Monday, December 17, 2012

Makaii

Sunday, we play Makaii Golf Club (http://www.makaiigolf.com), down the street from the hotel. Like the Prince course, we had no idea that the Westin butts up to both courses. We could have asked for a golf course view with an ocean view. Oh well. While we're getting ready, it seems so odd that football has already started and it's only 7:00 am. Guess if you're in Hawaii and like football, you either watch early, or DVR and watch it delayed.

Like Prince, we're going to have Makaii to ourselves this morning and can go when we want to. Nice. The marshall says that we're early for the holidays. And, the weather has been pretty bad lately and that has caused people to decide against golf.  The weather is humid, cloudy, but sunny. We get sprinkled on periodically, but it seems like it's just a "random cloud." The views are again, beautiful -- more mountains on the first holes. Easier than the Prince, but still strategic. Eventually wind around to the ocean for beautiful views. And then back. Unlike Pebble Beach, there seems to be more picturesque, water holes (also means that there is even more wind).











Finish our round and were thinking about what we were going to do in the afternoon. Choices:  play the Woods, replay the golf club, go to the beach, go for a drive, hang out at the Westin. When Gary says that we can play the Woods for free. Decision made and we play the Woods. It's more of a muni, but still gorgeous views of the mountains. And the price is right.

After we play, we decide to check out the St. Regis and have a cocktail there. But, their "nice bar" doesn't open until 3:30 pm. And their beach/pool bar is surrounded by kids. Note: the beach at the St. Regis isn't that great. Not what we thought it would be. Glad we decided not to spend the day there because Tony and I would have lasted about 5 minutes. We leave to sit on our balcony at the Westin and watch the chickens and the ocean and hope for a whale sighting. Dinner is Prime Rib Sunday and because of our "eco" signing not to have maid service in our room, we get $20 off of dinner.

Last night here before packing up in the morning and heading to the airport for our long flight home. Been a nice little vacation. Hawaii wasn't quite what I expected, but still pretty special.


Day 2: The Prince

12:35 am and I'm up, but convince myself to go back to bed. The magic number is 4:00 am. Doesn't work and at 3:30 am I get up and make coffee. At 4:00 am Tony gets up and we take our coffee to the plunge pool and hot tub next to our building -- in a bit of drizzle -- and loosen up the travel aches with the hot water and jets. Make breakfast and watch the chickens running around.




Get dressed to go for a drive heading "north" -- but guess really west --  to see what may be there. Construction. Lots of one lane bridges. Stop at a little beach and walk in the Pacific.

Then head to the lighthouse that the guide (sorry, Anthony) says you need to visit. It's a lot smaller than we thought, but pretty. We didn't pay the $5 to go on the property. Drive around a little more and then head early to The Prince. Very few cars in the parking lot. Hard to believe for a Top 100 Golf Course in America (#16). They're going to let us go off early at the twilight rate. Lunch at the Tavern where it's confirmed that this course is probably going to eat us up -- lots of OB, lots of danger. Note: even if you're not a golfer, lunch at the Tavern is a good move. Lunch was great (their pomme frites have parmesan on them). Gary, the marshall, takes us to the driving range to warm up. Nice view of the ocean from the driving range.

They tell us it doesn't matter when our tee time is and we can go when we're ready. Nice and relaxing.

Gary lets a single and his wife tee off before us and tells us what not to do. And tells us it's OK to take out a few chickens. Never played golf with chickens before!






The Prince is pretty awesome. Great views. Challenging. Strategic. I shoot 90. Tony 96. Not bad for a course we haven't played -- and the wind is different from Texas wind. But at least we understand wind. I did get pretty eaten up by some sort of plant while looking for a ball in a hazard. But, I came out with mine -- and nine others. Guess that I was one of the few who would venture down that ravine...

Ended up having dinner at the Tavern as well that evening. Making it an "all Prince" kind of day. Nice. Sunday is Makaii Golf Course.

Note: this is on "time delay."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hawaii, Day 1, Post Flight

Off Tony and I head in our little Ford Fusion to the Harley Davidson dealer in Lihue -- btw, we will be unable to pronounce anything on this trip in terms of road signs, cities, etc.

While the driving directions are OK, getting out of the airport isn't particularly well marked, but once we get out of there, we don't have many problems. We need a couple of shirts to mark this trip and both of us have "shopping lists" while dreading the $60 HD shirt. That is not the case at Kauai Harley -- not a particularly big dealership, but we manage to find the sale rack to make up our lists and the woman who rang us up recommended the Safeway in some city with a K on the way to Princeville to stop for groceries/beer
http://www.kauaiharley.com/

Sorry, Anthony Bourdain. Know your disdain for guidebooks, but I bought one (for the maps...) and they said the same thing. That Princeville is expensive so stop on the way -- and get a Safeway savings card if you don't have one to save even more! We know why it's going to take an hour to get there -- two lane road, with quite a bit of traffic. Get to Safeway (on  the left) and pull in.


First adventure: chickens in the parking lot. Chickens almost in the store. Tony gets a pic. I get a Safeway value card and we save $30 on our breakfast staples and booze for the stay. Happy that you can buy liquor at a grocery store so we don't have to make multiple stops on this trip. Note to first time visitors to Kauai if you go to the Safeway -- go to the desk and get the value savings card. It take little to no time, and you can save $$$ that would better be spent on a tshirt, or a golf hat.

Back on the road. Reminds me of Puerto Rico, but the water is closer to the road and the mountains are closer to the water. Surprised that it seems much more modest than I thought it would be. But, maybe Princeville will be different -- the guidebook (sorry Anthony Bourdain) said gawking would be involved.

Before we get to the hotel, we decide to check out a beach and turn right. Another car turns right before us (you see where this may be heading...). Car stops in road. We stop in road. Car starts slowly backing up. I start honking. Car continues slowly backing up. I keep honking. Before I can put car into reverse, car hits our car (not hard). Clearly the driver should have seen us? "Kid" gets out of the car. Didn't see us. Didn't hear us. Was backing up to get a machete out of the road (yes, there was a machete -- and this would be better documented in pictures, but at this time, was not thinking about my blog). Kept thinking to myself -- if you're going to stop and then back up IN THE ROAD wouldn't you look behind you for traffic??? Obviously not. We pull over. He tries to unbend the license plate on our car, and wipe off the scuff on his bumper. And tell us that we should just turn in the car -- without telling anyone. You know how that goes with me. We call roadside assistance. Make a claim. Exchange information. He still is trying to convince us not to tell. Yep, first adventure in Hawaii. At least not much damage and not trying to see what it's like to get a tow or a new rental on this short trip.

Off we go to the Westin only a few miles down the road. Check and and upgrade to a one bedroom apartment -- gets us a hot tub and King size bed and better view. Decline maid service to save $10 per day on food at the resort (oh, and save the environment). Get our free gift from the Concierge (a beach bag). Walk to our room in building 7 next to the "bluffs" with an ocean view.

http://www.starwoodvacationownership.com/westin_princeville_ocean_resort_villas/welcome.html

They bring our stuff up (clever that they have Rubbermaid cartons to put groceries in -- not their first rodeo). Unpack, unwind a bit from the long trip, have a beer. We're not hungry, but we head to see if there is something "bar foody" -- end up with salad and sandwich that we bring back to the room. It's been a long day traveling and we're in bed by 730. Hoping not to wake up at midnight, ready to get up because of the time change.


Day 2 is The Prince. Don't know what else. We'll base it on when we get up.

Note to newbies to my blog: I am not a photographer. I hire photographers in my business. Many of these photos are from Tony's iPhone (also not a photographer). These photos are more for documentation than for composition, color, lighting. Occasionally you might see one that is "photo worthy." Get over the amateur nature of the photos. We're on vacation.

Hawaii-bound

I'm sitting in our apartment at the Westin Princeville in Hawaii (Kauai), happy to be here, enjoying the time with Tony, enjoying the golf and the sounds of the ocean and wind. And, selfishly happy to be five hours ahead in time -- and too busy for TV -- so that I don't have to watch more on the tragedy in Newtown. When we were driving to the hotel on Friday afternoon, a DJ said something about his thoughts being with the state of Connecticut. Thought he was talking about Sandy. And then we turned on the news and Newtown, Connecticut, flashed about the killings at Sandy Hook. Too, too close to Brookfield, where I went to high school -- played soccer against Newtown. Right next door. And, Darby's mom is the Superintendent of Newtown (and did a great job on "Today"

http://video.today.msnbc.msn.com/today/50208350

I'm going to enjoy being selfish for the rest of the trip, and enjoy Hawaii. Here's the airport/flying part of the trip, day 1.

Day 1: Flying
Early morning (especially after just getting back last night from Phoenix). Leave the house at 5 am for a 7 am flight to LAX and then jump on flight to Kauai Island, Hawaii. Love the American Airlines upgrades both legs of this trip. Love to go to the Admirals Club before waiting to board the flight. So nice just walking onto the plane this morning without waiting in the concourse. Breakfast on the plane (they have pretty good oatmeal; don‘t know how the “egg strata“ tasted). Along with a Bloody Mary. We’re on vacation. Think Tony was a little “odded out” by the gentleman sitting next to me (attorney) who wouldn’t switch seats with me to sit next to each other. He apologized, but “hates window seats.” But, I can hear Tony chatting it up across from me with his seat mate (and a Bloody Mary). Long day of travel to get to Hawaii, but everyone says it’s going to be awesome and well worth it.
Get our bags, get our car, and then off to the Harley Davidson dealer. Then grocery store for snacks and cocktails (thanks, Missy, for telling me about Big Wave -- a beer that you can only get in Hawaii!). Then Princeville to the Westin to check in, unpack, and hopefully watch a beautiful sunset. What’s nice about the resort is that they are apartment villas, so we have a full kitchen. I get tired of eating out. And tired of the $20+ per person breakfasts that would be $4 at Denny’s. And I don’t mind a $10 cocktail here and there, but it’s nice to pour one and sit on your private patio before going to dinner. Must be my Midwestern upbringing.
Only two real official things on our itinerary: Tomorrow play golf at The Prince Course. Sunday, play golf at Makaii Golf Course. Rest we will play it by ear. Hope to see some whales. Maybe a sea turtle.
Tempted to try American’s gogo online and do some more web surfing and work on some concept presentations we’re working on. Seems reasonable in price. But, the flight from LAX to Hawaii is longer, so may sign up then. Nice to not really work, but I have this brainstorm and am itching to get on the Internet to look for some quotes for a meeting on Tuesday.

Only about 30 minutes at LAX after we land. Walk into the Admirals Club and walk out -- no smoking in all of their airport. But, gave us something to do and then we walked on the plane. This is one of those "big planes" (sorry, I am not up on types of aircraft -- this one had a small first class and then business class with three sets of two seats, and then regular). Tony and I again are split up. He's in 8A and I'm in 9A. We'll try to switch with someone so we can sit together. We'll especially try to switch with someone when a family, including infant, sit down RIGHT BEHIND ME. Right behind me on a FIVE HOUR flight. Switching doesn't look as promising with an infant behind us. But, the plane starts boarding coach and there are a number of empty seats. We ask the flight attendant if it's full and she doesn't know because they switched planes on them. We'd like to move and sit together. We tell another flight attendant the same. They are checking. And then a couple sitting across from the family starts moving to the seats over on the other side that we were trying to claim. Tony intervened. We won, and moved over away from the infant (and more importantly, the talkative child who clearly wasn't as impressed being in business class as we were).

Plane takes off and five hours away it will be. Bloody Marys, again, and "Brunch" this time -- French toast and sausage. Nice blanket, pillow (thank you American Airlines), movies (tried to watch The Words without success and instead finished Season 2 of "Lost" -- yes, I know that watching a series about a plane crash that takes place in Hawaii probably isn't the best inflight viewing) and we try and get some sleep. Neither of us were successful, but we tried to rest. I don't see how Tony can do it with only his iPhone -- no books to read, crossword puzzles or Soduku. Five hours is a long flight when there isn't anything to see out the window except water and clouds. And, I learned quickly that WiFi doesn't work over ocean, so my idea to do some work on the web didn't work out as planned.

Finally land. Deboard. The airport is small. Humid. Wayfinding/signage could be improved upon. But, bags come out relatively quickly and are all accounted for, so we head to Hertz -- again, poor wayfinding, not the most organized.

But, heading out of the airport and on our way to really start our vacation.