Okay, I know I’m not good at this whole updating the blog thing, but I really don’t have much to talk about until we go on our trips. The blog is about our trips, anyway, and those only happen 4 times a year but I may update with some other happenings occasionally.
First of all, Hawaii was awesome! Thanks again to Yahoo for providing us with these amazing opportunities to travel around the world to sporting events. The NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium was so much fun, and Wes said he was fulfilling a childhood dream by going to the game.
Our trip started on Thursday, January 27th when we drove from College Station to Houston to spend the night before our 9am flight to Dallas, where we would connect before jetting of to Hawaii. We enjoyed a great seafood dinner at Snapper Jacks in Jersey Village (great shrimp fried rice!!), then spent the night at the new La Quinta right outside the airport. Holy cow, that was a nice La Quinta! We were very impressed and highly recommend it!
We had no problems leaving Houston, but we were delayed in Dallas due to a mechanical issue on our plane. Thankfully, they decided not to take that plane and instead pulled one from the hangar. Let me tell you, this plane had obviously seen better days; the seat cushions were faded, it was dusty, and there were no screens in the headrests, only 1 screen for every 4 or 5 rows. I guess I’d been spoiled on our flights to Tahiti and Brazil, but if I’m going to be on a plane for 8+ hours I would sure like my own screen!
This was the first time either of us had flown American Airlines for a long flight (over 2 hours), and we were finally privy to the horrible treatment everyone has been complaining about. The flight attendants made no effort to smile or connect with you, and they came by twice for drinks on the entire flight. They served no meals (on our other long flights we had at least 2 meals included with our ticket) and hawked $10 sandwiches and salads. Um, no thanks.
We arrived in Hawaii at 5 pm local time, an hour later than scheduled but not too bad. As soon as we stepped off the plane we saw a beautiful rainbow, and thus the photography started!
Honolulu is a fun, inviting city surrounded by beautiful beaches that rise into majestic volcanic mountains.
We stayed at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani hotel, a very busy hotel I’m assuming because it is right along the main street in Hawaii as well as right across from Waikiki Beach. It was so nice to be able to walk wherever we needed to go, whether it be to dinner, the grocery store, or the International Marketplace to get souvenirs.
We were starving when we landed in Hawaii, so as soon as we freshened up in our room we walked across the street to Duke’s on Waikiki Beach for dinner. We were early for our reservations, so we took our pager and walked down to the beach to wait. It was such a surreal experience to be barefoot on Waikiki beach at night with the love of my life… it was such a great feeling!
Once seated at our table overlooking the beach, a very nice server greeted us and asked a little about us and where we were from before taking our order. We had a few drinks, ordered some great food and enjoyed the salad bar… it was a great experience!
The next morning we woke up bright eyed and bushy-tailed at 6:30 (we were still on Texas time) to attend a free breakfast hosted by the travel agency, and boy did that turn out to be a time-suck! We didn’t get out of there until almost 10, which felt like half a day wasted just for some croissants and eggs out of the carton with a tiny slice of pineapple on top. I was ticked. It was just a ploy to get us to buy island event tickets through them and get serenaded by Nathan Osmond, of the Osmond family (yeah, I’d never heard of him, either).
After this, we darted off to pick up our tickets to the Pro Bowl, along with a goody bag each of Pro Bowl stuff, before we got ready to go enjoy the beach.
After a very quick shared gyro for lunch, we hopped in a cab to go to Sandy Point Beach. 30 minutes later and $46 lighter, we stepped onto one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. There was a surfing competition going on, so I contented myself to walk down the beach and take pictures of the beautiful rock formations and crashing waves.
Meanwhile, Wes decided that there was NO way we were going to spend another $50 on the ride back in, but luckily a lifeguard informed us that the city bus came on the hour and would even stop at Hanauma Bay, where we wanted to snorkel.
We hopped on the bus, did a short (45 minutes) round of snorkeling at the gorgeous bay, and then caught the bus back into Honolulu so we could make it back in time to get ready for our shuttle to the luau that left at 3:45. It was hectic! I have yet to get our underwater camera developed, but here are a few shots of Hanauma Bay:
We arrived at the Paradise Cove luau that night at 5pm and were immediately lei’d and provided colorful cocktails before set loose to wander the grounds before the activities started. The activities consisted of: how to husk a coconut, how to climb to the top of a coconut palms, how to correctly tie what we call a sarong (for men and women), how to pull in the nets, and (of course) the basics of the hula dance.
Finally, the conch shell called us to convene at the area around the fire pits where the hogs had been cooking all day. After an enthralling story about the history of the luau, the pigs were raised from the earth in all of their hunger-inducing, sweet smelling glory. Immediately after this, we were shown our seats and instructed to find our way to the buffet (which we had NO problem finding). The food was yummy, and after we were treated to a long but very captivating show before we were loaded on the bus back to Honolulu. It was a fun experience, and also very romantic!
That night, when we returned to Honolulu, we found a huge block party happening on the main street celebrating the Pro Bowl. There were vendors galore, and several stages set up for live performers. Wes and I walked through the mob for a few minutes, then grabbed a six pack to take to our balcony, where we had a clear view of the commotion on the street.
The next day we boarded the bus to the tailgate party for the Pro Bowl at 10, and we were so excited! We were shown into the NFL press tent and offered free drinks and food for so long as we wished to stay there, and they entertained us with polynesian dance as well as NFL cheerleaders that came to do their thing. NFL players made their way in and out of the tent, signing autographs and taking pictures before they left for the game.
Finally, at 1, we decided to make our way to the stadium. We took our seats just in time to see the Goo Goo Dolls perform the opening show, which was awesome!
The game was fun, mostly exhibition, but fun nonetheless when you are as big a fan of football as we are. Our seats were just above the press box, and we even saw Terry Bradshaw arrive – he nearly ran over us with his golf cart, in fact – to go down the private entrance to the press box
After the game, we even got to go down onto the field via the tunnel entrance and snap a few pictures of the end of the game, and then later the players as they left to board the bus back to their hotel. It was pretty neat!
After the game, we went directly to eat at an all you can eat seafood buffet- it was like heaven for us! The next morning we ate breakfast at the Hula Grill, right next to Dukes, and enjoyed a beautiful view of Waikiki Beach while we ate crab cake eggs benedict.
Since it was our last day, we were leaving that night, we just took it easy. For the first part of the day we relaxed on Waikiki Beach, taking turns sunbathing and leisurely snorkeling… just taking it all in, which we like to do at least one day when we vacation. We took an hour to eat an excellent lunch at the Blue Water Shrimp & Seafood Company in the International Marketplace, bought a few souvenirs, and then went back to the hotel to retrieve our luggage and head to the airport.
As we boarded the plane I had that familiar feeling of regret that we didn’t get to do as much as we would have liked, such as seen the North shore and hike Diamond Head, but that just means we will have to come back!
Thanks for reading, and if you would like to see all the pictures we took on our trip, you can view the Facebook albums:
Christine & Wes