I am in paradise!
It just feels so good to be on 'familiar' soil. For instance, there's a plug in right by my bed for charging, and I don't need an adapter to use it! The shower has hot water and strong pressure! Breakfast is toast witih peanut butter! PEANUT BUTTER!! I don't have to keep my head down, on the look out for ups and downs in the sidewalks - death traps for klutzes like me! Everybody speaks English! Starbucks are everywhere! Need I say more?
Bailey's Antiques and Aloha Shirts Inc. was started in 1980 and has been going strong ever since, with the largest collection of Aloha shirts in the universe. They have more than 15,000 divided into four groups - vintage, new, speciality and used. Prices range from $3.99 for the modern ones, to $9.99 for a little more special ones to $19.99 for the super special ones. They also carry antiques like Zippo lighters, Hawaiian records, Nike and Levi paraphanellia etc.
Another institution here is the Rainbow Drive Inn. The original owner, Seiju Ifuku, learned to cook during WWII. After the war, he first worked at the famous Kapiolani Drive Inn, then opened the Kalakaua Drive Inn with his wife Ayako. In 1961, they opened the drive in that exists today, offering 50 cent chilli and rice, $1 bbq steak plates, 25 cent hamburgers and 14 cent fries, all for workers and the beach crowd. (Prices are a little higher today). Serving hearty, simple food in generous portions has always been their motto.
Diving here was with Island Divers. They are a well organized, super friendly operation! The water was only 23 degrees, sort of a shock after 28 and 29 in Fiji! I had to wear a wet suit so that messed up my weights a bit. The diving was a bit like being in a dessert but I did see 2 gigantic turtles, numerous trumpet fish and some coral. We dove Skimmins Reef and Palea Point, both in Waikiki on Koko Head Crater. Palea is the wall on the outside eastern tip of Hanauma Bay. It has caves, deep canyons and a swim through. The visibility was good and there was a mild current. We saw turtles, lots of reef fish and needle nose barracuda.
Thanks to Larry Hogan for this picture-