I had a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu on United. LAX security was the worst I have had in the developed world and it took about 30 min to pass through. The guard didn’t even trust my military ID card! I’M ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS. YOU DON’T GET ANY LESS TERRORISTIC THAN THAT!
Domestic flights in the US don’t seem to come with food so it’s BYO. Packets of Quaker oats are good because you can ask for a cup of hot water and that’s enough to make them up.
The signs at Honolulu airport aren’t helpful. If you want to catch a bus DON’T go to the section that says ‘Transport”. You have to go up to the check-in level and look for the bus shelter. there’s not much point since you can’t take luggage on the airport bus. If you want to take a shuttle once again don’t go to Transport – you have to go down to a bit labelled ‘Commuting’. Shuttle operators come around when the luggage carousels start up – they aren’t scam artists – this is the easiest way to take a shuttle. $10 is a very good price, but they go up to $14. A higher price will get you a nicer van, but my cheap man drove at a billion miles an hour so the trip took 25 min rather than 45.
On arrival in Waikiki I went to a hostel on Lemon St. There are 2 here. The quality wasn’t great but it was a bed.
The next day I went out exploring. There are a lot of Honolulu Cookie Company shops around Waikiki alone, and all offer SAMPLING. I think 50% of my food intake came from their samples.
I walked out towards Ala Moana and found that the marathon was in town and holding a big expo.
When I reached Ala Moana I went SHOPPING! It’s the largest open-air mall. First stop – See’s Candies for some more samples, then a calendar shop, where I found my hero Paula Deen, complete with crazy-eyes.
Next was Sear’s. That may not sound like a major destination to non-Americans but there’s nowhere in NZ where you can buy a decent pair of dress trousers for $21.99. I also marveled at the Butterball™ Turkey Fryer – uses only 2 gallons of oil!
Next stop – Hallmark, to buy some Christmas decorations.
In one corner they had Christmas cards that mentioned the G-word, and one had something about the birth of some religious figure, but they weren’t very popular.
Next I went to a Japanese department store, and ordered what i thought would be katsu dom buri.
The next day I went to the Aloha Swap Meet. The bus out there takes more than an hour and costs $2.50, or you can book a shuttle for $5. It’s not really worth it as it takes about 45 min. The market is large, but there isn’t much variety in the stalls.
They have nuts, fruit, clothing, cheap luggage, shave ice, souvenirs, stickers, a couple of military surplus stalls, jewellery, paintings, and hot food.
I had planned on staying on at the Waikiki Beach Hostel and had booked a further 2 nights on Hostelbookers. However when I presented my booking number they had NO RECORD of it and were full. Every other hostel and most hotels on the island were full due to the marathon. Wonderful. I tried booking a hotel online and some filled as I was making the booking. My last resort was to book a rather expensive hotel (for me, but not in Waikiki terms). When I tried to use my NZ credit card it wouldn’t go through! It turned out that the transaction was interpreted as a fraud attempt and the bank automatically cancelled my card! So I spent an hour wandering around trying to find a hotel. Amazingly I found one (the Aqua Waikiki Wave, $320 for 2 nights including tax) and paid using cash withdrawn from an ATM. What a faff!