This is the journal of our trip to the United States during 2010-2011.
Norm and I retired on 18th June, 2010 and on 23rd July we flew out to America for the trip of a lifetime. It is our plan to travel America for a year. This journal details the planning for our trip and the reports of all our weekly adventures. Enjoy! After a year we went home via New Zealand, for about ten months. While we were home we visited Hawaii - long story that. In May, 2012 we have returned for more adventures.
And so the adventure continues! After six months we have now flown out of Perth, via Sydney, to Honolulu. The flight was, like most flights, very uneventful although we did have three seats to ourselves so we were able to spread out for the ten hour flight from Sydney to Honolulu, so for the first time ever, I was able to get some sleep! Not a lot, but at least my head wasn’t drooping onto my chest or my shoulder and waking me up every time! Lol
We arrived at our hotel about lunch time and immediately set out to do some chores! Our Kindles had stopped working while back home and Amazon had replaced them but the old ones had to be posted back as soon as we were back on US soil. We had to find an internet café (as the internet connection at the hotel wasn’t working) and we had to print out the return labels. I had broken two of my beautiful new nails and had to get them repaired and we needed to find the UPS store to post the Kindles back. We managed to get the internet café, the labels and my nails done as Norm was having some problems walking because his knee had swollen up during the flight. The Kindles had to wait till the next day.
The concierge recommended a restaurant across the road - the ‘Ohhh! Ceanarium’ (Oceanarium). It had the most amazing aquarium - absolutely enormous! They even had a young lady scuba diving in there feeding the fish! And the food (buffet) was to die for. You should have seen Norm with the crab legs! I wish I had had the camera!
The day ended quite abruptly as we made it back to our hotel room and literally crashed. I didn’t work out how many hours we had been awake, but it was more than twenty four and we had to be up and ready for our excursion by 6.30am.
Our coach picked us up, along with 37 other people who are going on the cruise, and took us to Pearl Harbour to the memorial there. I would have to say that this was probably one of the most moving and sobering experiences I have ever had. Amongst the exhibits there was also a movie which provided the background for Japan’s decision to bomb Pearl Harbour. The movie was particularly graphic and included original footage from the event. After the exhibits and movie we took the short boat ride out to the remains of the USS Arizona. This battleship was sunk with a loss of over 1100 men. The bodies of about 900 still remain entombed in the hull. Just so very sad.
Interesting that 70 years on there is still oil leaking from the tanks of the Arizona, and, according to our guide, the oil rises to the surface in droplet form. When it reaches the surface it spreads and then by the time the current takes it to the stern of the ship it has dispersed and disappeared completely. Our guide said that the oil does not seem to be in the water except over the ship and doesn‘t show up anywhere else. I think the guide said there is still half a million gallons of oil still in the hull. And they call the drops of oil - the tears of those below. Very sad.
From Pearl Harbour our tour took in the Punchbowl Memorial and Honolulu city highlights.
In the afternoon we went off in search of the UPS. Walking along the foreshore of Waikiki beach, police car with two police patting down two gentlemen (?). As we walked passed they slapped the cuffs on one but we didn’t wait to see what happened with the other. Eventually we found our way to the UPS store and got rid of the Kindles. Then we went for a walk to the International Market where we each bought a Hawaiian shirt - just for fun! Quite bright but lots of fun! I must add that many people - locals and visitors - seem to wear them!
The evening we returned to the Market and had a quick dinner and watched a trio of Hawaiian musicians and singers perform. They also had a dancer who performed some beautiful hula dances. She was so elegant and graceful.
We also stopped at one of the many pearl shops and Norm bought me a stunning set of pearls - a pendant, earring and ring. I am such a lucky lady!
The next day we set out for the ship the ‘Pride of America’ that was going to take us on a cruise around the four major Hawaiian islands.
We had a lovely balcony suite and were so excited. Of course when you get on the ship the staterooms are not quite ready as they are still cleaning after the previous passengers had only just disembarked so we went off to get some lunch. Is it any wonder that the average weight gain on a cruise is 12lb in seven days!!! There is so much food to chose from and it is all so beautiful! I was determined to not put on any weight this cruise so I settled for a lovely fresh roll with some filling. No dessert, no icecream - what a wonderful start! But can she keep it up?!!!!!!
We settled into our room and spent the afternoon checking out the ship, had a swim and some drinks by the pool. As we were lounging by the pool we struck up a conversation with , Sean and Holly, the couple next to us, who were from Connecticut. Well the conversation stretched into a drink or two and then
then went to dinner. We had to have dinner in the buffet as we had left it a bit late to get dressed up for one of the restaurants..
Our first port was on the island of Hana and we were booked on the all day ‘Heavenly Hana’ tour. The tour took us around some incredible coast line and at times was quite a nail biting ride with the wheels of the bus incredibly close to a sheer drop onto rocks or just straight into the ocean!!! The scenery was just stunning with beautiful waterfalls and forests and the stunning volcanic coastline. We also stopped at a winery and although it was a lovely spot with (shades of home!) some stunning eucalyptus trees (from Aust. of course) we found the wines a bit sweet for our taste. There was a unique store next door that sold the most amazing icecream so of course we had to have some! About watching what I was eating - yeah I will do that later!!!
When we got back to the ship we dressed for dinner as it was Norm’s birthday. We had a lovely meal in one of the many dining rooms and shared our meal with two Canadian ladies and a young American couple. It was such fun and we all had a fabulous meal. But I was good and passed on the dessert! If you had seen the desserts you would understand why I think I deserve a medal.
Monday, Norm and I were supposed to be going snorkeling but we got to the boat, got on it and Norm looked at me and said we were going back to the ship! I was feeling decidedly ill and was looking quite green around the gills! We jumped in a taxi and went back to the ship where I proceeded to spend the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon in bed sleeping. Norm went down to the pool and spent the day reading and lounging by the pool.
I started to improve in the afternoon so I went looking for him and we ended up spending the rest of the afternoon swimming and reading by the pool.
We had dinner with Sean and Holly who had spent a wonderful day. It was their 30th wedding anniversary and Sean had planned a romantic renewal ceremony on the beach. We had a wonderful dinner celebrating their anniversary and of course when they were presented with a cake to celebrate Norm had to get into the act and wanted to now how come he didn’t get a cake for his birthday? So of course our waiter then brought him one with a candle on top and we all sang Happy Birthday - even though it was a day late! But a wonderful time was had by all and plans for the rest of the cruise were discussed. Beware!!
It was at 5.15am on Tuesday morning that the proverbial hit the fan with a phone call from our son Bryce in Australia. My mum was extremely ill and was in need of surgery and we were needed at home.
The concierge on the ship was wonderful and by the time the ship docked at 7.00am he had arranged for transport from the ship to Hilo airport, flights from Hilo to Honolulu then Sydney and on to Perth. Sounds easy? Well it would have been if the plane in Hilo hadn’t had engine trouble and then they put us on another flight to Honolulu which would have got us to the next flight in time if they hadn’t been delayed getting the luggage off our original flight and if we had been able to get off the plane immediately. The steward assured us they would hold the flight for us but guess what? They didn’t - we were 10 minutes late and on the same airline but they didn’t wait.
When we got to the counter they very kindly offered to put us in a hotel for the night until I chucked a wobbly and then they decided to try to get us home some other way. Sooooo to cut a long story short they sent us to San Francisco then Sydney then Perth.
We get to Sydney and are sitting on the tarmac when the captain tells us that we are running a bit late as we are waiting for one more passenger!!! Twenty minutes later the passenger arrives (why couldn’t Hawaiian Airlines wait ten minutes?) and guess who it is - Stevie Wonder - so now I know/!!!!
Anyway we arrived home only four hours later than we would have done had the plane waited in Honolulu so it wasn’t too bad and Mum had had the surgery and was coping as well as a 90 year old can cope after major surgery.
Two weeks later and she was well enough to go home however she is still not too flash and I am not sure that the surgery was the best move but it is done. She continues to hang in although she isn’t happy and keeps telling me she has ‘had enough’. I think she is going to struggle with the notion of us leaving again in May for our next adventure.
Stay safe friends and family.