Second half of the vacation is done … this time it was to the “Big Island” of Hawaii (which is named Hawaii, just to confuse us).
We did get some snorkeling in … but not as much as we would have liked to. Did a bit of exploring, no geocaching, and very little hiking.
The condo we stayed in was not nearly as nice as the one we had on Kauai … it was larger (much larger), but not nearly as nicely maintained. We asked for a upper level unit … and boy, did we get what we asked for. The condo’s entrance was on the 2nd floor of the building, but then there was a huge stairway to get to the main living area. The bedroom was another flight of stairs up. This unit is *NOT* accessible by people with handicaps.
One other thing of note about the condo … the complex is huge and an incredible maze. The 2nd night Ginny and I decided to exploring after dark … and got very lost. I should have brought my GPS. It wasn’t until the last few days that we actually got a handle on where we were.
We attended a Luau on Thursday … and were very unimpressed. Ginny did a pretty good write up on it on her blog. The food was mediocre, performance dry, but my biggest problem was the excessive religious references.
Our snorkel trip was with an outfit called Sea Paradise they weren’t bad. Not as polished as some of the other places, but they had all the important stuff. I was a bit disappointed that the catamrain’s mast had been taken down for maintenance, but sailing on those trips is mostly for show. There were less than 20 people on the cruise and all adults, so we didn’t have to deal with kids running around. They took us to two snorkel spots (first one was great, 2nd one was so-so). Got a few pictures. Since Ginny wanted a reasonably good underwater camera, I got a new one (Canon SD770 IS) and gave her the Canon A75 … unfortunately the A75 developed a glitch that caused the sensor to act weirdly. I’ll probably have to get her a replacement camera. The underwater housing is fine, so there’s no need to replace it. We also snorkeled at a beach park … which wasn’t bad, but the water was WAY too shallow for my tastes.
Maybe it’s because it’s winter … but the water on both Kauai and the big island seems very rough. And the big island doesn’t have a lot of beaches. We had planned on snorkeling at ‘Two Step’ (named because you get into the water with two steps), but never got around to it.
We had a number of good meals … the food at at Kenichi, which is a sushi / asian fusion restaurant, was good but the service was bad. I ordered an rice appetizer but didn’t get it until after the main course. We also ate at Jameson’s By The Sea, which was pretty good. Good food & service.
We did, however, cook in quite a bit … which may seem an odd thing to do on vacation, but that’s why we like renting condos. You (usually) get all the facilities you’re used to at home … refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, clothes washer, dryer, etc. The only issues are that a) often you don’t get all the supplies you need. Things like laundry soap, condiments (ketchup, soy sauce, olive oil, etc), sometimes even dishwasher soap and b) You don’t always get all the appliances you might want. Things like coffee grinder, rice cooker, etc (actually, lack of a rick cooker in Hawaii is very odd … but we’ve encountered it).
We went out to Volcano National Park on Wednesday … very long drive. Unforunately the volcano wasn’t flowing. Apparently the sea vent tends to stop and start. The best way to be sure you’re going out when it’s flowing is to check the HVO … but we didn’t know about that at the time. Since it’s such a long drive, on roads that are not well lit, we decided not to go out on Friday (we would have gotten back well after 11pm and our flight was the next day). We drove around the park a bit, had a very disappointing lunch at the park lodge, did a little bit of hiking, and headed home.
One thing that was a disappointment was that we coudln’t get on one of the ‘eco tours’ to Manaloa for star gazing. We tried to book one, but they were full until after we left. Next time we’re going to book that well before we arrive.
As with Kauai, the Big Island wasn’t quite what we were hoping for … but we did enjoy ourselves. We’ll be back at some point … but, again, probably in the summer instead of winter.
Work on the floor is (more or less) progressing. I got the final rank of boards cut and installed. We still need to touch of the paint, install the base molding, quarter round, and carpet threshold.
Tuesday we went to village hall and cast our votes for Obama in the early voting program. Just want to get it out of the way.
Wednesday we headed down state to visit my niece Melissia … it was a thoroughly enjoyable trip. We went for a walk in the Stephen Forbes state park and saw “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”. The state park was nice and pretty empty. About the time we left the park, it started raining. Perfect timing. Did a bit of shopping and then saw the moving (which was enjoyed by all in the theater … all 3 of us).
Saturday both Ginny and I had checkups at the doctor … everything is in working order.
Started an email exchange with a woman who wants me to GIVE her a domain I own … because she’s running a business with the name. When I indicated that I would sell it to her, she got all bent out of shape. I wasn’t asking multiple thousands of dollars for it … I only asked $600. Last email from her indicated she would probably sue me for trademark infringement (she doesn’t currently have a trademark on the name, but she did indicate that she filed for one). I’ll keep an eye on the name on the US Trademark Office’s website and, if it becomes registered to her, I’ll take down my placeholder site.
Today I want to try and get the floor finished … at least the painting done and base molding & quarter round up. The threshold might take a bit of time.
And, tomorrow, it’s back to work.
Well, mostly back to work … I really didn’t leave. Like a glutton for punishment, I checked email periodically and had to address a few issues. Nothing major though. Hopefull, when I get back, the I18N project will be done and we can get on to real development again.
Today’s a big travel day … we have to go from York all the way to Dublin.
By train we have to go from York to Manchester, then to Chester, and ending up in Holyhead. At Holyhead we take the ferry to Dun Laoghaire in Ireland.
Once we got to Dun Laoghaire, we had a bit of a problem figuring out how to get into Dubliin … as the people at the DART station (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) were not all that helpful when we asked for information.
We finally got to down town Dublin and took a cab to our hotel. The trip was longer because we were being driven … had we walked, it would have only been about 6/10ths of a mile. But, considering we had luggage, it was worth the â‚¬5.
Once we got checked into the hotel, we gave my friend Paul Tuohy a call over Skype. He agreed to pick us up at 9 in front of our hotel.
Today we just wandered around York a bit … it was a Bank Holiday … so it was kind of busy.
We did have to arrange our trip to Dublin … which was a bit complex. Once that was sorted, we walked around a bit … had lunch at Little Bettys, which was quite good. I was even able to find an open wifi network while at Little Bettys so I could check email.
We got back to the hotel around 3:30 … as my friend Martin was going to pick us up at 4.
Martin came to collect us and took us to his house … we had a wonderful time with Martin, his wife Jane, and kids Ben & Heather. Jane made a wonderful beef stew with potatoes and vegetables from their garden.
Of course Martin and I geeked out a bit … talking iSeries, Linux, digital cameras, and Martin’s Asus Eee PC (which I’m probably going to have to get).
One thing that was very interesting was to see Martin’s house … Martin and I are both in similar age & economic brackets … so seeing his house, community, and town, was quite enlightening.
Had to wake up ugly early. But managed to get out of the house on time.
Mike, our taxi driver from American Taxi, was great. Even checked the status of our flight when I couldn’t get online with my phone. I got his card for the return trip. He said to text him with flight info and he would be there.
Check in was uneventful. TSA guy was WAY to chesrful. Someone needs to check his coffee.
Right now were waiting at the gate, hoping for an upgrade to business class. Ginny checked availability yesterday and it looked good.
Before we left, I pointed the webcam at Riley’s food, so we can check up on him.
Found out that boingo now offers 15 minutes free wifi access if you watch a 15 second ad. The ad, however, does not play on the iPhone. I’m not complaining.
Now all there is to do is wait for the flight to board.
Today was our first full day on Maui … I woke up really early … around 2am Hawaiian time (due to the time change). Dinked around with the computer a bit (of course I brought it along). Around 4am I made coffee for Ginny and I and we watched the day break.
Ginny and I went for a walk on the beach with our cameras … nothing amazing to see though. Ginny decided to go to church, so I was on my own for a few hours. I sent for another walk on the beach with my camera … tried to get some longish exposure shots of the waves breaking over rocks. I haven’t downloaded those pictures though … so I’m not sure how they came out.
After Ginny got back we went snorkeling … the water was kind of rough by then, but we gave it a go. It was kind of cloudy in the water, but not too bad. I managed to get a really cool video of a turtle though.
(sidenote: A bit of an observation … this is the first video I’ve uploaded to YouTube … and I noticed that, in a lot of the similar videos (of turtles in Maui), the videographers got REALLY close to the animal. This is expressly forbidden by the Fish & Wildlife authorities in the islands.)
After snorkeling, and rinsing off, we wandered around Kihei and grabbed lunch. Then it was back to the condo for some serious relaxing.
For dinner we’re going to try and grill some fresh tuna we bought at Safeway yesterday.
Well, here we are again on a plane going to Maui. It’s Ginny’s birthday in about a week and we’re going to celebrate. I’m not going to say how old she’s going to be, but I’ll give you a hint it starts with 5 and ends with 0. You do the math.
Our flight was entirely reasonable leaving at 10am, so we only had to wake up at 6am so we could be on the road by 7am. As usual, the cab arrived about 20 minutes early but we didn’t try to rush. Riley wasn’t happy, but that was to be expected.
I checked us in using United’s website seemed like a good idea. The only problems occurred when we checked our bags. First we had to hike down to the other end of the terminal to get to the â€œUnited.com bag check area and the barcode scanners at the bag check stations couldn’t read our boarding passes. I think they were broken though as two other people had trouble using the scanners.
Once our bags were checked, we went through security. I really hate the security check even though I know and understand the need for them. I wish they had a longer run-out after the x-ray machine. If people are the slightest bit slow getting stuff off the table, things get jammed up. It would also be nice if you didn’t have to take off your shoes.
Because we arrived at the airport so early, we had some time to kill. We picked up some coffee and muffins for breakfast and I wandered around a bit and picked up a book and a copy of Wired magazine (I only read Wired when I’m traveling).
I did see something interesting in the airport terminal so sponsored kiosks that were nothing more than really small carrels with power outlets. One was sponsored by Verizon (advertising their wireless broadband service, but there was no wireless broadband service available there) and another sponsored by Principal Financial Services. They both were basically just billboards. Nice idea though. I also noticed a distinct lack of available power outlets in the terminal seating area. Ginny ran out and picked us up some sandwiches for the flight. I’m not sure what’s better, buying in flight or before we leave. The meals they have in flight are only $5, but I suspect the fare you can buy in the terminal is better quality.
No big problems boarding the plane Ginny asked if there was any possibility of getting upgraded to economy plus, but the flight was completely booked. Considering how many open seats I saw when I checked us in, I was quite surprised they weren’t asking for people to volunteer to take a later flight.
So far no big problems on the flight it’s a little bumpy, but nothing too bad. Sometimes Ginny gets nervous when the flight is bumpy, but she’s fine.
We’ve been feet wet for a while it’s 11:47 HDT (4:48 CDT) so we have about 2 hours of flying time left. The flight crew reported we may arrive a little early, so that’s nice.
About 3 hours ago I realized I had forgotten my camera tripod at home I always forget something. I’m going to see if Steve can send it over. Not sure what the cost would be, but I suspect it would be cheaper than buying a new one. Of course our walking sticks (which I didn’t forget) have camera mounts in the head but that’s only good for short term stabilization not enough for long exposure. Of course there’s always the option of asking Steve to just get it to my mom & dad, since they are joining us in 5 days. That would probably be harder to manage than just having Steve ship it to us.
Ok, I just found another nice feature of this laptop (Dell Latitude D630) the screen is a little shorter than my Inspiron 600m was (because it’s a wide screen), so it fits better on the airplane tray without bumping into the seat in front.
Weather is looking pretty sketchy, so we’re just going to drive around town to see what’s to see today. Ginny wants to go out by the airport to see â€œAragorn Studios and I would like to scope out the airport to see where we will return the car.
Aragorn Studios is a art collective place lots of different artists, some working on stuff, and some just selling.
My only big gripe is that all the vendors had a 5% surcharge for credit cards. I ended up paying cash.
Leaving, we tried to find the airport Avis location with no luck. Kind of odd, I know that Hertz, National, and Thrifty had booths in the lobby of the airport building.
On the way home we decided to make our own dinner, so we stopped at the Rite Way again and picked up stuff for pasta & garlic bread.
Before dinner I took my laptop out to check mail & stuff. I managed to catch Riley on the webcam as he sitting on the table. I tried to get his attention by changing the way the lights blinked on the cam. Changing a setting might have caused a slight click, as he turned his head quickly when I did. Not entirely sure though. He looks normal though, so that’s a good thing.