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Honolulu 17 to 21 September

Waikiki - This Place is Full On

sunny 29 °C
View 2010 Around the World on greynomadm's travel map.

Friday 17 September (second time - last half)

We slept until about noon and then went out to walk the streets of Waikiki. What an amazing place, literally wall to wall tourists and the things tourists look for. The temperature was about 31 deg but the humidity was not too oppressive.

Found a place called the "Cheese Burger" and were cajoled into ordering a lunch. It may have been the jet-lag or old age but what I thought we'd ordered and what arrived displayed considerable variation. An enormous "burger", wicked fries and a bottomless mug of Coke. I'll try to upload a picture. 2010-09-17_0025.jpgWe walked about some more and staggered back to the hotel with the idea of having an early night. Great idea but didn't quite work out like that. We'd been partly asleep for about two hours when the local party animals came to life. Loud voices, vehicle horns and raucous music kicked in at about 10 pm and went on until well after 2 am.

Saturday 18 September

Attended a promotional free breakfast and were convinced to part with $10 for some cheesy photos intended to show us in the holiday mood. After the breakfast we signed up for a tour of the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbour for Monday. The shuttle then transported us to the most expensive tourist trap I've visited. The Mauwi Divers Jewelry where they manufacture (and of course SELL) some exquisite jewelry incorporating their famous black coral. They also match it with other gems and precious objects like pearls in any of a dozen shades from milky white to almost black. With price tags in the many hundreds of dollars I resisted until we were almost out the door.

We were bushwhacked but this charming lady who offered us the chance to open a pearl oyster (like a Lucky dip) for just $10. "Doesn't cost anything to look!". Our shell yielded two eggplant coloured pearls about 6 mm in diameter. She had also demonstrated on another shell which contained an 8 mm milky white pearl. She then cleaned the pearls with a little salt and a damp cloth and before we knew it the pearls had been drilled and the white one substituted for one that matched the eggplant 6 mm pair. "Don't do this for everyone, but happened to have this left over from yesterday." Quick as a flash and with more blarney than an Irish pub the three pearls had been mounted on 14 caret gold settings. Some more charm and fast talking and we walked out with only a 'small' dent in the credit card.

Another 'free' shuttle to Hilo Hattie the home of the Hawaiian Shirt. A large barn full of loud colourful shirts, sarongs and every conceivable tourist souvenir you can imagine. Managed to escape that place without spending a cent !! Back on the shuttle and 'home' to Waikiki for a late lunch and an afternoon nap.

Sunday 19 September

Not a bad night, getting used to the strange surroundings. Out for breakfast and a visit to some of the places not previously explored. The Waikiki Beach area is not all that big but it has tall buildings on every spare inch. We can't imagine how many hotel beds are available here. Had an early lunch then waited in the foyer for our afternoon tour.

We had a five hour small group tour to some of the scenic look-outs and nature reserves on the South East of the Island. The tour guide was most interesting in both the wealth and breadth of her knowledge of the area. Back at the hotel by just after 5 pm.

Monday 20 September

Up very early to join the tour of the Arizona Memorial Tour at Pearl Harbour. Like other American Memorials I've visited, this one is well organised and respectfully honours the many men who died on that infamous day in 1941. Particularly moving for me was the memorial to the many submarines that were lost during World War II. I counted around 50 submarines that disappeared with all hands, recorded are the more than 3,500 submariners lost during the war.

The Arizona Memorial has been built over the sunken wreck of the battleship, traces of oil still seep from the fuel bunkers. While we were there, local school children dropped flowers on the water and they drifted off with the oil sheen creating a moving tribute to the the ship's 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives on 7 December 1941 in Pearl Harbor.

From the Arizona Memorial we went to the USS Missouri (the "Mighty Mo") which proudly rides at anchor in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, next to the USS Arizona Memorial, the two marking the beginning and the end of World War II. The USS Missouri Memorial opened 29 January 1999 and is one of the most popular attractions in Hawaii. Our boarding was delayed for about 30 minutes because a film crew was shooting an episode of the new version of Hawaii-5-O. We finally made it to the fore-deck and during the introductory spiel, I felt dizzy and Jenny sat me down beside the forward gun turret.

Some of the film crew saw what was happening and called for medics. Within a minute or so I was laid on my back, being fed oxygen and having my blood pressure taken. The blood pressure was alarmingly low and before long two paramedics from the Federal Fire Department had me on a wheel-chair stretcher and I was loaded into the back of an ambulance. I was hooked up to a heart monitor and placed on a saline IV drip. Following a fast trip into Honolulu with lights flashing and sirens screaming I was unloaded at the Queen's Medical Center Emergency. I was pretty much recovered by this stage but was subjected to the full diagnostic routine, ECG, bloods, urine and observations. Some four hours later I was released with the conclusion that I was suffering from dehydration due to the heat, lack of fluid intake and general eating patterns following the rapid time and climate change.. During this time in hospital, an employee from the Missouri Memorial provided every possible assistance and ensured that we were provided transport back to the hotel.

Back at the hotel, we had to contact the Travel Insurance Company, not an easy task as it turned out. The instructions required us to contact the local operator and ask for a reverse charge call to be placed. Couldn't do it from the room phone, tried it from the public pay phone with the loss of 5 quarters and no result, my mobile phone decided to chuck a wobbly and I finally resorted to a flaky connection via Skype. That worked well enough to pass on our hotel land-line contact and a lovely lady rang back immediately. Contact has been made but the issue is not yet finalised. I need to print off a form, fill it out and fax it back to them. I have decided to hold that off until Seattle.

Tuesday 21 September

Understandably, Jenny was reluctant to let me out of the hotel. I was permitted to help with the laundry and was allowed out for breakfast. Then back to the hotel for an 1100 check-out. We sat in the foyer and stayed cool until 1545 when the shuttle arrived to take us to the airport. Quite a different experience entering Honolulu airport and booking in with Delta. Your check-in baggage is examined by Dept of Agriculture before you proceed to the desk. There you need to pay $25 per piece of luggage and you are issued with your boarding pass. Then off to security screening, every metal object in a tray, the net book in a tray, our boots and jackets in another tray and our back-packs. We're learning, but it still takes a lot of time and we were happy to sit and wait for the 2050 boarding time. We started boarding the 757 right on time and were amazed at the amount of carry-on luggage people were allowed to get away with. After the longest ever wandering around the airport we were airborne and headed for Seattle. A sleepless 5 hour 30 minutes later we landed at Seattle.

Wednesday 22 January

Arrived Seattle International at about 0600 local time (watches forward three hours) we collected our cases and looked for transport options to down-town Seattle. We were advised to catch the train, great idea but none of those advising it knew precisely how to find the train. It took a while because the facility was so new it hadn't yet been fully sign-posted. We found the station and the automatic ticketing machine. They are great, but totally useless when you don't know the local geography. Which,line, which station, what kind of ticket ?? Up to the platform and a very helpful security guard gave us all the information we needed. $1.50 each compared with $35 for a taxi into down-town.
We arrived at the central rail station and made it to the surface and being just 0730 there aren't many people about to ask for directions. A man making deliveries to the corner drug-store pointed us in the direction of a taxi rank. A quick ride had us at the hotel. Welcome was fantastic, "Yes we have a room ready and breakfast is on for another half hour, do come down and join us - complementary". The suite is enormous, two queen sized beds, full kitchen including domestic sized refrigerator and a dish-washer. The lounge room has another flat panel TV, a couch and arm-chair and a desk with two chairs. Yes there's a bathroom as well. Lovely breakfast and crashed out for about 3 hours.

More later, perhaps after the cruise.

Posted by greynomadm 13:21 Archived in USA Tagged update Comments (2)

Update of the Trip Map

Additional Information for each leg

rain 18 °C

I have added additional detail for each leg of the trip. Stating the arrival and departure times and the hotels we're staying at. I've also include airline and flight details and corrected some date errors.

Posted by greynomadm 16:48 Archived in Australia Tagged final update pre-departure Comments (0)

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