Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day 8 - Hawaii Honeymoon

After the amazing/exhausting driving adventure my husband and I experienced yesterday, we deserved a spa day. We relaxed at the beach in the morning until our spa appointment.  I was super excited to head over to the Grand Wailea's Spa Grande. Particularly excited to try their Terme baths. You immerse yourself in five different kinds of aromatic salt baths.  

So when you get to the spa, you sign in and go your separate ways.  There is a male and female spa.  You do your own thing for an hour and then meet up for a couples massage.  There were only a handful of people in there and I went straight for the baths, which were unoccupied.  It was really cool.  I wanted to purchase the salts of the black one which I think is magical because when I got in it, I almost immediately wanted to sleep.  But they were all relaxing and interesting to try.  There are also a couple other forms of Japanese baths and showers that I wasn't really in to trying. 

The spa itself though really needs updating.  The spa amenities themselves are OK but the decor is just atrocious for a world class spa.  For example, I was sitting in a bath and staring at this decrepit flower pot.  It was just so gross for the amount of money they have coming in.  And the lounge chair cushions were just not exactly screaming "relax on me!".  Yucky.   

Oh!  And I can't forget, they also give you this loofah scrub down. They take you into a private room with water everywhere and you lay on a table and they literally shower you down with a loofah and scrub.  It was one of the weirdest things I have ever experienced.  Then they take you up to the lanai to get some fresh air and wait for your treatment.  David and I sat together for a couple of minutes and then got taken to our 50 minutes of heaven.  

After our treatment, we took a walk to the lobby. My grandparents had taken their photo there over 10 years ago and we wanted to do the same. We couldn't remember the exact spot and this place is massive but we got one in the vicinity. 

Now this part is hard for me to even think about again.  David went to the room to nap and eat some leftovers and I went to the Serenity Pool for a chicken quesadilla and pina colada. Finally, my first tropical drink poolside!  I chatted with the bartender and this drunk newlywed couple that just arrived.

In hindsight, I should have never ate something like that so late in the afternoon with our Mama's Fish House reservation soon after. But when you're hungry, you're hungry. I didn't feel great when we left for dinner and when we got to the most beautiful/cool restaurant I have ever seen, I was full fledged sick and freaking out. 
The gorgeous table set up at Mama's overlooking the beachfront property.  

What could be worse then being sick at a restaurant?  How about being escorted to the VIP table our friend arranged as a gift, brought out a bottle of champagne and then deciding you had to leave? I've never been more embarrassed and upset. I'll leave the details of the rest of the night out but really Becca, you eat random Thai food from the side of the road and you get food poisoning from the Four Seasons?!  I hate my body.  Do you think I make it to our 5AM sailboat trip the next day? Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 7 - Hawaii Honeymoon

There are a couple of things that are associated with Maui.  One of those things is the Road to Hana.  Everyone says "It's not about Hana, it's about the ride there."  Basically, there is a ton of really amazing things to see along this absolutely ridiculous road...and we were pumped!  

Part of the Road to Hana
A very cool perspective of what the majority of the road looks like.  Blind turns for 80 miles. 

We were out by 8:30AM and tried to be prepared as best we could.  We filled up our gas tank, stupidly chose not to get a picnic for the road, and headed to mile marker...well we got lost within the first couple minutes, haha! Apparently the miles restart a little up the road so we were searching for a waterfall in the wrong place.  If you don't count that little mishap, our first official stop was to watch some surfing right next to the uber-cute surf town of Paia at Ho’okipa Beach Park.  

Next up was Twin Falls. We parked and hiked for about 20 minutes and made it to what is the epitome of Hawaii in my opinion, swimming in a waterfall in the jungle.  

David behind Twin Falls. 

After that we tried Waimea Falls again, which was a bust, again (the first mentioned earlier). An OK hike but there were no falls so it was really disappointing when that is why we hiked for an hour.  I would have rather done something else if I knew they weren't visible.  Wasn't meant to be.  

Anywho, we continued on down the road. OMG winding and turning over and over. I've never done anything like it. Just madness.  It got to the point that it was funny because it was so absurd.  David did a really great job navigating.  We passed gorgeous beaches and cliffs and valleys and a bunch of other falls we could see on the side of the road and finally stopped halfway for the famous banana bread.

After the scrumptious snack, we hit up  Wai'anapanapa aka the black sand beach. I was really looking forward to this specific stop but I didn't know why.  The weather was perfect and the second we parked and got there, it began to downpour.  Not a good sign but only a slight delay.  We tried to get to the beach but took a wrong turn and ended up in these awesome caves.  A great five minute detour hike.  

Then we got down to the beach.  It was magical.  I can't explain the sound the water makes when it washes back into the ocean on the black pebbles but something about it was just so special.  It is such a beautiful and unique place.  I bottled up a very small amount of sand and wish I had brought a proper bottle even though I am sure it's illegal.  There were also other things to see there like a blowhole and an ancient, sacred burial ground.  The weather was still not great and we were starting to get really hungry so we didn't stay as long as I would have liked and I was sad to leave.  This is my new favorite place in the world. I loved it. 

A view from the path heading to the beach. 

Beach level. 

Just past Wai'anapanapa is finally the town of Hana.  We were starving and I was panicked because there was nothing.  But then we saw this sign for Thai food.  It was a shack like structure off the main road called Thai by Prawnees.  With a very nice blonde local greeting us and "Mama", a little Thai (I think) lady cooking on the side and a hippy couple just leaving, this could have gone one of two ways.  Go figure, it was the best Pad Thai I have ever had in my life!  We spoke with the waitress/owner a bit who explained she moved up to Hana a couple years back because it is the only place left for authentic Hawaiians to live, however people like Oprah have started to infiltrate.  She was originally from Wailea, where all the big hotels are now.  She also let us know that the road we were contemplating taking home, which was stated as "illegal and against rental contracts" to take, was actually fine.  More on that later but if you ever find yourself in Hana, make sure you go see Mama and her crew for some delicious Thai.  

Although we passed a couple of things on the road that we said we would hit up on the way back, the thought of going back the way we came was horrifying and there was a little more we wanted to see just past Hana.  So with a little convincing by our waitress, we continued on our path and decided to take the forbidden road. We passed a red sand beach and literally drive right by the Sacred Pools without realizing.  I was bummed about it but was concerned about getting home before it got dark so we just kept driving.  The road was pretty similar to what we took but at least there was far less traffic.  And then it got weird.  

The road was not completely paved, as promised by the waitress.  Thankfully we had 4-wheel drive (and really no other choice).  It was like Mars meets the Golan Heights. I've never seen anything like it.  (Fast forward a day and we were speaking to a local who explained it like "driving on the moon.  It's like another planet out there.  But totally safe, you guys were smart to take that.  But also pretty courageous!")  It was a cool feeling though to know that we took the road less travelled and saw another beautiful side of Maui a lot of people don't get to see.  

We made it home just as the sun set and took a breather before our strategically placed rewarding steak dinner at Duo, our breakfast joint turned steakhouse at the hotel.  Just as I was stuffing my face with the complimentary COTTON CANDY (sour apple flavor!!!) dessert that comes with the bill, we saw Rob Riggle.  See a celebrity at the Four Seasons, check.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 6 - Hawaii Honeymoon

We drove over to Lahaina and Ka'anapalai because we had reservations for the Old Lahaina Luau over there and figured we would spend the day there. It was a nice drive but a long day.

After much confusion on the parking situation (or lack of), we parked over by Whalers Village (an outdoor shopping mall, not sure why people flip over this place) and walked out to the beach. Another clean, soft sanded crescent beauty.  We walked over to the famous Black Rock where we were literally greeted by a turtle. Kimo lives there and likes the company.  He made several more appearances again while we were there. He basically swam into David and caused a bunch of snorkeling head bops to the dozens watching him.  I think I saw him laughing! 

There goes Kimo! 

Black rock was nice because we could sit at the end of the beach and there was a good sized tree for some shade. I felt like it was exceptionally hot and just couldnt handle it, very unlike me. David had a rematch with a paddleboard and he won this time. We also watched a couple of kids jump off the cliff. Then we went for a walk and ate at Hula Grill. It was fantastico - I had Hawaiian Ceviche in a martini glass and really great french fries. 

Black Rock behind us. 

Not me jumping. 

We drove to the town of Lahaina and walked around the historical main street.  Luckily we found Ono, which has a rather secret oceanside picnic seating in the back, so we killed some more time there and then changed for the luau in the car. Yup, we are classy.  

The luau was silly. Total cheesefest but at the same time, we were glad we did it. We sat at a table with 6 others.  Coincidentally, with a couple from Long Island who was married September 1st, along with an older couple and their friends.  They confirmed it was the best luau in Maui, they have tried them all and returned to this one seven times.  So I was happy we chose the right one.  It was everything we thought it would be and we didn't get sick from the food so in my opinion, great success! 

Day 5 - Hawaii Honeymoon

Today was relax day. We got up early to get seats by the adult pool. Apparently it gets pretty competitive and people literally line up at 7am to claim territory. Naturally when I got there at 6:55am, I was one of three people there.

We set up shop and went to oceanside yoga. The sand on Wailea beach is so soft and clean. The resort is much more manicured then any human I know!

The hotel has a  breakfast buffet we enjoyed every morning (courtesy of booking with Stacy Small at Elite Travel International).  In addition to a customized feast, there were also gluten free options, a different complimentary smoothie shot every morning and a load of greedy/courageous birds joining us.

We spent the morning reading (finished Aleph by Paulo Coelho) and relaxing at the Serenity infinity pool...
and then it started to rain. As most island weather goes, we thought it would pass and then we could continue with our plan to hit the driving range but it never did.  It rained for several more hours, apparently a rare thing. 

Our late lunch was at a place "known for their hawaiian pizza" called Round Table. I cracked up when we got there because it was like a Pizza Hut meets Medieval Times meets a bootleg Chuckie Cheese. Oh well, its hit or miss out in Wailea I guess. David then went for a run and I relaxed cuz I hadn't been sleeping well. Hooked myself up with a great face mask from the concierge too!  

The rain stopped just in time for a spectacular sunset.  The best one of the entire trip. 
Sunset from our room. 

Sunset from the Serenity Pool. 

We walked the grounds and found the game room a couple hours too late, as well as a Missoni designed lounge area.  One of the many awesome partnerships in the hotel is the Missoni one. They also designed two cabanas here.
One of the two Missoni cabanas at the Serenity Pool.

And then it was dinner. So much eating!  We went to Capische? A decent and extremely overpriced place where I ate shrimp carbonara and husband ate the lamb. It was a really dark and quiet place but for some reason I was just not feeling the vibe.  Rainy day blues perhaps.  But a rainy day in Hawaii is still better then a rainy day anywhere else.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 4 - Hawaii Honeymoon

We woke up and said our goodbyes to our beautiful hotel, got some Coffee Bean (conveniently located just outside the hotel) and headed to the airport for Maui.

The plane ride took maybe 20 minutes. The flight attendant was taking drink orders and we were joking that if anyone got anything, they had no time to finish.

We were starving and someone recommended Da Kitchen. Super delish.  We had our first Spam dish! It was deep fried and rolled in seaweed and rice, like sushi.

Deep Fried Spam Musubi at Da Kitchen.

After being energized from lunch, we drove to the the Four Seasons and were greeted with a glorious welcome of lei's & cool towelettes. Our room wasn't quite ready so we hung out in a hut on the grounds and they texted us when our room was ready.  Entering the room was as exciting as Christmas morning; a champagne and chocolate fondue welcome set up surrounded by the sickest suite. This was the most beautiful hotel room(s) I have ever stayed in.  

Once we got settled in, we headed next door to the Grand Wailea to book our spa day for later in the week. Then we came back and sat for a drink and watched the hula entertainment. There is a man who blows a conch shell and runs around the entire property lighting all the torches. This happens every night here.
For dinner we went to a place up the road called Monkeypod. We got their fire-roasted garlic, chili and rosemary chicken wings that came with tzatziki sauce. This was hands down the best I've ever had. It was so fresh and so good. I practically started drinking it! I got poke tacos (raw and crispy and hit the spot) with garlic truffle oil fries (good enough). David got the fish tacos, a combo of butterfish, ahi and mahi. He devoured that and the banana cream pie.

Day 3, Hawaii Honeymoon

I woke up before sunrise again but today was surfing day and I was too excited to go back to bed. I watched the sunrise from my hotel room - I've definitely got my share of sunrises to last me for a couple of years.  

We headed out and stopped at a couple of spots along the way. First the Dole Plantation, where we got the pineapple ice cream.  It was real good. 
Getting his ice cream.

Then we drove through the surfing town of Hale'iwa on the North Shore. We didnt want to be late for the lesson so we parked like a local right on the side of the road and chilled for a bit.
Chun's Reef, where we surfed.

At noon, we started our lesson with Carol, from North Shore Surf Girls. I've never surfed, always wanted to, and decided if I was going, it would be on the North Shore. I did massive amounts of research and found NSSG. So glad I did. Carol and her assistant, Erin, were amazing. They gave us a lesson on sand and then headed into the water.

David stood up and ran a great wave his very first time. Mine wasnt as good but I did get up!  This went on for another hour and a half. I had to give up a little early because the paddling was just too exhausting. But all we could talk about on the ride home was how freaking awesome it was and started planning our next surfing trip.

We took a long route home and stopped at Giovanni's Shrimp Truck for lunch.  It was the best shrimp scampi I have ever had (sorry mom).  We also spotted a green sea turtle a.k.a. a Honu, on one of the beaches and got to see some of the mountains on the east side we normally would have never passed.  It's always nice to take an alternative route because the scenery was so beautiful.  
Signing the truck #drmthehoneymoon
Claudette, the Honu on the beach of Laniakea.

We got home just in time to see a crazy rainbow out of our room and then we went upstairs to the VIP club to catch the sunset. It was a nice change from the windy, loud, crowded beach.

I was too exhausted to go anywhere after that so my husband went to eat and I passed out.

Next up, Maui!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 2, Hawaii Honeymoon

David and I headed out to Pearl Harbor early but first we stopped at a doughnut shop I heard about on Yelp, called Regal Bakery.  It was on the way to Pearl Harbor so it worked out nicely.  We got there at 7:30AM and they were out of the Maple Bacon already!  However the Pineapple one David got was out of this world.

We did the USS Arizona Memorial thing (which in the end I was glad we did because I originally didn't want to) and were starving by the time we were leaving.  It was time for the much anticipated Helena's Hawaiian Food [<- click to read all about our meal in detail.] Wow!  This was the best meal we had on Oahu.  The food was amazing but on top of that, so was the staff.  If you ever go to Oahu, GO TO HELENA'S!
We needed to rest a bit so we headed to the beach.  David wanted to try to paddle board so he rented it for $45 and soon he was waving me in.  I kept refusing, I hate the ocean.  Well it turns out he had no interest in me trying it out; he had sliced his foot open on a rock when he jumped off the board the first try.  So he comes dragging in after realizing I was not budging and I take one look at his foot and run to the lifeguard for supplies.  After he bandaged himself up, we walked over there cuz it looked questionable.  While he talked to the most extremely laid back human being we have ever encountered (think Paul Rudd's character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall...times 10), I returned the board.  I was told "No refunds, but if its a gnarley cut, come show them."

So after about 10 minutes of "Ums" and "Yeas" from the lifeguard, we went over to a Doctors on Call.  This is why I say, thankfully we were in America.  Had we been elsewhere, this trip could have taken a very different turn.  The doctor decided that since it was the beginning of the trip, he would forgo the stitch or two and just glue him up real good.
So we rested up a bit more at the hotel's pool, the sickest infinity pool I have ever seen.  We walked about 10 feet over to the beach and watched another incredible sunset and then we grabbed a drink by the poolside bar.  As we were leaving, the waiter stopped us and told us we should stick around for a couple minutes because the fire show was about to start.  All of a sudden this Samoan dude was in a little skirt and eating fire.

Hawaii Honeymoon - Day 1

David and I pretty much knew that we were going to go to Hawaii on our honeymoon without much thought.  We did consider a couple other options briefly but Hawaii was the perfect destination for us. It was still America (which would be a huge pro come Day 2 of the trip), we had never been, it had beach & city, adventure & relaxing.  A no brainer for us.  The hard part was picking which islands.  We decided on Oahu & Maui with a compromise that we would return to the Big Island & Kauai for an anniversary.     

Hawaiian Air announced a couple days later that they would be flying out of JFK.  They were running great deals and it couldnt have worked out better.  For the remainder of the summer, we were surrounded by their advertising campaign everywhere we turned in NYC  It was a nice reminder to look forward to.

Two days after we were married, we were heading to the airport.  You could spot newlyweds from a mile away. All looked slightly scared; but happy. And we all had new luggage and the females had french manicures. When we borded the plane, we were one of the last (I hate sitting on the plane and waiting) and apparently it was not a full flight so there were some leftover leis and we got our first lei getting ON the plane!  What a great way to start the trip!

It wasn't a terrible flight but only because of the advertisement I saw all summer that said "We dont nickle and dime you", I was disappointed to see it wasn't true. Silly me, assuming (never assume!) a nearly 12 hour flight would have some TV included. Nope, no movie, nothing. The two "meals" were served an hour into the flight and then an hour before landing. Other than that, they played a silly "Snack Bar Is Open" jingle for overpriced candy.  Needless to say, I played a lot of solitare on my phone and annoyed my husband a ton.  

And I just have to add, upon landing, an announcement was made that someone left a silver band in the bathroom. Oh newlyweds!

We chased summer all the way to Hawaii and it was still only 3PM. The longest day ever, literally!  We got our car (upgraded by Avis just cuz!) and headed to the Sheraton in Waikiki. Traffic was just like NY. We got to our room (upgraded again, just cuz!) and holy cow, the most picturesque view!  And this is only a "partial ocean view"!

We walked around the property and then around Kalakaua Ave, the main street along the beach, and then to the famous Waikiki Beach. We were starving and exhausted so we stumbled on Dukes in the Outrigger Hotel, right on the beach along with some live music.  

It was a perfect, longest day ever.  We watched the sunset from the shore and then headed up to bed, like an old married couple. :) 

Craigslist Joe

My friend invited me to go see her cousin's documentary called Craigslist Joe a couple weeks ago.  If you are looking for a good documentary to see, this is it.  I enjoyed every second of it.  This guy, Joe, attempts to survive solely on Craigslist and the kindness of strangers for exactly one month.  It's not only about the destination, but the journey as well.  Here is the trailer: