A Travellerspoint blog

Port day - Hilo, Hawaii

Saturday, 3 November 2012

View 2012 Hawaii Millennium on greynomadm's travel map.

A restful night as we sailed from Honolulu to Hilo on the Big Island. We had no particular plans except that I wanted to find an Internet cafe ashore so that I could advise people that I wouldn't be posting my daily blog.

After a light breakfast we went ashore where we were greeted by a lovely lady from the local tourism board. There was a free shuttle to the Saturday Farmer's Market, a deal too good to refuse. A 15 minute drive had us at the markets selling a wide range of fresh produce and trinkets.

We perused the sketch map provided and after a false start oriented ourselves and found the establishment. It is what you'd expect in a lay-back place like this, two rickety chairs and a pair of aged PCs, but they worked. The owner logged me in and even made a cup of coffee and in no time I had written a short email and posted a short note on the blog.

When asked what the cost was, he told us there was no charge. We insisted he accept a donation which he took reluctantly. A friendly Aloha and we were done. Great experience and a very happy moment.

Back to the market where we chanced upon Miss Hawaii wandering through the market. Not my best photo but she really was a lovely lady. Chatted with a cartoonist who was sketching an interesting looking senior citizen. Also chatted to a photographer selling his prints and he claims he doesn't own a computer. His shot were quite impressive.

Back to the ship on the free shuttle and wandered up to deck 10 for a light lunch. All that exertion required us to have a rest, so we spent some time checking the inside of our eye-lids. Dinner in the dining room which was quite excellent in every respect, choice, presentation and service.

Off to the theatre to watch a crazy juggler perform some unbelievable stunts with balls, clubs and swords. The finale, in a totally blacked-out house, he juggled internally lit coloured objects which clearly demonstrated the intricate patterns traced by the balls. Good act and even the cruise director was quite good, being humorous without trying to be the act.

At about 10 pm we passed by the area where the lava from the volcano flows down to the sea. We were a fair way off and all that was visible were some red dots in the darkness. The captain turned the ship through 180 degrees before returning to course.

Tomorrow the first of 5 sea days.

Posted by greynomadm 02:41 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Joining the Millennium

Friday, 2 November 2012

Spent a restful night and we were all packed and ready to go by about 0830. We sat in our room until about 1030 and moved our luggage down to the lobby. Sat there for a while then at about 1130 we were outside on the footpath waiting for the shuttle to take us to the pier at 1200.

The appointed time came and went and at 1215 I asked the concierge to check, yes bus is on its way. 1245 still no shuttle and I'm ready to grab a cab when we're approached by a representative of the bus company. He had been called in because someone somewhere had forgotten us.
We made it to the pier by about 1330 to be greeted by an enormous queue. We expected to be able to drop off our main luggage and then join a queue for the check-in. No such luck, this was the queue to drop off the luggage. Over an hour later we'd dropped off our bags and joined another queue to be cleared by Border Control. At least that moved fairly quickly.

Next is security, another queue but at least we didn't have to take our boots off. On to yet another queue to do the actual check-in, at last !!
On to the ship and ... YES !! another queue to have our picture recorded. It was after 1500 when we made it to our cabin. Off to a quick bite of lunch and on to the mandatory emergency briefing at 1600.

Back to the cabin to unpack our bags and a casual dinner on deck 10. The offerings were sparse and I'm unlikely to be eating here if it is like this every day. I certainly hope that things improve from here.

So off to the internet cafe to sign up for a WiFi package. I spent an hour trying to connect to their WiFi without success so I'm writing this on the net-book and transferring it to a thumb-drive so that I can upload it in the internet cafe.

Not a very happy camper to start this 20 day cruise.

Stuffed around for at least two hours and failed to connect so I've decided to demand my money back and there won't be any updates from aboard ship. I'll try to write some short messages from Internet cafes ashore when possible.

More tomorrow. (I hope ;-)

Posted by greynomadm 16:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Waikiki Beach

Thursday, 1 November 2012

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Last night went on to the early hours, a lot of people had a great time. By the time we surfaced just after 8 am the streets were clean and almost deserted. A simple breakfast and visited the flea market outside the hotel and acquired 8 Tee Shirts for just $21. At that price we don't even need to wash them !!

Walked down to the beach area and captured some topical images, sand, palm trees and high-rise hotels. Wandered through the public area of the Hyatt Regency. It is easy to see where the up to $440 per night is spent on. Huge empty spaces and beautiful atrium with many orchids.
Back to the hotel for lunch and a relaxing break during the heat of mid-day.

One last shopping expedition, so back on the Pink Line Trolley to Ala Moana and a visit to Walmart and the Ross store. Back to the Food Court at the Mall and dinner.The Pink Line Trolley ride back to Waikiki will be our last one as we will be packing up in the morning.

We will be picked up for the transfer to the ship at 12 tomorrow so have no idea when the next entry will be uploaded.

Posted by greynomadm 02:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Great Service and Halloween

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

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Started the morning on the Red Line Trolley and we stopped in Chinatown. Most interesting with all the fresh produce you could dream of. Chicken feet and snails to bananas and dragon-fruit. There were food stalls selling every style of Asian food. I had a serve of steamed dumplings and Jenny settled for a can of Coke, she's not all that adventurous.

Off to the Ala Moama Center where we visited the Apple shop planning to buy Jenny a 32 Gb iPad with WiFi at about $75 less than the Australian price. The young man who looked after us confidently assured us they had one in stock. He reserved one on his terminal and was astonished when the reservation was rejected - out of stock !! No problem, there are two other stores he would call them. He spent the best part of 20 minutes on the phone and finally admitted defeat - there wasn't a 32 Gb model at either of the stores. He suggested Radio Shack and gave us directions - I think he was as disappointed as we were. Radio Shack were out of stock too.

Next stop Sears where I decided to buy some solid hiking boots. A good range of boots and greatly reduced prices but totally self-service. We spent the best part of an hour tracking down two pair of leather boots of the style and size we wanted. The boxes of boots were not always arranged in the place and sequence you'd expect. The price was worth the effort and the check-out provided an extra 10% discount.
A visit to the Food Court for lunch and to marvel at all the costumes worn for Halloween and not all of them of the scary spooky kind. There were pumpkins and spiders in most of the shop windows.

Back to the hotel to take a break and sort out what we plan to do tomorrow. We were under the impression that we were due to board the ship tomorrow but on checking the paperwork we found that we have another day to go. Must be the jet-lag and the double Monday that's confused us.

Quick visit to the Food Pantry for some yogurt and fruit and stopped off at the Steak Bar for a supper snack. Crowds are building up on the footpaths and there were increasing numbers of costumes. We'll try to get out closer to midnight to see what all the hoopla is about.

Couldn't last till midnight, went out again at about 8:30 pm and the throng of party animals was three times what we'd seen at 6. Everyone is happy and quite prepared to pose for the camera but it was all a bit too much for this old bloke so called it quits and retired. From the sound of the revelries we won't sleep much tonight 8-)

Posted by greynomadm 00:16 Archived in USA Comments (1)

The Zoo, Aquarium and Diamond Head Crater

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

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A good night's sleep and we're up to catch the first of the Green Line trolleys which delivers us to the Honolulu Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the USA. Some parts look a little tired and the animals were frequently well hidden. There were also some interesting plants and flowers so there were plenty of photo opportunities.

After a long wait we boarded the trolley again and got off at the Hawaii Aquarium where we spent an hour or two looking at the very informative and beautifully presented exhibits.

Back on the trolley and on to Diamond Head Crater, it was really weird to drive through a tunnel in the side of the crater and be inside a circle of high hills forming the rim.

Back to Waikiki, a quick lunch and we tried to catch up on some lost sleep. Managed about two or three hours before wandering the streets to take some night shots. Quick bite of supper and back to the room to write this blog.

Off to the Ala Moana Center for another look tomorrow. Will report back.

Posted by greynomadm 00:33 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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