Sunday, January 29, 2012

Greetings from Oahu

Today was a pretty lazy sort of day. I think the tiredness of early starts has caught up with me. Last week I had four early starts ranging from 2am-7:00am to catch the tour buses, all worth it though. I went out to the Ala Moana Shopping Centre to fill in some time. I bought a black leather bag-more satchel type for when I go out with my cell phone and wallet. I also bought an iPhone cradle for the car as my one at the moment is rather flimsy so I went to the Apple Store. I also bought some Ralph Lauren Pyjamas. Great for those inbetween seasons. The top is black and the pants are tartan. Love the tartan. Yesterday I bought some Honolulu Cookies. Got a big supply to give to close friends and family when I get back. They are properly sealed so our begal friends at the airport don't drool over them. Counter feiting of money is rather rife here. When I give retailers a $50 or a $100 note they put a line on it. They use a special pen to determine if the money is real or fake. If the money is fake the felt tip line turns black if it is real the line is a golden brown colour. Mine is always golden brown. Photographs of the trip will go onto this blog when I get back. I've only taken my iPod Touch. School laptop is a little too precious and bulky to have an international experience. LOL.
Thanks Jay for commenting on this blog. I love reading your comments, mountain biking in Rotorua sounds tempting as I am a free woman without university study.
Well done Mum and Dad, you have picked up commenting well. All goods I have bought are genuine regarding clothing. The USA are pretty strict about that. Off to have a spa and then off to dinner. Peter is still working on the Waikiki Trolley. He has toned down his humor quite a bit. Still funny though. More Japanese visitors and tourists from Asia.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Greetings from Oahu

Sunrise at Haleakala

Well I have made it to Oahu. It took about 30 minutes to fly from Maui to Oahu. The transfer tickets /voucher tickets are working out beautifully. I had someone from Diamond Head Vacations meet kevin the arrivals area and gave me a lei. The lei's are made out of orchids here. I am just laying low here. I am feeling a little toured out. The hotel has a spa so I may soak up in it. My room is not ready yet so I am having a salad at McDonalds. Maui was fabulous. I was meaning to write earlier that I went to a show called Ulalena-- the story of Hawaii. It had a bit of singing, dancing and acrobatics work. Not the typical Hula or Tahitian dancers. The show was divided up into nine different scenes. It was very good and at the end of the show they did this behind the scenes talk, where you could take photos and ask questions. I sat beside this Canadian couple from British Columbia Canada-east Vancouver. They were very friendly and they were Brian and Jan. At the end of the show we picked up some photographs. I asked the guy where is your service counter as I would like a taxi to take me back to my hotel. Jan, Brian's wife said where are you stating? I told her The Royal Lahaina. She said we're going past there and we can take you back. I accepted the offer and left $20 on the seat for them as I left to say goodbye. My hotel was quite a way from the theatre and I didn't feel comfortable to catch the bus to Whalers Village and then the trolley back to my hotel. It is amazing the kind and generous people you meet when you are on holiday.

Yesterday I did the Haleakale-pronouced Ha-lee-a-kala to see the sunrise. Haleakale is is famous as a dorment volcano. In the bus, it climbs 10,024 feet. The tour bus picked me up at 2:55am. We drove for about 2 hours. The temperature is a lot cooler in Haleakale. We had to dress in warm clothes. The sun came out at 6:57am. The sunrise was simply amazing. More fiery in colour. Haleakale is in a National park and it is run by conservation workers. The conservation workers sang this Hawaaian song when the sun came out. There were lots of people. Last night when I was having dinner at the hotel at sunset these dancers did some sort of chant to light the gas sticks. They also danced. It was pretty cool.

Also the other night at the Basil Tomatoes Restaurant I got to try Fried Green Tomatoes. I think it was a special variety of tomato which is sweet. The tomatoes were covered in cornmeal and had freshly grated parmersan cheese over the top. There was some sort of bolognaise sauce without the meet which flavoured the tomatoes. They were very nice. Must go and see whether my room is ready.

Sunset in Maui

The Ulalena Concert in downtown Lahaina Maui

The Cast

Stilt walkers

Props from the concert.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Greetings from Maui

Today Thursday January 26th I went out snorkelling. I did a conducted tour and went out on a catamaran which is only 2.5 years old. We sailed out to Molokini a well known site for snorkelling and scuba diving. The name of the company was Allii Nui which meant to be served like a King or Queen. I certainly was treated well. I got picked from the hotel this morning and drove for 45 minutes. When we got there we were greeted by 8 guides who would look after us. They gave us a cooked breakfast and then we went out. The sail was about an hour. Then we were all given an optional vest to wear, a buoyant vest to wear and a waiste belt that would help with buoyancey, flippers, mask and those floatation noodles. I chose all of the equipment. I wasn't too bad when I got into the water. There were three staff members who helped us initially and there were steps from the boat that helped you enter the water. Once I had my gear on I just floated off the steps and looked at the beautiful tropical fish that were floating below. I paid to have a movie made of my experience and the lady filmed me under the water. The water was 78-79 degrees farenheight but was cold and warm in some areas. It was nice and relaxing. I was in the water for about 30-40 minutes. I was probably the last ten to get out. After this lunch was served. We had salad, sweet and sour chicken, bread rolls, carrots, celery, pineapple, mangos. It was sooo nice. During my lunch time I spoke to a lady and her kids who were from Calgary. I also spoke to a number of people from Minnisota. While we were sailing we saw lots of humpback whales. The whales come here from Alaska to mate. The male whales tend to compete against each other for the female whale. The whales do lots of tricks. Today we saw whales jumping out of the water wanting the female whales attention. It was very cool. The tour started at 8am and finished at 1pm. It was very organized and is a highlight to my holiday. I'm glad I did it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fun in Maui

At the highest point of Haleakala-10,023 feet above sea level.

Hi everyone, well it's been a few days since I was last on this site. I am staying in a beautiful resort which is in one of the older parts of Maui. Maui isn't so commercialized as Oahu but it still has a lot going for it. The resort has a number of restaurants on site. I have discovered this Italian restaurant called Basil Tomatoes which is rather pricey but cooks using it's plantation of tomatoes. The tomatoes are devine so sweet, juicy and flavoursome. At the resort there is a large area reserved for hotel guests. I have been into the beach water and it is lovely and warm. The beautiful swimming pool is cold, but there are lots of deck chairs out so you can read a good book. On Sunday I mainly had a day of relaxation. I went for a swim and paddled in the beach. Water up to waist. I walked along this beach board walk. It was lovely, beautiful scenery. On Monday I did a tour around Maui which went to the Haleakale National park, where there is dorment volcano there. Amazing views, as we had to drive up to the top. I then headed to the Ioa Needle at the Wailuku Park. It was very pretty, a lot like the West Coast of the South Island. The needle was in the shape of a mountain in which we had to climb to the top.

The down hill mountain bike ride

The actual bike. The frame is very sturdy and the guide told us it was made out of concrete.
The hand gesture (shuka), is what the Hawaiian's do which means hang lose.

Yesterday I did the downhill Mountain Bike ride. It was fantastic and so well organized I feeling nervous at the beginning but after speaking to these men I felt much better. The bikes were different from ordinary bikes. You could use your brakes all the way down. The brakes of the bikes were made in France and bike frames were made in New York. Each bike is worth $800. There were seven of us in the group and there a leader from the company that led us down as well as the company van. The driver and leader would communicate through walkie talkie. I cycled 27 miles. I felt sad giving the bike back as I loved the tour so much. The guys were great and took lots of photos.

Humpback Whales

Went whale watching this morning. Absolutely amazing got some close up pictures. Must go. In down town Lahaina. Bus leaving shortly, at a Starbucks cafe.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hi from Maui

The Royal Lahaina Resort where I stayed

The beach board walk from my hotel

The beach

Hi all, can't get free WIFI here using my iPhone. Using global roaming $$$. Will update blog on Friday your time. $9.95 all day for WIfI. Doing a few tours here. Not a shoppers paradise but more of a fun with nature holiday. Food is more expensive here being an island but is grown locally and tastes define especially the tomatoes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Maui here I come!!!

The bags packed the shuttles confirmed both ends Honolulu and Maui. It is about a good 30 minute plane ride. I am staying in the area of Lahaina. I have heard Maui isn't the place for shopping it is more of a relaxation place and a place for snorkelling. I wouldn't mind giving it a go providing there is a beginners level/area and that there are life jackets. I will make some enquiries without the free breakfast included-LOL. If I get offered that in Maui I am going to scream. I think Mr Vintage needs to invent some T.shirt regarding NO to free Time Share breakfasts and lunches. Must go down to reception and check out.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day 6: The Premium Outlet Centre

Before I forget the cost of an iPhone 4s is $560 plus 4.17 percent in taxes. An iPad is around $700-$800 depending on the number of gigabytes. We sure get ripped at home. Well the Premium outlet store is well and truly worth a visit. A lot of New Zealanders and Australians go to it. They have a whole of brands such as: Gucci, Sax Fifth Avenue, Guess, Samsonite, Levi, Tommy Hillfiger, Ralph Lauren, Addidas, etc. From Waikiki it is a good 45-60 minute bus ride but they have a shuttle which goes out to it departing from the Waikiki West.

Today I bought a top for graduation. I bought it from Sax Fifth Avenue and it is a v neck cashmere jumper with a little bit of lilac. I thought it would go nicely with my black pants as well as my pin stripe pants. Initially it was $168, then marked down to $68 and I got it for $53. I also bought another pair of Levi's for $31. I bought two Levi's shirts for $90. I bought three tops from Tommy Hillfiger. There were two perfume outlets that I could have bought labelled perfume from but I wasn't sure about taking liquids back into the country and if I posted them the question lie would they remain intact. I also bought two Addidas shirts that are made from that special fabric which dries quickly.

The food court wasn't best, but I bought an icecream in a cup. The ice cream was all dotty a bit like chocolate chips. The dots came in different flavours. I had banana split flavour. When you put the dots into your mouth they would melt like ice cream. While I was sitting on the bench a man in his sixties said can I sit with you. I have given my wife two hours to do shopping. I said yes that's fine. His name was Neil. Neil was born in Hawaii but lives in Japan in the American government base. He is a civil servant over there but is out on holiday having full medical treatment. He is a cancer survivor and was very interesting to talk. I have to say that if you are alone in the USA there is always someone that is keen to talk to you. Even in the shuttle I was sitting beside these university students who were from South Dacota. They eager to learn about New Zealand just as much as I was interested to learn about their state. They're in Hawaii because they are doing an assignment on cultural diversity on the native people. What a cool spot to do an assignment on.
One of the requirements for their degree is to gain a certain of credits in this area before they could graduate. One of the students was studying law and justice and the other student was studying English. At two thirty I took the shuttle back to the hotel. It took over an hour. The traffic was very busy. I was a little worried about not getting back before the post office closes. I got back at around 4:00pm. I went up to my hotel room and took the clothes out of their labelled bags. I put the new clothes into my school bag because I didn't want to ask for trouble. I then walked briskly to the post office. It is two blocks over from the Hard Rock Cafe. I got there at 4:25pm. Just made it. My new clothes are on there way to New Zealand.

Well as I didn't have much to eat for lunch I am off to dinner. I have built some appetite. One things for sure, I'm not bloated. I may have a
spa later. Well tonight is my last night in Oahu. Tomorrow I am off to Maui. I hope the hotel has WIFI

Day 6: Premium Outlet Centre

After speaking to a whole lot of people I thought I would go and check out the Premium Outlet Centre-a place similar to Dressmart. I find something for graduation or find some Levi jeans. As it is early in the morning I will answer some of your questions:

I haven't seen Flip Cameras being sold in Oahu, Jay. I did hear they were phasing them out. So mine might be valuable in 50 years time!!! LOL.
There is a website on flip cameras:
Will be checking an Apple store tonight. I am curious to know how much iPhones and iPads are being sold here.

The Ohana East is one block north of the Ohana West. It is opposite the KFC and that centre where they have those militant soldiers that have the brass band and drums.

Time Share: it seems as though every person who ask about direstions and tours tries to set me up with a free breakfast and says that they will take $100 off my tours. During my stay I have been asked five times. I am getting sick of it. The first thing I get asked is: are you travelling alone? And are you over the age of 28?

Last night I said to the guy at the desk, if you are to get me to go along to a Time Share presentation I am not interested. I have not travelled 10.5 hours to listen to someone's sales pitch. I said this type of advertising cheapens your hotel and ruins this hotels reputation. The guy and said: there's no such thing as a free breakfast, huh?
I then said my holiday time is way too precious.

Day 6: Sailing Day

Today I did my submarine tour and dinner cruise along the harbour. The first thing I did this morning was to walk to the post office. There is one at Fort De Rossi Park-about 15 minutes walk from the hotel. I thought I would have a light suitcase for my trip to Maui. The postage was express and I paid $57 for it. Not too bad considering the amount of new clothes in it. After this I had a mango, pinapple and banana smoothie on the main street. Then I went back to the hotel for a quick break. Then at 12pm I went to the Hyatt Regency to wait for my submarine trolley. During my wait I was chatting to a Canadian lady from Saskatchewan. I've a lot of Saskatchewan people here today. I think half of Saskatchewan is here. Once my trolley bus arrived we headed out to Pier 6, by the Hilton Hotel. When the boat arrived we were told that there were a few swells in the water. They said that if you suffer from motion sickness they were selling these tablets for $3. I bought some and they worked. The worst part was when the boat had stopped waiting for the submarine to come up. The tour started on a normal boat. Then we went out to sea. It was when we were waiting to be transferred that I felt queasy and stomach churning. I think if I didn't have the tablets I may not have have seen any sea turtles or tropical fish. The submarine wasn't as bad as I thought. It was an Atlantis Submarine that was made in Britain and it was 65 seater.

We went as far down as 94 feet and we could see the coral right at the bottom of the ocean. There were quite a few tropical fish-little babies. We even saw a giant turtle swimming. The water was a little murky today. After the submarine experience I got dropped off at the hotel one street away. I walked to Subway which is on the same street as me. I had a six inch sub to keep me going. Then at 4:30pm I got picked up to go to my Dinner harbour cruise. We sailed from Downtown Honolulu and sailed to Diamond head and back. I was sitting next to these four Americans. One of the couples came from California and the other couple came from New York. They were interesting to talk to. I found out lots about New York and Manhatten is the place to go to see shows and visit the Empire State building and to see the Empire State Building. I'm sold on New York it's definitely on my bucket list.

There was lots of entertainment.
Diamond Head in the background

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 5: Talk to the animals

Today I got a call from the submarine company that the tour was cancelled so I have re-booked for tomorrow. Today I had my tour guides out and decided to go to Waikiki Aquarium. The aquarium was up the road from the zoo, so I just walked from my hotel. When I got to the aquarium I was given this phone receiver and it was a commentary on all of the exhibits. The exhibits were numbered and so you just pressed the number on you receiver. There were lots of colourful tropical fish and algae. They also had this cute tropical fish movie advising how to look after the beaches and taking care when out snorkelling. As the fishes mouths moved human voices would give the rules.
This was all inside. Then I went and saw the sea lions outside. There was a film crew there and the manager of the aquarium. The sealion went right up to the class. I heard the manager say that this sealion is partially blind and was rescued. He was a very cute sea lion.

After this I walked to the zoo. I spent about three hours at the zoo. There is a new elephant enclosure for the two elephants. I was watching the news last night and the animal rights activists are against this new enclosure stating there isn't enough room for the elephants. The elephants have got two acres of land to roam round in with a waterfall for them to enjoy. Quite an impressive enclosure.

After this I went and had some lunch. I noticed this year that those annoying peacocks had gone. I spoke to one of the zoo keepers and she said that the peacocks got scared around the food/eating area that they are in the shade. This made it more relaxed eating. While I was there it was feeding time. I got to see the giraffes, goats, turtles being fed. It was interesting watching them. The goats were at the petting. I was a bit nervous going into the goats enclosure as there were about the goats kicking and head butting you. There were about three adult fully grown goats and about five baby goats. The baby goats were gorgeous. They made such a scene and were crying out for food. As soon as the keeper dropped some food into the big goat's bowls they were quiet. I spent about three hours at the zoo.

After the zoo visit I made a booking at the Waikiki Tower revolving restaurant. I had seen this tower and thought it would be great to have dinner in it. It was one of those posh restaurants which served little bits of food on big plates. The food was flavour some. I had Beef Mignon served in a Soya Sauce, a potato and bacon croquette and baby spinach leafs. I also had a green garden slad with roasted walnuts and a mango brûlée desert. In total I paid $66 and this included two glasses of lemonade. Not bad considering the panoramic views of this 20 story building. The building moved round slowly and I was able to complete my three courses within one resolution.

Before I went to the restaurant I went to the spa pool at the hotel. It was lovely and very relaxing. The swimming pool was cold. I stayed in the spa until I was turning into a raisin. I spoke to these Australians in the pool. They were very interesting. One of the Australians was a fireman. He knew about the Christchurch earthquake, but he wasn't in the search and rescue team.

Day 4: Shopping

This morning I was meant to have done my submarine tour but it was cancelled due to rough seas, so I decided to do some shopping at the Ala Moana Shopping Centre. I was a lot more relaxed and more in the mood for Shopping. I went Macys which is a department store. I thought I would check out their summer shoes-protected sandle type shoes. I found a pair of navy blue shoes which would look nice with shorts, jeans, cargo pants. They are light weight and are slip on. They have the elastic shoe lace look. I had a man that served me. He had a little gadget on him that would scan the barcode and it would tell him how much stock there is available on site and the numbers of shoe sizes available in a particular style, colour, etc. He kind of had GPS for shoes.

Then I went upstairs to look for something formal to wear to graduation. At the moment big bold patterns are the in thing. The tie dye, animal prints and oriental designs are the in thing over here. Not my style. I then went round and saw some beautiful sequined tops. Would certainly add glitz and glamour to the event. When I picked up the Calvin Klein tops I saw that there were pulls in the fabric. I think it was due to sequins rubbing against each other. The sequins were small not the boing type ones. So I decided that the formal tops weren't to be, so my feet guided me to the casual wear. The more me. The sales here are FANTASTIC at the moment. I bought two Tommy Hillfiger tops for the price of one for $46. I also bought a pair of Ralph Lauren jeans for $45-got them half price. I know I wouldn't get these labels in New Zealand at this price. I then walked round to Not Your Daughter's jeans area and bought a pair of navy denim shorts. They weren't onsale, but it didn't worry me. After this I went into the animal themed shop. I bought a couple pairs of socks that had cats on them. There were a limited supply of socks because the factory burnt down in October. They hope to reopen in February.

After this I went back to the hotel to drop off my bags. Then I decided to have a late lunch. I caught the Trolley to IHOP- International House Of Pancakes. It is an American franchise and so I thought I would try out some pancakes. I ordered some banana and strawberry flavoured pancakes. I thought they would be stodgy but they were light and fluffy. At each table there was a tray of four toppings such as: butterscotch, strawberry, chocolate and some other flavour. I just stuck to strawberry.

After this I walked back to the trolley. It dropped me off at the beach. I walked along the sand. All along Waikiki beach there were warnings about jelly fish and eggs. Some people were swimming but from 17-19th January the jellyfish come out. I was reading it was to do with the patterns of the moon. I think full moons attract them to the shore line. I walked as far as the Honolulu Zoo point. Then I went back to the hotel and updated the blog.

That night I went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. I had to wait 50 minutes but the wait was worth it. When my buzzer went off I was guided to a table next to a Canadian couple from Alberta. They said the winter has been rather mild this year. It's been a wet winter but no snow. I was also chatting to a lady from Idaho and she said the same thing.

It is amazing the number of New Zealanders and Australians are over here. I had two guys from New Zealand asking me whether I was from New Zealand. They both lived in Auckland. Small world.

Day 3: The Big Island Tour

A piece of volcanic rock

On the Lava Field

Craters and volcanic cloud.

Today I visited the big island of Hawaii. It was an early start. I had to get up at 5am to meet my bus for 6am. When I got picked up the driver went to anumber of hotels. I was the first pick up. Once everyone was picked up we had to go on another bus which took us to the airport. We went throgb security and waited round a bit. While I was waiting I met a retired man who was taking his white albino cat to the Big Island. He had a leish around the cat and a little which had a mesh type material in which the cat would see out of. The was let out of his bag while we were waiting for the plane to come in. I patted the cat and he was gorgeous. He was short haired.

When I got the plane arrived it took around 40 minutes to get to the Big Island of Hawaii. I flew with Hawaiian airlines and we were met by a man at the Big Island who would show us the bus. Then we went on the bus. It was raining on the island. It is known to be the wettest island and the weather was a lot cooler. The first place we stopped at was a black beach. We were then met by our tour driver named Dennis. He was very nice but one thing I noticed was his two front teeth were missing. He broke a lot of words into syllables. I was wondering English was his first language. On the bus tour we were given the lunch menu for the Lava Rock Cafe. Each item on the menu was numbered. Once we decided we had to find a laminated number in his bag and then called out the number to Dennis. From there he spoke to the restaurant at the other end. We were told to keep our numbers on us until we arrived at the restaurant. I sat with a couple who live in New York but were from Toronto originally and a lady from California called Adele who was travelling on her own, as her husband was sick at their hotel and couldn't go on the trip.

On the trip we stopped at a waterfall called the rainbow falls. It was very scenic. Then we headed off to a Macadamia nut plantation. They had a souvenir shop where you could buy flavoured macadamia nuts. I bought an ice cream there. Then we had lunch at a little rustic cafe in the middle of nowhere. It was still raining and mild. After lunch we went to the volcano national park. It was fascinating as there were of dried up lava. The lava felt like coal. There was an eruption in 1974 which leaked out lava over five years. I took some photograps of the field. Then we headed off into the bush. It was amazing how in one part of the National Park you would see lava fields and then in the next part you would see rainforest.

After the lava fields we headed out to see the Lava tubes. The lava tubes consisted of going through these caves in the bush. After this we went to this big crater pit in which you could see these steamy pits from up high. I did part of the bush walk. Then we went to this volcano museum. They had an focussing on earthquakes and the other area on volcanoes. It was interesting but I got a little bored. I think tiredness was setting in and the weather wasn't very nice. A bit like west coast rain and the clouds kept cover the double craters across from the museum. After this Dennis the tour guide gave us the choice to be driven to a shopping mall on the island or to go off to the airport. There were people in the group that had earlier flights than us. I chose to go to the airport earlier. Adele the other solo traveller did the same and we just talked. She is a radiologist at a hospital in California. She lived north of Los Angeles. It was interesting talking to her. It was interesting going though security. We all had to be x-rayed. With my x-ray results part of my leg was highlighted red, which meant that part of my leg was patted down. It wasn't a big deal and the lady was very good. She thanked me for my co-operation. The pat down was a light touch more up the seams of my jeans.

The flight back was very nice. I meant company representative at the airport. He then guided us to the bus and the driver took us back to our hotels. I was the last to be dropped off. I arrived in at 9:30am. It was a great day out and it was interesting looking at the lava fields.

Inside the lava tubes / caves.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 2: Leisure time in Oahu

Today I decided to give my body a good rest as I was living off my adrenalin for two days. On this day I decided to book some tours for the rest of the week. Today I booked a submarine tour and an evening dinner cruise. There were two conceirge people at the desk. While I was booking my tours the one of the conceirge ladies said that she would take $100 off my tours providing I would go along to this free lunch held at the Outrigger Hotel. A five star hotel. I agreed to go but if I didn't turn up then I would pay $100. I decided to find my own way to this hotel. It wasn't until I got there to check in I was given this form to fill out. As I read down the page there were questions on marital status and income. When I put down not applicable to the questions and queried further I found out it was bloody Timeshare. I instantly pulled out of this lunch thing altogether. The requirements were to eat this lunch at a flash five star hotel and then sit through someone's boring two hour presentation. I sit through enough presentations during the year. I sure as hell wouldn't want to sit through someone's boring sales talk presentation. I was so annoyed with the conceirge people at my hotel. I don't know why they are targetting tourists with free breakfasts and lunches. Who do you trust?

So I said to the lady at the five star hotel that I was led to believe that through booking other tours that I get this lunch. As I read through my travel documentation the company that provided my transport back to my hotel was offering this free breakfast. Unfortunately I couldn't go to it as I was flying out to Kaua'i the next morning. I wonder whether this is related bloody Time Share. At the five star hotel after a lot of asking questions the lady said it was Time Share. I was so annoyed. I am going to write a letter to the Ohana East Hotel when I get back to New Zealand, this type of advertising cheapens the hotel and misleads innocent tourists. Tonight when I went down to read up on some brouchers the guy at the desk was talking to me about this free breakfast. I turned round and said that I wasn't a breakfast person. Then he mentioned lunch describing some of the food being served. I turned round and I'd rather have Subway or McDonalds rather than to a Time Share presentation. I even said it's of B.S.

After I walked out on this lady at this five star hotel, I went to the Ala Moana Shopping Centre. I got the Waikiki Trolley to the mall. I have to say that the trolleys are targetting towards the Asian culture. A lot has changed over the year. There aren't so many original trolleys. For every four trolleys three of them are for Japanese visitors and one out of four trolleys are for American and other international visitors. While I was there I bought some new shoes. They are black walking shoes-formal enough for school. The shop had a very similar set up to Athletes Foot where they have machines which analyse your feet. I had a very nice man who served me. I told him what I wanted and he went out the back to get me some shoes. The shoes came in half sizes which were great. The shoes I purchased are light weight and comfortable for someone who is on their feet all day.

That night I went to the Hard Rock Cafe. I went in during their Happy Hour. I didn't realize this but it was to my advantage. They were selling $5 Pina Coladas. I also had a burger and fries. The Cheesecake Factory was full, people were lining up outside to book a table. I couldn't be bothered going through that so I thought I would try an American chain. I was reading that the Hard Rock Cafe was set up in 1971 by two Englishmen friends. The first Hard Rock Cafe was set up in Mayfair London. Every Hard Rock Cafe has a generic menu but depending on the location it adds it's own individual flavour. In Memphis the menu tends to focus on barbecue flavoured foods e.g. Spare Ribs. The Hard Rock Cafe had a band playing were good playing Lady Gaga music, Katy Perry, Dooby Brothers etc. A good night out. The secret to avoid bloatedness here is having a substantial breakfast and skipping lunch, just a light snack inbetween and dinner at night, or skipping breakfast and having a decent sized lunch and dinner. So far so good, plus drinking lots of bottled water in between times.

Greetings from Kaua'i

Lots of roosters and hens roam around this island.

There is a beautiful waterfall behind me. This area is famous for Wedding ceremonies in Kaua'i.

The walk to the waterfall.

The Wailua Boat ride

The Waimea Canyon

On Saturday I went to the island of Kaua'i. This was a day tour. My tour started at 5am and finished at 9pm at night. I was first picked up by the Polynesian Adventures bus and then taken to the next street over to get onto another bus which was going out to the airport. We were greeted by an old man who had our plane tickets. He gave us the instructions on where to meet the tour guide and driver at both ends of the island. Then we went through customs and waited for the plane to come. It was a Hawaiian airlines plane the same as size as a domestic plane in New Zealand-Boeing 737. The plane journey took 25 minutes. The Hawaiian airlines people gave pottles of juice on the flight. When we got there we were greeted by our travel guide called Paddy. She was very friendly and informative. She gave us these facts:
Kaua'i has a population of 63,000 people
There were four sugar cane factories on the island but they have been closed down because of the cost in producing sugar.
Coffee is made on the island.
Schools operate between 7:30am until 2pm.
Behavioural type kids start school at 2pm but in a smaller class sized environment using the same curriculum as everybody else.
There are roosters and hens on the island. If they go onto your property they can be killed and eaten off your dinner plate. If these birds are on public property then they are protected from being killed and it is illegal to do kill the birds.

Parts of Kaua'i are very old. A bit like a country and western feel about it. Quaint little villages in the middle of no where. There are other parts which have flash resorts and golden sand beaches. I don't think I would want to stay on the island for a week. I think I would get bored. On the tour we went to a Coffee plantation which had free samples. There were different flavours of coffee such as caramel, chocolate, pineapple, coconut flavoured coffee etc. I tried some of the flavours but not being a coffee drinker it was too strong without milk. However it did help with the jetlag and the restless night.

Then we drove to the Waimea Canyon. The roads to the canyon were very windy and I felt a little queasy on the way there. I was going to mention it to the driver but I felt a little embarrassed and I closed my eyes until I got there. The canyon was spectacular. The redness in the rock was caused by erosion. After this we went to Jo's Cafe and had lunch. I had lunch with an Australian lady who was also travelling on her own and a couple who came from Missouri. They were very interesting to talk to. I mainly hung out with the Australian woman on the day. Her name was Alison and was a geologist but is now unemployed.

After lunch we went to the Wailia river to take a river cruise. It was very relaxing. We sailed along the water and then we had to go on this bush walk. It took us to this waterfall which is famous for wedding ceremonies. While we were at the waterfall the crew sang some songs and performed the hula dance. It was great.

After this we drove to the airport. As we had plenty of time we went to the ocean and did some whale watching. We saw three whales and the Americans in the group said "show us your skin". The whales were very close and they put on an impressive display. We mainly saw their fins and tips of their tails. I tried taking photos but it was rainy. Every time I turned off my camera the jolly whale would come up from under the water. Wasn't meant to be. Had a great day out.

After the whale watching we caught the plane back to Honolulu. The bus met us at the airport and took us back to our hotel rooms. It was a great day out and the Americans on the trip were friendly and had a great sense of humor.

Greetings from Oahu

Hi all, YES I have managed to get this to work on my iPod Touch. So happy and in my new hotel room. My other room was right next to an escalator and when it went up and down it sounded like a skateboarder going past my room. As I am a light sleeper I couldn't sleep and felt that as I was paying a lot of money to stay here I needed a good might sleep. Also my iPod touch has picked up the WIFI in the hotel which is great. Saves me from going to Star Bucks.

On Saturday night NZ time I arrived here. I had no issues with customs. I had a nice man who was easy to talk to. He wished me well on my holiday and recommended me to wear warm clothes on my island tours as the temperatures are a lot cooler than in Oahu. It was amazing to see that there were only three people on for international visitors checking our passports, ESTA forms and declaration forms. Two out of the three officers got through the queues a lot faster the third officer was asking 10,000 questions to visitors. I was kind of pleased I didn't have her.

My hotel is very nice. It is a cut above the hotel I stayed in last year. The rooms are lighter and there is better street lighting outside. There are a whole lot of restaurants within the same building, which makes it ideal if your tour finishes late.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Time for another holiday

After a year of full on work with school and university, it's time to kick my feet up, get lots of sun and sea air. At the time of booking my holiday I felt that needed a complete break of rest, relaxation and retail therapy before I started back at school. This years destination is Hawaii. Last year I finished my Masters in Education and I thought that I needed to treat myself. It is amazing the amount you save when you are studying. So the money I've saved I thought an overseas holiday was the answer. One morning I woke up and realized that six weeks was too long to stay in Christchurch with all the seismic activity that was and is still going on right now. The city has changed and it is not the same place that I grew up in and loved all these years. Hawaii was the answer. On Saturday January 14th I fly to Hawaii. Honolulu to be exact. I will be staying in the island of Oahu for seven nights and then I will be flying to Maui for another seven nights. In between times I will be visiting the big island of Hawaii to check out the Volcanoes and will be checking out the rain forest in Kauai Island. I have also booked a down hill mountain bike ride in Maui. I will be cycling down Haleakala, at a Volcano National Park. So exciting. This year I am going on my own to explore the beautiful island of Hawaii. So do check out my holiday blog. I will be updating it regularly in Waikiki as I know Starbucks has wireless internet. In Maui I will have to explore further into finding a cafe that has wireless internet.