Hawaii 2013: Day 1, Honolulu


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View of Waikiki Beach from the roof of our hotel.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Woke up at 6am.  There is a cold nose and wet tongue in my hand.  It was Zoey, she needed to go out.

Our cab to the airport is not due until 8am so we have plenty of time to feed Zoey and do some last minute packing.    Zoey is spurred on by all of our activity and presented me with her red ball, it is time for a rousing game of “Go Git It!”

At 7:30am, we lead Zoey to our neighbor’s house.  She immediately enters play mode when sees Kita, our neighbor’s 6-year old Samoyed.   Zoey gives Kita kisses, Kita growls at Zoey.  They will be fine!

Our cab is on time and we arrive at the airport with more than an hour to spare before take-off.  We check our bags and the TSA checks us out.   All goes well and we use the restrooms and wait for our group to be called for boarding.

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Waiting at Gate 28 at the San Jose Airport.

Our plane leaves on time.   As far as I can tell, it is full.  There is a large group of Asian women  who yell, shout, and scream at each other in great fun for the entire plane ride.  They only stop long enough to eat something.  I tune out the crackling by listening to my MP3 player as I work on some needlework.   My DH tries to sleep and then he tries to read.   We both snack on graham crackers.  Before you know it, it is an hour before the plane is to land and the flight crew breaks out the Mai Tais – with real alcohol.   I figure it must be cocktail time somewhere in the world (my cell phone tells me it is in Paris, France), so I accept the complimentary drink and the flight improves enormously!

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Mai Tai time!

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Almost there!

We land on time (around 11:30am Hawaiian time).  We get our bags and step out into the warm moist air that can only be Hawaii.  The sun is shining and the clouds hang lazily in the valleys of the mountains behind us.  Palm trees are everywhere!  So is traffic.  First thing I notice is that I cannot pronounce the names of any of the streets here, Hawaiian is a foreign language to me.   Lucky for us, the taxi driver knows the way to our hotel and we get there in no time.

The Imperial Hawaiian Resort Club is an older hotel right in the heart of the shopping district of Honolulu and only two blocks away from Waikiki Beach.  Our room is not ready so we store our suitcases with them and consult Yelp to locate a nice place for lunch.

The Siam Square is only a few blocks from our hotel.   To get there we pass store after store after store of high-end clothes, candy, cookies, jewelry, and hand bags – lots and lots and lots of hand bags.   When we get to the restaurant, my DH orders Tofu with Noodles and I order Steamed Fish in Lime and Cilantro.  Both dishes were wonderful and fresh!

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Lunch! Tofu Noodles and Steamed Fish!

After lunch, we wander through  DFS Galleria Waikiki, and interesting mall of high-end everything.  The stores are set up in such a way that you have to walk through the stores to get through the mall – a brilliant concept, I think.   It is very upscale and looks a lot like stores in Japan with the huge neon monitors with dancing young Asians in expensive clothes having a good time.  And why not, as best we could tell, all the customers here were Japanese, except for us.

Next, we wandered through the Royal Hawaiian Center, a three-level shopping and eating center that spans three choice blocks in downtown Honolulu.   Coffee, designer, and sweet stores abound here too.  This open-air mall snuggles up to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (recently featured in the season premiere of “Mad Men”).   I finally found a coffee store that featured real Kona coffee – yeah!  But when I ordered a tall cool one, they told me they ran out.  They ran out?  😦

Once back at the hotel, we got to our room only to switch to another room because the first was just too noisy (it faced the busy street below).  Our second room is much quieter but sans a view.   The rooms here show their age but who cares, really?  The room is clean, it is quiet, it has air conditioning,  it has a comfortable bed, it has a kitchen, and it does not smell funny – we don’t expect to spend much time here anyway.

After stopping at the ABC Store downstairs for orange juice, apples, and Kona coffee, we head for the beach of Waikiki!   It started to cloud up and we even felt some drops of rain.  Nevertheless, we shed our sandals and walked on the beach as the waves crept up and over our feet.  It was fun and it felt good!    We walked toward Diamond Head and found a nice bench where we sat and watched the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean.  This is what one does when one is in Hawaii.

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A view of Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach,

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Palm trees! Lots and lots of palm trees!

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And tiki torches too!

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Enjoying the sunset with my DH!

As it got dark it also got cooler. Around 7pm we decided to get something light to eat.   Once again we consulted Yelp and found a highly-rated Udon noodle place called Marukame Udon, a Japanese cafeteria fast-food place.  When we arrived, the line was out the door and it was long.    However, the line moved quickly and in about 20 minutes, we each had a bowl of fresh Udon noodles in steaming broth!  Again – the food was excellent!

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A hot bowl of Udon noodles is best on a cool Hawaiian evening!

After dinner, we found our way back to the hotel.   Our room is cool and quiet, perfect for two weary travelers.   Not sure what we will do tomorrow, I need to check my list.  But really, maybe will we will just “hang” somewhere.

Quote of the day:   “I don’t know.  You’re the Udon noodle expert, is this good?” — DH

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