(A reworked post from 2012.)
On one of our early trips to Hawaii, probably around 1968, we went to dinner at Michel’s at the Colony Surf Hotel. Our friends had told us it was wonderful. It was quite upscale--& expensive. It was one of the very few places in Hawaii where men were required to wear a tie. We got there a few minutes before our reservation time & waited--& waited. When we were finally seated, we waited to get a menu. Then we waited to place our orders. When the food came, the orders were wrong. There were chiefs all around, but no Indians. We couldn’t get anyone’s attention. The maître d’ was making a brief stop at every table. When he got to ours, he smiled & asked, “How is everything?” I replied honestly, “Terrible!” He smiled again, said, “Thank you” & went on to the next table. Bud & I sat there with our mouths hanging open. I googled it—it’s still in operation. I can only assume they've replaced the maître d’, the chef & the waitstaff.
Before that, on our very first trip to Hawaii, we thought we’d like to see Maui. We flew over without reservations—this was before Kaanapali was built up. We stopped for dinner, & since I finished before Bud, I went into the bar to use the phone & try to find us a room somewhere. Everyone was booked full! The bartender had been listening & offered to help. He asked me if I’d mind a place that had drunken troubadours in the halls. I told him that we’d stay ANYWHERE—we just needed a room! He called a friend at the Pioneer Hotel & said that he had two nice kids (this was in the late 60’s or early 70’s--we WERE kids at the time) who needed a room & asked if he could help us. I should have suspected something when he interrupted his conversation to ask us if we wanted the room with or without a bath. I asked him how much the rooms were & he told us they were $5.00 without a bath & $7.00 with. We splurged & got a $7.00 room.
We went there, checked in & I started to undress, when a bright light flashed through our window. Then it went off. And back on. And back off. And back on. The window was covered by a sheer lace curtain & faced a lighthouse! I was so tired I just got into bed & fell asleep. I was awakened by Bud’s very loud snoring—at least I thought it was Bud snoring. I discovered that it was coming from another room. The hotel’s idea of air conditioning (in 1901, when it was built) was that if you had 7 foot high walls & a 9 foot ceiling, the air (& unfortunately, the noise) would circulate through the 2 foot gap at the top.
We had breakfast in their patio the next morning. Their macadamia pancakes were delicious--& we weren’t the only ones who thought so. There was a bunch of fat “poi dogs” (mutts) who would come to your table while you ate, plop down & wait for you to share your pancakes. They somehow sensed when your pancakes were gone, because then they got up, waddled to another table--& re-plopped. The hotel was featured in a Sunset Magazine article that month, where it was said they had recently undergone renovation. Bud figured this could only have consisted of their going from gas to electricity. I looked it up online & found that it’s now a Best Western Hotel, so I have to assume things have changed. We sort of liked it the old way—for one night! Below is a copy of their house rules from 1901, misspellings & all:
We went to the King Kamehameha Hotel on the island of Hawaii the next day. Bud hired a boat & its captain, Ted, to take him fishing. He caught an ahi (tuna) & Ted said one of the small local hotels would prepare & serve it for us at no charge if they could keep the rest. (It was yummy—you couldn’t have had any fresher!) We invited Ted & his wife, Joanie, to join us for dinner, along with several guests of that hotel. I think we put a “free dinner” notice on their chalkboard. Among our guests was a couple from Ireland, Derek & Patricia, who were there on their honeymoon. She worked for Aer Lingus, which was the only way they could afford the trip. They were married on the same day we were, just 15 or so years later. We enjoyed their company so much we invited them to go island hopping with us.
On one island, Derek told the room clerk they were on their honeymoon & was asked why they were sharing a room with us. He answered, “Damned if I know!” Our travels were about to come to an end & they wanted to take over our rental car, so they went with us to the airport. Bud had bought leis for both me & Patricia. We were in the front seat & they were in the back. Derek had told his young wife (he KNEW better) that the term for receiving a lei was “getting laid” (lei-ed?) It was all I could do to keep from laughing at the young innocent when she said, “I just love getting laid! Don’t you love getting laid, Fran?” I just kept facing forward & nodded!
More about Captain Ted: He & his wife, Joanie, later decided to move back to the mainland when their son was in elementary school. They were concerned because his teacher told them that he was doing “mo’ betta” in English that year. Ted took Bud out several more times to try to catch a marlin. Bud told Ted’s wife & me to watch & see what was flying from the boat’s flagpole when they got back. He said that it would be either a marlin flag—or Ted! Joanie & I were both relieved to see this:
This song was popular when we were first there:
More Hawaii stuff in the next post!!
Sometimes it’s more fun when you don’t plan ahead----fishducky