is my Big 62nd birthday so I decided
to celebrate it in Hawaii for a week. This is about the fifth time I have been
in Hawaii so decided to do the things tourists usually do! Please see the
map for a view of the layout of the islands and click on the history
link for an overview of the islands.
You can read about my adventures and check out
each link in the following dissertation or....
You can click on this link ~ Hawaii Photos ~ and view the
photos taken on my travels in Hawaii!
Saturday - February 02, 2002:
Checked with United but their package was over $1,600. So on to Suntrips and
they were $850. A big difference! I did the add on for an upgraded room
and a buffet style breakfast for $150 and so I still had $600 to spend on side
tours rather than taking the United so called package.
I went on
and took off from the San Francisco International Airport and flew to Maui to pick up people before continuing to Honolulu.
Maui was covered with large areas of water
from very bad rains so wondered what Oahu was like!
met by the Suntrips rep with a lei creating and off to the hotel Miramar at
Waikiki. I was told I would get a room facing the mountains, not the ocean and
so on, such is the nature of a single traveler. Well I got my key and off to my
room. On the 14th floor, number 1404, and started to walk toward it.
Well guess what, it had a king sized bed, cable TV, coffee maker, huge bathroom
and a balcony with chairs and table overlooking the ocean and the
Sheraton Pink Palace, an old
favorite of mine. So the upgrade was worth it this time!
checking in I had to rush over to the Hyatt Regency for my afternoon cocktails.
The hotel has
and a great atrium, three stories high open to the sky and a huge
in it. The top has a bar and swimming pool that overlooks the beach and I just
love it. The waitress and I become friends and she waited on me all week, knew
what I drank after the first day. She said I was lucky as it had rained for two
weeks in Honolulu and also flooded in Maui. She said it was the first
time Diamond Head had been so green in five years!
I did some shopping and had dinner and was going to nap but decided to shop some more and also get my post cards which I labeled and wrote short notes on so I was ahead of the game on my first day in
Sunday - February 03, 2002:
Early wake up as a free breakfast and a presentation as to the tours that were available. Lots to choose from and you will get to read about three of them I chose.
I met four women from Australia and they were unhappy as their dollar had fallen to about 42 cents to the US dollar! Everything was twice as expensive for them so they had to count their pennies as to what to do and see.
decided to check out where the YMCA was located as I am a member in the City and
did want to work out if time allowed. It is about ten blocks from the tourist
area and next to the Ala Moana shopping center which is a great place to go for
coffee and shopping.
found the Ala Moana Park across the street from the shopping center. A great
park and beach, mostly Hawaiians and great views of
and the outrigger canoes.
Back to the hotel to freshen up and cocktails at the Hyatt and then dinner. Needed to go to bed early for the bit 62nd birthday on Monday! I had to get up by 3:30 AM to catch a flight!
Monday - February 04, 2002:
I have been on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai, but never on the big island of
Hawaii so decided to celebrate my birthday on Hawaii. Got up at 3:30 AM and off
to the airport and a half hour flight to the island. We were met by a driver at
the Kailua Kona Airport and put on a small van to view the island. We drove over
300 miles in about 11 hours and basically saw the entire island!
stop was the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. It is on the black
lava flats of the southern Kona Coast and preserves the traditional Hawaiian way
of life. This is a picture of the
where the area was a refuge for defeated warriors in time of war or those that
violated the kapu, the sacred laws. The traditional religious practices were
abolished in 1819 by King Kamehameha II. The area became a park in 1961. Now
turtles come here to relax and sun on the sandy beaches, one of the few natural
sandy beaches on the big island.
saw the Ka Lae tip of the island which is the most southern point in the United
Next to the famous Punelu’u
black sand beach
which had a lava flow close part of it off years ago. The sand is more gray than
black but it has a mineral in it that glistens in the sun. Very pretty. There
were many large turtles there, some three feet long! Very impressive.
saw in the distance, the Hawai’i Volcanic National Park consisting of several
volcanoes. We drove to the Crater Rim Drive to the restaurant and had lunch
Kilauea Calderas which was
breath taking. We then drove up to the crater where we could walk to the edge
and peer into the calderas. It is several miles across and the lava flow is
below the crater. Looks just like the volcano on Mars! There were holes in the
ground where the
had sulfur steam roaring out of them. I walked off the beaten path and suddenly
near the edge, saw
in the ground two or more feet wide, ten or more feet deep, and running for
hundreds of feet. Scary! I was told when there is an earthquake, theses sections
fall off. You could also see
of sulfur on the bottom of the crater. Needless to say, I decided to move. A
cute story, on the way to the crater edge, a woman from Iowa informed everyone I
was going to the be "virgin" sacrifice in case the goddess Pele was
irritated at our visiting the volcano. I did not think that was funny,
especially since I doubt Pele would think I was a ‘virgin"! The next
volcano had the huge observatories on the top and was covered with a huge layer
of snow. Very beautiful as next to it is a tropical rain forest!
the Rain Forest and the Thurston Lava Tube. The
tropical rain forest
was fantastic, huge tree ferns at least 15 to 20 feet tall! The
is about 15 miles long but we only walked about 100 feet before walking up some
stairs through a break in the ceiling. Something I have always wanted to do!
Next to Hilo and a tour of an orchid nursery. Acres of greenhouses and every type of orchard.
in Hilo and a visit to a farmers market where the avocado were about a foot long
and ten inches around! Four for a dollar! Couldn’t go wrong for that price!
We drove around the Parker Ranch, hundreds of thousands of acres in the ranch, lots of beef cattle and some farming.
Then a drive around the west side of the island where there is nothing but black lava flows and multi-million dollar hotels and golf courses. Nothing else, a mile of black lava, a hotel built on crushed lava and imported soil. The Chinese and South Koreans are now buying many of the hotels from the Japanese. Also this is hard to believe, there are no sandy beaches there so they are filling ships with sand from China and importing it to the beach areas of the hotels on the big island. From the sound of it, big shots, movie stars, and so on, visit these resorts. Well there is nothing there, no towns, just the hotel and a golf course. Also, there are time share condos, get this, $50,000 for a two week time share!
after an 11 hours 300 mile tour, we got back to the airport in Kona and we
caught an earlier flight back to Honolulu. Got back to the hotel by nine PM and
we were pooped. Time to hit the bed before tomorrow. A great way to spend my
Tuesday - February 05, 2002:
Another early morning and off to Pearl Harbor for a tour. Got there and
we had a great movie about the attack. Then to the launch to go out to the
memorial. Very nice and you
could see the gun
on the stern and also you could see the bow under the water facing the Missouri.
Then to the Missouri for a tour. We
then got to see the war room and I got to sit in the
and tell the
to launch the Side Winder Missiles. We had a
of us on the deck in front of the huge guns that could shoot over 20 miles and
also saw a
where the Japanese Surrender was signed.
went to the
Cemetery where thousands of Navy are buried. It is called the National Memorial
Cemetery of the Pacific. It is in the crater of a volcano in the middle of
Honolulu and has
of the entire city. We had a tour that detailed the major Navy battles in the
Pacific and all in all, a very good tour. This crater also contains the
which is a fantastic statue overlooking the cemetery. One of the astronauts is
also buried there from the Challenger disaster.
Next we drove around the city for a while and finally back to the hotel and I could then go off to the Hyatt for my afternoon Passion Cocktail!
Wednesday - February 06, 2002:
Finally a day off! Slept late and then breakfast and off to the YMCA for
a work out! Then to the
Shopping Center for a latte and then to the Ala Moana
to sun bath and swim in the ocean. Then walked back to the hotel and freshened
up and went to the local bar a few blocks away named "Angels" for a
Thursday - February 07, 2002:
Another tour! This time a lunch and whale watching cruise on a catamaran
to the Maunalua Bay. A good sized ship with huge
under the ship to keep the ship above the waves while speeding around Diamond
Head! We had a great lunch and two cocktails and then onto the front of the
ship. First we saw a school of spinner
dolphins , about 25,
speeding in front of the pontoons and jumping out of the water about three feet!
Very exciting. The we saw three different pods of humpback whales! A
baby , the baby kept
practicing his tail flapping! Then two males fighting over a female and another
pod of two males. We saw one whale up close who surfaced and then lifted his
tail in the air so we got
of this exciting scene! The captain said it was rare anyone got to see so many
whales at one time. He didn’t want to return to the dock either, he said he
was enjoying himself too much! So a great day on the water viewing the dolphins,
the whales, and
and the city skyline from the ocean! Time for my cocktails and dinner and more shopping!
Friday - February 08, 2002:
Well the weather finally caught up with me. Very windy and stormy which
was a good thing. I was very sun burned, my face was peeling. Yuck! So off to
the YMCA to work out. As you can see by the
picture, very rainy!
Then shopping at the Ala Moana and coffee
and then to a huge new
and on the ground floor, a coffee and internet shop. So of course, I wrote an
e-mail to everyone while having a nice coffee.
decided to walk to the aquarium after stopping off at the hotel around two but
as soon as I got outside, another big down pour so off to
to sit on the terrace, watch the rain and have cocktails and gossip with the
locals about rent and food prices, a gallon of milk is around $7.00. I don’t
dinner and a final shopping trip to the International Market next to the hotel.
trees covered the shops and tons of useless nick-knacks to buy and give to
people that act pleased to get them but in reality, just have more junk to put
away! This is the final evening and a
sunset to finish my stay in Honolulu!
Saturday - February 09, 2002:
The last morning and off to the airport at 10 AM to get checked in and
go through security and so on. Not much of a hassle. Saw some military cargo
planes as we taxied to take off. A great flight,
and no one next to me so I had three seats to stretch out on! Some turbulence
but not bad and back to the City by 9:30 PM and caught a cab and home by ten.
Great to be on vacation but always good to be home again! A great week and a
Aloha from the Islands!