Archive for Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vacations are an adventure

July 10, 2008

Over our 63 years of wedding anniversaries it is always exciting to look back and recall some of them.

Our first major trip to celebrate our anniversary in the early years was to Honolulu, Hawaii. It was one of our most favorite anniversaries. Through the courtesy of TWA we made the trip in good shape and we also had top-of-the-line accommodations on Waikiki Beach, also through the courtesy of TWA.

After settling down in our room we glanced through a brochure that advertised a midnight dinner cruise on a catamaran. This appealed to us very much. A bus was to pick us up in front of the hotel and also pick up other passengers along the way. Our bus arrived and we were the only Americans on the bus. The only stop we made was to pick up 25 Japanese adults and teenagers. When we arrived at the boat, we noted that our bus driver also picked up the tickets. We boarded the boat and were escorted to our seats by the same woman wearing her third hat. The trip included mai tais, which were very refreshing. When it came time to eat, who was our waitress? That is right. The same lady wearing hat number four.

I forgot to mention that the Japanese all boarded the bus with Canon cameras and a jug of sake.

At first everything was on the quiet side until the Japanese started downing their sake. Then the fun began. I did not realize the Japanese were that fun-loving, but they were compatible and the fun carried on. It was time for the entertainment, and I guess by now you knew who the entertainer was going to be. The same woman.

My wife was a little upset because the entertainment was a hula dance right in front of me. The good time carried on and after a while a Japanese man came over to me with this elderly woman. He asked me if he could take a picture with me and his mother. I gladly accepted. But in a matter of minutes a line had formed in front of me ALL wanting their picture taken with their wives or daughters. I don't know the reasoning of this unless it was unusual for the Japanese to see a bald-headed American.

By now the sake jugs were close to empty, but the good time carried on and we enjoyed the camaraderie with the Japanese people who were very friendly. If you are ever in Japan and see a picture of a short bald-headed American, the chances are good it would be me.

Sometimes a trip - like our moonlight cruise - did not happen exactly like we'd expected. But things worked out and we had one of the best times on our trip.

I still can see this lady that wore all the hats; she was very accommodating. Our trip, however, ended with some bad luck. My wife was injured on the beach, getting knocked down by a big wave. Back at the hotel, we were told that the area we were swimming in was only for natives of the island and experienced surfers. It was on the north shore, where the waves are noted for coming in with a lot of power. My wife injured ligaments in her knee and we were forced to cut our trip short by a few days.

This was one of the best anniversaries ever. We returned several years later to the island of Maui, which was also a very enjoyable trip.

I don't know if my oldest son is brave or a little crazy. He took a vacation to the beaches of North Carolina, and guess what his swimwear was? A Jayhawk T-shirt and swim trunks. At the time this column is being written my son has not returned home. I hope the locals - and the big waves - are kind to him.

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