I’m Not Getting On No Airplane!…

 

    (well I didn’t say ‘never’) but if you want to get to Hawaii……..

Not that I hate airplanes – I just love seeing all the stuff on the ground much better.  Also, being raised in Florida – Hawaii’s tropical climate never really held a ‘draw’ for me, not on ‘my list.’

It took having a son living there, and going for a month – for me to get on one of them ‘alumium’ creatures. I figured it was like climbing one of those 100′ ladders at the Fire-Department; others have done it – so can you.

Our first move from SC was with leaving our cat at home (alone), yes we left Otis on his own for a month.  Now he did have a cat-door and run of the whole garage when needed, also someone would check on him every few days…  This cat wandered in to us a couple years back – he knows the life.

With an early flight from Atlanta our lake neighbors put us up for the night – really nice home with lots of people in that city. The next morning we left our car with them and rode MARTA (mass transport) through Atlanta to the airport; dressed for Hawaii, this was a mini adventure in itself.  Thank you so much Mark and Freda.

Atlanta to Honolulu was aboard a triple-seven for 9.5 hours – zone-loading, a few (hope this thing holds together) bumps over the mountain ranges, a ‘crowded’ feel to the seats.. I think the phrase came to mind of a “cattle-car” feel to the setting.  There were indeed nice folks serving sporadic snacks and drinks all while telling dumb jokes and smiling the whole trip – as for the passengers in my immediate vicinity – they were all civil….

The flight across the Pacific took as much time as crossing the US, 4 and a half hours (x2). The little movies on the back of the seats were helpful, even though I was more tuned into the flight-tracker..  Interesting, but I sure was happy to hear that all-clear for landing 200 miles out; Oahu, a little speck of land in the big ocean calling us in.

The change of weather was immediate; it was humid and strikingly warm on arrival – and where I felt a little out of place in my flowerdy shirt and shorts in Atlanta, it all came together on Oahu.  Gray and Hunter gave us a wonderful island welcome to Hawaii

Then drove us past five or six waterfalls on the way to his home in Kaneohe …

Gray had the penthouse room in the basement all ready for us, clean and freshly painted; it worked really perfect in keeping us out of Licia’s hair (we were there a month!) and providing us plenty of time in the mornings to sit back with a cup of coffee “feet-up” while peering into the volcanic ridges – before heading upstairs for the day…

I was looking at a place fifty million years old – young in comparison to the continental US.  Closer at hand (and just over his fence) was a much younger yet loaded avocado tree (right) that had me yearning for a salt-shaker, a spoon, and one of those large avocados the whole time we were there….. The neighbor finally gave us six of them a couple days before we left, taking several days to ripen when off the vine – I never got to eat one.. drat

The first week Gray took some time off work to drive us on as many different roads and byways as he could, maybe to confuse us but then maybe he just really had alot to show us.  We took it all in, and it was good to notice the ‘way of life’ for modern Hawaiians..

In driving through the large cemetery on Veterans day; I was truly moved to see the families spending hours sitting, even picnicking graveside with their belated loved ones. It was special to see.

And maneuvering through and around the city of Honolulu where I figured any continental driver could easily present a middle finger while driving; I saw only gestures of kindness and understanding.  The ‘shaka‘ sign of ‘hello’ and welcome was always ‘right there,’ nice.  We felt only warmth and caring from many we would never know – it was special to be a part of that culture.

As Hunter returned to school, his little sister Monroe accompanied us on our daily ventures. This day was through the Honolulu Home Depot, a couple thrift stores, the Coast Guard Base and a quick stop at a marina restaurant nearby….

One day we rode out to nearby Lanikai to walk the beach and view those two iconic islands offshore; ‘the mokes.’

One daughter Melissa had lived a block away from here for three years – I was feeling pretty guilty about this time for not making the trip when she was out here.

I guess that second or third bathing suit (or lack of) that walked by woke me from that family guilt…  The beach was beautiful, just I had seen in all of Melissa (and Jessica’s) pictures – I finally made it.  As for the bathing suits – before the end of the visit it was simply commonplace; just another ‘butt.’

There was lots of culture, tourists – from all countries but predominately Asian, and lots of stickers too, – cool.

Another day we drove the south-side of Oahu  – beautiful water, beaches, turtle lagoons and views.

What a joy this little girl was, Monroe. She had just turned one-year old and we were able to keep an eye on her our entire visit. Not once did she complain, whine, cry, or show any sign of being embarrassed being while out with her grandparents; she was awesome… Love.

I learned that there are no snakes on the islands, I liked that, not that they really bother me – but yet one less concern.  But what there is – are cats!.  I’m ok with a cat, but I love my birds and lizards too – here I saw too many feral cats roaming around eyeing the local doves and crested cardinals.  There is such a thing as too many….

Football on TV – in the mornings! Yes, the other thing I liked about Hawaii is that with the time difference (5 or 6 hours behind) College or NFL football began at seven o’clock in the mornings! I was even able to complete the entire evening game (they came on at three)…  I liked.

One Saturday we meet up with several of Gray’s co workers to tailgate and attend a UH college game, vs UNLV.  The guys were awesome with their cooking and hospitality.  Once the game began we all sat up back behind the large replay screen – and Hawaii made a heck of a comeback. UH won in the last quarter (and I never got to see any replays). It was different, but I was able to watch the complete game (with replays) the next morning on TV….

We visited the museum and cultural center in downtown Honolulu, very interesting.  It was two or three hours of some interesting artifacts from the eastern island cultures – once again Monroe just absorbed it all with us.

We attended and watched several practices as Hunter showed an interest in learning the necessary discipline of karate.

They trusted us with preparing their child for school too, one morning Hunter comes out of his room with his backpack on so we take him to school.  Later in the afternoon when picking him up he says “hey grampa, Why did you take me to school with my pajamas on?#!”  We didn’t have a clue (but I’m sure he was the most comfortable boy in the class).

Hunter otherwise had all the energy of a five-year old ‘jumping-bean’ of a boy… Walking him a mile home from school was my way of getting some of that bounce out (I really enjoyed the walks too). Another day we returned to Lanikai, as we walked the beach Hunter ran along waist deep in water – before leaving we were all in the water with him.

The ‘Pillbox’ with WW2 history as next.  Gray knew where to park and we took off up the Kaiwa ridge trail, a well used trail that is sometimes knee deep in weeds (remember, no snakes).

It was a beautiful walk and view over the Pacific.  Many use it for exercise but the trail is well worn from a multitude of tourists too..

At home I noticed a Dad’s time-out, very proud of Gray and the father he has become.

On yet another day we found the Hawaiian Railway society.

With roots from the early 1900’s, the little train’s open cars were a very entertaining (and inexpensive) way to spend a few weekend hours. We figured it would relax the kids, but the little trip up the coast and back ended up providing an entertaining afternoon for the adults too..

“Petticoat Junction”…

So do they have Walmart in Hawaii? yes! – this gal apparently ‘shopped till she dropped.’ As for prices, I found the prices (of all but housing) to be more reasonable than I was led to believe..

Walmart kinda fit, after all – we went to Hawaii the mindset (and the ability) to see life like locals rather than tourists – and we did. A couple things that come to mind; ‘Abandoned cars; sometimes its cheaper/easier to just leave one on the island than to ship it back. Seems like a good recycling business for someone, but then some make good homes for #2 – the ‘homeless‘ – not only in Honolulu but dotting the islands shores. I suppose the weather is perfect for pushing your collected belongings around on a loaded shopping-cart. Its not something that I would know how to fix, but it is something that reminds me of how very fortunate I am to live within my own simple means.

We did manage a wonderful month on the island at reasonable expense; thanks big-time to Licia’s cooking….

Hooray! its Monday.. Mom and Dad’s gone to work, brother’s in school, and I’m ready to play!!

So we did; we also walked some local streets, visited some local stores.  Monroe was my ‘babe-magnet,’ when walking through a store these tropically dressed ladies always seemed to be drawn over to admire the babe Monroe…

There was a Christmas caroling evening with the marine band on the base and we were able to catch part of it – but walking through the commissary of the base was interesting too. Our service personnel have some much deserved perks on their bases…

Kim and I took a day to drive along the shoreline up to the ‘North shore’ of Oahu where the largest waves and all the main surfing takes place.

There were busy beaches and several others where we simply stopped and parked our butts in the sand to absorb the surroundings – for hours.

Kim enjoying her surroundings (I found shade) – then off to Ted’s Bakery, this is a must stop to eat if in the area..

We also some time at Pearl Harbor and the Arizona memorial, this was definitely on our ‘list.’

The memorial itself was under repair – some disappointment with that part, but the boat-ride and information provided at shipside was worth the visit.

Stopping later to watch a Clemson game at Hooters; there were folks receiving an Hawaiian hula welcome as they boarded the dinner cruise immediately beside us..

On our last day Gray found time to take us on another short hike which Kim could enjoy

– before visiting the Bydo-In Temple nearby. This was a beautiful temple modeled after an eleventh-century temple in Japan.  The setting was reverent and tranquil.

Hunter fed the birds by hand,

and they both fed the huge goldfish (carp) that were in the moat..

The plane ride back was pretty cool too, stopping at LAX before returning to Atlanta.

There sure is alot of light-bulbs on in LA at night; looking out the planes window I also saw those burning in Albuquerque and Memphis too as we passed over. Earlier in the month I had noticed on social media a few clips of pilots working through some pretty hairy crosswinds on landing; and those before Atlanta received my real-time attention


Woooo coming in, touch-down.

With just a little effort, we found our car and drove 2.5 hours back to the lakehouse where Otis welcomed us home.

Monroe at One year old

Hunter about the same age.

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We really loved and appreciated our visit with family in Hawaii, thanks for making it a very special time. Proud of you each Gray and Licia – proud of your family and your accomplishments.  You done good, and thank-you. 

 

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