Day 8: A Photo Day at Waikiki

Since this would be our last day at Luana Waikiki, I decided this must be a day for photographs only! Starting out with the one complementary “all you can eat” breakfast bar, courtesy of the hotel, we sat leisurely through breakfast. Soon we determined there wasn’t much point in “all you could eat” since the first helping wasn’t all that appetizing. Nothing was hot unless it came right from the toaster, and the tiny space (only 4 tables) began to be so crowded there was little to no service. Yet, we did manage to find enough to satisfy and send us out  into the day.

Others don’t always understand or share my excitement for photography, so my travel companion made the decision to relax in the room and catch up on some emails, the news, and his novel which is getting exciting.

I took my big Nikon camera and retraced steps with scenic views I wanted to capture in the morning light. Along the way, I enjoyed a variety of birds; their songs; little children delighting in the surf; butterflies alighting the brilliant tropical flowers; as well as tiny birds feeding on the iconic Hawaiian flowers. A couple from England struck up a conversation while I was shooting away. They wanted to make sure I had seen all there was to see in the area. They were leaving in just an hour – and I had a whole day yet. I rejoiced with them that they had seen so much and had enjoyed their vacation, assuring them that I would do the same. I sensed there was just a tiny bit of sadness on their part as they reflected on leaving this island paradise.

Taking over 300 pictures, I realized I should probably rejoin my travel companion and stop for some hydration as well. It seemed hotter today than previous days. I walked back toward the hotel and reviewed my pictures. I can’t wait to see them on my computer at home. Traveling with only minimal technology always seems to be a trial.

My travel companion was itching for a nap, so I got my hat and camera and went back out walking in the other direction. There seemed to be more people every minute, as if the “prime time” at the beach was approaching. But, no matter. I enjoyed the sights anyway. On my way back I stopped at a few shops we had skirted past yesterday and made a purchase or two; ensuring we would have some breakfast in the room before starting out for the airport tomorrow. And, each time I return to the hotel I’m reminded it really is Christmas time. Their tree is beautiful and it will be the only tree we have this year! I might as well enjoy it as someone took all that time to decorate it just for us.

Sometime later my travel partner woke from his nap and was ready to go down to the beach for sunset. That was my bookend for the day. I wanted sunset pictures and perhaps a better shot of Diamond Head, since the morning sun does not do it justice.

As we stepped out, it began to rain – a soft, gentle, misty, island rain that gradually accumulated enough to get us thoroughly wet for a few minutes. I didn’t want to expose my camera to such elements, so we opted to find some dinner first and hoped to see the rain stop so we might catch a sunset a little later.

Since we were already walking in the direction of The Steak Shack, we decided that would be a fine place to celebrate this momentous day. Exactly 44 years ago today my travel partner and I first met. Just about this time of night. And my life has never been the same since. So, we have now spent over two thirds of our lives together. What a grace it is to have such a traveling companion; driver; best friend; lover and father of our children. And he’s the only person in the world I would stand with in the rain on Waikiki Beach. A dinner at The Steak Shack seemed so appropriate.

As we were finishing up the last of our spinach salad, steak and rice the clouds parted, the blue sky immerged and the pink of the setting sun painted the horizon. We cleaned up our little picnic table and walked out onto a quay that was right in front of The Steak Shack. I photographed and documented the sun taking its leave of this day. It was breathtakingly beautiful. And, right beside me was my best friend of 44 years, still taking my breath away, too. There is no greater grace in this world.

We walked slowly back to the hotel reminiscing the events of that evening 44 years ago. It was the perfect cherry on top of a perfect day.

All that needs yet to be done is getting packed up so we can make our connections to the airport and the Big Island tomorrow.