Hawai'i 2.0, Day 1: Arrival

So after two and a half years of anticipation, and months of planning (and budgeting), our second trip to Hawai'i has arrived. We revisit our limo ride from our apartment to the Oakland airport, allowing us to relax and wake up slowly while Dean, our driver, stays alert and has to deal with morning traffic.

We arrive at Oakland airport without incident, get through security without incident, and even enjoy an unexpected hula display in the terminal as we make our way to the gate. As it turns out, Alaskan Airlines is making their debut flight to Hawai’i today, and they’re providing free entertainment for the passengers.

A short wait, a five-hour flight, an in-flight showing of Pixar’s “Up”, and a safe touchdown in Honolulu. The high humidity and 85-degree temperature here is a far cry from the low 70s of the Bay Area, but it’s a burden we’re willing to face. I get our rental car and promptly get lost on the way from the rental location back to the airport to pick up Lucie, but eventually find her, pack our luggage away, and we make our way slowly down to our hotel, the New Otani Kaimana Hotel in Waikiki. Valet parking only here, so we start throwing money away early as someone parks our car and someone else takes our luggage upstairs to our room, where we have a nice view to Diamond Head from our lanai.

We stretch out for a bit, then venture out to find food… and where better to go for food than on the other side of the island? We cross the rock to the town of Kailua, where we find our first destination: Chip & Cookie, the latest establishment by Wally Amos (no longer allowed to be called “Famous Amos” due to unfortunate trademark disputes.) The shop smells wonderful, the cookies are delicious, and the shirts are all too small (that last part not being terribly surprising), so we buy a ball cap and a bag of assorted cookies, and we head back to Waikiki.

Once there, we find a parking space at the Waikiki Town Center shopping megaplex, manage to squeeze our car into it, and wander through the International Market Place's myriad stalls and stores until we get to our dinner destination, Puka Dog. We first saw this place mentioned on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations”, and again on the Food Network, so we’re interested to try it for ourselves. It’s a bit different than other hot dog places in that they use a sort of dough pocket instead of a standard bun. They squirt your choice of relish and/or sauce into the pocket, then stick the hot dog down inside, resulting in a “pig in a sleeping bag” (rather than a pig in a blanket) with such flavor combinations as jalapeƱo sauce with mango relish, or habanero sauce with papaya mustard. The mango relish was a little sweeter than I would have liked, but the habanero and papaya combination was very good indeed – very spicy, slightly sweet, savory, and just the right amount of messy.

We eat our fill (which doesn’t take much – the dogs are large and filling), hike back to our car, and head back to our hotel. We stop by the convenience store located (conveniently enough) in the hotel parking lot, pick up some food for our hotel room, and end our first day in Hawai’i with a drink at the hotel’s open-air bar, listening to the sound of the ocean. I opt for a Midori daiquiri, and Lucie goes for soda.

Coffee consumption for the day: 1 can of Kona Gold iced espresso, 1 can of Royal Kona iced mocha.


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