Oahu with Mom & Dad

Old May 26th, 2006, 07:34 PM
  #21  
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Faina, I just knew somehow we had to be related, with us both being Russian and all and both loving Switzerland too! Too much of a coincidence, donchathink? So let's see...does that make you my Auntie Faina?

starrsville - ah shucks! Patience, my dear. Patience

And Mary - don't think for a split second that I haven't heard those same type comments. "Cringe" is the perfect word to describe my feelings. This summer my hubby and I are visiting Berlin and Dresden. Dad wonders how we could even think of going there.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 07:43 PM
  #22  
 
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Ah, it's a small world after all....but in this case, sounds like we are all one big tribe!
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Old May 27th, 2006, 08:53 AM
  #23  
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The day had come for our Circle Island Drive. After the morning’s rituals, we were ready for a day on the road. “I’ll get the car and you meet me at the lobby area in 15 minutes.” Sounds simple enough. 15 minutes pass, no parents, and no answer on their room phone. Of course, I’m in a no parking zone, but the guard (remember, it’s a military hotel) takes pity on me. He leaves his post to try paging them. Of course, I knew they wouldn’t be able to hear the page. 30 minutes. Guard is giving me the “why-are-you-still-here eye.” 45 minutes, I take the car back to the garage, walk back to the hotel. Finally, I find them at the snack bar. How sweet of them to think I’d need a drink for the long drive!

The sky was clear and sunny, and the water – oh, the colors were so spectacular, all the different hues of blues, aquas, greens. Mom was a real trooper, walking on the lava rocks, taking care not to fall. When we’d stop at viewpoints, I would read to them stories of the ancient Hawaiian rituals and customs. One they especially enjoyed was the burial ritual of the chiefs, where the servant who carved the burial cave had to be killed so as to hide the location of the cave.

(It’s amazing how it takes but a simple word to know where a conversation will end up going. No more had the word “burial” come out of my mouth, but Mother started once again to reassure me that everything has been taken care of for when she and Dad pass on, that we won’t have to worry about anything. The plots are paid for, we’ll have a nice view (what?), they want to be buried in their 50th anniversary party clothes, and the minister knows what songs to sing at the service. Thank you, Mom. I really appreciate that.)

We actually ended up having a wonderful day. Hanauma Bay was gorgeous. Bellows Beach was deserted, and we took a nice walk there. It’s so cute to see them holding hands, walking barefoot on the sand, with the water gently caressing their feet. In La’ie, we saw the natural arch formed after a tsunami. Fascinating. Lunch was at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, where we dined on shrimp scampi, messy but yummy! Dad usually doesn’t eat shrimp due to diet restrictions, but even he let loose and gobbled them up.

By this time, my “navigators” had fallen asleep, so I missed the turnoff for Turtle Beach, where I’d read so much about the sea turtles. Oh well. Next stop was the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Not many pineapples are grown here any longer, and this place has become mostly a tourist trap. But they love the Pineapple Whip and the tour of the gardens, so of course we stopped. This little bit of sugar kept them awake until we arrived safely back at the hotel.

Good day. Good memories.
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Old May 27th, 2006, 09:08 AM
  #24  
 
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I'm enjoying your report, Kopp. It has actually brought some tears to my eyes and lots of chuckles as well. I admire your sense of humor and the fact that you have done this for your parents.
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Old May 28th, 2006, 09:04 AM
  #25  
 
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Thank you soo much for the laughing tears! I am a adult Military Brat

Tho my father has passed away..(on Memorial day which we found to be fitting) I still take mom on vacations with my family.It's nice to have the "military perks" and we get to spend quality family time. After all my parents hauled us around the world Sometimes with out us. Yea on those trips to Hawaii. My husband and I are going for our first visit with out the children,my mom bless her heart is watching the girls.. see what goes around comes aroumd All that she has asked for in return was to take a picture of the Hilton rainbow tower and bring her back some wooden grapes. (which were broken on one of our many moves)
My sibilings always say to me. "mom is going with you again?" are you crazy? Yes but then aren't we all a teeny bit
Im glad I found your message this weekend I was kinda bummed thinking about how much we miss dad.. you made it so much better.. thanks again..
happy travels..
aka the Col's daughter
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Old May 28th, 2006, 03:52 PM
  #26  
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stw - tears and chuckles - isn't that what life is supposed to be about anyway? Glad you're enjoying.

wecamp - welcome! what goes around comes around - truer words never spoken! Wooden grapes? Now that takes me back...LOL! How about the wooden 3-foot carved fork and spoon hanging on the wall? I know where you can buy one cheap!
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Old May 28th, 2006, 06:38 PM
  #27  
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Plans had been made several weeks before this trip for my first ever TTG-Fodorite GTG. We were to have cocktails and dinner at sunset with MelissaHI at a local restaurant before Mom, Dad and I headed out to a musical performance at the historic Hawaii Theater.

Well, during that morning’s military retiree rap session in the lobby, someone mentioned to Dad that a marching festival would be taking place in the Ft. DeRussy Park that same afternoon. Turns out that May was Military Appreciation Month, and all sorts of activities were planned by the hotel. Well, anything to do with bands and marching gets Dad, the VFW commander back home, wound up and raring to go, so I knew the TTG-Fodorite GTG was not to be. MelissaHI was very gracious and understanding, and we made plans to possibly meet for just a few minutes another day.

This was quite a special event indeed. Every branch of the military was there: Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, even bagpipe players and a Fife and Drum unit. Each played a half-dozen or so songs while marching in intricate patterns. The re-enactment of the Iwo Jima flag raising was a tear-jerker, as was the moment of silence that was given to the soldiers currently fighting and those who have lost their lives. Very moving! The Commander of the Pacific Fleet gave a speech, which was followed by the playing of the traditional songs for each branch. It was hard for me to keep my composure when the Marines started playing, “From the Halls of Montezuma,” always a favorite of mine. This festival lasted well over two hours, until the sunset behind the palm trees. Taps was played, and we were dismissed. Wow.

But our night was not over. I hadn’t really expected the festival to last so long. We had tickets for a theater production called “In the Mood,” a song and dance musical variety program at the newly-restored Hawaii Theater. Literally grabbing a sandwich from the snack bar, we hurried as fast as tired feet would allow. Planting my parents in the hotel lobby with a firm, “Stay right here – don’t move until I bring the car around,” they actually learned their lesson and were waiting for me when I pulled up.

The show was outstanding. The small group of singers and dancers took the sold-out house through a dazzling musical review of the 1940s, with songs like “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “Kalamazoo,” “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” “GI Joe,” and so many more. They were accompanied by the String of Pearls Orchestra. The evening reminded me of the old Lawrence Welk Shows we used to watch as kids.

When my dad can stay awake for an evening’s performance, I know it’s a worthwhile event. I even caught his feet tapping to the music a few times. Mom’s face was all aglow with laughter and tears mixed in together. The two of them were singing all the way back to the hotel and well into the next day.
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Old May 28th, 2006, 07:36 PM
  #28  
 
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Oh Please there are other houses that still have them?! lol I believe mom has willed them to my sister,who CAN NOT stand nic nacs :0
and thanks for the welcome..The grapes were made of teakwood, or sandalwood.The giant bowl has bananna's apples,pears and one pineapple...
I'm hoping I can find some at the fleamarket. If anyone out there knows please holler
ps I too have Oahu Revealed... it's a great book!
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Old May 28th, 2006, 09:34 PM
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Hey! Sounds like skipping the GTG was well worth it. I know you were kind of frustrated that morning, but it all worked out, no? and in the end, that's all that matters.......
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Old May 29th, 2006, 05:45 AM
  #30  
 
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Hi kopp,

We've been to the Hale Koa and understand why you waited in the car as long as possible for your parents--the garage is inconveniently located down the hill and across the street of a busy intersection!

There's a small military / war museum next to the hotel so I'm wondering if your dad made it there.

Wonderful trip report! Reminds me a bit of the Tom Selleck movie Folks!
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Old May 29th, 2006, 06:43 PM
  #31  
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AnnMarie - I've now added that movie to my Blockbuster rental list. Sounds like a winner!

And yes, we did get to the Army Museum. Dad could stay in there for hours. Each picture inside tells a story of the lives of our war veterans. It's amazing how clear his memory is about certain dates, places, etc. It's like it happened yesterday.

In their gift shop, they were selling pins of various kinds having to do with military, and he bought the one with the Army WWII Veteran with some sort of symbol. He'll proudly wear that on his lapel, alongside his American flag that's always on his coat jacket!

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Old May 29th, 2006, 06:48 PM
  #32  
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The night had come for the Hale Koa Luau. Having watched the morning ceremony of the pig being placed into the hole with the ti leaves and coals, we eagerly anticipated seeing the end result later in the day. Mom really loves dressing up for all things Hawaiian, especially the luau. Going to a luau without her hibiscus-flowered dress would be like going to church in pants – it’s just not done! So when Dad phoned my room in “panic mode” only minutes before our scheduled 5 pm “meet at the elevator” time, I knew something was amiss.

I’m told there comes a point in one’s life when, no matter how much or how little one eats, one begins to lose weight (I’m still waiting). And then there’s the height-shrinking problem. A few years ago you may have been 5’3”, but now you’re 5’1”. When you haven’t worn your pretty orange flowered dress for several years but today it’s the only dress that you have and now it fits like a gunny sack (“Oh, why didn’t you let me bring my other dresses I had out on the bed?”), and this is the most anticipated evening of your vacation when everyone will be looking their finest – well, all I can say is that hom-ec class from 6th grade and a little ingenuity came in mighty handy!

A great travel tip I learned sometime ago was to take duct tape wrapped around an old credit card on every trip. You just never know when the occasion might arise for its use. Uh-huh, that’s right. A couple tucks here, a hem here, and voila – the pretty orange flowered dress is ready for the luau!

Our tickets included a free “exotic” drink for each of us. Knowing Mom and Dad don’t drink, I figured why waste the tickets. I could use a couple extra drinks. What a joke! The bartender must have had a spray gun that he used to spray alcohol into the cups (using a very fine mist).

We knew the pig removal ceremony was to begin when the conch shells were blown. Let the unwrapping begin. With everyone gathered around the circle of coals, Mom was thrilled when one of the Hawaiian guys picked her out of the crowd to come taste the pig – the cheek portion, so tender and delicious. Ah, her evening was not ruined after all!

The dinner and entertainment were all that we expected of a luau, plenty of food and lots of Hawaiian dancers and singers, a hula contest for the guys, and even the fire knife dancer. A tribute to the military was a moving moment, when all the vets and actives stood up to a round of appreciative applause, while the band played each of the respective service branch’s songs. When it came time for the Hawaiian Wedding Song, the emcee wanted to know who was married the longest. And wouldn’t you know, but Mom and Dad got the prize for their 55 years. On stage, they were serenaded and even danced (probably for the first time in 55 years!)

Truly a magical night in Paradise.
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Old May 29th, 2006, 07:00 PM
  #33  
 
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what a great evening! And you should send in a photo of your mom in her altered dress to the duct tape company!
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Old May 29th, 2006, 09:01 PM
  #34  
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Kopp- Maybe we are related too. My dad was retired military, a WW 2 veteran (he passed away in 2004), a Norwegian and I went on a trip to Oahu with my folks staying at Hale Koa in 2002. It was such a special vacation. We didn't go to the Luau but a Polynesian buffet and show at HK.
 
Old May 30th, 2006, 01:27 PM
  #35  
 
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What IS the duct tape + credit card trick? I'm trying to envision it.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 03:14 PM
  #36  
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Oh Melissa, it's the coolest new gizmo I bring on every trip.

Wrap some duct tape around an old credit card. You'd be surprised what you might use it for: ripped luggage, sink stopper, eyeglass repair, all sorts of things. Oh, and of course now I will add dress alterations!

Over at TTG on their travel tips forum is where I found this helpful hint!

(If you're interested, I put a few of my trip pics on my report over there. Kind of fun!)

Toodles!
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 08:27 AM
  #37  
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Mother’s Day Brunch at the Hale Koa was a lovely affair. Fortunately, there were no wardrobe malfunctions! Mom had been refrigerating the leis she got each night from Dad (he’s such a romantic!), so now she’s got like 4 of them on, all different and so beautiful and fragrant. It goes without saying that we ate too much, but how can you resist such delights as lamb chops, eggs Florentine, caprese salad, and macadamia nut cream pie! We were joined by some dear friends who live locally, so a wonderful time was had by all. Good food, good friends. Life is good.

I had been reading for months about PakePorkChop’s culinary tour of Chinatown, so Mom and I (and my local friend) decided to give it a try. Mom was feeling good, she’d slept the night before (very unusual for her), and she was ready for a walk. Dad was tired from whatever we did the day before -- brunch, nap, pool (more resting), dinner -- so we decided to leave him behind for a few hours.

This was a terrific tour. Starting with the history of Chinese migration to Hawaii, we then toured numerous restaurants, noodle factories, stores, and markets, with everything being pointed out in delightful detail along the way. We even sampled a very unusual yet refreshing drink, sort of like a strawberry smoothie with black blobs of chewy stuff at the bottom. I think it’s called Bubble or Pearl drink or something. Quite tasty. The food markets are always fun to visit, especially when such local delicacies as chicken feet, intestines, and even uterus are sold. Lunch was at a local dim sum parlor, quite a lively place. Mother had never tasted dim sum, but she quickly caught on to the “grab it while it’s available” mentality.

After the tour, I was finally able to meet up with MelissaHI for what has to be the shortest GTG yet, about 5 minutes. She’s a real doll and a delight! Thanks, Melissa, for putting up with my rantings!

The next day was our last. It was announced at breakfast,“Today is packing day, so we won’t be going anywhere.” Yes, it was the dreaded blood pressure rising day. How can one get so stressed about packing when there are no choices to make? Put everything on the bed; it all gets packed. Easy. It shouldn’t take all day. I know, time to back off. As I still hadn’t driven up to Tantalus/Round Top, I decided to set off on my own, leaving them to their packing.

The views from the top of the mountain were stunning. From one side you could see Diamond Head and all its glory; from the other side you could see the harbor area. But for me, the highlight was stopping at Lyon Arboretum, a part of the University of Hawaii where researchers and students alike study plant life in the tropics. This is what Hawaii is to me: the tropical rainforest with the canopy of foliage, the calls of the wild birds, the gigantic philodendron, the palms, heliconia, and the beautiful waterfall at the end of the trail. Only a few miles from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki, this place is so serene and magical. Give me a good book, and I could practically sit here forever.

Later that afternoon, I walked the beaches once more, breathing in the sights and smells. Oh, how I love this place: the surfers riding the waves; the palm trees swaying from the warm, tropical breezes; the songs of the ukulele; and the warmth of the sand beneath my feet. But mostly it’s the Aloha spirit that lives in the people of Hawaii and all who visit. It’s paradise, right here on earth!

Mom and Dad were real troopers on this vacation. Yes, there were difficulties and struggles. But you don’t make it to 80 years old without overcoming struggles. For me, this time we had together was very special, and it is something I will treasure forever. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for letting me share this part of your life. I love you!

Aloha and Mahalo!
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 01:23 PM
  #38  
 
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Awwww that was a really cute trip report, kopp! I do hope we can get together for a REAL GTG in the future!
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 06:09 PM
  #39  
 
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Me too!
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 06:18 PM
  #40  
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Me too!

(And if you're ever in Austin, we've got a great place called "Hula Hut" - it would make you feel right at home! Great place for a GTG!)
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