|delicious Caesar Salad - nice wedge of romaine dressed with an excellent dressing|
|Hanging out at the beach|
|Statue of Duke Kahanamoku, regarded as the father of Hawaiian Surfing and an Olympian who won 3 gold medals and several silver and bronze in 4 Olympic games between 1912 and 1932.|
|Surfboards racked up after a day of teaching folks how to surf|
|Bromeliads along the strip|
|Nice shot taken by hotel staff member - one instant on the lanai and I realize I didn't know how much I love Hawaii!!!|
|Pretty sure I've found Rich's happy place!|
We arrived in Hawaii early in the afternoon after a 5 hour flight from San Diego. A short shuttle ride later we were at our hotel, The Aqua Park Shore located on the southern edge of the Waikiki Strip, across the street from the Honolulu Zoo. We quickly settled into our room and headed out exploring. My pc is acting a bit wonky so I'm going to write the narrative and add/caption photos later; they will not likely be in sequence...
Our hotel has an ABC store on the ground floor. For those who may not have traveled to Hawaii, ABC is the ubiquitous convenience store found all over Hawaii. Seriously we walked past almost a dozen during our half mile walk to the restaurant!
Our hotel is across the street from the beach, so we crossed and started walking north on the Waikiki strip. Things were starting to wind down with respect to beach activities while at the same time ramping up for Friday Night on the strip. It's so nice to see so many people out for a stroll - families, tourists, locals - everyone enjoying the natural beauty of this gorgeous spot.
Our walk took us to the Hula Grill, a beachfront restaurant located in the Outrigger Waikiki hotel. We had a very early reservation and were delighted to find that they offer a happy hour fixed price menu - salad, entree and dessert - for $27 (available M-F between 4:30 and 5:45.) The restaurant is on the second floor of the hotel, over the pool and beach, and there were Hawaiian musicians playing just below the open windows. What a delightful way to start our first day here! The food was very well prepared and it's nice to see that locally grown produce is showcased on the menu.
After our meal, we had a leisurely stroll back down Waikiki Strip to our hotel, stopping in a couple of shops, including Le Sportsac which (for me) brought back memories of being here with my kids over New Year's, 2005-2006, and being schooled by my daughters about how hip Le Sportsac was - and even better, getting "mystery bags" - brown paper bags with an assortment of sportsacs inside. I also remember the saleslady gleefully encouraging everyone to peek inside the brown paper bags...but I digress.
Today we will be relaxing in our hotel for a bit, then heading over to the Pier of Honolulu to board our ship, the Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America, on which we will sail to Maui, Hawaii and Kauai during the next seven days. Can't wait!