I'm really not sure if that is an aloha hello or aloha goodbye. It's goodbye because we have been home for a few weeks now, but hello, because we will be back. We went to the island of Oahu, and stayed at an amazing resort, that I know most of you have heard of, Turtle Bay Resort. We had 5 nights and 6 days all to ourselves.
It was amazing. As most of you know, Tim and I did not get a honeymoon, and decided on a whim back in June or July (I can't remember which) that we just needed to go. We had talked about it for years, wanted to get married there, and we just weren't able to make it there. But now we did, and I'm so glad that we did. We picked Oahu because Tim had lived there before, and he knew the island pretty good, and really wanted to share it with me.
For way more than one reason, I'm so glad that he chose that island. Before I get into all the amazing things that happened to us while we were there, I thought the best way to do this, would obviously be to start that the beginning. Which means grab a cup of joe and a snack, because you are going to be here for a while!
We left in the morning on a Tuesday, early in the morning. I'm surprised we even made it because neither one of our alarm clocks went off, and surprisingly enough, I heard my Mom (our ride to the airport) knocking on our door at 4:45 am. We hurried to get ready and made it to the airport with more than enough time. Phew!
I'm nervous about flying (well nervous about a lot of things, but you will find out more about that later in the post), but after a $12.99!!!! mimosa, I was feeling a little bit better about the flight. I had my magazines...my headphones....and some 50 Shades of Grey to get me through it. Before I knew it, we were descending into Honolulu, right on time for landing at 10:45 am.
And landed safe and sound, got our bags, picked up our rental car, and we were on our way to Costco...to get the necessities, like a bottle of rum, and some beer....I heard it's the cheapest way to go :) Oh, and our cheapest meal all week, a couple of hot dogs.
Fully stocked up for our almost week of paradise, we headed North. To the shore, the North Shore, Tim's favorite part of the island. Since check in was not until 3:00 pm, he took me through Haleiwa town, can you hear my island accent yet? I speak like a native now (enter sarcasm). We ended up visiting Haleiwa a lot. I love that town.
By the time we were headed to our resort, it hit me how tired I was, and GRUMPY!!! Can you believe it? Yes, I was grumpy in Hawaii. But after 2 hours of sleep the night before, the stress of flying and leaving the girls, and not checking in until 6:00 pm (California time), I was ready for a beverage, a shower, and a nice room.
Now, this is where it gets interesting. We got to the resort, and were checking in with a most charming front desk employee, she was very nice and full of smiles. But, very quickly, we found out that they had booked us in a 2 queen bed room. I had reserved a King room, and after telling her this, she got on the phone to see if there were any rooms available. Which at the time, I thought was weird, because she had a computer in front of her. And they really didn't give as much effort as I thought they would to try to get us the room that we had booked. They told us to go up to the room, and they definitely had a room available the following day, or possibly in an hour. I was grumpy, and mad, because I just wanted to unpack for the "week" and have my rum :), and I'm sure my disappointment showed on my face, which I later felt soooooo guilty about!!! And I'm sure I sound like a drunk talking about my rum, but, we don't normally drink rum, and I was really wanting rum. Does that make sense? Now I feel like a pirate.
So, we head to the room, and we find a letter, and some chocolate dipped strawberries and some of the most amazing cookies I have ever had. Sooooo....instant guilt, for being the cranky lady at the front desk. I thought it was so sweet that the hotel gave all of their guests such a lovely welcome. We read the note....
We really didn't know what to think about it, and hadn't been in the room for more than 5 minutes when we got a call from the front desk that they had an available room for us. Hmmmm....that was quick, I thought to myself. Almost instantly an employee from the resort showed us to our room, and we went down to get our bags, and to thank the front desk woman for getting us such a wonderful room, we were so appreciative...no more grumpy lady :)
After our bags, that the ever so kind resort, brought up to our room, we unpacked as quickly as possible. Remember? I really wanted that rum? Anyway, once we were unpacked, and we were relaxed, we dived back into that letter that we had received. And enjoyed our rum :) and chocolate covered strawberries and cookies.
Honestly, we thought everyone received a letter like that at check in. And thought maybe it was a free breakfast, or a tour around the resort...hmmmm...nothing to get too excited about right? (Little did we know, the reason they didn't switch our room right away was because the front desk called to tell them what had happened, and they told her NOT TO MOVE THEM. Because we had to see the letter.) Well, we didn't think too much about it, and showered up, to get ready for dinner. That's when we got a phone call, from the hotel, asking if they could bring up a bottle of champagne. What? Um...sure? Champagne? Never been one to decline. That would be lovely! They came up and I told him that we didn't order any and asked if he knew who did. He said, compliments of the hotel...hmmmm...fishy...maybe because we didn't get the right room? But they already made up for that. Maybe they think I love my booze because of my apparently huge interest in rum? No, that can't be it. (Oh, and in case you haven't noticed, there are a lot of my random thoughts in this post, most of them very sarcastic, and no quotations around them because I don't exactly talk to myself out loud...well at least not most of the time ;) so bare with me)
I quickly disregarded my internal Sherlock Holmes, went out to the lanai (there is my fancy native tongue again), and enjoyed the views...
and our mysterious complimentary champagne.
Before we knew it, the sun was setting, and it was time to head to dinner.
At dinner, we discussed the letter again. We thought maybe we just wouldn't go. We thought we would be with a grip of tourists and didn't really want to use valuable vacation time doing who knows what. But then, we realized that we are not the type of people to blow anyone off, and decided that we should go just to see what it was all about.
And boy am I glad that we did. We were the lucky winners of what Turtle Bay calls...the Golden Passport. We were chosen out of I'm sure a lot of people to win this once a month gift. How did we win you ask? I wrote on their Facebook page. And then they actually found my blog, hahah! I knew I kept this thing up for a reason! I'm so glad that I wrote on their Facebook page that day, and I had no idea that they even gave anything away like this! So here is how it went...
The next morning, we headed downstairs to put something in the car around 8:45 am. Headed back into the resort and noticed about 20 employees in leis and Hawaiian shirts looking towards the elevators. Tim and I looked at each other, like, What? Where are all the other guests that we had assumed had the same surprise that we did? I battled my inner urge of running in the other direction and we headed up to the group of people waiting...for us!
I made eye contact with a few of them, and it was almost like they knew who I was. That was weird. Only later did I find out that they had all seen a picture of Tim and me that they printed off of this here blog, lol, the only time I have ever been grateful for a little harmless stalking :) But before I had a chance to think about it, they started chanting, "Kristi and Tim! Kristi and Tim!" Or maybe it was, "Tim and Kristi! Tim and Kristi!" But I'm really not sure. I looked at Tim, like, did I forget your birthday? Who did this? What the bleep is going on??? What is this all about??? And his expression said the same thing.
Well. We won. We did. We won the adventure package OF A LIFETIME!!! Turtle Bay Resort picks one lucky couple or family each month to experience everything that they offer. And we won. The people who don't ever win anything. We won. I'm still in shock that we won. And am still so grateful for our experience. The best vacation ever are the only words I have to describe how we felt.
A list of what we did? Ahem. Let me clear my throat because it is very lengthy. Kayaking...Sunset Horseback riding...Segway Tour...Surfing lessons...Stand up Paddle board...Helicopter ride...oh, and let's not forget the spa massages that we got, and the round of golf Tim got to play....ALL.FOR.FREE.
I'm going to give you a minute to compose yourselves. Trust me, you need it. Deep breathes people...deep breathes. I'll just grab my rum while I'm waiting for your return.
Are you back yet?
Good because now I have a few pictures to show you of our adventures. The day we won, we scheduled everything. Our original itinerary for the vacation happily went out the window and we replaced it with awesomeness.
Oh and that is a word. I looked it up.
We spent most of the rest of the day slapping and pinching ourselves and down at the beach at Turtle Bay to do some sorkling. Which the Hele Huli (there is that native tongue again) adventure center...
Gave us our snorkeling gear for free. You know, because we were the winners and all. So we snorkeled. Which, I have to say, before I get any more into this post. I am seriously, um, it's kind of embarrassing...afraid of, um, fish.
I know. I'm totally dumb. I have this fear that they are going to suck on my toes. I know, totally embarrassing. But that's okay. Because now, I think I'm almost over my fear. I snorkeled, and it was so cool! But not before I put my feet in the sand of course...
Or before I watched my handsome hubby swim around a bit.
We made it an early night that night because we had to be up early for our Kayaking adventure.
Which, of course, I have to tell you that I always said I would never Kayak in the ocean, because, um, yeah, I'm afraid of sharks. I think you are probably asking yourselves why did I even want to go to Hawaii right? This chick is like crazy. I know. I knew I would get over my fears, they aren't huge fears, just um, dumb. So yeah, I did fine. And I'll prove it...
(Next 3 pictures courtesy of Shaka Kayaks)
And just FYI, this is the closest I would let Tim get to me while standing up in the Kayaks. The man can't be trusted :)
Kayaking was my second favorite adventure I think. Seeing the turtles up so close was just amazing, and our guides were awesome. I would definitely recommend doing this if you ever stay at Turtle Bay Resort. It was the perfect morning.
That evening, we had our Sunset Horseback riding scheduled. I love horses. Always have, I remember before I left to come home from college in Kentucky, my bff treated me to horseback riding, with one crazy guide!! And I will always remember it. Just like I will always remember this ride at Turtle Bay.
We decided to walk to the stables and I'm glad we did, because I brought my camera along.
While waiting for the guide to get back from her last tour, we headed down to the beach. Man, I can't even explain how beautiful it is there. I just want to go back!
Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you. Because we won all these amazing activities, they asked us to wear a Go Pro on all of our adventures to video everything. More often than not, Tim looked like this...
Every tour that we went on, the guides gave us some really cool information about the island. They all have such respect for this beautiful place.
Here is Tim and I on our horses. I'm not going to tell you that I almost got pooped and urinated on by the horse in front of me. I don't think that would be good publicity. But it was kinda funny. Thank God I had my water shoes on. :)
Turtle Bay Resort is so beautiful day or night. In the evenings, they had all their tiki torches lit, the views were spectacular.
Next up was a Segway tour, where we saw the seal that just gave birth on the beach. I wore the Go Pro for that, I just knew that Tim would be much more entertaining to watch then me!
Next 2 pictures courtesy of Hele Huli Adventure Center
And here is the mama with her baby, how cute it that???
A little break from all our adventures. Tim and I ate good. Like really good. We ate at the hotel a couple of nights, and for lunch, loved Surfer, the Bar...where we of course had to watch the Oregon game when they played...
and another night we went for some live music. and also went into Haleiwa for dinner a few nights. It was so nice to spend like 5 nights of dates together. I love this man.
I was not able to bring my camera along for all of the activities. So you will have to wait to see everything else we did on the video that I'm going to post at the end.
Our last night there, we had our helicopter tour.
Our pilot was hysterical. And I got a shot of his co-pilot. Who was equally hysterical.
The ride was spectacular. Another must do while visiting the resort. One of the things I keep telling people is how cool it was to see the island from the sky, from the water, from everywhere. It is a magical and peaceful place.
Our last night was bittersweet. I was anxious to see the kids, but so not ready to leave. Not ready to leave nights like this...
Or getting ready for another awesome date night with my hubby. This was our last evening and we dined at 21 Degrees North. It was delicious!
Or looking up from my laptop to see the ocean...
I wished that we had better sunsets, but the weather really didn't cooperate for us. But it was still so beautiful. I can still feel the breeze.
I want to go back to Turtle Bay Resort. And we are planning to. Hopefully next year. I need to have another fabulous massage, and another surf lesson.
Surfing was so cool, my absolute favorite adventure that we experienced. I'm not going to tell you that our instructor had to stick his feet on my board to help me paddle out because then you would know that I'm weak. So I'll just keep that to myself. I just realized how big of a wuss I sound. Trust me, I'm really not. I promise :)
We enjoyed some awesome burgers at Ola's for our last lunch. This was our view...
In closing, we can't even begin to describe our thanks to Turtle Bay Resort. Not only for the crazy package that we won, but mostly for our overall experience. Even if we didn't win the passport, I know that we would have still wanted to visit again. The resort is beautiful, the staff is more than friendly and accommodating, the food is mouth watering, and the views and beaches are heavenly.
We can't wait to go back to visit and I highly recommend reserving a room there for your next vacation.
Mahalo, from Tim and Kristi Rush. We are truly thankful for everything that you did for us.
BEST VACATION EVER!!!
Here is the video that they put together of all our adventures...enjoy!