By: Revanche


April 16, 2012

We’d recently taken a much needed break to spend a few days with friends and a week without in Hawaii for our delayed honeymoon. I didn’t realize how very much we needed it but we were frazzled and dipped in less than happy sauce by the time we got on the plane.

I’d been stressing over financing the trip with points or miles for months, but honestly when it came right down to it, the effort of what used to be easy-breezy personal finance was just a burden on my overtaxed attention meter. I just couldn’t do it so we booked the flights, lucking into a sale, and put it on our card that we’ve been concentrating on building points for. It was expensive.

Transportation alone cost:

$550 for rental cars
$2300 for airfare
= Total, $2850

I thought we’d see some real savings not going to Australia…. whoo, boy.  Not so much. And the food, oh my gosh the food. It was one, fannntastic. But two? Oh wow. I actually stopped keeping mental tabs on the spending because I needed to be able to enjoy the trip. After all, spending quality time together and stuffing our faces were the primary reasons we went! Boy, did we.  Stuff our faces, I mean.

The requisite umbrella drinks on our first night in town!

The most amazing bouillabaise I’ve ever seen – or eaten. That bread was a foot long, btw. That’s a lobster tail you see there. Next to the largest prawn I’ve ever consumed. Next to the best crab legs. Ever.

Plate Lunches! A loco moco for her. Fried fish, chicken and pork with fries for him.

Luau appetizers. Pineapple, poi chips, sashimi. 

Lunch at Leoda’s. Leave your heart (and most of your cash).  Absolutely delicious. Definitely pricey but oh, so good.

No vacation would be complete if I didn’t find a stray to pet!

The famous Black Sand Beach – the sands were amazing. There is a big layer of black rocks; then really grainy sand.

Yet another gorgeous beach on the road to Hana

Sadly, I spent most of the trip down with a virus, apparently I’d been pre-infected or something so we were forced to keep our activities to a minimum. Bummer. It was still beautiful and the food was amazing but I’d really like to call a Calvin-and-Hobbesian do-over!

An interesting thing about Maui, I noticed, was the assortment of resorts and timeshares populating the coast. We meandered through a few of the semi-local areas on our own looking for more hole in the wall, less-touristy places to eat but pretty much everything catered to tourists if you were a reasonable distance from the coast. A local real estate office posted the listings for the timeshares currently available in its windows and of course I had to run over and look. It was incredible how much they were going for.

The place we stayed at simply wasn’t a luxury location or business, which was fine considering we only booked several months out so the booking agency couldn’t get us into anything nicer, but I couldn’t believe they’d sell at nearly the same pre-owned rates as the Westin or the Hyatt down the road. I guarantee you that the quality had to be much better at the places down the way. Our concierge had the gall to tell us our trip “wasn’t a honeymoon if the wedding was 5 months ago.” There’s some service for you. While I’m not overly precious about the trip myself, that was downright rude. If a guest was sensitive about it which frankly, given the fact that had we tried to honeymoon after our wedding and cancelled because of my mom’s death, I would have been … well, lucky for him, I was in vacation mode and my claws had been left at home. I’m just shaking my head over his need to go out of his way to be rude rather than just shrug and move on.

PiC and I had a fun debate over the cost of a timeshare and real estate in Maui. A driving tour guide told us that one piece of land (2 acres) plus a house was going for what seemed like a reasonable amount compared to the Bay Area: $400,000. You simply can’t get that kind of property here and I’ll admit to a moment of sheer insanity – what if we got a second home in Hawaii!?


Yes, ok. I had vacation brain. Right, we don’t even have a first house.

Plus, the cost of eating there had nearly given me a heart attack. I abandoned PiC in one grocery store because I’d nearly frozen to death while he ooohed and aaahhhed over the prices like we were in a zoo admiring otters do backflips. With cereal costing anywhere between $7-9/box, milk running $8/gallon, fruit $2/piece and up, it was hard to blame him but I didn’t go to Hawaii to become a Popsicle in their refrigerated section.

Anyway, housing – COLA was incredible. And while property tax was purportedly very low according to a couple of friends, cost of living for everything else remained skyhigh. Gas prices are actually higher than in the Bay Area by 10%. So no, a second home is everything firmly on the side of insane. It was funny to dream for a minute though. I just got suckered in by the idea.

Our two budget-busters were the luau and the really nice dinner in Paia. Luaus are, no kidding, pricey as all get out. We definitely ate way too much. And our friends recommended a fantastic seafood restaurant so I saved all my seafoody wishes for that restaurant and ate until I could hold no more. It’s embarrassing how much that food cost, actually, I couldn’t believe that it could run so much. But, as our dear friend who sent us to this timeshare texted us, “you only have a first honeymoon once!”

Yes, I burst out laughing. No, I didn’t text her back: “first?”  That text is my justification for a do-over. 😉  

It was a lovely trip. I had to let my hair down and in fact, let it wave free because I forgot my hairbrush. PiC had no qualms about being seen with me in public like that. He’s always been good about embracing messy-mussy-me. We had fun. It was a little bittersweet, remembering why we are still doing it out of order and still haven’t celebrated with family and friends. But it was good, reconnecting, rediscovering the world, and doing really really stupid things together like eating so much pork at a luau that neither of you can walk without pain. We deserved each other that night, and probably always.

11 Responses to “Honeymooners”

  1. Shelley says:

    I’m pleased you had a lovely time, in spite of your flu. I’ve not been to Hawaii and I can’t say it’s terribly high on my list, but only because of the other options I’ve had due to living in Britain. $400,000 sounds pretty reasonable for property on an island. Prices along the Central Coast (the east side of Australia) in beach towns run closer to a million for a large house with next to no land and nearly arm’s length to one’s neighbour. The cost of food in Sydney takes my breath away. We cooked at ‘home’ as much as possible. However, the way I see it, one can either afford to travel or one cannot. Hopefully the choice is made with eyes wide open.

  2. The Quest says:

    Hawaii is on my list of places to visit but I haven’t made it yet. Glad you had a nice break 🙂 and never mind about that rude ‘concierge’ (I can think of a better word) who tried to tell you that you were not on a honeymoon because you’d ‘been married only 5 months’. HOGWASH!!! You and PiC are going to be on honeymoon a whole lot longer that that jealous joy killing concierge will know LOL

  3. Grace. says:

    I am so jealous–I’ve been to Hawaii twice, and just don’t get the folks who think it is “too touristy.” Hawaiians really get how to treat tourists (well, except for the bellboy you met who apparently didn’t pay attention in class!)–it IS their principal industry after all. Did you get to Morimoto’s restaurant? Or did you even go to Oahu? It’s on my to-do list if I ever get there again. (And I have no intention of waiting to get married to go–it’s been 63 years and no PiC in sight for moi!)

  4. DH says:

    Ha!! at the groceries. That’s just how I and my best friend reacted when we went to Maui for my birthday a few years ago. We did mange to eat out very reasonably though, but we didn’t go to any fancy restaurants and the only night out we had was the Old Laihaina luau.
    Aside from the cost, I loved Maui! Almost quit my job, went to work for a surf school and found a hut on the beach to live in!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Beautifully written post, by the way.

    I’m hoping my fiance and I will make to Hawaii, too (although, like you, it will likely not be immediately after the wedding).


  6. Chantalle says:

    Love that last sentence 🙂

    Glad to hear you had a great time. I’ve never made it out to Hawaii but i’m going there in November. I always heard the food was really expensive because they have to import everything – so I guess that is comparable to Indonesia (where cost of living has just been skyrocketing).

    And I can’t believe that concierge!

  7. Wow! This sounds like a much-deserved break. Sorry you picked up a bug…nothing like flying to enhance your health, eh…?

    Great Maui pix. It’s so gorgeous there. Ex-DH and I used to go there every now and again. And I’ve also indulged the same daydream…love to have a condo at the Whaler. Or anywhere either along the beach or halfway up the side of the mountain.

    Met a woman who’s living there and not working three jobs (as apparently most of the locals do). She said you just have to decide that you’ll compromise on standard of living in exchange for the privilege of living on Maui. Costs are astronomical because everything has to be flown or shipped in. But given the weather, it would be easy to grow veggies all year round, and you probably could have a few chickens in the backyard, assuming you could afford a backyard. That would help some with the grocery bills.

    Hope you’re duly refreshed…and the honeymoon is still going on, now and forever. 😉

  8. Katherine says:

    Ah Hawaii is one of my favorite places in the world and I always get the urge to just pack it all up and move there as well! Beautiful photos and so glad you had a wonderful time!

  9. Karen says:

    I’m glad you had a good time. I enjoyed Maui and would definitely go back.
    The concierge was a prick!

  10. Love this post. Paia is my favorite place ever, love Mama’s Fishhouse, the restaurant nearby. I went to the University of Hawaii. 🙂

  11. Revanche says:

    @Shelley: Welcome back from YOUR travels, too! I can’t wait to hear your stories.

    And agreed, when traveling, while balance is good between budget and extravagance, it really does come down to committing to the thing and actually traveling and spending to do it. Otherwise, you rather cheat yourself of an experience. I could tell a story or two of a chintzy relative doing just that!

    @The Quest: 🙂 Big patoots is right.

    @Grace: We only spent a little time in Oahu so no time in the big restaurants. Maybe next time.

    @DH: There’s definitely that appeal!

    @Bonnie: I bet it’s better when you let it marinate. We met a couple who waited 30 years and were still so in love. It was adorable.

    @Chantalle: Yes, island pricing, yikes! Even things made in Hawaii are more expensive though, which is weird.

    @Funny: I think you’re right about the compromise. If you’re satisfied to stay put, too, that makes a difference.

    @Katherine: Thanks, it was well worth the wait.

    @Karen: hehe. You always have my back.

    @Clare: <3 Mama's! I didn't know you were a U of H alum!

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