Wednesday, October 28

Flight 22 is off to Honolulu

(It's an Avalanches reference that's been stuck in my head for weeks - we weren't really on flight 22)
We are home, back from a week in Hawaii with Jo, Marty and the traveling bears (Jo's folks). I was there to give a paper at the ASHG conference and to catch as much R&R as possible (defined, in my book, as good food), but also get into the swing of traveling with my family! Speaking of which, Marty did an incredible job on the flights. Saying he was well behaved implies he could have behaved badly and I think he's still too young for that (mostly) but he was very chilled out about the whole traveling thing. We had a one hour flight to Dallas, then a very quick dash through the airport to make our connection which was an ~8 hour flight straight to Honolulu. The flight over was the trickiest because it basically ran through the entire 'awake' part of his day. Combine that with the fact that he usually likes to be held and walked, not held sitting down - he did remarkably well! He slept, fed, chilled out and only cried briefly a few times. On the return flight he slept for the entire 7 hours!

The traveling Roo

We also managed to work out why Marty hates his car seat... We always thought it was simply that he didn't like the reclined position but now we discover that it is because we've been attaching it to the wrong sort of car! How silly of us. While trying to get a taxi for 5 people plus baby/car seat from the airport to the hotel they eventually gave up on minivans and sent us off in a limo! So my first trip through Honolulu was riding in style (and at taxi rates!) When the driver offered to pick us up for the return we jumped at the chance - and it seems that two trips in a limo was all it took to cure him of his seat-hating 0_o

We were staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village - an all encompassing fake plastic shiny shiny mega-plex of vacationy goodness. It provided the impression of a whole Hawaiian experience without you really having to have a Hawaiian experience at all! Five towers, various pools and waterparks, an artificial lagoon filled with fresh seawater about 50m from the beautifully clean Pacific Ocean (I guess so you can virtually swim in the Pacific?)

On arrival at the huge indoor/outdoor central reception you're greeted by incredibly well manicured tropical gardens, fountains, pools and a vista out to the palm-tree studded Waikiki beach and sparklingly clean Pacific Ocean. Plastic fantastic and non-native as it was, it was impossible not to be impressed.

Josie with the Roo in his carrier* at reception, looking out over koi filled ponds, the main pool and the beach.
*Every new parent should be given one of these, they are the most useful baby thing ever.

The hotel complex was set up so that you never really had to step foot outside into Honolulu proper. There were more restaurants and shops than you could poke a stick at, some of them even half decent! The gardens were incredibly well tended and an absolute delight for us San Antonians whose daily dose of botanicals consists of live oaks and more live oaks.

The many ponds were full of water lilies, stripy blue fish, massive koi and even turtles!

The hotel complex was also filled with an incredible array of wildlife (although I'm not sure any of it was Hawaiian per se) including stinky African penguins!

There were randomly placed giant parrots all over the place and I spent an amusing few minutes watching one particularly bad tempered one refusing to come to its handler to be put away by hopping to the absolute top if its climbing frame! There was nothing more between us and them than a warning sign, although those beaks were warning enough not to get too close.

The complex was also filled with all sorts of other bird life including these wonderful flamingos!

Marty also adjusted really well to the 5 hour time difference...better than we did in lots of ways. The conference started at 7am each morning (argh!) but the time difference was in my favour there. My talk was Thursday morning (we arrived the Saturday before) and it went pretty well. The conference was huge with 6000+ attendees, but the exhibit (read freebie) section wasn't so hot this year...I guess the companies didn't want to have to take too much stuff with them. Aside from the conference we spent most of our time working around Marty and his sleep/eat/play schedule, which allowed us to do quite a lot including a trip to the Foster Botanical Gardens (more about that later), a wander through China Town, shopping at the Ala Moana shopping mall (best food court ever...again more on that later), swims in the pool and the ocean as well as lots of yummy food experiences!

Mama and Roo getting ready for a swim

Our room was perfect for the three of us - quite big with a separate kitchenette area (great for handwashing) and the bed was ENORMOUS! Marty loved it, as you can see.

The room was big enough that we didn't feel like we were going mad when we were forced to spend time there, by our own jetlag/exhaustion or Marty needing to nap. We even had people 'over for dinner' a few times.

Me and my boy reading the comics on our huge couch

Our room was on the 28th floor of one of the towers so it had some pretty specky views, although I had to be careful taking Marty on the deck (lanai) since Jo developed some pathological fear that I would somehow manage to drop him over the side.

Evening view out over the Hilton lagoon and the ocean

View towards Honolulu City from our deck

Sunset over the Pacific from the deck

Yes I know there's a shot like this already but I liked them both and couldn't decide!

The pools were nice but the ocean was simply delicious, aside from the sharp bits of dead coral underfoot.

The breakers were a fair swim away so the beach itself was very calm. The water wasn't hot like the Texas Gulf Coast, but it didn't bite like Tassie either!

Looking out across our little patch of beach down to Waikiki proper and across to Diamond Head (volcano crater)

Jo wanted photos of palm trees and there were plenty! The don't offer quite enough shade though...

I could have done a lot of lying down and looking up at this, well, if it wasn't hot and I was entirely burn resistant!

Literally meters from this gorgeous beach was the equally gorgeous if entirely artificial Hilton lagoon (which was public access at least, unlike the rest of the pools)

The Hilton lagoon early in the morning before it was swarming with people - it looks like a deserted island but it is an illusion!

I'm guessing this s why lots of people opted to swim in the lagoon, although we didn't really have any trouble in the ocean (maybe a few tiny stings but nothing worse than Oz)

These signs seemed to suggest that the ocean was incredibly dangerous - Lions and tigers and bears oh my!

Anyhow, this post is way too long so lets just say it was a great trip, we all had a fab time and I'd love to go back one day. There are two more Hawaii posts coming, one quick one about food (of course) and one for the bot gardens (simply for the pics). Aloha!

One last shot of the lagoon looking back towards the entire Hilton complex


Anonymous said...

Wow the longest post ever! But really was good to read all about your trip! It's good to know marty was ok on the flight too. Anri x

Adrienne said...

Aloha! What a marvellous post! Beautiful photographs! Well worth the wait. I look forward to some food posts.


Dumblond said...

Beautiful pictures!

Clare Blue's Alias said...

Thanks for updating :)
Pics are glorious, good to see all three of you looking peaceful and happy, and nice to hear how the trip went.
Feeling a bit jealous of all that sun, here in surprisingly chilly October-Hobart, but still!
Lots of love,

Jennifer A.K. Harris said...

WOW! You had FANTASTIC view from your room!!

Mothersupex said...

Sensational post, with all the photo's, thought we were there with you all.

Can see you driving a Limo with a car seat :o)

It was a shame it was an early start, for one that is not an early morning person, thank goodness there was the advantage of time difference.

Can't ever see you doing a Michael Jackson stunt with Marty on the balcony, so am positive there would be no worried for Jo.

Look forward to reading the food blogs, though hope I have some food in the tummy, beforehand.

So happy you are all home safely, well and happy.


Mum x x x

Anonymous said...

Aloha! oNe of my favourite words! (re mobile phone message bank the past 10 years!) I MISSED you guys! I have kept checking the blog for phots and info...and at last! Looks beautiful in Hawaii - Once again...jealous! We have had some pretty sterling weather here over the past couple of days - its going to be 25 tomorrow! Glad to see the Martster is thriving and looking gorgeous as usual and you two adul,ts aren't looking too bad youselves!Can't wait to see the other 2 b blogs! Great to hear all about your trip - Love you all xxx

Hilary said...

What a fantastic trip and beautiful photos! I am all for you going back some day....cos you'll be taking us with you!!... Might be cheaper to plant me some palm trees at BH!
Lotsa love to you 3 from us 3 H, C & C

Josie said...

Darling Hil, we were saying how much you would love it there! We were dreaming of going back in a few years when Marty and Cousin Campbell would be old enough to really enjoy playing in the surf! Big cousin Cooper might need to bring one of his friends along rather than get stuck looking after the little boys! But it would be a blast . . . let's do it?????

Anonymous said...

Wonderful trip. It all sounds lovely. I am glad that Roo travel was a sucess. The Hotel looks very comfortable - quote jealous. I can feel the warmth and the sand under my feet
The food though.... Sounds like a complete;y foreign language. I Have heard of Miso soup, and tasted some and Liked it. But the rest... I'll need an interpreter. Any Fish and Chip? Ie cod or haddock?
Roo looks as if he has grown again. and The Bears look quite happy.
Glad the conference went well.

Love GA Kate