A Day on Waikiki Beach

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November 4th 2017
Published: September 6th 2017
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Sunny and warm 77°F

It's 7am as we dock in Honolulu. We're here until 11pm so we have plenty of time. Our alarm is set for 7:30 and , while Karen gets up, I allow her to get ready before me and stay in bed another 20 minutes. Then it's up for our usual breakfast. It's almost 9am and the ship appears empty. Few people are in the buffet and we relax out by the pool. That is, until Mom decides to call Queenie. "It's just a quick call", she says. I know there is no such thing and fear we're going to be stuck here for some time. I set my phone timer for 5 minutes as she dials but as I predicted, the timer just rings and rings while Karen continues to talk and talk. No one even questions as to what that alarm noise is. I walk around the pool deck area while the two chatter and only when one of them finally gives up, loses interest or finds something better to do does the conversation cease and we are free to leave the ship.

Our activity for today is Waikiki Beach. I had considered a "Beach Experience" excursion provided by the cruise line, offered at $100/pp but after searching the internet a few weeks ago I reserved an umbrella and two lounge chairs right on the beach at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel for the entire day. The cost, $50 for both of us. Now we just have to get there. I figured we would just use the #19 bus like we did two years ago but Mom was not in the mood to walk, even to a bus stop. After just two blocks, she just stopped, refusing to go any further. This cab driver, who saw we were obviously experiencing some dilemma and making no headway in any direction, stopped and offered to take us to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel for no more than $20. Sold and off we went.

Dave, our driver, was a white hippy kind of guy with an ordinary name. His car, however, wasn't. It was an old Chevy Suburban. He struggled with the seat belts and told us the windshield wiper motor needed to cool off before it would resume clearing the glass of a few raindrops that were now beginning to fall. Failing to start his fare meter, he waved his left arm out the window, pointing out all the new buildings rising up within the Honolulu skyline and who owned them. He tells us Asians are buying these condos up for millions and often never even moving into them. One entire high rise complex sold out in a day. Now realizing he hadn't engaged the meter, he flicked it on while filling us in on numerous structures throughout the city as we passed by them. We rolled right up to the front entry, the doorman opens Karen's passenger side door and with a loud pop, it gives way, allowing her to exit. My door isn't so dramatic. Dave's meter reads $13.20 but I give the full $20. He truly was more entertaining than the bus ride.

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, built in 1927, was one of three resort hotels in Honolulu at that time. The other two were later demolished but the Royal Hawaiian has survived, experiencing several remodels along the way. Originally surrounded by 15 acres of lush gardens and an adjacent golf course, it's footprint has been reduced to just the hotel itself and small surrounding gardens. High rise hotels now shadow it from three sides, dwarfing the 6 story structure. We're directed through the hotel to the beach area where hotel staff escorts us to the rental hut. Finding our reservation in order, 3 guys grab an umbrella, two lounge chairs and a shovel and lead us out to a nice location where one digs a hole, one sets the umbrella and one places the chairs. Here we are, right on Waikiki Beach looking out on Diamond Head. Perfect. The weather is great too. Hot when the sun's out, accented by a few raindrops now and then from billowing clouds approaching over Diamond Head.

After a couple of hours, we decide to check out the Mai Tai Bar located a mere twenty feet from our chairs at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. It's a bit pricey, $18 for a Blonde Bikini beer and $8 for a virgin Pina Colada. We add in mahi mahi fish & chips for $24. Now some of you might think I'd be objecting about such ridiculous prices but wait. There's more. We've been sitting for some time now, sipping our drinks while watching all the beach action. Karen inquires about the progress on our food and the waiter apologizes, admitting that he forgot to order it and he'd be happy to comp it for us. Now you're talking. So we wait a bit more and our fresh mahi mahi fish dish arrives. It's delicious. Our check arrives too, just $16.75. Half price for beer and free food. I happily include a $15 tip, not for great food but for great prices.

We spend another half hour on our beach chairs before calling it a day, turning in our tag to the rental hut and leaving the Royal Hawaiian in search of batteries for Karen's glucose tester. We find a Long's Drugs a couple of blocks away and pick up the batteries and some creme rinse. Now across to the Sheraton Waikiki for a cab. This time the vehicle is more conventional, a minivan. That does come with a price, a total cost with tip of $27 and absolutely no conversation of any kind. Where's Dave? Somehow I just can't help but think of the bus. With a flash of our Medicare cards, our fee would have been $1 pp each way, total $4. With Trump visiting here yesterday, the traffic barriers were still being removed so the bus schedule was erratic and eliminated that option. Back at Pier 10, we board the Grand Princess, proceed to our room where we prepare for dinner.

On our Holland America cruise two years ago in Honolulu, they had a big luau aboard. Complete pig with his head still on and all the fixings including local entertainment. On Princess, one has to pay for Germaine's Luau at $100 plus pp if you want that experience. Never mind. Tonight, our dinner companions are two widows and two couples, one of the couples from Manchester, England, on their first cruise. Everyone's in a jovial mood making for pleasant conversation. I forget what we had for dinner or what we did the rest of the evening as I somehow never finished writing the last portion of this blog. Oh well. I can guarantee it wasn’t anything exciting. Sorry.

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