Hawaii Trip, Day 1: Arrival in Waikiki

After catching a 10:05AM flight from Denver to L.A., and then a 1:00PM flight from L.A. to Honolulu, we found ourselves on the Hawaiian island of Oahu at 3:40PM. (It was about 8.5 hours of flying, but we gained four hours – back in Colorado it was 7:40PM when we landed in Hawaii.) We got our bags and hopped on to a SpeediShuttle bus – we had booked it in advanced and the service was great. They took us right to our hotel, the Aqua Palms, right near downtown Waikiki (not right on the beach, but close enough). Honolulu, which includes Waikiki, is the state capital and the most populous city in Hawaii, and it certainly felt like a big city – lots of skyscrapers, resorts, and traffic.

On the way to our hotel, we were overwhelmed by the trees we saw. They reminded us of some types of trees we knew from living in southern California (specifically the blue/purple-flowering jacaranda trees and red-flowering coral trees) but they were a bit different. There were many different types of flowering trees, but we didn’t recognize any of them. We later learned that the smaller red-flowering trees we saw were probably Royal Poinciana Tree, while the amazingly wide-spreading trees (sometimes with relatively small red flowers) were banyan trees. Some banyan trees actually dropped roots from their branches, forming multiple “trunks” over time as the roots found soil. More on that later. There were many other types too. Here’s a great website on Hawaii trees: http://www.to-hawaii.com/trees/

Once checked into the Aqua Palms, we walked a few blocks to CoCo Curry for dinner. Andrew really enjoyed CoCo Curry in Japan when we went there, and found that the only place in the U.S. where the chain is present is in Hawaii, so we had to visit it.* We got some delicious curry there. (*We later found that there are actually three locations in California that probably didn’t used to be there… but still worth stopping by for tasty curry in Hawaii.)

We then wandered around our area a bit, walking down a canal that turned out to head towards an extinct volcano we’d climb the next day, so it was neat to see it in advance. We headed towards a video game arcade we’d looked up, called Fun Factory. (Teisha loves video game arcades and enjoys visiting them on vacations.) (We later found out that Fun Factory is a chain of video game arcades that are only in Hawaii.) The tourists were thicker in that area of town (along Kuhio Ave.). We then walked a few blocks to the white sandy beach. The sun was setting about this time and the entire area by the beach was covered with tourists. In fact, the whole area seemed very touristy (along Kalakaua Ave.) – there were expensive gift shops, expensive restaurants, and trinket gift shops all over. In summary, it reminded us of a mix between Las Vegas and Santa Barbara (or Southern California in general) – it’s probably a pretty accurate way to describe Waikiki by the beach.

We walked back to our hotel, up the tourist-filled Kalakaua Ave. We saw a few neat things along the way – in front of one hotel there were bright lights where numerous bugs (possibly termites?) were swarming and several large frogs were eating said bugs. It was fascinating and many tourists had stopped to watch. We also noticed that many signs were written both in English and Japanese (and some just in Japanese), and several places said they even took Japanese yen – this was interesting to see and just the beginning of our finding how popular the Hawaiian islands are with Japanese tourists.

Tired from jet lag, we went to bed around 8:30PM. Teisha woke up about 2AM, but luckily got back to sleep and slept in to about 6AM. (Since that’s 10AM Colorado time, it really felt like we got to sleep in!)

One Response to “Hawaii Trip, Day 1: Arrival in Waikiki”

[…] Hawaii Trip, Day 1: Arrival in Waikiki […]

Paradoxdruid’s Rants » Blog Archive » Hawaii Trip 2013, Summary! - October 17th, 2013 at 8:46 pm

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