Thursday, July 02, 2009

I Now Pronounce You Bruddah and Wahine

Wife and I got back from our Hawaiian wedding/honeymoon trip on Wednesday night. It was altogether an excellent vacation; somehow we managed to strike a balance between the busy madness of a wedding and the relaxation requisite of a week in Hawaii. Neither of us caught a cold on the plane, lost any luggage, got bitten by a shark or came back with crippling sunburn. All in all, not a bad little excursion.

Of course, while things went well overall, there were a few little things that could have been better. I've decided to highlight a few of the businesses we patronized during (and in preparation for) our trip and the experiences we had therewith, both good and bad.

The Willows [link]

We had a lunch reception at this restaurant, not far from Central Union Church, our ceremonial venue. Despite choosing the place based mainly on accessibility and affordability, the buffet food turned out to be quite good, and the staff were as helpful as could be. On top of that, this restaurant's macadamia nut pie was the single best desert item I ate during the entire trip. I think our wedding cake may have actually been a little jealous.

Ciao Mein [link]

While I'm pretty sure the founder of this much-hyped (and much-dimly-lit) restaurant came up with the idea of marrying Chinese and Italian food specifically as a vehicle for the clever name "Ciao Mein," the food we ate here was surprisingly good, if a bit too expensive. We ate a big dinner of breaded soft-shell crabs, shrimp with walnuts and peapods, and seafood lasagna with look-funn noodles (pictured below. It may not look much like lasagna, but the noodles certainly do look-funn, don't they? .....sorry). The service was also excellent. Our waiter spoke fluent English and Japanese...and for some reason, responded to everything we said with a burst of good-natured laughter. At least, I want to believe it was good natured.

Dollar Rent-a-Car [link]

I don't have too much experience with car rental companies, but none of my past experiences have been as cumbersome as our experience with Dollar was. Things were screwy from the very beginning. For example, when we failed to pick up our rental on the day of our reservation (what kind of rent-a-car office closes for the day at 2PM?), Dollar stopped expecting us to show up at all. The next day when we tried to pick up the compact, the eccentric lady at the desk told us our reservation was "deleted," and that all they had available were Jeeps and convertibles.

She eventually did give us a discount on a convertible for our trouble, but it took her something like 25 minutes of her typing and growling at her computer and complaining about the "new software system" before our rental was finalized. When we finally got the car it had, annoyingly, half a tank of gas in it. This challenged us to the guessing game of returning the car with the very same amount of gas in it, since the rates Dollar charged for missing gas were a good amount higher than the actual price.

(Unrelated to our experience with Dollar, have you ever driven in Honolulu? What an epic pain in the neck. How many one-way streets does one city need? That, combined with high price of parking, the trouble we had with Dollar and the availability of decent, affordable public transport, made me somewhat regret my decision to rent a car at all.)

Howard's Downtown Florist [link]

As the groom, my responsibilities were few in the planning of our wedding. One thing I did take responsibility for was the reservation and pickup of the flowers and petals used in our ceremony. Luckily I happened to find this idiot-proof (groom-proof) flower shop. The staff was very helpful on the phone, although he occasionally sounded surprised -- or maybe offended -- at my ignorance to the world of bridal bouquets.

Atlantis Submarines Oahu [link]

Kind of lame, I'm sorry to say. This submarine, touted as the biggest sightseeing sub in the world, goes 100 feet under the ocean to offer guests a close-up view of some artificial reefs and shipwrecks, along with the animals that inhabit them. Unfortunately, however, buying the pricey ticket to ride the sub doesn't guarantee that you'll actually see anything interesting. Sure, there were a couple of turtles and some fish here and there. But even when they do show up, at a depth of 100 feet with only natural lighting, every fish you see looks blue or black, no matter how colorful it actually is. This is a nice attraction for people who can't go snorkeling or diving...but if you're not one of those people, you're better off spending the afternoon at Hanauma Bay.

Hawaiian Bridal [link]

I won't mince words: Wedding planners will gleefully destroy your finances if you let them, and this truth is amplified when it comes to Japanese wedding planners. That's not just my jaded prejudice talking; many businesses in Japan make their money by offering a high level of service and convenience in exchange for every last yen you've got. Luckily for us, however, the hefty price tag on our wedding was (at least partially) justified by the astonishing work of wedding photographer Tomo, who also happens to be the president of Hawaiian Bridal. Tomo shot us at various locations on the day of our ceremony, including a sunset photo shoot at Ala Moana Park, and gave us all the photo data afterward -- almost 2000 pictures in all. It made for an exhausting day, but the results were very nice:

1 comment:

carey said...

OMG Jesse! CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!! I'm glad things went well overall--I'm so sorry we missed it!!! I'm so happy for you both. HOORAY!!! :-)