Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Honeymoon!!

Day 1 – Saturday, March 29, 2008 – Honolulu – Jack’s hungry

After the flight, Jack and I caught a shuttle to our boat and headed straight to muster. We didn’t get to go to our room first, so we had our carry-on bags with us while we stood on the deck wearing our giant life jackets. After the waste of time that is muster, we went down to our room, 4091, and dropped off our stuff next to our two twin beds. Happy honeymoon! (Jack was actually very excited about the two beds: “I don’t have to sleep with you? Sweet!!” [We haven’t quite gotten used to sharing sleeping space yet])

The first thing Jack wanted to do was find some food, so we headed up to the buffet, where Jack proceeded to fill his plate twice and also consume two desserts. About an hour later, Jack started talking about going to dinner.

“Dinner?” I asked, confused. “I thought we just had dinner.”

“That wasn’t dinner; that was a snack,” he replied.

Ah yes, a cruise with Jack Hornbuckle means that 2 plates of roast beef, pizza, sides, cake, and cheesecake translates to a “snack.”

Another quick note about day 1: We think this week’s Norwegian Pride of America cruise had a discount for 65+ age people. I’m not sure we saw anybody else under 45 today.

Day 2 – Sunday, March 30, 2008 – Hilo (and Jack’s hungry)

Today was Hilo, on the Big Island. We had booked a hiking tour of some waterfalls, caves, and lagoons in Hilo. We were big fans of the whole thing, and we’ll post some pictures and video soon. Hilo was beautiful and we had a wonderful time there. When we were done with that, we caught a shuttle to Wal-Mart, where we picked up a few things that we forgot when we hastily packed two days before.

That night, the cruise ship passed by the volcano, which was active at the time, so we got to see the amazing lava flowing into the ocean at night. We got some okay videos and not-great pictures of it, but it doesn’t do the thing justice.

After the lava thing, as we were heading back inside to find a lounge to sit in, we saw an empty ping-pong table and decided it might be fun to play a few games. Jack and I got in a nice little rhythm of volleying, when suddenly I hit the ping pong ball sharply to the right, hitting a little old man, who was passing by the ping pong tables on his way from the pool to the inside, squarely in the chest. He jumps and instinctively raises his hands in defense, catching the ping-pong ball and looking at me, surprised. “Sorry!” I say, apologetically. He laughs and hands the ball back to me. “That’s okay,” he says, and walks out through the next door. I watch him leave, then turn to Jack, hold up two fingers, and mouth “two points.” (See “People Pong,” March 2007)

Day 3 – Monday, March 31, 2008 – Maui (and Jack’s terrified)

Today we rented a car to try out the Road to Hana in Maui. There were a few mistakes I made here. The first mistake was to believe Jack when he said we could sleep in and go whenever we felt like we wanted to get up. As pure as Jack’s intentions are when he says he’s okay with such things, I should know by now that he’s not. It’s not who he is. So when he says “sleep in and take our time leaving,” what he really means is “Mandy, I’d like to sleep in until I wake up, but if that happens to be before you, you need to be ready by the time I’m ready.”

Mistake number two was sort of a mistake, but really not. Getting a rental car for the day was really wonderful, as Jack admitted later, but Jack’s the type who wigs out if anything, and I mean anything, doesn’t go completely perfectly and smoothly on a trip. In this case, we really weren’t sure where Enterprise (who we reserved our car through on Expedia) was, but I knew it was at the airport, so we just hopped on a shuttle for another rental car company and figured they would all be together. While most of them were together, for some reason Enterprise was separated from the others, probably a mile down the road. This meant that we had to catch two more shuttles to Enterprise, a process that Jack did not appreciate at all. Fortunately, after all the shuttle madness Jack admitted that the rental car was a really great idea, and he wanted to do it again.

My first favorite thing of the day was the little fresh fruit stand with flowers and avocados for sale as well. When I saw the big “fresh avocados” sign pointing to the stand I got all excited and asked Jack to pull over so we could buy some. When we got out of the car, however, there was nobody there. There were flowers, bananas, avocados, and other fruit, but nobody there to take my money.

Instead, there was a cute little box that said "Pay here" with an arrow pointing to the slot in the top. Social experiment, or sweetly/stupidly trusting vendor? I like to think it's the latter.

After that, we continued down the road to Hana, stopping next at a spot our CD tour guide called “twin falls.” We started what we thought would be a short hike toward the falls, which turned out to be about 2 miles away. Even though it was a wide gravel path and was pretty easy, Jack made sure I knew that he wasn’t happy about having to walk that far. As with the rental car, he admitted later that it was worth it, something he usually decided after whining a lot about something we were doing.

Other noteworthy parts of the trip were hairpin turns, one-lane roads with steep cliffs on one side, and crazy local drivers who would waste no time passing you in a no-pass zone or ignoring yield signs on one-lane bridges. We honestly think we got rear-ended by one lady who was being incredibly impatient with us, but there was no damage and it was so light that we can’t be completely sure. Jack said driving the road to Hana was the most scared he’s ever been driving.

But it was worth it. After being “dared” to take another very muddy hike up a much less easy path by another couple (“c’mon, don’t be a chicken,” she said, and so we went) we ended up at a huge, powerful waterfall with one broken flip-flop, a twice-dropped brand new camcorder (once by me and once by Jack), and four very muddy feet and legs. The same girl who was teasing us about deciding whether to go on the hike earlier (“don’t be a chicken” girl) wigged out at the thought of crossing a very narrow, un-banistered bridge high over a river below along the way, so I videoed her cross on hands and knees with their camcorder then walked backwards holding her hands on the second bridge. She apologized for the “chicken” comment.

After that hike, we were still about 15 miles away from Hana and it was about 4 p.m. We knew it would be getting dark soon, so we decided to turn around there. On the way back, it started sprinkling and Jack was not happy about it.

“Great,” he said, “it’s starting to rain.”

About that time, we rounded a corner and Jack shut up very quickly when we saw the biggest, brightest double rainbow we’d ever seen. We pulled over quickly and took a few pictures, which don’t even come close to doing it justice.

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful except for the fact that I was pretty sure my new husband was going to see me throw up for the first time from being car-sick on the very twisty road. We stopped a few times to un-dizzy me and I did okay.

When we got back to the room, we found two towel-swans made into a heart and, to Jack’s dismay, they finally put the beds together.

Day 4 – Tuesday, April 1, 2008 – Maui again

Since renting a car went so well yesterday, we decided to rent one again today. This time we were experts: called Enterprise to pick us up, rented our car, and got right on the road to Wal-Mart, where we bought the new George Strait CD, Troubadour, that came out today.

The drive out to Lahaina was much easier than the drive toward Hana the day before. It was pretty much a straight shot and a beautiful drive on top of that. We spent a little time walking around the outdoor shops and ate at “Cheeseburger in Paradise” on the beach, where I had eaten about 10 years before with my family when we went there. The burgers were absolutely delicious.

On the way back, we stopped at the beach to relax for a little while; read, sunbathe, etc. I insisted that we write “Just Mauied” in the sand and get a picture taken next to it like Tim and Linda did when they were married here, and even though Jack thought it was stupid, he was a good sport about it and I have my picture.

When we got back to the ship that night, Jack found that the bunk beds were an equally (if not better) way to get away from me, so he spent lots of time up there reading (in his “reading room,” as he called it).

Day 5 – Wednesday, April 2, 2008 – Kona, Big Island

Today was a little bit different because the ship didn’t have a pier on this island, so disembarkation included a life-boat ride across the bay to the dock. This made it a little harder to run back onto the ship if we forgot something, which I always do.

We decided to take a taxi trip to Turtle beach, where everyone told us the best snorkeling was, and $15 later, we discovered that Turtle beach was closed today for beehive removal. Disappointed, we headed to another beach down the road to swim. Jack isn’t the best at ocean swimming, as we learned the first day in the lagoon, because he does not like cold water, and it always seems cold when you first get in. The waves were very large, however, so I decided that it would be easier to just start swimming out a ways past where they were breaking. Jack was still doing his “It’s so cold!! It’s so cold!!” dance when I amusedly watched him suddenly disappear under a huge wave that he was not expecting. He came back up, wet and shocked, and at that point, he was used to the water enough to enjoy playing in the waves with me.

The next thing on the plan for the day was parasailing – not both of us, mind you, but just me. I had convinced him to do some things he didn’t really want to do, like the helicopter ride we're going to do tomorrow, but this was not one of the things he’d bend on. Nevertheless, I decided that it was something I had always wanted to do and he could just ride along in the boat if he wanted to. It was very cool, though not quite what I expected – less wild and crazy and more quiet and gliding.

That night, we went to dinner and met up with a sweet old man, Bob, whom we had met before at dinners and then at the comedy show and was travelling alone. We had all decided the night before to meet here for dinner. He got there a few minutes before us and was happy to see us arrive. He bought us a bottle of wine and we had a lovely evening visiting with him over dinner.

Day 6 –Thursday, April 3, 2008 – Kauai

Jack and I got up early today to meet a shuttle to a helicopter that I had booked online for half of the price it cost to book through the ship. When we got down to the dock and called them, however, they had no record of the reservation. The problem was easily fixed, however, and they booked us for an 11:15 a.m. flight with a 10:30 pick-up. This gave us time for a nice leisurely breakfast in the restaurant before we had to be back outside for the pickup.

Jack was already nervous before they picked us up, and it didn’t help him any to sign the “I won’t sue you if you kill me” paper and watch a few of the helicopters land, one with a very motion-sick little girl emerging from it. (Fortunately she didn’t get sick all over our helicopter; it was the other group’s helicopter they had to clean up before the next flight). Despite his nerves, Jack really enjoyed the helicopter ride and said he would probably do it again. We got to see some amazing waterfalls and beaches in Kauai, and nothing except some turbulence over the valleys scared Jack.

That night, we went and sat on some forbidden Marriott resort-chairs on a beautiful beach and read for a while, then went and had a drink at a local restaurant before the sun went down. After that, we headed back to the ship for dinner, where we had another pleasant dinner with Bob (although our waiter, Lloyd, was gone serving the captain tonight, and our waiter was so bad that we missed the newlywed game we wanted to get to at 9:15… turns out we would have been picked for the 0-5 year married couple – there was NOBODY else there married that length of time. Did I mention everybody here is over 65?)

Day 7 - Friday, April 4, 2008 – Kauai again

Ahhh a relaxing day!! We got to sleep in today, then we got up, had breakfast, and went to the beach and laid there for a while. When the boat was scheduled to leave, we went back, had lunch with our new friends, Darren and Tammy, from Houston, then laid on the deck the rest of the afternoon. Early that evening, the boat went by the Napali coast and it was beautiful – we got to see a rainbow and a few whales doing the breathing thing far in the distance.

I had to pack tonight, and that was no fun, because 1) I hate packing , and 2) it meant we were leaving tomorrow.

Day 8 – Saturday, April 5, 2008 – Honolulu

Today after we got off the boat we went on a tour of Honolulu and Pearl Harbor. Jack loves that stuff, so I was glad he got to hear about the history of a bunch of this stuff. It was also nice for me to get to see the USS Arizona, because when I went in high school with the band, it was closed down.

When we got back to the airport, we still had 6 hours until our flight, so we checked our bags and went on an explore to find something to eat. We ended up on a city bus to Waikiki (by the way, city busses may be cheap but they’re gross – screw the high price of gas; I don’t like other people and their germs), which was going well until the other people we met from the cruise ship got off early, which made Jack nervous. We ended up gettng off a few stops later, at the mall, so we ate at Bubba Gump’s seafood. Aside from all the Forest Gump references, it was really really good. We had the most ridiculously huge and delicious dessert – it’s called the Alabama Mud Pie, and if you order it, try to have more than 2 people there to eat it… 6 would have been a more reasonable number.

After lunch, we still had some time, and I wanted to go walk on Waikiki beach for a little while, so we started walking in the direction that I thought it was... which turned out to be the complete opposite direction of where it actually was. By the time we got back to where it was, it was time to go back to the airport. Travelling with me is always an adventure.

Needless to say, the trip back was quite long and we were pretty tired when we got home (and our house was a MESS what with the gifts and moving and honeymoon unpacking!!), but it was a wonderful week.