Started our 7 week trip to the states in Hawaii. Have been saving and planning the trip for nearly 12 months and booked everything online. Managed to score cheap flights with Jetstar last year when they had a two for one sale, so pretty happy about that. Night flight was a killer especially after the stress at the airport.
I didn't realise I would need to show outward bound tickets/confirmation and so all paperwork was in my bag. As we were going onward from Honolulu to San Fran, I guess I wasn't thinking. So, remember, if you don't have a return ticket, take other info!
Very easy taxi to the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel. I was pretty nervous as some reports on TA haven't been very good, but it is a great hotel. I was also worried that we were going to be miles away from the main road, but in fact there is really only a short strip of road that is actually on the beach and then it heads inland and Aston in on the road across from the beach, so prefect location for us. Great hotel, will do a separate report.
Exhausted the first day as couldn't sleep on the plane, but wondered around Waikiki until we were able to check in and have a nanna nap. Dinner that night was a delicious pizza from Wolfgang Pucks which is underneath the hotel and then also Tiki's which is in the hotel.
So the food! Wow! I knew it was going to be big, but this is bigger than big. We love food, but after a couple of meals with every plate still having at least half left, we have finally worked out not to order a meal for everyone (mum, dad, 2 kids)! And drinks! You can't get a small soft drink, everything's huge. No joke, we only need 1 medium for all 4 of us and we would usually have a drink each. And coffee, other than it being really hard to find good coffee, when you do, a small coffee is the largest one I can get back home. I'm sure it's all really bad for me, but everything here tastes soooo much better than home :) Here come the extra kilos.
We hired a Mustang convertible for 2 days and drove around the island. While the convertible was great, it was really windy and the kids were blown around, so didn't actually have the top down much. It was also pretty hard for the kids to see out (and the driver) but it was great. Until.... a bus reversed into us at the blowhole. Thankfully, we had taken out extra insurance and so it was fine. We called the police when we got back to the hotel and filled in a police report and then returned the car. They said it was all good and so fingers crossed we don't hear from them again.
Visited Pearl Harbor, but couldn't get tickets online and no tickets when we got there. Got tickets for the Bowfin submarine which was really interesting. Only hotdogs and nachos, so eat before you get there. Also found the outlet shops which was fun. Got a pair of Levi's for just over $40 and a pair of Vans for $47. Not sure if that was cheap, but wanted them anyway.
I think the funniest thing we did with the car was trying to fill it up with petrol. You pull in and the pump only takes credit cards. If have an international credit card it tells you to pay inside. Then you have to prepay $40 and it only let's you fill up with $40. Of course hubby couldn't read the instructions which tell you to lift the pump and pull up the handle underneath, so I am in the shop asking the lady to open the pump. So we finally get it going and of course it needs more than $40, so I go and pay another $40, but of course it only needs $3.40, so I go back in again and get a refund. All the while I was laughing my head off. Probably shouldn't have been that funny but sometimes it's like being in a non-English speaking country! It's all so confusing :)
So after a couple of days of family time, convinced hubby that the girls need to do a little shopping and so we caught the "pink line" trolley to Ala Moana shopping centre. The trolley is really fun and only costs $2 per person. The pink line does a loop between Waikiki and Ala Moana. Look for the pink flag or pink board on the side of the trolley. The trolley is not pink, which is what I was looking for. It also stops right outside the Aston, so another bonus for the hotel.
Ala Moana was ok, lots of high end brand name shops which I wasn't really into (can't afford Louis Vuitton on Oz, prob can't afford in Hawaii either). Found a few cool shops and the great food hall.
Took a tour to Hanuama Bay which was great. $15 which included snorkel etc and the bus there and back. A lovely bay to snorkel in and we saw some lovely sea life.
Spent the last couple of days at the beach and pool and doing a bit more looking in the shops, again. All in all had a great stay in Hawaii and now we're off to San Francisco for a few days before RV-ing across to Texas! See you in San Fran!