HAWAII HERE WE COME ! by Tina Kime
We are Chuck and Tina Kime. I am Tina, vacation planner extraordinaire.
I don't know where I got all my wanderlust. Maybe from being bedridden
as a young child with polio. You know, take me out of here, take me
anywhere! Braces and crutches notwithstanding, I'm really quite portable.
When we travel by plane, my transportation , once we get where we're going, is usually a wheelchair. Years ago, when our 2 boys were small, we took our first big family vacation to Disney World. I was afraid if I used a wheelchair there, we wouldn't be allowed to get on the rides. So I walked for 3 long days. Many palm blisters later, I realized what a fool I had been. Never again!
Fast forward to Maui, Hawaii. After making plane and hotel reservations, I made one of the most important calls. I asked the hotel people to contact a rental company and have a wheelchair waiting for me when we got there.
Plane reservations were made well in advance. We would be going from Philadelphia to Chicago, then on to Maui. This was not my first choice. I'd rather fly first to California, then Hawaii. That 10 hour flight from Chicago to Maui seemed rather daunting. In the 4 months prior to our trip, our flight and seating arrangements got changed no less than 4 times. The last time because we had been given the exit row. We learned something new. People with disabilities aren't allowed there because you need to be able to open the door then help people exit in an emergency.
Upon our arrival in Chicago's O'Hara Airport, where anyone with a disability is personally escorted to their flight from a special waiting area, I mentioned to the young man pushing me that I hoped we had seats on the plane. After the changes made in the last few months maybe we got lost in the shuffle. When we arrived at our gate, he spoke with someone who reassured us we had seats. As a matter of fact, he went a step further and decided we should go first class, I guess to make up for the anxiety. What nice people! Somehow that 10 hour flight just flew by. Maybe it was the wide, comfy seats. Or it could have been the wine which went great with the meal we chose from our menu. Perhaps it was the bottle of champagne my husband won in a contest ' done only in first class, of course, But does it matter?
Our arrival in Maui was perfect. We were staying in a condo on the beach with a Western (sunset) view, something I requested ahead of time. I'm not an early riser, so sunrises tend to pass me by, but a sunset over the water is heard to beat. The wheelchair was in our room, we were all set.
Chuck and I, fortunately, like the same kind of lazy vacations, so sightseeing took turns with just sitting watching the world go by. And the sights there are incredible. The colors of the flowers, the water, the sky ' like you're looking at a postcard. But we didn't just sit. One day we went up to Haleakala Crater ' to watch the sunrise! I know I said I'm not an early riser, but this is one of those "must see" things in Maui. The big drawback is that the road going up this mountain is quite narrow so you go very slowly. Consequently, you must start very early ' like 3:30 A.M.! That is if you want to get to the top in time to see the sunrise. Something you should know if you every go: it is very cold up there. Temps only in the 30's. Be forewarned.
Another day we went parasailing. This is something I never thought I could do. The normal method is to put on this parachute harness, which is attached to a boat, and as the boat accelerates you run down the beach or off the dock and up, up, and away. Take away my braces and crutches and I don't run ' hey, with them I don't run either, but you get the idea. This parasailing was different. Everyone gets in the boat and takes turns strapping into the harness and being raised like a kite from a platform on the back of the boat. Since I didn't have to run off anything, this was doable. Did you ever fly over the Pacific Ocean with a parachute? I did.
We also took a helicopter ride. My husband really wanted to do it so I went along. I often get motion sickness and although I take something on plane rides and do O.K., a helicopter I figured would be a bit bumpier. But that didn't turn out to be the problem. The waterfalls were the problem. Our pilot had been a chopper pilot in 'Nam. This guy was GOOD! After showing us the beautiful views from on high, he decided we needed to get "up close and personal" with some of the many waterfalls. But he wanted us to see where the water splashed down in the pools at the bottom. So we took a couple of 90o dives. Did you ever look through the glass front of a helicopter, between your feet, at the earth rapidly approaching? It takes your breath away.
We did a lot of just hanging around. We'd ride through different neighborhoods, each one prettier than the last. We'd sit out on our lanai ' patio to us stateside ' and just marvel at the view, the weather, and how lucky we were to be there.
The weather was perfect the whole time. Sunny, temps in the 80's, and no rain at all. It's the prettiest place I've ever seen. It lives up to all the expectations you'd have of the perfect vacation spot.
Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau
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