Aloha, We have arrived – Yeah!

11/12/08 – Oahu – The gathering place
Aloha, well we have arrived in Honolulu. We left Charleston at 7:30 am and arrived in Honolulu around 2:45pm Hawaii time. It was a long flight but great to be here. We as usual opted for the lei greeting and roundtrip transfers to the hotel. It is always great to be greeted with a friendly smile and a fragrant lei.

We are staying in the ResortQuest Waikiki Beach Tower on the 36th floor, ocean front. They graciously upgraded us and we love the view. This is a great resort. The condo is very spacious, has a full kitchen, washer/dryer, 2 TV’s, balcony off the bedroom and living room. They have twice daily maid service, love the turn down chocolates. There is in room high speed internet, free. There are 2 pools; the one is a small intimate pool on the 4th floor. There is a party room, spa, billiard area and racquet ball court. The 2nd pool is across the street, has a sandy beach and is a beautiful turquoise blue. Of course I am talking of the Pacific Ocean. The staff here is wonderful, so helpful. The bellmen have some great suggestions on restaurants the locals frequent. That is something we like to do, although the Cheesecake Factory is looking good.

We arrived in time for the sunset. Beautiful! The nightscape is beautiful, a full moon and a sky full of stars. We can see the Pink Palace – Royal Hawaiian – from the balcony. We usually go to Duke’s at the Outrigger when we arrive. This trip took its toll and I went to Teddy’s (bellmen’s suggestion) for great carry out burgers. While walking to Teddy’s the streets were full of excitement – visitors everywhere, the street performers, venders, music from the open air lounges. (Melanie the parrot man is still here, those birds are well fed.) Waikiki is really hopping as usual. We are trying to stay up late but at this point we have already been up 24 hours.

11/13/08
Well we were up at 4am today. But that works out great – able to do our east coast business (there is a 5 hour time difference so it was 9am on the east coast.) We took our usual walk down to Ft. deRussy Park. One of the objects of our trip is to find spots that do not break the bank. On our walk we discovered Keo’s – a great restaurant. We had breakfast – $3.95 – 2 eggs, 2 bacon strips, 2 pancakes. Their dinner menu was also reasonable.

We went to the beach, had some liquid sunshine (rain shower) but you know by the time you gather everything up its gone. We have rented a car for tomorrow; we want to go to the North Shore to see the surf contest and the big waves.

Our bellmen recommend the Side Street Inn – near the mall. We were so full I never thought I would eat again. You should have seen Bob eating fried rice with chopsticks.

It was tricky to find because of the one way streets but they do have $5 valet parking. It is all Pu Pu’s (appetizers) but a serving was huge and we shared their signature pork chops and fried rice. We could not finish it all.

11/14/08
Up at 4:30am again, business done. We picked up our car (Dollar.com had a shuttle come for us) and off we went. Now this is a real test of a marriage, rush hour, map to the North Shore and Bob driving. We were so busy looking at a rainbow we missed our turn. But around the bend we saw a double rainbow. So worth the missed turn. Fortunately the roads to the North Shore are very well marked. In Haleiwa (a small town in the North Shore) we stopped for breakfast – great sweet bread French toast. (Haleiwa Café) Would you believe in this little town in the middle of nowhere they have a McCafé! The new McDonalds – competition for Starbucks – plasma TV’s, ATM machine, café tables, WI FI and all those fancy coffee drinks.

The waves were awesome – 30 feet. We joined the crowd watching the surfers, people from all over the world. Even the surfers we spoke with were from places far and wide. The surfers were amazing; some were taken out to the big waves via Jet Ski.

As usual when in the North Shore we stopped at Matzumoto’s for a shaved ice. A must –also if there for lunch stop at a shrimp truck. Keep an eye on the feral roosters, they love shrimp. (I always get the shaved ice with ice cream and beans, and the liner for the shaved ice. Without the liner it would be a big mess.)

This evening we went to Dukes but too long a wait, so we went to my favorite the Moana Surfrider. (One of the first hotels on the island – lovely) We enjoyed a sandwich under the stars and the famous Banyan tree. They had live entertainment. We then sat for a while on the front veranda rockers and watched the world go by. Perfect end to a perfect day.

11/15/08
Well we leave today for the island of Kauai – the Garden Isle. Our flight is at 7pm, so we were able to get late check out. Our shuttle will pick us up at 4:30pm to take us to the airport. We did our walk today in the direction of the zoo and Kapiolani Park. As we walked there was a soccer meet going on with all the soccer mom’s and dad’s cheering them on. We sometimes forget that people live, work and play here just like we do at home.

There was an Art Festival going on in the park. All the venders had to have things they made. A beautiful selection of items. I saw the gal I bought some mu mu’s from several years ago. One gal had hand made leis out of fabric, even for the dog. I planned to go back and get one and totally forgot. I think Bob was rushing me around, hmmmm. I guess I will just have to return to the islands sooner.

I can’t say enough about the people at the Waikiki Beach Tower. They are so pleasant and helpful. Everyone expressed an interest in our travels from the maids to the front desk. To go somewhere and have them make you feel so welcome is very special.

Aloha for now, Joanne

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