A year ago Larry won the grand prize at the 2018 Aloha Hawaii Tourism event in Vancouver - return airfare economy on Westjet, two nights at an Aqua Aston of our choice in Waikiki, three nights at the Marriott North Shore, Ambassador package at the Polynesian Cultural Centre and Zip-Lining at Kualoa Ranch, North Shore. We added on an extra night at the Marriott and three weeks at the condo we stayed at last year in Waikiki. We chose the Waikiki Beach Towers in Waikiki for the first two nights (because it was valued the highest).
On October 4, we had a later flight (6:15 pm) so didn't have to stay overnight. The flight was about 6 hours. We bought food on board and wouldn't do that again (hopefully we never have to - First Class or Premium Economy whenever possible from now on). We got in at 9:22 (three hour time difference). It worked great having the scooter again. We had rented a car through National so went over there and got a Jeep SUV. We have it booked for a week. We checked in at Waikiki Beach Towers. The staff were wonderful - valeted the vehicle and brought our luggage up. The room was gorgeous. Of course, the ice maker didn't work so had to call a "guy". He tried to fix it but couldn't. Anyway we had a one bedroom suite and it had an electronic toilet - lid rises when you walk in the door and closes after you leave.
On October 5 we awoke to the most amazing view! All the way from Diamond Head to the airport. Since we didn't have any supplies, we went to Shorefyre for breakfast. Maureen had a papaya with fruit and yogurt and Hawaiian honey. While we were drinking our coffee a cute little lizard came up on the table and started licking some of the honey off her plate. Gotta love the tropics! We decided to go out to the Arizona Memorial. The first thing you find, if you don't read/see the little sign that says so, is that they tell you your purse is too big. Anything bigger than a wallet is not acceptable. You can either check it in a locker or take it back to your car - Larry scooted it back to the car. Then you go to the counter to get a time ticket to go to the Arizona - and find it's in an hour and a half. Since the Missouri and the Bowfin are inaccessible to Larry and since we've seen it all before, we didn't feel like waiting. So off to the Dole Plantation! We strolled around the gardens, rode the Pineapple Express train and had Dole Whip for lunch. As with the last time we were there, it rained just before we got there. We went to Cheeseburger in Paradise for coconut shrimp and sliders for dinner.
On October 6 we had breakfast on the lanai and checked out about 11 am. There was quite a bit of traffic all the way to the North Shore. The road gets quite narrow in some places. We stopped at a Shrimp Shack for lunch - coconut shrimp/rice and garlic shrimp/rice - must have been 10 cloves of chopped garlic on the garlic shrimp. We checked in at the Marriot of the North Shore and went to the pool for a dip. It was cloudy but still hot. We had dinner at the Bistro in the hotel - grilled cheese and tomato soup.
October 7 we drove just down the road to Kualoa Ranch to organize the gift certificate. Larry probably couldn't do the zip-line and Maureen didn't want to - so we opted for the 2 hour UTV tour for tomorrow. We then went to the Polynesian Cultural Centre about 12:30 pm- just across our parking lot. We grabbed a hot dog for lunch and then got our Ambassador Package tickets and started the tour. Our guide was Christine and we were her 'Ohana (family) - with 7 other couples. Christine knew just where to go. It started to rain so she handed out rain ponchos. We got caught in quite a heavy shower at one point and actually had to put them on. Mostly they were used to cover the camera. We had receive temporary tattoos and they all washed off. We went for a canoe ride and the luau for dinner. There is a show at dinner and then an amazing show after that called Ha: Breath of Life. It was the same show we had seen last year but was still amazing. Because of the scooter we were shown through back stage to get closer to our really good seats. It rained quite heavily toward the end of the show and all the way back to the hotel - but still hot! We finished the evening off with macadamia/chocolate chip cookies.
October 8 we had breakfast at the hotel - yogurt, fruit, granola and honey and headed for Kualoa Ranch. It was a slow go on the highway because they were filming a Netflix movie. We only had time to grab a sandwich and water before our UTV trip. While at lunch we met a really nice family from San Francisco - grandma (who was a hoot), mom and dad, daughter and son-in-law. Turns out we followed them on the UTV tour. We had so much fun and got so wet...and dirty! One of the things we saw on the tour was a huge bunker (not the one in the photo) which would hold 600-700 people. It was tested during the recent missile scare. One of the few that is operable on Oahu. We had dinner at Pounders at the market at the Cultural Centre.
October 9 we drove to Waimea Valley and walked/scooted up to the Falls through a beautiful botanical garden. We ate lunch there, sharing fish and chips. We drove around Laie on the way back - saw the Mormon Temple and Brigham Young University. This is a dry town. All the students work at the Cultural Centre. We went for a swim and then back to Pounders for dinner.
Since Larry had a webinar with the Legion for their new POS System on October 10 we had to check out a bit late, about 11:30. This was our last day with the car so we stopped at Safeway and Costco to stock up for the next three weeks. Also stopped at the Transit Centre to renew Larry's handicapped bus pass ($6) and buy a month pass for Maureen ($70). We checked in at the condo Pacific Monarch and Danny from the front desk helped us load all our groceries on the cart and took us up and helped unload it. He was wonderful! We then came back down and returned the vehicle to National, just a few blocks away, and scooted back. It was very hot. We had bought a bbq chicken at Costco (lasted for several meals) and had salad with it for dinner. Took a walk after dinner and that turned into a daily ritual. It was marginally cooler in the evening.
At about 5 am on October 11 a big boom woke us up. A wonderful thunder storm was happening! We opened all the blinds and watched it for about an hour. A flash flood warning came in on Larry's phone. We took the bus to Ala Moana Centre today. Such a big place.
On October 12 we went on the hunt for seafood. We ended up at Tamashiro Market (on the bus of course) and got Japanese scallops and lobster tails. We were able to make two meals out of it. We went to Moose McGillycuddy's for Happy Hour $5 Mai Tais and $4 Beers. Kalakaua Street was closed off for a street market.
October 13 was laundry day. We also had found on Facebook that a friend was in on a cruise ship so we met her and her fiance and two other guys at Nashville at Aloha Tower. We got off the bus at Moose McGillycuddy's intending to have deep-fried mushrooms and sliders for dinner - they were out of both - so we had burgers instead. Very good.
October 14 we took the bus to the nearest Safeway for bread and beer - also got some delicious spicy Ahi Poke. October 15 was an inside rest day! It's so hot - Maureen almost melts following the scooter for miles. October 16 we went to the Hawaii Police Department Museum. Our guide was Eddie Croom, a former HPD officer of 22 years and Navy Veteran of 20 years. He was great. Very knowledgeable. The museum documented the beginning of law enforcement from pre-contact (Kapu system, gods and chiefs and later kings). Kapu was abolished in 1819. The first formal written criminal code was developed in 1827 and a police force established. Hawaii became a state in 1959. The first woman Police Chief came into office in November 2017. McDonalds for lunch where Maureen was able to indulge in a McRib.
October 17 we walked/scooted to Denny's for breakfast then went to the zoo. It was hot so a lot of animals were inside sleeping but we did see a lot.
October 18 - Friday - we walked down to the beach to see the weekly fireworks set off at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It's short but a decent display. There were two rain showers today. At one point while we were down by the beach we heard two guys yelling at each other. Within a few minutes, there were 8 police cars, 11 cops and 2 ambulances. Nothing really happened but they don't take any chances.
October 19 was the 29th Annual Pride Parade. That was fun...and long with lots of gaps. After that we took the bus out to Blaisdell Centre to the Holiday Gift and Craft Fair. Over 400 vendors with lots of "crap" for sale. Larry did find a new New England Patriots hat for only $15
October 20 we went out to Safeway again and stopped at Genji Sushi for lunch. We had read that they had a conveyor belt system but it had been replaced by the bullet train. You order up to four dishes at a time. Smallish portions but you just keep ordering until you're full. The dishes arrive on the train to your table and you order on a tablet. We had read on Facebook that a friend from Sechelt was in town with her business partner so we met the two of them at Moose's for Happy Hour. Then we waited in line at Yardhouse for dinner.
October 21 we took the bus (about an hour) out to Bishop Museum. This is an excellent museum. We started in the Hawaiian Hall where they have lots of artifacts and explain the way of life and systems of leadership. Then you go over to Pacific Hall where they display all the other island chains in the South Pacific with artifacts, archaeology and traditions. Then on the the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame which is basically a hallway of photos and descriptions of sports figures - football, baseball, diving, Olympics, etc. Then a big surprise at the Castle Memorial Building - an exhibit called Travelling Bricks. Some amazing Lego sculptures. Then a hot dog for lunch at the cafe (a rain shower while we were eating) and a turn through the gift shop. Back to the bus for another hour trip.
The highlight of October 22 was Red Lobster for dinner. October 23 we took an hour bus ride out to East Honolulu to our next Costco location. This was the one we were at last year busing through the flooded areas. No sign of it this year.
On October 24 we walked to the Army Museum at Fort deRussy Park. The museum is located in what's left of Battery Randolph. It was completed in 1911 and made of steel reinforced concrete up to 15 feet thick. They tried to demolish it once but were unable to so made it into a museum. Mounted on the gun decks outside are 14 inch guns on "disappearing" carriages that could fire a 3/4 ton projectile up to 14 miles. Museum galleries depict Hawaiian warfare through the Vietnam War. The batteries on the scooter started acting up so after some research we headed to Battery Bob's to get them replaced. A very hot hour long bus ride past Chinatown and a walk through a not very nice neighbourhood with all the homeless people. See the sights with the Hamblins!!
October 25 we managed to get into the Cheesecake Factory for lunch. Huge portions! You start with bread which you eat because you're hungry. Mistake! Lunch arrives - flatbread pizza for Larry with a small green salad. His salad was huge so he at a small portion and we took the rest home. Maureen had the lunch special - half a chicken almond salad sandwich (huge), a cup of soup (as big as a regular bowl) and a small green salad (you guessed it, lots). It was very good but so much food. We saw a lot of waste at the tables around us. We needed very little dinner!
October 26 Larry's watch battery died so off we went to find a battery. Tried Rolex first - they referred us to Macy's - who referred us to a place across the street - who said that Macy's at Ala Moana actually had a watch repair shop - off to the bus!! The guy replaced the battery in less than 10 minutes. In the afternoon we walked to Dennys for lunch and then to the Aquarium. This is a small but powerful aquarium. They have an amazing display of local fish, seahorses, and jellyfish. Then a monk seal (very rare) outside. Then we walked back to the condo and to Tanaka of Tokyo for an excellent Teppan-style dinner.
October 27 was a lazy, watching sports day. On the 28th we toured a couple of other Aqua Aston Hotels with the idea of getting a group from Sechelt together for a week or so.
On October 29 we did the Capitol Walk. We took the bus to the State Capitol and walked around various sites nearby. We were unable to go into Iolani Palace because it's not accessible. We wandered over to the King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Centre which gave a very interesting history of the judiciary in Hawaii. It was accessible for Larry through the back entrance. Then we found our way over to the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site (not accessible) and walked around the outside of the buildings (free because we couldn't go in). These buildings served as the headquarters of the protestant missionaries between 1821 and 1863. Then we went over to the church next door Kawaiaha'o Church which is celebrating 200 years this year and is made entirely of coral. Nearby is a crypt where King Lunalilo was buried. We were tired and hot by this time so back to the condo.
The next two days were more restful and our flight came back to Vancouver late on Hallowe'en. We spent the night at the Fairmont Airport Hotel which is Maureen's favourite way to either start or end a trip. Then back to Sechelt the next day.
Keep in mind the temperature was 30/31 every day. Some days big black clouds came up but other than the thunder storm at the beginning there was very little rain.
Back in Sechelt it was back to normal pretty fast. Maureen was in a craft fair on November 2 and had posted pre-ordering for Christmas Cakes while she was away so she had 18 cakes to make!! Larry had another prostate biopsy on the 6th so it was back to Vancouver for the night of the 5th. We picked up all the ingredients for the cakes at Bulk Barn on the 5th.
It's early to be talking about Christmas but in case there is no entry before, we want to take this opportunity to wish all our friends and family a very Merry Christmas. Talk to you in the New Year!