Friday, December 30, 2011

I Survived!

Well I just survived the dreaded flight back from Hawaii to the mainland, which more often than not involves an overnight flight - ugh! Fortunately a nice (and small) couple from Washington, DC were sitting next to me and even nicer was that they gave me their window seat for my isle. I much prefer a window seat on a night flight as I can lean my head and even better, this was a window seat with no window but a wall, so I didn't have to deal with the window dent in, which can add an extra crink to your neck. I can assure you that what I got was not quality sleep by any means but I didn't wake up until the pilot came on 80 miles out of Phoenix indicating that we were starting our decent.A

I am now in Phoenix sitting in the US Airways Lounge (it is about 9am) and a lady ordered a beer - kinda early isn't it?!

My mom and dad got to save on a trip a to the airport yesterday, as my departure coincided nicely with my brother and sister-in-laws arrival. They were getting in at 9:45pm and I was leaving at 11:45pm, so my dad dropped me off at my check-in counter and then I went and joined my mom to meet them. Originally my mom had hoped that we would all overlap at for some time during this trip so we could have a family picture, but unfortunately it didn't work out that way. Well we did overlap, but just for about an hour - long enough to say "hi', "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year" and then I was off. I know that they will have a fabulous time. Collin and Andrea are much different travellers than I am - where I am content to sit at the beach or by the pool for hours on end, soaking up the sun, they will be off doing every know activity to man on the island - they do make the most of their vacations! I know that they will have fun!

So my family does not spend a lot of time all together - in fact, I think the last time all 4 of us were all together for any length of time was probably when Collin and Andrea got married in Maui in 2006 -don't think anyone has died since then or got married and there were parts of that trip that were not all too positive for me, so really, why would I want to replicate that again?! You see, I come by my selfishness naturally - my vacation time is very important to me. I work very hard, and at times have a very stressful job, so I don't want my holiday time to be stressfull and we all know that family time can be stressful. Thus me leaving as Collin and Andrea were arriving. I had hoped that we would overlap by a day, but that didn't work out. I had contemplated changing my departure by a day, however I wouldn't get home until the afternoon of NYE and since I am going to Kimberly for NYE, that wasn't going to work. Plus, flights were sold out - I did check - I am selfish but I will still put in some effort ;-) In any event, my mom isn't going to get her family picture like she had wanted and part of the reason for this trip. It was their 40th anniversary this year and my mom was wanting some sort of group photo - guess us all standing together at the airport wasn't going to cut it!

So this ends another trip. As mentioned, heading down to Kimberly for NYE and then the travels back and forth to Fort Mac begin again the 2nd week of January - gotta keep amassing those aeroplan points and status miles, so I can continue to travel like a princess. And then it looks like Belize at the end of January. Until then. . . .

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Big Island Highlights

Here are a few highlights from the past couple of days. . .I have been rather remiss in posting

  • Night dive with manta rays. There were 11 different mantas out last night. This was also my very first night dive and was a really cool experience. The largest manta was about 15 feet across and about 1000 lbs. They would swim up to you, mouth wide open and it would initially scare the hell out of you! One even hit me in the head with one of it's wings.
  • SPAM macadamia nuts - yep, they taste as bad as it sounds. . . but I had to buy them!
  • Let's take a wild guess as to who this sign is meant for! This was at the black sand beach on the south side of the Big Island where we saw 2 green sea turtles hanging out on the beach. We would have stayed at this beach however the gale force winds, pushed us away.
  • In honour of John Brown - one of my first food pictures on my blog. This was from the southern most bakery in the USA - it was lovely sweet!
The last couple of days I haven't been up to a whole lot other spending as much time in the sun as I possibly can and working on my tan in the process. I call this my SAD eradication - it should hold me until my next holiday which looks like it will be at the end of January in Belize if all works out :-). As mentioned, a couple of days ago we drove to the south end of the Big Island, past the coffee fields and through a couple of lava flows to a black sand beach. Would have been lovely to stay there however the winds were so strong. Plus the heat coming up off of the beach was intense - it would be like sitting on asphalt!

Yesterday was a sit by the pool, sunning day and then off SCUBA diving late in the afternoon as our one dive was scheduled to be a night dive with the manta rays. Very, very, very cool! I won't tell you what I told my dive master but I did use a few naughty words to describe the experience.

Today, more time just sitting by the pool, which is next to the ocean, reading my book and then my dad and I went down to White Sands Beach for a little ocean time. I also reckon that it was "people wearing bathing suits that they shouldn't day" at the beach today. Now, most people don't look great in a bathing suit, myself included, but I do try and spare the rest of the beach going public while I am out there from too much harm to their eyes.

I head back to Calgary late tomorrow evening - back in the afternoon on the 30th and then it is off to Kimberly for new year's eve.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mele Kalikimaka

Mele Kalikimaka or Merry Christmas!

I have to admit that I do enjoy spending Christmas somewhere warm, with the sun shining, the waves crashing and sand under my toes. My dad and I are getting into a bit of a rhythm - he gets up, usually I am down at the pool eradicating my seasonal depression and then him and I go snorkelling somewhere. We have been snorkelling each day that I have been here and we try and go somewhere new each time. We have been very fortunate to see turtles each day and today when we were at the beach with my mom, there were 2 turtles in quite shallow, so lots of kids could see them which was cool. As mentioned, my dad and I went snorkelling this morning - we went to what is commonly known as the `snorkel beach` and after our snorkel, he dropped me off at White Sands Beach and went to get my mom and the 3 of us spent the afternoon at the beach. It was nice to see so many families spending Christmas this way.

Last night we joined half of the Big Island for a candle light church service which was located outside on the lawn of the Lighthouse Church (?), with the waves crashing in the background and the palm trees lit up in red and green. Now this service was a little different than what this conservative Anglican is used to. Firstly, there was an amazing praise band who played a full range of Christmas carols - for those of you non-Anglicans, Christmas carols aren't sung until after Christmas - not sure why, but that is just the rule. They even sang one of my most favourite carols - Oh Holy Night, which almost had me in tears. All in all, it was a lovely service - lasted about 1 1/2 hours and then we headed back home (along with half of the island - seriously, there had to have been over 500 people at the service)

Thanks to Safeway, we won`t be starving tonight - the turkey is currently in the oven. You can buy a whole dinner, complete with all the fixings, pre-cooked that you just reheat - it smells like Christmas in here but without all of the work. Well, supper is almost ready, so I will sign out - Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii . . .yes, my travels continue and even better, so does my blog! I bought myself a fancy little iPad holder/keyboard combo from Brookstone that I saw a lady had in the lounge in Phoenix. When I saw it I immediately thought that I needed one and low and behold, the little magazine shop in the airport had it so I got myself a Christmas present! It is taking a little getting used to b/c it is so small but it is still way better than tap typing on my screen.

So yah. I am in Hawaii. For Christmas. With my parents. And no one is dead yet, mind you, I have only been here about 24 hours :-) Seriously though, it is all good and will be a nice break and a nice way to spend Christmas. We went to Safeway yesterday to order Christmas dinner, so we will be having turkey and potatoes and all the fixings. There are the odd Christmas decorations around but by the looks of it, most people don't seem to decorate and those that do give the Griswold's a run for their money and pretty much light up the entire island!

This morning my dad and I went down to White Sands Beach - which is a beach that disappears at different times in the year b/c of the tides and the waves. Fortunately for us, the beach is there right now. What is also interesting is that it is directly across from the White Sands condos which we stayed at as a family 15 years ago when we came here for my mom and dad's 25th wedding anniversary. I was rather surprised at how many people were at the beach at 10am - it was very busy - both on the beach and in the water. My dad and I mainly went there to do a little snorkelling. The snorkelling was okay and we did see one small sea turtle at the end however it reaffirmed to me why I dive. . .I much prefer to be under the water close to the bottom when looking at fish. Speaking of diving, my dad and I have a dive planned for December 27 when we are going to do a late afternoon dive and then an evening dive with the manta rays. Last night they saw 16 mantas so I am pretty optimistic that we will see something. My friend Charley, who runs the Scuba Shack in Maui recommended Jack's Dive Locker to me, so that is who we are booked with and my mom is going to come along and snorkel. I guess snorkellers can also see the manta rays.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing, reading, did a bit of shopping with my father - which is always fun and then supper. As my mother pointed out to my brother and I (who is arriving with my sister-in-law the day that I leave), this is everyone's holiday, so we both cooked supper tonight. She bbqed and I was responsible for the potatoes - thank you Costco, and I did a salad. (sorry JB - my feasting isn't as exciting as yours) This was a picture from our balcony at sunset today.