Aloha Normality

Trip Start Jan 04, 2008
Trip End Dec 17, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Having gained back our day from the previous circumnavigation of the globe, by crossing the dateline over the Pacific Ocean in the other direction, we touched down in Honolulu on a beautiful sunny morning.   We were greeted by a few alohas on the way through and once we'd got our bags we grabbed a taxi which turned out to be a stretch limo but was the same price as a regular car.  We were staying at the Aqua Spa hotel (good deal on in Waikiki at the western beach side of Honolulu and thankfully our room was ready early as we hadn't really slept on the flight.
After a nap we set off to explore and decided that after a stroll along the waterfront to check out the beach and the surfers it was time to hit the shops and start looking half decent rather than backpackers as from now on we had an extra bag luggage allowance each and to be honest we are now sick of looking like travelers.    So that evening as we set off for dinner we both looked quite decent in new clothes and shoes !
Over the next couple of days we went to the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbour and around the USS Bowfin a WWII submarine that sank over 40 ships in the Pacific.  There was also a Japanese Kaiten - a suicide torpedo where a "volunteer" was placed in the torpedo before it was fired and he then piloted it to its target, only one ever hit a target and that was driven by the inventor himself. I went diving one day and did a couple of reef dives which were quite cool, the second dive had a lot of turtles to swim next to and also an octopus which I had stuck on my mask by the instructor, quite a freaky experience. The rest of the time in Waikiki was spent relaxing, shopping and eating (Maud had found the Cheesecake Factory on her first reccy) before heading off to explore the rest of Oahu island.
We hired the smallest and cheapest car that Alamo had to offer which turned out to be a Chevvy Impala and was about the size of a 7 series BMW.  We took the scenic south shore route stopping for lunch on the beach at Kailua Bay until headed up to the famous North Shore.  Our home for the next 3 days was at Turtle Bay condos which are timeshares on a Palmer and Fazio golf resort, so we had our own kitchen and laundry, which is always handy, no golf played though.... too expensive. We had arrived on North Shore in time for the Vans Triple Crown surfing competition and so there were surfers from all over the world ready to showcase their skills, so we spent our days on the beaches watching the competition or further along at 'Ehukai Beach watching surfers get pounded by the Banzai Pipeline.
Despite the warnings of severe head, neck and back injuries there were plenty of people on the relatively smaller surf beaches body boarding and plenty of spectacular wipeouts to see.  I had a swim at Waimea Bay Beach which has turquoise waves crashing into a wide sandy beach and is the calmest place on North Shore but I still got pounded a few times, and later in the afternoon the lifeguards were warning of back and neck injuries here too - maybe not the place to try any surfing or bodyboarding for Mr. Accident-prone then !
Survivng in one piece we headed back to Waikiki for an overnight before heading off to LA - so a second visit to the Cheesecake Factory - fatties !
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