Monday, January 16, 2012

Christmas in Hawaii

I boogied out of town for Christmas.  Hawaii was my destination. We have friends there so I made a neat little plan to visit Frank and Sandi Kingery in Honolulu along with another couple that I hadn't seen in years and as an added bonus, my long lost nephew, Josh, had recently moved to Oahu. Big reunion!  On top of it all another couple that Steve went to high school with, who we have kept in touch with over the years, live on Kauai now. Okay, how about a side trip over there?  They invited me and I said yes.

It was a smooth 3 hr. drive to Millbrae, a town near the San Francisco Airport, where I had booked a room in a hotel that would keep my car for 14 days included in the price of the room. Such the deal! The airport shuttle picked me up outside of the room at 6:30am in 32 degree weather and off I went. Luckily I saved room to shove my down jacket into my bag.  Hawaiian Airlines was in the International Terminal but the shuttle bus driver didn't remember that so we drove around in circles until he did. It was lucky I allowed enough time as the HA section was chaos. You can't believe the STUFF people take on airplanes and/or check as "baggage". I swear it looked like this guy had a Kayak in his black bag.  No one pays attention to the " it must fit under your seat" rule.  People had backpacks that were taller than they were strapped to their backs to "carry on".  I was just as glad I checked my little could- have- been- a carry on bag and carried on a smaller one.  As luck would have it I got decided to upgrade my seat when I was printing out the boarding pass for $25. Not first class or even Business class but a Bulkhead seat on the aisle. I had no idea what that was but it was closer to the exit so I went for it.
This was my first time flying Hawaiian Airlines. I was pleased with the seat as bulkhead means there are no seats in front of you to recline onto your lap and it was right near the flight attendants' prep area. This was funny because you are privvy to their take on the passengers' antics. For instance, just as the doors were about to close a loud redheaded woman carrying one of those three story backpacks plus two dogs and dragging a wheelie came bounding on. She put one of the little dogs down and kicked it so it would go in front of her down the aisle stating " he is trained and should know better". The other dog apparently couldn't walk as she carried it.When did they start letting animals on airplanes out of carriers?? My arm was on the armrest, unfortunately, and she almost dislocated my shoulder  as she bolted past. This continued all the way to her seat which was, guess where?, right near the seat I gave up for the bulkhead seat.  I am telling you my angel was looking out for me. Babies started crying and people were getting angry back there. The flight attendants wanted to escort her off the plane but for some reason they couldn't (door already closed).  The good thing is we made it to Honolulu while the flight attendants dealt with her ( babies continued to cry and people continued to stomp up to the front to complain).

When I was safely in my friend's SUV with a pretty Lei around my neck I started to relax. It was beauty and warm in Oahu albeit a little breezy.  The first thing we started discussing was food!
Frank likes to cook and loves anything Italian.  He does most of the cooking for his lucky wife, Sandi.
That evening he whipped up a fabulous Lamb and Eggplant curry.  It was a little uncomfortable talking about Steve, for them, I think.  I find this is true with many of our friends as it is still very early with the grieving process.
We discussed the plans for the week. Frank printed out a calendar for me to keep track of the days' activities.  I made reservations to fly over to Kauai so that was put on the calendar. Meanwhile Sandi needed to go Christmas shopping so I was put into service driving the SUV. The Toyota was easy enough to drive, backing down the curvy steep driveway not so easy. Off we went each day. I got pretty good at maneuvering the driveway too.

They belong to the Outrigger Canoe Club so we had a few lunches there as well as the beautiful Kahala Hotel with their dolphins, stingrays, turtles and fish in lagoons around the property.
Dolphin catching his fish treat

We ate dinner in most nights. One night Frank made us a simple but wonderful antipasti dinner. He put out plates of Salumni with pickled vegetables and olives, tuna and white bean salad, simple greens and a killer garlic extra virgin olive oil dip with crusty rolls.
Tuna and white beans

So simple and so delicious

Another dinner was Grilled Hangar Steak on a bed of Organic Hawaiian arugula. We were eating very well. One request I had was to find Ahi Poke. Little did I know I would get more than my share of Poke. It was on the Christmas Eve dinner buffet at the Outrigger Club, served at the Kingery friends house ( two flavors) with little squares of nori and on appetizer menus everywhere.

 Christmas Eve morning I stepped up to the plate and made my Spinach and Mushroom frittata brunch from
Everyone enjoyed that while we watched college football bowl games.

Frank took me to the "drive up" luggage checking station. That was great!  Hawaiian Airlines is the only airline to offer that service.  Totally painless with no lines. After many Mahalo's we said goodbye.
More on my trip to Kauai later!