Hey, Somebody Needed to Carry Her Luggage!

Every year in early May Nancy and I head out on vacation; she has an annual convention of the Pediatric Academic Society. Last year it was in Toronto and next year we travel to Baltimore but this year it was in beautiful, downtown Honolulu. I’m not ordinarily crazy about the island of Oahu because it’s so built up but it was nice. We stayed at the Westin Moana Surfrider, one of the oldest hotels in Hawai’i, and it was just flat out relaxing. While Nancy was running off to meetings, I got to enjoy the beach and explore a little of the city. This isn’t for everybody, but I was moved by walking around the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also called the “Punchbowl” because it’s in an old volcano crater. Many of those buried there died in World War II including many who died at Pearl Harbor.

After the convention was over we moved to the island of Kauai where we once again stayed at the Poipu Kapili. The resort is really good and we recommend it to everyone. Unfortunately there is a great deal of development going on around it and we fear in the next few years it will become too congested. We’ll see.

As everyone who has been to Hawai’i knows, you can’t do anything without a rental car. When we travel we normally use Enterprise but they don’t have cars on Kauai. They sent us to Alamo and trust us, we won’t use them again. It’s commonly known that rental car places try to tack on extra charges (e.g. collision damage, liability, etc.). We have coverage for all these and most places understand that. It appears that Alamo has figured out a new charge: the Vehicle License Recoupment or Recovery Fee (VLRF). If the car is damaged while I’m using it, even if it’s not my fault, they will charge me the daily rate until the car is fixed. It was also explained to me that since we were in Hawai’i, any parts would come by cargo ship that takes a long time to get there. The agent also explained that nobody covers this and it is in my best interest to get this coverage. I took it because I was stuck but I’m convinced this is just another way they’ve found to get more money out of me. When I googled the VLRF, the first 5 pages were for Alamo so I’m guessing they are the only ones who have thought this up. My bet for what’s next: charging me for the time it takes the agent to explain this coverage.

In fairness, other than the construction and the rental car, the rest of the vacation was wonderful. We both enjoy snorkeling and my favorite spot is on the north shore, called Tunnels. Nancy also tried something called snuba. I was too freaked out to do this but she enjoyed it and they have promised us a DVD of her experience.

On our last day we toured the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. I’m really not a flower guy but it was a good tour and it gave me enough history of the island to keep me interested. This is a “don’t miss” even if you’re not a botanist.

It was a fun week. So next year we are headed to Baltimore. I’ll be boning up on my duckpin bowling.