Saturday, June 30, 2012

USA June 2012

USA June 2012
This is our first big trip for 2012.  The plan was simple.  Fly to Hawaii, then to San Diego to stay with my sister, drive up the coast road to Carmel, meet up with the Teed-Up golfing tour, then fly back to Hawaii for two nights and home.

The first leg we stayed at the Turtle Bay Resort on the Oahu north coast.  Great resort and we played two rounds of golf. The first was on the easier Fazio course and I managed to beat Vivienne 39-38 so avoiding any chance of being bagelled.  On the second day we played the harder Palmer course and Vivienne again beat her handicap (26) with 37 points but I did not (and my handicap is 26 as well).

We then flew to San Diego to stay with my sister.  We did the tourist bit by visiting the Midway Aircraft Carrier and had two meals.  The first at The Fish Market was average but the second at the just opened Brooklyn Girl Bistro in Mission Hills was fantastic.  Well worth the trip if you are in San Diego.  We saw a great musical The Scottsboro Boys.  Finally I bought a new RocketballZ Driver and Hi-loft 3 wood.  What happened is that we had gone to a golf shop to buy some balls for Vivienne when I saw that Taylormade was offering a 50% trade in for old clubs.  As I was travelling with a battered R7 at least 6 years old and an even older Cobra 3 wood, I thought this was a fantastic offer and rushed back the next day.  It turns out the offer was actually 50% extra on the trade in value of the clubs.  The 3 wood was valued at $0 and the R7 at $4 so my trade in was actually $6 which of course I claimed.

We then did the drive up US1 from San Diego to Carmel in a day.  We should have spent 3 days to do it justice.  However a friend of my sister Wendy, Madeleine, suggested that we stay at the Bernardus Lodge in Carmel. Not cheap but then when you are met in reception with a glass of pinot noir, and your mini bar comprises wines from the winery and it is all complimentary you end up thinking life is beautiful.  We spent a three days mooching around Carmel and Monterey.  We ate at Wills Fargo the first night (steakhouse 5/10), Marius the second (10/10) and Le St Tropez in Carmel (8/10).  My sister and Madeleine flew up to Monterey from San Diego in the evening and that night we closed the bar at The Hogs Breath Inn which was originally owned by Clint Eastwood.

The next day Wendy dropped us off at the luxurious Pebble Beach Lodge where we started our golf tour with Teed-Up.  We played the Links at Spanish Bay and Pebble Beach which is almost hallowed ground for most golfers.  We ate at the Tap Room at Pebble Beach which is the golfers bar par excellence for two nights.  The ambience was great; my golf mediocre.  However we then moved up to San Francisco playing Pasatiempo, Cinnabar Hills and Bodega Bay.  We stayed at the Fairmont Hotel at the top of Nob Hill which is an historic and great hotel.  We ate at Venticello and the Nob Hill Cafe which are near the hotel and great restaurants.  We also had a meal in Chinatown at Hunan Homes which was very good.  We went to the 2nd and final days of the Open at Olympic Park.  The course was very tough and winner Webb Simpson won with 1 over par.  On the final day we watched the field go through at the third hole.  68 players, only nine birdies and Tiger shot a double bogey to the stunned silence of the spectators.  The hole was a downhill par 3 and most players were hitting a 6 or 7 iron.  My big golf day was at Cinnebar Hills where I won the comp for day which was worth $100 and with which I bought a US open 100% Pima cotton golf shirt for only $92.

We missed out on the final day’s golf because my Resmed mask broke and I had to get a replacement.  This proved a challenge but there is nothing like turning up at a sleep centre and presenting a tale of woe.  I got a brand new sleep mask from the lab for nothing and peace was restored for the rest of holiday.  The previous night I had slept on the floor in the hallway.

We flew back to Hawaii and spent two nights at the Sheraton Princess Kalulani at Waikiki.  Geoff Thomas had recommended staying there saying it was inexpensive because it was set back from the beach but said the trick was to then go the Happy Hours at the beachside hotels which you could afford because you saved money on the accommodation.  The people staying at the Princess were certainly a different demographic.  We did Happy Hours at the Moana Surfrider and the Halekulani and ate a great Italian, Il Lupino.

All in all a great trip.  We were very lucky with the weather and thank goodness the A$ remained at relative parity with the US$!

Chris Golis Australia's expert on practical emotional intelligence website: Linkedin: blog: mobile: +61-418-222219

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