Yes, that’s right. I went to Hawaii last Wednesday and stayed through the weekend. Vacation days are scarce for me, but how could I pass up a most-expense paid trip to Oahu with the Brugos family? The rhetorical answer is, of course, that I couldn’t. So what follows is my recounting of the Little Goth Girl’s Hawaiian vacation.
Brugos and I got on an early flight which would get us to Hawaii at 11:30am. This was, lovely because it left us practically an entire day of adventure after 5 and-a-half hours on a plane. Sometimes differing time zones can really work in your favor. Our flight was baby heavy (with one in particular screaming in Brugos’ ear the entire time), but we got through it and met the elder Brugoses and his brother Todd and brother’s girlfriend, Jessie at the airport. (Note: It was slightly difficult for me to get used to the fact that EVERYBODY there was a Brugos and that I had to just call my Brugos, Chris. But in the interest of consistency on my blog, Brugos will continue to be Brugos.)
Mother B greeted me with a fresh lei, which answered my internal question about whether or not you REALLY get lei’d when you arrive at the airport. We rented two cars and the kids headed off to the hotel in Waikiki.
Our rooms weren’t to be ready till 3 so we changed into our suits and headed to the bar and grill by the pool for drinks and snacks.
I immediately felt a little silly in my granny swimsuit. This has never been an issue for me in Seattle, but in HI, everyone is in a two-piece and I was definitely feeling conspicuously goth in all my extra fabric, so I asked Brugos if we could do a quick run to a surf shop after lunch to, perhaps, buy me a more practical swimsuit. How naïve of me to think it would be that easy.
I had forgotten that to find my current swimsuit, I had to search long and hard. Not for the granny aspect of it, mind you. That’s easy enough to come by. The difficulty arose in fining something that could contain my girls. This was before my surgery, but they are still fairly large and, apparently, still unable to squeeze into any bikini one might find in a beach-side swim-shop. I tried on the largest suits on could find, but the cup size never seemed to get any bigger. Not being a fan of shopping anyway, I tired of the ordeal quickly. I decided to go to one last shop. The little lady running the place got involved and tried to help. She asked me my size. I told her usually I am an 8-10 dress size, but big up top so probably a large. She said she thought I was a medium, but gave me the large. I tried it on and couldn’t squeeze in. I came out of the dressing room, ready to leave but she wouldn’t hear of it. “You try this one,” she said, thrusting another suit into my hands. I went back into the dressing room and suffered the same results. Apparently, she didn’t believe me, so she sent Brugos in to check it out. He confirmed the spillage and I tried to leave the shop again. On our way to the door, she continued to thrust tops into my hands, but I was fairly certain they weren’t going to fit. She didn’t seem to understand. “You not so big,” she said. I protested that I was actually a D cup which isn’t small. “No. You only a C,” she said. “That’s not what my bra says,” I argued. And then I realized that I didn’t really need to be arguing my breast size with the swim-shop owner and left. I haven’t been so frustrated by shopping since before my reduction and I had forgotten how crappy it felt to have so much trouble finding something to fit me. But as I talked it over with Brugos, I realized that few girls I know have the off-the-rack body that seems so prevalent. Most of us need to go to department stores. By the time I got back to the hotel, I was feeling ok in my granny suit again. Damn you, warm weather, for making me succumb, however temporarily, to societal pressures.
Swimsuit debacle over, Brugos and I got some booze from the corner store (each corner had, like, TWO of them…all of which sell liquor!) and had a quick little happy hour in our room before hitting the beach. Our hotel was right on the beach, so we didn’t have far to go to get to the ocean. I was pretty excited to see ocean. It’s been a long time. Brugos blew up the $3 raft we bought and we hit the warm-bathwater ocean for a little floating time.
After the sun started to set, we headed back to the room to shower and get ready for dinner. We met the family in the lobby and strolled up the street to a place called Lou Lou’s. A quick glance of the menu relieved my worries that this would be a trip full of salads for me. The veggie selection wasn’t awesome, but I had more than one option. I can see how poor Miki had so much trouble finding Vegan food though.
The live music was a little too loud, but it was pretty amusing. Three guys played Hawaiianized rock music including “Creep” by Stone Temple Pilots, “Riders on the Storm” and a ton of Beatles. Every song sounded exactly the same and were impossible to recognize until the lyrics began. So this is Hawaiian music, eh?
After dinner, we wandered up the street in the other direction. We stopped at the oldest hotel on the island (the name of which escapes me) which was large and white and had a bit of a Plantation feel to it in architecture. We had a drink by the pool and listened to two fellows playing MORE Hawaiianized versions of songs. This guy was playing songs that I don’t even like the originals of (U2 and “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” come to mind). It was hard not to make fun of it. I think that Todd and Jessie were digging it though, because they seemed a little annoyed by mine and Brugos’ jokes.
As we sipped our drinks, we all realized we were quite tired. It was after midnight in our bodies, so we headed back to the hotel and went to bed.
The bed with its down comforter and down mattress topper was so ridiculously comfortable, that I was asleep in record time. I NEED to get me one of those.
We met the family for the hotel buffet. The eggs were light and fluffy and there were plenty of things I could eat. The waitress came by to check on us and, apparently, flirt with Brugos and Todd. She asked Mother B why their sons were so good looking. (Burn!). She told Brugos that he looked like an actor and that she should know because her daughter works in Hollywood. She kept coming back to he table to say how good looking the boys were. At one point, she gave Brugos a palm reading and declared that he would have financial success and wife with a mind of her own.
Over breakfast, Mother B told us about the terrorist attempt out of Britain and the new reactionary measures at the airport. Since we still had a few days left there, I hoped that things would calm down a little bit before I flew out.
After breakfast, we headed back up to the room to grab some stuff, and them met Todd and Jessie in the lobby. Brugos and I consulted the concierge on a few important things like directions to a hike that we wanted to take and to a restaurant that my buddy Frankie had suggested in his hometown of Kailua. The concierge was impressed that we knew about the restaurant. Thanks, Frankie, for making us look cool. We also asked about the all-important karaoke, assuming that it would be in long supply in Hawaii. He didn’t know about much, just a little room rental place up the road. But he did say that the sushi bar upstairs in our hotel had it at 10:00. That was good enough for us!
Todd had purchased some boogie boards at a reduced rate from a hotel guest who was leaving, and we had our cheap inflatable thingy, so we nicked some towels from the hotel pool and headed out to Waimanalo Beach for some water play.
The beach was somewhat removed from the touristyness of Waikiki. I tried my hand at boogie boarding but was unable to get past the crashing waves to the calmer part of the water. After a few ear-fulls of water, I decided to read on the beach. Brugos did pretty well and stayed out for a long time. We thought we were being pretty diligent about the sunscreen.
After a few hours of beach time, we headed to Keneke’s BBQ, another concierge recommendation, for a snack. While we waited for our food, we looked around and began to notice a disturbing theme in the décor. There was a giant mural with a cross and some bible quotes and the query “What single event in human history had the power to split time?” Now, I don’t know the exact answer to this riddle, but I’m assuming, based on the fire and brimstone that surrounded us, that it has something to do with Jesus. Yikes! I took pictures of a few of the scarier/weirder messages on the walls. When I got my smoothie, I noticed that cup was chock full of Christian scariness. Had I known what kind of place this was, I wouldn’t have so readily forked over $20 for the cause of the “Fear God Powerlifters”. What gives, anyway? I would have expected this kind of thing below the Mason/Dixon, but we were supposed to be on an island full of godless heathens. Luckily, we got out of there before anyone noticed us non-believers.
On the way back to the hotel, we got a little lost. This wouldn’t have been so much of a problem if we weren’t meeting the Elder Brugoses in the lobby at 4:30 to go to the Mai Tai Cruise. We were pretty beachy and in need of a shower. Unfortunately, we got back at 4:20 and Brugos still had to park the car. He kindly dropped the rest of us off to rush back to our rooms. I just splashed some water on my face and changed and rushed back downstairs again.
The Mai Tai Cruise was actually a large catamaran run by two guys (who looked related). The deal was you paid a flat fee and they took you out onto the water at sunset, and gave you all the Mai Tais you could drink in an hour and a half. Brugos and I vowed to get our moneys’ worth.
While we waited for the boat to leave the beach, we saw some sea turtles in the water! I was pretty excited about that. Apparently, they like to come out and play in high tide.
The boat left the beach and the drinks began flowing soon after. The music was decidedly better on the boat. The Stones were prevalent. Our first mate/bartender was on top of things, bringing us fresh drinks the moment we finished our rounds. Papa B had a theory that if we drank an even number of drinks, we wouldn’t be susceptible to a hangover. By then, Brugos and I were on our 5th drink, so of course, we had to have another.
There was some sea-spray and a little rocking, but overall, the ride was very pleasant. As the sun set, Mama B coerced the couples to pose for pictures at the bow of the boat. I got a nice picture of the sunset. Brugos noticed that the boat was docking and we had consumed 7 Mai Tais. If Papa B’s theory held water, we would need another drink. I couldn’t possibly down another Mai Tai, so Brugos got us some champagne. We were, for all intents and purposes, drunk…in record time! And so was the rest of the family.
The plan, after we docked, was to return to our rooms to freshen up and then meet for karaoke in the sushi bar.
The others weren’t interested in eating sushi, so Brugos and I went to dinner by ourselves. When we arrived at the bar, Brugos asked about where the karaoke would be. “Oh, karaoke is TOMORROW night,” said the hostess. The concierge had given us bad information! We were gutted. But we were still hungry, so we sat down for some sushi and contemplated wandering the streets looking for a karaoke alternative.
The sushi we ordered was DELICIOUS. I had a pickled squash roll (which I’d never even heard of) and it was amazing. Brugos got what he described as the best tuna roll he’d ever eaten. We were definitely in love with our food.
While we enjoyed our spread, he got in touch with the family. They weren’t too upset about the karaoke. They were pretty tired anyway. We said we’d call them if we found anything worthwhile.
After dinner, we hit the streets. We walked quite a long way, but to no avail. I couldn’t believe the lack of karaoke in Waikiki. If only I’d decided not to be so mellow in this trip, I would have undoubtedly comprised an exhaustive list of karaoke establishments from google research beforehand. Why did I forsake the Baxter nature?
After walking about a mile to no avail, we began to lose steam and agreed to give up our quest for the night. Afterall, karaoke would be happening the following night in our very hotel. We could wait. We returned to our room and I once again fell asleep in record time.
The rest of the family had golf reservations, so Brugos and I decided it would be a good idea to go on a hike. First, we would venture out to Kailua in search of Boots n’ Kimos, the breakfast establishment that Frankie recommended. We followed the very specific directions that our concierge had given us, but I think he gave us TOO much detail, because we had a little trouble finding it. When we finally found the place, we were slightly dismayed to see quite a large number of people standing outside, obviously waiting to be seated.
We went inside and put in our names. Inside, we noticed how small the place was. We were in for a long wait. And of course, I was starving. We got a menu so that we could be good and ready to order when we finally got seated.
Outside, we sat down, pulled out books, and waited patiently. After about 30 minutes of waiting, I noticed that this was a FRIDAY morning. It’s lucky that we came on a weekday. Imagine how impossible it would be to get seated on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I also noticed that quite a few people were getting food to go. After 45 minutes of waiting, I asked Brugos if he would be ok with getting OUR order to go. He said he was. I went in and put in our order. It was a good thing too, because we were still quite far down on the list.
When we finally got our food, I was ready to just eat in the car, but Brugos wanted to find a beach. Unfortunately, we didn’t know the area very well. We found water, but it was in a private neighborhood and there was nowhere to park. We drove around some more, and almost ended up driving onto the marine base, thinking it a park. Finally, we found a playground with a picnic table. That was good enough. Our food was, of course cold by then. The eggs and hash browns we got were only average. The “world famous” pancakes with Macadamia Nut sauce WERE delicious, but I bet they tasted even better hot.
After we ate, we briefly took advantage of the empty swing set, and then got back in the car to head to our hiking trail.
The Manoa Falls hike was another Frank suggestion. He said it wasn’t arduous, which was what I needed because I would be hiking in sandals. We pulled into the lot and were directed to a table full of bug spray to ward off mosquitoes. We walked past several chickens on our way to the trail head. Apparently, roaming chickens are fairly normal.
The trail wasn’t too bad. Hiking through the jungle was AWESOME. The trees in Hawaii are so cool. They are twisty and sinewy and look other-worldly. The falls itself was less than impressive. The concierge had hinted as such. The brochure he showed us was, he said, badly Photoshopped and that this time of year, we would probably only see a trickle of water. He was right. That was ok though. I really only wanted to see the jungle.
On our way back, we took a trail detour which was slightly harder, and muddy. It was a much cooler trail and we had no idea where it was leading. Had we more time, better shoes, and probably some mind-altering substances, we would have followed the trail to the end. As it was, we had none of these things, so we headed back.
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped for ice cream, and I got something I’d never had before: a Snow Cap. It’s shaved ice with condensed milk on top. It was amazing.
The jungle makes you sweaty, even if you aren’t working hard. Happy hour pool side was in order. Brugos touched base with the family, who agreed to give sushi and try, in the interest of karaoke that night. We went back up stairs to shower (so many showers in Hawaii) and then decided to check out Kelly O'Neils, an Irish bar that we’d seen the night before on our stroll. For some reason, I have to go to at least one Irish bar in every city I visit. I especially enjoy them in places that you wouldn’t expect to have an Irish bar.
We sat at the bar and ordered our drinks. A musician was playing tunes by that classic Irish bard, Jimmy Buffet. We noticed that a trivia game was going on, so we decided to join in. All you needed was a console. We did pretty well, especially considering we joined the first game late. For the second game, we came in second, losing by only 300 points (each question being worth up to 1000).
Then it was time for us to meet at the sushi bar. We got to our table, selected our sake, and Brugos asked our hip, young waiter about the karaoke. “Karaoke’s been cancelled tonight,” he responded. “The DJ had a family emergency.” Denied again! We asked him if he knew of anywhere else we could go. For some reason, he must have misjudged us, because he began spouting clubs with numbers for names. “Club 42, Bar 5”. We were so confused. “We just want to know about karaoke,” we said. For some reason he didn’t recognize us as dorks right away. He couldn’t help us with the karaoke.
After another delicious dinner, Brugos and I decided to try hitting the streets again. Karaoke not being a priority for anyone else, we were on our own. We went down a different street this time. It was even less promising than the first. We did get to see some Hawaiian whores, though. They looked so cute in their pink terrycloth dresses.
Brugos and I met Jessie and Todd to try brunch at a different hotel. According to their guidebook, it was one of the best brunches on Waikiki. I disagree with the book. The wait was longer and there was less for me to eat.
After breakfast, we got our beach stuff together and headed out. Jessie and Todd wanted to go boogie boarding again. Brugos and I decided to go snorkeling. I’d never been before so I was a little nervous.
We arrived at Hanauma Bay and went through the 9-minute orientation (sung to the tune of “Under da Sea”. Then we got our gear and Brugos set about teaching me how to use it. I was pretty crap at first. I had trouble regulating my breathing and was a little freaked out. Brugos suggested that he go ahead and find a nice, calm area for us to head to. While he was gone, I practiced breathing slowing and calmly through my mouth. By the time he got back, I was ready to give it another go.
I got the hang of it pretty quickly after that. I was still slightly more preoccupied with breathing correctly than looking at fishies, but I’m sure that the next time I go, I will be completely fine. I really like swimming with flippers on. I can zoom through the water really fast. The fish were everywhere and I was amazed at how nonplussed they were about the presence of people. Often, I felt like I needed to get out of THEIR way. Pigeons aren’t even that mellow. Brugos directed my attention to a sea turtle. Unfortunately, everyone else in the area overheard him call to me, so 10 people rushed at the poor turtle at once. Of course, he bolted back to sea, but not before I got a good look at him.
We swam across the entire bay. Around that time, my mask started filling up with water. I’d already swallowed water once and had needed to take a breather, so I felt like I was done with this round. We headed in and turned in our gear.
We picked up Todd and Jessie and drove back to the hotel. That night, the parents were going to catch a show. Papa B described it as “Pilipino Music”. This did not appeal to me and Brugos. They were also going to have dinner at a steak house. This, of course, did not appeal to me. We decided to go it alone and have some more sushi at a different place.
I tried more new things. Some of them worked out (the corn roll), some of them didn’t (the fermented soybean roll). It’s not often that I find something SO unappetizing that I have trouble even swallowing one bite. Fermented soybeans, however, are in this exclusive category. They were pungent and slimy with a sticky film. Oh well. Live and learn.
After dinner, we went for a stroll through a quiet part of Waikiki and then returned to the hotel to wait to hear from the family. As we sank into the soft bed, we became less and less hopeful for evening plans. Around 10:00, they called and suggested a quick nightcap by the pool. We could handle that. We also agreed to meet for once last brunch together in our hotel the next morning.
We brunched in our hotel. The flirty waitress was nowhere to be found. We were scared into thinking we needed to arrive at the airport 3 hours ahead of time, so we took off soon after breakfast. Jessie and Todd were staying on another day, and the Brugos ‘rents were catching a different flight to Maui for the continued vacation. Brugos drove with me to the airport. He was also going to Maui. We agreed to try and meet up for a drink, time permitting.
Security wasn’t that bad, so there was time for a drink. I was apparently not allowed to go to the inter-island terminal, but he could come to mine, so he generously agreed to go through security and meet me at what I thought was half way. (It wasn’t…whoops! Sorry!)
We had some nice, expensive airport cocktails and then returned to our respective terminals. I got on the plane easily enough (liquid-free) but was incredibly dismayed to find myself SURROUNDED BY FUCKING BABIES. Seriously. The flight was like a goddamned daycare. Toddlers roamed the isles, played with their loud toys, and watched DVDs on lap tops with the volume up (if adults can’t do this, why should children be allowed to?). Kids kicked the back of my chair. Babies cried. Parents bickered. It was horrible. Why do families like this GO on long vacations? It seems to me like they would want to wait until the kids were old enough to leave at home. They weren’t having any fun. The kids could care less where they were. Just wait a couple of years. It’s better for everyone. Either that, or families with kids under 5 should have their OWN flights. Please, someone look into this.
I was all set to while away the time watching “Mission Impossible 3”, but the sound in our row was defective. As a consolation, I got a free drink ticket which I redeemed immediately.
We landed in Seattle safe and sound, and I headed to baggage claim one step closer to considering sterilization.