Back in Honolulu after a 21 minute flight from Kauai…Out and about for shopping, fun and food!

 

Crossing over a bridge in Honolulu.
Yesterday, we left the condo at 10:30 am to drive to the airport in Lihue. As always, Tom drops me off at the curbside with the luggage while I grab a skycap to take away our three prepaid checked bags while he returns the rental car.

We’ve got this routine down pat for check-in only. When we’re leaving an airport, we haul the bags ourselves, which we’re able to do with me pulling the wheeled cart with all the carry on bags and wheeling the smallest of the three bags while Tom wheels the two heaviest bags. This way, we only have to pay for assistance part of the time. 

We took the Pink Trolley to the shopping mall in Honolulu.

After the flight as we made our way to baggage claim, Tom suddenly realized he didn’t have his driver’s license in his pocket. Having to show it several times to board the plane, he kept it in his shorts pocket.

When he realized he must have dropped it on the plane, he left me outside with the carry on bags while he ran back to see if it could be recovered. Losing his license would be a fiasco when at many ports of call, showing it is required to get on and off the ship.

And, what about the rental car in Cairns, Australia which requires a driver’s license?  How would he get a replacement through the mail from afar? It was a dreadful thought. Again, “safari luck” kicked in. A kindly baggage agent ran to the plane moments before it was taking off again to recover the license, refusing to take the generous tip we offered.

The fare was $2 per person each way.

After the 25-minute taxi ride, we finally arrived at our hotel, Hyatt Place Waikiki by 3:00 pm. It was hard to believe it took so long considering the short flight. It’s all the “monkey business” in between that takes up the time, typical on every flight regardless of its actual flying time. The hotel room was small but conveniently outfitted with a big-screen TV, free wifi, and a comfortable king bed.

As I write this now, the Indy 500 just ended and before too long we’ll check out and head to the pier. Having not seen the race in a few years while living outside the US, it was exciting to see how the presentation of the race has escalated with newer video technology making it all the more exciting.

Over the past several days I’ve been thinking about purchasing a pair of white pants to go with the many tops I purchased a week ago in Kauai. To avoid putting pressure on our time, I threw it out there as a possibility if time allowed.

The exterior of our hotel, Hyatt Place. 

Yesterday, once we were settled in the room, I looked online and called Old Navy to see if they had white jeans in my size. With a few options in stock, Tom who despises clothes shopping agreed to go with me to the Ala Moana Shopping Center a few miles down the main road. 

Instead of spending $50 for the round trip taxi, we decided to take the Pink Trolley that travels directly to the mall and back. All we had to do was walk two blocks to the trolley stop in front of a hotel down the road. Within minutes we were riding on the open-air Pink Trolley, thrilled that we’d decided to do this enjoying the scenery along the way.

A ukulele store we passed on the ride.

When we were in Honolulu/Waikiki last October for 11 days, we walked everywhere instead of taking the trolley. But, as the day wore on and wanting to have dinner at our favorite local restaurant, Cheeseburger in Paradise, taking the trolley ensured we could accomplish it all.

And we did accomplish it all. Not only did I find a pair of white pants, modeling them for Tom while he sat in a chair in the fitting room, but I was also convinced I’d found exactly what I wanted when he smiled and gave me the thumbs up. I think that the first time Tom had ever been in a fitting room with me.

A blurry photo of a Banyan tree which lines the boulevard in Waikiki.

The only item I needed to complete my wardrobe for the cruises was a pair of high-heeled shoes, preferably with a cork wedge-type heel for added stability. Recently, tossing a pair of shoes, I was down to five pairs. I had no qualms about replacing the sixth pair with something new and attractive in light of three upcoming four dress-up nights on the cruise.

In no time at all we found the shoes and were back on the return trolley, getting off at the correct stop for the restaurant.  It was 7 pm. All had worked out as planned, we had a great time and didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes to get a table. The dinner was great as expected. I had my usual Cobb Salad and Tom splurged with a burger and onion rings.

Before dark, we arrived at the restaurant for another great meal.

By 11:00 am, we’ll be checked out of the hotel and shortly on our way to the pier taking a shuttle arranged by the hotel for $17. Cruise check-in begins at noon.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with ship photos and more. Please check back then!

Have a safe Memorial weekend!

                                               Photo from one year ago today, May 24, 2015:

A breathtaking view from our veranda of the private home we rented in Madeira, Portugal for two and a half months. We were never tired of this view. For details from this date, please click here.

 

 

One week from today…Leaving Kauai!…A long haul in Paradise….Tom’s funny expression…Thrills?

Our favorite bird, aptly names Birdie, who lives in our yard with his significant other, waiting for us when we open the blinds in the morning and looking at us as we have dinner each night.

Its hard to believe that we’d make a comment about being in paradise for too long.  How can that be?

Looking back, we could have spent less time in Hawaii.  Good grief, we’ve been here for eight months, certainly long enough.  At the time we booked the long stay we had two reasons to be in Hawaii; one, our family coming to Big Island for Christmas and two, taking the cruise to Australia on May 24th from Honolulu. 

The waning sun at the overlook.

Those two reasons resulted in these required extra months with the remainder on the front end in Honolulu/Waikiki, Maui and Big Island.

For some odd reason, we assumed time in the US would be useful while doing US-type things; doctor appointments, dentist appointments and some arbitrary paperwork which we’ve discovered we can easily do while living in other countries. We’ve never had the doctor appointments (other than my recent illness which is slightly improved again today) or the dentist appointments we’d planned.  We hope to do these in Australia.

The overlook last evening.
We’ve learned a valuable lesson to never spend a straight four months in any one location.  Its just too long for us.  We aren’t staying long enough in any one location to feel totally settled in and we aren’t leaving soon enough to give us that feeling of excitement and adventure we both so crave.


Not to contradict ourselves, we must admit that we’re booked in Bali for four months total but, in two separate two-month stints, separated by over two months.  Hopefully, that will work out well for us. But, let’s face it, whatever the circumstances, overall we’ve always have a good time, even if the only friends we made were the household help, the non English speaking butcher at the meat market or if available nearby, the property owner or manager.

A miniature orchid, smaller than a dime, growing along the railing at the overlook.

We’ve managed to do well without a living room only sitting outdoors all day in 100 degree heat (38C); living in countries where no one speaks English and we never made friends; living in Marrakech a year ago in the confines of the riad, the souks and the Big Square with little else to do and now this extended period in Hawaii. 

Its like everything else in life…too much of a good thing…is too much of a good thing.  Tom has an expression he uses from time to time:  “The most beautiful women you’ve ever laid eyes on…there’s some guy who’s sick and tired of her “sh_ _!”  He always qualifies it by saying that it goes both ways when I eyeball an adorable muscular 20 something at the beach. 

This yellow flower is not much bigger to the eye than a pea.  Zooming in to capture it’s beauty is exhilarating.

This always makes me laugh out loud including moments ago when I asked him to repeat it.  This comment reminds me of that no matter how beautiful and friendly Hawaii has been its not perfect for us for the long haul. 

Why are we living this crazy life anyway?  We could say to enrich our knowledge and experience by exploring various parts of the world.  We could say to expand our personal horizons in this final hurrah of our lives to become more well rounded.  We could say its to stretch ourselves beyond the confines of our previously pleasant but mundane lifestyle.

A colorful sunset.
The reality? I say this with a little bit of trepidation over a possible backlash from the few naysayers and haters that lurk out there…WE DO IT FOR THE THRILL!


Yes, there is a thrill in stretching oneself beyond our limits; a 4×4 day long adventure in the mountains of Iceland; cruising through pirate infested waters in the Gulf of Aden with specials forces on board; sitting in a tiny vehicle with 25 elephants blocking the road; dining at night in the bush with armed guards to protect us; standing outside for an hour and a half in the pouring rain in Versailles with no umbrella and yet a smile on our faces;  taking the strenuous long trek to Petra to see The Treasury; chasing a fish truck up the steep road to ultimately catch it and buy an entire yellow fin tuna to watch the fisherman fillet it with a machete.  We do it for these kinds of thrills.

Although this bloom appears to be a future flower its actually a growing leaf.

And then, there’s the joy and satisfaction of promoting local artists and businesses with positive reviews, stories and photos posted here hoping that our worldwide readers will consider to partake of their services should they travel to their locations.  We do it for these kinds of thrills.

Then, the other piece, however repetitive it may be for our less than interested readers, sharing our way of eating with information, links, books and recipes, hoping that one person along the way may be able to make it work for themselves, relieving pain, improving health or eventually getting off or reducing the need for medications.  We do it for these kinds of thrills.

Pretty flowers on a bush near the albatross.

We’re ready to move on from beautiful, magical, friendly Kauai.  Its been heavenly living on the Garden Island.  We’ve made many wonderful friends at social events we’ll always remember.  We’ve loved watching the hatching and growth of the Laysan Albatross, a bonus we never expected.  And, of course, we loved Birdie and the Redheads who’ve visited us several times a day singing their songs in an attempt to successfully gain our attention.

We move on with a sense of freedom and adventure knowing we gave Kauai everything we had to give and Kauai, in return, bestowed its wonder upon us.

Happy Saturday, worldwide friends!  Thanks for hanging in there with us during this extended stay in Hawaii.  Soon, the thrills will escalate…
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Photo from one year ago today, May 16, 2014:

It was one year ago today that we were on the move from Marrakech, Morocco to Madeira, Portugal which resulted in a much more lengthy travel time than expected.  Tom and Samir are shown in this photo wheeling our luggage at the airport.  For details, please click here.

Part 1…Why would YOU visit Kauai?…Facts about the island…

If one can safely make it down the cliffs in Kauai to the beach, a treasure awaits them such as in this location, Kauapea Beach, also known as Secret Beach. This is my sister Julie’s photo.
Many people we’ve met during these past 2½ months in Kauai have asked if we’ll ever return to Kauai. The answer for us is clear. If and when we ever stop traveling the world, having decided to somewhat settle down, perhaps living between one or two or three locations Kauai would definitely be on the list. But, then again, so would Marloth Park, South Africa, certainly my two favorites to date. Tom says he can’t commit as to his favorite location since he hasn’t been there and it’s yet to come.
Many paths down to the beach begin innocuous such as this ending up to be quite challenging as it nears the ocean. One must exercise extreme caution on many of these trails. Almost every evening on the news we hear of yet another tourist falling to their death on difficult treks.

Today, based on our longer than usual vacation/holiday than the average traveler, we offer our perspective, as to why you, our reader, may choose to visit Kauai (and tomorrow, why not).

First, let’s start with some basic facts about the “garden island” as Kauai is so well known.

Kauai General Facts

Kauai Highlights:
Napali Coast: Take an air tour or a boat tour to witness the towering cliffs along Kauai’s North Shore.Waimea Canyon: Enjoy the panoramic views of “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”Wailua River: Kauai has the only navigable rivers in Hawaii and Wailua is one of the most popular. Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse: Visit this beautiful scenic point at the northernmost tip of the island.Kauai Beaches: From Poipu on the South Shore to Hanalei Bay on the North Shore, explore Kauai’s amazing beaches.
Airports:
Kauai’s main airport is Lihue Airport (LIH) in southeastern
Lihue.
Kauai Resort Areas:
There are five major resort destinations on Kauai:
North Shore (Princeville), East Side (Coconut Coast), Lihue (Kalapaki), South Shore (Poipu), West Side (Waimea).
Capital City: 
Lihue
Population: 
68,434 (2012)
Time Zone:
Hawaii Standard Time (GMT-10 hours), 5 hours behind the US East Coast, 6 hours behind during Daylight Saving Time (Hawaii does not observe Daylight Saving Time).

Languages:
English, Hawaiian

Flower:
MokihanaFive Largest Towns:  Highest Point:
Kawaikini Peak (5,243 feet)
Island Color: Purple
State Bird:
Nene
Land Mass:
552 Square Miles
Currency:
US dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted. Traveler’s checks are accepted at many businesses.

Climate:
Average temperature: 75˚ – 85˚F.

Ocean Temperatures:72- 80 degrees year-round
Average Daily Visitor Population:
16,160 Kapa‘a 9,472, Līhu‘e 5,674, Wailua Homesteads 4,567, Kalāheo 3,913, Hanama‘ulu 3,272

Miles of Shoreline:  90

Number of Beaches:  59
Area Code/Cell Phones:
The area code for all of Hawaii is (808). Cell phone coverage is readily available in most places if you’re coming from the United States.

Internet Access:
Internet access is readily available on Kauai and at many hotels.

Accommodations:
Luxury
resorts, hotels, vacation rentals including cottages, homes and condos, as well as bed and breakfasts are located throughout the island.
Transportation:
Rent a car at Lihue Airport (LIH) to explore the island. Other options include tour buses, taxis or city buses.

Clothing:
Dress casually. Bring a light jacket for nights. Semi-casual dress clothes for restaurants and nightlife. Suits and ties are rarely worn.

Tipping:
U.S. standards apply 15-20% on meals, at least $1 per bag for porters, and at least $1 – 2 per night for housekeeping.

Kauai has more miles of beach:

And hiking trails than any other island in the Hawaiian Islands.
Kauai has been the backdrop to many Hollywood movies including Soul Surfer, Pirates of the Caribbean, Six Days Seven Nights, Jurassic Park, South Pacific, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Honeymoon in Vegas, Tropic  Thunder, and many more.

Some of the above facts may be useful in aiding you in making a decision to visit Kauai.  Of course, when arriving in the Hawaiian Islands, most visitors tend to stay a few nights or more at the other major islands, as we’ve done since arriving in late September by cruise ship:  Oahu (where Honolulu and Waikiki are located; Maui (where Lahaina and the road to Hana are located); Big Island, aka Hawai’i, where Mount Kilauea is spewing lava at present) and of course, Kauai, the garden island.

Many palm trees grow giant pods such as these from which more leaves and flowers bloom.

There are other islands to visit, also beautiful but, more remote. Many tourists visit these four major islands before heading out to Molokai and Lana’i which we haven’t visited at this time. 

Plumeria is often used in making leis. Many years ago, when I visited Hawaii, (before Tom), one would exit the plane via steps down to the tarmac. Waiting at the entrance gate, Hawaiian people would be waiting to drape a plumeria lei over the heads of visitors. This tradition has long since passed unless privately arranged in advance for a fee. 

As appealing as it would be to see these other two islands, the cost to travel to stay for a night or two wasn’t included in our budget. And, of course, we’ve been happy being able to visit Oahu, Maui, Big Island, and Kauai during this extended period of time.

This photo, although taken on a cloudy day easily bespeaks the beauty of mountains, lush greenery, and the sea. 

Let’s review some of our reasons why we’d suggest visiting Kauai, in order of our preferences:

1.  Kauai is the most beautiful island we’ve seen to date: If you’ve followed us in our travels it’s evident we’ve visited many islands to date, some for only a day on a cruise ship and others for longer periods. Without a doubt, the combination of the vast coverage of lush green vegetation over land and mountains and, the aquamarine sea and pristine beaches have made Kauai the most visually appealing island we’ve visited to date.
2.  Friendly people: Aside from South Africa, there is nowhere in the world we’ve visited that is easier to meet people. Not only have we been fortunate to meet friend Richard who’s been instrumental in including us in many social events with the local residents, which has extended to many budding new relationships. But, on our own, we’ve met literally dozens of friendly tourists most of whom have frequently visited Kauai and keep coming back for more.

Although there are many beaches in Kauai in some areas such as the northern coast a hike is often required to get down to the beach, at times treacherous and difficult unless one is in great physical condition.

3.  Grass-fed meat, non-GMO products, organic locally grown produce: Although prices on food are high in the islands, we’ve found the prices on grass-fed meat, free-range chicken and eggs, and organic products to be slightly less than we’d paid three years ago on the mainland in Minnesota. The Hawaiian people are dedicated to keeping their meat, fish, and poultry, and eggs as free from chemicals as possible. Of course, there’s plenty of lower-priced farm-raised fish, poultry and beef available at the grocery stores if one so chooses.
4.  Low crime: Lihue is the largest city in Kauai where the airport, many restaurants, shopping centers (Costco, Walmart, and more) are located. As is the case in most larger cities, the crime rate is considerably higher than in other quieter areas. It is these numbers that throw off the overall Kauai crime rate statistics. We’d never stay in Lihue with our aversion to larger cities with traffic, lines, and a higher risk of crime. Away from the “big city” the crime rate is low. Bear in mind, our comments are based on our perspective both from experience and speaking with locals. There is no available statistic on this variance from Lihue to the more remote areas.   Never on a single occasion during our time here in Princeville or in visiting the resort areas and sightseeing in other areas of the island away from the big city, have we ever felt unsafe. That feeling of safety doesn’t prevent us from locking doors, securing our equipment, and keeping a watchful eye wherever we may go.

It’s only a one minute walk across Ka Haku Road in front of our condo to the ocean and this beautiful coral sea.

5.  Chickens and birds: Although most of Hawaii’s wildlife lives in the sea and we’ve certainly seen our share of the Humpback whales who’s season in the islands is coming to a rapid close, we’ve particularly enjoyed bird watching; the Laysan Albatross and the wide variety of birds even seen from our lanai on a daily basis. But, the chickens have provided us with an enormous amount of heartwarming and laugh-worthy experiences we’ll always remember. Sure, many locals are annoyed by the constant presence, some taking extreme measures to keep them off of their property. We’ve heard tourists complain about being unable to sleep with the rooster’s crowing beginning as early as 4 or 5 am. For us, in a matter of a few days, we adapted to the noise eventually not hearing it at all, as is the case for most locals. As for them running around parking lots, on the side of the road, at every venue where food or people may be present, we’ve loved it all. Also, Hawaii is a bird watcher’s paradise, particularly when hiking and visiting more remote locations. 
6.  Multitude of recreational activities: At this point, we’ve toured almost all of the island accessible by our tiny rental vehicle. There are endless opportunities for surfing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, zip-lining, hiking (a hiker’s paradise but with many dangerous trails), or simply walking and taking in the scenery. With 59 beaches in Kauai, one could easily enjoy visiting as many as possible. Also, a strong sense of community pervades Kauai and many planned social activities and events are open to the public, some at no cost and others for a nominal fee. 

Ah, a lazy day sitting under a tree with a cold beverage and a good book in hand is all many visitors to the island require to make a glorious vacation. Not everyone is into adventure hikes and sightseeing. Many tourists come to the islands to get away from a “must do” lifestyle, preferring to relax and unwind from busy everyday life.  Lounging on the beach, dining in a fun popular restaurant, and drinking Mai Tai’s is all some travelers need for a perfect vacation.

7.  Easily accessible roads: It’s easy to get around Kauai and almost impossible to get lost. There are only a few highways that wrapped around the island from beach town to beach town. If traffic and road construction weren’t an issue, one could easily travel from one side of the island to the other in 90 minutes. However, with traffic in certain areas and road construction often in the works, one must plan their travels accordingly. The northwest coast of the island is inaccessible by road suitable for most cars. Thus, one cannot drive around the entire island.

A scene of a part of the grounds at the Dolphin Restaurant in Hanalei where Julie and I had lunch a few weeks ago.

Other travelers may add to or change this list based on their personal preferences. For us, senior citizens, world travelers, these are the reasons that we’ve loved Kauai and are most glaring. If you’ve spent time in Kauai please comment sharing your experiences at the end of today’s post. We’d love to hear from you!

We’ll return tomorrow with “Part 2, Why would YOU visit Kauai?” including some of the reasons, you may not choose to visit Kauai or for that matter, Hawaii in general. Please check back!

                                              Photo from one year ago today, March 30, 2014:

We posted this video when it was raining inside our riad in Marrakech. During rainstorms, we stayed in the salon, one of the many rooms that surrounded the open air courtyard. For details of that day’s post, please click here.

 

Planning for the future…Eight months and counting…Family time…

 

Taking photos in the souk is a huge challenge.  Islamic law prohibits its followers from being photographed. As a result, the shopkeepers, rightfully so, don’t want to be in the photos. As you’ve seen, we’ve diligently respected this. But, in an effort to illustrate the unique offerings and culture in the old Medina of Marrakech, we hesitantly take photos as appropriate situations arise. 

In seven months we’ll land by a cruise in Oahu, Hawaii, where we’ll stay for 11 days. Tom, a history buff, is looking forward to visiting Pearl Harbor. Staying for this period gives us time to soak in the frenzied atmosphere of Waikiki and Honolulu and then we’re off for six weeks in Maui for sun and surf.

Leaving Maui on December 1, 2014, we’ll fly to the Big Island for 46 days, at first renting one house on the ocean and on December 15th, renting the house next door, a weird coincidence, with neither related in any way to the other.

While walking, I often hold the camera and shoot, getting whatever I can get.  Sandals and shoes are a common item for sale in the souk and the Big Square.

Beginning on December 6th, our adult children and their families will begin to arrive. Long ago, we had suggested a family gathering at our expense to enable the time together while each would also have a vacation in fabulous Hawaii.

Little did we realize at the time the skyrocketing cost of airline tickets anywhere in the US mainland to Hawaii, ranging from US $1300 to US $1800 per person especially during the busy holiday season. Of course, we knew it would be outrageous. We carefully budgeted not only for the cost of the tickets but also the two houses, food, two rental vehicles, and on and on. 

Not all areas of the souk are filled with active shops and tourists. When searching for restaurants, we often find ourselves in a quieter, less occupied area such as this, wondering how these shop owners can stay in business with limited foot traffic.

We’ve just begun the process of booking the tickets, with one of our four kid’s family’s tickets already set and more to be booked in the next few weeks until everyone has a ticket. Within 60 days, the tickets will all be purchased.

Several times each day we check prices. We have apps that are checking for us as prices change.  Not much is changing at this time. We need to wrap this up soon since we doubt the prices will drop to any degree. The fallacy about prices being lower on certain times or days of the week is just that, a fallacy. We haven’t seen any differences during any specific periods.  

This shop was mainly offering these colorful rocks for sale. A few cats were playing among the items for sale.

Of course, it’s predicated by some formulas and schedules the airlines use that is unpredictable. What motives would they have to make us privy to their best pricing? Duh. None. So we, captive audience that we are, keep checking, hoping to save a few hundred dollars here and there.

Dismissing this financial part, we can hardly wait to see our family, our four grown kids, significant others, and six grandchildren. My younger sister Julie, who lives in Los Angeles, may be stopping by for a few days. Having all of us together is exciting. 

Finally, we found the restaurant after another long and winding walk through the souk.

Feeding 15 to 16 people dinner each night is a bit daunting, but somehow we’ll manage. For dining out in a nice restaurant in Hawaii, the cost per person is from US $70 to $100 per person. Guess we won’t be doing that!

Although the closest Costco is 90 miles from our location, I’m sure a few trips in the SUV will be warranted.  What we’ll do about Christmas is up in the air, hard to plan or think at this point. Tree? Decorations? Wrapped gifts for the little ones? We definitely don’t want this period of time to be spent “doing too much” while not spending valuable time together. We shall see.

By the time we arrived at the restaurant, the sun began to set and we both were chilled. For the first time since arriving in Marrakech, we are indoors at a comfortable banquet.

Our old days of “doing too much” are over. This may come as a surprise to those of our readers who personally know us. The focus will remain on the quality of time with our loved ones, not spending full days baking and cooking. The name of the game will be simplicity and lots of fun.

Had the fireplace been lit, we certainly would have sat close to it.  We still haven’t acclimated to the cooler (but getting warmer) weather in Morocco after over a year in hot climates.

This morning as we sit in the salon of the riad in Marrakech, Morocco, Hawaii is a million miles away. But as we’ve seen, especially those of you who have followed us since the beginning in March 2012, all of these booked events are coming up, tumbling over one another. In two months we’ll be settled in Madeira.  At one point it seemed so far in the future.

My dinner, although small, was good.  Carefully, I avoided the raw vegetables. Luckily, they served nuts and olive as an appetizer which helped fill me up.

Over the past several weeks as we continue to research for the unplanned time after May 2015, we’ve decided to add another element to our travels, winging it. With the excitement over the endless possibilities and after having booked over two years in advance, we are feeling knowledgeable enough with our recent experiences to wait until we pin down what is to follow. 

When Tom heard that the chef was Italian he ordered this lasagna which didn’t disappoint. With bread on the side, he was satisfied.

Doing so, in itself, adds a sense of adventure we both welcome. After spending seven months living on four islands in Hawaii, seeing the sites, whale watching, checking out volcanoes, and reveling in the exquisite scenery, we’ll be ready for the next phase of our world travels. 

With the hope to visit all of the continents, with four under our belts, we still have three more to go. But within each of those continents that we have visited, we have so much more to see. One could spend an entire lifetime traveling and still see so little. 

After dinner, as we were leaving, this colorful seating area jumped out at us. Wouldn’t that be a fun spot for a gathering of friends, food, and drink?

We take it at our own pace, in our own way, seeing what appeals to us, sensing no urgency, with no time constraints other than maintaining a level of health that allows us to continue on. 

Being with our family next Christmas will fulfill a longing in our hearts to see their smiling faces once again, recharging us to continue on and, we will.

Tonight, we’ll dine in while Madame Zahra makes lamb for us. Tom, who doesn’t care for lamb, ordered it on my behalf, knowing how much I love it.

Thanks, my dear hubby!  I owe you one!

________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, March 23, 2013:

The piece of driftwood decorates the beach by our villa in Belize The sidewalk to the center-left is the sidewalk directly in front of our villa. For more photos, please click here.

 

Itinerary change…Maui, Hawaii, here we come in 11 months!…No photos available due to WiFi issues…

The rate for the first of two houses we booked in Big Island, Hawaii for our upcoming family visit, is a rental cost of US $101.56, considerably less than we would have paid a small one-room hotel. With a full kitchen and all supplies, we’ll surely love dining on the lanai, with sunset views. We’d never imagined that we could find an affordable vacation home in Maui that would fit our expectation of an ocean view. After searching online to fill the gap from October 5, 2014, when we’ll arrive by cruise ship in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii to December 1, 2014, has been a daunting task.

We’ll be moving to the Big Island on December 1, 2014, with our kids and grandkids arriving around December 20, 2014, for Christmas, living in the two homes we’ve already booked, side by side, on the ocean. The two houses we’ve booked for their visit are described with photos in our post of October 22, 2013.

Deciding that staying in Honolulu in a hotel on the ocean for a short period of time would allow us time to visit Pearl Harbor and other local attractions. Honolulu is a congested city filled with tourists, traffic and noise, not particularly our cup of tea for a lengthy stay.

Looking online for a house or a condo to fit our budget, after an 11-night stay in Honolulu became a source of frustration when we couldn’t find the right property. Both of us spent considerable hours online with our slow Internet connection, finding few options. 

With the high prices for hotels and vacation homes in Hawaii, our preferences for ocean views plus AC, free WiFi, washer and dryer and an updated attractive décor, we considered lowering our expectations and increasing the price we were willing to pay.

Property owners in Hawaii have no motivation or desire to negotiate prices with the high demand for vacation rentals year-round. Early on in our search we made no less than six offers for reasonably discounted rates based on our longer stays than most. None responded. 

Yesterday, out of curiosity, we began searching Maui, the most expensive of the islands in hope that we might get lucky. And, did we get lucky! By evening, we’d paid the requested US $300 deposit for a rental on the glorious island of Maui, in the Maalaea area, 25 miles south of Kaanapali Beach (the most popular but congested area for travelers). 

With a rental car during our 57-night stay in Maui we’ll have the freedom to tour the island at our leisure, visiting many points of interest, fabulous restaurants and larger grocery stores than we’ve had available. 

We’d love to post the photos for the website where the property is listed. But our slow connection prohibits the posting of these difficult to maneuver photos.

Here’s the link to our new condo in Maui which includes photos and a detailed description. 

Here is our total cost for 57-nights:
Rental Amount:  US $5014.00
Cleaning:           US $    90.00
Taxes:               US $  684.96
Total:                US $5,788.96

Now that this gap in time is booked, our next task for Hawaii will be to secure a hotel reservation on the beach in Honolulu from October 5, 2014, to October 16, 2014, when we’ll fly to Maui.

Here’s our five-month rundown of our time in Hawaii, all of which is booked, except the first 11 days in Honolulu Hawaii:

Honolulu , Oahu – October 5, 2014, to October 16, 2014 (not yet booked)
Maalaea, Maui – October 16, 2014, to December 1, 2014 (new booking)
Pahoe, Big Island  (first house) – December 1, 2014, to January 15, 2015 (booked)
Pahoe, Big Island (second house) – December 15, 2014, to January 3, 2015 (booked)
Princeville, Kauai – January 15, 2015, to May 15, 2015 (booked)- Our longest stay in any one location during this period, we’ll be preparing for the next leg of our upcoming travels, at this point yet to be determined. 

In each of these locations, except Honolulu, a rental car will be necessary for which we’ve budgeted.  Obviously, the smaller the island, the higher the costs of rental cars, groceries and dining out.

If you check out the listing on Homeaway, you’ll see that the owner has already blocked off our dates giving us the peace of mind to book rental cars and the hotel in Honolulu.

With yesterday’s booking, we’ve fulfilled our desire to spend time at each of the four largest and most desired Hawaiian islands. During this time, back on US soil, we’ll arrange dental and doctor appointments. 

Now, we’re back to work pinning down the Honolulu hotel for 11 nights. The search never ends as the journey continues on.