[Sorry, but internet is kind of slow. I will try to add pictures later]
It's just before 1pm in Honolulu, Hawai'i (or nearly 7pm at home) and I'm sitting in the airport waiting for my flight home. I really wanted to blog while I was in Waikiki, but the internet at the hotel wasn't strong enough for it.
I'm tired from a long, wonderful week and maybe even a little cranky, but feeling very relaxed and somewhat sunburned. Hawai'i is fabulous. It's a dream surrounded by the bluest waters I have even seen and inhabited by the nicest people on the planet. I really don't want to go home, but I miss my cats and it's time to return to reality.
So much was said and done over the past several days that it might take me a couple days to get it all overviewed on the blog. First, it was a roughly 10-hour flight to get from Cincinnati, Ohio to Honolulu (with a layover in Chicago). The flight wasn't bad with my stack of books and movies on iPad.
We arrived in Honolulu in the early afternoon and took a taxi to Waikiki to our hotel Outrigger Reef on the Beach (which I highly recommend if you are ever staying in Oahu). The hotel is perfect, the location is excellent, and the people are so wonderful. We grabbed a bite to eat in the bar/restaurant, sitting by an open window that looked out onto the beach and Pacific ocean. Afterward, we wandered around the city along the beach and finished the night with killer drinks and karaoke.
The next day was a total relaxation day: pool and beach. Dinner was sushi followed by some gift shopping and then more drinks and karaoke. While simple, it was a perfect day. I laid by the pool, read a book, and just let my mind go blank for a few hours. Batteries were completely recharged.
The next day was touring the island. Oahu is a relatively small island. You can drive from Waikiki to the North Shore (which is the farthest point on the island) in roughly an hour. We rented what are called Mini Coupes -- they are essentially mopeds with a two-seat car body over them. In them, we ran a couple errands, explored downtown Honolulu and then drove up the eastern shore. I'm not sure how far we got, but I think we got close to Lanikai. That side of the island had some mind-blowing scenery. At all times, there's the ocean on one side of you and a mountain range reaching up on the other side of you. There were moments when I got tears in my eyes when I was surrounded by this beauty. By evening, we returned to Waikiki for dinner and just crashing in the hotel room. Yet another perfect day.
The next day was going out to the western side of the island for snorkeling and dolphin watching. The shuttle picked us up and took us out to the Ko Olina Resort. On the way out to the snorkeling site, we passed where Disney had placed the Black Pearl from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie in dry dock. We found a pod of Spinner Dolphins, which were feeling frisky. Spinner Dolphins get their name from the fact that they jump and spin out of the water. From there, we settled near a reef and snorkeled for about an hour. This was my first snorkeling adventure and it was AWESOME! The fish were beautiful and I got to swim by a sea turtle! Afterward, we had lunch while the boat was taken back to the marina. Another perfect day.
In an attempt to just reach epic proportions of awesomeness on this trip... I got married. It was arranged on Friday and completed on Sunday at 1pm on the beach in Waikiki looking out toward the ocean and Diamondhead Peak. It was a simple ceremony with just myself and my now husband, the officant, and the photographer. We then closed out the day at the Paradise Cove Lua'u. It was filled with amazing sights, a killer sunset, excellent dinner, and a romantic slow dance. Best. Day. Ever.
Yesterday was the last day and we closed out our trip with an all-day tour of Pearl Harbor. It was solemn and informative. A great day.
This was just a very quick summary. I may pop back in with more trip comments, but all in all, it was the PERFECT vacation/wedding/honeymoon.