Day 8 - Honolulu, Oahu
|Saturday, August 4, 2007: After seven great nights of cruising, we awoke to find ourselves in the Honolulu harbor again.
|The first person on the balcony was able to claim the first Maersk sighting of the day.
|With our penthouse suite, we were able to disembark the ship whenever we wanted, so we took off fairly early, grabbed a cab to the airport, and picked up our Avis rental car in no time. First stop: the statue of King Kamehameha in downtown Honolulu.
|He faces Iolani Palace right across the street.
|Next, we drove up steep and winding streets to get to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, located in Punchbowl Crater.
|This was the first visit for all of us and it was very moving.
|Large monuments list the names of fallen soldiers.
|At the top of a series of stairs is the main memorial.
|Exquisite tile displays depict various military operations in the Pacific over the past century.
|These displays are quite amazing in their color and detail.
|Diamond Head and the buildings of Honolulu are visible from the steps of the memorial.
|Small monuments set flush into the ground mark each grave.
|Our next stop was the Pali Lookout, where a misty rain obscured some of the view.
|As is typical in Hawaii, though it was raining at the lookout, it was sunny over much of the land below.
|At another lookout farther down the road, and just a few minutes later, there were no signs of rain.
|Debbie was quite taken with this massive display of jungle foliage at the same lookout.
|Returning to Honolulu, we found Debbie's favorite bakery in the whole world: Leonard's Bakery, home of delicious malasadas. Malasadas are a deep-fried sweet dough, similar to a sugar donut but without the hole and with a golden, eggy touch to the batter.
|We stood in line, because there's always a line at Leonard's, and Debbie selected a new Leonard's t-shirt to replace the one from 1983 that had worn out years ago. We got a dozen hot, fresh from the fryer, unbelievably tasty malasadas.
|With the box of malasadas too hot to eat, we traveled to the back of Palolo Valley to Holomua Place where Debbie lived back in the summer of 1983. The home where she lived is not visible, since it's at the end of a private drive that turns sharply to the left, but this is the place, trust us. We ened up eating our malasadas in front of a small store where Debbie used to wait for the bus to take her to Waikiki in her youth.
|With our Honolulu tour finished, we checked in to the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach. Debbie used to study her calculus on the beach in front of this hotel, but had never been able to afford to stay here.
|It was only noon and our room wasn't yet ready, so we had lunch at Duke's Canoe Club on the first floor of the hotel overlooking the beach.
|Just when we thought we'd seen every type of fish Hawaii had to offer, we spotted these fine specimens in the large aquarium at the entrance to the restaurant.
|To kill more time, we strolled down to Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, which was a crushing disappointment. Currently under massive renovations, there are very few shops remaining, and Debbie's beloved Hello Kitty shop and Famous Amos kiosk were long gone. We consoled ourselves with a view of the Top of Waikiki Restaurant we'd be visiting the next night.
|Next, we crossed Kalakaua Avenue to visit the International Market Place, a tourist's delight filled with endless stores and carts selling all forms of Hawaiian souvenirs.
|The koi in the pond seemed both well fed and very friendly.
|Our room was finally ready at 3:00 PM, but it wasn't exactly what we expected. We had booked an ocean-front room, but since none were available, we received a free upgrade to an ocean-front one-bedroom suite, which are at the ends of each floor facing the ocean. Nice!
|The balcony on the front of the suite overlooked the Outrigger bar and pool area, and the Royal Hawaiian's pool area to the left.
|We headed down to the beach and our mascot, Orchy, posed for a photo in an outrigger canoe with Waikiki and Diamond Head as a backdrop.
|Here's the same view without Orchy blocking it. It's a mandatory shot when you're visiting Waikiki.
|Here's our hotel. Our room was on the third floor on the left corner. Check out the right corner to get an idea of the size of our suite. A second balcony runs along the side, stretching from the living room to the bedroom.
|After seven straight days in the sun, Jill's tan was almost as dark as her bikini.
|One of Jill's friends from the ship, Evan, was staying at a hotel nearby so they passed the afternoon in the warm water.
|Tom and Debbie spent the afternoon the same way, and were fortunate to see several sea turtles who were in the water. We hadn't brought our snorkel gear but a couple of lucky snorkelers spent about an hour following them through the water. Here's a shot of the late afternoon surf that we'd be trying out the next day.
|The classic Royal Hawaiian Hotel is right next door to the Outrigger. She's a genteel old hotel, but we chose not to stay there since the rooms don't have balconies.
|It's the gigantic Sheraton Waikiki right next door to the Royal Hawaiian that blocks the late afternoon sun and the view of the sunset. Having just watched the Brady Bunch goes to Hawaii episodes, we referred to it throughout our trip as that horrid Brady Bunch hotel.
|Our hotel, of course, was not horrid. The separate bedroom was very comfortable and the whole suite was quite soundproof for being in the heart of Waikiki.
|Here's Tom relaxing on the balcony as seen from the living room.
|For dinner, we headed over to the food court of the International Market Place.
|It's a dive by any standards, but the selection of Pacific and Asian foods is unparalled, and it's one of our favorite food courts ever. Jill was able to have pizza (and endlessly text her friends) while Tom and Debbie enjoyed Filipino food.
|After dinner, we shopped our way through Waikiki, buying shoes, clothing, and more souvenirs. We picked up breakfast food to eat before our early morning surfing lessons the next day at an ABC Store. These stores are on every single block; sometimes more than one per block!
|In this photo you can see two ABC stores -- both on the corners facing us. It's important to have plenty of options when shopping for a tiny figurine of King Kamehameha, and you never know when you'll want to pick up some bizarre Japanese Hello Kitty pineapple marshmallow candy.
|The beach is especially beautiful at night, with the sparkly hotel lights reflected in the water.
|This statue of Duke Kahanamoku stands on Waikiki Beach. Duke, the namesake of Duke's Canoe Club Restaurant where we ate earlier, was an Olympic champion swimmer and was known as the Father of International Surfing. Orchy is quite a bit shorter than him, as you can clearly see.
|We enjoyed the Waikiki ambience on our balcony ...
... and peered down at the pool area, quiet now after a day of busy activity.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy