Thursday, November 04, 2004

Hawaii Trip Report

Sorry Guys! I know it's been forever, but I just got back from Hawaii on Tuesday and I've been super busy ever since! Here's my Hawaii Trip Report. I put some pictures in from the web, when I get enough energy, I'll scan some of our own pics in...enjoy!

Day 1 – Sunday, October 24, 2004

Mom drove us to the airport. We were to go to the East Terminal. As we arrived a man rushed out and grabbed our luggage, before we could even realize that he was looking for a tip! We stood in line for a short time to check in. We took off to our gate - #7. So many people were going to Vegas – there was even a couple going there to get married. She was sooo concerned about her dress.
Before we knew it, we were in the air. The flight to Vegas was about 3 hours long and seemed as though it was 12 hours! We were given a snack (goldfish pretzels and drinks). I got water and J got a soda. When we landed in Vegas, we had to find our way over to Terminal 2. After walking around for a while, we went outside and found the shuttle to Terminal 2. When we finally got there to check in we were given two seats across the aisle from each other. Up until the very last minute, the people in my row hadn't shown up – I was so hopeful – but, they showed up and then the attendant closed the door to the plane (just my luck). The flight from Vegas to Honolulu was 5 hours and 50 minutes long, but I swear this flight was longer that when we fly to Germany! I was miserable. I guess it didn't help that I was in a row with two people I didn't know. Plus, I barely fit in the seat (they were sooo small - I'm not even a big person) and I had to push the arm rest back to even fit comfortably and on top of all of this, I was sitting next to the most annoying couple on the face of the earth! They were about our age, but she kept wanting to get up (like 10-15 times). Then there was a baby that clearly did not like to fly, he screamed the entire time! But after three movies (Raising Helen, Terminal and 50 First Dates), we arrived in Honolulu! It was about time!

We stepped off of the plane and were welcomed by Worry Free Vacations and were given the traditional Hawaiian Lei Welcome (with a hug, kiss and lei). Then, we were handed our tickets to the breakfast tomorrow. We picked up our luggage and then we looked into renting a car; we checked with Budget and National. We ended up going to National. We decided on a midsize and it was only $240 for the entire week (with tax). We went to their lot to pick it up and to our surprise, the girl there said "I have a convertible, would that be okay?" We quickly accepted. We drove to our hotel and checked in. We were given room 317. I had read reports about how loud the lower floors were and how paper thin the walls were – but we didn't have too much of a problem. The only problem with the rooms were the toilets that seemed to be alive! Otherwise, the room was spacious, cozy and clean!

We ended up watching the baseball game (World Series Game 1) and then we ran across the street to browse around the International Market Place. They had so much stuff there! We got sucked in by the Pearl lady. She let you pick an oyster and then you could open it and buy the pearl inside (for $12.99). J did it and then she tried to sell us a setting for $100+ and when J didn't bite, she got mad – it was kinda funny! Then we walked around the entire market and ended up at one of the 38 ABC stores in Waikiki. We ended up buying bottled water, snacks, snorkels, etc. I know, we're suckers. After our shopping excursion, we put our suits on and ran down to Waikiki Beach (which is what our hotel lays on). We swam for a little while – the water felt sooo good! After we swam for about an hour we went back to the room and ordered room service. We both ordered the Cheddar burger and shared a Caesar Salad. We ate our dinner out on the balcony and it was so relaxing. After we finished, we watched the beach for a while and then went to bed!

Day 2 – Monday, October 25, 2004

Today we woke up at 6:30 a.m. and had to be ready to be picked up to go to our orientation breakfast. We were picked up and taken to a different location where we were fed a fantastic American breakfast. We had OJ, eggs, ham, hash browns, biscuits and muffins. It was good. Then we watched a little Hula show (the girls and the guy were from the Polynesian Cultural Center) and then another gentleman told about all the local things to do and what tours to get on. J and I decided to do the Atlantis Submarine Dive today. So we left the orientation and were surprised that there wasn't shuttle to take us back to the hotel. The only shuttle they had was going to the Maui Divers Jewelry tour which we didn't have time for. It was like 10:00 and we had to be at the Hyatt by 11:10 to be picked up for the Submarine Dive. To my disgust and fury, we walked 2 miles back to the Hyatt where we were picked up for the submarine dive. Anyway, we arrived to the Atlantis Submarine Harbor and to a shuttle boat out to the dive spot (about 8 minutes out). The dive was so fun, we saw shipwrecks, plane wrecks, sharks, sea turtles and all kinds of little tropical fishes. We took a shuttle back to our hotel and when we got there we asked the activities desk about the "Coconut Postcards". We couldn't find these anywhere and we really wanted to get them! After we talked to the Activities Rep, we decided to get our suits on and go to a beach, so we did.
Next we hopped into our Sebring Touring convertible and drove to the Miramar Hotel where we had to pick up our tickets for our Missouri Stars & Stripes Tour and our luau. Then we drove down by Diamond Head and Hanauma Bay and up to Kailua and Lanikai. Somehow, we got lost in Kailua while it poured down rain! Needless to say, we didn't make it to the beach that day!
So, we drove back to the hotel and decided to go out to dinner. We changed into our clothes and went to the Hula Grill on the Lobby level of the hotel. We both had our first and second Lava Flows (these things were soooo delicious). Then I had a Tropical Itch (after hearing so much about them), it's the one that comes with a back scratcher. This drink was sooo nasty but, of course, I drank the whole thing. I had the Lemon Ginger Roasted Chicken and Jason had the Spicy Shrimp Kung Pao. The food was very good. We sat at table #21. After dinner, we went for a stroll on the beach and it started to pour again! We got soaked! We went back to the room, dried off, watched some TV and went to bed.

Day 3 – Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I woke up early at about 5:15 am and jumped in the shower. When I got out J was ready for his shower. We got ready and then we left to go to the Hyatt to be picked up by "Roberts Hawaii" for our Missouri Stars & Stripes Tour. We arrived at the Hyatt at 6:20 and we weren't picked up until 6:40. Our driver's name was Ted and he drove bus 623. Ted told us to call him "Cousin Ted" because we were all "Ohana" (family). Our first stop was the USS Arizona Memorial. At the memorial (we arrived there at about 7:30 am) we were quickly put into "Group 2". We had about 45 minutes to look around, so we did and we went into the gift shop, the museum and shot some pictures of the USS Stennis – which was an Aircraft Carrier, the Bowfin (submarine), the USS Missouri and the USS Arizona Memorial. Then we were called to watch the movie before heading over to the actual memorial. The movie was good, but very sad. I got it all on video. Next, we rode a boat over to the memorial. It was very sad and eerie. The black tears of oil comng up from the wreckage was the eeriest thing I've ever seen. After the USS Arizona, we caught a trolley over to Ford Island to tour the Might MO! (the trolley was right outside the Bowfin museum). The Might MO was so neat. We had a tour guide named Toby who actually served on the MO. He was the Captain's Personal Assistant (I don't know the military term for it). Toby knew so much about this ship, it was amazing to listen to him talk. Next, we got back on the bus and drove to Pizza Hut for Lunch. We had the buffet and got sooo full! After lunch, we took a tour around Honolulu where we saw the Capital Building, Iolani Palace, The First Catholic Church in Hawaii, the Governor's Mansion, the business district and Chinatown. At the end of the Stars & Stripes tour we went over to the Punchbowl National Cemetery (named Punchbowl because it is an extinct volcano and is a crater shaped like a punchbowl). Our tour guide here was Henry who was from the American Legion. He, too, was very knowledgeable. There was a gorgeous lookout of Diamond Head and all of Honolulu from Punchbowl. Finally, we were dropped back off at the Hyatt, where we walked back to our hotel and went down to the beach for a little swim. After a nice swim, we went back to the room and took showers. We planned out the rest of our week and headed our for dinner. We drove over to The Hard Rock CafĂ© for dinner. Here we both had our first Blue Hawaiians (these, too, were sooo delicious). We both fell in love with the Blue Hawaiian and the Lava Flow. Our server's name was Jason and he's from New York. He's been in Hawaii for like 9 months. We got to talking to him and it turns out he was rootin' for the Cards too, because he is a Mets fan, so naturally, J liked our server! We drove back to the hotel and went to bed!

Day 4 – Wednesday, October 27, 2004

We woke up and had breakfast at the Hula Grill. Around 8:00, we drove over to Diamond Head and hiked to the top! It about killed both of us but, it was well worth it for the view at the top – it was absolutely beautiful!
After Diamond Head, we drove up the east coast and stopped at the Sandy Beach park and changed into our swimsuits, we didn't stay at this beach because you couldn't swim in that water because it was too choppy. So, we kept driving and looking for another beach. First, we stopped at Makapu'u Beach and the waves about drowned me! We ended up leaving this beach right when I got out of the water and finally ended up at Kailua Beach. We got there around 11:30 and we left around 2:45 – we both got sooo burnt and tan!
At 3:00 we went back to the hotel and took showers to get ready for dinner. We went and ate at Duke's Canoe Club on the Lower Lobby level of our hotel. I had the Huli Huli Chicken and J had the Ono – the food was alright – I didn't like the atmosphere because all I heard was about the damn Red Sox winning the series! We both drank a Lava Flow here and then we tried the Paninis (a banana/pineapple drink). We were sooo full by the end of the night though. Finally, we went back to the room to relax and ended up go to bed.

Day 5 – Thursday, October 28, 2004

We woke up and had breakfast at Duke's Canoe Club. Duke's has the most amazing breakfast buffet! After we ate, we left for Hanauma Bay. We got there about 9:00 and we saw our video about safety at 9:15. We were down at the beach by 9:20. We snorkeled until 11:30 – it was so much fun and so interesting. We stopped at the Hanauma Bay snack shop and I got a HUGE Shave Ice (this, too, was delicious) – Jason shared it with me! Then we left and went to the hotel to change for the Dole Plantation. Finally we drove towards the North Shore for Dole. We got there around 3:30 and took the 20-minute Pineapple Express Tour. Then we bought some souvenirs and I had some Pineapple ice cream and J had a chocolate covered banana. At the end, we did the Maze which ended up taking us like 45 minutes because we didn't know there were little maps, plus we didn't grab a pencil to shade in the areas we found! You have to find 6 stations while you're in there and there were little maps telling you kinda where they were and we didn't know that. This is the largest maze in the world, literally. It's in the Guinness Book of World Records. It's in the shape of a pineapple.
On the way home we drove up to the North Shore just to check it out a little. We didn't see much that night. Then we drove back to Waikiki and stopped at Bubba Gump's at the Ala Moana Shopping Center for dinner. On the way to the hotel after dinner we got lost somehow! We finally made it back to the hotel at 9:30 pm and we crashed as soon as we got there!

Day 6 – Friday, October 29, 2004

We woke up, ate breakfast at Duke's and got ready to go to the North Shore to swim with sharks. On our way we got lost (despite having perfect directions) and we got stuck in traffic, so we called and rescheduled for Saturday. Instead, we eventually found our way up to the North Shore. We drove all the way up the East Coast and over to the North Shore. We passed the Kualua Ranch (where a bunch of movies were filmed including Godzilla) and the Polynesian Cultural Center which was closed! Once we hit the North Shore, we drove by and stopped at all the big beaches like Sunset Beach, Waimea Bay, Pipeline, etc. We drove through Haleiwa (a small historic town) and we went to the Dole Plantation again to get our Hawaiian names and get J one of his Souvenir pennies. After that we drove back down to Haleiwa and walked up and down the entire main street of the town and went in all the little shops. We got some "Bubbies" homemade ice cream and we found our Coconut Postcards at a small shop called "Polynesian Treasures" – we also bought a little hula bear there. After that we drove back to the hotel. We got stuck in horrible traffic for about an hour. We finally got back to the hotel and we didn't move after that! We ordered room service for dinner (we had the same thing we did last time – cheddar burgers and Caesar salads) and we watched the Apprentice, Dennis Miller and the first Austin Powers movie. We fell asleep during the Austin Powers movie.

Day 7 – Saturday, October 30, 2004

That's right, Happy Birthday to me! It's my 27th birthday…
We had our usual breakfast at Duke's and then we headed back to Haleiwa on the North Shore to swim with the Sharks at Hawaii Shark Encounters. Our waiter at Duke's told us about a man that was attacked by a Tiger Shark on one of the other islands two weeks earlier – that made me nervous!
We arrived to the Haleiwa Harbor at about 9:30 am. We got on the boat, her name was Kainani. On the boat was Jimmy (the owner) and Don (the deck hand) and we were the first to arrive. Next came a couple from Seattle, then 3 young adults with a young kid (the kid's name was Rad, which was short for Radharra – Sanskrit) from Hawaii. We rode the boat about 3 miles out to sea and we stopped at buoy they had placed years before. They put the cage out in the water and told us that 4 at a time could go. So, the first group was the couple from Seattle, J and me. We saw a bunch of sandbar sharks, Galapagos sharks and two huge female Tiger sharks! It was sooo cool. It was unreal. Don would throw bait out to keep the sharks around. He also got the Tiger sharks to bite his bait on a rope and fought the shark, it was great! Next, it was the other group's turn. The same things happened to them. Poor Rad and the couple from Seattle got sea sick and kept vomiting over the side of the boat. Everyone in the cage kept thinking it was bait for the sharks. I felt so bad for them. After this, we stopped at a couple shops in Old Haleiwa. We ate some McDonald's and drove back to Waikiki. We went to Hilo Hattie to look for Aloha wear to wear to the Luau. Hilo Hattie is at the Ala Moana Shopping Center, so we also walked around the mall a little. Then we went back to the hotel and took showers for our luau. We, then, went to the Hyatt to be picked for Germaine's Luau. We rushed to be there on time and we were sweating. Then, all of a sudden, it started raining and the damn shuttle was late picking us up – so we had to stand out in the rain! Again, I was furious. But, finally, we were on our way to the luau. Our host, Alika, was hilarious. We got to the luau, got our pictures taken with our shell leis and found a seat right in font of the stage. The show was great so far (dancers, singers, etc.). J got us some drinks. We were given the "ok" to go to the buffet. I got the same type of stuff I would get at home, but J tried the "Poi". The show continued but, then it started to rain. J got us some trash bags but, they didn't help at all. Then it started to pour! Eventually, we all got back on the bus and headed back to Waikiki. Apparently, the luau was on the desert part of the island and it hasn't rained there in God knows how long! Just my luck! Anyway, Alika had us play games on all the "ugly buses" and he told jokes, sang and he just cracked me up! He was the best part of the night! Finally, we went back to the hotel and went to bed. All in all, my birthday was alright – up until I got home and found out what happened on my birthday at home.

Day 8 – Sunday, October 31, 2004

We woke up, packed a little, and then went to breakfast at Duke's. After we ate, we packed up everything and took our luggage down to the bellman's desk to hold until about 9:30 pm. Then we were headed out to take the rental car back to the airport by 1:30. Before we left we had our underwater cameras developed. We finally got to the airport and as we were dropping off the car, we realized we could rent it for the rest of the day for only $30 more – so we just turned back around and went and picked up our luggage. We just drove around all day, we ate at Cholos Mexican restaurant on the North Shore, we drove around Waikiki at night looking at everyone's costumes and we drove to the Pali Lookout and it was gorgeous. It rained all day! On our drive from Pali Lookout, we found a bunch of waterfalls! It was great! Finally we returned to the airport at about 7:30 and dropped off the car. We waited for the Agricultural Inspection and we checked in! They made us check our bag of souvenirs at the boarding gate and low and behold, they lost it! It ended up in Detroit! We didn't get our bag until November 3! I was soooo furious.
Finally, we went home!

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