This trip to Oahu, Hawaii is from August 24 -31, 2010.
TBB Blog Mission: To Entertain. Educate. Inspire. In That Order!
We tried to get to Greece using our Delta SkyMiles but could not pull it off as getting flights out of Athens proved impossible! Then we tried to use some miles flying to either Seattle or San Diego and take a drive up or down the California Coast (especially the Pacific Coast Highway) but this also proved not doable at the lowest award tiers. So, since Honolulu was wide open, we decided to fly there:-) Total out of pocket cost was just $30.00 plus a total of 160,000 Delta Skymiles (@40,000 per ticket). So, Honolulu here we come:-)
On the outbound we had to connect to Atlanta on an early am flight on August 24th.
The flight from Atlanta to Honolulu was over 8 hrs long! It was like flying to England from Detroit! We watched several movies on the Airbus 330.
At Honolulu, Dad used his brand new National Car Emerald Club Executive Status (thanks again to Flyertalk for the tip!). We had booked a Midsize Car (total for the week after taxes & fees: $241) which entitles us to at least a double upgrade and a shot at ANY car on the Emerald lot! We were aiming for the Convertible but the guy just before us managed to get it 🙁 So, after looking around at the cars available, we settled for a very nice Ford Edge!
First two nights were at the Hawaii Prince Hotel on a Priceline rate of $75 per night, total after taxes and fees $180. The hotel is a Category 4 and caters to mostly Japanese clientele. We got a sea view as it is right in front of a small harbor in Waikiki. Here is the view from our room:
We got to our room around 7 pm Hawaii time and we were going to take a short nap before we went out for dinner….Well, our short nap lasted about 14 straight hours!!!! I guess our bodies needed it after the long flight and the 6 hour time differential.
We decided to visit Pearl Harbor the next morning. We made a mistake driving to it and missed the left turn as we were admiring the Aloha Stadium on our right! But we had the fortune to see a double rainbow this morning!
We had to turn back and still managed to get our tickets around 7.45 am with entrance scheduled at 8.30. We watched the great little movie introduction and then we were off to the USS Arizona Memorial:
The wall has the names of all the dead sailors who perished from the Japanese attack in Pearl Harbor
Remains of the ship underneath us:
Leaving the Memorial by boat:
Then on to the USS Bowfin Submarine!
Going down inside the submarine:
From this room, 44 enemy ships were sunk in the Pacific:
If you were afraid of enclosed spaces you would go insane here!
what is this???? 🙂
no air conditioning!
It was very cool going through a submarine!
A small area with guns and bombs and stuff:
We took a short bus ride to the Battleship Missouri, the last battleship built at the end of WWII:
The ship’s nickname is the “Mighty Mo”…it is HUGE!
On September 2, 1945 the Japanese signed their surrender on this ship a few yards away from this spot
We naturally (as we always do) searched and found Honolulu’s Chinatown and let mommy guide us to eat something with the locals:
Entrance of Chinatown:
We took a walking tour of Chinatown as laid out in our Lonely Planet guide book.
Here is the bank lobby of the First Hawaiian Bank with its antique wooden teller cages. What is so unique about this bank lobby? Well, apparently, this is where Kate’s bank robbery scene in the TV show “Lost” was filmed.
Wo Fat Building
Fresh piggies for the market:-)
A statute of the Chinese revolutionary Dr. Sun Yat-sen in front of the Chinatown Cultural Plaza.
As we drove through downtown, we decided to park the car and Dad and S went out to take some pics as Mom and K napped inside the car.
This is Oahu’s oldest Christian Church, the Kawaiaha’o Church. It was built in 1842 and it is made of 14, 000 coral slabs. The clock was installed in 1850 and still keeps accurate time!
This is the tomb of King Lunaililo, the short-lived successor to Kamehameha V.
Wow, what a tree!
The statute of Kamehameha the Great in front of Ali’ohani Hale building which today houses the Hawaii Supreme Court.
This is the royal palace building, known as the Iolani Palace. It was built by King David Kalakaua in 1882. This building served as the the capitol of the Republic, then the territory and later the state of Hawaii. In 1969 the government finally moved into the current state capitol leaving this building in shambles. It has been painstakingly restored to its former glory. Too bad we did not have time to see the interior.
This is a banyan tree:
This is the current state capitol building
Queen Lili’uokalani statue, Hawaii’s last reigning monarch:
Statue of Father Damien, the Belgian priest who lived and worked among the patients with Hansen’s Disease (formerly called leprosy) who were forcibly removed to the island of Moloka’i beginning in 1866.
Another shot of the State capitol building:
Took a walk in Waikiki and here is me in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village. We had enough Hilton points to stay here but it is not worth it as this property is old & requires too many points.
In the bathtub of the Hawaii Prince hotel!!
Another view from our hotel:
2nd day we were off to Diamond Head early in the morning:
S has never encountered a tree that she did not want to climb on:-)
it was a long hike up to the top!
Then we took a drive a bit north at Lanai Lookout:
Drive back to the hotel for checking out, here is a front shot of the Hawaii Prince hotel:
Then we drove just a few miles north to the Sheraton Waikiki. We had an award stay here for a total of 5 nights. It is normally 12,000 Starwood points per night but there was promo going on to “Stay 4, get 5th night free”. So, total points were 48,000 points. After a polite complaint regarding the service (it took 3 phone calls to bring a broken coffee maker & add’l bath towels!) we were credited with 7,500 points, so total Starwood points spent was 40,500 for five nights. Not bad! Great location right on Waikiki beach, just remodeled hotel. Here is our room:
Here is outside of our room. Walking on Waikiki felt like a busy New York street, very city feel like!
We enjoyed the rest of the day in the hotel pools and walking around Waikiki.
Next early morning we were off to Hanauma Bay. We did not realize that if we get there before 7 am we escaped the entrance fee; we got there at 6.45 am and kept $30 in our pocket:-)
Hanauma Bay is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The coral reefs below are over 7,000 years old. We snorkeled and saw so many fish and, the highlight of the trip, a giant sea turtle! This is a MUST do in Oahu!
Halona Blowhole, you must see it to understand what happens here!
Then we went on a long drive around the island. Halona Cove:
Here is where I start to lose where we are….we are driving North now:
stunning small beaches everywhere:
I can’t remember where we stopped here but this tiny place was recommended in the Lonely Planet guide for its Shave Ice treats, they were delicious!
Enjoying the Sheraton Waikiki’s two swimming pools, this is the pool for the kids:
The world famous Waikiki Beach!
Saw this Lotus car parked outside a nearby hotel:
This is the hotel’s Infinity pool, no kids allowed, adults only!
We visited the annual Greek Festival and had some mean gyros:-)
Apparently there are 65 Greek families living here
At the hotel bar
Sunset at the bar drinking $5 Mai Tais in happy hour:-)
Driving through Waikiki
We decided to take the scenic drive up Tantalus Drive overlooking Honolulu
there she goes on yet another tree!
Then we did a hike up and around Makiki Loop Trail, it was magnificent!
Back to Honolulu’s Chinatown:
Last night at the hotel bar. We met a nice British couple. The guy is an Everton fan and we had fun talking about the games between Everton and my hometown Larisa team in the Europa League a few years ago:
Sheraton had this Hawaiian dude wowing the ladies:-)
Took a long walk up Waikiki beach with mommy in our last morning as the kids beat themselves up in the swimming pool:
Surfing time in Waikiki
Note: Don’t eat your breakfast on the beach!
Look at the joyful expression on the surfer’s face!
yoga time on Waikiki beach
We did not get the upgrade to the beach view, we only got upgraded to the mountain view. The Gold status (thanks again Flyertalk) got us some other goodies at least.
Gold Starwood status got us on the Preferred Floor, yeah:-)
Some more hotel pics:
yes, this is S’s feet!
At National Car waiting for the shuttle to the airport
Checking in at the Honolulu airport for the direct flight to Detroit:
More movies on the return. I got to watch the movie “Damn United” with the story of Derby County and Nottingham Forrest teams’ football coach Brian Claff…It was fantastic. I think K did not sleep, watched five movies straight!