The Island of Oahu -- September 24 - 27, 2004
This eating, hiking, eating, swimming, eating, snorkeling, eating, shopping, eating, sailing, eating, soaring expedition is rated 5 Little Hula Dancers out of 5 on the Hula-dancer-o-meter.
Having arrived on Oahu from the Big Island, after bidding our companions fond farewells, we were finally on our own and could do anything we wanted. But we still had a hard time breaking the habit of following every dark blue Jeep Grand Cherokee we saw. Some habits die hard.
We headed out of the airport on H-1 and didn't look back till we were way past the western edge of Honolulu near Pearl City, then decided to stay on H-1 till it turned into 93 and followed it to the end of the road at Kaena Beach Park, just a few miles from the western-most point of Oahu, passing some nice beaches, and stopping only briefly at the Macadoo's in Waianae for some marginal sustenance. We turned around and headed back down 93 and onto H-1, to a huge shopping center in Waipahu for another 512 MB of memory for the camera at a handy Compusa store, and a couple of Oahu books at Borders.
Then north on H-2 then 99 to Haleiwa on the north shore, at which point we started keeping an eye out for a likely motel for the night, then on to Shark's Cove, seen above. There wasn't much motel-wise, and we continued on 83 around the northern tip of the island, stopping in at the High-Snoot Turtle Bay Resort, where the rooms were way too expensive. Anyhow, we figured that we would be seeing some Motel-6ish opportunities "real soon now".
Here is our completely uninteresting rental Pontiac sitting in front of a (yes, really) McDonald's, and the sign really (yes, really) does tout the "Spam, Egg & Rice Breakfast Platter". The picture was taken while Sue was in the Laie Inn trying in vain to negotiate a cheap room for the night. We didn't know it then, but we should have taken whatever we could get. We continued to follow 83 as it headed south down the eastern edge of the island - back toward Honolulu - seeing absolutely no likely places to spend the night. We finally stopped and called one of the B&B agencies listed in one of the books, and arranged to meet someone in Kailua at 5:30. As we drove further south, we decided to give up on the B&B concept for the night, and headed back to Honolulu on 83 and 61, finally ending up at a shopping center just west of downtown, after a long, long day of driving all the way around Oahu. Sue got on the horn and started looking for a room, and we ended up finding somewhat reasonably priced accommodations at the Ohana Waikiki Village, smack in the middle of the Wilds of Waikiki. Of course we didn't have a decent map of Honolulu, and could just barely follow the driving directions we were given by the Ohana phone reservation lady. The real problem was that she would rattle off the street names along the route, but we had to keep stopping her and asking for the exact spelling of the street names. Let's see - was that left on Kaolaholaomahalaoukaomukiloko or right on Kaomukilaoukmahaloaloko, then straight on Kaolaokuloakoamahaloko? Mahalo. And then there was the matter of the navigator trying in vain to pronounce the names on the street signs to help give the driver some idea of our location - "we just passed the intersection of Kaomukilaoukmahaloaloko and Kaolaholaomahalaoukaomukiloko". And all the one way streets didn't help, nor did the fact that it had by then gotten so late that it was pitch dark. And the fact that many of the streets simply didn't have signs at all added a real element of surprise to our profound, albeit exhausted, sense of metropolitan adventure.
One way or another we ended up at the Ohana, paid $10.00 for the privilege of parking in an impossibly narrow parking spot in the garage underneath the hotel, paraded through the noisy lobby and past the even noisier bar, got moved into room 115, and damn the exhaustion! headed right back outside, past the shops, and across the street to the Galleria, which turned out to be the place where all the Japanese tourists do their Duty-Free shopping, and was awash with bargain hunters. Nonetheless, we hung around long enough to score some free hors d'oeuvres - macadamia nuts and whatnot - and headed off to find some dinner.
We found some food stalls and tacky shops in the side alleys a few blocks behind the glittering Galleria, and, feeling somewhat more in our element, ordered up a couple of rice bowls and enjoyed a nice outside dinner. At least it was nice till your humble writer lost a dental crown while munching on a mouthful of rice and chicken. We had picked up a bag of bite-sized Big Hunks a few days previously, and thus was the price paid. The errant crown was hastily rescued from the mouthful of rice and chicken before it became a digestive challenge, and it followed us home, where it was promptly glued back on, apparently none the worse for the experience.
As if this all had not been harrowing enough, as we were leaving to return to the Ohana, we came face-to-face with what can only be described as something somewhat remarkable. There, to our utter amazement, was the spittin' image of the Arizona Swami in his official little wooden and glass swami booth. We're still not sure whether Jim was toying with us, or - who knows? - maybe there is a Hawaiian Swami that looks just like Jim. The mind wanders unfettered and aimlessly at times like these...
In any case, we headed back to the Ohana and, exhausted, fell faces-first onto the king size bed, thinking that the noise emanating from the bar which was unfortunately directly below our first floor room would lessen as midnight came and went. Soon it was 12:30, then 12:45, and 1:00. Now, we hate karaoke as much as the next guys, especially at 1:00 in the freekin' AM when we're really tired and want to get a good night's sleep in order to make the most of our dwindling days left in Hawaii, but finally at 1:15 we called the front desk and asked when the noise would stop. They said that they would ask the guys in the bar to keep the noise down. At 1:30 we called again and more or less insisted that they find us a room in which we could get some sleep. Next thing you know, we were up and packing and in the elevator heading to a new room on the 18th floor. We finally got to sleep at around 2:00, and before we knew what hit us,
there we were, lying in bed enjoying this view of the beautiful Pacific Ocean. We decided to lounge around for a while, then got on the horn to try to line up a B&B for the next 3 nights.
The issue was width, not weight.
Having flown enough for the day, we returned to the car and continued heading west on 930 to the end of the road at the western tip of Oahu, passing by the set of a TV show that involved an airplane crashing on the shore of a remote island, and all of the consequent high drama attendant thereto.
We gawked at the big pile of artificial airplane wreckage sitting on the beach, and looked up at the gliders circling high above us, in one of which we had been flying a scant few minutes before.
We headed back east toward Haleiwa, looking for the General Store and the highly touted shave ice available thereat. After taking a remarkably circuitous route, we found the General Store and enjoyed a good round of shave ice, did not buy any of the very over-priced flamingo shirts, then headed along the North Shore once again to Turtle Bay where we took the long route from the parking lot to the beach near the High-Snoot Turtle Bay Resort where we spent a couple of hours snorkeling in some seriously murky water.
We then doubled back to Sunset Beach, where the Kids finally got to submit their new beach chairs to some real-world beach-sitting action,
and we all enjoyed the great sunset.