Trip to Hawaii – [Day 1] – Feb 19th 2004

Mark, Michelle and Tracy flew in from Chicago and I flew in Honolulu. All of us met in Kahului, Maui. I guess they were so excited to see Hawaii that the 10 hour flight from Chicago didn’t turn them off. It was so great to see old friends after such a long time (well.. 6 months is a long time in my dictionary 🙂 ). We all flew together from Maui to Kona, Hawaii. Just so that no one gets confused, the Big Island is also known as Hawai’i. So we have Hawaii the state and Hawai’i the island.

Kona Airport The Kona Airport is such a big difference from the huge hectic airports that we see in many cities nowadays. Actually this was the first airport that I saw in the US that was completely “open”. As you can see from the picture, you can literally see the plane from the baggage checking area. In fact there is only one terminal. I instantly felt at home on the Big Island. The whole atmosphere was so laid back. No hurry to get anywhere. No hustling..No jostling. Not to mention that the weather was just great.

Baggage Collection So off we go and collect our luggage. I took out my new toy and started snapping away :). Caught a shuttle to the rental place and we got there, we realized that there is no way all our luggage (Note to self: Women = Lots of Luggage 🙂 ) would fit in a full size car. We decided to upgrade the car to a SUV. And for some reason it took the rental people ~1 hour to get all the documentation sorted out and give us a SUV. So finally we get all our luggage into the SUV and start off to our hotel. Now how can a trip start out without an adventure :). Here is how the Big Island looks like…

Hawai'i - Big Island Map So we were supposed to go South from the airport to get to our hotel, but as it happens with such things :), we went North. It was interesting to observe the landscape. I wish I had a picture to show for it. The ground was made up of cooled down lava. It was like a chocolate brownie, but just black in color :). As we drove along the highway, wondering why we don’t see the exit to the town yet, we noticed that there were white stones placed in funny ways on the ground (cooled lava). There were sentences from “I love you Jim” to “Katsumoto was here on 1/1/2001” [Alright.. I made that up] and the usual graffiti symbols. It was great to see them scattered all along the road. Now when one see such stuff, one has to dutifully pull over and take some pictures :). Michelle immediately went into “artist” mode and made up the following…

Why 2..? well that is something that Michelle has to explain. Just make sure that you have a couple of hours to spare when you ask her that question :). After taking some pictures, we hop back into the SUV and start driving. Somewhere around this time, we realize that something is wrong with our sense of direction 🙂 and decide to turn around. An advice for anyone having to drive through Kailua. Don’t ever drive through the town during rush hour. It was a nightmare. Took us ~30 minutes to get across a 2 mile strip. It was faster to walk :). Finally we get to our hotel. It was a great place. I would recommend it to anyone. The condo was pretty spacious and had all required amenities. I took a picture of the condo as soon as we arrived.

Condo It was a long day and when it came time to hit the town for dinner, the girls passed on the offer. Mark and Me went into town and after strolling along for sometime and looking at umpteen restaurents, decided to dine at Beachcombers. People.. I tell you if you ever visit the Big Island, eat the “Lava Cake” at Beachcombers. Hmm..hmmm..hmm… As soon as the waitress said that it was similar to the Morton’s Godiva cake, I knew I had to try it. Mark said that he would split it with me. I was not having any of that :). I told him to get his own order. And I don’t think he regretted it. But before the dessert, I should mention that that I had frilled Ono. The food was great and so was the wait staff. It was a great way to end the day.