Alex wanted a beach day. And beach day we had.
Well, once we sat through a rather lengthy time share sales pitch, anyway.
That was part of the deal from the activity purchase. USD$100 off the total price if we sat through a “presentation”. They’re never just presentations. They’re geared to one thing and one thing only: effectively con you into purchasing something you really don’t need.
For the record, the sales pitch is very convincing. Take what you spend on an average vacation. Multiply it by 25. Tack on inflation (be liberal and say only 2%). It comes out to a rather large chunk of change. Ours came out to the price of our house.
That’s the first trick: slap you in the head with a paddle and get you to seriously think about how much you’re spending. Of course, these sorts of presentations are always set up in places where you’re spending a lot of money because the area is expensive. There’s a reason why you’ll find dozen of these things in Honolulu … and none in Death Valley.
Next comes the advantages of signing up with the program. All the features of 5-star resorts, free access to any of the Wyndham properties (Wyndham was the company), concierge, full kitchens, bla bla bla.
They play off the need for people to feel like they live more richly than they are. The appeal of saving money and getting to stay in places that should be normally above their means is an awfully hard thing to pass up.
Thankfully, reality pervades in our lives. We don’t travel around the United States, so most of the properties are not in our travel plans. Now or ever (more than likely). Also, you need to book places like this far in advance. Alex and I don’t plan enough in advance because it ruins spontaneity. As for cost — we stay as cheaply as we can, and splurge only once in a while. We don’t go all out. Most of the cost of our trips goes to airfare.
It takes a lot to tell them “no”. If you try to say “no”, they immediately get into financing plans. Thankfully, our agent gave us an out from the beginning, saying she didn’t want to hear “maybe”, only “yes” or “no”, and be as truthful as we could. The answer was “no”. It took a couple of hours, but we got out.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a waste of time. It was actually an interesting experience to see how these things operate. Who knows, maybe if we find the right sort of vacation property company, we might sign up. But it’s going to offer us far more than just the continental United States and a sole property in Canada.
Returning to the hotel, we went for lunch at the grill before camping out for the afternoon on the grounds. Alex took shelter in shade to read. I went swimming in the bay.
Only problem is that you need to keep an eye out for the Hawaiian Green Turtles that frequent the area. They don’t bite, but they’re endangered. And touching them is a serious no-no. They don’t know this however, and will come right at you because they’re not afraid of you.
This is what drove me to rent a mask so I could see under the water. (If I’d been smart, I’d have gotten flippers, too.) Smart move, too, because the bay was full of all sorts of interesting sea life, including those cute colourful little fishes you see on the Discovery Channel.
We headed to the Royal Kona Resort for about 17:00. Given that our last luau was perhaps the best in Hawaii (the Smith Family Luau on Kauai), this had a lot to live up to. We got our shell leis, access to non-stop drinks, and proceeded to mingle.
The luau space is not huge, but adequate to the need. And the shoreline offers a wonderful view of the setting sun. The imu pit was a huge dirt mound, not nearly as fancy as the concrete and stone pits at Smith’s. It did the effective cooking job, at least.
The entertainment was pretty good, I must admit. The host is adequately cheesy, but without being horrible. The band loud without being obnoxious. And as always, there’s at least one member of the all-Polynesian revue who looks as white as the pure driven snow.
The trees are well-arranged (whether or not it was intentional, I have no idea), the tables were a little cramped, but it wasn’t hard to see the show and mingle with everyone. I can imagine what it must be like on a busy night, though. The fire dancer was solid. Like the show we saw in Honolulu last year, there had to be a screen between him and the audience.
Back at the hotel, we endulged in another evening of Law & Order. Seems to be on TV all the time here.