Friday, April 12, 2013

hawaii | 5,000 miles to paradise

waikiki
It was Saturday, February 23rd, and we were off! The flights and hotels were booked. The secret wedding was planned and our bags were packed. After two crazy weeks of last minute vacation/business trip/wedding/
honeymoon planning, Larry and I were on our way to Hawaii. Only 5,000 miles in a plane and then we'd arrive in Oahu!

I'm usually a fan of direct flights, but in this case I wasn't sure I could sit still for 11 straight hours on a plane, so I welcomed the layover at LAX as an opportunity to stretch our legs and grab a bite to eat. (And continue my 21 year streak of not using an airplane lavatory!)
on the way to hawaii
But there was a delay. Our quick pit stop in LAX turned into six and a half hours. It was brutal. Between getting almost no sleep the night before, a stressful week, time zone changes, a long flight, etc, I was delirious with exhaustion. We kept ourselves entertained for the first couple hours in LAX with a mini bar crawl: beers at Home Turf, Bloody Marys at B Grill, white wine at Wolfgang Puck's. However, the alcohol didn't help our exhaustion and we quickly ran out of ways to stay occupied. We did crossword puzzles on our phones, but we were too tired to even read. I think it was after 10 pm PST by the time we finally boarded to spend the night flying across the Pacific. It was pitch black when we arrived in Honolulu and the car rental place was closed so we had to take a taxi to our hotel in Waikiki. By the time we arrived at the Hilton Waikiki Prince Kuhio, it was 2 am, Hawaii time (or 7 am EST). Ouch. It was too dark to see our new surroundings, so we called it a day (or was it two days?) and tumbled into bed.

When we woke up the next morning, we were blown away by the view from our room on the 31st floor:
waikiki
waikiki
waikiki
waikiki
On Sunday, we had brunch at MAC 24-7, which was in our hotel and actually turned out to have some of the best food (and cocktails!) that we had in Waikiki. (I was obsessed with the Guava Lemonade and Guavalicious cocktail.) We took a quick walk to check out Waikiki Beach before heading back to the airport to pick up our rental car.
waikiki
We had wheels and a few free hours that afternoon to zoom around to the windward side of the island. I thought of turquoise water and palm trees when I imagined Hawaii, but I was really blown away by the mountains - unlike anything I've ever seen on the mainland and impossible to do justice to with a photo. Driving through Oahu's Ko'olau Range really must be experienced in person to be truly appreciated.
oahu
We wanted to quickly check out Waimanalo Bay Recreation area - the beach we planned to get married on, since we had selected our wedding location entirely thanks to Google. Luckily, it was perfect! In fact, by the end of our two week trip and after visiting many other beaches, we still felt that Waimanalo was the prettiest beach on the island and we couldn't have picked a better location for our wedding. I also really loved that this beach had pine trees (I think they are Ironwoods?) instead of the typical palm trees - something about it just felt more natural and secluded. Everything about it was gorgeous:
waimanalo bay
We spent a few minutes walking down the beach, scouted out a spot for our ceremony, took a couple pictures, and admired my ring. The rocks in these photos are actually the same rocks in my favorite photo from our wedding day.
waimanalo bay
waimanalo bay
waimanalo bay
waimanalo bay
Then we drove north up the windward side and I admired the Pacific from the passenger seat of our little red VW before we headed back to Waikiki for the evening.
waikiki
The next day was Monday - the beginning of Larry's week of meetings, which left me five days to explore Waikiki on my own...

2 comments:

Becky said...

I love that you're sharing this story in pieces - every time I see a new post from you I actually squeal!!!

Colin Helmet said...

Hi y’all.. I visited Hawaii with my children and grandchildren last year. We rented car from OGG airport. The company we hired was Manaloha. We had a great experience and it those 2 weeks were some of the best moments of my life. wish I could travel hawaii again!