Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hawaii Trip Day #1 - Oahu arrival

Well, we couldn't stay away! It is no secret to my friends and family that I LOVE Hawaii. I was blessed to go there many times as a kid because my mom's family all lived there, and even though no one is left on the islands, I still feel like Hawaii is a part of my soul that I inherited from my mama. The husband likes it too, but I think he would imagine that we would go there much less often than we have. He says every five years would be about right, but we've been there 4 times in the last 6 and a half years! This latest trip was not for any particular celebration, but we had vouchers from Hawaiian airlines from our last trip (return flight was an 8 hour delayed fiasco), and we had to purchase tickets within one year for them to be valid. You can only go to Hawaii with Hawaiian Air tickets, so off we went!

We decided to split our time between Oahu and Maui. Oahu is the only island that the husband has not spent any time on, and we now have a good friend to visit. J, from the Husband's Kalamazoo College days, has been living on Oahu for the last year, working as a Doctor of Radiology for a hospital group based in Indiana. The time zones work out nicely for both parties (night shift is a much more day shift in Hawaii!).
We had to wake up at 3:00 am to catch the 4:00 am Airbus from Goleta to LAX. We don't often fly out of LAX, but it makes lots of sense for the flight to Hawaii. Airbus also makes sense so that we don't have to drive 2 hours while half asleep, or pay/deal with parking. Our flight landed in Honolulu on time at 11:30am, and we proceeded to the Budget Car Rental counter. I had booked through Costco at a great price, but unfortunately, the system messed up my order and produced one confirmation number for my two separate island rentals. My Oahu rental was lost, even though I had a printed confirmation sheet. Luckily, Budget was able to match the rate within about $3 of the original price, so off we went in our Pontiac G-6. Driving in Honolulu/Waikiki is a nightmare. The streets were not well planned, and getting into and out of Waikiki is really difficult considering it is the main tourist area. Luckily, I was prepared and planned our routes in advance. I also prepaid for parking at our hotel at half price ($10 instead of $20). We stayed at Aqua Bamboo, which is about 1 block away from Waikiki Beach. This was a great deal! It was a small suite with a kitchen, living area, and separate bedroom all for only $108 per night! The only complaint is that the bathroom is a little small, but that was fine for the 3 days we were in Oahu. Some people may have found the street noise a little loud, but we slept with the air conditioning on all night (we like our room cold), so the white noise blocked that out.


After check-in, we decided to walk along Waikiki Beach/Kalakaua to see if we could find a bite to eat and a tropical drink. We found both at Cheeseburger in Paradise, a small chain that is a little overpriced, but which offered a great view and some yummy maitais:
After our mini lunch, we headed back to the hotel for showers & naps. We were feeling really weird from being up so early and then having a 3 hour time change, not to mention the two maitais each we just slurped down. We slept for 4 HOURS! It really felt great, though, and we were able to head out for a late dinner. Since this was our 5th meal of this weird day, we kept it to appetizers & dessert. I declared my Ahi Poke eggrolls from Duke's to be "my perfect appetizer," (a title that would be undone just a few days later), and the Husband thought his shrimp cocktail was the perfect late-night tide-over. The Hula Pie was a testament to simplicity, with quality ice cream and rich chocolate sauce sprinkled with toasted macademia nuts over a cookie crust. Of course, we couldn't finish it, but it was tasty! While waiting for our table, we were able to walk a little on the beach, and I was just giddy with excitement over our return to this amazing place!

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