Day 540 of retirement working

1195 days of retirement come to a pause.

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Hi All

Thursday 30th October:

All packed up and ready to go.

Arrived at the airport in plenty of time for our 9:20pm flight with Hawaiian Airlines. Lovely 10-hour flight has us arriving in Hawaii at 10.00am local time.

Flight was pretty much uneventful apart from an old guy sitting behind us who kept banging Guy’s seat. Not sure what he was doing but after Guy “had a chat to him” he pretty much stopped.

Once we cleared customs, took about an hour, and checked our bags to Vegas, we caught a shuttle into Waikiki Beach as we had a 10-hour layover (flight to Vegas leaves at 10:20pm). We did a bit of a wander round the beach area and confirmed our reservation for next week at the Ohana West in Waikiki Beach. We spent the afternoon in a café with Wi-Fi, Mango Smoothies (for me) and Mai Tai’s (for Guy) so all good.

Friday 31st October:

We had another night flight and arrived in Vegas at 7:00am, at long last.

Once in our room at the MGM Grand it was a quick shower and to bed. Guy and I slept for 8 hours straight, so we’re feeling pretty good by 6:00pm.

Now it was Halloween in Vegas tonight and along with Dave’s Bucks’ night, it was quite a spectacle. There were a lot of very weird people out and about……

At 8:00pm the limo picked us up (6 blokes), as we headed off for our “organized” night out by a Bucks’ party organizer. We had 2 VIP entries to 2 different clubs in Vegas and along a few too many whiskeys, a great night was had by all.

Vegas is one crazy place….

Saturday 1st November:

I have a bit of a head ache this morning…..

After a refreshing shower and a greasy MacDonald’s breakfast it was off to the tuxedo rental place to get fitted for the wedding on Monday. All good, so Tux now sorted.

Then time for some retail therapy. Jordan, Guy and I caught a cab to the North DFO Mall. Clothes are ridiculously cheap here in the DFO so needless to say we partook in some of their cheap stuff.

The best is “Buy 1 and get 2 free”. I had to check that you actually finish up with 3 items all together. Awesome.

After dinner downstairs, Guy was off on her hens’ night. I meet up with Peter and we went for a long walk up and down the strip for a couple of hours and admired the nightlife.

Sunday 2nd November:

Guy arrived home in the early hours of the morning in pretty good shape all things considered. Apparently the male stripper who came to their room for a private show was the hit of the night. Enough said…….

After showers all round we were off to the South DFO Mall for some more shopping and breakfast. We were after just a simple eggs and bacon on toast. We found a little outlet and after answering 20 questions I think the young lass realized that we didn’t want all the trimmings like hash browns, pancakes, syrup, etc.

Some more retail therapy done and Guy managed to catch up with an old school friend who lives in Vegas, which was great.

Back to the MGM and at 2:30pm it was off to do what you have to do in Vegas, shoot machine guns. We were picked up by the company and taken to a shooting range for some good old target practice.

The highlight was Jo who emptied a full clip out of an AK47 on full auto and missed the target completely. After the shoot, the van driver was good enough to take us to a supermarket / liquor store for some supplies.

He then dropped us off at the wedding venue (Round the coroner from the MGM) for the wedding rehearsal. The rest of the gang met us there and the organized chaos of the wedding rehearsal took place.

Back to the MGM and the kids all headed off to Hooters for dinner while Guy and I meet up another old school friend of hers from Mississippi who is in Vegas visiting with a girlfriend. We enjoyed a good old “American Buffet” with an enormous amount of food to be had.

Monday 3rd November:

The big day has arrived. The boys all meet in Dave’s room at 11:00am and we were all sorted. A nice buffet lunch topped up the energy levels for the afternoon and we were ready to go at 3:30pm (Wedding was scheduled for 5:00pm).

Lets just say that the girl’s room was not so calm. The bride was a “little” late in arriving at the wedding venue (Just round the corner from the MGM) but brides are supposed to be late, right?

The wedding went off beautifully with the Vegas strip lit up from the 17th floor reception area. The marriage celebrant was great, added a bit of appropriate light heartedness to the ceremony.

Later in the night Elvis made a surprise visit and after his show he also managed to re-marry a few of us again.

I also played a minister for a couple where we setup a “pretend” marriage ceremony so they could freak out all their family and friends on Facebook back home in AUS. It worked a treat.

At midnight Guy and I took over from the baby sitter and stayed with Zali for the night while the rest of the gang boarded a bus for the sights of Vegas at night.

Tuesday 4th November:

Zali woke up at about 9:00am ish so once we packed up (We stayed at the venue with Zali) we made our way back to the MGM to feed and water Zali. At 11:00am we dropped her off to Jenna (Jo’s best friend and bridesmaid) for her session of baby-sitting.

At midday, we meet up with a couple of Guy’s friends from the USA and had lunch in the Rainforest Restaurant at the MGM. Guy went off with the girls while Jordan and I went for a stroll down the strip. We also met up with another friend, Mina, who divides her time between living in our island, Marinduque and Vegas.

Later that evening, we got a call from the kids looking for a baby sitter as they had planned an evening limo tour of Vegas. So at 8:30pm we picked up Zali and after a loooonngggg play and many books read, she finally went to sleep at 11:30am.

Jordan relieved us at 1:00am ish so off to bed we went.

Wednesday 5th November:

Nothing planned as such today, so a long sleep-in was in order. At midday we made our way to the South outlet Mall as Guy wanted to get a few things. Needless to say we came back with quite a few shopping bags. Still can’t get over how cheap clothes are here.

Guy and I had the evening to ourselves. We started with some great tasty ribs then caught the monorail to the north end of the strip and walked back through some of the hotels looking at all the opulence. We made it past midnight so a real night out for us.

Thursday 6th November:

Last day in Vegas so back to the south and north outlet malls for one last time. Jordan had some shoes he bought earlier in the week and they were too small. So back to the shop and all we had was a copy of the credit card transaction (lost the original receipt) and the staff was great.

They swapped over the shoes to a bigger size no problems. I must say that the service here is pretty dam good. Better than AUS I’m sorry to say.

Then back to the MGM Grand and waited for the kids as we were all going out to dinner, as it is our last night in Vegas. At 6:00pm we caught a cab out to the Silverton Casino, which is a few miles out off the strip and meet the kids there for a very nice cheap buffet.

A huge place with a huge fish tank full of fish and Mermaids. These ladies dressed as Mermaids swim down and amuse the kids on the outside. They have airlines scattered throughout the tank so the Mermaids can breathe…..

They also have a “Bass Pro Shop” there. Now this is the biggest outdoors shop I have ever been in. It caters for the hunting, fishing, camping and outdoors activities over two floors.

It has two indoor gun ranges and an indoor archery range. There are numerous aquariums with lots of fish in them. They have all the gear you would ever need for your great outdoor adventures. And of course being America the huge hunting section with guns and all.

Once back on the strip Guy and I did one last walk to Caesars Palace and explored the indoor mall with a sky painted on the roof which actually fools the senses and makes you think that you are indeed outside looking up at the sky.

They even have a sunset so it is pretty special. And of course you can imagine the high shops that are in the “mall”.

Back to the room and all pack for a 6:00am departure tomorrow morning for Hawaii.

Friday 7th November:

I have a nice head cold and didn’t sleep much at all cause of a nice sore throat. We were up at 5:00am, packed and on our way to the airport by 6:00am.

All checked in and I was “selected” for a full body scan, shoes & belt off, all paper out of my pocket and a full pat down. The things we endure to get to Hawaii.

Good 6-hour flight. I drugged up on good old Aussie Codrals so all good. Landed in Hawaii and in the hotel by 3:00pm. So so so nice to be here away from the hustle and bustle of Vegas and some good clean air.

Don’t get me wrong Vegas is a great place but we wouldn’t want to live there. The thing that got me was the smoking (especially the smoking indoors) and drinking anywhere anytime. Not so in Hawaii. Similar to Aussie restrictions.

Hawaii is more our pace. After a great Mexican meal at Chili’s we did a walk along the beach, booked a massage for tomorrow and made our way back to the room where I crashed and slept for 12 hours.

Saturday 8th November:

Woke up this morning feeling a lot better. Still got the head cold but the sore throat is gone.

On the way out we booked our round the island tour for tomorrow and Pearl Harbor for Monday.

We made our way to “Eggs and Things” for a Hawaiian breakfast. It was huge and no we didn’t finish it all (Omelet and potatoes, banana pancakes and a mountain of whipped cream).

At 2:00pm it was off for our massages. Just what the doctor ordered for us both. Especially the facial massage for my thick flu head.

Then a trolley bus ride to the Ala Moana Mall for a wander. Very up market compared to the Outlet malls in Vegas. On the way back to the room we found a Filipino man (street market) selling some real Filipino cooked pork on a stick. Yummmmm.

Sunday 9th November:

Feeling much better today with my cold.

Great trip round the island today with “Fred” our tour driver (Native Hawaiian). Very interesting history / culture of the islands, pre white man.

Then along came the white man who decided to give the “natives” a “better” way of life. Needless to say the Hawaiian culture was decimated.

Feel a bit sad really for the Hawaiian people.

Monday 10th November:

Full day out in the Pearl Harbor area. We visited the two museums first, watched a 20-minute documentary on the attack and then visited the memorial over the Battleship Arizona where 1,102 of the crew still remain entombed. A very somber place.

A quick look inside the USS Bowfin submarine convinced me that I would never run away to sea on a sub.

Next stop was the Aviation Museum for lunch. After lunch and a great look round the aircraft (old and new) it was off to the Battleship Missouri. It is huge and is virtually a floating city. For a new crewmember it takes 2-weeks to learn the layout of the ship. All we did was follow the “Green” arrows and we got turned around several times coming out in completely different spots to where we thought we were. We did a guided tour first then spent an hour or so wandering around the insides of the ship.

This is the battle ship on which the final surrender of Japan was signed. It is moored in Pearl Harbor just behind the Arizona monument. So you can see the Arizona memorial (The start of the WWII) from the deck of the Missouri where the WWII ended by the signing of the surrender by Japan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Missouri_(BB-63)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Arizona_Memorial

On the way home we had a tour of Honolulu and heard all about the old kings and queens of Hawaii from our driver.

For dinner we went to the “Cheese Cake Factory” which is one of the renowned restaurants in Waikiki. We went there last night at 8:00pm and there was a 1.5-hour wait so we passed. This time we got there at 6:00pm and we still had a ½ hour wait. But it was worth it. The food was awesome. Especially the cheesecake. Guy and I shared a single slice, as they were huge but ooohhhh so yummy.

Tuesday 11th November:

All packed up and at the airport by 9:00am for our 11:40am flight back to Sydney. We were lucky to have the centre four seats all to ourselves so I managed to lay down for a bit and have a bit of a nap on our 10:00-hour flight.

Wednesday 12th November:

We lost a day on the way back so arrived in Sydney at 7:30pm on the 12th. It was a cab home and the very first thing we did was have a nice hot “real” cup of tea and it was ooohhhh so good. America is pretty good at all things food & drink but definitely not tea. In Vegas there was NO hot drink making facilities at all in the room. And in Hawaii there was a coffee percolator, no kettle. So our tea drinking (when we could get it) was not the best experience.

Thursday 13th November:

We were both wide awake by 5:00am so got up, had breakfast, unpacked and started the huge pile of washing from the last 2-weeks.

Friday 14th November:

Back to work for me and the real world. Guy is off till Monday so a few days of rest (well Mahjong) for her.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy.

PS: More pics to come next post……

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