Something good must come of our recent 2 weeks in Hawaii. It was pretty well disastrous from beginning to end, but we did manage some shots of Princess in her new red By Hand London, Georgia top. What? you didn’t know Georgia was a top? Read on dear sewists… details of Georgia as top at the end if you just want to bypass the holiday from hell!
First, the holiday…
More than a year ago an acquaintance begged us to allow his daughter and son-in-law to stay at our weekender in Sydney. They stayed in our house for 2 weeks and apparently had a ball, extended family in tow. In return for their stay we were to stay in their holiday house at Waimea Point, Hawaii – we made an 8 day booking for their house in April 2015.
The airfares were booked and paid, including those booked and paid for by our kid’s ‘friends’ – BF and GF we’ll call them!
You can probably anticipate what happened can’t you?… but we didn’t…
Having been assured he would contact us in January ’16, I made contact to reconfirm the reservation early December, but heard nothing back. After I made contact again, the Waimea guy asked how many people in our group – strange because that had been established when we booked 9 months prior. Then the bomb was dropped, there had been a booking placed over ours and “oh well, so sorry, try another time”.
Maaaate, we’ve booked and paid for flights, my Mr has taken leave and the BF/GF have also made all their travel arrangements. We decided to go ahead and started looking for Oahu accommodation for 6 adults ASAP.
Lesson #1 – Don’t do swapsies
At Sydney airport we were greeted with, “yes, you have flights but where is your US visa waiver?”. Now, I specifically recall asking our travel agent about visas to the USA and she assured me none were needed. Perhaps, but it seems you cannot enter without the ‘waiver’. We tapped away maniacally on our devices to access the US govt. website to obtain the online waivers we needed, alas, it was down for maintenance and came back online 20min after our flight closed! So Princess’ 18 yo BF (whose daddy is a pilot and knows stuff about visas) travelled to Hawaii alone to meet up with #1 son’s GF who had taken an earlier flight and was blissfully encased in steel 40,000 feet in the air, unaware the rest of us would not be meeting her. Our little troupe put the airport outing down to ‘dress rehearsal’ and thank Hawaiian Airlines who rebooked us the next day with no penalties. Unlike Flight Centre who wanted to charge us $200 per person to rebook the flights!!
Lesson #2 Don’t book flights with your friend’s daughter who has just started her 1st FT job as a travel agent – you will not be able to complain lest she lose her new job.
The first 5 days were spent on Hawaii Isl. (Big Isl.) because – active volcanoes and also #1 son’s GF is a geologist and crazy about tectonic plates and stuff – this part was fascinating. If you’re tempted to Hawaii, go here. The volcano was the most active it had been in 4 years and the view from our helicopter was amaaazing, the helicopter ride is a must, sleep on the beach if you have to! Food in Hawaii is hellishly expensive, it makes Ireland look like a bargain and the AUD was appallingly low at 0.65 to the USD. The lowest I can ever recall. This holiday was going to hurt!
The title pic from my last post was taken standing in the caldera of an adjacent extinct volcano, below is the active caldera of Kilauea.
What about this night view from the visitor centre at Volcanoes National Park?
So after 5, ahem, I mean 4 days on Hawaii Island, off we toddled to Oahu Island.
The Oahu house was booked last minute, due to aforementioned Waimea Point gazumping debacle (pox on the international surfing competition). As we drove west from Honolulu airport we noted Hawaii didn’t look like the tourist mecca you see in the brochures. Shops barricaded by roller doors, homeless folks living in tents on the beach, dusty dogs chained to trees, front yards (garden would be a poor descriptor!) full of rubbish, dumped cars, tyres and life’s discarded accoutrement. It just didn’t present as ‘Hawaiian paradise’ and yet we were destined to spend 8 nights here.
Debi met us at the house in Waianae and my heart sunk when I saw the house. Just generally crappy, decorated in ‘original’ 1950s Hawaiian beach style with ‘original’ 1950s fake plants now faded to a queasy blue colour. We had paid what in Australia would be considered ‘top dollar’ for this house, there was no going back. Our little troupe were determined to make a silk holiday out of a sow’s ear though, so for kicks we watched Elvis in Blue Hawaii!! #1 son couldn’t get past Elvis putting a lady over his knee and smacking her on the bottom for a misdemeanour – ahh, the good ole days!
Hubby and I walked 1 minute up the beach and noted the surf was way too rough to swim, a fully loaded bullet cartridge stuck in the sand and a ‘humpy’ where a homeless man had been/would be sleeping for the night. I screamed as we tripped over a pair of ladies tights full of sand half buried – too life like, too much CSI?
The house was situated on the main highway (close to transport), we figured the incessant traffic noise would be masked by the sound of crashing waves if we left our beach facing doors open at night. That worked a treat until 5.30am when the high pressure watering system was activated and cycled the perimeter of the house for about an hour, returning to our bedroom at 6.30am, just in time to wake us again! This is supposed to be a holiday for god’s sake. Who sets a watering system for 5.30am in a holiday house; its still dark outside! And yet, the watering system couldn’t drown out the sound of the traffic and hooting horns, ambulances and screaming motorcycles which reached a crescendo at 6.30am when we gave up on sleep – every. bloody. day.
Next, the toilet broke and wouldn’t flush, we resorted to buckets of water. The bathroom sink didn’t drain and the dishwasher wouldn’t start. A handyman came to fix the toilet remarking “this house is old”! No shit Sherlock! We can do old, we can’t do decrepit!
A broken bathroom wouldn’t have been such a problem if there were 4 bathrooms as advertised, we struggled to find the missing 2 bathrooms and wondered if they’d included the beach since clearly some may consider the beach a bathroom!
Day 2 we drove to a nearby beach only to be told by the lifeguard that it would be unwise to swim there – just as we figured. At the next beach, the lifeguard asked where we were parked? We pointed to a carpark near some tents and BBQ’s manned by local fellas turning sausages. “Don’t park your car down there, you do know this area is a meth ghetto? right?”.
Meth Ghetto? Firstly, is that a thing? and secondly, where was that in the house description? All the reviews were annoyingly chipper about the area? Then it dawned on us that the reviews cannot have been written in an honest manner – to say the least.
Lesson #3 – Don’t forget to Google the area in which you intend to holiday
AOL travel in reviewing the area mentioned its very high crime rate, stating “Waianae is an area to avoid in Honolulu”, wish I’d seen that before booking. I’ve asked the owner for compensation for the lack of 2 bathrooms, since thats tangible and one can hardly say “we don’t enjoy holidaying in an Hawaiian meth ghetto or your manky house”, that would sound snobbish don’t you think?! The ‘owner’ (Laura) has promised a partial refund “pending review” and I don’t think Laura is talking about her reviewing our situation. I do think Laura is referring to my ‘review’ on Airbnb. This reeks of bribery doesn’t it?! Ever wondered why reviews are not reflective of reality? Oh and Laura is an agent who has a number of houses on Airbnb, its her business.
The description of the Waianae house has now been amended to 2 bathrooms on Airbnb but I note the main picture is still not one of the house we actually stayed in!!
We were all so pleased to jump on that plane home, no more traffic noise, no more 5.30am wake up sprinklers, no more sipping a Hawaiian sunset wine from plastic wine glasses. And only 3 sleeps before we were to pack up our home in Sydney and move interstate!! Oh, almost forgot our take away memory – flea bites all over our ankles and feet, GF caught the little Wainanae house pets in the act! Happy Days!
Back to Princess’ BHL Georgia as top.
I love, love, love this pattern. Once you’ve nailed the fit its so tweak-able!
To make this top omit the centre back panel and extend the side front panels in a straight line to create a mitred tie – longer for a more impressive bow (about 1m). I’d suggest using beefier fabric than this cotton. If you can’t find beefier fabric then it would be wise to interline the bust cups I think. One could add a sweet ruffle to the flappy back panel, but that was verboten by Princess!
V 2.0 – tighten the upper edge with either more darting to the princess line or perhaps easing it a little, though its important to avoid the gathered look of this stretch denim version. The upper edge did contain a stay stitched twill tape but it may have been accidentally cut off when I trimmed the seam allowance – derrr! The wrinkles were not present before removing the bra straps from her strapless convertible büstenholter. Next version – insert skyhooks!!