Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Aloha, and pardon my hula

In Texas it's grey and raining, temperature 14C. Such a contrast to our last week when we were luxuriating in the balmy airs of Hawai'i, where it's low 30s every day and high 20s every night. And that's every day and every night.

When we arrived in Honolulu thirty-odd years ago, the first thing Jo did was to vomit on the sidewalk. We did it better style this time, since the best way to get into Waikiki was in a stretch limousine; same price as a cab, and it swallowed all of us, Roo in his car seat, and Jac's colleague Mel, with room to spare. So we cruised into the Hilton Hawaiian Village, with everyone looking to see who the celebrities were.

The only way to travel in Hawai'i!

Nothing in the mini-bar, fortunately

The Village is best thought of as a beached cruise ship: it aims to provide its guests with the complete, "authentic" Hawaiian experience without having to leave the complex. There are four or five 30+ floored towers and a multitude of shops and restaurants, several swimming pools and an artificial lagoon, all set in beautiful gardens with pools, waterfalls and exotic birds (even flamingos), none of which are actually Hawaiian at all. But I must say that the gardens and the plantings were delightful, no doubt all tended by an invisible legion of gardeners.

View from our lanai, over the Ala Moana boat harbour

And the other way, classic Diamond Head

The Rainbow Tower.
We were 17 floors up.

Hilton Hawaiian Village.
View from the lobby.

In the "village"
(Not too many natives)

Signature scent of Hawaii.

So many exotics.

Unlike the cruise ship, there's nothing free in the Hilton after you've paid for your room, so we had to go out to forage. Breakfast was easy in Wailano diner just across the street where we ate quick, cheap and sometimes very large meals, cheerfully served. Jac quickly sniffed out a cheap Vietnamese pho restaurant for our evening meal, and later a rather good Japanese place which was a bit hidden off the main streets.

But we didn't have to pay to swim in the pools, the sea or the lagoon (the latter two are public and well frequented by the locals). It was lovely to get in the water, and even Jeannie swam a bit.

One of the Village pools.

Waikiki Beach
No one has heard of skin cancer, apparently.

Our range was a bit limited by The Boy's sleeping patterns and Jac's conference responsibilities, but we explored a few old haunts around Waikiki, including our apartment block in Tusitala Street, looking a bit faded now. Jean and I went to the Hawaiian Academy of Arts, which is notable as much for its lovely building as for its collections. And we all went down town to the Foster Botanical Gardens with it huge old trees and exotic flowers, and back through Chinatown where Jac walked wide-eyed through the food markets.

What I did on my holiday.

Foster Botanic Gardens.

We have pictures of Jo at this spot at age 3 and 14.

Honolulu Academy of Arts.
One of the beautiful courtyards.

Our only major excursion was a birdwatching tour around the eastern end of the island with a guy called Mike, who showed us most of the introduced small birds in the gardens and parks, but also several native sea birds and water birds. Our only native bush bird, an amakihi, we found up one of the valleys, but even here the bush is all introduced plants, mostly eucalypts!

The steep "pali"on the windward side.

Obligatory shot.
Sorry I can't pass on the temperature.

All in all it was a great week.


  1. Sounds like a great week! Marty is going to be a very well travelled little man! Hope Jac went well. Love Britt.

  2. PS. Loved all your photos, thanks for sharing : ) Britt.

  3. love the pics! Looks like a lot of fun

  4. And we had rain, and wind, and then rain and wind together, and then a few moments of sunshine, but it was just tricking - MORE rain and wind! Though the weekend was good -while we were away!
    Great to hear you had such a good time,

    Clare and Hamish

  5. Lovely pictures, But then that is what i expect.