Hawaii – Looking back and Day 10

Wow, it’s now six weeks post Hawaii.   It’s taken me this long to be able to revisit the trip.  My partner got over it all fairly quickly but I found it took a couple of weeks before I could bring myself to talk about it.   Hawaii is a place of beauty and this is what I will ultimately remember – but my sheer exhaustion from dealing with my son’s anxiety induced meltdowns needed more attention short term.   We’ve also gone through a lot of self reflection with considering how we could have done things differently…..but also realising that we were simply doing the best we could.

Again, these photos are of the good parts.   The not so great parts will remain undiscussed.

So here it is: Day 10.  The last day.  I wrote this while waiting for the plane home from Honolulu airport

It’s been drizzly for the last few days but this is OK for our indoor loving girl who wants to go to an art gallery in Honolulu. So Mick, Sam and I decide to hire a car and explore the south half of Oahu.    I’m still so grateful to Mick for doing all the driving here.   I am getting used to being on the other side of the road, but I would a little more time before I’d be confident to actually drive on that side.

As our decision to hire a car was late there are few cars available.   But our concierge finds a Chevy Camaro at the neighboring Sheraton Hotel.   Yep, that will do!     It’s a bit more expensive than the regular hire cars, but it will be fun.      We have done some of this route previously in the bus, but I’m glad to have our own transport so we now have the flexibility to stop and take photos.

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Mick enjoying the Camaro

First stop is snorkelling at Hanauma Bay   Sam has never been able to manage a regular snorkel so we get him a dry mask.   Mick and I hire regular gear.   Unfortunately, Sam is frightened of the whole experience, has a meltdown and needs to leave the water.   He ends up sitting on a towel for a little while while MIck and I do the snorkelling.    I remember snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef a couple of years ago and recall being really disappointed at how little colour and fish were around.    This is the same.   It’s all grey with few fish.      Perhaps we didn’t find the sweet spots of the snorkelling areas?    I don’t know.     But given the amount of money we spent on it, I wouldn’t be listing it as a ‘must do’ experience.

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Hanauma Bay

As we’re driving further, we see a lookout spot.  We’ve seen a few lookouts which are nice, but not necessarily requiring a visit, so we aren’t inclined to stop.   As we go around the corner, Mick and I are gobsmacked at the beauty of the beaches, cliffs and village which would have been seen from up there.   While we’re debating going back to the lookout,  we find a lovely wave beach.  This must be the one which the life savers at Sandy Beach suggested to us.    We didn’t swim, but stopped to grab a few photos of the beach and cliffs beside the road.

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Beach at the south end of Oahu and the towering cliffs across the road

Decide that we really have to turn around and go back to the lookout.   It’s glorious.

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south Oahu

Please forgive the dodgy Photoshopping.  But joining photos was the only option for this scene

We then set out to find the Byodo-In temple.   Sam loves Buddhist temples, and judging by the photos, this one is beautiful.    Real life doesn’t let us down.   It’s a gorgeous building set at the base of soaring volcanic mountains.   Just.Wow.

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From here, we head across the island and back to our rooms.    We find Alice who reports that her art gallery was closed and she then entertained us with stories of bus breakdowns, getting lost and sunburn.   She’s ended up just having a quiet afternoon chilling in the rooms and the resort pool.

A quiet night in sorting and packing is our last evening.   Looking forward to getting Sam home and back into a routine.

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A trip to Hawaii. Days 4 and 5/10

Day 4 – On the move

We’re up with lots of time to spare so that we can make our flight from Kona to Honolulu.    Taking more photos of lava en route to the airport.   Can’t have to many pictures of lava, right?

lava outside beachclub lava along road to Kona

Everything running like clockwork: hire car returned, checked in and just 20 mins to kill until we board the plane.  Flight is smooth and we find a shuttle bus to our hotel without issue.

boarding plane hawaiian islands

We’re staying at the Waikiki Parc Hotel, one street back from the beach, but we can’t check in yet – so we buy lunch from the ABC shop and eat on the beach.   Sam is getting pretty tired by now, so we get back to the hotel as soon as we are able.   He has a nap and we are able to have a swim in the ocean later in the day.

Dinner is at Denny’s.    We don’t have Denny’s in Australia but it seems to fit the bill for a family friendly restaurant which caters for plain eaters.    After dinner we head out to the shopping precinct.   Everything is open and there are lots of fairy lights and tiki torches – it’s just lovely.    After having a look around we settle the kids in their room (Sam with TV and Alice chatting to her friends via Facebook) and Mick and I sneak out for a couple of cocktails.

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Day 5.   Beaching and shopping

Back to the beach after brunch – again at Denny’s – and we finally get Alice into the water!    She’s always been very dubious about ocean swimming so it’s excellent to have her in with us.

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Alice in ocean

After the beach we catch a one of the tourist trolleys to Ala Moana shopping centre which Alice has been dying to see.    Sam is getting a bit cranky so we feed him some McDonalds (familiarity is very soothing for him).    We discover that with the exception of a store which sells nice tea and American Apparel, the Ala Moana centre pretty much just has more of the same as the Waikiki shopping strip, so we probably only need to return once.

I’ve been told that shopping in Hawaii isn’t as cheap as it used to be.   They aren’t kidding!    With the exception of jeans, I haven’t found anything cheaper than Sydney prices.   There are a lot of exclusive labels too, so that will save me some money – can’t quite imagine myself in Chanel.    The other thing saving me money is the fact that the stores are full of autumn clothes and I was hoping for summer buys.   With luck I may find some cheap summer sale stock, but I’m not holding my breath.   I have asked Alice to make sure I don’t buy anything with a Hawaiian print on it (a sarong being an exception) and she’s asked me not to let her buy anything with a ruched top.

Kids are happy to eat fruit and sandwiches in the room for dinner, so Mick and I sneak out again for a couple of cocktails served with some really lovely appetisers at the bar of Roy’s restaurant.  It’s a lovely, balmy evening for it.

While I would have liked a room with a view of the ocean, I don’t at all mind our view of the city and the mountains behind.  It’s especially pretty at night.

hotel view