June 23, 2011

Honeymoon Part 3: Pump the Brakes!

If you've been following along during parts 1 and 2 of the Honeymoon Saga, you'll remember that Brian and I made a conscious effort to continue to have fun on our trip, despite having our money, IDs, phones, and camera stolen. One of the activities that we had already paid for was a bike ride down Haleakala, the dormant volcano on Maui.

I had been wanting to do this ever since I first heard about it, about 4 or 5 years ago. Brian agreed to take on the challenge with me, despite the wake up call of 1:00 AM. If we hadn't already booked and paid for it, I'm not sure that both of us would have still wanted to be startled by an alarm just a measly 12 hours after being robbed, but Brian was definitely a trooper, and we bounced out of bed, ready to make this island our bitch.

Now, you might be thinking, "Kristen, you sucker, the sun does not rise at 1:00 am in Maui!" And you would be correct. This is what that morning looked like:
1:00-1:30 = Get up, get dressed, get on the road
1:30-2:45 = Drive from the west si-eeeeeede of the island to the middle-ish base of Haleakala
2:45-3:00 = Wait in the parking lot with a bunch of other crazy mainlanders
3:00-3:45 = Check in and get fitted for bikes and warm weather gear.
      *Side note: We were the second ones to finish signing our waivers that we will probably die or at the very least inflict serious bodily harm on ourselves as we rode speeding, run-away bikes down the blind curves of a volcano on a 2 lane highway where the locals have no regard for the rules of the road. However, the douchebag accepting the waivers Bill wouldn't take ours because we didn't have a credit card to give him as a deposit or to purchase insurance. I told him all of our stuff was stolen and even offered to show him our police report number for him to record, but he just said to wait off to the side and he would let us know if we would be able to participate. I was MAD... nobody wakes me up at 1:00 in the morning for no reason! So we waited around for the better part of an hour, and then realized that we wouldn't need a credit card- we only had to purchase the stupid insurance for $3.95 each. So we put those purchases on one of those life-saving credit card gift cards.
3:45-4:45ish = driving up the volcano on a tour bus with a silly, dope-smoking, mullet-wearing Hawaiian brah named Brian C. (LOL) He kept talking to me because I was either the only one still awake, or the only one to give a shit.

Some cool highlights- I saw a deer on the side of the road. (Apparently Maui is way over run by deer. No natural enemies on the island and Hawaiians are "more about Aloha than guns.") Brian C. told me I had a good eye and warned the other Brian C. that he better be careful because I must always be watching him... yeah... Anyway, we also saw a white rainbow, which was creepy and awesome all at the same time.
Not the one we saw, but you get the idea...

White rainbows are awesome- they appear at night (or reealllly f*cking early in the morning) and are created by the light from the moon, so they're really faint and colorless. They're like ghost rainbows. You're not even sure if you're really seeing it, like you're eyes are playing tricks on you. It's really cool, and apparently very rare, so we were pretty lucky!

Anyway, we pulled up to the top of Haleakala right as the sun was starting to turn orange. And it was freeeeeeeeeeeeeezing.
  This is the self portrait that I attempted with my beat up camera (which was the only camera we had- I had ironically left it at the hotel the day before because the battery was about to die and it sucks, so I didn't want to have the extra weight). See the weird shadow across the top of my head? Not sure why that's there... Then a nice girl offered to take our picture, so we got this one:
This whole time, I was afraid my camera would die, but I snapped away, as many pictures as I could...

Finally, the sun came all the way up, but Brian finally agreed to put his warm weather gear on. And we took another picture...

Self portraits are not my strong point... 
Anyway, since the sun was up, we were on top of a volcano, and my camera was still chugging along, we had Brian C. take a few more pictures of us up there...

 And then it was time to descend... Our only warnings were to stay as far to the right as possible, and when you squeeze your hand brakes, squeeze both at the same time, or you will flip over your handle bars. Schweet.

This bike ride was scary! You're basically gripping the brakes the entire time, which isn't easy when your hands are frozen. Even when the road felt flat, as soon as you let up, your bike takes off! Cars are constantly passing you and there's no bike lane or anything civilized like that. Every time you hit a bump in the road, you're pretty sure it's asphalt for breakfast. And then some little fat 12 year old flies past you and makes you feel like a loser.

I exaggerate... but only about the bike lane- there was one for about 1/3 of the way down. (According to Brian C.)

It was pretty cool though. Brian and I stopped twice- once to let a group (including the fat 12 year old) pass and again to shred off some of the extra gear because it was starting to get warm. Towards the end, it started raining pretty good and I asked Brian if he wanted to stop at this park and wait it out. He declined since we were almost back to the bike shop, so on we rolled. It sucked because water and wet gravel kept flying into my eyes, and it stung and it was hard to see. But we finished and we felt awesome afterward! 

After we got back to our side of the island, we ignored our scheduled nap time in favor of going over to the police department and picking up those police reports. These reports would serve as our identification to get home and our proof that we were not scam artists looking for hand outs, in case people like Bill the douche bag waiver collector didn't believe us. We also ended up researching and locating places where my incredible in-laws could wire us some money for the rest of our trip. Thank you Tom and Pennie!

June 22, 2011

Honeymoon Part 2: The Incident

Day 3 of our honeymoon started off really nice. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the Pioneer Inn right on the shore of Lahaina. We had the full day to ourselves with nothing pre-planned. We explored the banyan tree and the old Lahaina courthouse. We talked about what we wanted to do, and finally decided to rent some snorkeling gear and snorkel around the island.
We sat riiiiight there!
We went to Boss Frog's, got our gear, and off we went! The snorkel guy told us we should go to Honolua Bay because it was really good around there, especially "this time of the day."
While Honolua Bay is beautiful, it sucks for a couple of reasons. 1, there's no real easy place to park. The five parking spots that exist are along a highway, and on a blind curve. 2, You have to hike down the side of a cliff to get there. Not terrible, just not ideal.

Honolua Bay sucked for several more reasons than that on this particular day... we couldn't find parking close by, so we parked on a turnout. So we had to walk a little further. But again, no biggie. As soon as we get there, the sun goes behind a cloud and it felt COLD. But it's Hawaii, so still warmer than what we're used to. We snorkeled for maybe 20 minutes and saw 2 or 3 fish. Not good snorkeling.

We decided to move further down the beach, so as we swam in, I took my mask and snorkel off. We got up to the shore and moved down to the other end of the bay. When I went to put my mask back on, my snorkel was missing! I had no idea where I had lost it, so we went back down to where we had started, and went back out to scan the bottom of the ocean. We couldn't find it anywhere, and I felt horrible because I thought we were going to have to pay to replace the whole thing. How could I be so stupid???

Brian was really awesome about it though. He told me not to worry, and just to have fun. So I did. We hung out on the beach in the shallow water and played around for a bit. Then we decided to head back to the car and maybe try a different location. So we hiked back up and as we got closer to the car, I asked if we could still take a picture. See, since we parked on the turn out, there was a really good lookout spot that faced the north side of the island.

Brian popped the trunk with the remote and I ran up to the car to grab his camera from my purse. But when I got to the trunk, it was empty. "My purse isn't in here," I yelled back to Brian with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. "What do you mean?' he asked. "Is it in the front seat?" I replied that I knew I had put it in the trunk when we grabbed our snorkeling gear, but I ran up to the front to check anyway. Sure enough, nothing.

Brian was starting to sound angry. We both went through a couple seconds of denial before we were ready to admit what had happened... somebody stole our stuff.

When I say our stuff, I mean EVERYTHING. We had both of our new iphones, Brian's camera, both of our wallets with all of our credit cards and cash, Brian's new Oakley sunglasses, and Brian's new Kindle in my purse. As dumb as it sounds looking back, we I made a conscious decision to leave all of our valuables in the trunk. It seemed safer than leaving it in the front of the car or leaving it unattended on the beach. But, oh yeah, I forgot the f*cking car was a convertible!!!

After doing a walk around the car, we discovered that the douche bag slashed a hole in the canvas roof and popped the trunk open.

We both realized that our hotel keys were in my purse, and this prick had our ID's. We also had left our new rings in our hotel room, and we were afraid this idiot was going to manage to get into our room and take even more. We hightailed it back to the hotel and told them what happened. They gave Brian new keys and he ran up there while they got me in touch with the Maui PD to report it.

As silly as it sounds, the next step while we waited for the cops was to log onto our emails and facebooks and change our passwords. Because our smart phones are so, um, smart, the asshole actually had access to all of that information too. We didn't want him to have even more access to our personal information.

The officers showed up pretty quickly to take our information and begin the report. The report is important because it is literally THE ONLY way we had to prove who we were in order to get back on the plane to get home. But I guess if you're going to be stuck somewhere, it might as well be Hawaii, right? One of the officers told us not to worry, they usually find a lot of this stuff because it's an island and these guys have no where to go. We kind of laughed that off. Hasn't the dude every heard of Craig's List? Or is that just a mainland thing?

Anyway, we went back up to our room after that and spent the rest of the afternoon canceling credit cards and turning off our phones. the whole day pretty much sucked. The only good thing was that when we went to return the snorkel gear, they told us not to worry about my lost snorkel. So we caught a break there.

We had $100 in those credit card gift cards, but we weren't sure how long we would have to make those last. Luckily for us, we had bought most of our activities the day before, so we still had things to look forward to. In fact, our bike ride down the volcano Haleakala was the very next day. We had an early wake up call- 1:00am, to be exact. So before we called it a night, we went to Wal-mart and bought some water, and then shared some Chicken McNuggets for dinner, and with each purchase, we prayed they would accept our gift cards.

At 8:00, we were in bed, trying to relax after our worst day on our honeymoon, in our marriage, and possibly even in our entire relationship.

We did have the chance to contact our parents, who were concerned and upset for us, but they jumped right in and helped. Brian's parents wired us money the following day and my parents emailed us documents to help us get back on our plane. The situation would have been much more difficult without all of their help...
I will say this about us... we work well together, especially in a crisis situation. We balanced each other- he was angry at first and I was able to stay calm and help us figure out our next steps. Then I started to get upset and he was able to calm me down and cheer me up. We worked as a team, and helped each other as we both needed it.
We sat with each other and decided that since we were stuck in Maui for at least another 4 and a half days, we could either feel sorry for ourselves  and have a horrible time, or we could remember that we're on our honeymoon, we already paid for some activities that we were really looking forward to, and we could have the best time possible. We decided on the latter. We sucked it up and we were determined to have fun. Of course, that wasn't always easy. There were times that I wanted to look back at a picture we had taken but couldn't because we had no camera! And it was also very disconcerting not to have the comfort of the GPS on my phone. And I couldn't just text my mom to ask her how the dog was doing and have her send us a picture. We're actually still trying to sort everything out and it's a week later.

We came out of the situation stronger and smarter. We learned a lot about each other and about what's really important. We still had each other, we still had our love, and we did manage to still have a lot of fun, and that's something no one can take from us.

June 21, 2011

Honeymoon Part 1: Days 1 & 2, Before the Incident

You know how they say the first year is the hardest? I think Brian and I might have experienced all of that hardship in the first week.
A lot has happened in the months since the last time I wrote. I’m currently on a plane home from my honeymoon in Maui. Our wedding was picture perfect! I couldn’t have asked for a more magical night. And our honeymoon has been quite, um. Er. The adventure. We’ve had a good time this last week, but we are certainly ready to get home. The next entries I make are going to detail all things wedding and honeymoon.

I’m actually going to begin with the honeymoon, partially because it’s still so fresh in my mind, and partially because I think writing about it might be a good way to get over it. You know, like purging it from my system.

Sounds bad, right? So here we go…

We landed in beautiful Maui last Monday, so in love and ready to be on vacation. No more wedding stress, not a care in the world. We arrived and got our rental car (a 2011 Mustang convertible!) all before noon. We were starving though, so the first thing we did was find Cheeseburger in Paradise and ate. This restaurant is located right on the sand, overlooking the water. We had a couple of cocktails, our burgers, took a deep breath of Maui sea air, and R-E-L-A-X-E-D.

Early morning pre-flight!

Next it was onto the Royal Lahiana Resort to check in. I’m not sure what either of us expected, but the hotel exceeded it all. It was beautiful, and when we opened the door to our room, it took our breath away. Our garden view room had huge sliding glass doors looking out to the garden AND ocean. 

Then a man came to our door and dropped off a bottle of champagne, compliments of the hotel. 

We wandered a couple of hotels over and explored. I drew our names in the sand as the sun was setting. Perfect start to the vacation.

Tuesday was our first full day and it began with a complimentary breakfast through Pleasant Holidays. We were also able to learn about all of the great opportunities for adventure on the island, so we purchased our luau, a bike ride down a volcano, parasailing, a snorkeling excursion to another island, and a sunset dinner and cocktail cruise. We also had a couple of our own adventures planned, like exploring the Road to Hana.

 Everything was working out perfectly- we finished the breakfast just in time to make it over to the parasailing area. We went on a tandem ride at 1200 feet and it was fun, romantic, and so nice to just be the two of us. It was quiet up in the air above the islands, other than the loving jokes passed between the two of us. We saw a sea turtle that had to have been about the size of our boat. It was amazing! We took a couple of pictures and Brian video taped the whole ride. I'd show them here but I can't, for reasons I will explain later.

So we hung out on the beach and in various hotel pools before we headed back to our hotel to get ready for our luau.
We had a really fun time at the luau and met a really cute couple named Chris and Amy from Texas. They were a little older than us, but lots of fun to hang out with and chat over dinner with for those couple of hours. We took a really cute picture at sunset... but, yeah, we'll get to that...

To end the night, we went back to our hotel pool and laid in some lounge chairs to relax with each other for a while. Again, it was nice to just be us. No wedding talk, no crazy labrador to chase after. Just good conversation and relaxation.
 The picture above is the last one we took together before the incident...