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Ah Flossie, you break my heart

Hilo, United States

Our last week of true vacation . . . I start work two weeks ago yesterday, we have a wedding this weekend, family visit next week and travel to Seattle after that. This is it, but what better place to spend the last week of true vacation than in Hawaii?

As usual, it has been fantastic here. First of all, a truly comfortable bed to sleep in for the first time in months! And I’ve been taking definite advantage of that by sleeping many hours every night. Other than sleep, we have been doing the normal Hawaii things: a little golf, beach time, pool, croquet, grilling, reading, etc. It has been quite nice. I have also been attempting to catch up on computer-related activities while beginning some of the logistics of moving to a new city. What better place to do it?

The only thing not going as planned is Hurricane Flossie. She started rearing her ugly head yesterday as winds picked up dramatically. They continue today and should bring some rain with them before too long as the Hurricane passes close by the island this afternoon. We are hoping she passes today as planned so that tomorrow and Thursday morning we can enjoy a bit more beach time before boarding our plane back to the continental states.

In the meantime, I’ve been reflecting how incredible the last 3 months have been. I was fortunate enough to visit 7 countries while hanging out with great friends—and all safely. As part of this reflection, I’ve been contemplating some superlatives related to my memories of the trip. Here goes my list so far:

• Favorite city visited: Sydney, Australia
• Best wildlife encounter: Kangaroos in Grampians National Park, Australia
• Best Lodging: Cabin in Grampians National Park
• Most beautiful temple: Borobudur, Indonesia
• Best surfing: Bali, Indonesia
• Hottest city: Bangkok, Thailand
• Best Food: Thai food in Chiang Mai, Thailand, courtesy of none other than world-class Thai chef Sompon Nabnian
• Loudest city: Hanoi, Vietnam
• Best night of drinking: Rice Wine with village family near SaPa, Vietnam
• Most stunning scenery: Halong Bay, Vietnam
• Most painful experience: Mountain biking in Dalat, Vietnam
• Most interesting history: Hearing about Khmer Rouge from Cambodian local
• Most beautiful sunset: Railay Beach
• Best climbing: Railay, Thailand
• Cleanest city: Singapore, Singapore
• Best weather: Darwin, Australia

These are the first to come to mind. Perhaps I will update this blog in the future as I continue to reflect on what an awesome trip it was.

permalink written by  GoBlue on August 14, 2007 from Hilo, United States
from the travel blog: Carl's Circuit
tagged Hawaii

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Downtown Waikiki

Honolulu, United States

Well, my boyfriend is on dry dock right now, which means the boat he is stationed on right now is docked and doesn't go out to sea. He still work, but has a lot of time to relax and is docked in Honolulu, HI. I was really excited and happy to hear when he said he would fly me out to Honolulu and we could spend some time there!

I flew out Thursday morning around 10am. I went to Dallas first, which was kind of exciting for me, because I've never been to Dallas. I don't care if I was just in the airport, I was still there! The DFW International Airport is huge! I literally took a shuttle for like 15 minutes to get to the part of the airport I needed to be on! The flight from Dallas was a non-stop flight to Honolulu and it was nice to know it was a straight shoot, but it was a long flight! I've never been on a plane that long. It was about 9 hours in the air. There was only one other person next to me, which was nice that I wasn't stuck in the aisle seats with multiple people around me, but the girl next to me was kind of snooty. I amused myself with two movies I downloaded on iTunes (Night At The Museum & Bedtime Stories) and a book I'm reading (Gettysburg), but after all that I still had like 2 hours left and it seemed to take forever to land. Before we landed we had to fill out an agriculture survey from the state of Hawaii stating if we were bring in any animals or plants. Lucky for me, I was not, so I had nothing to worry about. When we finally landed it was like 4:26pm in Hawaii. It was weird to be on a plane for 9 hours and never see the sky darken. When I first walked off the plane it was weird to me not to see a ton of people in the airport or have anyone give me a lie. I suppose I paid too much attention to TV sitcoms, but I thought everyone received a lei when they entered Hawaii at the airport...... There really wasn't many people in the airport at all and the only people who were standing to give out lei's seemed to be from a tourist package. The airport is medium sized and it wasn't hard at all to find the luggage claim or my boyfriend!

We stayed at the Castle Ocean Resort Hotel which was in Downtown Waikiki right by the beach, so we had to drive there and we caught rush hour on the interstate. As we were driving through I was amazed to see how the city looked kind of inner city like. Definitely nothing like I thought it would be; not fancy or metropolitan like. It was a lot like looking at the cities in the Caribbean like where my friends live in Trinidad & Tobago. It didn't look ugly or bad, but it definitely wasn't postcard perfect. I must say, I felt safe throughout all of Hawaii at all times the whole time I was there. I feel the state of Hawaii tries really hard to keep it that way and does a good job. While driving to downtown we passed the projects, which my boyfriend pointed out, and even those didn't look that bad; looked a lot better than the ones that were 15 minutes away from where I grew up.

When we finally got down to the hotel we found they had no parking so we either parked down the street for $10 or we parked with the service the hotel used for $15, we choose the hotel service, because it was more convenient, especially since I had luggage. The hotel room wasn't too small, but it wasn't big. It had a decent bathroom, two full size beds, a little table and chairs, and a balcony.

Our view was of the city, which only looked good at night when it was all lit up. The view wasn't too bad during the day if you overlooked the run downed industrial looking buildings below and just focused on the city and valley beyond.

That first night I was there we just went to eat and then to sleep. I was exhausted! By the time we were all checked in and unpacked it was after 7:00pm. We spent a little time in the hotel and then went to eat. We just randomly walked to find where we were going to eat. At the end of our street was a restaurant called "Tiki's Bar & Grill" up some stairs, so we went there to eat. It was nice. A lot of seafood on the menu and Hawaiian inspired dishes. I went with a shrimp type pasta dish. The shrimp were the largest I'd ever seen in my whole life! After dinner and when we walked back it was around 9:00pm, but for me it was really 2:00am and I'd been up since 10:00am on planes, so I was ready to just crash. Of course, I woke up around 5:19am wanting to start my day.

permalink written by  princess on May 9, 2009 from Honolulu, United States
from the travel blog: First Time To Hawaii
tagged Hawaii and Waikiki

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