Sunday, December 5, 2010

Here in Waikiki

Waikiki is the touristy/resort/beach area of Honolulu. After the conference i moved to a hotel a few blocks off of the beach in Waikiki called the Maile Sky Court.

Like many of the buildings i visited, my hotel had an open air lobby, reception area and lounge
with a water feature right on the street
yes, those are koi right next to where i sat and read travel pamphlets to chart my plan of tourist attack. I really liked that the common areas were open air because you could have fresh air and breezes without worrying about sunblock or rain.
All of the rooms were in an enclosed high rise tower and my room was on the 26th floor. Because i was so high up i could see the ocean even though it was several blocks away: real view and zoom
Though certainly not as nice as the conference hotel (which i could never afford on my own), my room was neat, clean, welcoming,
pick a religion, any religion
and in an older, slightly less touristy part of Waikiki.
It was nice to take leisurely walks on the stone sidewalks under a canopy of various flowering trees

that i couldn't even begin to identify, enjoying the peace and exploring the local history.

There are signs and markers pretty much every two blocks plus lots and lots of statues:

there were statues of famous Hawaiians, statues of royalty, statues in parks, statues by restrooms, statues in front of stores, statues by the beach and of course, statues by the police station:
(though i prefer this picture of those totems)
The only thing that there were more of than statues in Waikiki were ABC Stores!
Every touristy/beach town has its own convenience/junk store and this is Waikiki's. You need souvenirs for every person you've ever met and you're on a budget? ABC. Looking for shell necklaces? ABC. Leis? ABC. Water/soda/snacks? ABC. Sunglasses since you left yours at home cause it was cold, raining and 4am when you left? ABC. Water wings/rafts/personal flotation devices? ABC. Breakfast sushi with Spam and seaweed? ABC. (i wish i was making that up) Honestly, if the ABC doesn't have it, you don't need it. There were also plenty of little shops featuring nice Hawaiian art and merchandise, even a ukulele store.
One block off of the beach was the International Market Place
where, sheltered by giant trees

there were shops and stalls and restaurants of every type you can imagine.
The Market Place was several blocks long and wide so I could cut through it to get from the beach to the hotel, perhaps doing a bit of shopping along the way.
Like other high-end resort towns, Waikiki also had stores that you don't see very often:
Coach, Tiffany's Bulgari, Hermes, Gucci, Yves Saint Lauren, Cartier, Ferrari, Tag, Chanel, BOSS, Rolex, DKNY, and plenty of others that where i didn't feel like i could afford to even window shop. I mean, Fossil was the low rent district of this stretch of stores.
But of course, what would a beach town be without the beach?
Resorts lined the water
edged by white sand,
stretching towards Diamondhead.
There was so much to see and do in Waikiki -there was an aquarium and a zoo that i never made it to- that i will hopefully have a several more posts about it, but here are two random things about it that make me smile:
there were huge torches lining the streets of Waikiki and one night i saw this person walking along lighting them, like a Victorian lamplighter; and, the free spirits that call Waikiki home have figured out how to entertain and make money from every type of tourist- here a group of guys are taking a free running lesson.
I've never even heard of free running except for in Casino Royale and here you can take lessons!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And in Waikiki, there literally are ABC stores 1 block from 3 other ABC stores. ???