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At 4am local Hawaii time, (7am Pacific), I received a text that Ethan made it to LAX. Ethan’s only 14 years old and will be flying alone for the first time. Initially, it was tough for Nancy to let Ethan fly on his own. Knowing that I really wanted all six of us to be together during this vacation, I convinced her that many kids younger than Ethan fly alone unaccompanied. Since he’s only 14 yrs of age, American Airlines has an Unaccompanied Minor Service; “…to ensure your child is boarded onto the aircraft, introduced to the flight attendant, chaperoned during connections and released to the appropriate person at their destination.”
As I mentioned earlier, it was a challenge trying to schedule Ethan’s trip. His summer school ended on Thursday, July 23rd, and he had football practice through Friday, July 24th. Knowing that I planned on using my airline miles to get him a FREE roundtrip ticket, it was truly up to the airlines as to when he could fly. Not all flights had availability for him to use. The first availability was on July 25th, Saturday, and he returns with us on the red eye flight on July 30th. It all worked out. This gives him 6 days of vacation in Kauai.
The day finally came, and it was time for Ethan to fly to Kauai. To comply with the unaccompanied minor service, two of Ethan’s cousins, Rovee and Ralph, dropped him off at LAX. The deal was for them to check him in at the ticket counter, sign paperwork, and then accompany Ethan all the way to gate. Only one adult entered with Ethan. Ralph stayed behind, while Rovee joined him at the gate. It was that simple. Thanks to Ralph and Rovee. Thanks to my brother, Jojit, too…he’s the other back-up adult.
Ethan’s plane left at 6:15am (local Hawaii time) and was due to arrive at 12:30pm (local Hawaii time). We had around 4-5 hours to ourselves. For breakfast, I made my own breakfast bowl. I ate at Sammy’s Local Grinds last night and had his delicious garlic chili chicken. I added Portuguese sausage, kimchi, a fried egg over medium on rice topped which I then topped with nori. That was breakfast. Glad I didn’t have to go out to eat that morning.
By 9:30am, we all got out of the condo. For what? Not to pick-up Ethan yet, but to walk around Kalapaki Beach. We crossed the street, walked towards the beach. A few locals played beach volleyball. We also walked through the Kauai Marriott, looked around, looked at their swimming pool – it is a gorgeous resort. The Marriott resort is a quite huge and we had to find our way to get back on Rice Street that then took us back to our condo.
We got back to the condo around 11. We rested for a bit. My plan was to leave at noon, just in time to make it to the airport before 12:30pm (Ethan’s arrival). For some reason, I decided to check on the flight status, and at around 11:20, the status was an arrival at 12 noon (instead of 12:30pm). We finally left the condo at 11:40 and I knew we’d make it to the airport just around noon. I went straight to Baggage Claim B, received a phone call from Ethan, his plane had just landed. Whew! Within a few minutes, the rest of the family made it to Baggage Claim B. Ethan finally made it to Baggage Claim B at 12:15pm. Finally, our family, our party of 6…COMPLETE!!!
Not sure I shared this yet, but since Ethan was a last-minute addition to our trip. To rent a full-sized SUV (i.e. Tahoe) or a minivan was going to cost over $1,400 for our stay. I said…Hmmmm….no thanks, I don’t think so!!! So initially, I rented a full-sized car (a Chevy Malibu) for $309 for our entire stay, just a 5-seater (good enough for our 1st few days since only 5 of us got here first.) Nancy was willing to drive “another car” when Ethan arrived (another $187 for the rest of the stay….so we figured under $500 for 2 cars), but the thought of driving 2 cars wasn’t our idea of a vacation. On the day Ethan arrived, we took the Malibu back to Alamo and inquired about an upgrade (exchanging the Maibu for a van or SUV, anything that will fit 6 of us). Here’s the big surprise. To get the Tahoe was just another $250 extra (on top of the $309)….so go figure, instead of paying over $1,400 with an SUV or minivan, we’re now cruising in style, over $500 total. Lesson learned, inquire about the upgrade in person at the airport, not by phone. If I’m not mistaken, I also a drove a Tahoe last summer during our vacation in Maui. This Tahoe was so much sweeter (equipped with all the bells and whistles). It’s exactly what we needed.
One would think that we’d go back to the condo so we could rest. Well, not this family. From the airport, we headed to Koloa Town and bought our late lunch. Ethan had Teriyaki beef and rice from Sueoka’s, while I opted to go back to Koloa Fish Market for a traditional Pork LauLau with Lomi Lomi Salmon. It was already 1:30pm and the sun was beating hot. At first, Einstein here decided to go to Lawai Beach. I remember taking Caitlin here in 2008 and had a blast. Well, on this particular day, Lawai Beach was not a good place for the kids to swim. We headed back to Poipu Beach. We were devastated. NOT! After eating our lunch, we jumped in the water and must’ve played there for nearly 2 hours.
After leaving Poipu Beach, we headed back to Kalapaki Beach for Shave Ice.
For dinner, we headed back to the condo. I made our home cooked dinner (prepared with whatever was in the condo’s pantry). First, my Huli-Huli chicken marinated with Aloha Shoyu, crushed pineapples, passion-orange-guava juice, organic peppercorn. Next, we fulfilled our shrimp cravings and I made Spicy Fresh Kauai Shrimp with lemon garlic, oyster sauce, red hot wing sauce, Lilikoi Passion drink and Tabasco. It needed something green and I tossed frozen green peas on top. That was dinner, and that was Ethan’s first few hours on the island. We’re so glad he made it, and I know we’d have more things in store for the remainder of his visit.
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