Honolulu – Day 1

NEXT STORY: Honolulu – Day 2 – or – Back to South Pacific Cruise page

I have arrived! Longest flight I’ve ever not enjoyed, I must say that! For the next leg of my trip I will be using a motion sickness patch! Nothing devastating (or embarrassing) happened. It was just an uncomfortable flight with lots of deep breathing and carbonated drinks. And the “good drugs” I got just before the trip so I could sleep on the flight…didn’t work. I was awake. The. Entire. Flight.

But. Other than that, everything went very well and everyone I encountered was very pleasant!For example, at DFW, I was standing in the sink area of the ladies room trying to place an icy hot patch on my back, carefully adjusting my clothing in a way to hopefully not stick the pad to itself or my clothing, but also to not bare my backside to all passers by. A nice Asian woman saw me struggling and asked if she could help. She put it on for me perfectly and went on her way! So nice!

The Shuttle

I decided to shuttle it to my Airbnb location, which is in Marina Tower in Waikiki. I’ve got some great views of the Yacht Marina and the beach from my room on the 32nd floor! The room isn’t ritzy – could use some upgrading – but I’m only here to sleep. And blog.

So…back to the shuttle. I sat next to an alcohol-breathing man in his 60’s. He was really quite pleasant. His wife was seated in the row in front of us. 60’s Guy said he and his wife travel here from Richmond, VA every year and stay about two months. They stay over in Oahu for one night and then catch a flight to the big island for the rest of their stay.

He told me the story of their first visit. He said it was back in the 80’s, and he and his wife stayed on Oahu for the whole trip. Shortly after they arrived they noticed everyone rushing to the shopping centers buying up all the food. Turns out there was a hurricane coming. 60’s and his wife had no idea – had not paid attention to any weather reports. But he said they were stayed on the other side of the island from Waikiki, so it didn’t affect them, except that the entire island was out of power for several days. He said the Navy eventually sent over a nuclear submarine and they powered the entire island from this submarine! That’s quite a story! (We’ll come back to this one again further down the page.)

“Late” Night Snack

By the time I was settled in, my phone said it was 4:30 pm, but my body said it was 9:30(bedtime). Still, my stomach said, I want something good to eat and my heart said, it’s my first night in Hawaii, so let’s make it something cool! The restaurant choices directly across the street are Red Lobster and Outback. No.

The front desk was closed, so I went down to the valet and asked for recommendations for a place within walking distance that would be something a little more Hawaiian than my immediate choices. The valet pointed me away from the beach, which was disappointing,but I was tired, so willing to listen. He said there was a food court just over the bridge. Food court? Like a mall food court? Yes, but there are some Hawaiian and Japanese places there. He said if I went in the other direction the prices go way up. If I had been rested (and clean) I may have opted for the pricier options, but I was tired and travel-dirty, so I headed toward the mall.

First of all, OMG! I have never seen such a large, sprawling, open air mall in my life! The Ala Moana Shopping Center bills itself as the world’s largest open air shopping center, and I believe them. They have over 290 shops, a food court, and restaurants. I easily found a directory kiosk, and after trekking down to Hawaiian Blue Lifestyle (listed under cafes) and learning it was really a smoothie bar, I moved on. I wanted a sit down meal – and a beer. Back at the directory, I realized the restaurants were listed in their own, separate category. I also noticed that they were all on Level 4, which was accessed via the escalator to my right. Bingo!

There was a Japanese Steakhouse, which was fully enclosed and looked very expensive. As I browsed the menu posted at the door, I noticed the music, coming from just over -there. Right in the middle of Level 4 is an open air bar called Mai Tai Bar. There is a stage at one end, where a cute urban hippie couple was singing covers of…wish I could tell you, but it was good stuff. I had found my destination! I bellied up to the bar and was greeted by a very nice prematurely grey 30-something named Zach. As it was late for dinner (in my mind) I settled on the Firecracker Shrimp appetizer with a side of Edamame. And of course, a Blue Moon. So good!

Funny story: I was able to see Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. from my seat at the bar, and I thought, I’m glad I picked this place over Bubba’s, even though they do have an open airspace and I would still be able to hear the music. I like the atmosphere of this place better, and I’ll bet the food is better, too. Soon after my food arrived, I noticed a waiter coming out of Bubba’s carrying some plated food and bringing it into Mai Tai. I thought, that’s weird. I guess you can order from Bubba’s and they’ll let you eat it here.Then I looked around. Mai Tai has no kitchen. My bartender, Zach, confirmed that they use the same kitchen! Anyway, good shrimp and two beers later, I found my way out of the shopping center (I had my concerns about that after jet lag and two beers) and back to my room. The edamame came home with me and was my breakfast this morning – bonus!

Firecracker Shrimp at Mai Tai Bar
Firecracker Shrimp at Mai Tai Bar
Edamame - or - Tomorrow's Breakfast!
Edamame – or – Tomorrow’s Breakfast!

Dinner Guest

Oh, and while at the bar, I met and chatted with a very pleasant black Hawaiian man named Mike. When Mike was young, his father had been in the military and they traveled a lot, and when his father retired, he chose Oahu as the place to raise his family.Mike said he was six when they moved here and he’s never left. As I chatted with Mike I remembered 60’s Guy’s story about the submarine and decided to bounce it off of someone who had been living here at the time. When I got to the part about the submarine Mike raised his eyebrows.

“A submarine powered the entire island?”

“That’s what he said.”

“No, that didn’t happen. The power was out for a few days, but that was it.”

After returning to my room I decided to see what the internet had to say. According to Wikipedia, Hurricane Iwa hit the islands on November 23, 1982:

“The hurricane devastated the islands of Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, and Oʻahu with wind gusts exceeding 100 mph (160 km/h) and rough seas exceeding 30 feet (9 m) in height.”

Regarding the aftermath, Wikipedia says:

“The thousands of Hawaiians without power celebrated Thanksgiving by cooking turkeys on outdoor grills or smokers. Army and Air Force planes delivered 20,000 Thanksgiving rations to the thousands left in temporary shelters. The United States military also airlifted generators to Kauai due to several days of power outages.”

So. No magical submarine. Darn. I liked that story better!

NEXT STORY: Honolulu – Day 2 – or – Back to South Pacific Cruise page

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