Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Everybody's Happy In Waikiki


Dear Diary,
sissy and me are at grandma and grandpa's house now because mom and dad are in hawaii.  They are so lucky.  They will get to see the ocean and some hula girls and wear flower leis.  They will get to eat at restaurants too.  I wish I could go.

Someday when I am a grownup, I'm going to go to hawaii.


I'm awake at 4:00 am.  A full half hour before my alarm is set to go off.  I've barely slept the last few days.  My legs feel shaky, my teeth hurt from all the grinding, and my stomach is full of butterflies.  These symptoms can mean only one thing....it's time to go on vacation.

Hooray!  I'm a grown-up!  And, I'm going (back) to Hawaii!!


                         Wednesday, October 19th

I'm at the airport, and all checked in by 6:00 am.  Time to start the vacation eating.  I consider having a big, beautiful piece of cake from the Portland Bakery, because, I know there aren't any calories in vacation food, but, instead find a deli and get a nice quiche lorraine and a cup of tomato/parmesan bisque.

Normally, I take Hawaiian Air, but, did things a little differently this time.  I'm flying in on Alaska and back home on Hawaiian.  Doing it this way ended up costing me $390 ($40 more than if I had flown round trip on Hawaiian) but, I will arrive on Oahu 3 hours earlier.  (I want as much Waikiki time as I can possibly get!)

My flight lands at 10:35 am.  I make it through the airport, grab my suitcase (which always seems to arrive at baggage claim before me) and step out to my designated pick-up spot at the exact moment that Mark (Hawaii23 Transportation) pulls up.  (Eazy peezy)  The moment I hop into Mark's van, he starts chatting with me like we're old friends.  He asks what my plans are and offers a few helpful tips as well.

I'm at The Breakers Hotel, checked into my room (I'll unpack everything later) in my swimsuit, and lounging poolside, in the warm Waikiki sun, by 12:15 pm.

This is wonderful!!

The Breakers was built (I believe) in the late 60's, and while it's been well maintained, it hasn't been updated much at all.  The whole complex is only 60 or so rooms in 4 buildings.  2 of these buildings face the pool courtyard, and the other 2 are set back just a bit.  My room is in one of the set back buildings, on the second floor.  The room is so cute in all it's funky, retro, glory that I get a case of the giggles.

Once I've gotten a good dose of sunshine, I decide it's time to get settled in my room.  The Breakers requests that all guests drop their room key at the front desk whenever they leave the property.  (Some might find this inconvenient, but, as a female traveling solo, I like that someone will notice if I never come back)

I make a quick run to the ABC Store (yea!!  The ABC Store!) where I stock up on water, juice & snacks, then, head back to my room to get everything unpacked and put exactly where I want it.  (Including a photo of my husband and pug dog for the nightstand, and a little stuffed pug who sleeps with me at night when I travel)

Once I'm settled, it's time for a little more poolside lounging.  
Most of the guests here appear to be retired folks.  They all seem as happy as I am to be in Waikiki and greet me with smiles and a friendly wave.

As I'm leaving the courtyard to head back to my room, a gentleman in a red scooter zips up to me and asks, "So, where are you visiting from?"  I tell him I'm from Portland, Or. and he smiles and says, "Oh, well, it doesn't rain much there, now does it?"  I laugh. He introduces himself as Larry from Pasadena.  He asks how long I'll be staying and I reply that I have 6 whole days of Waikiki vacation!  We talk a few more minutes, and he zips away as I continue my way to my room where I get cleaned up and go out to find something for lunch. 

By now, I'm pretty weary.  I'm not terribly hungry, but, I know I need to eat something before calling it a day.  (It's only about 4:00 pm, but, I know I won't last long.)  I decide to go to the Shorebird (Outrigger Reef) for salad. 

The salad bar here is fresh and has lots to choose from, although I was disappointed that the only fruit available was pineapple.  (Oh, don't get me wrong, I love pineapple, I was just hoping there'd be a lot more fruit choices.)

Overall, I'm happy with my meal, and ecstatic over my first opportunity to enjoy the beautiful view.

Full and happy, I decide to take a walk before heading back to the hotel.  I do some window shopping along the Beachwalk.  I only make one purchase on this outing, but, it's a good one.  
A five pack of cookies from Honolulu Cookie Company.

My favorite are the white chocolate coconut. 

After a much needed nap, I go back out for a little more shopping, then return to my room, where I just relax, and give myself a pretty pink pedicure.

I am happy to be in Waikiki.

Thursday, October 20th

I love everything about Waikiki.  The food, the people, the shopping and the sights.  But, THIS....this is what I really come here for.
This point of view.
Sitting here, on the beach, just staring out at the ocean.
This is what gives me the drive to clip coupons, to brown bag my lunch, to eat top ramen or pb & j until I can't stand it anymore.  Everything I did to save enough money to get here was well worth it.
I spend the next half hour enjoying this moment and giving thanks.

Promptly at 7:00 am I am in front of the web cam at the Duke Kahanamoku statue ready to wave at friends and family.  (I don't carry a cell phone, but, before leaving Portland, I sent out an e-mail letting everyone know what time I'd be here waving.  I mean really, I watch the web cam on a regular basis, and I always have to laugh at the silly tourists who are obviously on their phones asking, "Can you see me?  Can you see me?")
Not only do I wave to my family, but, I get other tourists to join me as well.  I blow a big kiss.  Then I just stand there for a moment wondering if I timed it just right, and if my family saw me.  I can't stand it. 
 I run for the payphone and call my mommy. 
 "Did you see me?  Did you see me?"
(Laughing) She did.  She says, "I saw you taking pictures for other people too.  They all looked just as happy as you."
I reply, "Everybody's happy in Waikiki!"

It's time for breakfast, and using the directions Mark gave me, I head over to Iyasume Musubi.  Wow.  Even with the great directions, I still missed this place the first time.  The little pathway (off the sidewalk) to get here is practically invisible.  Iyasume gives new meaning to the term "hole-in-the-wall."  It's just a tiny little place with seating for about 4 people.  No worries, I intend to take my breakfast to-go and eat on the beach.  I order a salmon/salmon roe onigiri and a spam musubi. 


Inside Iyasume is as teeny as this girls bikini!
About halfway back to the beach, I check my bag to see if they included any soy sauce.  Not only is there no sauce, it looks like something got lost in translation, and what I actually have are 2 onigiri.  No problem.  It just so happens that I'm standing right in front of an ABC Store, so, I pop inside and purchase one of their spam musubi, a bottle of soy sauce, and a pog, to wash it down.  My onigiri turn out to be one salmon/salmon roe and one tuna.  Both are fresh, and very good.  My only complaint would be that there's so much rice, the flavor of the filling gets a little lost.

After breakfast, I head back to my room, get into my swimsuit, and I'm back on the beach ready to soak up some more sunshine by 9:00 am.

After a couple hours, I decide I've had enough sun.  It's time to do some shopping.  Today I'm headed for the International Marketplace. 
On my way past the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, I catch the last couple dances of a hula show.  (Very nice.  I love that, when you're in Waikiki, there's plenty of hula shows to just stumble upon.)

 (Bad angle for photo taking.)

 (Better angle for photo taking.)

 (Perfect angle for photo taking)

My first order of business at IMP is to find an aloha shirt for my husband.  Before I left, he told me that he wanted one exactly like the one he's had for years.  It's his favorite.  It's also in pretty embarrassing condition....I don't like him to wear it outside the house.  There are literally thousands of aloha shirts to choose from in all these shops and kiosks, finding the right one shouldn't be a problem.  (I was wrong.)

I've looked at dozens of shirts, and I'm having no luck at all.  It's time to sit for a minute and have some lunch.  I walk over to Hank's Haute Dogs and order the Chicago style.  (I love these!) Just across from Hank's is a tropical smoothie hut. I order the Monkey's Delight. (fresh bananas, coconut, and apple juice-yum!)

After lunch, I leave the IMP and shop my way up Kalakaua a bit.  All aloha shirts are starting to look the same.  I'm hot, tired, and a little cranky.  I decide I'm going to have to give up for now.  I cross the street and begin making the walk back to my hotel.  Along the way, I stop at Hyatt on the Beach for a shave ice.

The shave ice here is actually more like sno-cone than actual shave ice, but, it's sweet, icy cold, and very refreshing.  Between that, the cool breeze, and the fantastic view, in 15 minutes, I'm once again, happy to be in Waikiki.

Fully refreshed, I continue the walk back to my room.
I decide to cut through the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, and there, I make the dreaded mistake of turning to smile when one one the kiosk employees says something nice to me.  Before I know what's happening, the employee has me by the wrist, is introducing himself as Run (who is from Israel) and is scrubbing, rubbing, exfoliating, and moisturizing my right forearm with overly priced beauty products.  After many polite "No thank-yous", I manage to make my get away.  By the time I make it back to my room, I can't help but smile....I had been slightly bummed over the fact that I wouldn't be able to afford a trip to the spa.  But, here, I just received a full forearm spa treatment for free.  Nice.

Once I've had the chance to rest for an hour, I'm ready to try a little more shopping.  I search for aloha shirts in 5 or 6 other stores before giving up.  I'm worn out and ready for dinner.
I'm pretty beat, and want to stick close to home, so, I head to the Ocean House (Outrigger Reef)  They're having a sunset dinner special on prime rib that comes with blue cheese mashed potatoes and peas.  In addition to that, I also order a Maui onion & tomato salad.

 I've always loved this restaurant.  Everything here is always wonderful, the food, the prices, the views, and the very attentive, pleasant staff.  The sunset tonight is fabulous, but, the only way I would have gotten a good shot would have been if I climbed up on to the table of other diners, possibly putting my knee in their mashed potatoes, and this didn't seem like the place where that kind of behavior would be considered acceptable.  I just leave my camera where it is and enjoy the moment.
I've lingered over dinner about an hour, and, when I stand to leave, my feet and legs scream at me.  Oh man...when they start to feel better, I just may have to kick my husband's butt!
I manage to limp my way back to my room, (I try to stop in an ABC Store along the way, but, my legs won't allow it) I watch some tv, and snack on a couple cookies, before calling it a night.


Friday, October 21st

I wake up at 5:00 am and feel hungover.  That hardly seems fair considering I haven't had a single drink since I've been here.
I get up, stretch, and am on the beach to greet the day by 7:00 am.  I walk out to the end of the pier that's in front of the Outrigger, and join the other tourists in the taking of photos and just smiling.

Everybody's happy to be in Waikiki.

I look off the end of the pier and see tons of fish.  There's a large variety of size and color (two are humuhumu-they're my favorite) and I wish I could just jump off the edge and snorkel right here.  The signs read, "No diving-No climbing on reef," and it's probably a good thing.  After 30 minutes or so of snorkeling, that swim back to the shore might end up being longer than it looks.
As I'm walking down the beach, looking for the perfect spot for both lounging and swimming, I'm greeted by a smiling Japanese woman.  She's chatting away happily at me, and I finally smile and tell her, "I'm sorry, I don't understand."
She just keeps chatting away, and links her arm through mine.  She's got me, and for a split second, I think maybe she's trying to sell me something.  (Yesterday's encounter with Run must have made me a little jumpy)
So, there we are, smiling, talking, not understanding a word the other is saying, and walking down the beach arm in arm.
She gives a wave of her arm, and I look down the beach.  About 50 yards down, is her husband, camera pointed right at us.  OH!  Now I get it!  They're making a video of "new friends we made in Waikiki" and I'm a guest star!  I smile and wave, she smiles and waves, and then she let's go of my arm and starts making motions of running in place.  Ok, I guess this is the "jogging down the beach" scene.  Together we jog down the beach until we reach her husband.  He pulls the camera away from his face and says, "O-Keh!"

End Scene.

(New friend I made in Waikiki)

After that, I find my perfect spot on the beach and make myself at home.  I have no intentions of doing anything other than swim and relax in the sun all morning.

I am happy to be in Waikiki

By 10:00 am I'm getting pretty hungry, so, I head to Giovanni Pastrami for breakfast.  On the way there, I'm trying to decide if I want bacon, eggs and hash browns, or if it feels more like an eggs benedict kind of day.
It just so happens that on their menu they have bacon & tomato benedict with hash browns.  I can have it all.  Life is good.

Feeling quite full (I ate every bite of my breakfast) I decide that rather than going back to the beach, I'll go back to the hotel and spend some time relaxing at the pool.
I make a quick stop at Henry's Place to pick up a pint of homemade peach ice cream to take with me later tonight and enjoy while I sit on the beach and watch the fireworks.

Even though there are always plenty of guests outside, either seated at the little umbrella tables or lounging around the pool, the courtyard never feels crowded.  Here at The Breakers there's never any need to get out early to save a spot.

 (Hotel lobby)

(Hotel kitties-Happy to be in Waikiki)

As I'm lounging, I chat with other guests.
It's funny.  My cousin & I were very recently talking about, how when we meet people for the first time, the standard greeting is always the same, "Hello, what's your name?  Nice to meet you, so, what do you do?"  That must only be the greeting in "real-life", in "vacation-life" the standard greeting seems to be, "Hello, where are you visiting from?  So, how long was your flight?"
So far I've met Mrs. From Australia (her flight was about 9 hours), Mrs. From San Fransisco (her flight was about 5 hours), Mr. From Tokyo (his flight was about 7 hours) and, of course, Larry From Pasadena (his flight was about 5 hours.)  Everyone wants to know if I'm planning on going to see the fireworks.  (The fireworks are put on every Friday night by the Hilton Hawaiian Village)
I smile and answer, "Yes!  I even have my ice cream ready to go!"
A long day of lounging has taken it out of me and I need to catch a short nap before I head out for the evening.
I head out a good hour early, and enjoy just sitting on the beach people watching and eating ice cream.  It's delicious.

As soon as the fireworks start, I grab my camera.  I know right away I'll never be able to get a decent picture with my little point and shoot Kodak, so, I flip it to video, take a short 30 second clip, then, put the camera away and just enjoy the rest of the show.
(What is it about fireworks that always keeps us all so mesmerized no matter how many times we've seen it?)

After the show, I spend some time back at the hotel, sitting in the courtyard with the other guests.  They all want to know if I a nice time.  Mr. From Tokyo asks if I got to have my ice cream.  I smile at the fact he remembered.  Excitedly, he pulls out his camera and shows me that he recorded the whole 3 1/2 minutes.  We sit there in the dark reliving the moment.

                                         It's been another great day in Waikiki!

Saturday, October 22nd

I'm up early (again) and out the door before the sun is even up.
As I head out to breakfast, I consider stopping at an ABC Store.  There's nothing in the world I need, I just love them so much.  I think it's because they have everything I dreamed of shopping for as a child wanting to go to Hawaii.
Brightly colored beach towels, flip-flops, snacks, silk flower lei, postcards, clothes, toys....oh, just EVERYTHING!
The fact that there's one (or two) on every block just adds to the fun.

Yes, I do love the ABC Stores.

Well, I'm up before they're even open, so, I decide to walk the beach route to Island Vintage Coffee to get the acai bowl.

Oh yes, it's going to be a beautiful day.

I never knew about Island Vintage until I happened to see it one day in a you tube video.  The acai bowl did not disappoint.  Acai/blueberry sorbet, topped with granola, honey, and fresh fruit.  It was so big, I couldn't finish it all.

Finished with breakfast, I head back to The Breakers and wait for my tour bus to pick me up.

A couple months ago, I mentioned on Tripadvisor.com that I was going to get to come to Waikiki after all, and one of the things on my "to-do" list was a half day tour.  Well, I received an e-mail saying, "If you haven't already booked your tour, why don't you let me take you out?  We can go anywhere you like."

It was Tripadvisor member MrsCombs.
I thought that sounded like a wonderful idea, and after several e-mails back and forth, our plan was set.
MrsCombs was at the hotel promptly a 9:00 am driving a sporty little convertible.  As soon as I am seated, she hands me a cap to keep my hair out of my face, and we're off.
We chat the whole way out of town like we've always known each other.  She's a very comfortable person to be around.  We start with two, or three, scenic stops then head out to the number one place on my list, the Byodo Temple.  I've had this on my must see list for a very long time, but, rarely am able to pull my happy fanny off the beach long enough to get out and see other parts off the island.  It's just as beautiful and serene as I had imagined, and the mountains behind it are just stunning.

We really lucked out here.  We manage to beat the other tour buses and crowds, and have plenty of room to take pictures and just enjoy the silence.

We continue our sightseeing and make a quick stop at the macadamia nut farm.
Wow!  We sure didn't beat the tourists to this place!
We stay long enough to elbow our way through the masses and get at the free nut samples and get the heck out.

The entire day was simply gorgeous.  There's no way in the world I would ever remember all the stops we made or in which order we made them, but, it went a little something like this:

(Photo of the official MrsCombs tour bus)

(Far superior to some of the other choices)

Before we head back into Waikiki, we stop at the Combs residence and I get to meet MrCombs and their 2 chihuahuas.  (Nice.  How many tour guides have you had that take you to their home to meet the family?
MrsCombs has mentioned several sights throughout the day and keeps saying, "we'll put that on the list for next time."  Next time?  Wow.  I have VIP status!

It was a fantastic day all around, and easily one of the highlights of my trip.

Mahalo plenty MrsCombs!!

(It's not until after she dropped me back off at the hotel that I realize I forgot to have a picture taken of the two of us together. )

While I cool off in my room, I call my husband to tell him what a great time I had.  I also tell him I've knocked myself out trying to find his blasted aloha shirt.  He says, "well, it's not really the print, it's the fact that it's 100% cotton.  I like the feel better than the ones that are that rayon/polyester feel." 
What?!?!   "They're ALL 100% cotton!"   He replies, "well, no, I have that one that you bought me that is something else and it's not comfortable."  I have him describe it to me.  Oh geez...that one didn't even come from Hawaii, that one came from Fred Meyer!  Oh well....at least now that I know the new rules of the game, it should be easy (cotton breezy) to find something.

It will be dinner time soon, but, I'm still pretty full from lunch.  I just want something light.  I walk over to House Without A Key (Halekulani) to see what all the fuss is about and try their coconut cake.  (Coconut cake is a light dinner, right?)  Ohhhhh..the fuss was justified. This cake is well worth its $8 price tag.

The cake, the entertainment, and the sunset combine to make a fantastic end to a fantastic day.


Sunday, October 23rd

Today is my last full day of vacation.  I keep trying to look at it as, "Hooray!  One whole day left!" and not, "Oh no, I only have one day left."  (The mai tai glass should not be viewed as half empty, but, half full, right?)

By 6:30 am, I'm on the beach ready to greet my day.  (It's going to be a good one)

I spend some time sitting on the beach as well as take a quick swim in the ocean.  Around 8:00 am, I decide to run into the nearest Starbucks (Outrigger Reef) and grab a quick bite to eat.  When I reach the hotel, I see a hula lesson taking place right out on the beach.


Inside, I grab an orange/mango smoothie and a bacon/gouda breakfast sandwich and head right back out to my beach spot.
The smoothie is wonderful.  The sandwich is just so-so.

As soon as I finish, I get right back into the water.  (Yes, I know Mom always said to wait an hour, but, she's not here.)  Sitting back on the beach, I spend time watching everyone around me.  There are smiling couples holding hands, there's a very small boy (maybe two years old) wearing a Superman outfit, squealing with joy as he destroys the sand castles his Dad builds, and there's a dog, straining hard against his leash trying to get at the water, grinning a huge doggie grin.

Everybody's happy in Waikiki.

By 10:30 am, I'm cleaned up and headed back to the International Marketplace to get that darn aloha shirt once and for all.  This trip is much easier and I'm able to find a great shirt within a half hour.  I also buy myself a leather bracelet with my name in Hawaiian (Linaka) stamped on it.

I walk across the street to the Moana Surfrider.  I have reservations at noon for the tea service at the Veranda.  (Another thing that's long been on my "to-do" list)  From the minute I arrive I feel pampered.  I'm seated at one of only two tables right on the rail and the view is beautiful.

The first order of business is tea.  My server brings a tray of seven tea samples in little silver cups, and lets me smell each one as he describes the contents.  (Each one smells better than the last and I settle on the very last one, which is their signature blend.)

First course is a delicious sweet potato bisque.  I eat every last drop.

The finger sandwiches and desserts are presented together on a 3-tier serving tray.  Everything is beautiful.

There are 3 sandwiches.  A smoked salmon layered with egg salad a roast beef on onion focaccia and a baguette with cream cheese, tomato, cucumber, and minced olives.  Each one is to die for good.

The next tier holds a scone served with lemon curd and devonshire clotted cream.  (Loved the scone and the lemon curd-not a fan of clotted cream.)

The top tier holds the desserts.
A green tea puff cookie, a chocolate dipped macaroon, a light, fluffy mango cake, and a pie shell with yogurt and fruit.

The service ends with green tea/ginger ice cream.

The food, the fantastic service, the view, the Hawaiian trio playing just off to the side made this experience another highlight, and I would easily recommend it to anyone.

I had originally planned on walking down to Art on The Zoo Fence after this, but, by the time I finished, I was feeling way too relaxed and pampered to make the hot walk down and all the way back again.
I decide to go back to the hotel and lounge by the pool.

I spend the next few hours lounging, reading, and chatting with the other guests.  Larry from Pasadena tells me he may not stick around when I check out tomorrow for fear he'll cry watching me leave.  (Larry may be a veteran, and retired from the police force, but, he's a big ol' softie.)

I spend some time in the evening strolling the Beachwalk.  I feel like I should eat something, but, I'm just not hungry.  I stop and read the menus outside several restaurants, but, nothing sounds good.  I end up just grabbing a sandwich, bag of chips and a ginger ale from the ABC Store and having a quiet dinner in my room.

Rather than wait, I decide to pack everything I don't absolutely need tonight so I'll have that little bit of extra time tomorrow.

(Purchases that came primarily from the ABC Store)


Monday, October 24th

I'm wide awake at 3:00 am.  I try to get a little more sleep, but, it's just not going to happen.  At 6:00 am I practically run to the beach to get one last moment of swimming and lounging.  (And, yes, it's going to be another great day)

It's now 8:00 am and I figure I better have some breakfast.  I go back to the Ocean House (it's my last meal here and I need to have it served with an ocean view) where I order the loco moco and a bloody mary.

I knew there was no way I'd be able to finish this when I ordered it, but, I sure gave it my best shot!
The hula class is taking place out front again this morning, and one of the two guys seated at the table right next to me leans over and asks, "So, how come you're not out there learning the hula?"  I laugh and say, "Because, I don't want everyone pointing at the poor haole girl who keeps going the wrong way!"
The three of us chat happily through the rest of the meal.  (I learn they're from Jersey, but, I never found out how long their flight was.)

Back at the hotel, I lounge by the pool as long as I can.  I have no intention of checking out until the last possible minute.

I sit up, pull on my cover-up, and just sit there not wanting to go.  A very young Japanese couple walk slowly over to me and start talking quietly to each other.  I don't understand a word they're saying, but, I know they're talking about me.  Pretty soon she says, "Hello.  Where. Are. You. Come. From?"  I tell her I'm from Portland, Or.  I ask where they are from.  Tokyo.  (I already know the flight from Tokyo is 7 hours, so, there's no need to ask that.)
In the meantime, he's been eyeing the butterfly tattoo on my ankle, and pretty soon he calls her over to look.  He says something to her and she translates for me.  "He says is very pretty.  Good color."  I smile and thank him.  He says something else to her, and, again she translates, "He asks if you can take picture for us?"  Sure!  I thought they meant they wanted me to use their camera and get a picture of the two of them.  Nope.  She sits down right next to me and, once again, I'm posing as "New friend we made in Waikiki."  After the photo shoot, he lingers near me an extra minute.  I know exactly what he wants, but, I wait for him to talk to her, and again let her translate.  "He asks, is ok to take picture?"  She points at my tattoo.  I smile, stick out my leg and answer, "Yes!  It's ok!"

(New friend I made in Waikiki)

He says one last thing for her to translate before we're done.  "He says, he will like to meet you again soon."  It sounds like he wants to make a date, but, I'm sure that's not what they meant.  I tell them I would like to see them again someday too.  Smiles and bows are exchanged all around and we go our separate ways.

I clean up, throw the last of my belongings in my suitcase, and get out of my room as quickly as I can.  (The now empty room just feels sad and lonely)

Back down in the courtyard, I ask Larry From Pasadena and the new friends he's gathered with if they'll keep an eye on my suitcase for a moment while I run to the ABC Store and turn in my receipts and get my "free" gift.  I say, "I earned that free gift, I sure would hate to not go get it."  Everyone at the table laughs, and tell me they understand perfectly well the importance of that free gift.  They all compare notes on how many calendars or coffee mugs they've collected over the years.

I go to the desk and check out with a lump in my throat. 
I may have given up a stellar ocean view, and central location by not staying at my usual hotel (Waikiki Circle) this trip, but, what I got in return was so much better.  I got a new family.
I'm presented with an orchid lei at checkout and everyone at the desk tell me they hope I return soon.  The lump gets a little bigger.

Mr. From Tokyo comes over and gives me a big hug, Larry From Pasadena hands me his business card and asks me to keep in touch via e-mail.
Just then Mark walks in the front gate to take me back to the airport.
Mr. From Tokyo follows us out to the van, then stands and waves until I'm out of sight.

Oh, I have fallen madly in love with the Japanese tourists on this trip.

On the way to the airport, Marks asks if I found Iyasume Musubi alright, and if I managed to get to the Byodo Temple before it got crowded.  Wow.  He is really, really good.  I will definitely use him in the future.


Once on the plane, my seatmate and I arrive at our aisle right at the same time.  We sit down, he turns to me and smiles, "Hi, I'm Eric.  What's you name?  So, what do you do?"  It's all I can do not to laugh out loud.
I'm already being kicked out of vacation-life, and heading back to real life.

I lean back in my seat.  The top of my left ear, and my left arm are sunburned.  My lower lip is sunburned and slightly swollen.  I have blisters on both my big toes.


Best.  Waikiki Trip.  Ever.

I was happy to be in Waikiki, but, it's good to be home too.

Hi Mom!!  Welcome home!

Whadya bring me?  Whadya bring me?  Whadya bring me?



  1. What a fantastic trip report, I can't wait to get there! You've made me feel even happier about travelling alone, going to the beach & dining by myself. I was thinking of doing tea at the Moana, you've convinced me!!!
    Thanks agin,
    Fi (AussieFi11 from TA)

  2. Thanks Topgirl for a great blog of Hawaii, visiting there in 2 weeks. Cheers

  3. loved Loved LOVED this trip report....one of the best i've read, seriously!

  4. A fantastic trip report, very professionally produced.
    Just like you, I have got the bug for Waikiki and looking forward to my 13th visit in September.
    For your information. my flight(s) take 23 hours to Paradise.
    Best wishes.
    (Northern Ireland)

  5. Did you rent a car to go anywhere or did you walk to all those places?

    1. The trip around the island was guided by a friend, but everywhere else I walked. I've never rented a car on my trips to Waikiki because I don't like driving in that much traffic. I've also used the bus several times, it's super easy. 😀

  6. I absolutely love this journal that you've written. I'll be travelling to Hawaii on my own this year. It is the first solo travel I have ever done and i was considering not doing it. This has completely changed my mind. Thank you. If there are any other tips you have, I'd love to hear them.

    1. HI Elena! I'm glad to know people are still finding, and enjoying this post.
      I'm sure I have plenty of tips, when are you going and where are you staying?

      If you like, you can e-mail me directly at lindadawnwill@yahoo.com


About Me

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From the time I was in grade school, I knew I wanted to travel to tropical destinations. I grew up loving blue oceans, palm trees, tropical flowers, and anything coconut scented. Finally, at age 34, I managed to take my first tropical trip. (Bahamas) I was hooked! Since then, every spare penny has been saved for the next vacation... every spare moment has been spent planning the next vacation... and the moments after that have been spent talking about and documenting that vacation. To date, I have been to Hawaii 8 times, the Bahamas 4 times, Las Vegas 6 times, New York (right after Sept 11th) Alaska and the Baja Penninsula. I decided to start this blog to document all my continuing adventures....let's hope there are many!