Hawaii Surprises

Honolulu Travel Blog

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My dinner at Tiki's Bar & Grill served with the biggest shrimp ever!

I woke up early to ensure that I would be on time for my flight. I'd heard too many stories from family and friends about missed flights. Also, fresh on my mind was the many news stories I'd read and heard about the various plane crashes and emergency landings in the past couple years. It'd been almost three years since I'd been on a plane at all and traveling a far distance from home was not a comforting feeling. - I flew American Airlines, which was my first time ever on that airline. It was nice that they had the convenience of curbside check-in and at no extra cost. I felt secure with my bags making it to Hawaii.

Photo taken by our nice waiter at Tiki's Bar & Grill on my first night in Honolulu!
My mom dropped me off in plenty of time. It was my first time at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) and to date this is my favorite airport. I have never seen staff so friendly and joking so much with the travelers, and just having a good time. Security was as polite as they could be and moved swiftly. I found my gate easily and had time to kill. AUS is not big, about mid-sized.

My flight to Dallas was about an hour. It was a fast flight and the plane was decent. I enjoyed the pilot and his communication with us, but the crew seemed stuck-up and had an “I don't care about the passengers” kind of attitude. I found that attitude to be common on every flight that I flew on and it's a shame, because the pilots and the planes that American Airlines have are nice; if only they could get the crew to be as nice they'd have the complete package.

In the hotel room on the first night with the lei my boyfriend bought me outside of the restaurant.
- This was my first time in Dallas and I don't care if I was just in the airport, I can now say I was in Dallas! I was amazed at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)! It was huge! The biggest airport I'd ever been in (or so I believe). I guess, because I don't hear many people talk of the DFW, I assumed it'd be another mid-sized airport, but I was wrong. I found the airport a little confusing, only due to the fact that it is so big with so many parts. I had to board a shuttle that took me outside to get to another part of the airport! I was on the shuttle for about 15 minutes and then finally reached my destination.

The flight to Honolulu was delayed about twenty minutes for boarding, due to problems with the door. This did not help my paranoia that I'd die on my way to Hawaii. On the bright side, it did allow me to finish my McDonald's Happy Meal before boarding the flight. - The flight was about nine hours straight with no stops, which was nice not to have to board another plane, but the long flight was draining. This was the longest I'd ever been on a plane before. Thankfully I was seated on one of the end seats of a row, so it was only me and another person next to me; I would not have been comfortable at all if I had to sit in the row with multiple people surrounding me. I entertained my self first my reading the book I'm currently into (“Gettysburg” by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen). After I couldn't take anymore of the Union dying, I watched the two movies I'd bought for rent on iTunes; quick summary- “Bedtime Stories” with Adam Sandler was a huge disappointment and “A Night at the Museum” with Ben Stiller was surprisingly good. Then I read a little and after that I found myself with two hours left of the flight and ready to jump off! We had to take an agricultural survey provided by the Hawaiian government about an hour before we landed. It made us state if we were bring in any foreign animals or plants to the island. Luckily I wasn't, so I had no worries.

I was finally able to step off the plane at around 4:20pm Hawaiian time. It was weird for me to be on plane for nine hours and never see the day turn dark; It was bright, sunny, and warm in Hawaii. When I first entered the Honolulu International Airport (HIA) I was a little disappointed. I suppose I've watched too many TV sitcoms and unrealistic travel guide shows, but I thought everyone who entered Hawaii received a lei upon stepping off the plane. -Wrong. The only people waiting to give out lei's were two women with signs from different travel companies waiting for their tourists to arrive so they could escort them out. I was quite bummed and I saw stands and stores with lei's and almost bought myself one, but I felt it would be too pathetic, so I stopped myself. - The HIA is mid-sized and very easy to navigate. I easily found the baggage claim and then waited outside for my boyfriend to pick me up.

I was very excited to see my boyfriend, of course! He rented a car so we could drive around the island and sight see. We left the airport at about 4:40pm, so we caught the rush hour traffic. The interstate of Hawaii is slow moving compared to the main land. Most of the time the speed limit is at 55 MPH, with a few places stating 60 MPH and even going as low as 45 MPH. Drivers are naturally slower and there does seem to be fewer wrecks on the interstate than what I witness on the main land daily. The drivers in Hawaii are also very polite and courteous. The driving change was nice, the only thing that was annoying was the fact that there was a rush hour and moments where you're not even moving, yet there really was no reason for traffic not to be; no wrecks or hold ups really, just drivers being a little too laid back. - Driving through Honolulu to get to downtown where we stayed surprised me with it's scenery. It looked a lot like the pictures my friends living in the Caribbean showed me of their homes. I expected Hawaii to be more upscale than it was, especially Honolulu being it's prized tourist spot and capitol. However it looked very inner city to me and kind of rundown compared to many other major cities. It didn't look bad or disgusting at all, just definitely not beautiful or typical city-like. Even the projects looked the same as the rest of the city we passed, which is a compliment; they looked a lot better than the ones that were by my hometown. Actually, if my boyfriend hadn't pointed them out to me, I would have assumed that the projects were just another apartment building in the city. You can tell that Hawaii works hard to keep it's community safe and clean. I felt safe the entire time I was there.

It was close to 7:00pm when we arrived at our hotel, it took that long. Waikiki is slow moving all the time and that's not just due to their like 35 MPH speed limit either. We stayed at the “Castle Ocean Resort Hotel”, which was unlike any hotel I'd ever seen. There is no real door to it. The entrance is completely open, but as my boyfriend mentioned- in Hawaii, with the nice weather, there is no real need for tight closure. Even as you walk through the lobby and around to the elevators there are windows that have no glass, it really is just open in the wall. The lobby was pretty. There was a wall adorned with all different kinds of real plants and many more plants throughout the way. The hotel offered no parking though, so we either had to go with the service that was outside on the curb and associated with them for $15 a day or we could choose to park at the nearby parking garage around the corner for $10 a day. Well, we choose the hotel parking, because it was more convenient for us, especially on our arrival day with luggage.

Our room was kind of small, but worked well for us, because there was only two of us and we stayed less than a week. When you walked in, the bathroom was to the left. It had a regular sized shower and toilet in a room and then the vanity and sink were outside. There was a decent sized rack for hanging clothes behind the sink. Past the entrance was our room. We had two queen sized beds, a small table with two chairs on the left side, and a long dresser unit with a mirror on one side above at the end of the beds. Our TV was about 24 inches and it was 90's looking, but the cable was good. We also had a small balcony overlooking the city. We were on the 12th floor. - Once we were in our room we stayed there for a little while just to spend time together, because it had been 4 months since we'd seen each other.

We went out for dinner at around 8:00pm. We found a restaurant above at the end of our street less than a minute away called “Tiki's Bar & Grill”. The restaurant was nice and we could see the beach from our balcony outside view. The restaurant had nice staff and the menu was very Hawaiian inspired. I ended up with a shrimp and pasta dish that was served with the largest shrimp I'd ever seen! -Very good. We also ordered drinks that came with souvenir glasses, which was a nice commemorative for the trip. There was a woman with a stand selling $5 lei's outside the restaurant. My wonderful boyfriend bought me one! My first lei! I will say I never say a lei that cheap again. - After we ate we went back to the hotel room and I was so tired I went to bed, so we didn't do much the first night I was there. It was about 9:20pm in Hawaii, but I'd been on planes all day and really it was 2:20am back home. Of course, I woke up at around 5:40am ready to start my day, because in Austin, TX it was 10:40am.

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My dinner at Tikis Bar & Grill se…
My dinner at Tiki's Bar & Grill s…
Photo taken by our nice waiter at …
Photo taken by our nice waiter at…
In the hotel room on the first nig…
In the hotel room on the first ni…
photo by: crystalware