Let's start at the start...Thursday June 11. Our flight left SLC at noon and was a direct flight to Honolulu which takes about six hours. It's a long time, but it was pretty great, especially compared to the return journey. There is a four hour time difference between Mountain Daylight Time and Hawaiian time. We left at noon and arrived in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, at 2:30 in the afternoon Hawaiian time which was 6:30 in the evening for our bodies.
There were seven of us on the trip, MT, T and myself, then MT's parents (Jake and Linda) and MT's brother and his wife (Kelly and Denise). We rented a minivan (Chrysler Town & Country, Dad) which seats seven and has room for luggage but we had to get a little creative with the luggage transport. It was kind of like a puzzle. The weather that afternoon was warm, in the mid to upper 80s and the humidity was tolerable. Nothing like some places I've been when you start sweating the minute you walk outside. I could feel the moisture in the air, but it felt nice. Still, after jamming all the people and luggage into the minivan, we cranked up the air conditioner.
MT was the only driver we listed, so he drove and I was the navigator. We didn't spend money on a GPS because we had our beloved iPhones and the Google Maps app is good. I entered the address of the hotel and Siri got us where we needed to go, which would be the case for the entire trip. We took surface streets from the rental car company to the hotel and most of the time we were on the Nimitz Hwy. MT loved everything about Nimitz and would happily call out business names as we passed: "Nimitz Laundromat!" "Nimitz Pawn Shop!" Nimitz Liquor!"
We stayed at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort. Each family unit had their own rooms; our was in a different tower than the other two couples. We actually had a view of the beach. Sweet!
I guess more of a view of the ocean, but it was sweet! You couldn't really hear the waves at that time of day because Honolulu is a big city and Waikiki Beach is a major tourist area and there were lots of cars and buses and people noises. We all spent a little time in our rooms. After I've been sitting for awhile, I like to get horizontal, so I laid on the bed and zoned out for a few minutes.
MT decided to go exploring and said he'd call me when he found a spot to hang out. It didn't take long. The third floor of the hotel was the pool and lounge area, so we met up with the family on the Moana Terrace for Happy Hour.
After we ate, six of us decided to walk across the street to the beach and put our toes in the water and walk down the beach. T chose not to come; he went back up to the room to have some alone time.
Waikiki Beach is long and beautiful. To the west, Diamond Head stood sentry over the beach. Very cool.
Here, I zoomed in on Diamond Head so you could admire it :)
June 11 is King Kamehameha Day in Hawaii and is a public holiday. There was a hula demonstration happening on a stage right there on the beach. We stopped for a few minutes to watch. I probably should have taken a video to share with you, but I didn't. I was just taking it all in and looking at all the people.
The sun was starting to set, so it was around 7pm (11pm for our bodies.) I was getting tired, but there was still stuff to see! There were surf schools right on the beach; Kelly and MT went to inquire about pricing and thought they might take a lesson if there was time while we were there. Out in the water, there were some surfers, but the waves weren't very big. It was still fun to watch and to see the sun sinking and sinking.
Here's the first of MANY sunset pics I will undoubtedly show you:
I really love sunsets!
We kept walking until we got to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. It's the pretty pink hotel you see in many photos of Waikiki Beach. It's been there a long time. Right next door to the hotel is Duke's, a pretty well-known restaurant. You need a reservation to eat there, but since we weren't hungry anyway, we thought we might try to get a reservation the next night. Turns out we should have called for tomorrow's reservation right then, but we didn't. Spoiler: we didn't eat at Duke's. Would have been fun, though.
The sun had set and it was dark. We walked back along the street that was completely lined with shops. On one side of the road were the designer stores like Coach and Marc Jacobs and other fancy names. On the other side, where we walked, were the more tourist-on-a-budget friendly shops, including the ABC Store which has a store on every block. MT was already in search of the perfect t-shirt, but it was not to be found that night. We were all starting to really drag because even though it was only around 8:30, our bodies felt like it was past midnight. We all strolled back to the hotel and made a plan to meet at 6:30 in the morning to head over to Pearl Harbor.
So that was the first day. It was exciting to finally be in the Hawaiian Islands and I liked walking down Waikiki Beach and having my first Mai Tai. Good times!