Posted: Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008
Next Earliest Posting Date: Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008
Aloha, (You all know that means Hi in Hawaii, but what you probably don’t know is that it also means Goodbye and most importantly “I Love You”. I forgot to mention in the Fiji Islands they say “Bula” to mean the same thing)
We arrived in Hawaii after 4 quiet days at sea, and for the first time in 58 days set foot on the U.S… On top of everything we received great news from home, so Susy and I spent a wonderful day just getting re-acquainted with Honolulu (it’s been 34 years since we were here last).
Everyone knows Hawaii is our 50th state and is a bunch of beautiful islands in the Pacific. The archipelago of Hawaii consists of 130 islands, only seven of which are populated. Honolulu is the capital and by far the largest city of the Hawaii Islands having 1 million inhabitants or 80% of the islands population. It is located on the island of Oahu. Home of Pearl Harbor and Waikiki beach, Oahu is probably the best known of the islands.
If you look at the photo album above titled “Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaiian Islands – Day 1” (watch you have Day 1 because I also posted Day 2, so it’s showing when you open the Blog – go to the album list below the picture and select from the titles Day 1). I’ll take you through our first day with the usual port sign shown in the first photo. Next you see the Aloha Tower which is a symbol of the port of Honolulu, and the third photo is a view of the skyline from the ship. A view in the direction of the harbor is the 4th photo and upon leaving the ship I caught Susy in front of a Hawaiian Dancer getting in a little practice for the days ahead (5th photo). Since we didn’t get off the ship until a little after noon and it was Sunday we headed for the most famous shopping center in Honolulu, the Ala Moana Center. They say this mall has two titles; largest open air mall in the world, and second largest mall in the United States. It has 300+ stores and in the 6th photo you see a shot of the main central hall. Off this hall were three long wings, each 4 stories high. Now we get to Susy’s favorite pastime, shopping. In the 7th and 8th photos you see her back in her natural element, Macy’s. All she could say was “how great it is to again be able to buy things and know that when you get home if you don’t like them you just take them back”.
In the 9th photo you can see Susy in the mall and finally after a long day at the office you can see yours truly returning to the cabin with his new Hawaiian shirt (one of the fruits of the days work). That was all for our first day except when we got back to the ship that evening we had a Hawaiian party waiting for us with food and music.
I’ll combine the two days in Honolulu in this writing, but give you a second photo album above titled “Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaiian Islands – Day 2” for the photos taken on Monday, Nov. 17th. As we left the ship on Monday, you see in the first photo the ship’s board reminds us that the “All Aboard” is set for 10:30 PM. Since the ship had planned several shows for the early evening and the day was cloudy and raining Susy and I decided to visit Waikiki Beach were we had stayed on our last visit. Getting a ride on a shuttle to a pearl store (naturally some shopping was in order first), and then on to Waikiki Beach took us to the Sheraton Waikiki which you see in the second photo. Now Susy said this was the hotel we stayed in (I didn’t remember a thing from 34 years ago) and across the street was a tall building which, when we stayed there, had been all palm trees and open air where we had enjoyed a Polynesian Luau. In the third photo you see the Sheraton pool, and the fourth photo shows a shot down the beach from the pool. What shocked Susy (she was so positive) was that the beach (sand) was gone. She talked with some pool attendants who had been there for 25 years, who said that it was like that since they were there but that they had heard it used to have some beach. I’ll interject with a photo of a sand sculpture of a Xmas tree with children around it (photo 5). On the bus ride back to the ship we passed a large hotel complex called the “Hawaiian Village”, and Susy says; “Oh, Oh, I wonder if it wasn’t the Hawaiian Village we stayed in 34 years ago and it’s the Sheraton were Gigi stayed? Gagu check out the photos when you get home. (and that was that)”
Returning to the ship the sixth photo shows a local children’s (ages 6 to 12) dance studio who put on a wonderful hula show. In the next photo you see one of the dancers up close. After dinner (the eight photo you see Susy and I at the dining room entrance which is always decorated with a theme of the port) the Philippine and Indonesian Crew members put on a show. In the 9th photo you see the Philippine dancers, and in the tenth photo you see the Indonesian dancers with the 11th and final photo Indonesian musicians who ended the performance playing “God Bless America”.
That ended our Honolulu stay and it was onward to Lahaina on Maui island for a very short stay, docking at 8 AM and leaving at 2 PM. Since I’m posting this as we leave Lahaina, I’ll try and write it up and make my last, or second to the last, posting of the cruise tomorrow.
Aloha and Love you All,
Gary (alias Gagu)