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Empress' Hawaiian Honeymoon


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#1 displayname

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 06:03 AM

Our Honeymoon 6-18 March

WARNING THIS IS GOING TO BE MEGA LONG!

I hope some people get some use out of my verbal (written) diarrhoea hehe smile.gif

We booked the tickets way back in September, on a whim. Jetstar just started their international routes and we got cheap tickets for $777 return, each, including taxes, meals and video units. If I could actually get through to the site earlier I could've gotten them for maybe only $500 ish but not to worry - what a bargain!

I didn't really do much but in December started thinking about it and planning it some more.

Then we went to Brisbane in January then it was only a few weeks till the wedding so I totally forgot about the poor little honeymoon and then after the wedding it was frantic and I was booking hotels all in the last 2 days. Hotels are plentiful but cheap ones are not!! There was no way we could afford to stay in (esp. given the exchange rate and their taxes) a nice hotel for the whole 11 days we would be there.

We had left so late we got there about 2 hours before the flight (pushing it in my books as I like to usually get ther 3 hours beforehand for an international flight) and the queue was massive. It took us around an hour to get to the front, by which time I was feeling extremely unwell, light headed and nauseous (given it was now 5pm and I hadn't eaten lunch and hardly anything for breakfast). After check in We then had to sort out our meals/video units but the people at the so-called Jetstar info counter didn't know anything, our first downer with Jetstar. Oh well...

Well I had to eat something so we went to Subway and shared a foot long sub. I only had a few bites of it and put the rest in my bag. We went through immigration, then I bought another memory card and video tapes for my camcorder (as I always do cos it's the cheapest place for tapes) and we really didn't have much time at all...

Prior to entering the plane we had to throw out our water bottles but I asked if I could keep an empty one and they said yeah OK, so we drank as much as we could, poured the rest into the bin. There were two queues - one for men, one for women. We had to be frisked (men by men, women by women) as well as having our baggage hand searched. I went over to hubby cos he was actually carrying one of my bags and thought they might ask about something but luckily they didn't.

We boarded the plane and I was quite impressed! The plane was very new (well, duh!) and all the seats were leather. There were only 2 seats on each side (window side) as opposed to 3 like on the other jumbos (747s) which makes it much easier to get out when you have a window seat (as I always do).

I finished the rest of my sub, which I was thankful I had as they did not serve dinner till maybe 4 hours after the flight started (at 10pm! geez)

The flight itself was fine, the air hostesses were awesome, helpful and friendly. The food was typical airline quality and the video units were great too.

No real complaints from me at all other than they only gave you about 2 hours to sleep, if that. They got us up at 4am (Sydney time) to have breakfast when I would rather have been sleeping thank you very much! But it was because we'd be landing in about 3 hours time...

After having only about 30mins sleep on the 10+ hour flight, and feeling crap before the flight (and still had my asthma-type cough) lets just say when we arrived in Honolulu I was about to drop dead.

We caught the shuttle bus to our hotel (which took 2 hours even though the trip itself was only about 45mins) cos it had to drop people off at what seemed like 20 different hotels.

Luckily our hotel let us check in early (now 10am local time), which is like 4-5 hours early. We went up to our room (nice, but crap view of a carpark!) and just crashed for 4 hours.

We eventually got up and decided to wander the streets of Waikiki. We didn't know where to go for lunch (now our body clocks were all wacked out anyway) and wandered about for ages and decided to go to Taco Bell, which I loved when they still existed in Sydney. Nice and cheap and we know what we're getting.. oh except you have to add on the stupid tax, which you can't even do in your head since it's not a round number.

We decided not to buy anything yet as I had planned to go to the Aloha Stadium Flea Markets the next day. They are only open on Wed, Sat, Sun and that following day (Wed) was the only day of the 3 we'd actually be in Honolulu.

We walked around the streets of Waikiki for ages and I noticed that there were tourist brochures/magazines EVERYWHERE. You couldn't go 200m without seeing them and there wasn't just one, but about 10 different ones!

We had a Beard Papa custard puff (which they also have here in Westfield Chatswood) on the way to the beach..It was totally coincidental we were on a quieter street and passed one because I remember seeing 2 for 1 voucher in one of those touristy mags I just picked up when I browsed through it! We walked through a narrow pathway that was in between 2 hotels to get to the sand. We got to the beach and OMG I was blown away by the beauty! Sure I've seen many beaches in my time but this was amazing. My experience was heightened by the fact that it was the 'golden hour' in photography terms, when the sun is just about to set and the light is golden. We were at the Western end of the beach and walked along towards the eastern (more crowded) end. We passed by all the gorgeous beachfront hotels that I wished we were staying in (next time!!) and did a lot of people watching and took in the view of the sand, the crystal clear aqua water and beautiful Diamond Head (an extinct volcano).

We took pics of each other at the Duke Kahanamoku statue. I especially wanted to see it because there is also a statue of him at Harbord Diggers (a club in Sydney) and he introduced surfing to Australia so I thought it was cool that I could see 2 diff statues of him in 2 different parts of the Pacific.

-- can't remember where we had dinner , will fill this in when I remember ---

-- will insert photos here later, the earlier ones are all on hubby's computer ---

#2 displayname

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 06:23 AM

7 March

The next day we went to the ABC store (which is like a 7-11, but sells everything. It has food, including prepacked lunches, snacks, souvenirs and gifts, clothes and thongs (including Havaianas), postcards, toiletries, basic pharmaceutical stuff, everything a tourist could need at a budget price. We bought our 4-day bus pass and took a bus to the Aloha Stadium. We didn't know it would take an hour. It was further than the airport and just past the Pearl Harbour memorial. Oh well, at least we got to see some of Honolulu's downtown, Chinatown, and suburbs, where the locals live and hang out.

It was sooo hot when we got there (esp. since it was now midday!), the sun was scorching, but we still made the walk around the entire circumference of the outside of the stadium in the carpark, where the market was held.

I think it used to be more of a flea market selling second hand goodies, but now it's a bit more like Paddy's Markets, selling cheap souvenirs, but also a lot of handmade stuff which was nice. It was hard to have a proper look because it was so sunny and hot (with not much shade) so we didn't end up buying much but what I enjoyed the most was talking to the shop owners. It was so interesting to find out about locals, why they live there, why the moved there and what work they do, etc.

We bought this cool photo frame thing, I can't explain it properly so here is a pic. It's made of a woven matting of natural fibre. It looks like this except it says "Our Hawaiian Honeymoon"

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We caught the bus back into town, and got off near our hotel. Our bus stopped right near a Vietnamese restaurant (apparently the only one in the whole of Honolulu, or maybe just Waikiki) and had a lovely, quick, delicious lunch there.

Will write more about this day when I have the pics (as my memory is sketchy!) so stay tuned.

#3 displayname

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 07:08 AM

Thurs 8 March

We got up as early as physically possible (given I was still in exhaustion mode, and actually was the entire trip!) which was about 8:30 (LOL). We ventured out about 9:30, and waited over half an hour for the bus. At that time I encountered what appeared to be a (young!) homeless guy which was quite scary as he was really dirty, smelly and talking to himself. He asked me for a cigarette (I could barely understand him due to his strong country/southern style accent) and then tried to ask a lady walking along the footpath to use her mobile phone which scared the crap outta her!

Anyway eventually we were off. We caught the same bus as the one to the Aloha Stadium except got off about 2 stops earlier. We were going to Pearl Harbour to see the USS Arizona Memorial.

To be honest I didn't really want to go as I don't have much interest in ships and I get really sad/depressed thinking about wars and all the people who died, and I knew the whole thing would take ages but thought if I didn't go I'd regret it and I'd be disrespectful and all of that. Also hubby wanted to see it - so that's it, Pearl Harbour it was! (I also found out it is the top tourist attraction in Hawaii).

Security was really tight and I was stupid enough not to wear anything with pockets! ARGH! You could not bring anything in except your cameras and some cash. I don't think you were even allowed wallets. I was annoyed because I always carry spare batteries/tapes/memory cards and was not allowed my eeny camera bag either and had to carry everything in my hand. I got hubby to put a lot of it in his pocket but still, it was a pain. We also had to pay $3 to store our stuff in the locker.

I was really pissed off about their security rule because I already knew about it prior to going (read on the net) and my camera bag was tiny and only had a spare battery and memory card in it, yet I wasn't allowed to bring it. Yet people had big jackets with heaps of pockets like David Attenborough style, and even prams - what a joke!!

Anyway I should go back a bit. After we checked in our bag we lined up and got a ticket saying "18" meaning we were in group 18 and we'd be called up when it was our turn (around 12noon I think it was). Meanwhile we had about an hour to kill and that's when I wandered into the bookstore, we went to the toilet, we drank from the bubblers (now that our water was in our bag!!), we sat around (it was sunny and hot), we walked out to the garden and looked at the memorial for a distance.. after what seemed like an eternity they finally called 18 (it was 14 when we first arrived). and we were directed to line up in front of the theatre.

We watched a 23min documentary on the war and the bombing, which was fascinating, if not very sad. Then we were ushered outside and onto the navy boat to take us to the floating memorial. We were asked to pay our respects and keep quiet so it was a quiet, solemn yet peaceful experience to see the memorial and parts of the Arizona that were sticking out of the water. I saw the big marble engraved board of names of all the people who died, including the survivors who only died recently (due to old age) and were now buried with their former buddies from the war.

We weren't allowed to stay on for that long (maybe about 10 minutes or even less) then had to queue up to catch our boat back. We got on the boat and all of a sudden the weather had changed dramatically. It was now really really cloudy and cool.

We headed back out to the entrance and asked for directions for the bus back to Waikiki. The lady was amazingly over-the-top helpful it was so nice to see. We got our bag from the locker and walked up to the main road.

We went through downtown and Chinatown area again and all of a sudden we decided to get off in Chinatown to have a look around. It was a totally different feel to Sydney's Chinatown. It was much quieter with fewer people (but then again, it was a weekday), with a more authentic Chinesey feel (a bit like Sydney's Cabramatta). We had lunch (when I say lunch it was now about 3pm) in a Chinese restaurant and headed back into town.

#4 displayname

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 07:42 AM

Memorial Entrance

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THAT security sign

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Info

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The memorial in the distance

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Aerial photo of area

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Going to the memorial

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Inside

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A rare Part of the ship that is above water

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plaque

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Names board

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Cute navy due driving the boat back wink.gif

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I meant dude! not due..

Sign in Chinatown

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Market

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Another (indoor) market. Had a real Asian feel to it if anyone's ever been to a market in Asia!!

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OK more later.. this is taking me ages!

#5 displayname

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 08:23 AM

OK this is probably getting boring (not to mention taking me forever) so I'll just skip to the "Lost" and movie tour part smile.gif

Fri 9 March

We hired a car and drove up to Kualoa Ranch, where they have movie tours of their ranch. We were the last tour group for the day which was good because there were so few people but bad because it was actually starting to get dark towards the end of the tour. The ranch is absolutely massive and has a long history. We got told various facts about the ranch and the guy who owns it, and the places which various films were filmed.

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Ranch entrance

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Getting ready to board a bus (which hubby remarked looked like a converted old school bus)

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#6 displayname

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:04 PM

Me with the tour guide, one of the loveliest and friendliest guys we met on our trip!

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The beautiful coastline scenery behind us

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Beautiful scenery, seen in dozens of movies and now "Lost"

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In the top right hand corner (with the triangular roof) you can see "Mr Miyagi's house" as seen in Karate Kid II. Hubby loves the KK films and already knew his house in "Okinawa" was filmed around this area. In fact, before we arrived for our tour on the ranch we were scouring the nearby streets for this 'house'. Now that I think back it's hilarious because I was taking photos of strangers' houses on private property! LOL .. yes we were insane crazy movie junkie lunatics laugh.gif

http://i6.photobucke...on/IMG_4329.jpg

oops here's the pic

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sorry that was a WWII bunker that has now been converted into a small museum called "Kualoa goes to war" and a collection of movie posters and memorabilia about the filmes filmed in the area.

Here's the Miyagi house pic

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another of beautiful Kualoa ranch

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"Pearl Harbor" also used the bunker as a filming spot

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Jurassic Park 1 filming location

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some more info here

http://www.kualoa.com/moviesets1.htm

Us hiding behind the log like in the movie (that's the actual log used in the film! The tour guide said that crazy tourists used to take chunks of the log home as souvenirs so they had to put a stop to that).

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Godzilla's footprint hehe

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Scene/prop from Mighty Joe Young

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Us at the end of the tour, with Chinaman's Hat Island in the background

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At the end of the tour I asked the guide if he knew of any other "Lost" sites beside the golf course (I didn't get a decent photo of it at the ranch). He said 2 days ago they were filming down the road near the water and blew up a 'submarine'. We couldn't find it at first (it was well hidden) but eventually did and hubby was over the moon. I've never even watched the show myself but still couldn't believe we found an actual movie set! Pity the cast/crew had gone home sad.gif shame we had bad timing to cos they were due back the next day! d'oh!

It looked so small, fake and plasticky, quite funny really.

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Then, hubby also read on the net that the Convention Center was used to film "Sydney Airport". We didn't have time to go there earlier on but we just so happened to be staying down the road from there on our last 2 nights so he went and had a look at it.

View out our hotel room window - what a fluke!

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The funniest thing happened (I wasn't there). It was early on (about 8:30 ish) and it was pretty empty noone there except an information person.. except a father and son (whom he asked to take the photo below) and they said to him, "Are you a Lost fan?" Apparently they were both mega fans and drove around the entire island of Oahu finding all the locations

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Lost/Jurassic park film location
http://www.lostvirtu...s/kaaawavalley/

Lost Convention Center location details
http://www.lostvirtu...nventioncenter/

Later on we bumped into them again (well the father), they were staying at the same hotel as us.

#7 Hamilton

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:09 PM

Empress! When you said it was going to be long, I wasn't expecting it to be this long laugh.gif Oh well at least you have kept me entertained!!

Did you check out the cheese cake factory for dinner??? We loved it there, bit touristy though and we also got our credit card numbers stolen there, but thats not the point...the cocktails were scrummy tongue.gif

I love all the movie location shots, thats awesome!! Did they mention any 50 First Dates filming sites? I love the movie!!!

Thanks for sharing you story and all your cool piccies! Hehhehe I can't believe your hubby went over to the convention center...thats a dedicated fan!!

G.xx

#8 mrsm00kz

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:16 PM

Hehe great post empress! Keep going, i'm not bored! And keep the photos coming too smile.gif

I'd like to know if you went to the Cheesecake Factory too and if you tried the appetiser... i keep having dreams about eating it again lol

It brings back so many memories for me... Hawaii has a very special place in my heart, i hope we get to go back next year.
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#9 moore

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:21 PM

I'm sorry, I didn't read the posts, but I love the photos. When I have time I'll come back and read the story tongue.gif

Looks like you had a great time!
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#10 Zina

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:21 PM

Empress sounds like you had the best time. I am so so jealous of all the movie sites you went to. I have to tell Hubby.

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#11 displayname

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:23 PM

Thanks girls, you are really sweet.

QUOTE(Gwen @ Mar 19 2007, 01:09 PM) View Post

Did you check out the cheese cake factory for dinner??? We loved it there, bit touristy though and we also got our credit card numbers stolen there, but thats not the point...the cocktails were scrummy tongue.gif



QUOTE(missmookz @ Mar 19 2007, 01:16 PM) View Post

I'd like to know if you went to the Cheesecake Factory too and if you tried the appetiser... i keep having dreams about eating it again lol


Yes we did go to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner - twice!! Hubby got addicted he wanted to go 3 times but we didn't have time (as we were now staying at Ala Moana not Waikiki). I went back to find the December Hawaii honeymoon post and then realised you had mentioned it but forgot all about it at the time , sorry sad.gif we did have some other yummy dishes though, I can post up some pics once I get it all in order.

Missmookz - I also wanted to ask you - was the submarine worthwhile? I really really wanted to go but hubby said no sad.gif as it was a bit too pricey.

Gwen - Yep 50 first dates was filmed there too! But I didn't get a photo of the marker. The tour guide/driver only stopped at Jurassic park sad.gif so I missed a lot of them with my camera but hopefully caught it on the video. BTW I LOVE that movie!!

Moore - no probs, I completely understand hehe.. a picture tells a thousand words anyway! smile.gif

#12 ~Camilla~

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:55 PM

Wow thanks for keeping me amused for like 10 minutes !

Sounds like you had a great time empress and I loved your pics smile.gif
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Camilla & Adam - 14 April 2007

#13 mrsm00kz

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 01:36 PM

QUOTE(empress @ Mar 19 2007, 01:23 PM) View Post


Missmookz - I also wanted to ask you - was the submarine worthwhile? I really really wanted to go but hubby said no sad.gif as it was a bit too pricey.



To be honest, i can't remember much (like what i paid - i had a hangover ph34r.gif ) but i do remember it being interesting. We each got a headset and they walk you through the submarine but the talking is quite slow and in depth... so we rushed ahead and everything kinda got mixed up. I love seeing stuff like that so i enjoyed it and thought it was worthwhile. I mean when else am i going to get a chance to go in a submarine! smile.gif
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#14 displayname

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 01:51 PM

Ahh yes, exactly! smile.gif Sounds good.

Well next time we go we figure we have to be well saved up so that we can go on the submarine AND take a helicopter or plane tour overview of the island/s! hehe not too much to ask eh!

#15 mrsm00kz

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 02:13 PM

Actually i lie! We went on a submarine (but not an old WW one) the last time i was there with Marc. It was down the other side of the island and was heaps fun, it takes you below the sea and we got to see all sorts of fish, turtles and even dolphins smile.gif

Did you go to Hanama Bay? If you did i will be soooo jealous cos both times i went they were closed or were too busy! sad.gif
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