HAWAII VACATION MARCH 2008 - PART 1 - WAIKIKI
Our first and only trip to Hawaii was way back in October 2000, and we thought we should go again soon while we still were mobile. So we checked the Elderhostel catalog and found a delightful 6 day program exploring the Island of Kauai, which is known as the Garden Isle. The Elderhostel program was scheduled to start on Sunday March 2nd, and finish on Saturday, March 8th. After researching the flights, it was apparent that we would have to change planes in Honolulu, and so we decided to try and see some of Waikiki Beach area, since we had not seen it on our previous trip. Also, we thought this a grand chance to stop on Maui and visit our granddaughter, Rebeka, and so that was tagged onto the end of the Kauai visit.
So we flew into Honolulu on Friday, February 29th and started slowing down from the hectic pre trip pace. The flight on Hawaiian Air Lines was fine and arrived on time, and even served a good meal en route! We took a shuttle to our hotel, and enjoyed a short sweet nap before heading to the world famous Waikiki Beach!
Looks just like a calendar photo with Diamond Head there in the distance. And the weather was perfect, with a gentle breeze, and a wonderful soft feel to the air.
And most of the beach is like this with large modern hotels clustered near the ocean
Most have attractive terraces facing the beach, with pools, bars, , lounge chairs and acres of bare flesh!
On Saturday afternoon, after a lot of exploring, Marie and I came here and sat at a table under one of those umbrellas, and slowly devoured a magnificent Mai Tai tropical drink!
There were two good sized public parks right on the beach, providing lots of public access. In addition, all of the beach was available for the public to use , even the beach in front of the big hotels.
This a monument to the man who owned this big chunk of waterfront property, and later donated it to the public for a park, thereby providing easy access to the ocean for all.
We wondered back to our hotel, finding hundreds of these small kiosks selling all manner of tourist type items. They are neat and attractive, but I cannot imagine how they make a living when there are so many of them.
And here is our modest little "Resort" that is about 2 long blocks from the beach. We had a two room suite including kitchenette, all for about $130 per night, including all taxes. And of course, we could use the restaurants, bars, beach, etc in any of the large beachfront resorts.
More of the kiosks as we walk back to the beach
Now here is a modern hotel that chose to build right to the waterline, and has no sand beach, just this narrow path for the passing beach strollers.
I liked this view of Diamond Head in the distance.
I remember reading stories about life on Hawaii during World War II, and one of the really choice places for people to stay and party was the "Royal Hawaiian Hotel, right on the beach at Waikiki. I was curious as to whether it was still here, or had been torn down. Well, I am happy to report that I found it, and it is that pink building in the photo.
So we sauntered over and explored the lobby. It was very dignified and well kept.
We were getting a little tired, and so we made use of these lounges at the Royal Hawaiian for a brief pause.
And, while we rested, we were able to watch a wedding rehearsal here on the Royal Hawaiian lawn.
We continued our strolling Eastward along the beach, but we did not try to go all the way to Diamond Head.
The parks seem to be very popular.
Somewhere we found a Starbucks, and Marie got her coffee fix and I had a great Green Tea.
Here by the park there are things to get you out on the waves.
Including this large Catamaran.
And surfboards are everywhere. We resisted the temptation to go and catch a wave.
Here we are looking inland across a major street that borders the beach front park. That peaked building you see sticking up is a Catholic Church, replacing earlier church buildings that were on this site. But instead of having a nice plaza between the church and the street, there are some commercial buildings bordering the street.
I hope that this provides some nice income for the church.
The view inside the church.
On Saturday evening we decide to go for the Early bird dinner at the only rooftop rotating restaurant in Waikiki, We ended up opting for something more enticing than the Early bird. It was good. Here we look down on the pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
They are still building big hotels everywhere, since tourists worldwide, particularly from Asia, love to come here. We found that the business district along the major streets paralleling the beach were attractive and clean, and the general mood of the passers-by was a very happy one.
After the Yummy dinner.
The sun is setting and bringing our Waikiki adventure to a serene close
Like I said, there are hundreds and hundreds of these Kiosks, and they stay open late.
Who makes all this stuff? Who buys it?
Well, we resisted all this treasure, and sauntered back to the hotel, and packed for our morning flight to Kauai.