Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Hawaii: A Pretty Nice Place
So, my dad has been saving up frequent flier miles for years to take my mom to Hawaii. But my mom wanted to take the whole family. (Thank you, Mom!) The complicated nature of a project like that, and the sheer number of frequent flier miles required, and the way that busy people have of putting off vacations, meant it felt like it was never going to happen.
Until some friends -- they were our next door neighbors twenty years ago in San Antonio, and moved to Colorado shortly after we did, for the first time -- invited us along on their Hawaii trip, to see their daughter's graduation. (These same friends had come along on my parents' trip to see my graduation, in the Seattle area. So there was a kind of symmetry.)
What this meant for Ken and me was that we got a call out of the blue one day: "If we went to Hawaii in May, would you be interested in coming?"
There is only one possible answer to that question. (Well, there are two, but "Duh!" isn't very polite...) That's the kind of prize you usually only win on a game show. On Fear Factor, you'd have to eat a couple of pounds of live insects just for a chance at a prize like that.
Since we had nothing to do in regards to planning this trip, it sort of got pushed out of our minds, as work got more and more stressful and Ken's candidacy came over the horizon. But all of the sudden it was time to go. Frequent flier miles had been spent on tickets in our name. A beach house was reserved with room for six (if two slept on a futon in the living room.) All we had to do was pack our bags the night before, and catch a cab to the aiport. (We caught the cab at 3:00AM, from the lab, where we had stopped to check on the baking vacuum system).
It was a surreal experience (especially with the ten hour flight and the five hour time zone change.) But when we got to the beach house, it was literally on the beach. You could watch surfers from the deck.
And we did. For a week, we watched surfers (including my brother and sister, and also the friends who invited us) and grilled out, and played in the waves. Gorgeous white sand.
And then we did all the activities the guide book told us too, too many to describe. But the highlights were a swim with dolphins who really did seem uncannily human, and, the final night, a luau and show at the Polynesian Cultural Center, complete with Fire Knife Dancers.
I filled up my camera's flash card for the first time ever. And half a dozen rolls of film. So even though it went fast, I'm definitely going to remember it.