Trip Start May 14, 2005
Trip End May 28, 2005

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Saturday, May 14, 2005

May 14-15

May 14. Uneventful flight to Honolulu stopping in Salt Lake City. But, there is always a first time for everything my suitcase didn't arrived until several hours later.
We took the shuttle ($14 round trip) to our hotel, The Breakers http://www.breakers-hawaii.com/ and checked inn.
When we arrived we were somewhat disappointed as the reviews raved about this hotel, but after a couple of days it grows on you. It's not fair to criticize your grandpa just for being old, and The Breakers is old, but has other things. The location is excellent, room size good, complete kitchen (we couldn't figure out the controls but we didn't plan to use it anyway). About the TV we had to go back to our earliest memories to make it work.
By the way, many places in Hawaii don't have "walls", that means the wall is made of a mosquito screen and blinds to allow the breeze flow... and the sound too, specially the birds way early in the morning.
But the best of the hotel is its wonderful staff. All the people at the front desk were more than helpful and made you feel de Aloha spirit.

That evening we strolled Waikiki (my trunks were in my missing suitcase) and saw our first hula show, just by the Duke's statue. Everybody seating on the grass with the sunset as the background... We went for dinner to a cheap dinner place and right to bed after a 24 hours day, and my suitcase had arrived. Yuppie!!!

May 15.No jetlag problems (I love melatonin). Woke up about 7:30 and catch The Bus (after buying the 4 day pass at the ABC store in every corner) to the Swap Meet
The ride (about 45') allowed us to get an idea of Honolulu and its distances, crossed by Pearl Harbor and arrived to the Aloha Stadium.
I recommend doing this late on your trip, but we were running a tight schedule. Best variety and prices besides Wal-Mart (We found that Wal-Mart in Hilo and Kona have a souvenir section and the man section where they sale the exact same wood sculptures, T-shirts and paraphernalia for a third the price in any other store in the islands).
But in Swap Meet you can find also more T-shirt variety, necklaces ($1), etc. If you want to buy copies of the Hawaiian weapons you'll find the artisans that provide the shops in Waikiki and prices are half or lower.

After that we went to Ala Mohana beach to our first dip on the ocean and catch some tan. We crossed the road to the Ala Mohana shopping center (I hate those) and back to the hotel.
On the evening we strolled Waikiki again and had a lunch plate for dinner at the International Market Place. I don't remember the name of the place, but it was the one on the food court with the longest line. I had spicy chicken and pork and was the best in the whole travel. (You can buy beer to complement you dinner on the bar on the other corner).
Before dinner we went for drinks to Duke's. It is the place to be on Sunday evening. Lots of surfers and great looking girls. And everybody seemed to already have drunk his or her share. Send Picture as a PostCard.

May 16-18

May 16. Busy day. We woke up at 7ish and head for the bus stop to take us to Hanauma Bay.... The first bus doesn't leave Waikiki until 8:15!!!! We got there, saw the video and headed for the water. I was very excited to try my new Aquapac http://www.aquapac.net/ for my camera. Not as good as a proper underwater camera case but much cheaper, it works and fits any camera.
In general we liked Hanauma Bay, but too crowded, too shallow for my liking and too "touristy" and by that I mean people with no water life experience standing on life coral, taking pieces and thus killing any future for the area.
We could only stay for 2 hours; we took the bus back to Diamond Head and hiked to the top. Great experience, great views, but bring plenty of water. No breeze inside the crater.
Took the bus back to Waikiki, pit stop in McDonalds (I missed the McTery), had a shower and the shuttle to Germain's Luau http://www.oahu-hawaii-luau.com/ (by the way, May is looow season and you can book everything on the spot or the day before).
The entertainer on the bus (bus 3) was great, funny and insightful of the island. The show was what we expected: average food, good cocktails and fun. It's a must-do, just once.
We arrived at the hotel by 11ish. Boy the days are long.

May 17. Birds woke us up at 6:30 (where is my shotgun). By 7 we had rented a car and headed to Lanikai Beach. When we arrived to Kailua it was pouring so headed for breakfast to a Deli nearby and tasted for the first time the Macadamia Lion Coffee. (Buy it at Wal-Mart, a third of the price).
The rain continued so we drove up route 83 up to the North Shore (we made a wrong turn and ended in the Marine Corps base, but they didn't enlisted us!!!). We arrived to Sunset Beach and even it was a swimming day you could feel the strong surf. By then the sun was in full force and we returned to Lanikai with a pit stop at Giovanni's for shrimp scampi. Gooood. We spent a couple of hours in Lanikai and back to Waikiki to return the car. We freshened up on the hotel and take the bus to the Aloha Tower... it was deserted and it was a shame because the area is very nice and the bars on the first floor have one of the nicest views in the city.
We were tired so we went for dinner just in front of the hotel to a great Japanese noodle shop, Yabusoba, that I highly recommend.

May 18. Raining again. We dedicated the morning to see downtown and Chinatown. It's smaller than we thought. In the afternoon the weather improved but with occasional showers so we decided to check another item in our to-do-list: surfing.
But first I had to try the McTery, McDonalds burger with teriyaki sauce. Delicious.

Went to Waikiki beach and about Duke's statue walked to the surf stands. $35 for 90'. Amazingly I was standing on the 2nd wave. Sadly the 2nd was the best of them all. But it was a great experience and surfers have climbed several steps in my appreciation ladder after paddling for more than one hour.

We saw a Thai restaurant in a brochure and decided to check it out. When we arrived the adjacent restaurant had a long line of locals standing. Great sign. O we forgot about the Thai and went into Todai 1910 Ala Moana Blvd. http://www.todai.com/. If you like Japanese food this is the place to go. I was skeptical about an all-you-can-eat Japanese, but it is really good. It's not the best Sushi (and I'm a sushi freak) but it was good (variety, fresh and prepared in front of you), and definitely above average. The hibachi was really good too and even the deserts. And all-you-can-eat. Price for 2 including taxes and a beer was $51 (the same you'll pay in NYC for 8 pieces of sushi). Best deal in Waikiki. Send Picture as a PostCard.

May 19

May 19. It had rained again and it was overcastted so we decided to try the North Shore again. We drove to Haleiwa for breakfast; drove by the Dole pineapple plantation but it was closed yet. (You have to eat pineapples in Oahu. The best, ever. And you can't find them as good in the other islands). After we stopped in Sharks Cove but it was to choppy to snorkel and Sunset Beach was closed to swim due to strong surf. So we bought a parero and continued to Lanikai beach (nicest beach in Oahu). There we made the biggest mistake in our trip. It was cloudy so we just lied down waiting for the sun to take a swim.... whithout sunscreen, because of the clouds and t was chilly. Well, lesson learned. Always use sunscreen even on cloudy days. I had to use long sleeves for two days because I burnt my forearms.

In the evening we went to another Thai that we saw the day before Keo's in Waikiki
2028 Kuhio Ave. http://www.keosthaicuisine.com/index.htm. Beautiful place and good food. If making a reservation request a window seat.
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