Shirley and I take an annual trip to Las Vegas. This year, for the first time, we stayed downtown.
Our hotel of choice was the Plaza, mostly because of recommendations. I’m going to give the Plaza a mixed review. Pros: the hotel itself was nice. The casino was fun and busy. Money was won. Restaurants were fine. We ate at Hash House a Go Go and the food was good, but portions were so large that we wasted too much. There is a food court in the hotel. Location was terrific. We didn’t have to do much walking and we enjoyed close proximity to other hotels, Walgreens, and the Fremont Experience. Cons: The elevators made scarey noises. Casino was smokey.
Our room was on the 6th floor, at the end of a hall, but the walk wasn’t overly long. The room was clean and the furniture wasn’t beat up, but one of the mattresses (on Shirley’s bed) was lumpy and uncomfortable. It needs to be replaced. The bathroom was pretty awful. The toilet and tub/shower were squeezed into a tiny room. Oddly, there was no towel rack in this room, and the hook on the back of the door was broken. Also, there was no grab bar and I felt unsafe getting in and out of the tub.Toiletries were a joke. There was a tiny tube of shampoo, and a tiny tube of lotion, and a single bar of soap. I’m not fond of sharing bar soap so I left a note for housekeeping the next day asking for more soap. She gave us one bar, so now we had a bar for hand washing at the sink, and a bar to share for showers. I gave up and bought some body wash. I was puzzled by the lack of mirrors. The only mirror was the one over the sink. No full length mirror, no make up mirror. Am I spoiled? I bought a make up mirror at Walgreens. Our toilet stopped flushing one evening and maintenance was prompt to come fix it. Although there were earplugs in the nightstand, our room was quiet so we didn’t need them. AC was working well.
We paid $244.00 for 4 nights and that included the resort fee and tax.
We took the Bell Trans airport shuttle because we purchased tickets when we bought air fare. They are just transitioning from Showtime shuttle and it was a disorganized mess.
We used the Loop Shuttle twice and highly recommend it. It’s free. We used the shuttle to go to the Premium Outlet Mall. The stores were almost entirely designer outlets and pricey. We did find the Cheesecake Factory so ate lunch there. We split an order of avocado egg rolls and we each had a slice of cheesecake. The shuttle also stops 2 blocks from Container Park, and I needed to go there to use a beef jerky groupon. It happened that we were there on the day the driverless shuttle began service so there were several TV crews there. The shuttle had a little mishap, a fender bender that was not the fault of the shuttle.
Being right on Fremont we were able to spend plenty of time under the canopy. We caught a couple of light shows and they didn’t disappoint. Some of the “entertainers”/buskers were just nasty. We saw way too much flesh. Saw lots of heart breakers too.
We ate at 2 buffets. Had breakfast buffet at the Fremont and it was just fine. Very large selection and the food looked appetizing and fresh. It was $8.49 for breakfast. We had dinner one evening at Main Street Station Buffet. WOW! This buffet is huge! Very good food and friendly servers. Dinner price was $11.99.
At the Plaza, we did well and it was our favorite place to play. Shirley found a Wonder Woman machine that was good to her. At the end I think she was down just a little by the end of the trip. I was up and down until I found my money machine on the last day. It was called Gigantic 7’s and I ended up with enough money to buy myself a new kitchen stove. It’s always good to win! We also enjoyed the casino at Golden Nugget.
All in all it was a fun trip. I might not stay at the Plaza again, but if I get a good offer, I might. I would just know that I need to bring a mirror and body wash.
We had our annual fall visit from the Michigan cousins last weekend. We always have a good time with them.This time we took a day trip to Wisconsin Dells on Saturday, which Ron had always wanted to see. We went on the Upper Dells boat trip and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day. Temp was 68/70, not a cloud in the sky, light breeze. We were on the top (open) deck. We wandered around town for a short while, had big,juicy burgers in a bar, and bought fudge for our dog sitter.
On Friday night we went out for fish fry at our favorite tavern in town. The food was good, as always.
It was a fun weekend.
I was so happy to eat some of the foods I remembered from my early years as a child in Hawaii. I have 2 good resources for those delicious Hawaiian foods.
Hawaiian Food Online is an online store where you can buy many of the delicious foods that are found pretty much exclusively in the islands. There you can find poi, lau lau, the luau leaves to make your own lau lau, guava and lilikoi jams and jellies, li hing mui, kona coffee, the list goes on.
The other website I really like is Cooking Hawaiian Style. Lots of authentic recipes here. Even Zippy’s Mac Salad!
I’ll just tempt you with pictures of some of the foods we enjoyed while we were there last month. Most of these pictures were taken by my son JD. Please do not use them without permission.
The Nene is the state bird of Hawaii. I didn’t see any while I was on vacation on Oahu. I did see lots of other birds though. I had to look them all up online, because I wasn’t familiar with any of them.
One bird that was extremely plentiful was the Myna. They’re entertaining little characters, and vocal. We had one that began “singing” first thing every morning, just outside our bedroom.
I was so surprised to see that Cattle Egrets were everywhere on the island. We have them here in Wisconsin, so I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw them on Oahu.
One of the first birds we noticed is a beautiful multi-colored cardinal. We learned that it’s a Brazilian Red Capped Cardinal, not indigenous to Hawaii. They’re plentiful and really lovely birds.
Spotted Dove credit:JD Kuehl
We found 2 types of doves while on the island, the Spotted Dove, and the Zebra Dove. Both are similar to our Mourning Doves, but smaller.
I mentioned the wild chickens in a previous post on our Hawaiian vacation.
Sunday was a special day for me. One of my cousins was able to organize a family pot luck at Kailua Beach Park. What a beautiful beach!
I’m not sure how many Mahikoa family members attended, but it was a nice turnout. I’m going to guess 35-40 cousins and aunties and uncles were there.
I can’t even begin to describe the food. This was a pot luck on steroids! My nephew Rex brought his grill and his grilling expertise. He made 3 or 4 different kinds of grilled meat. My fave was the teriyaki pork. So ono!
There was plenty of Zippy’s macaroni salad, which was delicious. My cousin Nani made and brought kalua pork and it was mouth watering good. There were more wonderful dishes, and of course desserts. There was a Chantilly cake, and coco puffs ( a delicious cream puff filled with chocolate and topped with chantilly cream. My first , but hopefully not my last.
I especially enjoyed connecting with family members who I only know through Facebook. My cousin Butch is one of the kids I used to play with at Gramma’s house, but he didn’t remember that. I loved meeting Nani, who has a special place in my heart, and Butch’s wife Iris who along with Nani, helped me on my quest to find my family. She’s such a kind and lovely lady. Annette got the whole thing organized. Everyone was so much fun and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed every one of them. I hope this isn’t the last time I’ll see Hawaii and all of these amazing people. I definately plan to keep in touch.
After we left the park, Butch and Iris met us at the cemetery to show us where our grandparents are buried.
Thursday we split up. One group went to Pearl Harbor and associated tours and exhibits. They walked many a mile and came home tired, sore, but well educated. They all said they learned many things about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the war, that they hadn’t known before. I couldn’t do the walking so Kay and I set out with no real destination in mind.
Our first stop was He’eia State Park. There were trails and picture taking vantage points, a nice little gift shop, and many examples of local flora and fauna. There really wasn’t much in the way of fauna, to be honest. Wild chickens, cats, chameleons and birds. On the other hand, there were many and varied trees and bushes and plants.
We got back in the car and found the Beach where we’ll be having our pot luck with family. White sand, restrooms, and a pavilion. It’s going to be perfect. We vegged there for a while, enjoying the beautiful breeze and people watching.
Our final stop was KailuaTown for a bit of shopping.
Today the kids have gone to the Farm Fair, which is an annual ag fair.
The following photos were taken at the He’eia State Park.
A beautiful hen and her chick.
On Wednesday, JD and I drove over to Kailua to pick up my sister Julie, and we brought her back to our rental house for dinner. This is the first time we’ve been together since we were kids…..more than 50 years ago.
Here’s the story.
We are half sisters. We were raised together and apart. I ended up on the mainland, Julie ended up in Hawaii. Over the years we lost contact, and marriages, divorces, and moves made it difficult/impossible to find each other. In recent years I was able to connect with my Hawaiian ohana, and through them I made the connection with my sister, via Facebook.Our dinner together with my kids, was the end of our separation. I felt emotional and joyful to finally be with Julie once again. We have another sister who we also want to get connected with very soon. We have a family gathering coming up on Sunday and we’ll get lots of pictures then. We were so busy talking and eating dinner last night that we forgot.
By the way, my new favorite pie is chocolate and haupia. Delish!