would be the only time we could exchange
our gifts, because it would be one of the few
times we would all be together.

After a few phone calls to Zach and Courtney,
still en-route, we decided that on the 29th we
would split up into the guys and the gals....the
guys wanted to get in a round of golf at the Kona
Country Club, ocean side course. And the gals,
well we decided that since we were going on the
sunset/dinner cruise that (next)night, a day at
the "spa" would be about perfect (-:

Oh, and since we had already returned the first
rental car, and were relying on taxis, we had to
arrange transportation for Courtney and Zach from
the airport to the condo. We thought it might be
appropriate for them to get a lei greeting upon
their exit from the plane.....used to be in the
old days the lei greeting was a standard
event...not any longer - you have to call and
reserve lei's and a greeter. You have to agonize
over the choice of flowers in the lei, and then
they want your credit card number.

Once the critical flower decision had been made,
Naomi, Sarah and I went to the spa to look at
their "menu", and after several more phone calls
to Courtney, were able to reserve our time-slots
and choices for the next day. Conveniently, there
was a nail salon right across the way - so while
two of us were getting a massage, two of us could
have a pedicure....

I can hear you all groaning now.....I know this
was a very bourgeois outing we had planned - but
how many of you thought that about the guys
playing golf, hmmm? Ocean-side course? Kona
Country Club? I rest my case. We were all going
to have one of those days that you have great
memories of, but kind of wonder if you had lost
your mind (especially after the bill comes).

Zach and Courtney finally arrived, and we had an
awesome dinner together. After a few Mai-Tai's we
all opened presents, and then hung out, played
some games and watched movies.

Tee-time for the guys was somewhere close to 9am,
so we were all up relatively early, and had
reserved a couple of taxi's the night before to
come and get us. Ross had never been golfing
before, so he was a wee bit nervous about going
with Ken and Zach, who both (formerly) had
handicaps of 7-10......He offered to take the
requisite family photos at the golf course with
his disposable camera, but he ended up taking
Naomi's point and shoot digital. See ya later

We gals met our cab and decided that a)we needed
some real coffee and b)we should look for some
appropriate attire for the dinner cruise, and
what better place than Hilo Hattie's - a virtual
Hawaiian treasure trove of apparel

Here are some photos of our little shopping
excursion for dresses and hats...I should tell
you that all the guys got an Hawaiian shirt as a

We went to our spa/nail appts (Naomi and Courtney
both said that if you ever have the chance you
should get a hot stone massage). The nail salon
owner was a very sweet young woman from Vietnam,
she let us change in her waxing room once we were
all salon-ed-up!

Then we set out on the street in our new finery,
walking to the pier to meet the guys before the
sunset cruise.

As we were walking, and being stared at (-; (it
was the hats)....a cab drove by us headed the
same way we were going - it started honking and
the people in it were waving....turns out it was
our guys. They told us later that someone in the
cab (no one admitted who) said "hey look at those
girls, all dressed up with the funny hats!" Then
another one of them said, "hey those are our
dates!" The driver was having a lot of fun; it
was the same driver who had dropped the gals off
at Hilo Hatties! And then the salon!

The sunset cruise was fun - there was no real sun
to speak of - but we had dinner, drinks, a show,
and laughing and dancing....

So there are pics here of that too...please note
that Ross was the only one of us who did not wear
his Aloha outfit...

And, there are no pictures of the golf outing,
because somehow the point and shoot camera turned
up missing.....

More later! Hope I am not boring you....

Love, Mindy

April 14, 2008, part 2

While we waited for Ken to arrive on the 26th, we
checked out the local Farmers Market for produce,
and looked for a fresh fish market! Dining was a
great experience on this trip for me, because all
of my (egads, grown) kids, and their respective
friends, can now all make something wonderful to
eat and drink! And we had a beautiful kitchen to
work in...all we needed were the ingredients!

Mai Tai's were also on the agenda, and there was
a small convenience store across the street with
everything necessary for those. We also
discovered that our end unit condo was right next
to the locals surfer beach...it was very nice to
see people other than tourists...and the surfers
were fun to watch at sunrise from the balcony.

With 11 of the 14 known climate zones in the
world - from desert lavascapes to tropical rain
forests to beaches to snow on the peaks of 13,000
foot volcanoes, the Big Island of Hawaii has
something for everyone..

Before the actual trip, I was forced to promise
that I was not going to make any agendas for
anyone other than myself - hehe - so I didnt.
That was very difficult! I like having some idea
of what I am going to do! What I did do though,
was find different activities that were available
and send out a list so everyone could think about
what they might want to do...but reservations? Oh
no....and look how well I did, I forgot to get a

So the list looked a little like this:

-lie on beach
-eat good food
-Volcanoes National Park - drive, hike,
-Mauna Kea - drive up to observatories, or take a
tour, see the sunset there
-lie on beach
-go horsebackriding in Waipi"o Valley
-go to a luau
-lie on beach
-eat good food
-Black Sand Beach - also known as Turtle Beach
-find good coffee
-find macadamia nuts
-lie on beach
-rent scooters
-go golfing
-go to a spa
-dinner/sunset cruise
-lie on beach

Interestingly enough Courtney, Zach and Naomi Munichiello and
Ross had all indicated that they wanted to go to
a luau - I say interesting because Ross grew up
there and I didnt think he would want to do
anything that touristy; and they all wanted to go
to either Mauna Kea or to Volcanoes National
Park, but not both. Sarah was interested in
hiking and getting to the top of Mauna Kea. Once
we were unpacked, Sarah found us a luau that was
close enough to get a cab to, and we made
reservations for the 27th, the night Courtney and
Zach were to arrive.

On the morning of the 27th, we got a call from
Zach. They had gotten totally delayed on the
roads, due to snow and ice, and missed their
plane. So - they were not going to get in to Kona
until the 28th....we couldnt find another luau to
go to on a night when all 7 of us would be there
(only the 28th and 29th) so the 5 of us kept our
tickets for the luau on the 27th, and then Sarah,
Ken and I went to the exact same luau again on
the 30th with Courtney and Zach!

So much for making plans!

We did have a lot of fun. The day of the 1st luau
we drove to Black Sands beach and hung out with
the turtles there.

Located off of Highway 11 near the 56 mile
marker, about 20 minutes driving time from Hawaii
Volcanoes National Park, you'll come to a turnoff
for Punalu'u Black Sand Beach.

This is the most easily accessible black sand
beach on the island. It is also a home to many
(hundreds! it seems) endangered green sea
turtles. There is an excellent chance that you
will find one lying in the sun on the beach.

There is great swimming and snorkeling, although
not on the days we were there! It was really
windy and the sea was rough. In fact, Ross was
the only one of us who actually jumped all the
way in! The black sand is really interesting - it
is volcanic rock, all ground up, and when the sun
is beating down on it, it is so hot you cant walk

So here are some fun pictures of the turtles and
us on the beach!

Then we went to the luau! Hosted on the
historical grounds of King Kamehameha's Kona
Beach Hotel, this was billed as a 'feast fit for
a king'. In times past, it was restricted to the
indigenous Hawaiian population as it was the
actual grounds for the king's residence, thus
sacred ground.

With an open bar as the backdrop, you watch as
the "Royal Court of King Kamehameha I" arrives by
canoe, his arrival greeted by a Court Conch
Herald and a Court Chanter. The kalua pig, which
has been roasting under the banana leaves all day
now comes out to join the buffet feast.

Table after table of tourists go up to the well
stocked buffet which in addition to the pig has
poke, mahi-mahi, banana bread, coconut and guava
cake, chicken adobo, chicken long rice, haupia,
kulolo, lau lau, and the required poi, among many
other things.

While you are eating, the show goes on. There are
traditional costumes and dances from all of the
islands, singing, drumming, fire throwers and
fire dances.

Yes, it is touristy, and a bit hokey (at one
point the Hawaiian guy sitting next to me said
'they're trying to get everyone to yell out the
word for chair" when they told us we were
greeting some Hawaiian spirit!") - but it was
still fun! Naomi Munichiello even had fun!!

So here are also some of the luau photos! There
will be more, because we went twice!

More soon, Love, Mindy