After a rather long and uncomfortable flight from Vancouver (something about people who take up 2 seats should be made to pay for 2!) we were delighted to touch down in Honolulu. After a wonderful welcome with a band playing at the baggage carousel we hopped in a taxi and made our way to The Beach Waikiki Hostel, our home for the next 8 nights. The hostel was previously holiday apartments so we were staying in a private room of a two bed apartment with a shared living room, bathroom and kitchenette. Unfortunately, despite most of the hostel having been recently renovated, we were in an apartment that had not been touched since the 80's but hey, it had a comfortable king sized bed and powerful air con so we couldn't complain too much. After a quick trip to the convenience store to grab some water we crashed out.
We enjoyed a long lie and then grabbed a quick coffee for breakfast before going for a wander through Waikiki, we (and by we, I mean Katy) did a bit of window shopping in Tiffanys and Harry Winstons, however the budget most definitely didn't stretch that far! Despite not being big fans of the beach we found ourselves a relatively quiet spot and parked ourselves up with our books for the rest of the morning. Having been going at 100mph since we left home back in July it was most definitely a welcome break!
Next up was lunch at Lulu's, where we had the most delicious seared Ahi Tuna salad which was just what was needed to set ourselves up for the fun and games of trying to find ourselves another swimming costume/trunks. Having come away with just one set each we decided that as we were spending the next 2 weeks on the beach we'd probably need another one. About 10 shops later, we were both sorted and Craig even managed to replace his flip flops which were just about to fall apart, so all in, a successful shopping trip!
That evening, as is quickly becoming a bit of a tradition, we headed to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner, and for Katy to pick up another pin badge to add to the ever growing collection. We had our first (and second...and third) taste of the delicious Hawaiian Mai Tai's and got to enjoy a live cover band whilst we ate. The pineapple slices were amazing, and the most delicious pineapple either of us have ever eaten.
An early alarm the next morning as we were taking advantage of the hostels cheap day trips and headed to Pearl Harbor National Memorial. The memorial is built over (but not touching) the USS Arizona who rests exactly where she sank in 1941. Over 900 men could not be rescued from the ship and remain onboard (they are said to be on eternal duty) and have now been joined by some of their comrades who survived the attack but have since passed. It really was a truly touching tribute and a bit of an indescribable feeling being stood over the once indestructible battleship.
That afternoon, with the sun gloriously shining, we headed back down to the beach for a couple of hours. Just as we began to relax we were interrupted by a very sweet elderly couple who asked if we were married and, if so, if we would like to have our marriage blessed. The more they talked the more we became a bit suspicious and told them no thank you. After they left we went to investigate online and came across the website which described the 3 day ceremony which included drinking wine to be reborn and cut off from our blood lineage and the sin of our ancestors and a chastening ceremony which involved striking each others buttocks to rid ourselves of any previous wrong doing in our marriage. All for the small fee of $210+tax each. All in we were pretty glad we said no!!
We stayed at the beach for the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the gorgeous sunset and then went to Hawaii's answer to Chipotle, Oahu Mexican Grill (OMG) for a quick dinner before crashing into bed.
The next day we spent the time alternating between chilling out on the beach and chilling out in our room, I really wish there was more to say here but nope, we really did nothing all day. We had a delicious dinner at PF Changs which can probably be classed as the highlight of the day!
Having had such a chilled out day the day before we were ready and raring to go by the time Tuesday morning came round. Again we were making the most of the hostels day tours. First stop was Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail, a fairly easy hour long hike with some incredible views out over the water.
Next stop was Whole Foods for a quick, healthy lunch then on to the Lanikai Pillbox Hike, a rocky hike up to two military bunkers. A stunning view at the top however hiking in the midday sun was absolutely brutal so we were delighted to spend time chilling on Kailua Beach once we came back down and had drunk our body weight in water to replace all the fluids we had sweated out!
We made it back from Kailua Beach in time for sunset over Waikiki Beach and then headed to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner, having burnt off so many calories hiking in the sun a tasty dinner was most welcome! Plus as a bonus the portions were so big we left armed with lunch for the next day!
Another early alarm on Wednesday morning, as we set off to Gone Surfing Hawaii for our first ever surfing lesson. We had the wonderful Shawn who spent a bit of time with us with the boards on the beach perfecting how to stand up. We then hit the water and miraculously both stood up on the first try but wiped out fairly quickly. Shawn was quick to explain to us both what we needed to do differently and we got going again. Unfortunately Craig started to feel seasick and we decided to call it a day, however we both got one last shot on the way back in. Katy managed to ride the wave fantastically and came away absolutely buzzing (something about finally being better at something than Craig!) Given Craig was feeling a bit nauseous we had a fairly chilled out afternoon and headed back to OMG for dinner.
The next morning we got a long lie before heading out to grab some "booze" for our booze cruise with E Sea Divers that afternoon. There was an odd mix of people with some going scuba diving off the back of the boat and the hostel guests partying on the trampoline, jumping off the boat and going snorkelling at the front of the boat. We very much felt like the oldies but enjoyed some snorkelling despite not seeing very much other than mahi, parrot and tuna fish, unless you can count two wheelie bins!? To refuel after our afternoon out on the water we headed to Flour & Barley for a delicious pizza (and Piña Colada).
The next morning we got up at 5am so that we could hike Diamond Head State Monument for sunrise. We weren't the only tourists to have the same idea and the hike was very crowded, it almost felt like we were being corralled through a Disney World queue. Sadly the clouds did not cooperate and there was no sunrise to be seen but the view back over Waikiki was still pretty spectacular.
Post-hike we headed to Cheeseburger in Paradise to get breakfast and a delicious pineapple mimosa! This was then followed by a very, very long nap by Katy, then a very exciting afternoon of doing laundry before we head to Fiji. Having been sold on the happy hour at Cheeseburger in Paradise by our waiter in the morning we made our way back and enjoyed some Piña Colada's and Mai Tai's before going back to the room to pack. A quick dinner at Barefoot Beach Cafe with some excellent live music before coming back to the room to crash out.
We woke late on our final morning in Waikiki, getting packed up and milked having a room until the last minute as we didn't need to be at the airport until midnight. We checked out at 10:59 and then went to Eggs n Things for breakfast. Having been queued out the door every time we passed we thought we better see what al the fuss was about. However we weren't overly impressed and failed to see why it was so popular and the ordering system was just bizarre!!
After breakfast we made our way to Waikiki Aquarium and enjoyed the variety of tropical fish, including some clown fish in their sea anemone homes. This was followed by hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop then latterly sports bar to sports bar to find somewhere that was showing the Scotland v Ireland RWC game. This was an attempt to try to stay in the air con so as not to be too hot and sweaty for our flight that evening. Our efforts turned out to be completely futile as in some sort of sick joke someone had turned on the heating at Honolulu airport with not even a fan in sight.
Next stop, Fiji! (Where we are doing a bit of time travelling and crossing the date line - just call us Marty McFly and Doc Brown!)
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