12 Hours in Honolulu
I was not disappointed at all that I was rerouted through Honolulu instead of flying nonstop to San Francisco from Tokyo recently. While waiting to board the plane, I thought of all the things I could do in Honolulu during the 12-hour layover. And the more I thought about it, the more pleased I was that I had this opportunity. Except for one thing. I needed a hotel in Honolulu where I could take a quick nap, shower, and leave my bags while I was out wandering about town. I called several hotels but none of them had day rates let alone allow me to check in earlier than 2 p.m. After a few more calls and before draining my cellphone's battery, I got a room at the Airport Hotel for $136.00 and they picked me up from the airport.
Wiped out from the long trip, I fell asleep immediately and woke up when my alarm went off. It was 1 p.m. so I hurried to make the most of my time. Luckily the bus stop was just down the street and I didn't have to wait long before the bus bound for Ala Moana came up. I was at the shopping center in about 30 minutes. Ala Moana Center has grown to include more than 200 stores and restaurants, a far cry from the old days when it only had Sears and Liberty House as its flagship stores. Now there are several department stores and upscale boutiques like Chanel, Hermes, and Tory Burch, to name a few. I like to shop here because I can find resort wear, perfect for sunny climes like the Philippines.
There's a food court downstairs on the makai(ocean) side. I was hungry for fish. And at the Steak and Fish Company, they had fresh grilled mahi mahi served with two scoops of rice, steamed string beans and corn. As you can see, I was given a generous serving which I couldn't finish but I got a plastic box so I could take my leftover with me to San Francisco. :)
After lunch I walked across the street to Ala Moana Beach Park. It was Friday and people were just getting off from work. Some families were enjoying the quiet beach as I was. This is the best time to come to the beach when the sun is not as fierce and it's pleasant to walk the three mile course around the park. A few people had set up their fishing poles and were patiently waiting for their catch. The kayaking groups had yet to claim their kayaks.
There is a bus stop on the makai side of the Center so it was easy for me to catch the bus back to my hotel. After repacking my luggage, I catnapped and woke up in time to board the free shuttle to the airport. All in all, it turned out well except that I didn't have a chance to pick up my favorite malasadas. But it might just as well be. I don't need the extra calories.
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Images by Charie