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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

So long Sheraton Waikiki.......

Sadly, we left our beautiful accommodations at Sheraton Waikiki. Stampin' Up! generously provided us with five nights accommodation. But, we were staying on in Hawaii, so we had made additional accommodation arrangements. Have you tried AirBnB before? We have stayed in properties sourced on AirBnB in Brisbane, New York (twice), upstate New York (whilst visiting Patterson and Walkill and this has been my favourite place thus far) and now Hawaii. We were put onto AirBnB through Travis and Annette who stayed in accomodation sourced through AirBnB across Europe. Why is it so great? You are living among locals. You are not staying amongts the thousands of visitors. You go to the local stores. You are often staying in peoples places - and often with Kitchens (not that we have ever used them). And, the best part is the price! Give it a shot!

Anyway, we had to check out by 12. And, we were going to the meeting at 1:30 (Sunday). So, we dressed for the meeting and hung out in the lobby of my fave hotel just down the street (Moana Surfrider).

This picture doesn't do it justice! It is an amazing OLD building. Believe it or not, it was built in 1901. Here is a link to the Wiki if you are interested in learning more about it. When I first walked past, it looked to me that it was a new building built in the old style. It is termed as 'Hawaiian Gothic' style. But, then to find out that it was almost 100 years old - I was just staggered!!! It has a classical style to it. If we are ever in town again, I'd love to stay here (Kylie - Hint! Hint!)

Its obviously undergone a number of renovations and restorations. But, I was happy to note that the building the $50 million restoration in 1989 restored the building to its 1901 appearance.

Something that we saw quite alot was this;
I think while we were sitting in the lobby, there was three or four Japanese weddings that appeared to take photos. And, over our stay in Waikiki, we saw Japanese weddings every time we went out of our accommodation. Kylie speaks Japanese 'skoshi' (a little) and it always floors people when she says 'yoi itchi nitchi oh sagoshi kuracye' (it means 'Have a nice day' politely). I'm not sure what the fascination is - but the Japanese getting married are not locals. And, we didn't meet any of them that spoke English. So, there must be a roaring trade in Japan selling Western style weddings.

It has this awesome Banyan tree in the rear planted in 1904. Here is a panorama I found showing how magnificent the tree is.

The time came and we went to the meeting with the local Waikiki congregation. It is an amazing experience - we went to the meeting twice here in Waikiki and we felt at home. Anyone can walk in and feel at home; I knew the format of the meeting, I know the article that will be studied. It makes me warm and fuzzy thinking about it....

Interesting story - my new bestie (from Instagram nickhawaii) was not at the meeting as he was involved in a convention planning meeting (it was tied in to a meeting given to all involved in convention planning across North America). So, Nick texted me and told me that he saw me on a convention video. My friend Greg (from Vancouver) was tied in to the same meeting and told me that he saw me on a convention video. So, unless its my doppelganger, I guess Im on a convention video! News to me - but, how cool? You all know how camera shy I am.......NOT!

So, after the meeting, Kylie just casually said to me 'Lets go back to Hanauma Bay tomorrow.' Well ..... ok then. But, my proviso was; 
  1. We had to be there when it opens 
  2. We were going to Waikele Premium Outlets (shopping) in the afternoon. 
She was OK with both of those provisos which surprised me (particularly the one about getting up early). When we got back to our accommodation, we lazed around. I was playing my game at the moment and when I looked across at Kylie, she had fallen asleep. Not just napping, but asleep! Poor thing must have been tired. So, I woke her up. lol!

'Why did you wake me up?' She asked.
'Well, 1. Im hungry and 2. We need to get organized for snorkelling' I replied.
'Let me wake up slowly.......' she replied and about an hour later, she was awake. 

So, we went down and looked for something to eat. Didn't know what we felt like. Every restaurant we went past, we'd look at the menu and nothing we saw really appealed to us. We even considered McDonalds, but turned that down. They have some weird localised options of the menu at McDonalds, involving spam of course. 

So, like every time we left our accommodation, we ended up at ABC Store

This is my FAVE store in Hawaii - it should be because its almost on every block. You think Im joking?

Just to give you an idea of scale - to walk from one end of this map to the other will take about 25 minutes. So, as you can see - the ABC store is on every block - literally!

Aside from being everywhere, whats so good about it? It sells EVERYTHING! At the front, it has sunscreen, towels and other touristy things. But, it has EVERYTHING in the store - check out the description;

"We carry everything from daily needs, beach needs, groceries, fine wines & spirits, drugs & cosmetics, gifts, souvenirs, local apparel ~ add fresh gourmet deli sandwiches, crisp salads, island inspired entrees from our Island Deli division."

Added to this, its quite reasonably priced. 

So, back to the story ......since we were going Snorkelling the day after, we bought snorkeling gear from ABC store for $12 for both of us (it is $20 to hire at the bay EACH) so we were totally impressed with our bargain. And, since we hadn't found anything to eat on our travels that evening, while we were there, we looked at what we could find to eat. By this stage, I was just over it and I ended up buying a pack of Salt and Vinegar Chips for dinner (I think Kylie ended up with a salad for dinner). 

I'd googled how we were going to get to the bay first thing. Since we had a local sim card, I put my Googling skills to good use. We knew we had to be there when the place opened because we didn't want to miss out again. We had learned from locals that even if the carpark is full, they still allow the local bus and taxi's to get through. 

The most helpful post on trip advisor was this one (note the date). We had heard that most tour operators arrive at the park by 8am, and bring the crowds. Everyone we spoke to told us that the crowds 'kick-up sand' and make it more difficult to see the coral and the fish. According to that link, there was a public bus which cost $2, but it didn't get there until 9am and the cost of a taxi was $30-$40. It was alot in comparison, but we absolutely were not going to miss out again or be put off by the crowds. And, we reasoned 'We didn't pay for flights, and most of the accommodation.' It was decided - we would catch a taxi there.


  1. Can't wait to see pics,of your day at the bay! Great post Bruno!

  2. I lol'd many times - hilarious post! Enjoy snorkelling guys. Looking forward to reading about it :)

  3. You have to ask me if we can stay at moana surf hotel??? I would love to stay there. But I doubt our budget of free to very cheap may not afford it. Lol

  4. Hawaiian Gothic, who knew??? Hotel Moana reminds me a little if the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego that we visited (and at $300 per night, did not stay at) with Fransisco. Thanx for the post.

  5. So how was the Air Bnb accommodation? We might go to the States next year so we'll be counting on all your insights! Annette & Travis


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