News Years Eve was pretty exciting and a little nerve racking for us. Instead of our usual celebratory activities of eating and drinking a lot, then watching bad NYE shows, we drank a lot, stayed up too late, and packed for a trip to Hawaii! My brilliant idea about staying up late was to make sure I was nice and tired on the plane so I could sleep most of the trip from Atlanta to Hawaii. Yeah, that didn't work out too well.
We were supposed to go earlier in the year to see our son, but the timing was off. This time we worked out the holiday schedule and made it happen. I'll be honest and say I wasn't excited about having to sit on a plane for 13 1/2 hours but to honest it wasn't that bad. We flew with Delta and it was a pretty good experience overall. We haven't flown overseas since we left Germany.
Anyway! Delta (international) was great, they kept us fed and we had a ton of entertainment with the on-board media system (I watched three movies), and lots of free drinks. Thanks Delta! So with about maybe one hour of sleep we finally arrived in Hawaii. We went back in time even! We left Norfolk, VA at about 8:30 AM, we arrived in Honolulu, HI at 4:30 PM. It's like magic!
Yeah, yeah, I know how time zones work, let me have my moment...
I'll be honest and say I really wasn't excited about visiting Hawaii before we left. I lived there back in the early 1980s and did all kinds of crazy stuff and thought, "Meh, no big whoop." I really wanted to see Chayce and Katie though, they were married about 6 months ago and we haven't seen them since.
That all changed when I we were approaching the island and I could see the bright, sapphire blue waters contrasted with the emerald green island. The airport was right next to the beach and when we landed I couldn't wait to get off the plane to stand in bright sunlight and take a look at everything clearly.
As soon as we let the terminal we were on an outdoor walkway heading towards baggage claim to pick up some beer we brought over from the mainland to Chayce. We had to get a couple of pics of ourselves too. New Years Day in Hawaii!
Chayce and Katie were supposed to meet us at the airport but I told them we were arriving almost an hour later and they were there. We told them to meet us at the rental car office where we were getting our car. It's funny driving down Nimitz Highway, the road our rental was off of felt just like being stateside - grey, concrete, and traffic.
Chayce and Katie showed up at the car rental and they gave us the traditional leis you see on TV. They smelled great and reminded me of what Hawaii smelled like the first I lived there 30 years earlier. After we got the car we all drove down to the Waikiki to the Hale Koa were we were staying for the next 8 days. It's right on the beach and next to the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
The hotel still had it Christmas decorations up and it was kind of nice. Our holiday so far had been a whirlwind of activity so being in super chill mode and getting to relax some more made it all very welcoming. Here's some photos in front of the trees.
We ended up on the top floor of the hotel facing the city of Waikiki, Diamondhead, and the beach.
It was perfect!
We could stand on our little lanai and just watch Waikiki breath and move. The ocean was dotted with boats here and there that lit up at night. I really wanted to know what was happening out there. If we looked north, the mountains climbed to the clouds. It looked lush and wet, I felt the need to explore!
After settling in and catching up with Chayce and Katie we decided to grab a quick bite to eat. Chayce said there was a burger place near by he loved so we went with that. It's called Ted's Bigger Burger and they have a huge menu! It was reminiscent of the old school burger joints you only see in movies these days and they even had milkshakes and malts.
I liked the burger names (click on the image below to zoom in) and I ended up "Blue Wave" because I have a hard time passing up a good ole black & blue burger. I ordered a large vanilla malt too because I was on vacation and I haven't worked out since the beginning of December and I was on a roll.
Here's what else we had at the table:
After we ate Shelby and I both started feeling the 5 hour time difference and decided we should head back to the room to get a little sleep. After getting back to the hotel we figured we had to hit the beach real quick before hitting the sack. So we walked through the Hale Koa garden and went straight to the beach. The air was cool and even with all the city lights behind us the horizon was dark and we were lucky enough to see the "wet moon", meaning it looks as if the moon is crescent of bowl lit from the bottom. In Hawaii it's called Kaelo, "Dripping Wet Moon" month, it happens in parts of January and February. Tried to get a couple of shots below, not great but shows you what we were seeing. I also used the the Sky Guide app to figure out what else we were seeing up there.
We got out feet wet in the Pacific ocean walked along the shore and watched this guy shoot these little LED lit propelled toys into the air. That was kind of cool, he was actually selling them and the show he was putting on seemed to be working out well for sales.
Walking back towards the hotel we saw the Barefoot Bar was open still which meant we had to get a Mai Tai. We've had one before but I mean you have to when you're in Hawaii right? So we did.
I never usually order fruity drinks but I feel in love with mine as soon as I took my first sip (especially after I was told I should mix in the dark rum floating on top of the drink.)
After travelling all day, exploring a little bit, and topping off the night with Mai Tais on the beach we were ready for bed. Day One in Hawaii was wonderful and I was worried that the next seven would go by too fast.