Way back in another lifetime when we were much (much) younger, we were married in Honolulu, HI.  Just the two of us, a judge, and the judges’ clerks who served as our witnesses.  It wasn’t a formal wedding by any stretch of the imagination, but it was our wedding and it stuck!

At the time we lived outside of Honolulu, in Hawaii Kai, for just over a year before returning to the Bay Area, CA.  It was years and years (and years) before we returned to Hawaii but our return trips were to visit other islands.  We have never returned to Honolulu, other than to change planes.  Nothing against Honolulu, but after having lived there, it is just another city that happens to be on an island, there are so many more interesting places to visit, we  just haven’t take the time to go back.

Spectacular sunsets!

In 2010 we decided it was time (and we had purchased a timeshare sales package*) to return so we went to what’s commonly called “The Big Island” and it was truly something special.  I will never forget swinging in a hammock, under the stars, and listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks.  Talk about relaxing!  Not to mention a bit on the romantic side!  We planted ourselves for the duration of our stay on the Kona (dry, lava) side of the island, which is such a contrast to what one usually conjures up when thinking of Hawaii!  Our timeshare package that we purchased was at the Waikoloa Hilton Village, a massive resort on the ocean’s shores.

* Timeshare sales package:  Who doesn’t love a stay at a 5-star resort, right?!  I mean the luxury is usually top notch as is the service and the facilities.  But, quite often 5-star resorts come with 5-star room rates.  Now, I should say right up front that I hate giving up 3 hours for a timeshare sales pitch, but we’ve gotten pretty good at them and we’ve gotten to stay at some pretty amazing places.  They tell you it will be 90 minutes but that just isn’t true.  From start to finish it usually takes right about 3 hours.

To survive the pitch, the trick is to not fight it, just sit back and enjoy the ride.  Take them up on the offer of soda, snacks, coffee, whatever they’re offering.  You’re going to need the sugar high to keep you awake for the next few hours.   And then proceed, knowing in your head you’re not going to buy anything and even if you were thinking about it most likely you would not buy it right then and there, you’d want to do your homework.  So, just smile, answer their questions and follow them around like sheep.  You’ll probably get to tour a beautiful 2-bedroom hotel suite and that’s pretty fun.  Soon the sales person will have reached the end of his/her speech, they’ve done their best but they still haven’t reeled you in and then the time will come when you think you’ll be able to say, thank you, not today.

Ah, but you’re not done.  That’s when they bring in the closer, the big guns, someone to make you the best possible offer and to bring the sale on home.  The closer will start with introductions, how are you, how are you enjoying your experience, etc., etc., and then wait for it… here it comes… today only I am prepared to offer you the deal of a lifetime.  And there is always the yellow note pad, a dramatic show of numbers, numbers circled, crossed out, percentages and fees and deductions and anything else they can think of to confuse the hell out of you.  And then there it is… the final number, the deal of the day followed by the inevitable question, “So, folks, what do you say, ready to buy?”  A good response is, “This sure looks great on paper, but we’re not ready to buy.”  Wait! You’re still not quite done because the closer is going to ask you to take some time to think about it and get back to him/her by 5:00 because it is after all a one day offer.  Simple, don’t call back.

So, you shake hands, collect the gift certificate you’ve more than earned, say good-bye and go along your merry way.  Back to your beautiful hotel room, back to the beach, back to pool where someone will bring you something lovely and cold to drink and you survived it.  Is it fun?  No.  It’s a pretty intense 3 hours of someone pushing you to buy something you have no intention of buying, but balance that out with 4 nights at an amazing resort, a rental car and a bonus gift certificate (usually $100) all for a great price and you come out ahead.  Usually, the high end resorts that offer the sales packages tend to sell the packages in the $700 range for 2 people.  And, the standard room rates for these resorts are usually around $300/night, so it’s a pretty great deal, even with the sales pitch.  Here is a look at what our timeshare sales pitch on the big island bought us!

So yeah, while listening to a 3-hour sales pitch is not exactly how you want to spend part of your day on your vacation… it does tend to come with some pretty nice perks!  Aloha!

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