Sunday, March 28, 2010

Why I Hate Airplanes

On our recent trip to Hawaii, we had the opportunity to spend one day in Portland, Oregon, courtesy of Delta Airlines.

Normally, Portland would be great. It's a beautiful city! But when you are supposed to be in Hawaii, Portland isn't so cool.

I HATE airplanes. I hate them. They scare me. So as we were flying from Portland to Honolulu, I was already jittery and anxious. But then after a half hour in the air it felt like the plane was spinning around. I saw the sunset out our window, but minutes before I could see it out the window of the other side of the plane.

I got even more jittery. In a panicked voice I said to Mel "We are turning around. We are turning around!" She tried to calm my fears and basically said to chill out.

Five minutes later the pilot came over the intercom and said that one of the two hydraulic engines went out so we were returning to Portland. I became a nervous, quivering ball of panic. My heart felt like it was going to pump out of my ribcage.

But what REALLY freaked me out is what we saw as we approached the airport. I saw a line of firetrucks speeding down the road. As we finally reached the runway we saw that it was lined with firetrucks and ambulances. Ugh.

After waiting for a while in the terminal, they said they didn't have the part they needed. So they were going to fly it in from Minneapolis, Minnesota!!! That would take a few hours, then the repair would take a few hours, so they thought we'd be departing by 1:00 am (6 hours later). But Delta was compassionate enough to give everyone a $7 meal voucher.

FYI: $7 in an airport will buy a bottle of Coke.

But gets better!!! We were exhausted and tried to get a little sleep on an airport bench as all the other happy passengers walked by.

4 (FOUR!!!!) hours later they cancelled the flight and told us they would try to reschedule for the next day. We waited in another ridiculously long line to get a hotel voucher. Mel could hardly contain her excitement.

So this is how our 7-day vacation in Hawaii turned into a 1-day in Portland / 6-day Hawaii vacation. It will be a long time before I get on another airplane. Or go to Portland.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Our Trip To Hawaii

Almost two years ago our friends Darin and Shelly asked if we wanted to go to Oahu and stay in their time share with them. We were also joined by friends Josh and Jess and we had a blast. So here are a few of the highlights from our trip to......

The trip started a bit rough. We had a layover in Portland before heading to Hawaii. This is the view from inside our plane. The problem is that we weren't supposed to be seeing the sunset from our side of the plane. The sunset was on the other side of the plane.

So why exactly do we have a picture of the sunset? Well, because we got this view as we were flying BACK to Portland after the plane started having technical difficulties. I'll tell you the whole story in a few days, but the short version: instead of spending seven days in Hawaii, we spent one day in Portland and six days in Hawaii.

Here is the gaggle of Utahns who eventually found our way to Hawaii (Josh, Jess, Darin, Shelly, Mel, and me). I made a concerted effort to make a cheesy "hang loose" sign whenever a camera was around. This picture was before we played in the ocean I got lots of sand in my swimsuit and drank at least two gallons of the ocean.

One of my favorite activities was hiking to the top of Diamond Head, an extinct volcano. We had an amazing view of Honolulu. But it was very, very windy at the top. It's a good thing I don't wear a toupee - it would have been long gone.

This is the same face I make when I ask Mel if I have a piece of broccoli caught in my teeth:

We took a catamaran boat ride around Honolulu. There were a bunch of spinner dolphins that would leap into the sky and do their thing. I am certain they would not have had this much energy if they had taken Dramamine like we did before the boat trip. Just thinking about Dramamine makes me start snoring.

Here's our view from the boat. I ate some absolutely delicious pulled pork for lunch right before our boat ride. We figured that we would probably get sea sick and upchuck, so we wanted to make sure we ate something that would taste as good coming up as it did going down. Miraculously nobody tossed their cookies. Too bad for me. I was looking forward to tasting that pulled pork again.

Toward the end of the trip, us boys had obviously spent too much time together. We jumped at the opportunity to re-enact this memorable scene from Titanic:

A trip to Oahu wouldn't be complete without a visit to Pearl Harbor. It was quite an experience to see oil still bubbling to the top of the water from the sunk USS Arizona. I was mesmerized by the flag flying above the memorial. I wanted to get a hard-hitting black & white shot of the sun shining through the flag. It took a few tries but I finally got what I was looking for:

The other requirement to go to Hawaii is that you need to go to a luau. Mission accomplished. These guys who spin flaming sticks made me nervous. I was worried that at any moment they would make a false move and their hair would become an instant bonfire.

Since returning from Hawaii, I've tried to be a better person. I've tried to keep the commandments. I've tried to do better at following God. Because I am positive that there will be a Matsumoto's on every corner in heaven.

Matsumoto's has the best shaved ice ever bestowed to man. It was worth waiting in the long line to get my hands on this divine goodness.

We only saw one major rain storm during our trip. It just happened to begin in the middle of our hike to Wiamea Falls. We tried staying dry under some trees, to no avail. It was the kind of downpour where you think "Are you KIDDING me?!?" But the view at the end was worth the drenching.

A side feature of Wiamea Falls was an abundance of peacocks. Darin started taunting one of them, and I prayed with every fiber of my being that the peacock would reach down and snap his fingernail off. Now THAT would have been funny (aside from the blood, gore, and crying like a schoolgirl.)

The sunsets each night were almost beyond description. It was such an awesome experience to see a postcard happening right before our eyes.

We made the customary stop at the Dole pineapple plantation. If you ever questioned how much I love pineapple, behold this picture. I look like a proud father with his newborn child (who happens to be acidic with a sharp green stem).

On our way to the Polynesian Cultural Center, we stopped at the LDS temple. I love this picture of Mel. She looks so happy. (Or is that jet lag?)

On our final night in Hawaii we headed to the beach to see one last sunset. I fell in love with this little pond of water next to the ocean where you could see a reflection of the sky. This was one of those rare moments as a photographer when you know you are seeing something special and I wanted it to never end.

Our trip to Hawaii was an experience I will never forget. Mel and I had so much fun spending time with friends and with each other. I'm thankful that our travels were safe and that nobody lost any fingernails to angry peacocks. (To see a few more of our pictures click HERE.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

And The Winner Is.....

Life has been NUTZ since returning from Hawaii (sweet pictures coming soon), hence the late announcement on the contest winner. I'd like to blame my fatigue on jet lag. But in actuality, the likely cause is staying up too late to watch Jazz games.

But I digress.

And the winner (verified by my six year old who drew the name) of the three autographed CDs and a scrumptious box of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts is.....

TONYA! Congrats! If I ever had a cat (which will be, um, never), I would certainly teach him to give you a high five.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Free Giveaway!!!

Tomorrow we are heading to Hawaii for a week. I will raise my right arm to the square and vow to eat a ridiculous amount of macadamia nuts and pineapple. I have done something wrong if I don't go to bed sick every night.

So while I'm gone, I'd like to offer a free music giveaway. Up for grabs: An autographed copy of the piano CDs "Believe", "You Will Soar", and "Witness". AND....I'll throw in a box of authentic Hawaii macadamia nuts!!!

So how do you win? Post a comment saying what was your favorite vacation. Every comment gives you an entry into the drawing which will be held on March 15th. I hope you like macadamia nuts as much as I do!