How Retirement Feels

How Retirement Feels

Folks keep asking me how retirement feels.  I haven’t really settled into a routine like other retired people I know.  So far, it feels like I’m on vacation.  I’m in vacation mode.

In January, I spent a week camping and sight seeing in Lubbock, TX.  In February, I spent a week camping and hiking in Junction, TX.  This week, I’m in Hawaii staying in a condo in Waikiki.

As soon as Linda retires, we will be able to travel nearly constantly.

Sounds Nuts

As I look forward, I see us spending the bulk of our time traveling in our RV with an occasional (perhaps annual) trip overseas.  An annual trip overseas will give us a break from our normal RV travel routine – a vacation from our vacation.

Coconuts on Palm Tree
Coconuts on Palm Tree

What I Did On My Winter Vacation

Nothing says winter vacation like a tropical paradise.   We are in Hawaii on Oahu (Waikiki) for ten days and we are staying in a condo.  Condos do save on lodging expenses.  However they have advantages over hotels in that we get full kitchen and living room plus a clothes washer/dryer.  This works well for us as we don’t have to bring more than a few days worth of clothing and we can cook our own healthy meals.  Also, if we need downtime, having a living room allows us to lounge around comfortably when we need downtime.

Evenings were often spent walking Kalakaua Avenue and enjoying the sun setting over the ocean.

Waikiki Sunset Along Kalakaua Ave
Waikiki Sunset Along Kalakaua Ave

I ran into Don Ho a the new International Market Place.

Don Ho At The NEW International Market
Don Ho At The NEW International Market Place

Linda and I went out to the Dole Plantation on Oahu and rode the train.   After we ate lunch there, we bought a pineapple and t-shirt.  On the way out, we each got some pineapple ice cream with pineapple sprinkles.  Freshest pineapple ever!

Pineapple Express Train - Dole Plantation
Pineapple Express Train – Dole Plantation

I ran into Elvis at the Rock a Hula show at the Royal Hawaiian Center on Waikiki.

Elvis Impersonator - Rock a Hula Show at the Royal Hawaiian Center
Elvis Impersonator – Rock a Hula Show at the Royal Hawaiian Center Theater

After Elvis came Michael Jackson.  This dude is the best song and dance guy ever.

Michael Jackson Impersonator - Rock a Hula Show at the Royal Hawaiian Center Theater
Michael Jackson Impersonator – Rock a Hula Show at the Royal Hawaiian Center Theater

After Michael, Katy Perry did her act.

Katy Perry Impersonator - Rock a Hula Show at the Royal Hawaiian Center Theater
Katy Perry Impersonator – Rock a Hula Show at the Royal Hawaiian Center Theater

Nothing caps off a Hawaiian theatrical event like an awesome Samoan Fire Knife Dance.  This guy was over the top in fire daring-do.

Samoan Fire Knife Dancer - Rock a Hula Show at the Royal Hawaiian Center Theater
Samoan Fire Knife Dancer – Rock a Hula Show at the Royal Hawaiian Center Theater

The next morning we walked less than a mile to the Honolulu Zoo.   The entrance fee has gone up since the last time we were here.  Now its $19 for admission.

It being a Sunday, there were lots of kids at the zoo with their parents.  I liked the look of this particular zebra.

Honolulu Zoo Zebra
Honolulu Zoo Zebra

Sunday afternoon we caught the tail end of a parade down Kalakaua Avenue.  The parade started at Lewers where I caught this picture of the very last float.

Last Float in Honolulu Parade
Last Float in Honolulu Parade

Monday evening we went to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel for a luau.  This is my favorite luau ever (over five different ones).  Normally the hotel holds the luau on the back lawn.  When it is or has been raining as it did Monday, they hold the luau indoors.  Well mostly indoors.  the Samoan Fire Knife Dance was outdoors.

Before the luau got started, I walked out onto the lawn where the luau is held during good weather and took this panorama.  I guess I didn’t realize just how good their view was from this hotel’s beachfront.

Diamond Head from Royal Hawaiian Hotel's Back Lawn
Diamond Head from Royal Hawaiian Hotel’s Back Lawn

Part of the luau show was to recount the history of the Islands.   The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy was an iconic song from the 1940’s.

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Song and Dance Routine
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Song and Dance Routine

The Hula dancers were just lovely.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Luau - Hula Dancer
Royal Hawaiian Hotel Luau – Hula Dancer

This guy is was introduced as the most famous Ukulele player in the world today.  As he played, I was thinking about Jimmy Hendricks.  He wasn’t quite Jimmy Hendricks on the guitar but the performance had considerably more energy than I’ve ever heard on a Ukulele before.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Luau - World Renowned Ukulele Player
Royal Hawaiian Hotel Luau – World Renowned Ukulele Player

The closing hula dance was stirring.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Luau - Hula Dancer
Royal Hawaiian Hotel Luau – Hula Dancer

And the capstone to the evening was the Samoan Fire Knife Dancer.  Apparently, regardless of the weather, they don’t do fire indoors.  The luau guests moved out onto the lanai and the dancer performed on the adjoining patio.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Luau - Samoan Fire Knife Dancer
Royal Hawaiian Hotel Luau – Samoan Fire Knife Dancer

I find it super hard to watch the following as I can’t get the sense of burning feet out of my head when the flames are literally touching his feet.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Luau - Samoan Fire Knife Dancer
Royal Hawaiian Hotel Luau – Samoan Fire Knife Dancer

Tuesday morning we walked the mile and a half over to the Waikiki Aquarium.  We have been here before a number of times.   After paying the entrance fee, a photographer took two photos of us standing in front of a ‘green screen‘.  The ‘take a picture of the tourist’ thing is a fairly common practice at tourist venues.  But the green screen was a new wrinkle.  I made a mental note to stop and pay for the pictures on the way out if they were decent.

I was disappointed that the seal exhibit was closed.  The seals have been moved to temporary quarters while their habitat is being remodeled.  I can spend hours watching seal antics.

The numerous salt water aquariums were as interesting as ever.

Honolulu Aquarium - Salt Water Fish
Waikiki Aquarium – Salt Water Fish

I’m intrigued by how human like some of the fish faces are.  It is CREEPY.

Honolulu Aquarium - Salt Water Fish
Waikiki Aquarium – Salt Water Fish

On the way out, we stopped back at the photographer’s table.  He had put together an Aquarium Photo Book using the pictures he took of us as foregrounds to funny backgrounds.  Very nicely done!

Waikiki Aquarium - Fake Surfboard Shot
Waikiki Aquarium – Fake Surfboard Shot

 

Waikiki Aquarium - Fake Dolphins Jumping Over Our Boat
Waikiki Aquarium – Fake Dolphins Jumping Over Our Boat

Hope to see you on the road ahead!

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