August 11, 2009

Waikiki for $10 a Day

We're back! And we actually made it to Hawaii. Not that there were no bad moments flying standby (for example, my ticket was in my maiden name and the only ID I still have with my maiden name is my totally fake looking German driver's license) but everything worked out in the end. Pictures will follow when we get back to Munich and have a chance to download them.
The vacation kicked off in Los Angeles, where we visited my 90 year old grandma as well as my aunt and uncle. We also hit Disneyland and after paying nearly $300 to get in forced the kids to stay until closing. At the end L was crouched on my back like a sack of wet flour crying about all the noise while we watched the final fireworks over the magic castle. You can't buy memories like that.
Then we flew (standby) to Honolulu and spent 2 nights with my mom before moving to our own place in Waikiki. Please note that overdeveloped Waikiki would not have been our destination of choice without the kids but with the kids it was a good bet because we had a kitchen, a pool and were right on the beach. We also had my mom's car and a great view of the nightly Hilton Luau.
During the day we traipsed about looking for cheap entertainment for a family of four (with a three and five year old) and here is what we came up with:
Swimming in the pool - K just learned to put her head underwater and L is unstoppable with her water wings so this was a great - and free - fallback plan. Ralf stared at me in shocked amazement as I executed a perfect dive into the pool, swam two brisk laps, did a fancy handstand and flipped onto my back for a liesurely float.
As I floated up to him I could see him searching for words, which he finally found:
Ralf: 'You can swim??'
Me (slightly offended): 'Of course I can swim. I'm from LA. I was on a swim team for 3 years.'
Ralf: 'We've been married for eight years and all of a sudden you can swim???"
Me: 'Well, sure, in warm water.'
Yeah, I still got moves you ain't seen yet, baby.
The shopping bus - A tour can be quite expensive but the Waikiki shopping trolley takes you from Ala Moana shopping center to all the main hotels for only $2 a person.
The Hilton Luau - Free from our balcony and not much worse seating than cheap opera tickets.
The boat that takes you to the submarine - The sub ride costs $300 for a family of 4 BUT the boat out to the sub only costs $7 per person. Rount-trip.
Feeding the birds at the Buddhist temple - $1 per bag, a bit more than tuppance but hours of fun.
The Honolulu zoo and aquarium - Free because my mom paid, thanks mom!
Coloring wet wipes with pens and dressing up Sheep - Free if you already have the wet wipes, pens and sheep.
Pineapple fro yo at the Dole plantation - Not sure because Ralf paid but pretty cheap.
Making hand prints on papa's sunburn - Priceless.
Riding the escalator up and down - We really got our money's worth out of the hotel escalator, always a kid pleaser.
It wasn't exactly relaxing but it was definitely quality family time and I didn't touch a computer or think about work for two weeks. I even forgot all my passwords! We arrived back in SFO last night and after a spot of difficulty getting into our borrowed house are comfortably settled for the final two weeks of our stay in California.
I only have two more weeks to get everything done here so I may be a bit spotty until we get back to Munich but I'll check in as much as I can. . .


  1. You found some great family fun! Your child will not remember crying at the fireworks display. Very funny (I am sure it was not funny for you!!!)

    My favorite item was that your hubby did not know how well you swam. Excellent.

  2. I'm so glad you were able to have a nice family vacation together. And sometimes, you gotta leave the computer behind.

  3. Girl! You're pretty dang good at the budget entertainment. Sounds like a good time was had by all.

    I'm so glad you're back! I missed your posts!!

  4. Oh, how fun! I am so glad you made it and had a good time! Glad you are back!

  5. I think kids are fine as long as there is a pool! Sounds like a good trip. Enjoy your final 2 weeks in the USA!

  6. i wish i had seen you when you were in l.a.

  7. Glad you had a good time. I love Hawaii. I would move there tomorrow.

  8. So much to get done in the next two weeks? Er.. I thought you were on holiday?!

    So glad to hear you made it to Hawaii and could surprise your husband with your smooth swim moves!

  9. Sounds like good family fun all round! What is it with kids and escalators? When Eldest was 3yrs old he requested one on his Christmas list! Luckily Santa's sleigh wasn't BIG enough!

  10. Yeah, with the kids, I'm not sure the right word is "vacation"

  11. You should do a post on how health care works in Germany. We are having a debate her in the US about nationalizing health care.

  12. "We've been married for eight years and all of a sudden you can swim???" -- we will never cease to amaze them, will we?

    And hotel escalators are the BEST -- especially if you're in an "atrium" hotel like the Hyatt. Ride, baby, ride!


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