Honolulu, Hawaii (Part I)

This is Part I of a two part series.  Please continue reading about Honolulu at Part II.

Enjoying the beach

On November 19th, I headed out to Hawaii for my first trip as an adult.  I had previously visited Hawaii as a child, so I couldn’t really remember anything.  As many of you know, Hawaii is a set of islands in the Pacific that is part of America.  The most popular Island to visit is Oahu.  It’s not the biggest, but the most tourist friendly.  All of the hotels are located in Waikiki, with lots of shopping available and a large calm beach.  Generally, I wouldn’t think about going to Hawaii as it’s a typical “tourist trap” that’s a little far from Tokyo.  However, a friend of mine was getting married, so I seized the opportunity to have a nice adventure to Hawaii.

A beautiful sunset

When I first arrived in Honolulu, I was greeted by a severe lack of sleep.  The flight from Tokyo to Honolulu leaves at night and arrives in the morning.  A typical red-eye flight, with one major difference.  You relive the same day.  Surprisingly, entering the US was relatively easy.  Just a quick hello to the immigration inspector and a little run around for my luggage and I was off.  Do note that for some strange reason, they had 2 carousels for our luggage which made things extremely confusing.  Upon my exit, I had to wait for about 1 hour before my “tour group” was assembled and we could head to Waikiki.  There was about 10 of us in a huge tour bus.  Destination?  The Duty Free Store (DFS).  We had to attend an orientation talking about various optional tours we could arrange, free cell phones we could rent (note that the talk time rates were ridiculous), and tipping courtesy.  Needless to say, once that was over (I couldn’t sleep as I was at the very front), I tried to make my way out of the shop.  If you ever go there, note that it’s a complete maze meant to keep you in.  You must tour every floor if you start at the top.  Even when you get to the main floor, you can’t get out.  I felt like I was in a prison.

A famous building mural

Once out of prison, I took a while to get my bearings.  I grabbed a map and headed out to Ala Moana Shopping Centre.  My goal of the trip was just shopping.  America is well known for their bargains and sales, and with Thanksgiving around the corner, I wanted to see what they had available.  Ala Moana is the most famous place to visit as it’s the biggest shopping complex near Waikiki.  I spent the better part of the day there before heading back to Waikiki.  I did have a little trouble finding the right bus route to get to my hotel.  Do note that I had to wait until 3pm to check in, so I was carrying a lot of stuff during the day.  After checking in, I still had a little time to myself to just relax and enjoy the hotel/apartment.  It was a huge place.  A small, but decent sized, balcony, a nice bedroom, and a large living room and kitchen.  I didn’t have to cook, but I did enjoy everything.  I spent some time out on the balcony and at the beach as well.  At night, I met up with my friends from Vancouver.  We were going to a restaurant called Orchids.  It’s a lovely restaurant that is right on the beach.  I do recommend it for a nice romantic dinner, but the price might be a little much.  Service was excellent as well.   The only down side was that I was still extremely tired and in need of sleep.