Oahu, Hawaii Trip Journal – Day 1 – Honolulu

categories: USA Travel

My family of four and five friends are heading to Oahu, Hawaii for a week. A friend dropped us off at San Jose airport for a direct flight to Honolulu. We were greeted with the longest security lines that I have seen since 9/11. We had allowed plenty of time and were not checking luggage. We had already printed our boarding passes at home so we could skip one set of lines for a ticket agent. Security moved very quickly although perhaps a bit two quickly as my wife did not set off the metal detectors (she had a hip replaced and has quite a substantial piece of titanium in her leg).

Our flight to Honolulu was uneventful (“except for that whole I am flying through the air”! part) and we left San Jose at 9am and arrived in Hawaii either two and a half or five and a half hours later, depending on your personal opinion of time zones.

Honolulu has a good sized airport and we found that the information signs could have been a bit more… well informative. We did not have baggage to claim so we looked on the airport map for rental cars and were just told “ground floor”. Could you be a bit more specific? We found and caught a Budget shuttle (after our friend Dave we were meeting passed us by in another one) to the rental car place. I know Hawaii is laid back but this operation could have been a bit more efficient. I guess I have not adjusted to the pace yet. But eventually a rental car was produced, a 4 door jeep. It feels like a small Humvie and I am afraid in the event of some new problem in the middle east our vehicle might be called up.

We were enjoying having a pair of iPhones which we were using to navigate, connect via text messages, email friends for missing cell phone numbers, etc.

Traffic in Honolulu was pretty slow each time we went out. We drove to Waikiki and checked into our hotel the Ohana Waikiki West. It is a lovely hotel. We have two rooms for the five of us with a large connecting lanai. The elevator on our floor opens up on the pool which tempted us to just stay at the hotel. A quick lunch at the Chilis at the hotel told us that prices for restaurants in Waikiki can be about 20-30% higher than we are used to.

Waikiki beachTori, a family friend my daughter’s age, is attending college here in Honolulu and we caught up with her and two school mates sunning on the beach. It is a dirty thankless job but someone has to fill the colleges in Hawaii. We put our toes in the very warm water at the very popular (yes, crowded) beach. The water has a very gradual drop off and waves that were facilitating those learning to surf or try a standup paddle board. Tori did encourage us to stay out of the water after dark because of sharks.

Our next stop was less touristy as we checked out a worship service at the New Hope Christian Fellowship. It was a great service at a local high school which featured wonderful music, a great dance/drama piece and an inspiring message about not being judgmental (writing people off) but being discerning.

We stopped by Walmart on the way back to the hotel to pick up shorts for my son who had only brought long pants because he had no shorts that fit. I suspect I will not put on my jeans again until I am heading back to the airport.

Waikiki at night its bustling with lots of nightlife, upscale shops and people watching. We went out for a while and picked up some food from a nearby food court. Jet lag was catching up with us by this time and we returned to our hotel to collapse.

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

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