September 23: The Blessing of Beach Mats and Fireworks

*September 22 was pretty uneventful... onto September 23.

We ate breakfast at the Wailana Coffee House again. The breakfast is so tasty and the service is pretty spot-on. The first cup of coffee is always delicious. We read on FourSquare that they only brew Folgers coffee. Knowing this fact is fairly bittersweet. Sweet because we know we can get it back home, and bitter because... well, we can get it back home. The "Hawaiian" coffee loses it's exclusive element in this case. However, if you visit Hawaii and have the desire to bring back "authentic coffee," make sure you buy Kona Coffee. Please note that "legally, a coffee merchant can mix 10% Kona beans with 90% low quality coffee that's not from Hawaii and call it Kona Blend." Don't make the mistake. :)

JD and I parted ways - him embarking on a journey to work and me to the pool.

I had to walk to the room to get my beach bag. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a roll of beach mats propped up against the wall in the hallway. I disregard them, grab my beach bag, walk to the elevator and turn around, remembering that I had left my phone charging in the room. As I walk back to the room, Teresa (our “housekeeper”) peeks out of the room she was cleaning and explains that she had left those mats out for JD and me.

Travel Tip: When staying at a hotel, be nice to the employees. Say hello in their native language and ask them how they’re doing. They will appreciate your attempt at being congenial and you may even get a little surprise waiting for you back at your room (even if that means you get one more towel than normal or your pillows are fluffed to an extremely comfortable amount of fluff or free beach mats).

Without hesitation, we happily accepted the mats as a gift from our new friend. The rest of the afternoon consisted of photographing the surrounding beauty of Hawaii and the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

The Hilton Lagoon: A quiet place to lounge, kayak or float in an inner tube.

Chinese Dragon Boat: We would have LOVED to see some Dragon Boat races. Unfortunately, we did not witness the boat leaving the shoreline.

African Lesser Flamingos: the smallest of the flamingo species. The Hilton Hawaiian Village is basically a tiny zoo. Penguins, exotic birds and a Koi Pond can be found in several nooks of the property.

The above photo marks the saddest moment of the trip for me. A family asked me if I would take their picture in front of the chapel's waterfall. I gladly accepted the challenge. When I handed them their camera, the wife cheerfully asked, "Would you like me to take a picture of you in front of the waterfall?" I miss JD a lot throughout the day simply because I want him to experience the adventures I do, but this question made me miss him terribly. I told the lady "thanks, but no thank you" and we parted ways. I enjoy having my husband by my side, whether it be in life or a simple photo. It's just not the same without him.

When JD came "home", we ate dinner at Sergio’s Italian Table located in the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The Tortellini Pesto blew our tastebuds away. Unknowingly, we left the restaurant right on time. Hilton had just started the fireworks show. They played the ukulele version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World”. I must admit that the song has grown monotonous over the years, but paired with the deep boom of the fireworks and the romantic beauty of Hawaii?... Well, the authenticity brought tears to my eyes again. The entire moment can only be described as surreal and perfect. Once again, I felt infinitely blessed to have my husband with me in a moment like that. He, of course, put his arms around me and grinned like a kid on Christmas morning – or better yet, like a groom watching his bride walk down the aisle to him on their wedding day. For some reason, my sweet husband finds pleasure in consoling me when I cry. Thank goodness.