In Hawaii, I rode the Waikiki Trolleys around Waikiki and Oahu.
There was the Pink Trolley that covered the central area of Waikiki. Then there was the red trolley that covered the historic sights of Waikiki. Next there was the green trolley that covered tourist highlights around Waikiki and finally there was the blue trolley that covered the sights on the Eastern side of Oahu.
One of the best apps I found was Viator. This came via my hairdresser Tim, who is the font of all knowledge and teaches me heaps about mobile technology. Here are the current deals for Hawaii. One tour recommended was a 6.30am sunrise tour to the top of diamond head. I took this one so that I could complete the climb before the heat of the day. I climbed Diamond Head however it made little difference as it was hot as when we got there and the sun was already up. In the afternoon, I booked and took the Polynesian Centre tour which included a luau, and Al’ii entertainment.
Another evening, I travelled on the Star of Honolulu which took us out to see and came back just before nightfall. We had dinner and Hawaiian entertainment. I think next time I would take the evening cruise on a stylised Hawaiian vaka
My accommodations included Stay Waikiki on Koa avenue. I booked this online through Hotels.com. This was a 3 star hotel and after reading suggestions on Trip Advisor, I took sleeping eye pads and ear plugs. I also had booked in the Atherton YMCA for a week, but the heat got to me and I returned to the hotel.
The hotel was clean and adequate and you get what you pay for so be prepared. If you want the flasher rooms then book in the more expensive rooms. The bonus was it was one block back from the beach, cheap and I felt safe. The staff are really friendly. If you choose to stay here, then ask for a fridge because they do not come with the rooms and ask for a room above the 5th floor. On my last day, I found out that there was also laundry facilities in the basement. I had been washing my clothes by hand and hanging them out on the balcony. They were usually dry by the time I came back in the afternoon. Remember to get a stretchy camping line for washing. Be prepared for the SLOW as lifts.
To get around I used the amazing Honolulu The Bus system. For US$2.50 you can hop on a bus and get a transfer bus pass that allowed continuation of a second trip. So in all using the buses is a cheap way of getting around the Island. There were times too that I used Eco Cabs and I cannot recommend them highly enough. They were always prompt, cabs are clean and again I felt really safe. The drivers were really helpful and polite. To get to my accommodation I booked a prepaid shuttle through viator and that was such a good idea. When I got off the plane, my pick up was waiting with my name on an A4 Card so no problems.
Stay Wikiki had free WIFI and included Island wide WiFi but the speed was too slow for me so I ended up purchasing a Go to Simmand unlimited plan for the 10 days I was here. This allowed me to see that I would not be needing my cell phone much longer. Just an ipad and a data simm. I wonder how long before the telecommunications would see the importance of just offering data. The costs worked out at about $5.00US per day for unlimited access. I used this to face time family and friends back home and to upload videos and photos to my picassa and youtube channels. Mobile internet access allowed me to be totally independent.
For eating, I often had dinner at Blazing steaks on the corner of Koa Road and loved their steak and shrimp special with salad. I also bought bananas and sometimes cut up pineapple from the ABC store. In addition I tried out Bubba Shrimps at Ala Moana restaurants.
Breakfast was part of my hotel and it was good to have just toast and coffee each morning. But you do pay extra for this via the amenities charge that you pay when signing out at $10.00 extra a day US.
I took some coffee sachets but in reality I have not missed having coffee.
In total I spent nine days in Hawaii. Having access to the WiFi allowed me to move around easily and flexibly. Some of the apps I used included The Bus, Viator, Trip Advisor, Maps.
Now when I left New Zealand my suitcase came in just on 23 Kilos. When I left Hawaii this had incread to 53 lbs and at the aiport I needed to take off the children’s books and put them in my hand luggage or this was going to cost an extra $200.00 US. So whether the humidity had expanded my clothing, I don’t know. I did not buy anything extra. I can already see that I bought far too many clothes. Within 4x days, I lost a towel, two sunhats and a pair of glasses.
I loved my time in Hawaii. The people were really friendly and generally helpful. There are lots of free stuff to do and you do not have to spend a fortune to have a good time. I was not quite used to tipping but got better at it by the time I left. Some of my tourist highlights included the Ukulele Festival at Kapiolani Park, walking to the top of Diamond Head, visiting Hanauma Bay, just seeing trees laden with mangoes. I also loved watching the Hula on the beach and hearing the Hawaiian language making a comeback.
On reflecting, I was a tourist in this beautiful place and was acutely aware of my own contribution to the demise of the environment. Plastic was used everywhere. Even at the school where our lunches were served on polystyrene plates and we used plastic cutlery. In the hotel I stayed at, it was the same. The huge amount of waste. Eg: there was no recycling bin for scrap foods. One local said ‘But time is important and it costs to get someone to wash dishes.’ Yet waste was heavy on my mind. Buying fresh mangoes or other fruit was not as easy as I thought. Except for apps, oranges and bananas, everything was precut in plastic containers.