Sunday, June 7, 2015

Our Hawaiian Vacation, First Night/ Day 1: Waikiki, Swap Meet, and Laie

 We flew in to Honolulu the evening of April 21st.  Because we had planned on using the more tentative (but free) military flights, we hadn't arranged either a rental car or a hotel for this night, so those things had to be put in order first thing.

To clarify, we didn't end up using Space A flights on the way there.  We had planned on flying out of Travis AFB in California (we rented a car from Utah to California), and at first that looked promising with four flights planned to Honolulu within 18 hours on the 21st.  But when we arrived to try for the first set of flights, the two later flights had gotten pulled and the two flights that morning only had 20 seats total.  Because our sign-up date was only four days earlier, we were low on the list.  We ended up purchasing flights from Oakland to Honolulu for about $200 apiece, which satisfied us.  Our flight from Honolulu to Travis was more guaranteed because our original sign-up date now had us at the top of the list, so we were able to fly back using Space A.

This is one of the first views of the island.  It's of the Western, desert-y Waianae side.  If you look carefully, you can even see a sliver of the tall, white Makaha Towers nestled between two of the distant rolling hills.  That's where we stayed for nights 5-7.

 I find these artificial bays interesting.

 The Captain had a place in mind for dinner in Waikiki, so we found a fair hotel near the coast called the Aqua Oasis.  It was a comfortable suite with a furnished lanai (balcony/porch) and a fabulous bathroom.  We dumped our luggage and headed out to dinner.
 Waikiki has a lot of tall hotels and condos.
 It's also very loud.  Everything is open very late.  The streets are filled with a charming mix of local vendors and 5th avenue-style shops I would never set foot in.  Tourists crowded the crosswalks.  It had been rainy and my cheap flip-flops slipped on the wet pavement.  We were ornery, tired, and hungry:  It was about 9pm there, and our bodies were telling us it was 2am back home, and we hadn't eaten anything since lunch.

Without knowing exactly where we were going, we managed to find the same beach the Captain had enjoyed four years ago. 
 And after enjoying a stroll in the surf, we found the restaurant he so fondly remembered.
 The Hula Grill.  He got pork chops and I got a special with five different sea creatures on it.  It was probably the best meal I've ever had.

Day 1
The next morning, I remember waking to get a drink, but I didn't feel well.  Pretty soon, the world started rolling.  I closed my eyes, and I felt it; I opened them, and my eyes screwed up as the room rolled.  I was experiencing true vertigo, and it was sickening.  The Captain brought me the trash can just in time.  He gave me a blessing and I slept while he wandered the streets.  When I awoke, I pcked at the pineapple he brought for breakfast.  I did feel better, but not sturdy on my feet.  We checked out right at checkout time.

He drove, which means I really didn't feel well, because I love to drive.  We headed to the swap meet at the Stadium for our one-stop souvenir shopping.  My vertigo had dissipated, but I was left feeling light-headed.  As the day went on, I felt better and better, and I was grateful.  One of the things that helped me feel better was this delicious drink:

 A fresh, young coconut!  I couldn't get enough of it!
 When it was empty, he cracked it open for me and I scraped out the flesh.  Yum.  For lunch, we ate at McDonald's, where they have something called a Haupia pie, and that is pretty yummy for fast-food fare!

After our shopping, we gratefully left the city for the beautiful North Shore, where we were staying for the next three nights.
 We drove to Laie to get our tickets to the Polynesian Cultural Center.  We also visited some Washington friends and saw the temple. If I could go back and change things, I would have had us go swimming this evening.
But I try hard not to regret anything.

 During our stay at the cabana, I displayed some of the souvenirs I bought at the swap meet.

Hawaii has lots of lizards.  This is the front yard of our cabana.

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