Hawaii

Oahu, Hawaii Bus Tour — A Humorous Experience

When I was in my 30’s, I won a company sales contest. The grand prize was a trip to England or Hawaii. I chose Hawaii.

As part of my prize, my company planned guided tours on Oahu, Hawaii. I felt obligated to attend the first tour, and I disliked it and it became my first and last bus tour.

Following are some reasons why this tour influenced me to never take a bus tour again:

1. I had nothing in common with my bus mates who left the bus to take pictures of pineapples in fields and then took close-up photos of them. I wondered if they took pictures of pineapples in grocery stores.

2. My tour mates reinforced that I had nothing in common with them when they stepped off the bus again to photograph field and close-up pictures of sugarcane. At this point, I wanted to return to my hotel because I thought that I was in hell.

3. The bus driver repeated incessantly that there were no snakes on the Island. He said it so many times that I started to suspect that there were some. In addition, I had a nightmare about snakes and the bus driver.

4. I was stuck on the bus all day when I wanted to lie on the beach, enjoy a casual lunch, and read my book.

5. Everyone on the bus carried bags and cameras and resembled Terry and Tommy tourist. I hoped no one recognized me with this motley group — even though I probably fit in more than I will admit.

6. I didn’t like to get shuttled to a tourist-trap restaurant where the bus driver seemed chummy with the owner. The food was terrible and I couldn’t get a cold beer to escape my misery.

7. Everyone on the bus was old — like I am now. But even though I am old, I still won’t get trapped on a bus.

8. I prefer to eat with the locals and determine when my tour begins and ends.

This bus tour affected me for life and left me with humorous memories. However, no matter how old I am, you won’t catch me lined up to board a bus with old people like me, unless I am forced.

The Salty Dog at Faneuil Hall in Boston

Boston Massachusetts: Faneuil Hall

Image via Wikipedia Attribution Frogmation

I love historic Boston. The Salty Dog Seafood Grille & Bar at 206 Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston feels old.

If you eat outside at the tables on the cobblestone sidewalk, or sit at the bar, you can watch the Faneuil Hall tourists. It is a great people watching venue. Inside there are two bars and a small dining room. Dark wood and brick walls enhance the relaxed atmosphere.

Travel Companions, my daughter and sister

When we arrived at the Salty Dog, we initially sat outside. Since it was cool, we descended the old stone steps into the bar. As we waited, hoping to get a seat, I was impressed that the bartender acknowledged us promptly, because he was busy preparing drinks and serving food. He got us three seats at the bar.

We enjoyed New England clam chowder. It was creamy with diced potatoes. The best part of out meal was the raw oysters with lemon, horseradish and cocktail sauce. They were fresh and salty. We also had fried oysters served with tarter sauce. They were fair.

My sister ordered fish and chips with no-mayonnaise coleslaw. The slaw was crisp and slightly sweet. We loved that it was flavorful and didn’t have mayonnaise.

I had a Bloody Mary with a cooked shrimp (that was still in the shell) and a large celery stalk. You could taste horseradish in the drink. It was average at best.

I would visit again because of the friendly atmosphere and congenial bartender. I would order raw oysters and a beer.

Hotel Commonwealth — Comfortable Luxury

Hotel Commonwealth Lobby

When I return to Hotel Commonwealth in Boston, it is like going home.  Hotel Commonweath is located at 500 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. It is a small-luxury hotel.

When you exit your cab at Hotel Commonwealth,  conscientious doormen greet you. We visit often, and some of the doormen greet us by name. It is a special feeling.

As you enter the hotel, you are struck by the rich reddish-gold carpeting with gold, blue, green and rose colored-mosaic patterns. As you ascend the  staircase,  you arrive in an elegant lobby. I love enjoying my coffee and reading the paper in the lobby, during the morning, and watching people.

The Green Monster

The rooms have views of Commonwealth Avenue or Fenway Park. You can see the “Green Monster” at Fenway Park from the Fenway rooms. From the Commonwealth rooms, you can watch the cars and pedestrians on Commonwealth Avenue.

Comfortable beds with light-weight-down comforters and four medium-firm pillows furnish the rooms.  I usually don’t sleep well in hotel beds, but I sleep great here.

The amenities in the bathroom include lemon-scented-soy shampoo, shower gel and body lotion from Fresh. They also offer pomegranate hair conditioner.

The hotel has two popular restaurants. Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster Bar. At Eastern Standard, you can dine on the patio or in the restaurant. If you choose outdoor dining, you can enjoy people watching on Commonwealth Avenue. If there is a Boston Red Sox game, baseball fans pack the bar and restaurant. One of my favorite appetizers is the steamed mussels prepared with white wine, tomatoes and fennel. It is served with crunchy bread for dipping. I also love their clear chocolate martinis. One of the bartenders gave me the recipe. If you want it, let me know.

Island Creek Oyster Bar is new, but it is known for delicious, fresh seafood. They rely on local farmers and advertise that they use the freshest ingredients. They have a great reputation.

My family visits Boston often, and we stay at Hotel Commonwealth. My daughter played lacrosse at Boston University and we would come to watch her fall and spring lacrosse games. Now, I visit whenever I can.  I can’t think of another hotel where I would feel as comfortable.