Monday, 2 February 2009

Day Twenty Four: Paradise and Japanese Lobster

We were quite blasé about coming to Honolulu when we saw it on the itinerary, it was a question of “Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt, roll on Pago Pago,” However when we looked out of our cabin window and saw that we were coming into harbour (around 7.00am this morning) we both started to get excited, then when a small group started playing Hawaiian songs and dancing, Hilary became quite emotional. It made her realise how much she really cares for these islands, ever since our first visit to Honolulu – over 25 years ago – and with our subsequent visits to Kauai, we seem to have developed an affinity that is quite special.

Being Sunday we knew that there was no great rush to get off the ship so we had a leisurely breakfast, only marred by the fact that they gave me a meat sausage with my vegetarian bacon! (Luckily I spotted it when I saw it on the plate). We followed the signs to the Free Buses and then discovered that we were being directed to a taxi rank so we about turned and did get a free bus which took us in totally the opposite direction to where we wanted to go in Waikiki. We quickly toured around the expensive shops that we were taken to, although I desperately wanted to buy a very expensive coral necklace for Hilary, and then we were on a bus heading the way that we wanted to go.

The Ala Mona shopping centre was much more our style, it did have a Sears and a Macys but we ignored those and concentrated on the smaller shops and managed to get some Macadamia nuts, a new shirt for me with turtles on (quite a subdued green actually and I will wear it tonight for Hawaiian night), a red top and a red skirt (with turtles) for Hilary and some gifts to bring home – hope you like turtles folks. When it became time for lunch we wandered the whole food court, if you like Japanese and Chinese food you would think that you were in Heaven, and settled on a very large tuna Panini, some chips and a soft drink. It was only after we had sat down on the nearby tables that we realised that we dining at Nathans Diner. It was a good omen and good food also. Outside again we found the local shuttle bus into Waikiki itself and along with about 4000 Japanese we headed off to the beach. I only slightly exaggerate about the numbers of Japanese as our taxi driver that we eventually took back to the ship said that around 4000 Japanese visitors arrive every day at Honolulu airport.

For those who have been to Waikiki beach we were dropped up next to the statue of the famous surfer dude and then we strolled to the water’s edge, removed our footwear and paddled just about the entire length of the beach ending up outside the very first hotel we ever stayed in on Hawaii. It was called The Reef hotel all those years ago but has since changed its name, however it is still right on the beach next to the little pink hotel and you can still get breakfast under cover on the beach. That particular spot has great views right across the bay and a spectacular view of Diamond Head so we settled there for a couple of hours. I paddled and wished again and again that I had brought my swimming trunks while Hilary wrote postcards. It was fascinating to see how the different nationalities enjoy themselves; the Japanese particularly have an interesting relationship with their kids. They are extremely attentive and I don’t think that I saw one Japanese child that was not wearing some cover up clothes when they were playing or swimming. Most had long T-Shirts, long shorts (you know what I mean) and a hat. The parents weren’t quite so good about covering up and there were a couple of Japanese Lobsters but overall they were much more careful than the western folks. There were some very tanned bodies on the beach, also some very red ones and most of the western kids relied on sun cream to keep them safe, probably not a good thing. Both Hilary and I slapped on the factor 50 before we left our cabin this morning.

It was with heavy hearts that we made the decision to go back to the ship, and we delayed our departure from the beach with a very large Shave Ice (Hawaiian Delight flavours of pineapple, banana and coconut), we both managed to get “brain freeze” and I also got indigestion by eating it too quickly. One final stop at ABC to buy some orange juice and Mountain Dew and then we found a nice taxi driver who drove us back to Pier Two for a total price of $22.00 including tip. Quicker, safer and easier than chasing down the two different buses we would have required and as we were lugging around 4 carrier bags by this time it was money well spent.

Tiz I. As Sam said I did amaze myself when I became very tearful when I heard the Aloha from the quayside and saw the dancers performing the hula hula. I really felt that I had come home and very welcomed. The day continued to be a confirmation of that original feeling although it is not this particular island that is my favourite. It all went to prove that Hawaii 2010 has to happen and I want all of you to come with me… so hold that thought. After the release of the turtle babies this has to be my favourite day so far.
Thank you to everyone who has left comments on the blog, they really are fantastic for us as they keep us close to you all. So, To Sharon we send our love and say welcome to the next stage of your life, the stormy part should be over now and exciting new experiences are waiting for you. To Julian we send our love and wish you every success in the course you are in our thoughts often. To Sam we send our love and say take lots of photographs so we can share the China experience. To Liz if we can do anything useful to help grow your business let us know. To Pat the embroidery has taken a back seat lately so no panic at the moment to work out the pattern – but I will get it finished! To everyone else I thank you for keeping in touch with us.
We have not seen any fish, dolphins or whales since we entered the Pacific Ocean; I’m hoping that the closer we get to New Zealand the more likely we will be to spot whales. We have 4 days at sea now so I’m hoping to get the scrapbook up to date for the first leg of the journey. I have 120 prints and some odd tickets, pictures, etc. to sort out and arrange so I will be busy. The first leg finished in San Francisco. Well Sam is waiting to go up to the Cyber café so I’d better finish. Take care, God bless.

A very brief sum up as we are both very tired, we walked quite a lot especially across Waikiki Beach and at every step we were thinking of you guys in England and China suffering from the snow and the freezing temperatures. If you believe that then you will believe anything, probably the only thing we were thinking was “Where can we get an ice cream, where the nearest piece of shade is, and how blue the water is looking.” Take care.


Pat said...

Hope you remembered to pick up the bear from the telephone box.
It's 12noon here and -4 outside but at least we haven't any snow yet. Honolulu sounds lovely and your day there sounds just up my street as they say.
Well with all your family Hilary being into new aand positive things, it makes me realise it's time for me to get my act together. Hopefully when you get back you will see the difference.
To start with I have managed to send this comment without ant problems.
Lots of love Pat

Julian said...

Hi Happy to see you enjoyed Hawaii. Is it really 25 years since we went! It is a good job you did not buy the coral necklace since coral importation is banned under the CITES convention and some officious customs official would have taken it from you. Enjoy your time at sea and hope you get to see more wildlife. With me at college you are getting more sea time than me! Kelly enjoyed seeing the pictures of her ring and necklace. Love, Julian Moira Carl & Kelly

Hayley said...

Hi guys,

So glad you had such a wonderful time at Honolulu, it makes me very happy to hear such things. Hopefully the dolphins will come back to see you soon too.

A little bit about what i've been getting up to....

I finished my first week at work by falling into bed at 9pm on Friday night, and not moving much for the rest of the weekend! i was exhausted. This week is looking set to be much of the same, with a rottweiler to go and see on wed evening and a J.russel terrier on saturday. (Rottweiler is a puppy and friendly just in case you were worried - i was!) We also have a Jack Russel (Heidi) that is slowly eating her way through the kitchen floor due to separation distress that we are treating tomorrow and probably for the next few months, but the prognosis is good. I have also turned into a PA at work running around like an idiot but it is great experience and in HR too which hopefully pays well. Have been tipped off about a company that pays you to work in places like Sri Lanka, Peru, Thailand, New Zealand etc so am looking into that too. Lets just see how much i can pack into 2009 shall we!!

In addition to Pats comment, it did snow and when i arrived home at 5.30pm everywhere was white, but only a thin amount. We shall see what tonight brings....

ooh also the fence is down next door! I had to laugh because they picked the only day with snow to start it! he he but should all be done by the time you get back :)

Wishing you many more tears of laughter and happiness, and get well thoughts for uncle to rid you of the last of your bug.

Much love to you both,

Hayles xxxxxxxxxx

jeff said...

You two truly are part Hawaian by now. When I see Sam's picture in front of Nathan's, it made me hungry for a Puka dog. I hope your shave ice was made a bit quicker than at Jo-Jo's! Keep up the fun.

Big Sam, you look distinguished in your tux. There's a definite James Bond quality there.

Sharon and Georgia said...

Hi Tiz I and Uncle Sam,

The photo's are wonderful and you both look fabulous. However, we are all very sad to observe your apparent distress about being so far away from very cold, snowy England!

Thank you for your kind words.

Keep on having fun... xx