two years ago, i was enjoying the lovely surroundings Hawaii has to offer. breathtaking. amazing.
our second day on Oahu started off very rainy. we hit up the local denny's for breakfast (we opted for cheaper breakfasts, since dinners were pretty pricey). after breakfast, we headed to international market square to do some shopping (what else to do in the rain?). we found lovely shell necklaces, which my mom and i each bought, at a great (finagled) price. we perused t-shirts, hand-carved wood statues, shot-glasses, the usual tourist-fare. as the rain poured down, we ran from stand to stand, staying as dry as possible. then i found my sister at the pick-a-pearl booth. she had pulled out a gorgeous white shiny pearl. i wanted to play, too. so i paid my $8 (a discounted pick-a-pearl price) and grabbed the ugliest and fattest oyster i could find. winner. i pulled out a matching set of flawless, white pearls. my sister really wanted earings, and i was leaning towards a ring, so we traded. she had my pearls set in gold teardrops. i debated heavily, trying all of the settings in the case. i couldn't decide, and it was an expensive purchase, so i wasn't going to take it lightly. as the rain continued to torentially pour down upon us, my brother saved the day with some plastic ponchos. we were armed to continue shopping, without fear of the rain.
with my undecidedness, i pocketed my sister's single pearl and we headed off for lunch. a cold beer and some nachos would help me make the right decision. after lunch, we headed back to the pick-a-peal station. now my sister was looking at pre-made rings and my mom was beginning to peruse the selection. the more we tried on and debated, the more fun we had with the 2 sales-girls (who otherwise had not much business). we laughed about the rain and tried on countless rings and other peal jewelry. as it became apparent that we would be spending more money here, the sales woman brought out a bottle of champagne. and we began to drink. i finally decided on a silver "wave" ring setting - to symbolize hawaii, and had my pearl set. with each setting, you get another pick-a-pearl. i managed to pull a matching set of beautiful, irridescent black pearls, which i had set into studs. so i picked another oyster, and pulled out another set of matching black pearls, so i had them set, again, into studs...my brother-in-law convinced me that i could sell them to someone, maybe on ebay. and i picked one final oyster, another black pearl, single this time. i pocketed this one. by now, my family is pretty drunk off of the 3 free bottles of champagne (except my pregnant sister, who was happily sipping her pepsi). my mom didn't settle on a ring she liked, she wanted to keep looking. but my sister landed on a beautiful grey-colored pearl in a gold setting. all together, she and i walked away with 8 pearls, in various settings and 2 stray pearls in our pockets. she later bought the set of black pearl studs from me. as we headed back to the hotel, we laughed about our adventure. we were pretty buzzed off the free champagne and had spent half our day (and a bit of money) at the pick-a-peal stand. the sun had finally broken out, quickly drying the rain-soaked island. we grabbed our suites and headed to Waikiki beach. to this day, our family still jokes about that morning, spent drinking and pearl shopping. whenever we see a pick-a-pearl stand, the boys want free champagne but not for us girls to buy anything.
i have some friends traveling to (and getting married in) hawaii this spring. although the pick-a-pearl stands may seem harmless, they suck you right in, feed you champagne, and make you laugh! it's not a bad morning when you spend your day shopping in the rain, with champagne.