Here is the MAMMOTH update (finally) from the most amazing vacay of my life! I hope y’all are grateful for this, cuz it was a pain.
Anyway, I finally left the Continental U.S. for the first time.. to fall in love with paradise. I seriously loved it, and would have no qualms about moving there.
Leg 1: Travel
Cam picks me up and we are almost exploding of excited. We match our childish excitement with kindergarten car treats (i.e. Oatmeal Cream Pies, gummy bears, and Goldfish) for the road trip to St. George. I sleep on the longest Christmas blanket couch cushion bed in the world on Elsie’s apartment floor. Cam and Els get beds.
Annnd we head to the Vegas airport! Cam blows a dollar on the slots for good measure. Gambling is lame.
We have 5 hour layover in L.A., so obviously we eat. That dessert literally was gone in 6 minutes flat. I’m not even lying. We also may or may not have had a eat-the-sugar-and-sweetener-packages challenge. I’m pretty sure I got the worst end of that. NEVER eat Sweet-n-Low. SICK.
then bye bye L.A……………
We arrive in the outdoor airport.. pretty cool. Welcome back to the humidity! I feel like I’m in Florida again. They won’t let us get our rental car cuz Angie missed her flight and isn’t there to collect it in her name. We rent another car for a day and go to the gorgeous condo. I don’t care about anything going wrong, because I am in Hawaii. We pick up a few groceries and then go to this crazy place for dinner where middle-aged people dance to live music and drink. They don’t serve food at that hour.
We start out the day going to orientation at the condo. The staff does all the cliche Hawaii things you always hear about that I thought wouldn’t actually be used as much as they are when I went. They have a free give-away.. we win.. Kona Coffee. We all laugh and the lady thinks it’s cute that we don’t drink coffee, like we’re 10 years old or something, and we ask for candy instead. We go to church and accidentally find the temple we didn’t know existed in Kona, coolest surprise ever! Everybody starts their testimony with, “Aloha,” and the whole congregation says it back in Fast and Testimony Meeting. We get lei’d in church with darling yarn leis, courtesy of the Relief Society. We hit the beach and wade in the water only to get OWNED by the waves and lava rocks. (My ankle is STILL wounded.) But it was gorgeous and way fun, and the rest of the beach-goers got a kick out of us. Cam and I hit up the hot tub. We pick up Angie and Mandy from the airport and go immediately to Bongo Ben’s for a much-needed dinner. Delicious.
Oh, and I can’t forget that was the day I cut up my first authentic Hawaiian pineapple. Mmm. I’m an addict.
We go downtown to rent snorkel gear and boogie boards. The ladies at the shop are dumber than rocks. They talk Angie and Cam into signing up for a listen-about-timeshares-and-get-free-money-and-stuff-for-the-benefit-of-the-trip meeting. It takes forever. They annoy us. Scuba Steve hooks us up with better snorkel gear for the same price. He is the bomb. We go to a bay to snorkel. A shirtless guy directs us to enter the water on the other side, and watches us with his friends while he plays the guitar. We take more dips and lay on the sand after snorkeling. I pull my swimsuit bottoms down under water in an attempt to clean out the sand that is EVERYWHERE.. and two young guys come popping up out of the water behind me from scuba diving. everybody cracks up. we go to Fish Hopper’s for our fanciest meal of the trip, meet Israel (rap name: Izreal)who’s a host at the restaurant standing out on the sidewalk with a guitar. I ask if he’s gonna sing us a song, and he happily obliges. sings and/or raps to us about 3 times throughout dinner. We buy his CD. ha.
Angie and Cam go to the timeshare meeting. The rest of us head to the beach. Cam and Angie get kicked out of the timeshare meeting. I pick them up. We swim and lay on boogie boards in the water. We all get a little burnt. We see a sea turtle. We get the most delicious shaved ice with ice cream of all time.. mango/pina colada/blue hawaiian. We go kayaking across Kealakekua Bay to Captain Cook’s Monument (Cam and I find out our calling in life is maybe kayaking, cuz we are fast) and then snorkeling in what felt (for real) like Finding Nemo. We kayak back across the bay in drizzling rain, and then… *coolest part of the trip*… a pod of over 100 dolphins starts jumping and popping up all around us on all sides, as close as 2 feet away from our kayak. It was basically the most amazing thing that’s ever happened to me. We eat dinner at the Big Island Grill. Delicious.
We Circle Island Tour all freakin day on a big tour bus. We see the Kona Coffee place, volcanoes (not as cool as in my imagination from the views we had), walk through lava tubes, see “waterfalls” (or trickles that are sometimes waterfalls depending on amount of rainfall), hit up a delicious bakery, see Hilo, go to the southernmost part of the United States and stand on the black sand beach and more sea turtles, go to a candy factory, go to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory, I get a real freshwater pearl from an oyster for 70% off (yeah-yuh!). We go back to the condo and walk to the shoreline to see the gorgeous sunset– lots of pictures. Cam and I go food-hunting, everybody else is lazy. We walk around town at 10:00pm and meet 2 guys who drop us off at a delicious sushi place. they find us again afterwards and take us to Magic Sands Beach. waves lapping around feet.. palm trees.. Hawaii at night. I acquire HB (Hawaii Boy, definition: one of the following of guys I accumulated during the trip) #1, and one who pretty much becomes HB #2 later, but who attacks Cam that night. she shuts him down.
We go to a lei-making class provided by our condo, along with a little hula show courtesy of Joy the smiling tiny Philippino and I-forgot-her-name happy Hawaiian lady who sings and plays the ukelele and at the end says a prayer for seriously like ten minutes, and we each make our own lei of white gardenias.. mm. We go to the pool and soak up the rays.. lovely, they even have a hot tub like a little miniature beach, with sand and waterfall. We go to a lua’u at the King Kamehameha Resort… freakin awesome. The food is plentiful, the entertainment is fantastic, the dancers are hot (especially the Samoan fire dancer!) and the Hawaiian yodeler is probably my favorite part – I want her cd or something.
We get henna tattoos!! (I loved that part. I wish my tattoo could be real, but.. I’ll follow the prophet. Temporary ones are cooler anyway, cuz you can switch them up every time.) Cam and I get ours done first, we walk to shop a little while the others get inked, and HB #3 sees me, says, “Whoa!” and stands up directly in my path, completely blocking me, and about 5 inches from my face, I’m so surprised I allow him to have my number, he tries to kiss me in the street.. I barely turn my cheek just in time. On the way back to the henna shop, we find out he went to work somewhere for a couple of hours, and his friend decides to follow us around, acquire HB #4, he is an attractive Canadian gypsy. We go to the Farmer’s Market and buy things. We see HB #3 again, he tries to kiss me a second time, barely turn the other cheek in time. Why is he calling me “baby?” We ditch them and hit the beach for the rest of the day. I learn how to boogie board.. oh man, why have I not tried this before? It’s way too fun. The sunset is GORGEOUS. Cam, Els, and me go to Lulu’s and dance the night away, I meet HB #5. Cam and Els acquire a Puerto Rican fan club who want to take pictures with them like they’re a couple of blonde celebrities. The really drunk one with bad English says, “I’m sorry.. I’m drink.” Hilarious.
After 3 hours of sleep, we drive to Waipio Valley for horseback riding, with a very hyper Cam and Aub in the back of the SUV.. who then crash and sleep for the 2 hour drive. We wait for the tour guide, and then ride down with him in his old filthy Land Cruiser on a teensy dirt road that’s 4-wheel drive only, and we find out he’s kind of a pervy flirt. He creeps us out a little bit. We get assigned horses, and I am apparently a hard one to match because I am the very last one to get a horse that they had to go back and saddle up from the stables after everybody else was all mounted and ready. He is a beautiful white charger named Kakia, but a.k.a. the Undertaker. (what?!?!) Deva the tour guide says he is a hit man trying to kill me by putting me with this horse. I make friends with it and foil his plan. On the drive back up the mountainside Deva the tour guide shows his true colors of Deva the PSYCHO and purposely rams a vehicle of some tourists who failed to obey the people-going-up-have-the-right-of-way law.. on a CLIFFSIDE! I am riding shotgun.. and am terrified for my life. Heated words are exchanged, our virgin ears are violated. We can’t wait to get back and get away from him. Go pack, *sniff*, last chance shopping. We eat at Splasher’s Grill.. eat a hamburger the size of my head.. so good. Split a Scandinavian Shave Ice between 6 of us (we are way too full for this, but we have no other chances).. it is also.. so good. Cram more stuff than I’m sure has ever been in that SUV before and cry inside all the way to the airport. We go through the agricultural check.. fat middle-aged Hawaiian leaning back in his chair looking at the screen like he’s watching the boob tube points at me and yells, “You! Brown bag… You! Brown bag!…… You got a pineapple in that bag?” Me, “Yes.” Him: Waves me on with a little wrist flick. Me, Cam, and Els all bust up laughing. (Ask me and I’ll demonstrate the voice/accent and gesture.. way funnier in real life.) We hate the Kona airport this time.. especially the American Airlines part. Are they really this anal? Is it really this hot and loud in here? Is that girl really dating that guy? Finally board the plane.
Last Leg: 24-hour Travel
To add to the pain of leaving Hawaii, we decide to travel for 24 hours and make it really fun on ourselves. We fly away to L.A. I sit next to a nice old couple. Thank you to Elsie’s Dramamine for the sleep. Saddest day ever.We lay over another 5 hours in L.A. and Cam and I completely conk out. On our luggage. Elsie takes the liberty of taking photos. And speaking of luggage, we had a huge carry-on annoyance with one extra among us, so we combined purses every time.. my purse looked so prego. We fly to Vegas. I sit next to the most adorable old guy from New Zealand. I am a big fan of him. We get picked up by Elsie’s dad and brother, kind of sleep in the car to St. George. We take a 2 hour nap at Elsie’s house, cuz there is no way we’re making it awake on the drive north. We pit stop at IN-N-OUT, forget stuff at Elsie’s, turn around, and THEN finally leave. I get text-yelled-at by HB #1’s girlfriend. Woops. Not my fault. We are home in 4 hours including potty stops. I get some form of Elephantitis/cankles from traveling. feo.
I miss you already, Hawaii.
*I borrowed a few of the pics used here from Cam and Angie. Thanks ladies.. even though you didn’t really have a choice.