Monday, February 18, 2013

Oahu: Day 5

Our last day on Oahu.

Having fun, Captain Midnight?  "You betcha!"

How 'bout you, Miss V?  "I LOVE IT HERE!"

But there was still one vacation-y thing that Captain Midnight and Miss V were keen to do: snorkeling.

So the fam all suited up and headed down to Turtle Bay (not to be confused with Turtle Beach, which is a different place).

Well, most of us suited up.  I was lame and chose to stay on the beach due to BIG FAT TUM AND THE THUNDER THIGHS, which if you're wondering is not a good name for a rock band.  Yeah, I know it's stupid.  I'm not self-conscious about my age or my height, just about appearing in public in a swimsuit.

So instead, I went and looked at tidepools.

You don't want to fall over on these rocks.  They're pretty sharp.  And the wind was coming in pretty strong that day; I was in some danger of falling over.

The tidepools featured some modest flora and fauna, including one little black crab who beat a hasty retreat, muttering crabbily to himself, as soon as he saw me coming.

I also proved there are shells to be found on Oahu beaches, though they're not very impressive.

Meanwhile, Little C was busy looking for monk seals...

...and Captain Midnight and Miss V were busy snorkeling.  They saw lots of brightly colored fish in the bay, including the humuhumunukunukuapua'a featured on CM's shirt.  (It must've thought they were groupies.)

 Seems legit.  And sandy.

Misses E and V had themselves a good time.

The rest of the fam had fun goofing around in the water as well.

Since CM's mom and I were both out of the water, we decided to walk around to the other side of the hotel...

...where conditions weren't nearly as sheltered.  You can't really tell from these pictures, but the waves breaking on this other beach were huge.

No surfers were crazy enough to try them in this weather.

Beautiful, though.

We went back to the house, had some Thanksgiving leftovers, and just happened to be around when a couple of wild piglets got into the cul-de-sac and started roaming around.  Unfortunately, none of the pictures we took turned out very well.  Maybe Little C has better ones on her camera.

Then Brian, Captain Midnight and I went out geocaching (and waymarking) while V and E biked over to nearby Kahuku to do some shopping.

Captain Midnight also had to stop by the university ceramics studio to see how his pot was doing (he'd thrown a few pots with Brian a while earlier).  This one has a nice shape, but it would be a challenge getting it back to the mainland.

We also took a look at this island...

...which decided to look back at us.  Eep.

It really was idyllic.  At any moment I expected Mr. Rourke to appear and announce, "Welcome to Fantasy Island!"

We had many adventures in geocaching which were not photographed, including getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and meeting up with a couple of homeless guys who were hanging out near a local cache. Afterward we headed back to the neighborhood to get Shave Ice: The Sequel.

For dinner, the whole family reconvened and drove to the Kahuku Grill.

If you go here, expect delicious food, but don't expect it to be fast.  Their single chef takes orders only as fast as he can cook them, and it's easy for things to get backed up during the dinner rush.  We were there for nearly 2 hours.

After our meal we scampered home, did our last-minute packing, piled into the rental car, drove down to Honolulu and promptly got lost by following the driving directions on CM's phone.  Only after we'd followed its advice to two different dead-end streets did we decide to ignore the phone and suss it out by ourselves.  This turned out to work much better.

Once again I had to go through a patdown at Honolulu Airport, because I steadfastly refuse to go through the Cavity Search Photo Booth.  (Boo.)  TSA bigwigs, take note: I will gladly walk through a metal detector.  I don't have any problems with getting my luggage screened.  But when your stooges start treating me like a convicted criminal without any proof I've done something wrong, I do have a tendency to get uppity.  What happened to the legal concept of "innocent until proven guilty?"  Especially when there's a good chance I will miss my flight back to the mainland because of the Kabuki-theater crap you're pulling at a checkpoint.  We all know just how effective it's been at finding terrorists so far.

But we needn't have worried about missing our flight.  United Airlines had us sitting on the tarmac for two-plus hours after we boarded, while the maintenance crew worked on the plane.  At some point during these shenanigans, the experience became

Day 6: Welcome to Bonus Stage

If I'd known then what I know now, I would've booked another direct flight home with Alaska rather than playing patty-cake with United.  They had set us up to catch a connecting flight in San Francisco.  Needless to say, after 2 hours of delay on the tarmac in Honolulu, that flight was long gone.  So we sat in the San Francisco airport on Tuesday morning, bleary after the red-eye flight, while Captain Midnight engaged in a pitched battle with United's customer service.  Their idea of a generous offer was to toss us a couple of complimentary drink tickets and a coupon entitling us to a percentage off our next flight with them (neither of which was particularly appealing to a by-now tired and frustrated Mormon family), and to put us on a flight leaving near midnight. Uh, no. Don't get me wrong, San Francisco, I like you a lot, but I didn't want to be cooped up in your airport all day, nor did I cherish the thought of dragging multiple pounds of luggage all over the city.

Fortunately we noticed another United flight at a gate just across from ours, scheduled to leave for Seattle later that morning.  We took the initiative to put ourselves on standby, the flight turned out to have some seats free and we were on our way home, no particular thanks to United's tepid customer service.  The general caliber of our experience led us to make a firm decision regarding future flights with United.  I'll let you figure it out.

And that should bring us back up to speed.  We went to Hawaii!  It was awesome!

Thanks for having us, Brian and Caryn and family!

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