This file contains all our news for
September 2005

Tuesday, 27 September 2005

We're Back !

    We drove up from Tampa today. We flew back from Honolulu on the 21st, arriving in Tampa on the 22nd. Jack Hanrahan picked us up at the airport (Thank you, thank you, thank you Jack!) and we spent the next five days in Bradenton recovering from the GREAT trip. I also needed to do a bit of work on the boat, flushing the engine and letting it run for a while to keep the batteries charged. The price of gasoline is well over $3 a gallon so I'll wait to fill it up, in the hope that the prices go down by the time we return to Bradenton, probably sometime in late November or early December. We'll stay there for a few weeks and then back to Myrtle Beach for Christmas with Karen & Chuck.

    But, enough about all that! Here's Dale's recap of our Hawaii trip, Susan's Wedding (!) and our return flight through Houston, which was being evacuated due to Hurricane Rita approaching!

    "Kathy arrived during our second week and she stayed with Tracey & Alana. We all went to the Swap Meet, shopping, dining out, swimming, etc. Barry and Kathy climbed Diamond Head, hiked the Manoa Falls trail and kayaked to the Moku'lua Islands off of Lanikai on the Windward Side. Kathy and Alana went surfing while the rest of us watched.

    On 7 Sept, Barry, Kathy and I flew to Maui (Kathy was on a different airline's flight). Ours was a good quick flight, approx 25 minutes from Oahu to Maui. We called Susan and Dany, who had arrived the day before, and met them for lunch. They still had a lot of things to do so we didn’t stay long. We then headed to our condo in Kahana, which was about 1 hour north. The condo was super. There were 4 units in each of 4 separate buildings surrounding the pool and barbecue, with the ocean in front of the pool. First things first: we headed out to get some food for the stay. Karen and Chuck arrived a few hours after us and with the good directions they received from ME (Dale ;-) we actually met up at the shopping center. Next day we went on the Road to Hana; long but lots of beautiful sights. On the 9th: Karen wanted to see the sun rise at Haleakala Crater so at 3:15am four of us, Karen, Kathy, Chuck and myself left Barry sleeping at the condo and headed up the crater. It was freezing, but we did see a beautiful sunrise, with the clouds surrounding the base of the summit it made the sky look on fire. (Barry's note: "And they were zombies for the rest of the day" ;-)

    In the afternoon we "did" Lahaina and more last minute chores. Tracey, Alana and Tracey’s boyfriend Mike arrived just in time for dinner. Sam and Barbara (Dany’s Mom) hosted a dinner at the very, very posh Wailea Golf Club. We ate outside next to a fishpond and stream, with absolutely spectacular views of the half-submerged Molokini Crater, and the island of Kaho'olawe in the nearby ocean. The service, surroundings and food were excellent. After the dinner Susan, Kathy, Karen, Tracey, Alana, Sylvia and Shelly moved from their condo (somewhere on South Maui) into the Royal Lahaina Resort's "Beach House" for the night. It's located at the northern end of the famous Ka'anapali coast of West Maui. This is where the wedding took place. It’s a large cottage, separated from the public areas by thick, jungle-like folliage with its own pool, waterfall, hot spa and gated, direct access to the beach. The girls did up favors, ate snacks, swam in the pool and had a few drinks. The package deal with the wedding planner included the reception dinner (truly outstanding food!) but the Bar drinks were not included, so we hit the local Longs Drugstore and stocked up. Cases of beer and wine, lots and lots of Vodka, Bourbon and other interesting "stuff". The manager was so impressed! Gave us a big discount! One customer was bug-eyed by the amount of booze we had stacked high onto four shopping carts. He said that he thought HE drank too much! (I think he wanted an invite ;-). The rental car was sure riding low on its springs! Mike, Chuck, Barry, Kathy, Karen and me had to carry all this stuff from the condo parking lot, around the back to our condo, and then up 2 flights of stairs to store it until the 10th (Wedding Day). Then we had to do all again, in reverse, to move the goodies to the beach house. With the help of a hotel worker driving a golf cart, we moved all the liquor purchases from the resort's parking lot to the beach house. Lots of exercise!

    Wedding on the 10th! Some time before the wedding we did shopping for even more liquor and other things. (There are always last minute things). This was not a typical wedding. The morning of the wedding Dany, Chuck, Mike, Syliva’s husband Andy and a few others converged on the beach house and spent 4 or 5 hours on the beach. They were actually swimming with some spotted stingrays. I don’t know how or when but they managed to get back to their condo, some miles and 20 minutes away, to get their wedding clothes and drive back to beach house. Not much organization, but everything got done and everyone was in high spirits! Wedding was set for 5pm but Barry and I were told to be there at 4pm. So at 4pm we show up dressed to the nines and Susan opens the door in a sarong and coconut shell top with a flower in her hair. She looked beautiful; radiant. In no rush here! Alana walked around, presenting everyone with a shell lei. At 4:30 Susan kicked everyone out back so she could get ready.

    The wedding coordinator arrived around 4pm and started setting up the chairs and the bar, and getting the finger food out the pre-wedding feast. There were about 8 "kids" from our former Cape St Claire (Annapolis, MD) neighborhoods, so we were all getting reacquainted. Some of these "kids" have been together since elementary school. A little before 5pm the Hawaiian minister arrived with his uncle (they would also be playing music for 2 hours after ceremony). We got the opportunity to speak with them for a few moments and found we had some hawaiian musician friends in common on Oahu.

    At 5pm Barry and Susan came down the aisle (lawn). The ceremony was done both in English and Hawaiian, and it just flowed together. The minister was very, very good. It was a serious, and moving ceremony. Of course it had to end with laughter when Dany swept Susan off her feet and fled down the aisle. After the ceremony everyone went to the beach to watch the sunset, and it was a good one! After sunset and while everyone roamed around drinking, snacking and talking, the staff moved the chairs and set up 2 long tables for dinner. Favors, candles, and flowers were placed on the tables. The flowers were in a 4" tall rectangluar vase filled with sand, water and 2 colorful Gerber daisies the same amount of vases held colored stones with tea candles. (Susan had scouted them out in CA, but I figured she had enough to think about, so the Vases and stones came from Michael’s in Bradenton, FL and Barry and I had packed them in our carry on luggage, (Boy were they heavy!). (Barrys note: Heavy? Heck yes! Ten tons of thick, glass vases she made me carry as "carry-on luggage"! The airlines wouldn't have let us on their planes if they knew how much extra weight we had! I've had back troubles ever since! We're lucky the stuff didn't sag right through the bottom of the overhead storage compartments and crush someone!) But they were just right for the tables. (Whoopie! ;-) The buffet was delicious - excellent. There were fish, beef and a vegetarian dish (a lot of the kids friends from LA, and Karen, are vegetarians).

    Two of Susan & Dan's friends had written songs specially for their wedding. They sang them, and everyone cheered them on. Dany thanked each and everyone there with a little reminiscing about how they met and how much they meant to him and Susan. That is, in between Barry raising his hand and yelling "ME! ME!" whenever Dan was scanning the crowd for his next target of tribute! After speeches, food and whatever, "free will" took over. Some went into the pool, some danced and some talked. Sometime around 11pm everyone decided they wanted to go in the ocean. So with Susan and Dany in the lead they headed into the ocean (both still in wedding attire). I was very surprise at how many followed suit. Barbara, Sam, Barry and I stayed on the beach. After a brief swim they came ashore, dried off with their new Hawaii towels (gift from Dany & Susan). Soon after, everyone started to leave. Not sure if all left or not, but that was no problem because the beachhouse had 2 bedrooms plus a pull out couch. The next day they checked out and headed to Kihei to spend a week there. Other than Dan’s sister and brother, we're not sure how many others were staying there. The party continued. Sunday was a "catch your breath day" and party some more.

    On Monday, the 12th, at 6:15am the gang headed off for a catamaran ride to Molokini Crater! They would be snorkeling, swimming and eating for the next 5 hours. Barry and I were leaving for Oahu early in the afternoon so we did not accompany them. After the catamaran ride, Karen and Chuck took Kathy to the airport with them. They were all leaving around 5pm; Kathy returning to Maryland, and Karen and Chuck flying to Oahu for a few more days of Paradise. Tracey, Mike and Alana flew back to Oahu around 7pm. We arrived back on Oahu first, so we had a few hours of relaxing on the beach. Once the others arrived it was busy-fun time again: the Swap Meet (Aloha Stadium vendors), walking around Waikiki, driving to Kailua, and eating out. Karen and Chuck tried surfing and they both managed to get up on their boards the first time (!) and had several good rides. The waves in Waikiki were especially high and long, so there were hundreds of surfers having a grand old time. We went to Chuck’s Steak House in the Outrigger Waikiki for Chuck’s birthday. Great food. Managed to go to a few other fine dining establishments. Karen and Chuck reluctantly departed on the 15th for Myrtle Beach.

    The rest of our trip was relaxed/unscheduled. Barry and I visited with our wonderful, Kailua former-neighbor, Joan Pacheco, and did some sightseeing on the Windward side. On the 17th there was an Aloha Festival Parade on Kalakaua, the main street of Waikiki, and boy was it good. Later it was swimming and going out to eat. We managed to hit the Swap Meet again and on Monday we went to catch a glimpse of Alana during her Hip-Hop class in Hawaii Kai. Tuesday was dinner at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant we like, called Spaghetti Hale (Spaghetti Home). Tracey and Alana have been going there for dinner just about every Tuesday night for years. It is a small place but the food is excellent and, of course, Tracey knows the chef. Tracey’s friends from Iceland have returned to live in Hawaii for another year or so, so they joined us. Lots of good times and good friends.

    Wrap up: Trip was outstanding. The condos Tracey arranged for us at the Waikiki Banyon were one block from the ocean! We had excellent views of waves and beaches and Waikiki. Alana, Erika (a young Japanese-American girl living with them) and Roscoe (their little dog) are all doing fine. Mike, Tracey’s boyfriend, is very nice and works as a civilian on Hickam Air Force Base. Tracey continues to do very well with her exporting business to Japan and keeps very busy. Barry and I helped her label boxes for export. Everything was outside on wooden pallets, and it was raining and windy. Boy did we learn quickly what to do and what not to do. Very Interesting. She took us out for lunch afterwards at a Bob’s Big Boy restaurant.

    As we were preparing to leave Hawaii we heard about four hurricanes between Hawaii and the West Coast. Luckily they all veered away from the islands. However, when we landed in Houston on the 22nd, the pilot announced that they were evacuating the city! He directed us to look down on the Interstates leading away from the city, and they were all filled with cars going nowhere! Gridlock! The airport was going to be closed in six hours and thousands of passengers were stuck in the security lines outside. Houston's evacuation-related traffic problems contributed to the lack of TSA security people available to process the crowds trying to get through airport security. Our only problem was that the 1st class stewardess was 30 minutes late (due to traffic) and we had to wait for her. We took off about 45 minutes late, but glad to be in the air! When we arrived in Tampa the Channel 10 News reporter was there interviewing passengers who were coming in from Houston. We slipped through. Jack Hanrahan, who was picking us up, was caught by the camera as he waited for us. His wife MaryAnn saw his profile.

    We arrived home in Bradenton safe and sound and very, very tired. Our friend Gary Weiler came over and took care of Bandit while we were gone. Bandit ignored us for awhile but soon crawled up on the couch for some scratches. All is well.

P.S. Have to go back to Hawaii. I forgot to go to Java Joe’s for crepes.



    OKAY MY TURN AGAIN ! The Reverend Wilmont Kahaiali'i, who officiated at the wedding, is the brother of famous Oahu singer/musician "Willy K". He gave Dale and me a big "welcome home to Hawaii" hug when he discovered that it was the late Moe Keale who, years ago, taught me the hawaiian song "He Punahele No 'Oe" (as a child, the reverend had learned quite a bit from "Uncle Moe" himself). Written by Albert Nahale`a for his own daughter who was about to married, Rev. Kahaiali'i sang this song for Susan and Dan.

    Before leaving Maui we visited the Iao Needle, a high, thin, sharply-sloped mountain located in a deep, fairly narrow valley. You can drive into the valley all the way to the parking lot near the viewpoints for the Needle. Lots of Hawaiian kids were swimming in the deep pools created by rock/boulder dams across the cold stream below a footbridge. The valley is also a State Park and has several areas for families to have cookouts, etc.. Very nice.

    Back on Oahu, Karen and Chuck took Surfing lessons from the Waikiki Beach Boys, just as the tourists have done for decades. They both did very well, especially since the surf at Waikiki was higher than it had been in decades and gave all surfers a great time!

    Since Tracey's boyfriend, Mike Kays, works as a civilian on Hickam AFB (and also is in the Air Force Reserves), he was able to sponsor us and get us back on the base. We had lunch at their Sea Breeze Restaurant, right on the waterfront. This was one of our favorite places when we were assigned to Pearl Harbor and Camp Smith. Then he took us to Hickam's huge skateboard arena, inside a cavernous hangar allocated by the base for Youth Activities. It turns out that Mike designed and built all the huge skateboard runs, directing a team of military and civilian volunteers, and has done the same in other locations. His sons are so good at the sport that they have sponsors. So if you see some national skateboarding competitions, look for young men named "Kays".

    I have to admit that every time we return to Honolulu we are tempted to buy a condo, even after the years of financial suffering when we couldn't sell our Kailua home. Oahu prices have not only rebounded, they have skyrocketed (worse than Bradenton, which has the highest rising prices in Florida, if not the nation!). Tracey has so many friends who either own condos or manage them, and we always get fabulous deals, so right now it makes so much sense just to rent for a month or more.

    Bye for now!

Dad & Mom/Barry & Dale