I woke at 4:30am, and we were up and wandering around by 6:30. We got coffee across the street at our hotel’s other complex, and cut through the building to the ocean. We took off our shoes and started walking up the beach. There were a bunch of old folks taking hula lessons at the south end. Plumeria littered the ground and smelled amazing; I spent the day with flowers in my hair.
Even at 7 in the morning, there were people out surfing and laying in deck chairs at their hotels. Near the breakwater, we met a guy who said he’d come from LA to Hawaii a year ago. He told us about the events on the beach, and directed us toward Diamond Head. We started off towards that hike, but once we got passed the zoo and about 20 different gardens, we realized there was no way we’d be able to walk there and climb it, see the sights, and get back to the hotel before the noon checkout time, since it was 10 already. We headed back and, of course, we had walked far more than we realized.
We checked out of the hotel, stashed our stuff there, and headed back out to find lunch, then shop. Waikiki is gaudy and amusing, and has insane amounts of shopping, even though it’s a very strange blend; they have very high-end designer boutiques intermingled with regular clothing stores, souvenir shops, and ABC Stores (a sort of tourist convenience store), which are located on at least every other block. There are endless malls, but the restaurant variety kind of sucks, unless you’re wanting seafood or a gigantic steak. But that is the way with the tourist locales.
Everyone we talked to was so friendly and talkative. I was charmed by all the ‘aloha’ and ‘mahalo’. I always forget how different that is from the upper midwest, where some people are inclined to flinch when spoken to.
I managed to restrict my shopping to a few tshirts, since I didn’t want to break out the spare suitcase until I really had to. We laid in the sun for an hour at our hotel pool, and spent more time at the beach. Then we went back to the hotel and caught the shuttle back to the airport. We left at 4:45 and reached the airport at 6pm; it’s ten miles away. Thus is the very VERY annoying traffic situation in Honolulu. (I’m amused by the fact they have interstates. There’s maybe 50 miles of highway total, and they’re usually packed like a parking lot).
We took our first inter-island flight on Aloha Air. I was far too excited at the concept of open seating, having never flown on anything smaller than a DC-9. I was even more thrilled by the fact they had beverage service on the 30-minute flight to the Big Island. The plane is at altitude for 10 minutes at the most; they barely have time to pass out cups and collect the trash before landing.
We arrived at the Kona airport and got to deplane right onto the tarmac. I nearly peed with excitement. It was so oldschool and amusing. We walked the two feet to the baggage claim, waited 5 minutes, then walked another 2 feet to the rental car shuttle. The Kona airport is seriously a small group of tiki-style huts on a giant lava field. It was really starting to feel like Hawaii.
We picked up our first car, a champagne-colored Cavalier named Captain Cook. We drove the ten miles to the hotel in Kailua-Kona (I still can’t figure out which of those is the actual town), and checked into our alarmingly 60s-style hotel. It was after 9pm, so we went out in search of food in the tiny town, but shortly gave up because everything in town was closed or packed-full of drunk people. We decided we just wanted sleep instead. In true me-style, I woke up screaming around midnight, and jarred Stephanie so badly she was up most of the rest of the night.