Sorry to disappoint but there are absolutely no pictures from our last day and a half in Hawaii. That is because we were too busy squeezing every last second out of our vacation to get the most of it and the Aulani resort.
Thursday was our final full day there and we hit the pools. London was in love with the tube slide at this point, but she surprised me by asking to go down the pitch-black tunnel slide. I'd overheard some people mention this slide earlier in our trip. They said it was pitch-black almost the whole time and longer than one would expect. Someone even said they got claustrophobic in it. With how London had reacted to The Twilight Tower of Terror and Space Mountain in Disneyland, I had steered her away from it for the trip.
But since she asked, I explained to her that it was dark the whole way and that she couldn't go down with one of us. London said she still wanted to try it. So I went down first. It really was pitch black and longer than expected. Just when you think you are turning to get to the exit, it switches back and continues on. I'll admit I was apprehensive going down it the first time, too. And when I got to the bottom I feared I was going to be followed and met by a very scared girl at the end.
NOPE! London came down squealing with delight! She loved it and went down it several more times, even convincing Daddy, Grammi and Grandpa to join her. I was beyond proud of my little girl for overcoming her fear of the dark to try something new. She was definitely rewarded for her bravery, too.
That afternoon the girls headed back to Aunty's after lunch, and their final activities there - Stitch's Space Goo and Hula lessons. Apparently, London opted not to do the Hula lessons as she was having too much fun with some friends she made. Sydney did participate and showed us her moves later that night, as well as the cutest little bow. I'm also happy that the girls did their own thing while at Aunty's and didn't cling to each other among strangers. They truly are independent little girls.
While the girls were at Aunty's, Cameron and I made our way to Laniwai, Aulani's spa. We scheduled and treated ourselves to a couple's Signature Lomilomi massage. When we arrived we were greeted by an attendant who walked us to a wishing pond. We were instructed to select a polished rock from a basket. Cameron selected one that said "Listen" while I selected one that said "Dream". Back in high school, dream was actually my favorite word so I found it funny that I selected this word now. We were then instructed to make a type of wish and toss it into the pond.
We were then given a tour of the Outdoor Hydrotherapy Garden, which has several dipping pools at various temperatures (including one at 40 degrees!) and showers with different ways of pouring water on you. We then were separated to be shown the locker rooms and gender-separated facilities. Mainly this was where the showers and dressing areas were and eucalyptus-infused sauna and steam rooms. Included in the dressing area was a swimsuit dryer since swimsuits were required in the Hydrotherapy garden. We loved this little machine! It would be very handy in all the rooms too.
We were also asked to pick out our favorite scent from some body scrubs. I couldn't decide between the plumeria and another so the attendant let me take a sample of both home. Cameron selected Laniwai's signature scent, which I was pretty sure he would any how. It's exactly how a nice spa smells, which is a smell he loves.
We both tested out the steam rooms before meeting back up in the Hydrotherapy garden. We then made our way back to the treatment waiting room, after changing into the provided bathrobes, which were super soft. The waiting room had comfy lounge chairs, super soft blankets, gentle music playing, light snacks and infused water options. I fell in love with the coconut water immediately.
The actual massage was just ok for me. Cameron enjoyed his more. I think my issue was that the masseuse didn't use enough pressure on me. I had still been running fairly regularly at this time and had tight muscles. I prefer a masseuse to really work on getting the knots out. My best massage experience was in Las Vegas at the Excalibur spa. That masseuse was good as asking how the pressure was and even commented on my knots, working very hard to get them out. I walked away from that one completely relaxed and loose. This one I was relaxed but still felt tight in areas - particularly my back. Plus, when the massage is this light it goes very quickly and doesn't feel long enough. The Excalibur one was the same length of time, but because of the pressure I was ready for it to end, and it felt longer because of it. Plus, a really good massage will last you a few days over just an ok one. I could have had another massage a few hours after this one.
After our spa treatment, and with the girls still at Aunty's for a couple of hours due to their schedule, Vicki, Cameron and I headed across the street to a restaurant called The Monkey Pod. A co-worker had recommended it to me and I wanted to make sure I tried it out. My parents opted to snack for dinner and watch the basketball game on TV.
The Monkey Pod did not disappoint. I got the Hamakua Wild Mushroom & Truffle Pizza. It came on a thin crust with a white sauce. It was delicious, though the single bite of Cameron's Big Island Cheeseburger was heavenly. Vicki got the Mahi Mahi Fish & Chips, which she said were the best she had ever had. My cousin Eddie was able to join us at the end, and the bite of his Proletariat pizza was also delicious. I also had a Mod Tai cocktail with dinner. It had light rum, creme of coconut, lime juice and a lemongrass-cardamom syrup in it. I found it very light and refreshing and wish I had the recipe for it to recreate it.
My parents had picked the girls up from Aunty's before we got back from dinner. We visited with Eddie a little longer before we forced him to go home. The poor guy had been working 12-16 hour days for 6 days straight and was exhausted. We appreciated him making the effort to see us, but we also wanted to make sure he made it home. The rest of the evening was spent packing up. Since London had fallen in love with the water slide we wanted to make sure we went swimming in the morning before we had to leave.
We were also glad we packed an extra duffle bag for the trip home - we needed it! And while we had made an effort to pack light and wash clothes while on the trip, there were still items I found I didn't wear and could have packed even lighter.
We slept in a little but still managed to squeeze in a good hour and a half in at the pools before we had to get dressed, dry our suits and head out front to wait for our shuttle to the airport. London went down the dark slide as many times as she possibly could, too.
We were all so sad to see this trip end, it was such a good trip. Usually at the end of a vacation, I am ready to get home and back to our animals. I was just beginning to miss them when the week ended. I could have stayed a few more days if we could. London could stay there forever. She still says how much she misses Hawaii and says she wants to live there someday.
Thank you to my mom & dad, and Vicki for the trip. I hope we can all do it again someday!