|NIGHT SHOT WAIKIKI FROM 31ST FLOOR|
NOT A GREAT PHOTO BUT NICE TO REMEMBER
I’ve woken up a little early. It’s not quite 5 am and the lights of Honolulu sparkle . Our hotel room overlooks a hillside ablaze with lights. So pretty. Shortly the alarm will go and John will be awake. We both had a really good sleep.
Our hotel room at Maile Sky Court is small, the bed possibly not the best but all is clean and attractive. It’s fairly budget, for Waikik,i but we are comfortable. As comfortable as we’d be anywhere and the staff are lovely.
There is a flaw. We did not make the best arrangements for arrival. We arrived at the hotel about 10 am yesterday and as expected, could not check in until 3 pm. We were able to store our luggage but we made another mistake. We continued to carry our cabin luggage. John had a backpack which weighed about 6 kg or 14 pounds, and I had the laptop which weighed a ton, and my handbag, all of which grew heavier every minute. We were also becoming more tired with every step.
|OPPOSITE WAYNE AND AMANDA'S HOME|
TYPICAL CHRISTCHURCH SCENE
Yesterday, was it yesterday? or the day before, Wednesday, in New Zealand. we had a fairly restful time on our last day in Christchurch. I was able to do all my last minute laundry and have it properly dry in time to pack. The sun shone in a bright blue sky. Rain for gasping farmers was promised for this weekend but it still looked a long way off.
We said goodbye to Amanda at mid-day and her sister picked us up and drove us to the Christchurch airport with some serious instructions. We are to find a place serving blue cocktails with a pretty blue umbrella standing in it and send her a photo of us enjoying it preferably on the beach. We are saving that for our last week here. We had time for a leisurely coffee before boarding our plane to Auckland and had good flight up the islands. This time I had the camera handy for some amazing photos from the plane but Murphy’s Law shot into action. The light was all wrong. There was too much haze and as we came closer to Auckland, cloud as well. Although we had good seats in the plane our photo shots were hard to get because the engine filled them. We were also on the wrong side of the plane to take photos of the irrigation circles. The lawns around Auckland airport still look like mown hay paddocks.
|ALL OF THE NORTH ISLAND HAS BEEN DECLARED A DROUGHT AREA |
GOVERNMENT ASSISTED PROGRAMMES ARE NOW AVAILABLE
Our arrival in Auckland was unspectacular and we had nearly 9 hours before our flight to Hawaii. We could have left the airport but I have been battling a nasty cold. We needed to stay as quiet and rested as possible. We strolled over to the International terminal and discovered well placed seating along the pathway. The hour out in the open air was very pleasant. Now it was time to be creative with our waiting time. Internet helps A WHOLE LOT so does eating!!!
We ate late lunch, cappuccino and a gluten free cake flavoured almond and orange, which would have benefited greatly from yoghurt on the side. I’d had a little yoghurt and the remainder of yesterday’s berry smoothie for breakfast about 6 hours earlier.
Some serious internet time followed before we went to dinner about 8 pm. We shared a roasted veggie salad and a fruit salad with iced chocolate to drink. Thus another batch of time filled in before we went through security and into the duty free where we bought …. No not booze but a little lumix camera. We had tried out Wayne's while in Christchurch and I liked the ability to store many more photos at 14 pixels or something. I haven’t used it yet. We were just not in the right head space to work it out yesterday.
|AUCKLAND AIRPORT BOARDING LOUNGE|
HAWAIIAN AIRLINE INAUGURAL DIRECT FLIGHT AUCKLAND - HONOLULU
We didn’t have too long to wait because they put on a reception for this inaugural flight, the first direct flight by Hawaiian Airline from Auckland to Hawaii. We were a very small crowd and enjoyed a free snack and drinks table. Mostly stuff we wouldn’t touch. Fruit juice, I did have pineapple, tea, coffee, and all wheat based snacks that have now become junk food to us. We were entertained by a hula and song group for nearly an hour. Before boarding a chief and a priest blessed the service and cut the ribbon so we could enter. It was very nice and a real prayer.
|HAWAIIAN PRAYER AND BLESSING|
Hawaiin Airlines … The service was good except I’m not sure what happened to our gluten free status the travel agent put on our bookings. We never asked because the food was acceptable. Our one complaint and it is a big one. The seats were hard and uncomfortable. I was so glad to stand from time to time and rub my numb bum but even so I got of the plane a little stiff and sore from my neck down. There was plenty of space. I even had a good gap between my tummy and the tray when it was down. I’m glad it was only an 8-9 hour flight and not the 12-13 hours to LA.
Dinner came shortly after take-off which was midnight. We had very tender, moist chicken something with mushrooms and rice. The chicken was delicious but we were still satisfied from our last meal so it was easy to leave the rice. I ate the small salad but kept my cheese for later. Neither of us slept much although I dozed off for short periods a couple of times. We were awake to see the sun rise over the clouds at 47000 feet /14300 metres, about 2 hours out from Hawaii. The colours were glorious but we forgot to turn off the flash before taking the best colours.
|THE LINE ACROSS THE PHOTO IS THE LIGHT CATCHING THE EDGE OF THE WING|
Our arrival in Honolulu included a special welcome and confused some of the people directing us no end. We were not a tour party but a motley bunch of all kinds who needed to go through the tour party exit and receive our Hawaiin welcome. It wasn’t as well organised as in Auckland because it was in the pick up area and quite confusing for us at first. Again we were welcomed with hula and song and speeches. This flight is a big deal in Hawaii. We were given fresh flower leis as we left the plane and another lei at the reception. We wore them all day yesterday as we wandered around Waikiki and today I am wearing all four leis. They still smell delicious. We were interviewed on TV and made a point of saying we had come to Hawaii to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary. That was fun. I must admit that talking in public, to strangers is a strain because while others may not notice my speech defect I struggle to enunciate many letters clearly. For someone who was proud of having clear diction and reasonable speaking voice I sometimes find this irritating . Try saying Bs, Fs, Vs, Ps, when half your mouth is paralysed. Funny.
|WE HAVE ARRIVED|
Finally we were pointed in the direction of our shuttle and got all exciting as there was a stretch limmo. Sadly we had to walk right on past it. There were a few others in our shuttle including some Aussies who looked as though this might be their honeymoon. How do you know? There’s just something about young couples who are starting out on their new life of adventures together even if they might have lived together for some time.
With our luggage safely stored at our hotel and instructions to come back after 3 pm we set off to have something to eat. John had eaten the yoghurt out of our in flight breakfast but I hadn’t felt like eating. I'd been nibbling on cheese and almonds and a couple of dried figs earlier. It was a good breakfast. Slices of crisp apple, fruit juice and the other usual drinks, croissant with butter and jam and little tubs of yoghurt. It seemed strange not to eat the croissants but it was easy to leave them. John got my yoghurt and I crunched away on apple slices for an hour.
We wandered up Kuhlio Street, about 3 blocks back from the beach and found restaurants we thought we’d like, all closed. We were stopped by a guy at a tourist sales stall so we asked him and he directed us across the road to the Seaside Grill. Good choice although again we confused staff by asking for our meal without bread. They didn’t quite get what we were saying so John got 2 beautiful big fluffy pancakes on his plate of 3 eggs, crispy bacon, sausage links and fries The fries were chunky and delicious. I had a spring vegetable omelette with potatoes and it filled my up so that I left some of the fries. We’ll probably go back there. I noticed after we ordered they have coconut pancakes.
Stoked up, we then began to wander. Our goal was to sit on the beach and kill a couple of hours. We knew there was a beach Cafe' nearby. In the nature of dumb tourists we detoured from the directions our friendly tourist stall holder gave us and wandered through a market. The kind of place I try to avoid like the plague. Lets just say, John said instead of walking down a street between blank walls we could go through ‘there.’ At the first stall I saw some pretty necklaces and checked the price… $75. Quick as quick the stall holder was at our side telling us we could have it for $25. Oh Yeah! I’m thinking. She got a sale at $20. Grrr! I hate being caught by those super sales people in the markets. For the next hour or so we ran the gauntlet finally caving in again at an Israeli stand of Dead Sea Salt and etc. The very sweet girl engaged us in conversation and before we knew it we were sitting down… relief, and getting the works. She was so lovely I gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek but no sale. In retrospect I think this was the famous Waikiki International Market Place. Definitely not my favourite place for shopping.
Finally we found the beach and walked on Waikiki in front of all the posh hotels. The sand was horrible and gritty and it was getting hot. We did a very un-American thing and found a place to sit on the sand. Did you think we were going to pay for a mat or lounger? I thought an hour would be pleasant watching people, a couple of tourist catamarans and children building sand castles. The sun grew hotter and burned the cloud off for a short time and I have a sunburnt nose. We lasted about 20 minutes. Then we struggled on through the sand because we knew we should be close to what we were looking for. We decided to avoid the main beach bar and a few steps on found another where I had a strawberry slushy thing. It was huge, not too sweet and we sat in the shade. While there we decided we really are dumb tourists and why hadn’t we hopped on a tourist bus to fill the day. We were not all that tired although the lack of sleep on the plane was catching up fast. John saw the statue of Duke Kahanamoku, a famous surfer who also introduced surfing to New Zealand, so finally we knew we had arrived at our planned point. After sitting in the shade for a while we caught a trolly bus which took us back into Kuhio Street but we didn’t know where to get off it and so walked several blocks more than we needed to get back to our hotel. I guess you could say we got a taste of Waikiki and it will help when we come back in 3 weeks.
It was so good to get booked into our hotel room. I turned the air conditioner up until we felt cold and lay on the bed, dozing off for a few minutes. When I came to life again I found the shower had a tub so I had a wee soak before changing my clothes and going to dinner in the hotel restaurant. It is a stand alone restaurant and very pleasant with lovely staff. We tipped $12 for our meal at this rate we’ll run out of money fast but I did allow for our first day to be way over budget. John had baby back ribs and prawns. I had grilled mahi-mahi. I thought it was as sweet as fresh schnapper with large flakes. I would eat fish at least once a week if I could regularly find fish this good in NZ. I also had a side salad which was totally unnecessary because the meal came with perfectly cooked broccoli so again I couldn’t eat all we paid for but it wasn’t worth boxing the left-overs. Back in our room we set the alarm, John organised the morning shuttle and a wake up call for 5 am and we went to sleep. I woke at 4.42 am and here we are on the point of being called in a moment.
|A SHUTTLE SERVICE AT OUR HOTEL (NOT OURS)|
ONE OF THE THINGS I LOVE ABOUT AMERICANS IS THAT THEY ARE NOT AFRAID TO DECLARE THEIR FAITH
A SEARCH REVEALED THIS TO BE ONE OF THE LARGEST JAPANESE TRAVEL COMPANIES IN US
I took no photos as we wandered around Waikiki. My brain must have gone on strike.
As of posting this it's 1 pm Sat. 16th March and we are in our Home Exchange cottage near Pahoa in the SE of Big Island. I'm fairly certain it's about mid-day Sunday in NZ. I'll write another post covering yesterday and probably today too since we are taking things easy. The only thing we will go out for is a few groceries before we begin to starve, and a look around the town of Pahoa.
|ON OUR WAY TO KONA, BIG ISLAND|