Our Hawaii Trip

Summer 2000

In our quest to make all 50 states, this year we decided to visit Hawaii. We knew that this trip would tend to cost more because of the higher cost of living over there and because of the airfare. We booked our trip in February in order to make sure that we could get good airline and hotel accomendations.

We found that it was cheaper to fly to Los Angeles on Southwest Airlines and then transfer to American to take the flight over the water to Hawaii. We left Amarillo at 8:00 A.M. and got into Las Vegas at 8:00 their time. We were supposed to take the same plane into Los Angeles, but because of some problem, we had to switch to another plane at a gate that was some distance away. It was the only time I have ever been in Las Vegas and not put some money in the slot machines. Ann wouldn't let me stop and contribute. We got into Las Angeles at about 9:00 and had to wait until 12:40 to take a flight to San Jose. We left San Jose about 3 and arrived in Honolulu around 6:30. There is 5 hours difference between Amarillo and Hawaii.

We were met at the airport by an American Airlines Vacation host who gave us a lei and showed us where to meet the guys that would take us to our hotel. We stayed at the Aston Waikiki Beachside Hotel. We had a very small room, but had a nice balcony that we could look down and watch the people walking below.

The next morning we were given a free breakfast and they pointed out the additional tours that you might want to partake of while you were in Hawaii. We chose to do only the Arizona Memorial and the tour of the "Big Island", as we had already booked our Luau.

The remaining part of the morning we spent riding the Trolley and going to Hilo Hatties (a place that caters to tourists for souvenirs and clothing), and to the Maui Divers which makes jewelry out of the coral that grows around there.

That afternoon we took a catamaran out to look at the Waikiki skyline and Diamond Head. The volcano in the background is Diamond Head. The highlight of this trip was watching the porpoises acting up for us. A pod of porpoises came by and one really put on a show by his acrobatics. He would come out of the water and do a double flip one time and then the next time he would come way out of the water and do a twisting single flip. You could tell he was performing just for us. The remaining part of the day we spent on the beach. Then we went to a Korean BBQ place for supper. We were the only whites in the restaurant. We ordered chicken breast and ribeye. They brought them out cut into very fine strips and we put them on the grill that was in front of us. It was an interesting experience, but I wouldn't want to do it again.

That evening we were in bed by 8:30 (1:30 Amarillo time) in preparation for getting up at 6:00 in order to meet our tour bus to take us to the Arizona. We ate at McDonald's and then waited for the van to pick us up. He was 20 minutes late and I was really upset. He blamed it on having to pick up other people that weren't ready. I had already tried to call to find out what was wrong and was pretty ticked off. He took us to Pearl Harbor . From there we took a boat out to the Arizona Memorial. This was pretty awesome as they told the story about how some men were trapped in there for several days and they could not rescue them. The gun turrets are the only thing that is above the water. Oil still seeps up and forms a slick over it.

After we got back to our hotel, we decided to go down to the beach for a couple of hours before the van came to pick us up to go to the airport for our flight to Maui. We misread the ticket and when we got back to the hotel from the beach we were notified that the van driver had already been by to pick us up. Our flight was at 2:00 and not 4:00. We hurried and packed and called a cab. We made to the airport with time to spare.

It was about a 45 minute flight from Oahua to Maui. We rented a car when we got to Maui. It was about a 45 minute drive to Kaanapali Beach where we stayed at the Embassy Suites. We ate their seafood buffet that night and it was really great. All the crab legs, shrimp and Mahi Mahi that you could eat. We found that Mahi Mahi( fish) was just like reindeer was in Alaska. It was what the locals ate and it was everywhere. We found the Embassy to be more room than we needed. Ann suggested that we rent the living room and kitchen out. The one we stayed at was much larger than a regular Embassy hotel; this was one that they sold to timeshares.

The next day we got up and ate the complimentary breakfast and then spent the remaining part of the day by the beach and the pool. The island is across from this beach is Moloka'i. This is where many people take a ferry over to go snorkeling. That afternoon after our happy hour, we went into Lahaina which was the closest town. It caters to tourists and has many fine restaurants.

The next day was spent listening to a timeshare presentation (they took $75 off our bill) for about an hour and a half and then we went down to the pool. That evening after HH we went into Lahaina to go to our luau. We got there early and noticed that everyone was dressed up. We went across the street to the mall and did some quick shopping for Hawaiian clothes. The luau that we went to was the Old Lahaina Luau. This one shows the history of Hawaii and specifically of the hula. We got to see them take the pig out of the coals. The meal was very good and they had an open bar. The menu consisted of Kalua Roast Pork, Baked Mahi Mahi, Guava Chicken, Teriyaki Sirloin Steak, Lomi Lomi Salmon and Poke (raw tuna). The meal was good and we met some very nice people. The backdrop of the setting sun was beautiful. We really enjoyed the luau.

The next day was our trip to the big island of Hawaii. We got up at 5:00 so we could be first to eat when the buffet opened at 6:00. We then drove the 45 minutes back to the airport and took the plane over to Hilo. There we were greeted by our tour director. She really loved her job. Our first stop was to a store that specialized in Kona coffee. Kona coffee is only grown in Hawaii and is a pretty strong coffee. Then we drove up to Aka falls. The falls was beautiful. We then drove to where the Macadamia nuts are grown and processed. The Mauna Lao plantation was very interesting. I sampled every type of Macadamia nut they had. Then we drove up to an Orchid greenhouse. Orchids grow wild here and we saw one that because of its rarity was worth $20,000.

The next stop was up Volcano road to the volcano of Kilaueau. Kilaueau is the oldest active volcano on the earth. It is still erupting and pouring lava into the sea. The wisps of smoke are steam that is rising from the earth mixed with sulfur gases. We were able to actually go into the Kilaueau Caldera because unlike most volcanoes that shoot up in the air, this one empties down lava tubes into the sea some seven miles further down. After lunch we went down to see where it empties into the ocean. We saw where it flowed over the road about four or five years ago and about three miles away you could see the plume of steam where it flowed into the sea creating new land.The lava was about six feet deep in many places and formed interesting colors and designs. We then drove back up to the Kilaueau Caldera. It was here that we were shown the great extremes of Hawaii. One one side of the mountain was a desert that looked very much like Las Vegas. Only four miles away on the other side was a tropical rain forest. Our guide said that the desert area got 30 inches of rain and the rain forest got 150 inches. This difference in only four miles. We then got in a lava flow tube that ran some 11 miles down close to Hilo. It got very narrow in places and Ann got claustrophobic. After the volcano, we drove back to Hilo and flew back to Maui.

Our last day, we stayed at the hotel until checkout time and then drove around the island as our flight wasn't until about 8:00 that evening. We drove by where they had a graveyard right next to the beach. We then drove around to the other side of the island where we saw the biggest beach we had seen in Hawaii. We heard the breakers hitting the shore well before we saw the beach. Aptly named Big Beach. We then drove around until we found a pineapple field. Only about three miles from the airport is a valley called Iao Valley. It reminded me of terrain that one would see in Vietnam. It was really beautiful.

We had an uneventful flight back. We never slept much across the water, but I really crashed on the segment from LA to Albq.Both Ann and I agree that we are very glad we went and that the scenery is beautiful, but that Florida has much nicer beaches. Neither of us has a great desire to go back however.