Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hawaii, The Full Recap

If we have learned anything in our trips to Hawaii, it's that they are going to take several long days of travel to accomplish. This trip was no different; we left Queen B's house at a little before 9:00 p.m. (following the last family dinner that we will all eat together), and drove through the night to reach the Salt Lake City airport, where we parked the car, reclined the seats, and grabbed two hours of restless sleep before boarding our first plane at 7:20.

The first flight, ironically, delivered us to Denver, where we boarded the second flight, bound for Hawaii. Please don't get me started on the fact that we couldn't find a cheap flight directly from Denver, which still would have resulted in a five hour drive, but, would have saved us the lay-over. I don't understand the economics of air travel, obviously.

Anyway, the flight from Denver to Honolulu took seven hours, at which point we arrived on the island with plenty of time to gather our luggage and rental car, check into our room, and hit Waikiki Beach for a leisurely stroll before dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, where we indulged in the namesake dessert x three.

After dinner, we headed back to the motel for a night of rest before the real festivities began the following morning. And, by festivities, I mean the minutia involved in getting the Man-Cub checked into-and moved into-his dorm room.

Our first stop was the local Bed, Bath & Beyond, where we picked up the Cub's Pack and Hold order, consisting of his bedding, towels, desk lamp, a few microwave accessories, and bathroom organization items (as an aside, this is a really great program; our day would have been a lot more stressful if we hadn't had the option to pick everything out ahead and to have it waiting when we arrived. It saved us quite a bit of time).

Once we had our items, we headed for the Hawaii Loa campus, where check-in was accomplished in less than two minutes, the Cub's official school ID was procured, and our load was transported to the dorm via golf-cart. It really was that simple.

Then, it was just a quick matter of unloading, unpacking, organizing, and visiting with the Cub's roommate, Adam, and his mother, who was there to get him settled. While we were all together, we made lists of what the boys still needed and decided who would be responsible for what, then, it was a quick trip to the nearby Target to finish off the shopping.

Dinner that night was Godon Biersch, which I mentioned in yesterday's post, and then we dropped the Cub off for his first night as a resident of the dorms.

The following day was a busy one for the Cub; he started the orientation week with a host of mandatory activities. Hugh and I weren't required to participate until the welcome reception later that evening, so we spent the day exploring. We started downtown, visiting Iolani Palace and the statue of King Kamehameha before driving to the windward side of the island (where the Man-Cub's dorm is located), enjoying a new beach before heading back to the downtown campus for the reception.

It was at the reception that we first met Ken and Cindy, the couple from Denver who were also dropping their kiddo off. We chatted for an hour or so while the kids were off in groups, doing whatever it was that they were supposed to be doing. We made plans to meet the following night for dinner and then called it a night.

Wednesday morning, we were up early to attend the convocation ceremony at a theater in downtown Honolulu. It was a grand event, and, one that we wouldn't have wanted to miss. Then, we made the decision to skip the day's orientation sessions, because we had already done everything on the agenda when we visited in June.

Instead, we spent the day driving the North Shore, stopping for pie at Ted's and exploring the Waimea Valley Falls Park area, which, was awesome. It was there that we got to see an ancient Hawaiian dwelling as well as examples of Hawaiian flora that was truly breathtaking. It was an interesting stop and I'm glad we didn't miss it.

On the drive back to Honolulu, we saw a seal, sunning herself on the beach (I know she was a she because she was being watched over by a seal preservation volunteer, who was more than happy to give me some of the details about monk seals and their endangered species designation).

We watched the seal until she made her way back into the water and then we hit the road, again.

Dinner that night was with Cindy, Ken, and their daughter, Madi, who was a doll and with whom the Cub connected, immediately (they made plans to head for the North Shore to jump from the cliffs that we visited back in June). We visited until well past sunset, at which point Hugh and I excused ourselves due to our early flight.

Then, we hugged the Cub one last time before sending him back to his dorm. That was the hardest part of the trip, obviously. And, it continues to be hard, today. But, as I said in previous posts, I truly believe the Cub is exactly where he is meant to be, right now. He fits into the island vibe like he was born to it, and, it hasn't taken him long to make friends, including, apparently, one who is willing to indulge him in his favorite past time: back tickles.

Photo courtesy of the Man-Cub: Proof of Life, Day Two

I would be sad about being so easily replaced, but, let's be honest; I'm happy if he's happy. And, Hawaii makes my son very happy.

I just wish it wasn't so freaking far away.

Our trip back took sixteen hours, including a short layover in San Fransisco and the five hour drive from Salt Lake City. I guess it wouldn't be paradise is it was easy to get to.

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