Wednesday, April 30, 2008

spring break hawaii '08. (or, the best miami u delta chi formal ever)

i kept a little ongoing diary/blog/list of boring thoughts during my hawaii trip.  enjoy....

nate & carmen's save the date

pregame: i need a tan. i spent four years as the whitest girl in arizona, and i know that i have the power to blind people. i've never met most of the people we're going to be with in hawaii, so i decided that blinding them may not be the best way to make friends. spa sydell has a great spray-tan (of the airbrush variety), and i've done it before. it definitely takes my pigmentation beyond what you might call "natural," but whatever. we're talking hawaii, people.

i also got my hair ("hur") did earlier this week, and it's a bit blonder than i'd like. again, i usually like to stick with the natural look, but this time it was a little more than that. and frizzy. i took it down from my ubiquitous bun saturday night after the tan had set in, and this is what i saw in the mirror:

oh, my.

oh, well! these people don't know me! maybe they'll think i'm just naturally this bronzed. in the airport i convince myself that people are staring because they're jealous. yep.

first stop, sixteen hours in arizona. priority #1: in-n-out burger. priority #2: shopping. what else is there in phoenix?

we got up before the crack of dawn sunday and headed for the airport. all i wanted was starbucks, which i gave up last month "for lent," hoping it would help me kick the habit completely. didn't work.

i have a craving, but no time. marta; airport; bag check; security; "careful, these doors are closing and will not re-open: please wait for the next train"; finally, starbucks. ahhhhh. grande soy chai latte. the shakes subside.

people watching, plane hopping, buy-on-board food. $7 for a crappy chicken sammich and a tiny bag of chips to split. the other choice was tuna in a can. what? who the hell wants to smell (much less eat) canned tuna on a plane?? ewww. i miss being in the special people section.

welcome to phx.

pick up my kick-ass chevy aveo [note to enterprise peeps: don't sell a salesperson. i don't *care* that my rental has no power. i'm paying all of $26, and i'm saving on gas. no, I don't want your insurance, either. really. i promise. no, seriously. seriously. enough! thank you. :) ]

find hotel, check in, boogie over to in-n-out. cheeseburger, animal style, copious amounts of coke (aka nectar from heaven) and the best fries around. this made it all worthwhile. yum. happy now.

drove to the greenbelt to show the huz grass in the desert. i took off my shoes to walk in the grass and stepped on the...

sharp, dry stubble. ow.

i have been romanticizing this place for the last few weeks (thanks, grand canyon imax) and this helped me take off the rose-colored glasses. while it is a nice little oasis, it's all relative. huz calls it the "greenish" belt. pretty accurate. reality, check.

ow again: i have something in my shoe. what tha? that's not something in my shoe, those are blisters on the bottoms of my feet. great. serves me right for getting exercise.

oh, well - on to the shopping. shoes shoes shoes. via spiga black & white spectator pumps for $40! distressed brown mary jane heels for $25! purple patent bag, just $30! jackpot. for some reason i put the via spigas back. what the hell was i thinking? argh. i'm still experiencing buyer's remorse a week later. dummy.

drove around my old digs. damn, there's a chick-fil-a right by my old place. four years spent craving a chicken biscuit and they put one here as soon as i leave. oh well -- i have a an unlimited supply now (and sometimes even have them supplied for free at work!). i loved that apartment, though. first time living on my own, and it really was a beautiful place. top floor, vaulted ceilings, patio overlooking a green (not greenish) courtyard and the pool... sigh.

showed the huz some of the finer points of phx/scotts. pretty drives, camelback, squaw peak (excuse me - piestewa peak). thoughts of jay.

meet K, M & their cutiepie 1.5-yr-old, A, for dinner at barrio cafe downtown. food was great, mango margarita was even better than i'd remembered. A was a handful! good to see K & M. worth the trip into the 'hood. typical me, i'd thought about where to have dinner for weeks (lunch was a given), and i'm happy with this choice. [other options: oregano's for pizza, pasta brioni for excellent italian, or somewhere new? the best option, pizzeria bianco, is closed on sundays. :( ]

gas up ($10? i need a smaller car! but maybe not this small), look for an atm, look for an atm, look for an atm, curse the gps, find an atm, sleep.

early to rise but that's okay bc it's like 9am to us. hot already. things i don't miss!

flight. glad we're on a good airline (hawaiian). too bad even good airlines have screaming kids. "nonononostopmamastopmamastopmamanononononoidontwannanonostopmamastopmamastopmamanononono..." i want to commit murder.

real food on a plane? wow. yeah, it's a long flight, but the airline industry has set my expectations pret-ty low these days. the spaghetti actually doesn't suck. comes with a tasty southwestern salad and a cookie, to boot. the suckitudiness showed up in the movie: the devil wears prada? who the hell hasn't seen that yet? of course i watch anyway.

honolulu, then one more plane to maui. finally here. somehow the crazy heat here is welcoming, versus phx's hellishness.

hit the ground in maui and beeline to da kitchen for a hawaiian "plate lunch." we found this place last time we were here, on a recommendation from someone during a crappy, rainy day of errand running (in maui -- i know). we've talked about it ever since and have been looking forward to it since N & C told us their wedding would be here. i got the hawaiian plate, a tasty sampler of some local classics. lomi pork, lau lau, chicken long rice, and kalua pork. it's the kalua pork we're here for. i could be the most homesick little southern girl [i'm not], come here and have a plate of kalua pork with sticky rice, and instantly become the happiest camper around. of course everything comes with a scoop of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad. i'm not one for the mac salad, but that rice is tasty. did i mention that it's about 5 pounds of food? it's pretty damned ridiculous, and i put a nice dent in it. and THEN our waitress brings over a rather large slice of cake. i am not one to turn down cake. evidently it was someone's birthday, and i was instructed that i had to try it. twist my arm. mango? lychee? guava? i don't know what the hell it was, but it involved fruit, whipped cream, and cake. yum-mers! i really don't give a crap what i look like in a bathing suit right now. i'm fat and happy.

off to the hotel. did i mention we got a convertible? it's hawaii, it's 80 degrees each day, and i'll be damned if i'm not going home with a tan. a real one.

kaanapali beach hotel. check it out. beautiful grounds, perfect location near black rock for snorkling, and all the other wedding peeps are here. rooms are eh, but who's spending time indoors?

go for a swim, clean up, go meet the wedding peoples for a cocktail or two or three at kimo's on front street (on the water) in lahaina. good people, silly drinks, and it looks like it's gonna be a good week. note to the boys: just because the drink has a manly name does not necessarily make it a manly drink. case in point? the "kamikaze" came in a martini glass and was noticibly pink in hue. second look at the ingredients: fruity vodka, triple sec, lime juice, cranberry. hmmmm... what else does that remind me of? hint: sex & the city. i had a vodka tonic. after a fruity drink, of course. it's hawaii! they don't skimp around here, either. those suckers came with umbrellas, pineapple, AND a cherry! i ate everyone's pineapple. tasty. if only these drinks had those little plastic animals hanging off the side, they'd be perfect.

i spent the next two days on the beach while the boys went to the rehearsal and did manly things. (which did not involve drinking cosmos.) lunch both days at the pool (ahi tuna sammich, teriyaki chicken skewers, tasty curry spring rolls, kick-ass onion rings, various fruit juices - because i'm sure you care).

tuesday night was the rehearsal dinner/luau, complete with fire dancers and an open bar. a good time was had by all. a veeeeeerrrry good time. most of the bridesmaids were hungover, still drunk, or puking the next day. one girl tried everything to feel better, to no avail. one of the resourceful boys (not mine) suggested a certain herbal remedy: "hey, it works for cancer patients, right?" turns out he was right -- she actually felt well enough to go to the main event after a day of puking. somebody's been watching weeds. [of course, being little miss fast-on-the-uptake, i learned this about two days later. i was *wondering* why she was a little, uh, slow at the wedding. ha.]

wednesday = wedding. most. beautiful. wedding. ever. anybody want to get married anytime soon? bueller? i highly recommend olowalu plantation. holy geez it was gorgeous. matt has some pics somewhere. oh, and they even brought us trays of fruity cocktails as we were leaving the ceremony. did i mention this wedding was *perfect*? me likey hawaii.

evidently i was a bit of pain in the huz's ass on the bus back to the hotel. i dunno, i was having fun. but i wasn't the only one, dammit! and i was not the drunkest lil partygoer around, that's fo sho. (i can drink and not be That Girl. really, i can.) other folks had the cojones to keep on keepin' on at a bar down the beach, but i crashed. or so i've been told.

thursday. i was pretty fried by then (sunburn, people) and perhaps a weee bit hungover, so thursday became an island exploration day. we explored iao valley, ate lunch in paia at the fish market (grilled fish and starches galore) and headed down the road to hana. we made it a short way last time but were pretty zonked out and didn't get far. plus, the huz had a pretty good rationale at the time: "hmm -- sitting in stop & go traffic for hours? isn't that what i could be doing at home?" but evidenly we missed some good stuff, so we're off to try it again. of course we start way after everyone else (we're not big on "early"), so most of the traffic is gone. and he makes me drive this time.

beautiful views, black sand beaches, crazy waves, general prettyness. i keep saying "pretty pretty pretty" for some reason. maybe because it was. we found a few spots where folks were definitely less tourist-friendly, but that's where some of the best shots came from. we skipped the waterfalls this time (twin falls is definitely worth the hike if you find yourself there -- but don't believe the guidebooks that say "five minutes" -- it's a bit of a haul) since we've been there, done that, and we wanted to get a bit farther down the road this time. we made it to honomanu bay county beach park and kenae, and then turned around. i know there were some killer falls just a bit further, but it was getting dark and 5 more miles is a loooong way on that road.

headed back to town, tired and gross from a day in the sun, and stopped in lahaina for dinner. went to cheeseburger in paradise, sat looking at the water, and had some greasy goodness for dinner. and a pina colada. this place is commercial to a fault, but the do make a damned good fruity drink. with pineapple. did i mention how much i looooove the pineapples here? our waiter is from charlotte, and he's excited to see some southerners here. evidently not a lot of east coasters and even fewer southern folks make the trek to maui. for good reason: it's frickin' expensive here! i am absolutely in love with this place but agree with the huz when he suggests we find a place we really love in the caribbean instead of obsessing over hawaii. airfare to the caribbean = reasonably accessible. airfare to hawaii (even if your airline doesn't go bust two weeks before your trip) = ouch.

friday. last full day. we have a snorkel/snuba trip planned with the wedding group, and i can't wait. i rented snorkel equipment monday and have been paddling around the kaanapali/black rock area all week, but this should be even better. we did this same snorkel trip to molokini & turtle town before, and we saw some amazing stuff. i even had a ray swim right under me, which freaked me the hell out since it was about a week after the croc hunter dude kicked it. this time, we went the snuba route. i've been wanting to learn to scuba but didn't know if we'd have a chance for me to dive here, so this was a good middle ground to satisfy me. we saw turtles galore, which was very cool. swimming around underwater after one, i turned around to find another one right in my face. awesome. it was a super-calm day, so the snorkling was perfect. we also got to swim over the ridge at molokini, in addition to inside and around the crater. so you're swimming around looking down at the coral a few feet below, then bam you're on the other side of a 400' ridge, looking into the abyss. kickass.

OH. and we saw WHALES!!! preface: i had been *whining* (i know, not me, right?) for four days that I WANNA SEE A WHALE. i kept thinking i saw splashes out in the ocean that must be whales, but they were probably more figments of my active imagination. then, on the way to molokini, we saw (actual) dolphins playing. that was cute. on the way back, we saw a couple of whales swimming around. and then another. and another. in all, we saw a baby humpback jumping and splashing around along with three adults (we figured mom + 2 suitors). huz took pictures galore and everyone was happy. it was so much fun, i forgot to put on more sunblock. oops.

we get back to land and everyone else goes straight to the beach. i went straight for a cold shower. yeah, if you put on sunblock in the morning, spend two hours in the water, keep putting a snorkel mask on your forehead, and then proceed to sit on top of a boat for an hour, not wearing a hat, you may get a little sun. if you're little miss whitey like me, you may get a lot of sun. oops. all that diligence all week (if you've ever sat by a body of water with me, you know i take pride in being a sunscreen nazi), all that floppy-hat-wearing. and i'm a lobster.

so friday afternoon i took a nap. inside. then we drove back to paia for dinner at mama's fish house. we decided the hype wasn't worth the price tag last year, but hell, we've already blown our non-budget, so why not? it was absolutely beautiful. the food was truly amazing -- how many times are you gonna have tuna sashimi sitting beside the water it was caught in? if you go there, just close your eyes and point to something on the menu, but don't, for god's sake, look at the prices. just don't look. this will be the best meal ever if i can manage to not look at my bank statement in the next month.

saturday. the boy finally jumps off of black rock. of course i didn't get it on film. i suck. but i did get some pretty flowers. :)

then we went home. it was a long, loooooooong trip. let's just say it was over 24 hours, 4 flights, and sleeping (or, not sleeping) in an airport. but i did manage to stock up on yummy paradise bakery cookies in phx, and my sister's in-laws (from charlotte) were randomly sitting right behind us on one plane. start humming "it's a small world" now.

it's almost a good thing it took so long to get home, so we could actually apprieciate it when we got here. thankfully, springtime in atlanta ain't too shabby.

after typing this whole novel, i feel like i should end with some words of wisdom or at least some sort of usefulness (other than an annoying song in your head). so here you are.

#1: sunblock is your friend. my scalp started peeling monday. um, yay.


the end. finally.

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