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Aloha! January 21, 2011

If you've been watching my Twitter or Facebook account, you're aware of the fact that this week we pulled a runner and went to Hawaii! We had neither time nor money to go for long, so we went for the MRT (Minimum Relaxtion Time). Three full days, four nights seemed to do the trick nicely.

The first day, we relaxed. We lucked into a FABULOUS hotel, the Aqua Beachside Waikiki, which was, with the Travelocity deal, about $50/night. And this was our view from our lanai:


And it was like that, from full left to full right. We were on the tenth floor (room 1002), and the room itself was tiny. Two people need to be quite close to enjoy a small room like that. But it didn't matter! I used all the drawers because I'm a Cancer and we left the sliding glass door open most of the time. Who wouldn't?


Looking right, to the Royal Hawaiian.

The first day we spent doing this:


Looking up into the palm fronds from our patch of sand. I tried to read, I really did, but the words kept blurring into shapes that turned into clouds and then I napped, without even trying. People, I'm NOT a good napper. Apparently where I need to be to nap is on a tropical beach. Good to know.

The next day, we went to Hanauma Bay and snorkeled. I hadn't snorkeled in fifteen years or so, since my last trip to Saipan in my early twenties, but it was just as fun as I'd remembered. I love that feeling of kicking lazily, my hands drifting next to my side, following currents and schools of fish....

Of course, the dream is to see a sea turtle, right? I've never seen one, in memory, and I've snorkeled a lot. While we were lying on the beach, I overheard one guy saying he'd seen one, about 100 yards past where the lifeguards had said not to go because of the riptide. Okay, then. I gave up hope and I was happy just to see gorgeous fish.

We went out again to the eastern side of the bay, near the rocks. I was practicing skin diving (I used to be really good at holding my breath and diving down to peer under coral ledges, and did you KNOW that today's snorkel is all high-tech and stuff? It doesn't let in water! I'd pop up and blow hard, only to find that I didn't need to -- it was already clear. Wild), and on my way up, I saw a turtle.

A big one. Weaving his way underwater, his fins tipping and scooping through the water.

I went into one huge spastic fit, trying to get Lala's attention. She was all caught up looking at a pretty rock, and I was just out of her line of sight as I flailed every limb and yelled wordlessly into my high-tech snorkel. Finally catching sight of what I was pointing at, she fell in behind me as we trailed behind it for about five minutes.

It was one of the most gorgeous moments of my life.

Then we got a little too close to the breakers, and we had to turn back, which was okay. We were high with the joy of it. (Lala had just taken her last underwater photo on her camera, which we regretted at first, but the more I thought about it, the happier I was that she just got to swim and watch and FEEL it, rather than struggling with advancing the film, getting the shot, clicking the shutter.... YOU know.)

The last day we did more of what we'd done on the first day: read, napped, wandered the streets looking for good food.... I have to say that using Yelp on a smart phone has forever changed travel in America for me. While lying on the beach, I could enter Open Now, Within Two Blocks, Best Rated and get walking directions to someplace like Iyasumi Musubi, the BEST musubi in Hawaii. (Okay, before this trip I didn't even know what musubi was, and when I googled it to find out, the idea of sweet fried spam sushi didn't appeal to me in the slightest. But the reviews were SO fantastically high that curiosity had its way with us, and we found our way to the shop's hidden alley and our minds WERE BLOWN. I have fantasized about it almost non-stop since getting home, and MUST find some in the Bay Area.)

Yelp also led us to what we believe was our best bar experience, ever. (Hi, that's a large statement.) Wang Chung's, next door to the musubi shop, was literally smaller than our living room. When we arrived, there were fifteen people already there, and the bartender Henry waved hello and said he'd be right with us. Henry was the bartender, the busboy, the runner-of-the-Karaoke machine, and the greeter. He was everything to everybody, and everyone was so full of love for him that it spilled over onto each other. At one point I was singing the Judd's "Have Mercy" while dancing with a tiny man who ended up tripping and falling backwards into my arms. I caught him, propped him gently against a stool, and never missed a note. When we finally left, I wanted to go back five minutes later. We *didn't* go back, actually, and didn't talk about revisiting it, but I'd venture a guess it was because neither of us wanted to risk ruining the memory of that perfect night.

I spent as much time in the water as I could (until my ears sealed closed, which was a small pain in the ass):


and I did NOT burn. I didn't even tan. I used SO MUCH sunscreen. 70 SPF, two bottles' worth. I was SAFE.

Apropos of nothing (as were they), we saw chickens:


And we relaxed. Oh, we were so LUCKY. What a wonderful trip. More photos over at Flickr, iffen you're interested.

Now, I'm going to carry that relaxed feeling over into the real world. Really. I'm going to try. I've got aloha in my soul, tucked into my pockets, and rolled up into my socks. I do.  


TURTLE!!!!! That is ridiculously cool. The rest of the trip sounds pretty darn awesome as well. I'm glad you were able to get some well-deserved R and R. And turtle sightings.

Seriously, you have just described PERFECTION.

YAY. :)

Looks like a great time! I have been looking at Hawaii vacation packages for spring break, but right now it is still fantasy. Was Waikiki super crowded? I am leaning toward North Shore (Turtle Bay) or Ko Ola, though Turtle Bay seems to have better running routes.
I could live on musubi.

MMMM, musubi, I haven't had musubi in years (I used to live in Hawaii) and you just gave me the biggest craving!

Just reading that made me feel blissful! Sounds like you had a wonderful time, good for you!

Oh, how loverly... it's SO COLD here right now (-11 this morning, all the way up to +1 right now!)... it all looks devine. AND gorgeous chickens!

Best I've found is the Hukilau, and it's only so-so. Still, cute place, right near Nate's old house.


Okay, totally crazy here...you ready? See your pic of the Royal Hawaiian? See where the sand disappears around the bend beyond those patio umbrellas? That's where Husband proposed back in 2001. At sunset. In a tux. Yup. You just brought back a ton of memories. I showed him the picture. And he smiled. It's kinda like it's *our* spot...and it's still there, just as we remember it. (Of course I knew it was still there, but somehow I thought it'd look different over time, you know? It doesn't thank goodness.)

Aloha to you too from one warm heart to another. Glad you both had such a great time. :)

Oh, my oh my. I really must go!! Look at Comfort Spiral for a great blog on living in a houseboat in Hawaii.

Ah yes, Hawaii sounds lovely right about now. Especially considering it was a blistering 2F when I woke up this morning.

I heart Hawaii! Last summer we saw a sea turtle while snorkeling. I don't think the kids realized how lucky they were. I wonder if they'll remember when they're older?

Glad you had such a wonderful time. A short trip to Hawaii is such brilliant idea!

When I was on Kauaii they called the chickens the state bird because there were so many of them running around wild.

Did you see that your new book was reviewed by Publisher's Weekly? Not in Romance, neither - in the Fiction section. Congrats!

Oh a TURTLE!! how awesome!
glad you got some well deserved R&R
...thank you for sharing the stunning photos-

Yay for honu sightings and for fabulous, even short, vacations.

Sounds absolutely lovely. My family of four just went away for one overnight to Monterey and had a great time, so I'm sharing your relaxed vibe.

Aloha, Rachel! Next time you are in Hawaii, please allow me to show you more of it! We have feral chickens everywhere - they are particularly entertaining at the Pali Overlook, using their claws to climb up the rocks, chicks following behind. The feral cats don't bother with them!

Sounds like a wonderful few days!

I just ordered "Eliza's Gift". Can't wait to read it!

awwwwwwwe, Rachael......I'm so glad you enjoyed "my home"!! I wish you would have had more time there, my family would have loved to meet you, they loved your Dad so much!!!But another time I'm sure!!! GLad you and La had such a great time, the pictures are great!!... and next time you come down..........Musubi!!!! lol

I love your blog. I love you. I love Hawaii. I can't believe I've gone so long without a little hit of yarnagogo. Aloha.

Nice trip! Back in 2009 I stayed a little down the beach from you for a week! Doc had to go for work so he rented a Harley for me for three days. While he was working I was cruising Oahu, I put over three hundred miles on that bike. I went EVERYWHERE on that little island. Waikiki is fun but it's great to get out and see the "countryside". The oddist moment was when someone pulled up next to me at a traffic light and asked me for directions!

I went to Hawaii 3 years ago for a conference, and stayed (with a couple friends) for 2 extra days. Even though I was really there for work and even though I never left Honolulu and didn't see a beach except Waikiki, I loved it and want to go back so bad!

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