Anders are happily greeting elderly Japanese men with a ’Mr. Miyakii!’ – and yes, it is not so long ago he was introduced to the world of Karate Kid…. The first was one on the plane from Los Angeles to Honolulu.
So we were up at 4 to be sure to beat the morning rush hour in Washington and we were on our way 4:50. Though there already were many cars on the road, there was a good flow so we were at the Hertz office 6:20. One of the Hertz guys drove us to the terminal in ‘our’ car so it was quick. The security scrutiny were quite thorough, but still in good time for the flight. About 6 hours and 3 time zones. 2 hours layover in Los Angeles and another 6 hours flight to Honolulu with another 2 time zones. The volcanoes of Big Island were visible, as was the smoke coming up from Mauna Loa. 18:00 local time in Honolulu. Taxi (easy, a girl helped and summoned one) into Waikiki – a looong ride since the highway 1 was totally blocked. So we were all tired and hungry arriving at the Miramar at Waikiki hotel. Very nice room with a small balcony looking west, 15th floor with views to sea and mountains. 125$/deluxe room with two double beds. We passed Waikiki beach and the children dipped their feet in the Pacific Ocean. Today is Valentines day, so I joked that I had invited Birgitte to Hawaii for a Valentine days present. Torches decorated the streets and many were out. Dinner (we ordered too much and too expensive) at a Mexican restaurant.
We all woke at 6:30 – having shifted another 5 time zones from Baltimore. A small supermarket across the street – including a coffee shop and a baker, supplied the doughnuts and coffee for breakfast. The hotel breakfast was way too expensive (70$) for us. The Waikiki beach was a pleasant surprise. Not too crowded, no (almost) reclining chairs, no topless women, mostly elderly people enjoying reading a book at the beach, a few families like us with children who could swim in the shallow water, surfers further out waiting for the right wave, a pleasant temperature (25 degrees?), no hawkers. All in all I was surprised how nice and quiet it felt. It was just a block from our hotel. Later we bought a sandwich for lunch to the hotel pool area, relaxed. A little time at the hotel room, a movie for the children and reading time for us. Dinner at Chilli’s across the street – very good food and the children very happy with all they got. Probably eat there again one evening.
A good red wine (yes, it can be bought here at the supermarket, where more difficult in Baltimore) and chips for the balcony in the evening. Wonderful Vacation.
What a great day! Aloha Mallorca States of America.
The morning started off ‘as usual’ with doughnuts from a local store at the balcony here at level 15 with views of Waikiki and the Honolulu skyline. Erik went to pick up the ordered Cabriolet which then turned out to be a brand new Jeep where the roof could removed – to the great joy of the children. Today's trip was the east coast. Somewhat cloudy, but a very pleasant temperature. Several scenic overlooks and stops on the way – but the O’ahu island is not that big, so the distances are small. We stopped at the eastern most point, Makapuu, where a 1½ km trail wound around the mountain top to a lookout on top of the steep cliffs towards the east coast and a light house. A fantastic view from here – a very popular trail for women with children in strollers. One mom did it 3 times a week running all the way up – with two children. Our children had to be decoyed with candy, dragged and threatened – at least there was no complaining going back. It was also supposed to be a good place to see humpback whales – and guess what – after being pointed in the right direction, we could see them. Water being blown up by two whales many times, their head, tail and fins – Birgitte’s highlight of the day. They were not close, but they were there. After lunch we went to another popular place, Hanauma Bay – a small volcanic crater opened up by the sea, so a good place to snorkel. And this 1 million people do every year. But again a pleasant surprise – well taken care of, carefully cleaned and you have to watch a 15 minute video to enter. It was now 14:00, so it was quiet and not crowded. Erik and Johanne did the first snorkeling tour, and it was the first time Johanne did her own snorkeling – in the first swim, we saw many fish at the reef, and then a beautiful sea turtle. It was Erik and Johannes highlight of the day. Anders saw fish and was also thrilled. The corals were not good and were all bleak and rocklike. All this will probably be much better on the following islands with fewer than a million tourists J. But I must say Hawaii is a good place. Extremely beautiful, and though it is easily recognized as USA when we are here, the nature is not like any other parts of the US. OK, that is probably superfluous to write. Returning to Honolulu, we crossed the mountain range on route 61 with the ‘famous’ Pali lookout. OK, it was a good view, and on the LP top 20 Hawaii lookout spots – but I would go for the Makapuu Point if I had to choose.
The hotel, Miramar at Waikiki, is very nice. Services are quite expensive, e.g. to have breakfast would be 70$ for us, so we go for coffee and doughnuts across the street. The internet is 10$ per day. The rooms are nice, and we have two double beds which is perfect with the kids. We were off at 8, and at the Pearl Harbour memorial, we got tickets for the 9:45 show/tour to the Arizona memorial. The ‘come early’ advise applies – 1.3 million visit every year. The museum was very nice and on the ground there were different missiles and torpedoes – from WWII and also newer, like the tomahawk missiles etc. We would have liked to see one of the other attractions here like the Missouri destroyer, but each attraction was 60$, so we skipped it. It was a good movie, though I’m not sure what the (many) visitors from Japan thought about it. It seemed that the exhibitions were ok on the Japanese coverage. The visit to the sunken Arizona with 1200 bodies seemed to move some of the visitors, though I didn’t find it that interesting.
We drove north on highway H2 to the north coast. Very fertile land – red earth like in Africa – and pineapple fields. On the coast, it seemed like it was the right day. All along the north shore, it was filled with cars, and when we parked, the waves were very high – measuring from my pictures, they would be 6 meters at least, and many, many surfers out there. I have never seen surfers and waves like that. There are big waves where I come from, but it is always in connection with a storm. Here there was hardly a wind, but the waves were huge. I once saw a TV show about this, and as far as I remember, it is winds up from Alaska that pushes the water like a small tsunami to the south, and then washes ashore here at Hawaii. I was very happy to have witnessed it. We continued to the northeast and southwards, stopping for lunch at a Subway sandwich restaurant. At a bay we waded out a bit (Anders did), and some drops of water sent us further on. Returning at the hotel with Birgitte and the children, Erik went to return the car at Alamo. Returning with a service car they had. Dinner again at Chilis – again a great dinner, with everybody happy.
Up at 3:00 and off at 3:30. A Thai taxi driver, and had a good talk with him – most here working are from Thailand, Korea and China. 37$. And a loooong line for check-in. The line was hardly moving and it was not until 30 minutes before departure that it started moving and a guy asked if there were some not on a waiting list. Many had big cooler-boxes and we were wondering what they brought. I asked in Majuro later, and they said it just were instead of a suitcase. Takeoff at 5:30 and a several hour long sunrise. There was breakfast onboard – thank you, Continental. Great to be on the famous Island Hopper. The flight was about 5½ hours, and 3 hours after takeoff the day was over…Continue reading about the Marshall Islands