I woke up early (5:30 — but that’s 11:30 east coast time, or course) and headed down to the lobby and got our first entry posted into our summer 2005 journal. Sue went for a run along Waikiki Beach and the kids just frittered for a bit in the hotel room. After we finally got our act together, we had some eggs and pancakes for breakfast at a place along the strip we discovered the day before — cheap, but good. We didn’t have a good idea of what to do with the day. The kids lobbied to head to Hilo as soon as we could but we had already booked our flight for 6:30 that evening. We killed some time shopping at various stores on the walk back from breakfast. We found a place that had a great deal for six tee shirts for $20 so we got several for Cal and Rusty. Ryan also found a nice Hawaiian shirt.
We packed up and checked out of our room by 11:30 just ahead of the 12pm deadline. We filled our backpack with snorkels and bathing suits and checked the rest of our luggage with the hotel. We then caught a cab for Diamond Head. We weren’t sure what to expect but we knew that it was close enough for a $10 cab fare and for us to be back in time for an early trip to the airport.
When we got to the Diamond Head we were more impressed than we expected with the crater and high hills around the perimeter. We hiked up the main trail to the lookout at the top of diamond head. It was about a mile straight up. The kids held up well and we enjoyed the view of all of Waikiki beach and the south shore of Oahu. The top was also interesting for the kids because it’s part of a WWII battery with gun turrets and bunkers. Once we got back down to the bottom we enjoyed some shaved ice, hot dogs and hamburgers from "Mr. Magoo’s" vending truck. The food was actually great.
The plan was to catch a bus back to Waikiki, but we soon learned that we had to head out of the crater to the main road to catch a bus (about a 1 mile walk). We made it out of the crater and out to the bus stop, but being busy tourists — and recognizing the the $10 fare for a bus is about the same as a cab — we were quick to hail a cab as soon as we saw one.
We had planned all along to go for a swim before retrieving our bags from the hotel. The cabbie dropped us off at the old swimming stadium that is now abandoned. He recommended that we go to a beach next to the old dilapidated structure. I (rusty) didn’t realize he was actually doing us a favor and directing us to a secret beach right next to the stadium. I took one look at the changing room which was boarded up and and filled with broken glass and leaves and I rushed the family back down to a more familiar part of the beach where we swam the day before. It turned out that changing in the public showers was a challenged so everyone but Sue went swimming in our shorts rather than bathing suits. It wasn’t really worth the trouble. The surf was very rough and we couldn’t do much more than attempt to body surf a few waves without cutting our feet on the sharp reef.
We retrieved our bags, changed in the hotel rest room and headed for the airport just after three. Our hope was to catch an earlier flight than our 6:30 reservation and avoid the $25 per ticket change fee. We thought we’d catch the 4:15, but we ended up on the 4:35 (flight to Hilo run frequently). This turned out to be a huge plus because the two hours was used up getting our rental car and finding our condo. We didn’t plan very well. I guess we just expected the condo to be on a well marked road. Well, it turned out that the condo is in an area that has three main road and about 50 secondary roads that are red dirt (lava). After making a few wrong turns we finally found the condo at the end of Makuu road. It was a bit scary because it’s literally at the absolute end of a long dirt road near the water. At first we overshot the entrance and ended up in a place with a creepy guy sleeping in a van. Then we backed up a few hundred feet and found our condo.
The condo itself is beyond all of our expectations: three bedrooms, a new kitchen a great living room, mud room laundry, garage, and lainai (porch). It’s beautiful but the guys parked in the woods nearby got us a bit nervous about the neighborhood. We made sure that the doors were all locked and we went to sleep with the sound of waves crashing in the distance.