It was just before sunrise when we docked in Honolulu. We had a nice breakfast with Anne and my parents, with plenty of hugs afterward, since it was the last time that all five of us would be in the same place for the foreseeable future.
We split up and headed back to our cabins to pack our toiletries and various carry-it-yourself bags. Our disembarkation group was called about nine thirty, and we proceeded off the ship with a surprising amount of ease -- the process here was a lot better than the one that Princess used when we were at the end of our Alaska voyage.
Once we were off the ship, we put our checkable bags into storage at the Aloha Tower Marketplace, then met up with Anne to spend the day with her. She doesn't leave until tomorrow sometime, and we had most of the day to kill. While we wandered around and did some shopping, my parents acquired a rental car and visited the Hawaiian Railway Society for a second time. This time they let Dad ride in the cab. (Insert appropriate noises of awe here.)
Meanwhile, we caught a shuttle to the Nimitz Hilo Hattie's, so that Anne could get some souvenirs for her granddaughters. This one is the largest of the Hilo Hattie stores; at over 20,000 square feet, it is really impressive. We marveled for awhile at the entrance, where the world's largest aloha shirt hangs -- a 400XL, large enough to hold an estimated 13 average-sized sumo wrestlers. I kid you not.
We found a CD there of various Hawaii music that has Liz's new favorite song on it -- "Pineapple Princess" by Na Leo -- so that was pretty much a no-brainer. I'll try to dig up lyrics for it sometime when I get back.
Took the shuttle back over to the Aloha Tower area. Had a delicious lunch with Liz and Anne at Don Ho's Island Grill. Then it was time to take a cab to the airport, go through security, and wait for the plane.
I knew that by coming back after so many years, I would be better able to appreciate Hawaii, and I think that has pretty much held true this trip. I am just about ready to come home and see Pixel, but at the same time I am sad to be going. Maybe it's the sunshine, maybe it's the sea, maybe it's just the vibe down here... I am going to miss this.
- Music:Na Leo - "Pineapple Princess"