Published: October 27th 2008October 27th 2008
We arrived into Honolulu after a very long 20 hour plane journey and Ev was "welcomed to America" and proclaimed to be a US Resident. Happy that we made it in before the 30 strong queue of Philipinos behind us we made our way into Honolulu via the cheap hotel bus. We checked into our slightly worn hotel 2 blocks from Waikiki Beach. We knew already that we were in paradise! Sadly they don't let you check into your hotel room in paradise until 3pm no matter how much jetlag you are suffering from or how much you beg. So we checked out the beach and caught a few zz's on the hotel couch. We finally got into our room and discovered we were the proud new owners of our most comfortable bed in 6 months.
We spent our first couple of days adjusting to the fact that we arrived in Hawaii before we left from Singapore (which many may think is a physical impossibility). This gave us the perfect excuse to laze on the beach, window shop and eat at our local, Lulu's Surf Restaurant. As soon as we arrived we instantly began regretting that we had booked 1
week instead of 2. One day we'll learn.
Walking down the strip the first day we quickly found that there is some money to be made in Waikiki. By sacrificing a few hours to sales teams deseperate to sell you more holidays you can earn some much needed cash to fund your Hawaiian vacation. Needless to say we couldn't miss out and earned ourselves $270 in just 3 hours, much to our sales reps disgust we didn't buy no matter how much they gave us the hard sell. Money making overwith we set about spending our newly gained wealth.
First stop Pearl Harbor. We headed for the famous harbor by "The Bus". This public transport stops every block through the city, what a pain, and took us nearly 1.5 hours to get to Pearl Harbor which is only about 10 miles from the city.
On December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked America at Pearl Harbor claiming the lives of 2,500 men. Although they had been expecting the Japanese to attack at any time ground forces were unprepared on that day. The American planes lined up wingtip to wingtip on the runways and the warships up on battleship
row made easy targets for the incoming planes. That day all of the battleships were sunk and most of the planes destroyed. The USS Arizona suffered the worst. Her artillery room was taken out by a direct hit from an incoming torpedo killing 1,200 men in a matter of seconds. She remains to this day where she fell a tomb and a monument to those whose lives were lost on that fateful day, "a day that will live in infamy".
We checked out the Bowfin Submarine and through some sweet talking, courtesy of Ev, managed to make it out to the Arizona Memorial even though the last tickets of the day had already gone.
A few more days relaxing on the beach recharged our batteries. We rented a wreck, a lovely blue rusting Tracker, and drove to the North Shore. We stopped along the way at the Dole Plantation where at one time more than 90% of the world's pineapples were grown. The business became so successful that Mr Dole discovered he needed more land on which to grow his world famous pineapples. So he bought the Hawaiian island of Lanai (I wish I was that rich!) which
he converted into the biggest plantation in the world. We stopped to taste some lovely pineapple-- the best we have tasted so far!! And I hopped on the Pineapple Express train for a tour of the plantation itself- complete with cheesy music and an overenthusiastic narrarator.
We continued onto the North Shore and the home of the big surf on Oahu. We drove around the coast stopping at the many beaches along the way. Waimea Beach was the best with clear blue water and a massive white sandy beach. Continuing around the coast we passed the Polynesian Cultural Centre which is said to be the biggest attraction on Oahu. After seeing the prices of nearly 50 bucks per person we opted out.. besides we are going to the South Pacific for real.. why pay to see it for fake?
Our drive took us to the land of "Lost", "Jurassic Park" (minus the dinosaurs) and the rains of Oahu (windward side). What a lovely drive. We carried on to the South Coast and the Botanical Gardens in some random town, Chinaman's Hat (a big rock off the coast) and further south to more beaches, a blowhole off Sandy Beach
and Hanauma Bay. We rounded out the day with a visit to Diamondhead Crater and a beautiful sunset over Waikiki Beach.
We finished our time on Oahu with a luau out on the West Coast. We arrived to receive our lei and honny (a kiss on the cheek when given a lei). We enjoyed kalua pig (cooked in an underground oven), poi (purplish taro root mush- yuck!), chicken long rice, lomilomi salmon and much more. The show consisted of big beefy men pulling our pig out of its underground oven where it had been cooking over hot lava rocks for 10 hours and a full show of Polynesian culture, music and dance.
Our time in Oahu was absolutely fantastic. Now onto Singapore for 4 days before heading to Perth, Australia.
There are more photos below