Aloha from Honolulu

Well I have to say “Plan B” trip is going very well so far. While not the original plan, I’m feeling really good about it and I’m very happy to be here. I woke up the day I was leaving to Rio with a bit of a sore throat, so immediately went out to grab some Cold FX and other random stuff which helped, but it didn’t exactly fix things.

The following day (day I left for Hawaii) I still wasn’t feeling great but general adrenalin kept me going. The flight was pretty decent actually, though it was a bit long. I didn’t realize I’d be on Air Canada Rouge which is the “no frills” version of Air Canada, so that was delightful. No free meals, no in seat entertainment… not horrible, but still. I didn’t feel horrible during the trip, but it wasn’t a delight.

I landed in Honolulu and it started to come back to me – open concept airport, quite lovely. Picked up by the Roberts Hawaii shuttle, I guess there was a new guy on duty as he got a lot of things messed up which really delayed us but oh well – made it to the hotel. Arrived at the Ohana East hotel only to be told… they have no rooms! At this point I think I had pretty much hit my limit and must have looked pretty zombified as they were very quick assure me that they found me another room in their sister hotel a short distance away, I’d get an upgraded room, they’d pay for a taxi, etc, etc, etc.

I wasn’t exactly thrilled but was really not in the mood to argue, plus I was still hoping to make it to the beach for midnight and it was then about 10:30pm. Hopped in a taxi only to arrive about 4 minutes later (really is close by) only to be told the hotel did not pre-pay for the taxi, so I’d need to get reimbursed. Again not amused, and neither was the new hotel either actually. But I got my $8 pretty quickly and they got me sorted out with a very nice room on the top floor with a great view.

To their credit they got everything sorted out really quick, were very pleasant and apologetic and the new hotel was very nice too. Just not the greatest way to start things out.

Anyway, got checked in – room was nice, good view. Had to tap my card to make the elevator go to the top floor, and the control freak in me always finds that entertaining. Though the place to tap your card was not clearly marked so the perfectionist in me was not amused. But yeah went upstairs, crashed for 45 seconds, changed, freshened up and ran out the door to head down to the beach.

Quick 10 minute walk from the hotel, super easy to find the beach – busy of course, quite a lot of people, but not packed. And here’s where I started to feel good about coming to Hawaii… Rio promised 2 million people on Copacabana and a traffic situation so bad that I wouldn’t be able to get back to the hotel until 4am or 5am. So I was having a seriously hard time deciding if I should go or not – especially the way I was feeling.

At the beach it was about 15 minutes of really nice fireworks, timed to music (that you could get an iPhone app for!) and then a 10 minute walk back to the hotel. There was a 10 minute lineup for pizza at this little hole in the wall (literally) next to the hotel that I wanted, and then a slight wait for an elevator, but besides that I was up and in bed in no time. It was delightful.

So that was Thursday… Friday I pretty much slept. Literally did not get out of bed until about 3pm. Was pretty much just what I needed – I think the cold settled into my head and needed some sleep to clear it up. Not the greatest way to spend a day in paradise, but it helped save me from sickness the rest of the trip. That evening I didn’t do too much – I wasn’t that hungry but I did manage to stuff down some food from one of my favourites places on the beach strip… Wolfgang Puck Express, which I remember from when I was here last and I had high expectations for that I didn’t think they could match. They did. Such good food.

I walked along the beach and made mental notes of all the hotels in the area, as I now had to decide where to stay for the rest of my trip. At 1am when I got home on Thursday night from the airport I did some quick research on where to stay but I was pretty much done, and prices were absolutely insane for New Years, so I booked the first thing I could find for two nights only to get me in, and then I figured I’d figure out the rest later.

After a nice walk along the beach I went back to the hotel and tried to book a spot right along the beach that I found and was conveniently on a one day sale however Saturday had already booked up, so I booked one night at another place I found called the Stay Hotel and then booked the rest of the trip at the Pacific Beach Hotel. I was almost hesitant to do it because I was worried I’d like the Stay Hotel better – it looked nice, but I did it.

Had another amazing sleep – two of the best sleeps in the past few months for me actually. It really is nice to get away from everything, not worry about what meetings are lined up for the next day or if the system is behaving itself (hopefully it behaves while I’m away). Woke up knowing that I had to be out by noon, gathered my stuff and slowly made my way towards the exit. It was a nice couple of days!

Walked to the Stay Hotel – only about 10 mins away. Couldn’t find it at first, looked like it was on one street but was actually on another. Arrived and was impressed by the lobby, very modern, cool chairs that were hanging you could sit on. Room wasn’t ready but I dropped by stuff off and went off for food and a wander along the beach.

Returned in an hour or so, room was ready. Went upstairs and immediately was grateful that I was only staying here for a night – it looked like a dorm room, walls and all. No actual windows, just shutters that opened – right out into the hallway where everyone walked. AC unit hanging from an opening in the wall. The bathroom was half decent actually, but I was pretty unimpressed for the money it cost. It felt a lot closer to a hostel than a hotel.

Anyway it was fine – I hung out a little bit before going down to the beach again, hung out there for a while and enjoyed myself for the rest of the day. Still not feeling 100% I watched some TV back in the room before bed then had another delightful sleep. Woke up again knowing I had to be out for 11am this time, but luckily I didn’t really unpack anything here.

Another quick walk and I found myself at the Pacific Beach Hotel, which was just slightly different than the Stay Hotel. It’s a massive hotel right alongside Waikiki Beach. I checked in, not really knowing what sort of room I’d get considering I got this discount deal only to walk into my room on the 25th floor and discover that it was a pretty large, had a window facing the beach and from the balcony I had an amazing view of the beach on my left and mountains on my right. Talk about an incredible room! I was absolutely thrilled! It’s going to be a pleasure to wakeup to this for the next week!

I spent the rest of the day wandering around the beach and reading, reading at the lovely pool they have and enjoying the area. I’m in the perfect spot, great walking distance to everything – it’s really perfect. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Started to feel much better today, just down to this nasty cough every once in a while that I’m hoping goes away tomorrow but energy is much higher. I’m thinking that the cold may have been good for me though (ish) as it really forced me to relax and dial things down, which I do occasionally have a minor issue with. I’ve still got a week to enjoy the island, there’s lots of things I haven’t done yet but also lots I’ve already done and would love to do again. I’m really looking forward to hiking Diamond Head – it was such a stunning view! I’m looking forward to renting a car and driving around the island again – I couldn’t believe all the cool lookouts out there that I could stop and explore. I’ve also seen some cool activities I’m considering, including a tandem parasail which looks quite cool, and is something I haven’t done yet!

So lots to do, but if nothing else this has really taught me to take it easy, and I’m now really feeling comfortable in this hotel to do that. There’s a nice pool, there’s beach towels and I don’t need to go nuts. Doing one thing a day or just… not… and doing some reading is just fine too. It doesn’t have to be the vacation of a lifetime, just needs to be a nice relaxing vacation.

If anyone but me made it this far down into this ramble of a blog then I salute you, great job. If you’ve read prior posts you might know I’m really writing these for me so I can look back at this later, but if you get something out of it too great.

I’m getting myself ready for bed, and looking forward to a nice day tomorrow. Aloha!