Hawaii Part One, Oahu

10th September, 1997
11th September, 1997
12th September, 1997
13th September, 1997
14th September, 1997

Wednesday, 10th September, 1997

Drop Cap ell, the flight was its usual unpleasant self, even in a DC 10 I cannot get comfortable and meals are a penance. It was nearly 11 o'clock Hawaii time when we got through Immigration and Customs and picked up our bags. We were wondering what would happen, it seemed too late for greeting and transfers, but there on the concourse was a 6'4" Hawaiian (I guess) wearing a lap lap and a lei, waiting with a Globus/Cosmos sign. He welcomed us with open arms (literally) put leis of fresh flowers round our necks and materialised a porter to take the bags to the transport.

Hotel postcard

Postcard of the Foyer, Hotel Outrigger Prince Kuhio, Waikiki

Drop Cap t was nearly midnight when we got to our room. Quite good, about twice the size of the Days Inn room with a balcony overlooking the best view we've had all trip. The driver said it was going to be 90 degrees tomorrow! Oh boy! See what it brings. Globus have come up trumps again, even breakfast vouchers organised. Good on them.

Thursday 11th September, 1997

Drop Cap t was indeed very warm in sunny Waikiki today, so much so that I spent the majority of the day in either our airconditioned room or on the "lanai" or balcony in the shade with a sea breeze. We did go for a walk and had a picnic lunch by Waikiki Beach but it was very hot and I have another layer of sunburn. Waikiki Beach is very pretty but compared with Bondi or Surfers the beach is miniscule. It is lined, like Surfers, with high rise hotels and Japanese tourists. It didn't really appeal to me. It may be the heat, but I don't know. I hope we enjoy this tour but I think it is the last tropical one for me.

Drop Cap his evening we had a wine and cheese reception with the rest of the tour. It is amazing! We are the only Aussies! In fact, the only other foreigners are a couple of French Canadians. All the rest are Americans. Forty four of them! A honeymoon couple to several recent retirees to some who look one foot in the graveish. Most from New York and/or Florida. They should be used to the heat. Our tour director is Burrill Catenach who says her name is allied with Clan MacPherson and wears the dress MacPherson tartan. She was keen to meet us both as Australians and MacPhersons. We have a breakfast meeting tomorrow to talk over the itinerary and optionals. Hope it's OK.

Friday, 12th September, 1997

Drop Cap ur breakfast meeting was a little confusing but I think we have the gist. We have booked and paid for optionals in the various islands and the first one is this afternoon.

Centre  photograph

At the Polynesian Cultural Centre, Oahu

Drop Cap he Polynesian Cultural Center (sic) is run by the Mormons and staffed by students at Brigham Young University, Hawaii, who come from all over Polynesia from New Zealand to the Marquesas. They all have "villages" in the Centre which put on displays of dance, music culture and craft etc.

Drop Cap he ride to the Centre was magic, after we left Waikiki behind. The mountains are lovely and the coastline incredibly blue. The beaches in the "country" were almost deserted, very different from Waikiki but just as lovely.

Centre photograph

At the Polynesian Cultural Centre, Oahu

Drop Cap t the Centre we saw some of the "villages", Samoa and Tahiti, which were very good, especially the Samoan. They have a young chief, a former student, who is a consummate professional and plays the audience like the very best stand up comics. He is also an incredibly talented fire and knife dancer.

Centre photograph

At the Polynesian Cultural Centre, Oahu

Drop Cap e watched the "Gathering of the Canoes" event which told folk tales of the islands using canoes on the lagoon as a stage. We had a snack and an IMAX movie of the "living sea" - quite amazing! My first experience of IMAX. Then a buffet dinner, OK and the "Horizons" show at the Pacific Theater (sic). This open air performance space (we were undercover they weren't) was amazing, waterfalls, and rocky glens, and a loud drumming, dancing fire walking etc etc show.

Drop Cap t was well done but we were all very tired and we have a long morning tomorrow. Oh well, maybe we'll get used to it. It's very humid as well, which I find worse than the actual temperature.

Drop Cap e had three passengers missing when we left, not from our group, luckily, but some others. Security said there was nobody left inside so maybe they got too hot and went home. It's 44 miles!

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Saturday, 13th September, 1997

Drop Cap oday we went on a "Circle Island" tour. As the name implies we went around the island from Waikiki through the country, past the Cultural Centre and back through Honolulu. We started by going up Diamond Head, the extinct volcano which is pretty much a symbol of Hawaii. It has been dormant for millions of years so should just about be ready to blow. We are not allowed to get out in the crater of Diamond Head because it has buildings which are Defence Force H.Q.s . But we looked and left. We then moved on to some spectacularly sited and priced real estate including one belonging to Tom Selleck, but not many we wanted to move into really.

Hanauma Bay photograph

Mac and Rosemary overlooking Hanauma Bay Fish Sanctuary

Drop Cap hen the truly lovely coast with another crater. This crater had half blown out and the resulting bay is a fish sanctuary. We could see people snorkelling and the water was so clear you could see the fish! from the top of the cliff! The water colour is unbelievable. We went on to a Blow Hole but it is so calm today that it wasn't blowing. But its main claim to fame is that it is next door to the famous beach in "From Here to Eternity" where Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster made the waves flow!

Hanauma Bay photograph

Hanauma Bay Fish Sanctuary, Oahu

Drop Cap e went on through the lovely coast line which we saw yesterday till we had passed the Cultural Centre, getting a glimpse of the Mormon Temple en route. It is quite impressive. On the way to lunch at the Turtle Bay Hilton we passed the three famous surfing beaches - Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay. Every 60's chick knows about the 25' waves - but it seems they only come in winter (or after an earthquake in Alaska or Japan) the surf was flatter than a pancake!

Drop Cap e stopped at the swish Turtle Bay Hilton for a buffet lunch . Although the place itself was lovely and well sited, the lunch was a bit disappointing. You got more choice at Sizzler! However it was beautiful. We had a brief stroll along the beach before continuing the tour.

Turtle Bay photograph

Near the beach, Turtle Bay Hilton, Oahu

Drop Cap fter lunch we continued along the coast road till we reached the Dole Pineapple Plantation (and shop) Some bought large pineapple icecreamy things but we just sat in what shade we could find until we left. We came back towards city life as we approached Honolulu. It is a big city downtown with spectacular modern buildings and a picturesque waterfront. We made a shopping stop at Hilo Hattie's (a Hawaiian institution) She sells gaudily printed shirts, muu muus etc etc etc! I had hoped to get a pretty muu muu for the luau but there was nothing my size. I threatened the boys before I left with Hawaiian shirts but they were expensive and saner counsels prevailed - I got them T-shirts. We got a free coffee mug as a Globus bonus. Big deal!

Drop Cap ome to our airconditioned haven. Actually Mac had to turn it down, it was freezing! Do I mean turn it up? Buffet dinner at the hotel tonight. Better than the Hilton!

Sunday, 14th September, 1997

Pearl Harbour photograph

Visitor Centre, Pearl Harbour, Oahu

Drop Cap oday we went on the city tour of Honolulu, starting off at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbour. There is a visitor centre which processes people by the boatload, first showing a film about the bombing of Pearl Harbour, (about the dreadful Japanese, when half the audience was Japanese,) then taking a boatload out to the memorial built over the wreck of the USS Arizona itself.

Arizona photograph

Wreck of the USS Arizona, still leaking oil, Pearl Harbour

Drop Cap t is an impressive memorial and there were thousands of deaths but they were obviously totally unprepared, lying around the beach and playing wargames. Still, no point now in carping. We left our flower leis there.

Pali photograph

Pali Lookout, overlooking Honolulu

Drop Cap hen we went for a run through the gorgeous jungly scenery of the Old Pali road up to the Pali lookout, a spectacular view right over the city and the harbour. We could see a lot of the places we've been in the past couple of days.

Drop Cap own again, we cruised through Honolulu, passing the Royal Palace, the only royal palace on American soil, the home of the last king. It is quite impressive, hardly grass huts! We drove through Chinatown, (the usual tatty area) then back to the hotel. Out to get some lunch, which we brought back here .


Drop Cap ll dressed up a la Hawaiian, we had a group photo in the tropical garden of the hotel, then went off for a "dinner cruise" from the Honolulu waterfront (pointed out as the starting point for the cruise of the Minnow in "Gilligan's Island") to Diamond Head and back. It was pleasant on the water and the food was OK but the entertainment was like Amateur Hour. Quite enjoyable though. Maui tomorrow!

Drop Cap ote on our Waikiki Hotel, the Outrigger Prince Kuhio.
This is the first hotel I've seen that saw the necessity to have printed, in three languages, instructions on how to use the shower. They started, "Please bathe in the tub".!

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