I am sitting in my very own bed and trying to ignore the pain in my legs and the annoying persistent cough. Yes, I am still sick. I spent Weds of the cruise in bed and had to cancel the second snorkel trip. It's not like there aren't any available coral reefs in our country, so I can do it again another time. I think a lot of the wow factor for most Americans on the cruise was the tropical island bit. Living in Australia (and having lived in Florida for 5 years), all the foliage and such wasn't all that exciting. And I was unprepared for the wall of humidity which made everything hurt. Oh, and nobody told me it rained a lot. I didn't get to wiggle my toes on Waikiki because it was raining the whole time despite weather forecasters and tourist guides assurances that it was going to be fine.
A few very general comments about the Hawaii experience. I liked NCL and its policy of letting you eat where and when you wanted. The food was good and you choose what to eat and pretty much everything is on offer from roast meat to sushi. The cabin was small but manageable and we had a balcony as well. Unfortunately, our cabin was on the side that faced the wharf most of the time, and the ship docks at a commercial shopping terminal so you get a great view of containers on docks. I am so tired of Hawaiian music and shirts I may never want view anything of that style again. Read the fine print on your contract before you figure that you've paid for everything. This may not be a surprise to other people who do cruises, but there was a fee added for each passenger each day labeled a "service charge" which was supposed to mean you didn't have to tip people. We tipped the waiter who was extra nice to us and baggage handlers anyway. You get absolutely nothing free to drink except water out of the tap, and tea and coffee with meals. So every can of soda or water costs. My second bus tour was not very good. It was a trip to Waiemea Canyon via the life story of the bus driver. Very little about the canyon, stops to buy souvenirs, and a stop for 15 minutes to go to the only lookout over the canyon. Yes the sight is pretty spectacular (I'll post some photos later) but I'm not sure that a trip by houses with their real estate information was what the trip was for.
The hotel on Waikiki was very nice but should be at the price we paid. However, the area around the big hotels is all designed for shopping, both high end boutiques (Chanel, Dior) and the same souvenir stands selling the same stuff as everywhere. We finally went to a bar for a meal and got hamburgers since dinners in the hotel started at $25, Lots of Japanese tourists spending their yen. Many signs only in Japanese. The only souvenir I bought was a T shirt with "Obama surfs" on the front and a little patriotic verse followed by "President Obama 2009" on the back. I don't know for a fact if he does (or did) surf but he did grow up in Hawaii.
Unfortunately, no matter how much you like your cabin mate, you will get on each other's nerves occasionally. I am sure I was cranky because I was tired and sick and hurting and would have preferred to be left alone. But for the most part dear MIL was good company and we had some laughs. She went out at ports and went shopping in Walmart while I was trying to see natural wonders and maybe a bird (besides the hundreds of chickens that populate Kauai).
I am also having extremely mixed feelings about the dual citizen business. Having spent 2 months in the US on my own, I really had a good time and really had a ball with all my friends. I really like parts of American culture and life style and feel sort of constricted in Australia. Now that I no longer have the Bear, the ties to this country are not as strong. My friends in American are for the most part closer to me than any one I have here. I miss them all the time. I do love Australia and many things about its lifestyle and culture but there are a lot of things I don't like as well and time hasn't changed that. I can't go back to the US without medical coverage so I have to stay here unless I stumbled across a man willing to marry creaky old me and bundle me into his health cover. No, I'm not looking.
I hope to get out of bed tomorrow and go shopping for groceries. My housesitter left everything pristine but rearraged things a bit oddly. I have done 2 loads of laundry and have another yet to do.