Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Our last day/night spent in Honolulu...hotel switch, Iolani Palace tour, Dairy Queen and Andy's Shrimp

Alrighty now, so where were we again? Let me just recap super quickly... real quick first. Sunday, we arrived, we went to Target, had lunch and checked into the hotel. Monday was Kailua beach day...Tuesday was... Dole Pineapple Plantation, The North Shore, yummy shrimp truck, trying to finish our last odds and ends of shopping. We attempted to go to a Mexican food restaurant, was closed, went to the movies, yadayadayada. Wednesday and Thursday were amazing... we spent those days at Kailua beach again with a picnic lunch. And those evenings...one of them, we headed to the mall for an hour afterwards...meaning after we left the beach and showered in our room, or got dressed and went out to supper, we did that both days obviously. Walked around Waikiki one of those nights also...just enjoying being "tourists" : ) Just truly enjoyed our relax time and family time. Next is our final 24 hours and this is the post about that. Friday morning...we checked out of our lovely other hotel. And we called the new hotel from the other hotel and they said though check in isn't supposed to be until 2pm, however we could check in that very morning...they were truly such a great hotel, so we put all our stuff in our car rental and 5 mins later we were checking into the other hotel. The name of the hotel is the Luana Waikiki. This hotel was seriously the FRIENDLIEST hotel...like ever in the history of the world. Not sure if they go through a special training process or what, but they are all super nice. The valet parking people were so nice...like go out of their way...for you, type nice. The receptionist met us with a huge smile and asked us how our morning was going so far? @.@ Pretty well thank you. : ) Ohhh that is lovely to hear. @.@  And no there was no sarcasm in there...they were sincerely genuinely super nice. She phoned housekeeping to let them know we were on our way upstairs. @.@ We've stayed at hotels...in many different places and even different countries but this was a first. So...anyway we walk into the room and birds "noise" or music for lack of better word... was playing on the radio, the house keeping set it to that. It sounded not just like birds...but it sounded like (okay this is going to sound really weird, I know) it sounded like... there were birds and angels or fairies nearby. It sounded lovely every time we entered our room it sounded so relaxing. Weird thing to say...but truly... it's true. That bird and background noise was a HUGE thumbs up for me personally. I felt like a princess walking into my fairy land, every time entering our room and hearing that background "noise". Also the smell of the room...the room smelled amazing!!! I didn't notice any plug in oils in any electrical outlets but seriously...perhaps the hotels puffs delicious scented air into all the room vents....or I don't know... but the hotel rooms *never* stopped smelling amazing....even after being out all day long... we came back to the room and it still smelled as amazing as when we first walked in, go figure. So the relaxing "noise"... the smell of the room...the seriously extremely nice staff. Love this room. Love this hotel! Two double or queen beds...whatever they were... they were perfect for our family.

I liked the tile floors a lot, especially being on an island. Also please imagine the music playing while we were trying to get situated in the new room. It sounded like..birds and fairies and quite possibly angels (again I know it sounds weird... but bare with me here, it was awesome and super relaxing). I know...it sounds crazy town, but it was so relaxing, it made me super happy going to our room each time. 

That is indeed our stuff, by now our 2 big suitcases were full and packed. That colorful hibiscus one is my carry-on I've had forever. Think you can see a Nordies bag and a black and white striped Sephora bag on the kitchen counter. The fridge below was white and we did put some drinks in there for our final evening, just a few though. 


The bathroom was very nice. Just everything superly well maintained. The halls of this hotel were also well maintained and free newspapers were on each  floor, near the elevator for free, again super nice touch. 

See the pineapple on top of the mirror.

Nice and clean. 

Again pineapple detailing on the beds.You felt like you were most definitely on vacation here! No doubt!

The painting...

We went and stood on the balcony/lanai and saw our hotel pool...omg! How gorgeous! The flower motiff at the bottom of the pool...gorgeous. This was a VERY nice hotel! And again not a $500 a night place either. So we loved this place and yes I'd stay here again for sure!

This hotel is on the main strip of hotels, versus our last hotel was a couple blocks over, but both were super. 

The hotel lobby of the Luana Waikiki...gorgeous. That big mirror near the flavored water...all the plants and greenery.

A tad blurry, but free water for us guests...

Noah getting a drink, we all did. : ) Choice was, orange cucumber or lime mint. I had lime mint, it was delicious.
Yep, this hotel definitely made us feel, like we were most definitely on vacation. You felt really special here. And believe me...as busy as we were all July...we really needed it. : ) 

So, after switching hotels, if you remember the first hotel had no rooms available our last night, which is why we switched..which is fine because both hotels were awesome. : ) We decided to try the Mexican food restaurant 1 more time. @.@  Street parking is hard to find and you feed a meter and it can go up to an hour...we needed longer, yet we didn't want to pay weekday rates for parking. $10 US. So...we smartly parked at Walmart where you get 2 hours free parking if you are going to purchase anything for $20 or under...we did have a few last minute doodads so yeah...we got free parking and for sures this time got everything 100% scratched off the list. Put the stuff in the car and walked 1 block to the restaurant. The seating is quite small, I think there are 6 booths/tables. A lot of the booths had tears/rips, which was fine. This wasn't a...you sit down a waitress brings you a menu type restaurant. @.@ You go up order and find a seat. Seats were going quickly so we had the boys sit down and we ordered quickly. First thing I will say is the prices are double if not triple what you would pay at a Mexican restaurant in the US mainland. When Noboru and I went to a Mexican restaurant in Denver last November we paid $20-25 US. Here we paid and I am kidding you not...we paid $60 US at Maria Bonita's. That is super expensive for Mexican in my opinion. Also the guy at the counter, younger college aged guy very nice... very personable, lovely nice college kid. Man in the back cooking, never saw him except through a peek here and there, he seemed nice. The waitress on the other hand, horrible horrible woman. Noboru's burrito by the way, in this pic.

Branden's was $14-15 US or so, for 1 tostada and the smallest amount of beans and rice. Sorry but this wasn't worth $14-15 bucks. 

Noah got a bean tostada it was near $10 US, for 1 tostada that price is insane. 

I picked the chili relleno plate because... I can instantly tell if you are a good place or not... by how this is cooked. For starters the nice college kid...told me..only on certain days they can make this and he would go and ask the guy in the back if he could make them. @.@ He came back and said he could make them. Now in the mainland if you order a chili relleno plate... it's a no brainer you get 2 chili relleno's not just 1. Was shocked to see they gave me 1! And my combo was $16 US...for 1 chili relleno and 2 tablespoons of rice and 2 tablespoons amount of beans and the rice was flavorless. Shocking! Also..I am sorry to say this but... this wasn't a chili relleno at all. A chili relleno... you need to beat the egg white until they are so stiff you think you're almost gonna making a meringue, then fold in the yolk gently. But what I got at this restaurant...this was not a chili relleno... this was an omelet with a chili inside! I know what a chili relleno is, oh yes I do...and this folks was not one! Also...I have never in all my years of being alive... ordered a chili relleno and not being given tortillas! It's like someone giving you a cheeseburger without the bun, for crying out loud! I asked the waitress and she brought me 2 of the tiniest tortillas on the planet for an additional cost. @.@  Also...the waitress. She could very well be the owners wife or whomever. But she's about in her 50's-60's. She's the total opposite of the hotel nice people. She never cracked a smile to any of us customers. We smiled at her, spoke respectfully and nicely. Her face was emotionless. Also you know Noboru...he never gets angry or upset...her attitude actually upset Noboru very much! She gave our family of 4...silverware for 3. Noboru asked her...politely, "can I get some silverware please." She didn't nod or say...I'll be right back..nothing ya'll. She walked off and came back..placed it on the table and left. Noboru said "thank you" and then answered himself..."oh you're welcome!!!"...and you know him, you guys...for him to be that ticked off...she was just horrendous. Not nice to anyone. It wasn't just to us either, she was like that to everyone. Given the price...given the waitresses funky attitude in general...no we'd never go back. Mexican food shouldn't cost $60 bucks either, man it cost more than our shrimp when we went to the North Shore. And if it does have to cost $60 freaking bucks... couldn't she have at least had a little better attitude? I mean...we tried for 2 days to eat there and got that crappy emotionless lady. Sorry to say it but...2 thumbs WAY down...will never go back. Oh and how was the food? It was so so, if you forgive the fact that I didn't even get a chili relleno and just got an omelet. Plus, the rice and bean sides... were stingy and small portions, especially for that price.  I have learned my lesson, if I want Mexican food...I'll just wait until I am in the mainland US or make it myself. Again though, we took our lunch experience as a learning experience though...we know we'll never go back. So we did learn something...that's for sure. : ) Oh and this is the funniest story of all...while we were eating our meals... a huge delivery of frozen tortillas came through the front door...the boxes were all stamped TORTILLAS. We all looked at the box. I told Noboru, if they're not gonna make homemade tortillas... they should *at least* get this delivered through a back door or get the shipment before the restaurant opens, away from customers eyes, if you know what I mean. It just wasn't very reassuring seeing a huge case of frozen tortillas coming in a shipment, while eating our $60 meal. 

The kids felt like the vacation was a huge success because they got many a days, boogie boarding and relaxing. I also felt it too... was a huge success, of a vacation because I got a lot of goodies bought and now safely packed into the 2 big suitcases back at the hotel, plus I enjoyed the shrimp and all the beach days too. I felt so energized. Noboru felt energized too, but he had 1 request and he rarely requests anything. He wanted to take a tour of the Iolani Palace. So we all said, done and done, let's do it! : )  So that's what we did as soon as we left the restaurant and went and picked up the car in the Walmart parking lot. : ) We had parking here at the palace, while taking the tour.  
We had tour passes on our shirts...

To protect the palace, we must wear covers, over our shoes. Which is totally understandable. 


We all wore headphones and had our audio tour gadgets at the ready!
We all learned so much. This is Americas only real palace. So if ever on Jeopardy...does America have a palace? Yes it does. : ) Also learned that they were a very musical orientated family, everyone played an instrument and loved to sing and dance. 

They were very modern, the ladies were very stylish. The men very regal.

Looking at the dining hall. The audio said how this very room, they had meals with people and heads of all sorts of different countries. Just very educational. Really cool to learn and hear all this stuff. The kids loved this tour quite a bit!


I imagined what it was like for them to sit on those thrones. Wow, must have been really cool. 

Crowns.



Now we were upstairs. And right here... is where they said the story about the King (David Kalakaua) got really sick and so he went to San Francisco to get treatment. The day he was supposed to return by ship, his sister, had all sorts of festivities planned...cakes, streamers...colorful cheerful welcome back home! And she could see the harbor from this patio on the second floor. She stood there and waited and then...

As she stood on this very 2nd floor balcony she realized the flag was flying half staff and he died, in 1891. Everyone around her, rushed to take down all the welcome home...decorations and signs of a welcome home. According to the audio...it said..hear cries and screams could be heard all the way to the ship...that was heartbreaking.

When the boys looked out the window, I knew they were hearing what I had just heard too. : ( Very very sad. 

The Kings room. They also said on the audio for those days it was quite modern that they had lights...they had their own source of power for their palace actually. 2 generators. 

Again according to the audio..while many places in the mainland were still getting phone lines... their palace already had it. Just a very modern family...really into modern things. 

Again...music loving family...

Indoor plumbing with hot and cold water...tub, toilet and sink. Again a very modern palace. 

Beautiful sink. 

According to the audio... it said this is the hardest room for anyone to be in... this was King Kalakaua's sisters' room. After he died, she was made queen. Queen Liliuokalani. However at this point a small group of powerful Americans wanted to take Hawaii. She was almost powerless. They locked her in her bedroom, this very bedroom you are looking at right now. And to be even more cruel they fuzzed out her windows so she couldn't even see out. She spent years in captivity being locked in her bedroom. 1 faithful staff lady stayed with her during her captivity and stayed by her side. The queen sewed this quilt. The center is of her happy times and the outer quilt if of her sadness and captivity. As an American...I felt so bad...so sorry. Clearly I wasn't born or alive in 1891, so nothing I could do, but I felt so bad. Also important to note...the American president did agree with the queen and ordered them to leave Hawaii alone and release the queen... they according to the audio tour we took...blew off the president and kept her in captivity until another president, more understanding to their cause would come into place and he did. Not until she agreed to sign a paper giving up her throne... would they let her go. Release her. They said she had no choice and signed that she was no longer queen and the second they took down the Hawaiian flag, she cried once again. 

It is true...as you enter this room, the queens room, you do feel really sad being in here. Just a very sad vibe in here. And understandably so. I imagined all her nights in this very room. Couldn't even look out the windows. I mean seriously...how cruel can a person be? Later in the audio, it said president Clinton said..what they did way back then... was unlawful and not right and he wishes he could put things back again, but he can't. But just hearing him say that...that someone was willing to admit...we screwed up...they were totally and completely wronged especially Queen Liliuokalani! Just hearing someone admit what a horrific thing was done to them...the simple act of...we acknowledge this...made me feel so much better. 

Again you must think...this was like the serious olden days and they were that modern. Their inside toilets. Lights, phones. They were pretty right on!

Modern.


A queen and sister in mourning.


Funeral procession for the late king.

Their fine dishes. They had some gorgeous china.

This says...this was only 1 of their 8 storage for their china, silver and crystal.



Wow, the butterfly pin!



Platinum and diamond pendant.


They did do a wonderful job on the restoration, but I wish they would have kept it more like the original.

The boys, both Branden and Noah loved the tour, I want them to know about America's history, the good, the bad and the ugly, so to speak. All of it. They both felt really sad for the last queen. They learned a lot. 
After the palace tour, we headed to the Ala Moana mall for some icecream. Dairy Queen time!

Both Branden and Noah had the new flavor blizzard of the month, Chips Ahoy!

Yumm!

Loved it!

I had a Peanut Buster Parfait. 

Noboru had a strawberry sundae.

We went into the food court and sat, while enjoying our ice cream treats! : )

Our very last dinner in Honolulu, we went to our old favorite...we picked up some Andy's garlic spicy shrimp. Took it back to our room to eat and relax.

Noah enjoyed two 7-11 hot dogs. The rest of us had shrimp.

We all enjoyed our dinner.

Noboru went downstairs to the convenience store next door and he bought a huge drink with ice, like a huge Big Gulp type drink and he brought back a nachos for the boys. Noah took a shower already. And I jumped in 2nd (Bran usually goes 2nd, but he was still eating nachos). : ) We all took turns showering. It was a lovely wonderful vacation and time well spent in Honolulu. We got to relax...we got to unwind, spend time as a family. We ate many things. We even went to a movie. And we felt ready and recharged to go back home to Japan the next morning. : )