Friday, January 28, 2011

I'll Show You How to Take a Hike in Hawaii!

Oh look! An old post I meant to post awhile ago. It's amazing what one puts in their time capsule.

Like any good woman, I love to brag and gloat about all the great deals I get on things I buy. Not that I buy much. I think that’s how women relate to each other. Just listen (yes, I’m encouraging you to eavesdrop, it’s impolite but highly entertaining) in on a conversation between two women. It generally goes something like this:

“Oh Patty! Cute dress!”
“Oh, this old thing? I got it at Macy’s off the clearance rack for $10!!!”
“Only $10? Wow. You’re so amazing, you usurp any other being I’ve ever met”
“Oh yeah?!”
“But, um, did I mention I got these $70 puma shoes at Ross for $15?”
“Wow, I love the blue and red design. But...I got my pumas for $10 at a garage sale.”

Anyways, that's pretty much a typical excerpt from a conversation between two women. You can imagine how the saga continues.

Notice the subtle competition about who got the best deal. Also, both typical women are extremely impressed with the other’s ability to bargain hunt and get things for cheap. But also, there is a deep rooted envy for whomever got the best deal and they will try to oneup each other until they run out of time (and have to get to an appointment with a guy from craigslist who is selling them a crockpot).

Okay, allright, okay, here I go. This blog post is a “How to” but really, it’s just me boasting about what a great deal I got on my latest piece of enjoyment.

“How to go to Hawaii for $675”
Here is an itemized list of this trip. We had four full days of fun, fashion aaaannnd frivolity (lots of that) and two days of travel.

Flight: $285 (round trip including taxes). Sign up for free e-mails from kayak, travelzoo, and other websites. I got an e-mail telling me about some great webfare which caused a reaction like this: “uh! uh! uh! Should I do it??! er, yes! Ack, I just booked a flight to Maui!”

Rental Car: $82. Head on down to the local budget junker car rental agency. Your car will fit in and you will look like a local surfer dude, not a tourist in a Land Rover. None of this fancy red corvette business; what you need is a jalopy. We split our car rental free, so it was originally $164. (Travel with a buddy too - that cuts down on the cost).

Hostel: $120. None of this fancy resort business. No, go to the hostel with 80’s decor and a shared bathroom. For $30 a night, you get the basics and who gives a hoot? You just catch some zzz’s there.

Food & Park Entry Fees: $150. We bought a chicken at Costco, and we stopped at the local grocer’s. We ate at road side stands (the going rate for a kebab is still $10, eek!). No fancy dinners. Not sure the total on Park Entry fees, so I’m throwing it in here. And, we could have skimped even more on food, by not getting a smoothie or ice cream, but we wanted to have a bit of enjoyment in our taste-buds from time to time.

Gas: $33. Okay, there’s no getting around this one. Maui pretty much requires and car and hitch-hiking is illegal, so put away your thumbs (you know who you are). Gas is $3.75 per gallon and if you want to see anything, you’re going to have to drive and driving requires petrol.

Entertainment: $0. Free. Hawaii is so gorgeous and beautiful, you won’t want to spend money to see some opera or play. The only TV channel worth watching here is the great outdoors.

Souvenirs: $5. Sorry, I had to buy myself a scarf. I always buy scarves everywhere I go as my souvenir. Maui was no exception, so I bought a cheap one and not the $45 one.

Guidebook: $0. Borrow a friend’s (thanks cousin! Thanks aunt & uncle) or go to the library (thanks library!).

Equipment Rental: $0. Borrow a friend’s snorkel gear (thanks Cousin!) and ditch renting a surfboard or boogie board. Your body was made to body surf.. And you probably can’t board-surf anyways, you city person who grew up in some non-surfing part of the world!

Total: $675.

And now you know how you can take an all-inclusive Hawaiian vacation to expensive Maui for just $675. But, I warn you, there will be NO frills. And really, you don’t need the frills. It will only make for a less authentic holiday. Take it from a girl who knows. (hmm, should I put an emotican wink here?...okay fine ;-)

...aaand the conversation continues between ladies competing for the best deal.

“erm erm, did I mention that I got a Hawaiian vacation for just $675?”
“Oh Betty, how did you do that??”
“hhhwell, you see...” (pretentious use of the sound "hhh" before the word "well")

Okay, I’m turning off the smugness Right Now! But really, don’t deprive yourself of something great. Sure, I didn’t eat fancy food or stay in a nice place, but I thoroughly enjoyed this holiday and it was one of the cheapest holidays I’ve ever embarked upon.

Lesson to Be Learned: Take a Vacation; You Can Afford It! And if you can’t, make yourself afford it, you yutz.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Nostalgic Coke

I don't know what got into me today. Something quite strange. There I was at the esteemed university I attend (okay, big exaggeration there FYI) and I was eating my unhealthy doner kabab. For all of you non-Germans/non-Turkish folks out there, it's basically a pita bread with slowly roasted lamb, veggies and interesting sauce that you buy from a street vendor. It was quite delicious and salty (pregnant pause here..)..... it was at that moment....that I had a craving....that I never have. Pop! Soda! Soda Pop! Carbonated Beverage!

Let us rewind ten years ago to New Years Eve. I had short Meg Ryan hair and black toe nails. I made a resolution/bet with a friend that night not to drink soda for a year. That was a big deal because, ya know, I was a teenager and my diet at the time consisted of eating a pizza pocket for lunch accompanied by a Ruby Red Squirt. Ah those were the days. But back to the resolution, neither of us had soda for a whole year. Ever since then, I don't really go around drinking soda. I mean, I'll drink it if it's mixed into some sort of punch at some sort of event or some sort of thing. So for me to crave a soda is a historical moment.

So, I sat there craving Coke wondering what I should do. I then did the prudent thing: I asked my seventh-day adventist vegetarian friend what she thought I should do. She said, "So go buy yourself a soda." So, I did! I went merrily down to the mini mart and bought Mexican coke in a glass bottle. And wow, what a rush. When I put my $1.50 on the counter, I felt a rush of adrenaline and a moment of rebellion for some unknown reason.

I really REALLY enjoyed my Coke. After my salty doner kebab, it was just the bee's knees.

Moral of this lame story - the highlight of my day today was that Coke, what was the highlight of your day?