Monday, February 1, 2010


January 27th was shaping up to be a really long day!  It started in the morning, when we left Hobart for Sydney and Honolulu.  Of course, nothing is ever easy, and we were stuck in a traffic jam for a good bit of the drive to the airport.  But we did get there on time, and so the longest day ever began.  We left Hobart at about 10:30 a.m. to fly to Sydney where we would wait for 7 hours for our next flight.

We found ourselves a quiet little corner of the airport where we could lie down and relax and so spent the next 5 and a half hours trying to fill in time, by watching dvds, random film crews and reading.  We were both a bit fascinated by the Airbus A-380.  When it was sitting at the gate, it was just a BIG plane, but it was only when it started to taxi out with the tiny little ant-men next to it that we really got just how big the thing was!

Poor Craig...this was somewhere towards the end of the long wait, and we were both getting kind of bored.  Nevertheless, we eventually got called to come through the extra security for USA flights.  We were originally a bit concerned about the full bag checks, but I think after going through the security in Hawaii on the way to Vancouver I prefer the individual search option, it was actually fairly efficient, and we weren't delayed at all out of Sydney.

The flight was uneventful, fairly turbulent, but at least mostly empty.  Once we arrived in Hawaii, where it was once again the morning of the 27th, and we'd only had a few hours of sleep each.  We couldn't get into our hotel room until the afternoon, so we headed out to the nearby mall, which is the world's largest open air mall.  I don't think we saw all of it!  Wandering about like zombies was about all that we could manage, but we did find some nice ways to pass the time.

One of these that we stumbled upon was a performance by the Royal Hawaiian Concert Band.  It started with a shell/horn call, and a welcoming chant very similar to what the Maori do in New Zealand.

Then there was a singer, who sang anything from Hawaiin traditional songs to jazz.  She had an incredible voice, I could really imagine her getting down in a gospel church.

The band also came complete with a hula dancer, though she wasn't wearing the traditional grass skirt and coconut bra. 

This for me sums up Waikiki:  Palm trees and a big limo.  It was actually very pleasant area, tacky, but not nrealy as tacky as I thought it would be.  There are some really lovely parks and gardens in the centre, as well as the beach and the marina.

This is one bit of tackiness that we did come across.  Of course, Obama, being from Hawaii, was popping up everywhere, this was the only life size cut out we saw.  Aside from that, there were tshirts, bags, bobbleheads and mugs, to name a few.

Day Two:  After a long and very deep night's sleep, Craig and I headed out to find the aquarium.  This is not it, but just one of the cool murals around.

We did find it eventually, and while it was small, it was a really nice aquarium with lots of lovely tropical fish and local species as well.

Much as Nemo tried hide, we found him!

And some jellyfish!

This is a Hawaiian Monk Seal.  They are extremely endangered, only about 1000 left.  They're funny animals, and the other one in the tank had a liking for hanging upside down in the water, which I unfortunately didn't get a decent photo of

Waikiki Beach with the historic Royal Hawaiian hotel in the background

Craig and I bought a new camera in Hawaii, so I spent the time getting used to it by taking photos of the wonderful tropical flowers.  This one is a hibiscus.

A beautiful catamaran in full sail off Waikiki beach.  Didn't see too many surfers because the surf was really small.

 A lovely frangipani from a huge tree.

A yellow hibiscus with a red centre.

This is another historic Honolulu hotel, the Surfrider.  It was really very impressive, though it seemed more plantation style than the other older buildings in the area.

And so we came to the end of Hawaii.  Overall I really enjoyed Honolulu.  It was quite a pleasant place.  The two things I liked the most was how friendly the locals were, and how good the customer service was.  For me, the thing that needs the most work is the airport.  It's really old, and for the most part, open air, which is not overly pleasant in 80%+ humidity.  It's also run quite badly, and it's a bit confusing.

The next day we left Honolulu for Canada.  The experience of flying out of the USA was not the most pleasant, as ALL checked baggage is hand searched and repackaged by those who search them, so the bags may return in a way that wasn't how you left it.  The actual security screening was quite badly organised, and the guy who screened Craig's stuff gave his document wallet to another passenger.  Thankfully the lady noticed and ran back with it, but still, if they're going to insist on pulling a person's bag apart they should try and give the stuff back to the right person. 

Anyway...we're now in Vancouver.  So far I'm liking it very much, though blog posts will have to wait till I've taken some more decent photos.  Off to Victoria for a few days tomorrow, so see you all when I get back!

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