Today started at Starbucks in the lobby of the hotel. I just couldn’t function without coffee this morning. I especially couldn’t get all gussied up before coffee. After rubber-banding my hair to the top of my head and putting on the minimum of clothing for decency’s sake I rode the elevator down and got in line. Oh yes, I got strange looks. I just didn’t care. After we all had some coffee, danish and/or fruit we were ready to take on the day.
Our first stop happened to be the vendors that set up in the lobby of the hotel. These are locals that sell their own things that they make. It was very cool and interesting. Lori had signs made with my grand baby’s names on them. They had to be painted, so we would have to come back later to pick them up.
The other vendor that caught Lori’s eye was the t-shirt man. He was a self-taught t-shirt artist. He had realized that he could draw about 9 years ago when his daughter had asked him to draw something for her. He has been in business ever since. He has even had one of his t-shirts in the second episode of the new series of Hawaii 5-0! He was a really neat guy. Lori got to talking with him and asked him to make her 5 ladies shirts with sharks on them (he normally only puts the sharks on the men’s shirt and dolphins on the ladies’ shirts) for her work team. They are called “The Shark Tank”. She made arrangements to go back and pick them up later in the week, before we were to leave for home. You can see his website here.
Onward to breakfast. We walked down to the IHOP. Going down the main entrance stairs, we came upon workers ‘trimming’ the palm trees. They were using machetes. Neither of us had ever given it any thought as to how the palm trees stayed looking so beautiful. On entering the IHOP, we were greeted by a host. He looked to be a fine young man. He looked up at us, slowly, with a pen poised above a list. Lori said, “Lori” and I said, “Lorri” and he wrote ‘Laurie’ which made us both laugh. He looked back up at us, slowly (imagine the sloth working at the DMV in the movie Zoo-Topia), with a questioning look on his face. We tried to explain that he wrote down our names just like neither of us spell our names. We are still not sure that he understood us. While we were waiting to be shown to our table we sat in the waiting area of the lobby. From our vantage point we could continue to watch the young host. As we watched, another customer came from their table in an attempt to pay their bill. The host, who was standing right next to a cash register, explained, slowly, that they would need to go back to their table and their server would take their payment. The went back and sat down. Shortly the waiter brought their bill and form of payment up to the register, right next to the young host, and finished the transaction. Lori and I quietly speculated about the young host. Was he just a slow person or had he indulged in some not-so-medicinal marijuana? Before too long we were seated and could order breakfast. We both chose the chicken Florentine crepes. They were amazing! Every bite was delightful. At the end of Breakfast I asked the waitress if marijuana was legal in Hawaii. She looked at me strangely and told me, “no”. I explained that it was legal in Oregon where I am from, and that I was just wondering. I continued to get weird looks from her until we left. Now that we were fueled for the day, we headed back to the hotel. As we passed through the lobby, we stopped and picked up the name signs that Lori had painted for the grandbabies. Up to the room to drop off things and get the keys for the van. Off to do more shopping. No one wanted to go with us to the fabric store or the wood store, so it was just Lori and I. Thank goodness for smart phones and satnav. We found the Wood Crafter’s store. The plan was to get some Koa wood and maybe some of the rainbow gum tree wood. The Koa wood that they had for sale was a HUGE slab that was bigger than my whole suitcase. The guy helping us, saw my distress and showed me to a basket of mill ends of Koa wood. I got several pieces of this. I knew that Partner’s dad could use this to make things on his lathe. I was feeling pretty chuffed for scoring such a great gift. Now, on to the quilting store. The plan was to get a couple of quilting kits for the knitting ladies. The quilt store that I was able to locate was called The Calico Cat. I was able to get a couple of traditional Hawaiian quilting patterns, a row by row quilt kit, 2 ‘license plate’ iron-ons, and some thread to finish the beach PJ’s. While leaving the quilt store we could only drive forward, up the hill on the on-way street that we were on. It was an interesting peek at the homes of the everyday people, outside the tourists view. Coming back down the hill we had some beautiful views of the city.
We would have never seen these things if we would have stuck to the beaten path. The plan for the afternoon was to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC). The ride out there was a lot of fun. Plenty of time to talk, laugh, visit and take pictures. When we first got to the center, many of the group were hungry and ready for lunch. There were food trucks that we stopped at to fuel up. There was lots of shopping booths to visit and, of course, we did. We spent some time in Tutu’s Sweet Shop for sure! There was lots of tempting sweets, but for me there wasn’t much that wasn’t covered but chocolate. After shopping we went to get ready for our group tour. When our tour guide arrived he introduced himself to us, explained that our group was like a family (ohana) and lead us to the first ‘island’. Our first stop was Samoa. We wove little fishes from leaves and received our kakuwi nut leis. Hawaii was our second stop. There was an energetic and amusing sketch regarding the coconuts and how they are so important to the culture. Easter Island or Rapa Nui was our third stop on the tour. We didn’t stay at this stop long because we were in a hurry to get to Tonga, our fourth stop. There was a drum show at the Tonga ‘island’. David, from our party, was strongly encouraged to participate when volunteers were asked for. It was A LOT of fun! After this show, our tour was done due to time constraints of the Luau starting soon. Lori and I headed for the quilt shop and the rest of the group wanted to ride the canoes. In this quilt shop, there were actual kits! Since I had already bought the patterns, I didn’t by additional kits. Lori did buy a kit for me to finish for her and I found a pattern that I wanted for myself. As we finished in the quilt shop we got a message from the rest of the group. The lines for the canoes were too long! We met up and headed for the Luau. The luau was not what I had imagined it would be. I thought it would be a sitting on mats, kalua pork from a pit in the ground, poi eating sort of thing. It turned out to be a buffet style dinner sort of thing. There was lots of lovely food and desserts. Because there was lots of crab leg eating going on, I left with Lori after we finished eating our beef. She didn’t need to be hanging around all that seafood with her allergies. Fast forward two hours… and it was time for the dinner show. The show was titled, “Ha, the breath of life”. To say it was amazing was an understatement. The whole PCC was staffed with students of BYU. At the end of the performance they came out and took their bows as groups of students from each of the different islands that they originated from. We weren’t allowed to take pictures or videos during the show. I’m not sure they would have done the show justice if we would have been allowed. It was really something that you would need to see in person. We headed back to the hotel and before we retired for the night we gathered at the barefoot bar for a couple of drinks. At first it was Lori, Tara, Jen and I. Before long some guy from Kentucky was sitting on Lori’s lap. It is a little bit strange if you haven’t spent any time with Lori. She is a magnet for random guys. It isn’t like she is begging for attention, it just happens. One of those unanswered questions of the universe. The best part was the look on Monique’s face when she rounded the corner and saw Mr. Kentucky all ensconced on Lori’s lap. It was the best moment of the whole day. After a bit, Mr. Kentucky went on his merry way. It wasn’t too long before we all retired to our rooms. We had all had a long and eventful day.