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Thursday, October 11, 2012

We arrive in Hawaii

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Today we live twice!
We have had today all day in Fiji.

Now we arrive and have it all over again in Hawaii.
I have had no sleep on the plane and flown all night.
First thing I do at the airport, beside telling myself 100 times I would not, is try to get into the drivers seat!  Wrong side of the vehicle.  I go beetroot red and feel so stupid.
I put it down to tiredness.
I have read it is best to force your body to the time you are in,
so instead of sleep we head for the action.

We are staying out of Honolulu, and I was wrongly told you can drive around the whole island in just two hours.
If that is the case, it might be in a car, do not wait for public transport or a bus that only comes hourly, especially if you just miss one!
The first thing I learn, is that driving on the other side of the road from Australia puts your sense of direction completely out of whack.
Again - it must be the tiredness.  
It doesn't help that the same number bus goes both ways.

I also find out that there rarely is a taxi to be seen in the suburbs, and that the suburban shopping centres near us do not have any cab ranks.
As we have no cell phone set up here, we are stuck, waiting for the bus.
And there is no shade.  
It is a long wait.

Finally a bus arrives.
So we head for downtown Honolulu, and to change buses to Waikiki Beach.

I cannot believe the amount of people - just everywhere - a bit of a shock after quiet Fiji.

We need a swim - it is as hot and dry as an Adelaide Summer's day.
It is a different heat from Fiji which is more humid.

My son is invited onto the water slide at the Hilton 
and is given an armband to let him on any of the slides.
He is in heaven!

There are different slides and he really doesn't want to leave.
He is on a quest to find every water slide in Hawaii - well so he tells me!

We find the Duke Kahanamoku Beach and Lagoon.
Here you can hire a paddle boat for $50 US or a stand up surf paddle 
- which is the current rage in Hawaii.
Alas my budget won't stretch, so we head off to explore.

Under the trees, we find musicians jamming 
- the park is packed with people flame grilling chicken, 
and enjoying a drink and and a jam session.
There is music everywhere.

We find ice-cream whip, and they are a BIG.
And we have BIG smiles - we are starting to adjust to Hawaii - nicely.

Next day we head for Ala Moana Shopping Mall in the Centre of town.
We are finding everything is big, and so this big thong / flip-flop has to be in our photo.

We decide to take a bus - but the driver gives us the wrong information.
For anyone heading to Hawaii - do NOT take the 55 bus and think it is a tour around the coast.
It took us 4 hours (along with many other misguided tourists) to get to the Dole Plantation.
We had two driver changers.
The first driver (after one hour and a lot of begging) stopped the bus for us to quickly use the porto-loo (portable washroom) at a park.
The next driver took himself off to a public bathroom and never said anything, but we all sat.  
This was about 2.5 hours into the ride.
So a lady from South Dakota by then was nearly purple in the face sitting besides me.
So we dashed off too. He told the ladies husband he was not going to wait for us!  But he obviously convinced him to.

File:Pineapple maze 1.JPG

We arrive at the dole plantation with 1 hour to go, so hungry we down a huge pineapple whip - yum.

We find the maze and have a 2 for one coupon so head in - still trying to get through the massive whip.

We are given a maze map with eight stations to find and mark off on cards.
We have less than 45 minutes left.

My son finds the first station - yeah!

We end up cutting through small paths in the bushes -not sure these are even on the map!

Checking off the last symbol at the final station.
We head out and find the maze is closed.
We didn't know it was a public holiday!
The buses are not running and we are in the middle of Oahu.
We finally get a taxi just before dark.
We find out if we head to the bus interchange there is an hour wait to get to town.
Then another hour wait til we get a bus to our area - but the buses are finished by 6.30pm.
So we sit as the meter ticks over - do not die folks but the taxi was nearly $100!
He gives us some discount - down to $83!
It is early days - Hawaii is burning a hole in my pocket money wise already and I have to do more research on things.
Lesson learned - stay central - the $$ you save staying out of town can prove to be no saving in time wasted on buses and on waiting for buses.
The taxi drops us at the local shopping centre so we can buy supplies for dinner.
We race home through the dark lane - this is not Fiji and it is not safe at night and people do not give rides.  Subtle culture changes we have a hard time getting used to.  There is two people yelling at each other in the car park - I have not heard an angry person in the streets of Fiji in 2 months - it is a sign of weakness to lose your temper there - it feels strange.
So back to our snug accommodation for spaghetti and crusty bread - turns out to be a full on day.
After all - we have been driven around the whole island, and raced the biggest maze in the world (2008).
The maze is great - anyone coming to Hawaii - I recommend it for both adults and kids. 
(And it is not expensive).
More of Hawaii to explore in coming days but tomorrow we stay in, and catch up on some home-schooling, washing and have a rest.

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