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Category Archives: Hawaii – the Vacation

Only in America

Blasting back to January with this one. Taken in the public restroom at Haleakala Crater, Maui, HI
Only in America are there people THIS stupid. AND the worst part of it all – this was literally the only one that someone hadn’t managed to steal or break in half while attempting to steal.

Toilet Water

 

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Always the photographer, never the photographed

This might seem a bit self indulgent to many, but to me, it’s just plain fun. *smile* Just because I can, and because I think it’s important to know what the face, or more rightly so, the ass, that is associated with this distorted mind looks like, here are a couple gratuitous shots of me, taken by others. Cause self-portraits are just a pain in the ass.

Thanks go out to my mother’s long time friend, Pat, and his wife (who live in Maui, the lucky bastards), that were gracious enough to have toured Walter and I around North Shore while we were there visiting. Apparently, he snuck in a few shots of me that I was unaware of…Although I will say that it is nice to see how much of an idiot I look like while snapping away. Well, at least while waiting for the right shot, and then missing it.

 

Me at Kahakuloa Head, Maui

This bit of fun is thanks to my wonderful friend, Walter. Unbeknownst to me, she also snuck in a few sneak attack shots. Sometimes you end up in slightly uncomfortable positions in order to get the angle that you’re looking for. And me, with my wee little digital (which, BTW, takes all of the fantastic pictures that I post) well, I just look extra ridiculous while aiming up.

Credit due to Walter Bean for this shot

Credit due to Walter Bean for this shot

And I just noticed that despite the fact that these adventures were on 2 different days, I was wearing the SAME PANTS… What can I say? I packed light for a weekend in Maui.

 

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Hanauma Bay, O’ahu, HI

My very last day of my very excellent vacation was spent in a very awesome way: I gave up my snorkeling virginity!

We ventured around the southern shore of O’ahu until we found the found the entrance to the Marine Wildlife Sanctuary of Hanauma Bay Wildllife Preserve. Walter and I had discussed snorkeling as being part of my Wild and Wonderful Hawaiian vacation and it took us until the last day I was there (due to the fact that they are closed on Tuesdays and we arrived to find a full parking lot, with no access allowed, on Wednesday) to actually go. I had never snorkeled before, and despite warnings in regards to claustrophobia from Walter, I pompously assumed that I WOULD BE ABLE TO HANDLE IT. I was wrong…I ended up having a minimal freak out the first time I put my face under the water. Most of it had to do with remembering that I COULD NOT BREATHE THROUGH MY NOSE and had to breathe through my mouth, and the rest of it had to do with my ridiculously unjustified fear of fish.

After a few minutes of swimming around and now and again popping my head back above water to reaffirm that the outside, land-based world had in fact, not ended, despite the fact that I wasn’t able to see it, I started to get the hang of snorkeling. My heavy breathing sounded vaguely reminiscent of a teenagers prank phone call but I was finally feeling OK and we decided to venture away from the sandy bottom out into the deeper waters of the bay in the hopes of seeing a honu, AKA a green sea turtle. We began to swim out over-top of a tall stretch of the reef – there was barely enough room between the top of the reef and where our bodies were and I in fact, managed to scrape my knees up a bit as I floated over. ::ENTER FREAK OUT NUMBER 2:: I suddenly began to feel the walls close in. I’ve never considered myself claustrophobic; I mean, I hate shopping in malls around Christmas time because being surrounded by so many people for so long makes me feel panicky, but I always just assumed that was because I hate people. No longer shall I assume THAT! I literally jumped as far out of the water as I could, grabbed Walter’s arm, spit my snorkel out and started chanting: “I’ve gotta get out of here! I’ve gotta get out of here! I’ve GOTTA GET OUT OF HERE!!!” in such a tone that I believe I attributed to her mild panic attack as well. I was legitimately FREAKING THE SHIT OUT. After a moment of deliberation, we decided to haul ass back the way that we had come in hopes that the trip BACK to shore would be quicker, and less traumatic than the trip out to where we were was.

I must have looked like I had a motor attached to my ass cause I was kicking those fins as fast as I could and I didn’t even have to use my arms to swim. I literally flew out of the water and landed on the beach as if I was landing a boat, with Walter close behind. In that moment, we both decided we needed a cigarette. Being a Nature Preserve, we had to go back up the massive hill to the parking lot to smoke.

As I was sitting in Walter’s car, inhaling deeply and trying to calm my racing heart, I noticed that as the ocean water was drying on me, it was leaving the most ridiculous crust of salt that I have ever seen. Needless to say, I became so enthralled with our salty arm hairs that I forgot all about ALMOST DYING in the middle of paradise (see photo below).

My beautifully disasterous snorkeling venue

Seriously folks, this is the fantastic paradise of Hanauma Bay. Even if I had known I’d lose my shit, I probably STILL would have gone out, anyway! And yes, the water really is that color. *smile* No retouching, I swear!

My crust arm! HA!

Walter's salty arm! HA!

 

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USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor, O’ahu, HI

I did not lose any family members on December 7th, 1941. In fact, it wasn’t until after that day that my family became part of the last World War. It was because of December 7th that my grandfather left his wife and newborn son. I never heard stories about the sound of the bombers, I never went to visit the watery grave of an ancestor, I never for a moment thought of Pearl Harbor as anything more than what it was: a pinnacle turning point in American and the world’s history. That is, until I set foot inside the memorial which is built over top of the coral encrusted ruins of the sunken USS Arizona. Once I entered into that tomb like enclosure, I could feel the overwhelming desire to cry welling up inside of me. Suddenly, American History became my history. Suddenly, those names etched into the marble wall were names I recognized. Their deaths were no longer just oblivious statistics. I was walking over top of the grave of over 1,000 men who were killed by one strategically placed, armor piercing bomb.

Before we boarded the ferry to take us out into the middle of the harbor, we were asked to keep our voices low and to keep conversation to a minimum while at the memorial in respect for the dead. I found that a simple task as the overwhelming feeling of sadness and pain and respect, all balled into one huge lump in my throat, left me speechless. There were no gorey details to be seen, there were no signs of the bodies who are entombed inside of the tons of steel which barely peeps out above the calm harbor waters. Yet, there was a feeling in the air, almost as if those who fell knew how poweful and spectacular their sacrifices had become, and they knew that every pair of feet that walked across their ships sunken deck were there to thank them. To let them know that they had not died in vain, and to let them know that they will never be forgotten. Those souls still hover near their final resting place, the air bristles with electricity, and even amongst thousands of visitors and cell phones, there was almost utter silence. All that was heard were the clicks of  cameras as people photographed rusty pieces of ship intruding on the placid surface of the water and the footfalls of men lost long ago.

View from the Ferry of the memorial

Coral Reefs cover the sunken Arizona

People bring lei's to scatter the plumeria flowers in honor of the dead

Over a litre of fuel and oil still leaks from the broken hull of the ship on a daily basis

A small portion of the list of men who gave their lives that day

As always, there are a few more details and some additional photographs on my flickr page, please don’t hesitate to check them out.

 

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An unbefitting end to a fantastic vacation

My long anticipated, yet short lived vacation to Paradise is now over. *Frown* Friday evening I was basking in the final moments of 80 degree Hawaiian weather, and today, I am cranking up my thermostat and sitting on my couch under a blanket with a fleecy top on and looking out into my snow covered yard. Talk about a shock to the system.

Yet, the dramatic decline of weather temperature was not the only shock to my system in regards to my return. No, no. My long-as-shit 10 hour flight turned into a 24 hour traveling adventure straight from the pits of hell. My original flight from O’ahu was to leave 11:55 pm HST Friday evening. At 2:45 am HST, it was cancelled. From then until about 5:25 am HST I was standing in lines: to reclaim my checked luggage off of the cancelled flight, to receive a hotel voucher for a nights stay, to be given a voucher for a cab ride back from the Hotel once I called the phone number I was given to find my OWN flight out of Honolulu, to wait for a shuttle to take us all to the hotel and then to actually check into the hotel. Yay, right? WRONG. Now, I am a self admitted control freak – when things don’t go according to plan, I don’t handle it well. Honestly, I freak out a bit. Especially when it comes to something like not having a flight off of an island that is over 4,000 miles away from my home…

After finally arriving in my hotel room at 5:30 am HST, and after basically losing my mental shit on the phone to my mother a couple of times over the last couple of hours, I called the airline from hell in an attempt to rebook my flight. After they tried to rebook me on the exact same flight leaving Honolulu at 11:30 pm HST on SATURDAY night, and after I basically told the gal on the phone that she needed to look outside of her airline company for flights or else I was going to track her down and steal her first born child, I was booked on a flight with a totally different airline that was due to depart at 7:30 am HST. Please remember that at this point, it was after 6 am, so I had all of about an hour to gather my shit, check out and get a taxi back to the airport which was 30 minutes away. And all of this on NO SLEEP in over 21 hours.

Thankfully, my cab driver was an Indy Car racer on the weekends, so I made it to the airport, made it through Agriculture, got my ticket and got to security with time to spare. ::ENTER MORE BULLSHIT:: I was lucky enough to be selected for what the Airlines like to call a “Special Screening.” Despite the seemingly fun and exciting name, it was nothing of the sort. Basically, it meant that my entire purse, carry on and person was picked through and patted down in front of everyone else going through the security check point themselves. I had to stand, shoeless, helpless and useless, along side of a table where the contents of my purse were dumped out and all things packed into my carry on were rifled through, some of which, really weren’t meant to be seen by ANYONE; much less the Asian guy doing the rifling. It was a harrowing experience that I have little want to ever be so “special” as to have to go through again.

So, after the taxi ride, the agriculture screening, the ticket mishap, the security frisking and the literal ass-hustling run across the airport to my terminal – I was officially on a flight out of Honolulu bound for San Francisco. Unfortunately, the flight was delayed in it’s departure from HNL, which meant that we were going to be delayed in landing in San Fran, which meant that there was a STRONG (READ: almost certain) possibility of me missing my connecting flight back home. The fun just didn’t want to end, it seemed. Gratefully though, even the powers that be realized that I had been through enough shit for one person, for one DAY, and they worked some magic which enabled the departing flight to wait for me and the other 24 people aboard my flight that were trying to make the same connection. THANK. FUCKING. GOD. Cause seriously, I think I would have run down the runway and jumped onto the landing gear with luggage in tow at that point.

SO! after a full 24 hours of waiting for my flight, not sleeping, standing in lines, making phone calls, waiting for mechanical problems to be resolved on the airplanes I was to fly on, actually flying on those airplanes with their corrected mechanical problems, getting a numb ass, running from terminal to terminal, flying some more, not sleeping again, eating Valiums like candy in an attempt to not lose my shit, claiming my checked baggage only to find that my shampoo had been smushed and spewed my Biolage all over half of my clothing…as of 3am EST I am home. To 26 degrees and snow. But I AM HOME.

I do have many, many more absolutely awesome memories to share, and I am currently planning a post from my trip to the unbelievably moving USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, but I felt the need to share my flying misery first and foremost. *smile* For now, I’m off to make myself something warm to drink and to meditate on warmer climates.

 

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Photoblog North Shore Oahu

I have been running around like a retarded kid after a milkshake my entire vacation! I am most definitely having a great time, and due to all the goodness, I have had little time to do much blogging, so I apologize for the only pictures and no words posts. Once I get home and life calms back down again, I’ll probably go into some detail regarding all the fun that has been had. I do have a pretty fun video to post from my first night here that involves a couple Bloody Mary’s and Red Headed Sluts. *smile* In the meantime, here are a couple photos from Walter’s Wild Tour around North O’Ahu. The pictures don’t do much justice to the beauty of the scenery, but they’ll do. As always, check out the flickr account for some additional pics and a little detail about some.

 

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Photoblog of North Shore Maui

Chinese Protection Dogs

Kanji scraped into plant leaves

Ginger Cone Flower in Iao Valley Park

RIP Diane - Memorial on North Shore Mountainside

Walter and I

Blowhole on North Shore Maui

Time constraints being as they are, I am running around seeing as much of Oahu and Maui as humanly possible, so I am best able to describe my trip to everyone via photographs. Please enjoy the beauty, hopefully as much as I have and as always everyone, many, MANY more photos are available on my flickr account. Please check it out! *smile*

 

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