Dec 8, 2008

Hawaii: Days 1 & 2

We landed in Honolulu on Sunday and proceeded to baggage claim and ground transportation, waiting for our Advantage rental car shuttle to arrive. We waited, and then we waited some more. Finally calling them and getting through the generic prompts, we were informed that they had filed for bankruptcy 2 days ago and closed the Honolulu location. I guess their rate really was too good to be true.

Checked into the Marriott Waikiki Resort and managed to get a nice upgrade to a 22nd floor room (Paoakalani tower) with a partial view of the ocean and Diamondhead as well. The reception desk said that their traffic is definitely down for this time of year, must be the slow economy. They wanted an obscene $25/night for parking but I found out on TripAdvisor that we could park at the Banyan for $10 and it's literally across the street. After driving around some more, found a free "Shell" parking lot next to the Waikiki Zoo - even better. The hotel also wants $13/day for internet access, but I can pick up a free wifi signal on our balcony.

Spent Sunday afternoon recovering from the 9 hour flight by walking up and down Kalakaua Avenue and checking out the beach. Dinner at Tiki's Bar and Grill in the ResortQuest Waikiki. Nice ambiance and decent food but a bit overpriced for what you get. Did not find poi to be all that great. Must be an acquired taste.

Monday, woke up at 5AM due to the jet lag and decided to climb Diamondhead before the sun came up. First, a quick breakfast at McDonald's (they offer a Polynesian platter with Spam, or a burger with teriyaki and a pineapple). Scurried down the mountain and drove to Pearl Harbor and took the ferry out to the USS Arizona memorial. A moving experience and well worth it. We arrived at 8:30AM and were able to get on the 9AM tour. Definitely a place to visit early as the wait was stretching much longer once the tour groups started to show up. Headed to Chinatown in the afternoon and it was pretty much what you'd expect. The rest of the afternoon was at the beach. Tonight, dinner at the Hula Grill Waikiki was the best meal so far. Great food, service, and ambiance. And compared to some of the offerings on Waikiki, a decent value as well.

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