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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hawaii - Day 1 (Arrival)

It was an early morning and we were all dragging at 3:00am EST when our alarms went off simultaneously. After a quick breakfast snack we and our luggage were packed neatly in the car and we were speeding down 91 to Bradley International Airport.

Having already checked in the day before we passed through security quickly and relaxed as we waited to board. Right on time they began the boarding process. If was a full flight and we settled into our seats. Before we knew it our journey began and we were in the air on our way to Atlanta.

The flight was typical and after a few hours the pilot told us to prepare for landing. With only a few hours until the long voyage to Honolulu began we grabbed a quick breakfast in the airport McD's. While I did my best to book our seats near each other Chris ultimately got shifted around and separated from the group.

This was one long flight and after spending 9 hours and 47 minutes flying across the country and over the Pacific Ocean finally I caught a glimpse of an island. It wasn't Oahu. Instead it was Moloka'i. It was long after when we saw our first glimpse of Oahu and I realized we were flying right over Hamamuma Bay and then right over Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach. I captured some great pictures from the air.

Our landing was picture perfect and it took less time then expected to debarking then plane. The airport was dated and showing its age but it's small size made finding our way pretty simple. Not that we were here it was time to get to the hotel. We didn't prebook any transportation but found speedishuttle in baggage claim who we scheduled our transportation to and from the airport.

We spent all of about 10 minutes in the shuttle while we waited for a few more guests to load up their luggage. As we drove away from the airport our first impression of Honolulu was a densely populated urban environment with lots of traffic and graffiti. I admit I knew this was the case after talking to a few people I know who have been or lived here.

As we passed over the canal from Honolulu to Waikiki it was a dramatic change to a more upscale environment. As we drove down the main road of Kalakaua Ave which was wall to wall fancy stores. Finally we arrived at our hotel the Sheraton Waikiki. The hotel is huge and the lobby was a very active area.

When we checked in the concierge gave us a complimentary upgrade from our partial ocean view to a full ocean view suite. We hopped on one of the 10 elevators and zoomed to the 11th floor. When we finally located our room I couldn't have been more happy with the view. Our room looked out over Waikiki Beach and the Royal Hawaiian.

Starved from our 14 hours of travel time we changed quickly into shorts and made our way back to the lobby. As we walked back towards the restaurants we caught a glimpse of a lady on stage teaching a large group of women's to dance a traditional Polynesian dance.

Since we were all tired we noticed an Italian restaurant Il Lupino Trattoria and Wine Bar and decided to give it a try after reviewing the menu. We all ordered the same thing a prosciutto and arugula pizza with garlic infused oil and a fresh rum mai tai. The pizza was delicious and the mai tai was extremely strong.

After dinner Dan and I took our first swim in the hotel infinity pool. The warm salt water pool was both refreshing and relaxing after a long day of traveling. We watched the sun set while the surfers and the sunset cruise catamaran's return to shore.

We returned to the room, scheduled our wake up call for tomorrow and called it a night since we were all exhausted.

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