Updated: Aug 29, 2020
Honolulu, Hawaii, the capital of this amazingly mesmerising island. The fiftieth state of the United States of America. 🇺🇸 I didn’t know that fact when I was a kid growing up. All I knew was that Hawaii five-0 was my favourite tv cop show with Jack Lord at the helm. (“Book him Danno”) Yeah, do the maths! That’ll give you an idea of how old I actually am. 🤣😂🤣 I remember being captivated by the vibrancy of the opening titles and catchy instrumental theme tune of the show. I could hum it from start to finish. Anyway, I didn’t even click that the Five-0, (50) colloquial term for police, 👮🏿♀️ 👮♂️ was actually the clue to the fact that it was the fiftieth state. 🤷🏾♂️ I’m afraid I wasn’t a smart kid. 😁😁😁 So, beside the fact that wifey and I decided that this was going to be the absolute place on this planet that we would say I do to each other, I knew way before then that visiting here was a must for me. Bucket list even!!
Travelling to this exotic destination from London, England, would take sixteen hours and two planes. Only fitting really that it would take an eternity to reach a world of wonder! The feeling of complete isolation from the rest of the world is very much apparent here even though there is a large American influence. The customs, the culture, the people, the language. You may as well be in a completely different country rather than another US state. And this is just the capital. Hawaii is made up of mainly indigenous Polynesian and East Asian cultures, and with its location in the tropics of the Pacific, the cuisine is a fusion of all the countries in that mix and one to behold.
We stayed at the Aston Waikiki Beach hotel on Oahu island with astonishing ocean front views, and it would be one of the most memorable fourteen nights vacation we ever experienced to this day. For us, it was a pinch yourself moment just being here, especially after our mammoth journey which crossed the equator into an eleven hour time zone difference. We were on the other side of the world and it felt magnificent!!
So what do you do on your first morning in paradise? You hit the beach, baby! 😁 Waikiki beach will be our go to beach for the majority of our time here. And it’s pretty ok too. It’s a really long beach lined with exotic palm trees swaying in the trade winds that aids to cool the island from the intense heat. Just cross over the promenade at any point and there’s an array of eateries, coffee shops, ice cream parlours, etc. Pretty much like most places around the globe, but this time it’s different, we were in Hawaii!! It just feels different! This is also a surfers paradise, so hiring a surfboard is definitely high on a lot of people’s agenda while they’re here. I’m not a strong enough swimmer for that and somewhat lack the required core strength to participate, I’m afraid! Yeah, that’s right, my fat ass won’t be able to stay upright on one those things. 😬😁
So, if it is your plan to marry in Hawaii, well it was ours too. We traveled here specifically for that reason after doing tons of research. We chose the services of #aboveheavensgate following a very personal video link consultation with its Buddhist priest, Captain Howie. On the day of our ceremony, we were up in the very early hours to travel up to Waimanalo in preparation for our sunrise 🌅 nuptials. On arrival, wifey was whisked away to be royally attended to, makeup, hair, even being dressed. What about me? 😁😁 That was ok, I had my best man, my son, to help me out! Wow...With the beautiful bride ready, we were led to the most lushest private beach ever! This must be what it’s truly like to be in heaven!! Silky white sand between our toes as Captain Howie gives three mighty blows on his PU (Conch) to symbolise the beginning of our journey in this eternal moment, an everlasting lifetime of togetherness, the evoking of positive energies, and a wealth of blessings along with an abundance of good health. My wife and I aren’t the most religious people in the world, but we were brought up in the Christian faith. Saying that though, we didn’t fancy the usual traditional blessings of that faith. Instead, we opted to unite as one, barefooted on the waters edge, both in the virginal colour. We were drawn to the sacred Buddhism blessings which are a huge part of the Hawaiian culture. It was truly beautiful and spiritual!!
Apart from the main reason we were on the island, a visit to the Pearl Harbour War Memorial was an absolute must! Just about everyone has seen one version or another of the movies depicting the events that took place on that early December morning back in 1941. Just seventy nine years ago when without warning, those planes suddenly appeared out of the skies and over Pearl Harbour like a blanket unleashing its lead of death and destruction. As we all know through history, this devastating act of merciless killings by the Japanese resulted in America’s equally evil retaliation in Hiroshima. As harrowing as the motion pictures were, they were no more so than being actually here at this memorial having the story recounted for us in fine detail. It was almost as if we were there on that fateful, somber December morning. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and maintained, inviting you to walk around at a slow leisurely pace taking in every emotion. Although the Pearl Harbour experience is tinged with sadness, you leave fully appreciating what it must’ve been truly like for those caught up in the debacle at the time and that you were able to stand before their memorials and say a personal prayer for those souls lost! The same must be said for those on the other side of the Pacific. 🙏🏾
There are so many fun things to do here and amazing local restaurants to arouse your taste buds in. We combined the two in one go with a sunset dinner cruise on the #aliikaicatamaran . We set sail from the Aloha Tower pier for our two hour evening cruise Just as the sun was beginning to set. I can honestly say that I have never seen a sunset ☀️🌟✨as spectacular as the one we witnessed on that boat. The rays were absolutely astonishing. To this day, I have never seen anything like it, even in places where you would expect to see that!! The catamaran was pretty big with three floors. Not like any catamaran I was used to. We had one long table stretching from window to aisle and each of us in our party were given a voucher for two free drinks of our choice, so of course, the cocktails were flowing. 🍹🍸🧉🍷🥂🍾 😁😁
The buffet consisting of delicious local cuisine was plentiful. Everyone ate til their heart’s desire as we cruised out to Diamond Head before making our return. There was great music and a fun local Polynesian dance show with audience participation. You really couldn’t fault the entire evening! That sunset tho! Still on my mind even as we disembarked. I need to get out more! 😂🤣😂
Sitting on Waikiki beach day after day, you can’t help but notice the very impressive views of the volcano Diamond Head, Hawaii’s national state monument, so a trip there for a touristy day out is where I discovered how truly unfit I am!! The funny thing was at the base they were these two older ladies getting ready to ascend together and me with my fast self told them to take their time and be careful. I genuinely had concerns for them.
But halfway up, I found myself swaying and feeling the most nauseating sensation. I felt like I wanted to vomit and very nearly passed out. 😬🥵 I was very close to needing mouth to mouth emergency aid from my wife. 😩😩😂 Those two older ladies from earlier had reached the summit and were halfway back down before I had even made it to the three quarter point. Oh the shame of it all. 🤭🤭🤐🤐 Anyway, I eventually made it to the top with help from my wife and son. Feeling very humbled!! Fabulous views of the island from the top, I hasten to add. 🤗😜😜
Hawaii is without doubt a must see destination. We didn’t get the chance to visit any of the other islands as there was just so much to do on Oahu. Shopping Malls, fabulous restaurants, night life, and above all, magical relaxation. You can move as fast or as slow as you wish, and added to that, the feeling that you’re on the other side of the world, adds a certain je ne Sais quoi!!
If you’re travelling here from Europe, your journey time will be enormous with a guaranteed two flights. Some in our party flew Europe to Chicago for eight hours with a ninety minute transit then a further eight hours on to Honolulu.
I recommend an eleven hour Europe to Los Angeles LAX and a shorter second flight of five or so hours on to Honolulu. But remember, either way, the jet lag is going to be a BITCH!! 😴😴🤣