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Nicstar's Trip Report + other bits and pieces (LONG)

Sydney
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Nicstar's Trip Report + other bits and pieces (LONG)

Alright, I'm going to just keep compiling it all here in this thread, or I'll just lose track of where I'm at etc etc.

Background info:

This holiday was me and my friend Miss K, going to Hawaii for Miss K's 30th birthday. Originally there was going to be a group of us, but they all pulled out, so it was just us two. Miss K decided she wanted to just stay in Waikiki for this trip. We took forever trying to decide where to book- as it was her birthday trip I left the final decision with her, and she kept changing her mind at the last minute coming up with new hotels we should investigate. In the end we decided, based on reviews on here and suggestions of TA members, and the price we got, to book a Diamond Head View room at the Queen Kapiolani.

This was my third time to Hawaii, Miss K's 2nd time... my first trip I did a week in Waikiki followed by two weeks in LA and Mexico followed by another week in Waikiki. Last year, we did a week in Waikiki followed by a week in Maui followed by nearly a week in Waikiki. Thus for this trip the goal was to just relax a bit, do some of the things we never got around to last time, and just soak up the sunshine and atmosphere.

Day 1, Tues 2 Aug

This was supposed to be the day we left, at 6pm. However Jetstar cancelled our flight and rescheduled it to the next morning. We didn't find out til just before midday. Jetstar then continued to prove themselves to be incompetent in phone calls I made to them, the lack of information they gave to us, the conflicting information they gave to other passengers, the mistakes they made, and the unhelpful, non-smiling, average (at best) cabin crew. I won't go into all the details of my Jetstar experience here, suffice to say I won't fly with them ever again. If you are interested to know the details of their errors and so on, you can find it here:

…tumblr.com/post/9035876535/jetstar-you-suck

So to utilise Day 1 that now has turned into Day 0 I thought I'd go through itunes and find some new tracks to load onto the ipod. Alas, my ipod gave me grief... I think its on its way out. In the end I had to completely reset my ipod and reload music slowly slowly to keep it from getting moody. It took the whole day until 8pm. :( Nooo I rely on music DAILY! AND I'd organised a playlist for drinks on our lanai, and a playlist of songs to play on Miss K's birthday! I crossed my fingers and toes that my beloved ipod would last the trip!

New Day 1, Wed 3 Aug:

Up at 4am, I had booked a taxi for 5am- we actually had no idea what time the check-in counter was supposed to open due to Jetstar's incompetence. We arrived at the airport to find nobody knows where they are supposed to go, the airport staff doesn't know, and someone said they were told to wait near such and such check in counter.

Anyways, after a joke of a check in, breakfast at McDonald's, final purchase of water, lollies and puzzle books for the plane, we finally get on the plane and it leaves an hour late. Sorry, factor in the 14 and a half hours already delayed, and that makes it 15 and a half hours late. Not happy.

(oh I must note here, Jetstar insists that you must have a print out of your ESTA or they won't let you fly, when apparently other airlines don't ask to see a print out- yet the check in counter chick handed it back to me saying "we don't need to see that" !!)

The flight went ok, I didn't get any sleep at all. Maybe ten minute snoozes here and there, mainly listened to the new tuneage on the ipod.... ahhh beloved ipod, makes everything ok!

In the end we arrived in Honolulu about 1130pm Tues night (crossed the international date line so we went back in time). Boy did I feel sorry for all the people that were lined up at the airport waiting to get on the flight we just got off....

The line at Customs seemed to take forever, even though our flight was the only flight they needed to process By the time I got to a counter it was nearly 1230am. It took me extra time then to get through Customs, because Jestar had entered my info wrong at their end. gee thanks Jetsar.

By this stage I was tired, cranky, irritable, extremely annoyed (thats the polite version) with Jetstar, and just wanting to get to our hotel- we'd already lost a day of our holiday, I just wanted to get going. We finally make it out to find that our prebooked transfer with Hawaii 23 was not there. Gone. I had emailed and confirmed our arrival time of 1015pm on Tues night, however, I guess with the delays and the hold ups, by 1245am, he figured I wasn't coming. Another van driver must have seen the look of despair on my face (because there were next to no taxis either)and he began to assist us. He also gave me his phone for me to call the Hawaii 23 mob. Nope no response. "Ahhh, there's room in my van" he says. Thank you, right then I'd have paid $100 just to get to the hotel anyway I could.

So as we head off I remember I'd promised Mum I'd text her as soon as we landed- realising she would have been expecting a text at least two hours previous, I pulled out my phone and texted her. (Mum's never stop worrying do they? I reckon I could be 60 years old, and mum would still worry and aske me to text as soon as I land!) As I did I noticed my ipod was on... pulled it out... uh oh. Its frozen. Stuck. Won't do anything, won't turn off, won't let me do a thing with it. noooooooo!!!! :(

As luck would have it, we were the second stop out of the 9 or so other people. We arrived and had both guys at the front desk working together to get us checked in ASAP. I was so thankful for that- while one entered details in the computer, the other one got the keys organised etc etc. Took no more than a couple of minutes! There was a security guard on duty and he rode up with us in the elevator too. Ah thank you people of Hawaii for helping to shed my frustrations already!!

(I've written a review of the hotel but its still "pending"- I guess it will be up soon enough)

My first night's sleep was no good at all. The air conditioner was so noisy, so so so loud, but Miss K needed it on to sleep. I did too, it was pretty warm, but I would much rather sleep in heat than with a truck running its engines and going through gears in my ear. Usually the answer for me would be... ipod!! ARGHHH! Nooooo! Mine just died. I went off to bed in the worst mood which was naturally exacerbated by tiredness, I just wanted to cry, but the dehydration from the plane helped to stop that plan.....

I got about 20 or 30 minutes sleep that night.

Day 2, Wed 3 Aug:

I eventually dragged myself out of bed and hoped that our 2nd turn of Wed 3 Aug would be better than the first round of Wed 3rd Aug. Stepped out onto the lanai, and ahhhhhhhhhh.... instant stress relief. There's Diamond Head, there's the zoo, I can hear the ocean, I can hear the monkeys, I can smell Hawaii.... what Jetstar issues? Oh wait, there are still ipod issues- its still frozen on the same screen not doing anything. Split decision made, I'm going to try this holiday without my music. Yup, who needs it when you've got the world at your feet here in Hawaii...! With a new zest for life, I made Miss K get up and get the day started. We already lost one day of our holiday, lets get this day started NOW!

We showered, dressed, and took off straight to Lulu's for breakfast. I ordered a fruit bowl with some bacon on the side, and big glass of coke (definitely need a caffeine kick to help this new joyful mood along its way!). That fruit bowl went down a treat, I LOVED it!

After breakfast we took off to the ABC Store, and got the essentials- my usual purchase of a beach towel (do it every trip: breakfast at Lulu's followd by a beach towel from ABC!), some drinks, some sunscreen and Maui Babe, some inflated toys and off we go to the beach.

It didn't take long, probably only 2 minutes in the water, and all my worries had gone. Hawaii does this to me. Stresses I have, just seem to melt away. Was a lovely lovely morning. After the beach we went back to the check out the hotel pool, and then I took off to try and organise some of the things I was meant to the previous day, and head up to Ala Moana to buy undies and socks. (I only brought 2 pair of each, because I knew I was buying over there, thus needed to go at the beginning of the trip!) On the way back I stopped at Food Pantry and got some milk and cereal for breaky for me. While I was gone, Miss K caught up on some Hawaii news on tv, and went and investigated the temperature of the pool and how comfortable the lounges were around it.

I got back to the hotel around 5pm I think? this is around when we stopped taking note of the time except on days we had tours booked! We figured it was probably around dinner time anyways. While I had been gone, Miss K had gotten organised and gone and bought a bottle of vodka (so cheap!) and some mixers and a mug for her. We then went and got a mug for me, and stopped in at Wolfgang Puck's for some quick and easy dinner to take back to the lanai. We got a pizza, and a salad, and went home and set up a picnic overlooking the zoo. Luckily Miss K's flatmate had leant her his ipod for the trip, so we plugged that into the portable speakers we brought, and sat back and had a lovely lazy dinner and drinks session. Ahhh Hawaii.....

Day 3, Thu 4 Aug, Miss K's Bday!

I got up about 6am to go for a run and then stop by the Food Pantry to pick up some bits and pieces we wanted. Miss K was still sound asleep as I left- I had thought about waking her as it was her birthday, but that would be cruel to wake her, sing happy birthday, then run out! I forgot how much I love Waikiki at this time of the morning- no wonder I can't wait to get up and go for a run in the mornings there. Its so peaceful, the light is beautiful, the sound of the waves lapping at the shore...just love it. I ran around the zoo, then up past Leonards, turned around and came back to Food Pantry and picked up munchies, coke, diet coke, sprite zero, juices, fruit, and a couple of plastic cups. Got home, and Miss K was just waking up..

(look at that, I call it home already after one day!)

"Happy Birthday to youuuuuu" I sang. Can you tell who works with children?? I gave her her card, and inside it had instructions on what she needed to wear for the morning, and telling her we were getting picked up at 930am. I had all intentions of keeping it a complete surprise- that she wouldn't find out where we were going until the driver of the van happened to spill the beans. But, we were going parasailing. And...it was very windy out. And .. they were saying on the news that the winds were only going to get stronger through the day. Worrying they might cancel on us because of this, I thought I'd tell her as she got ready. She was pretty excited about it (this was on our list of things to do from last trip), but also had the same concerns as me.

We got picked up right on 930am, and after a big discussion about my Australian accent, we took off. Our driver, Greg, tells us that they will probably have to cancel that afternoons parasailing, so we had booked a good time.

Now, I'm afraid of heights (don't ask me why I'd want to go parasailing then!) and Miss K is a little too...so I'd just booked for us to have the 300ft line. In my mind, if I thought it was less, it would be easier to cope with if we weren't liking it. I had no nerves at all, until we were strapped in ready to go, and the guy says to us "come on, how about we let the line out just a little more than 300ft?" Noooooooo we say. He grins and waves us off.

OH MY GOSH! I loved it up there. I felt absolutely safe (I feel less safe looking over the railing on the lanai), and the only thing I could have wished for was a clearer day- it was so cloudy and on and off rain- a nice sunny day would have just made it spectacular. And so peaceful. Even when we were getting dunked in the water! Miss K enjoyed it too, however was a little more nervous and clining to the straps, and almost trying to fight landing in the water. I just laughed and sang the whole time. Someone has since commented about how happy I look in all the photos! Most definitely.

As we came back in, the guy says "uhmm...you guys went out to almost 1000ft. The winds picked up and we had to let the line out heaps." Ahhhh whatever, I loved IT!

So, after that we got dropped back off at our hotel, and I gave Miss K the choice- we could clean up and go somewhere nice for lunch, or just get something easy and eat by the pool or in the room. She chose the easy by the pool option, so we got a burger from Teddy's (is that the right name of it?) and sat by the pool for an hour or so.

We then freshened up, had a vodka or two, and started on part 2 of the birthday plans. The previous day I'd made a reservation on Na Hoku II for the sunset sail. Again, it was really windy so I wondered what was going to happen. This time I kept it a secret- told her what to wear, and led the way. She looked at me weirdly as we left the sidewalk and began to walk up the beach. I was getting pretty excited because the day before she had also said "lets try and do one of those sunset sails while we are here" Yessss! I saw the boat out on the water, and pointed at it and said: "there you go". "What?" she replied. "We're going on a sunset sail!"

Ahhh that was awesome. It was sooooo windy, waves splashing over the boat, the boat rocking, I LOVED it. Except for the part where the salt water kept getting into the mai tais. But then that meant one cute crew member boy had to help me up on top (so i could keep my drink dry), while the other not so bad looking crew member boy continued to bring drinks out to us... ahhh what a life! If only that sunset would take longer so we wouldn't have to get off the boat.

We really enjoyed that trip. I was supposed to find out info about kids on board, but I never got the chance. By the time we got back into shore, we were quite merry (and Miss K had gotten some extra special drinks for her bday!) and laughing, and we just ran up the beach. We headed home to shower and change and then to head out for a drink. We decided to stop at the first place we saw as we were quite thirsty, thus ended up at Tiki's Grill and Bar, having champagne and cocktails. The girl serving us asked how our day was, what did we get up to so I mentioned it was Miss K's birthday, and within 5 minutes chocolate coated strawberries appeared for her, complimentary for her birthday! A guy at the table over from us came to talk to us, about where we were from, where he was from, then told us him and his friend? partner? wife? (I'm not sure which) were going somewhere else to have a dance (he did tell us where but I can't recall now) and told us where it was if we were interested in going somewhere else.

A few more drinks later, Miss K decides, lets go see where that place is at least. So we go for a walk. I don't know what happened, but we forgot we were supposed to be going somewhere and just got to talking and laughing and before we knew it we had gone way past the International Market Place. We gave up. Laughing we turned back and headed to the hotel, calling into an ABC store to get some things, and did a bit of videoing to show our friends just how versatile an ABC Store actually is (and as luck would have it, the one we chose had a Christmas tree up!).

Finally got back to the hotel about midnight, and Miss K crashed out, exhausted from the travelling, and the heat and her birthday. I wasn't far behind.

(I will continue to add info here in this thread- sorry about how long it is and the detail, and I know I am really bad at expressing myself!! I had planned for it to be short and brief, but as I write small details come back to me I just want to record down! Not all our days were this busy, so don't worry it won't be as long for every two days that pass!)

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Sydney
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1. Re: Nicstar's Trip Report + other bits and pieces (LONG)

OH i forgot to mention. As we boarded the sunset sail, and we sat down to pull out our cameras to get photos, Miss K's camera suffered the same fate as my ipod. It froze. It had been on, but it wouldn't turn off.... Bizarre... at least between us we now had one working ipod and one working (although definitely in need of replacement) camera...

Houston, Texas
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2. Re: Nicstar's Trip Report + other bits and pieces (LONG)

Oh how lovely!! Keep it coming, please. 16 more days for us and unfortunately, I've read every trip report on this forum so I'm starving for more : -) Enjoy!!

Dallas
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3. Re: Nicstar's Trip Report + other bits and pieces (LONG)

Great report. Don't leave anything out.

Good that you were able to blow off such a lousy start and get in the mood. Your excitement is contagious and just makes us that more excited for our trip in October.

I'm a private pilot and fly small aircraft, and there is no way I'm going parasailiing !!

Sydney
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4. Re: Nicstar's Trip Report + other bits and pieces (LONG)

Day 4, Fri 5 Aug

We woke up fairly late this morning- around 9ish, and just took our time getting ready. Miss K has had problems with her foot, lots of pain- started a while before we went away and walking makes the pain worse... so after our long stroll up and down the main strip the previous night, she wanted to just rest up a bit, stay close to the hotel. However, we got to talking about wanting new swimmers and wanted to return down to Macy's where we had looked in the window the previous night, where we had noticed a sale on swimwear. So she decides, yep, lets do it.

We walked down there, stopped in at Coach on the way because Miss K wants to get herself a Coach wallet while we are away. Her intention was to buy when we go to the Waikele Outlets, but she wanted to see what the prices were like there in Waikiki. I started looking around the sale section and realised why I should not go into those shops. A beautiful little pink clutch wallet, $61. I decided I wanted it. Get me out of here Miss K, I don't even neeeeed it!

We continued on to Macy's and browsed the swimwear. I found quite a few I liked, but wasn't in the mood to try on that day. We both figured we'd return in a day or so and maybe both pick up new swimmers. I do actually need them- mine are both stretched and too big... but as Hawaii does to you, I never got back around to heading back up there to buy swimmers, and by the end of my trip I was fine with my stretched out pairs! Just learnt to make do. Swimmers too big? Ah well, hold on tight to them when the waves roll in. No ipod? thats ok, listen to the monkeys singing over in the zoo.

We went back to the hotel, and I thought I might go for a late afternoon run. Alas, it was too hot to run. Thats another reason why I always run in the mornings in Hawaii. I walked instead...and ended up back in Macy's looking at t-shirts. Got hooked, bought a light weight surf brand t-shirt on sale for $10. Maaaaaaaaaaaaate! I cannot get over how cheap the clothing and so on is over in Hawaii.

I quickly got out of there- no more shopping. Our plan was to save shopping to the end of our holiday, so we knew we could just spend up big with whatever money we each had left over, knowing it wouldn't come out of food or vodka or excursion money! Its dangerous letting me in shops when things are so cheap, and especially when I'm happy because its warm and sunny!

I met Miss K at the pool for a swim and a bit of sun, then we had something to eat there at the poolside bar at our hotel. I had Wagyu Beef Sliders that were delicious. The bread on the buns was a bit sweet (I'm not used to white bread, I usually eat all wholemeal), but I devoured them very quickly. Later that night we went for a walk to Coldstone (which is just around the corner, about 5 minutes walk away) and Miss K got an icecream while I got a glimpse of the fireworks between the trees and down the beach. We had wanted to go there, but alas, Miss K didn't even want to get the bus and then walk around down there because of her sore foot. Poor thing. Back to the hotel, and watch some tv before sleep takes over.

Day 5, Sat 6 Aug

I was meant to be up early as I had booked to do a rainforest hiking tour (on reccommendation from others on TA) with Oahu Nature Tours. Miss K isn't much of a "lets get up early and walk through trees and plants" type of a person even when her foot isn't sore, so this was something I had pre-panned to do on my own. Alas, my alarm didn't go off (I got my days of the week mixed up!) but luckily I woke up about 20 minutes before pick up time!

Once again, as soon as I was picked up by the guide, Mike, a discussion occurs about my accent. I really need to tone down the Australian part of me, and especially quit with typical Aussie expressions ("no worries" I realised is a BIG one that I say all the time)- I stand out like a sore thumb and sound like I'm from the bush or something. I don't know when I developed such a thick Australian accent, its never been so strong and obvious, and never have so many people pointed it out to me like they did on this holiday!!

However, I can have a laugh at myself, thank goodness... and off we go. We were lucky our group was only 6 people, and everyone was fairly fit meaning there wasn't a lot of waiting around for stragglers. I didn't make notes of the names of the places we went to- I wish I'd had an iphone because one guy was checking in at places, just to remember the names.... good thinking... 'cos now I've got nothing apart from we went to a rainforest, saw chickens, plants and a waterfall.

It was actually a very good tour. Enough interesting information about the plants and animals and so on without it being nature overload. And to the point that it left me interested to know more so have been looking up about it on the net since I've been home. Mike was very good at passing information on in an informative and interesting way, and making it personal- remembering our names and relating things back to where we all live etc. I was actually disappointed when it was over. I wish now I had booked another tour of this sort- as much as I love the beach and am turning into a water baby in my old age, it was nice to see another side of Hawaii and learn some new facts.

For those who are interested- we were provided with a backpack to carry what we needed, a bottle of water, a hiking stick, and a rain poncho incase it rained, oh and insect repellant. Which reminds me of another Australian thing I did... a mosquito landed on the girl infront of me and normally my thing would be to hit first, then yell "mozzie" after- its a perfectly acceptable way to prevent your mates from beign eaten alive by mosquitos. Instead, I thought I'd be polite and I called "mozzie!" first THEN slapped at it. The poor girl turned to look at me horrified and said "what?" I said "mozzie...." She still looked puzzled, and Mike laughed and explained I meant a mosquito. Seriously, Nic, watch what you say, lose the Australian slang!!

Anyways, I arrived back at the hotel around 1230ish. I showered and we took our time getting ready to head down to the Cheesecake Factory for an early dinner.

The line was MASSIVE when we got there, people hanging about everywhere. We were told a 15 minute wait, and within 5 minutes our buzzer went off. Time to make the decision- what to eat. I just wanted a bit of everything! I can never decide. In the end I had a burger of some description, Miss K had fish and chips, and we both got a cocktail. Gee I wish I could remember what one I had, but it was lethal. Even our server, Kevin commented I'd be on the floor by the end of the meal. Thus I blame the cocktail on why I thought, after my meal, I could fit in a piece of Cheesecake.....I did fit it in, but never will I eat that much food ever again. For the next two hours I was extremely uncomfortable.

A point worth remembering- Cheesecake Factory will spilt the bill so you can pay for your items separately. I like this, most times when Miss K and I go for a meal,and she ends up having a few alcoholic drinks while i stick to soft drink, or a way more expensive meal, and it ends up being a pain trying to work out how much one person owes the other, or trying to count out the cash...

We wandered to Rumfire for a drink. I stuck to one beer... while Miss K had a couple of cocktails of some description. Then home, tuck up in bed and watch a bit of tv before sleep took over.

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Lagrangeville, NY
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5. Re: Nicstar's Trip Report + other bits and pieces (LONG)

Very enjoyable read. Sorry you had so much problems with Jetstar.

Sydney
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6. Re: Nicstar's Trip Report + other bits and pieces (LONG)

Just learnt my lesson about not saving... just lost the next two days worth.

Try again tomorrow! :)

Central MN
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7. Re: Nicstar's Trip Report + other bits and pieces (LONG)

"Swimmers too big? Ah well, hold on tight to them when the waves roll in. No ipod? thats ok, listen to the monkeys singing over in the zoo."

I love it! Great trip report! I'm really enjoying it. We have a lot of "mozzies" here in Minnesota, so I 've decided I'm going to start using that word :) My husband picked up "no worries" while we in Hawaii last time - didn't realize that was Austraiian slang, but I'm betting he did get that from an Austrailan.

Oh and why did you feel sorry for those people waiting for the flight in Hawaii? They (may have been) delayed 15 hours IN Hawaii - lucky dogs! Any excuse to stay longer I say!

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8. Re: Nicstar's Trip Report + other bits and pieces (LONG)

Loving your TR so far... sounds like a fun trip. Looking forward to the next instalment!

Sydney
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9. Re: Nicstar's Trip Report + other bits and pieces (LONG)

Yeah i don't know if "no worries" is actually Australian as such, but its definitely something that Aussies do say. Whether they want to or not! hehehe

Apparently another way I got picked out as being Australian, was when they saw me get excited at buying a banana in the ABC Store. Our bananas have been pretty bad quality and extremely expensive since the all the floods at the beginning of the year, so to actually be able to buy a ripe, beautiful looking and smelling and tasting banana for a decent price was a thrill. The lady at the ABC store one morning laughed and said, "ahhh more Australians!"- she said she'd had a lot of customers from Australia tell her about how expensive the bananas had been for us! (go to Hawaii to buy cheap shoes, bananas, alcohol and clothes!)

I felt sorry for the people waiting for their flight, because they would have been suppose to fly out at 8 that morning. It was now nearly midnight, and if they had got the same treatment as we did- only a text message to advise them of their delayed flight, and being Australian, many of them probably weren't using their mobile phones, I can imagine some didn't find out the delay until arriving at the airport. considering how early you get up to get that flight....argh! Not to mention, a lot of people plan to go back to work the day after they arrive home, that would have stuffed that up.

thanks for the feedback ppl, I know I like detailed trip reports, sometimes the little details that seem irrelevant actually give out some helpful information! I need breakky then my plan for the rest of my day is to just sit here and finish the report.

:)

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washington
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10. Re: Nicstar's Trip Report + other bits and pieces (LONG)

Oh, nic...ya crack me up! Thanks so much for the reports!

"No worries" is our family byword! Would love to credit the islands or OZ! 2 of my kids did homestays down there and youngest son spent 2 years at U of H...BUT they were raised on Bob Marley! "No worries...be happy!"

I simply LOVE your attitude! I read too many posts from prima donnas...you are a breathe of fresh air! Thanks! Rolling with the punches is our style!