Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Aloha Oy

Like swallows returning to Capistrano or Alex Rodriguez to Biogenesis, my wife Debby and I once again fled to the Kahala Resort on Oahu, Hawaii. This was the first time in ten years, however. We used to go every Christmas back when it was the Kahala Hilton and then Kahala Mandarin Oriental Redundant. Back then we had to fight 800 other guests for the remaining two lounge chairs because Jeffrey Katzenberg and Jeff Wald reserved all the rest. The one great feature the Kahala Whatever-it-is-now has is a dolphin lagoon filled with playful dolphins. And this time we were able to see them. They weren’t assigned to Jeffrey Katzenberg’s bathtub for the week.

The hotel has been renovated since we were there last. One spiffy new feature is a Toto toilet in every room. Instead of using toilet paper (that's so "5th-20th Century"), a jet stream of water is blasted up your ass. It combines the best features of a Water Pik and an enema.

We arrived just in time for the big Sony Open Golf Tournament played at adjacent the golf course. Like it’s not hard enough getting a tee time without a PGA tourney going on. Since the course is on the hotel grounds, I’m sure a lot of guests normally just sneak on and play a few holes. I can imagine a scene where Fuzzy Zoeller is on the 11th fairway and there are two old Jews trying to hit out of a sand trap.

Most of the golfers were staying at our hotel. Many very famous names and faces that I didn’t recognize. It’s a good thing Jeff Katzenberg wasn’t staying at the hotel because they might never get starting times.

Jimmy Walker won the $1,000,800 first prize money, which then allowed him and his wife to have dinner at Hoku, the Kahala’s high-end restaurant.

We lucked out and got upgraded to a spectacular room. (Maybe Bubba Watson didn’t make the cut and left early, I dunno.) Ocean view only one floor above where Jeff Wald used to hold court every year. Little chance bumping into him this trip since rumor has it he has been banned from the facility. I don’t know why, but I do know the locals celebrate this day more than statehood.

I come to the islands every year for the breathtaking beauty, beaches, weather, papayas, culture, dolphins, sunsets, umbrella drinks, recreation, and Joe Moore still anchoring the news on Channel 2. I love his laid back style. Unsaid but understood, every story ends with “whatever.”

Unlike the show HAWAII FIVE-O, there are not murders on every street corner, vicious mobs do not gun each other down during hotel luaus, and everybody doesn’t drive a Camero5 Chevy (their sponsor).  If you watch that show you’d think Hawaii is the land of extreme violence, shameless product placement, and terrible acting. In fact, it is my favorite place on earth. And if HAWAII FIVE-O wanted to really rid the island of evil-doers they’d go after Commercial Developers, not War Lords.

Actual crime: There was a purse snatching in Pearl City. Whatever.

Debby went to Long’s Drugs to buy a $1.19 bottle of nail polish remover and they asked for her ID. Apparently, the nail polish remover contained acetone – an ingredient in Meth. Unfortunately, lab equipment is the only thing you can’t rent at the Kahala.

You know who really could have used the Toto toilet -- Captain Hook.

Great local commercial for King Dental. A guy comes in with a surfboard and says to the receptionist, “I lost my teeth surfing. Can you help me?” She cheerfully says, “Yes, we can do implants!” Actually bringing the surfboard into the office was a nice touch. The acting was still better than HAWAII FIVE-O. As was the writing.

Read in the Honlulu Star-Advertiser that Brittany Wei Lin Lee was crowned the 2014 Narcissus Queen. At first I thought it said “Narcissist Queen,” in which case Mariah Carey would have won. She once requested a chauffeur for her dog, an assistant to hold her drinks, and can only sip fine champagne through a bendy straw.

Had an epic dinner at Alan Wong’s. No wonder the Obamas go there every time in they’re in the neighborhood. Like the prez, I had the eight-course tasting menu. Incredible food and presentation. My favorite dish: the cold poached lobster in green slime, but the snapper in yellow goop was also otherworldly. When was the last time you were in a restaurant where everybody was taking pictures of their food and it wasn’t a crime scene?

Our waiter, Yuki, also waited on the first family a couple of weeks ago. I see a sequel to THE BUTLER with Oprah Winfrey playing Yuki’s Hawaiian wife.

On the other hand, went to Hoku and learned there was a dress requirement. Gentlemen had to wear long pants. At Alan Wong’s (which is a thousand times better) shorts are fine. Hoku did say they would provide pants if the gentleman didn’t have any. Pants are not bowling shoes. You don’t wear other people’s pants. Plus, you figure the sizes all had to be 46-50. I was a guest at the hotel so changing was no problem. But all night, as every guy passed our table I wondered, “Are those his pants?”

Surf was up on the North Shore. 35’ waves. Lifeguards had to issue over 900 warnings to swimmers one day. 900 idiots didn't think waves the size of skyscrapers might signal dangerous conditions for wading out and taking selfies. 

A lot of Hollywood types vacation at the Kahala. The Toto toilets have to be adjusted to blow smoke.

One morning at breakfast -- my wife is reading the New York Times, I’m reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
HER: Let’s rent a kayak.
ME: (reading headline) “Man, 39, dies after his kayak capsizes.”
We rented a pool noodle.

All week I looked around, hoping to spot someone on the beach or at the pool reading my book, MUST KILL TV. I didn’t see even one. Not to state the obvious, but there cold be only one logical explanation: everyone was reading it on their Kindles.

Dolphins usually live about 25 years. One of the Kahala dolphins is 43. Knowing that, I expected to see Nicole Kidman in the lagoon yelping for live fish.

Vog enveloped the island. That’s volcanic smog. It got so bad that on Tuesday we couldn’t see Tahiti from our veranda.

This was the week they decided to fix the potholes on Highway 1 – the main artery -- causing such massive traffic jams people thought they were in Fort Lee.  Captain Cook and his entire expedition were killed and slaughtered for less.

Shark attacks are up in Hawaii. Whatever. So are kayak rentals.

Japanese tourism is very big. At the ABC store there’s a picture of the Emperor (although it could be Jerry Stiller, hard to tell) and a sign that says “We accept yen.” Buy a tube of sunscreen, pay in yen and ask for your change back in dollars. Store clerks just love that.

Great ride to the airport. No potholes! Pleasant flight but then American Airlines took an hour before unloading bags. And they charge extra for that privilege (Doing What They Do Always). Now back home with fond memories and twenty gorgeous photos of soup. And I will say this about the Toto toilet -- it does spoil you. I can no longer go to the bathroom without a water pistol.

More fun fotos tomorrow.  If you enjoy these travelogues, I have a whole book of them.  Don't go to Barcelona or Milwaukee without it.


VincentS said...

My shades of Envy-Green are darkening even as I write this!

Bill Jones said...

"if HAWAII FIVE-O wanted to really rid the island of evil-doers they’d go after Commercial Developers, not War Lords"

Says the guy staying at the recently-renovated Kahala Resort...

Pete Grossman said...

Ying/Yang soup, now that's cool! That wouldn't happen to be a tiny kayak straddling the middle, would it?

Dan Ball said...

I'd love to see an update to the Three Stooges' "A-Plumbing We Will Go" with Toto toilets.

Mike Donnelly said...

Had to laugh about the acetone incident.We just returned from two weeks in Kauai.My wife was at the Long's Drugs in Lihue,trying to buy some nail polish remover.The clerk asked for her ID and when she entered the zip code(04043 Kennebunk,Me.)she was told that zip didn't exist.No zip,no nail polish remover!

Gregg B said...

Ken, You should view the excellent documentary "The Cove" to see where and how the Kahala dolphins are captured while others are brutally slaughtered. Dolphins generally swim 100 of miles a day, while ones in captivity stay in swimming pools. The second most intelligent animal in the world is essentially in slavery. Not to be too preachy but take a look. BTW, I love your site and read you everyday!

Eric J said...

A funny travelogue about going to Hawaii, but I didn't see very much about Hawaii. Lots about private enclaves for spoiled Hollywood that seem to exist everywhere including Middle Eastern seaside deserts, but Hawaii? Nothing.

As they say in Captcha, "Appearance panienda".

Mike Botula said...

Love your travel pieces. This is one of the best. After two months of trying to use a bidet in Italy, I can't wait for the pressure washing of a Toto Toilet.

Cap'n Bob said...

Men wearing shorts into restaurants should be universally banned. Let's face it, most of us have horrible legs.

Charles H. Bryan said...

You didn't stay for the Pro Bowl? :)

RCP said...

Really Cap'n Bob? I haven't had any problems flagging down rides yet.

Looking forward to more photos tomorrow. One of these days I'll get to Hawaii - meantime, it's enjoyable to read your travelogues Ken.

Barry Traylor said...

One spiffy new feature is a Toto toilet in every room. Instead of using toilet paper (that's so "5th-20th Century"), a jet stream of water is blasted up your ass. It combines the best features of a Water Pik and an enema.

Darn this made me darn near spew coffee all over my monitor. Doggone but you are one funny guy Levine.

Mark said...

Ken, I never heard you mentioned your wife's name before

RareWaves said...

Ken, you were on a roll with this post. A very funny and enjoyable read. I should NOT have been sipping coffee at the moment I read, "It combines the best features of a Water Pik and an enema." I did prevent a spit-take onto my keyboard, but the coffee had to go somewhere so now my sinuses are caffeinated.

Cap'n Bob said...

Well, RCP, you are apparently part of the 1% of us males with good legs. That, or you're delusional. Do people still hitchhike?

Hamid said...

That was a great read. Thanks, Ken!

BigTed said...

"Hawaii Five-0" has a very talented supporting cast, which I guess just proves that everybody would rather work in Hawaii than Burbank. (And the commuting time from Santa Monica is probably about the same.)

Hank Gillette said...

I was going to correct you about the Camero5 Chevies in Hawaii Five-O, since Jack Lord and co. drove vehicles from the Mercury Division of Ford, but then I realized that you were talking about the remake (which I stopped watching after a half-dozen episodes).

Realistically, I should have been clued in by the mention of bad acting.

Dale said...

I enjoyed that. I used to surf alongside dolphins back in the day. Wild dolphins. Could reach out and pat them.
As for Toto, I knew they had retired from touring, but had no idea things had become so bleak.

tb said...

Selfies in the 35 ft waves, ha! Yep. And - "House pants"? Now I've heard everything

Johnny Walker said...

Haha. Very funny stuff!

Then I had to read about the dolphins. Thanks, Gregg!

RCP said...

Cap'n Bob:

I think I have good legs, but I could be deluding myself.

A friend and I once hitchhiked from Anchorage to Fairbanks and were picked up by an array of "colorful" characters (a number of people move to Alaska to escape their pasts and/or the law). I wouldn't try it now.

Chuck Warn said...

Captain Hook. That's funny.

Paul Duca said...

I want one of those toilets with the built-in bidet feature...beats moist cloths.