Sunday 23 October 2011

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The Turtle Bay Resort - Following Sarah Marshall

I have to say that I never really wanted to go to Hawaii. I know that it's one of those places that everybody wants to go, and that it's supposed to be so romantic and relaxing, but it just never seemed like my kind of place. For starters, I hate the beach. This has nothing to do with the fact that on occasion I can be mistaken for a beached albino walrus. It's just that I don't understand the point of locating the hottest spot you can find and then staking out a claim on a little patch of sand, wedged in between a million other crazy people trying to do the same thing.  I don't like swimming in water where things are living, surfing kind of intimidates me, and I'm not a fan of pineapple. Combine that with the fact that beaches tend to have terrible wi-fi, and you can probably understand why Hawaii was never on my "must see" list.

On the other hand, all those things I hate, my kids love. Well maybe not the bad wi-fi, that's still a huge strike, but beaches, swimming in the ocean, and even pineapple are big positives to them. My wife had always wanted to go to Hawaii as well, which really meant that it was only a matter of time. I could keep on pretending that it was my veto vote that was keeping us from going to Hawaii, until Lori got tired of that game and told me that we were going, or I could find some reason to change my mind. So what changed my mind?

Mila Kunis. Well actually Forgetting Sarah Marshall. In the summer of 2008 we saw the movie starring Mila Kunis and some other people (My wife tells me it was Jason Segel and Russell Brand) which was filmed almost entirely in Hawaii. To be specific, it was filmed at the Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore of Oahu. Everything in the movie seemed almost perfect. The beaches were empty, the sunsets were amazing, and nobody ate pineapple. Throw in the fantastic looking hotel rooms, and I decided that this was as good a chance as any to look like Hawaii was my idea. We booked a week at the Turtle Bay Resort and headed to Hawaii, ready to enjoy all the luxuries that the characters from the movie had enjoyed.

Stupid Movie Magic.

Ok, I didn't really expect Mila Kunis to be at the front desk to check us in (although it would have been a nice touch). I did expect the front desk to be there though. It seems that when Hollywood makes a movie, they switch some things around to suit their own needs, which makes sense. I know that they do it. Nothing drives me nuts more than shows filmed in Las Vegas where the Flamingo and the Golden Nugget are right next to each other (They're 6 1/2 miles apart and aren't even on the same road.) so a few Hollywood liberties probably shouldn't have surprised me too much in Hawaii. I just probably shouldn't have booked the room based solely on what I saw in the movie.

For starters, in the movie Jason Segel got off the plane and decided to just "try his luck" at Turtle Bay Resort. He must have been feeling pretty lucky, because the resort is over an hour away and isn't near any other hotels. The front desk where he checks in was constructed just for the movie. The real one is in the same room, but doesn't have an ocean backdrop. Finally, as you might expect, our rooms paled in comparison to the Kapua suite that Jason Segel found himself in for the first few nights of the movie.

This isn't meant to be a knock against Turtle Bay, the resort was fantastic. The sunsets were beautiful, the beaches were empty, and the pineapple, well...that was everywhere. Still, for a place that I never wanted to visit, it was a great place to get away. Letting a movie inspire you to go explore somewhere is as good a reason as any. Just know that Hollywood may have taken a few liberties with your destination (and that Mila Kunis probably won't be there.)