Saturday, March 17, 2018

Cheesecake accident

[S] Sadly, our final day in Hawaii.  Our bus driver on the tour to Pearl Harbour taught us that the ‘w’ in Hawaii should be pronounced as a ‘v’ – who knew?

It was our hottest day yet and not a lot of shade out there.  We watched a very sobering movie with live footage of the devastation at Pearl Harbour that took place on 7 December 1941.  We had clear instructions that we were not allowed to have our cellphones out, and there was to be absolutely no talking during the movie so it was a bit eerie, even without the content of the movie.  Then we were off on a navy vessel to the Arizona Memorial – again quite poignant.  When Mum and I were here in 1988, we sailed past the Memorial but did not go on to it, so I was pleased that we could do so today.

[A] Plenty of US armed services toys to view...

[S] Our last experience at Pearl Harbour was a virtual tour of the decks of the Arizona and of the bombing timeline.  We wore virtual reality goggles and we must have looked a bit dorky moving our heads around to direct the view we saw, but it was a different and interesting experience for us.

I headed off for another swim, but Allan could not be persuaded so just watched from the shore.  To be fair, after his goosebump experience yesterday he came down with a raging [A: mildly elevated] temperature so I guess that explains why he was so cold when he was in the water.  He is better today although still coughing a bit.

We accidentally went back to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner tonight – same excellent quality of food, but we did moderate ourselves by sharing a single slice of cheesecake this time.  [A: The moderation was an especially good idea since we had had a late lunch that included a most delicious slice of Ted's Chocolate Haupia Pie - introduced to us by Cousin Isaac on our Monday tour around the island]

We had heard that the Hilton Hawaiian Village let off fireworks every Friday night and that they would be visible from anywhere along the beach so we thought that would be a good way to end the holiday.  Alas and alack, they were obscured by a tall building so we could hear them and see the glow from them but that was it.  A bit of an anti-climax, but never mind.

[A] Saw a tree though!

[S] We have a 4.30am wake up tomorrow for a 5.30 shuttle so it might be a long day!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Warm as a bath

[S] The sun and blue sky turned up today – yay!  After nearly a week it was great to see what we expected to see from Day 1.  We made it to the beach this morning.  To be fair, it was a tiny bit chilly on the hot skin to get in, but once I was in, it was ‘like a bath’ as I always tell Allan.  He is not a water baby as most of you will know, but I think that he is probably the first person ever on Waikiki to have had goose bumps for the whole duration of his swim, when the air temp was 28 degrees!  To be fair, he has developed a bit of a cold/cough so maybe that contributed a bit.

[A] A conversation:
S: If the water turns out to be as warm as a bath, will you admit it?
A: Yes; if the water turns out not be as warm as a bath, will you admit it?
S: Yes

Apart from the water being cold, wet, salty, and full of floaties, the swim was perfect.  The company certainly was!

[S] We took the rest of the day quite easy, just enjoying the balmy weather and a little bit more shopping.

We ate from a food truck across the road from our hotel and then for a sunset stroll down at the beach.  Lots of people out and some live entertainment so a lovely way to finish the day.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


[S] Today we took a bus to the Punchbowl – or the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.  It is one of those huge American cemeteries that have thousands of graves or ashes interred.  Mum and I went there 30 years ago on a little tour we did - I remember it because the brakes on the tour van failed coming down the hill and they had to send a replacement bus.

The Punchbowl is located in the crater of a volcano and the bus made heavy work of the very steep hill, and certainly my arthritic hips were challenged by the walk from the bus stop to the top of the hill!

I always find these big cemeteries quite moving places, and this was no exception.

There were spectacular views from Pearl Harbour right around to Diamond Head.

Dinner tonight was at the Cheesecake Factory which is an American chain.  It was huge – I reckon they must have been able to seat around 300 at a time, and there were queues when we arrived and even bigger ones when we left.  The meals were huge and spectacular.  We both really enjoyed our mains and the cheesecakes were amazing – I have half of mine in the fridge for tomorrow – Allan ate all of his, but he is waddling a bit now!

So 13,000 steps up and around the hills versus a big dinner – I wonder which will have the greater impact on the scales?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Army Museum

[S] After a leisurely breakfast, we wandered [A: by bus!] down to the US Army Museum at Fort DeRussy, which is right on the waterfront in downtown Waikiki.  This was a smallish exhibition of photos and items from Pearl Harbour and the Korean and Vietnam wars. It was an interesting insight and an easy way to pass a morning. We’ve booked a trip to Pearl Harbour for Friday so good to learn a bit of background info.

We sat in the sun under a palm tree (as you do) for a while...

... and then wandered through the Hilton Hawaii Village, which is a five-tower hotel which must house many thousands of guests at a time, and which has every amenity you could wish for and plenty of shops.  The grounds were beautiful – very lush and tropical.  We even found the ice cream shop which Mum and I went to 30 years ago, so lunch was a single cone for me and a double for Allan.

The rest of the day was devoted to book shops – one of the things Allan likes to do on overseas holidays is to check out what is in stock in local book shops – he bought a few!

I was given my first ‘senior’ discount today.  I was at the checkout when the operator politely asked if I was over 55 and gave me a 10% discount on my purchases when I said yes.  Can’t be bad!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Cousin Isaac

[S] We needed to be out the door by 7.10 am this morning for our trip around the island.  Breakfast doesn’t open until 7 am so we guzzled some juice and pastries and took a cuppa to go before we went around the corner for our pick-up by ‘Cousin Isaac’ – our big cuddly tour guide.  He was very funny and had lots of interesting knowledge.  We had four each of Australians and Canadians plus us on the bus. Isaac was definitely a bit of a foodie so we had some bonus stops to his favourite haunts.
The first part of the tour involved peeking at the homes of the rich and famous along the north coast and then lots of beach stops.

[A] First up was Halona Cove, site of the famous beach scene from ‘From Here to Eternity’ (for those old enough to remember) and of course more recently ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’.

Most of the morning our drive was overshadowed by dark clouds and rain covering the western mountain range that ran parallel to the road.

[S] We saw some amazing surf that was a bit frightening in some ways.

[A] Including the Banzai Pipeline…

[A] … and Waimea Bay.

[S] At the last beach stop, the surf was marginally less, but it wasn’t good enough for us to have the planned swim with turtles.  Instead Isaac took us to an old sugar mill which now makes coffee and chocolate.  He showed us a cacao bean which was the makings of two blocks of chocolate – interesting to see how it all started.

Of course there were samples!

A few other stops and then we were at the Dole pineapple factory – it was the only low point of the trip – a bit over-crowded and over-commercialised. Other than that, a really fun day.

Forgot to mention that we went to a hotel restaurant for dinner last night – a varied menu and we were happy with our food choices.  Their piece de resistance was a 5lb (2.5 kg) pancake stack where the challenge was if you could finish it within 90 minutes, you got your $25 back.  We saw one go out to a customer but I am not sure if they got through it.  A bit of fun!

Monday, March 12, 2018


[S] We’re just in the door from watching an amazing fireworks display from our balcony.  It has been Honolulu Festival weekend and it culminated in a parade and the fireworks, which was far and away the biggest and brightest we had seen.  It took us a moment to figure out what the first explosion was – they were very loud and the echo off the hills behind us was phenomenal.

Allan went off to climb Diamond Head this morning so I took the opportunity to visit a couple more shops.  I got back quite some time after him – found him in the ‘Living Room’ downstairs sipping Cherry Coke.

[A] It took longer getting to and from the Diamond Head Crater trailhead (waiting for infrequent buses and walking from/to the bustop) than it did to walk up and around the track.  Well worth the effort though – spectacular views back over Waikiki, the crater, and the remains of the old military bunkers and walkways.

Not so much fun was the crowd of people joining me in the walk; I guess it’s a fairly popular Sunday morning activity!

[S] As a part of the festival there have been non-stop performances on Centre Stage at Ala Moana.  Today’s classic was nine Japanese men (backed by a Japanese choir) singing Italian opera culminating in ‘Funiculi, Funicula’.  Classically funny, although not intended to be so!

We are off on a tour around the island tomorrow which should be fun and then we’ll do Pearl Harbour in the next day or two.  The weather is packing up a bit – not cold, but cloudy and a bit breezy.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Oops, she did it again

And now to day two, which was slightly less windy and quite a bit sunnier.

Had a bit of an ‘oops’ day today.  Hadn’t planned to go shopping and certainly not all day!  First purchase was a new suitcase which we needed.  Not so essential was to fill it up before we even left the shopping centre!

Most things are really expensive and then a few are about half what they are in NZ – including Clinique skin care products, Levi jeans, toys and Skechers shoes.

[A] All-day dance/musical performances added to the vibe, and the Miss Hawaii contestants even joined us for a photo-op.

[S] Our hotel has a space called the Living Room furnished with sofas and comfy chairs.  This is where they serve our included breakfast of tropical fruit, toast and pastries.  It has all day, help yourself coffee (good coffee that is) and tea.  It is very civilised and a nice chill-out space.

The trade-off is that there’s no tea and coffee in the room.  The bathroom is quite petite and storage space is lacking, but we are comfortable and the location is pretty good.

We slept long and well last night and seem to have recovered from the deprivation of the night before.

Interestingly, my step-counter remembered the steps I had done on Saturday morning before it re-calibrated to Hawaii time of Friday morning, so I woke up with 1400 steps on the clock and I am ending the day with 11,200.  Good effort I say.