|Sunset in Honolulu go well with sun-downers.|
Uncle Gill put his arms around me and said "Papa , I like Dad's who participate in activities with their children. Many Papa's just send their children for the activities and sit and drink beer. Very good that you went surfing with them. Family that do things together always stay together !"
|With our fine instructor 'Uncle Gill'|
We had just finished a grueling 90 minute of surfing lesson at Waikiki beach at Honolulu, Hawaii. I was bruised and battered and tired. Uncle Gill had made us work hard. We would go with the surf, try to get up and then fall into the sea. Then we had to drag the surf board all the way into the sea to be lectured by Uncle Gill that we were not listening to him. This carrying and dragging of surf boards was exhausting. Uncle Gill would bawl fresh instructions in his gruff voice and strange accent and we went in again on surfboard with the same results. The sea bed had rough rocks which would hurt the feet while walking. The beach was crowded and one had to be very careful. While the kids Sanya and Kartik managed to do wonders by the end of the session, I kept toppling over.
|There were theory classes followed by the actual thing.|
Towards the end of the session as I toppled over and got up, a beginner on a surfboard lost her balance and her surfboard smashed into my upper jaw. I saw stars all over. I thought my jaw had broken. Thankfully I survived with just some swelling. That ended my dreams of being a surfer ! At least on this trip !
Surfing is a passion with people in Hawaii just as it is in Australia. The Northern beach of Honolulu boasts of the best surfs and great surfers. The sea is wild there and there are many drownings and accidents there. I was astounded to watch a TV programme showing how many people get crippled a year trying to master the waves. Yet people carry on as if nothing has happened. It is a dangerous sport - no doubts about it.
|Surfing is a way of life here.|
Luckily it was night when we arrived in the city so we missed out seeing a big town with tall buildings. One had traveled to the middle of Pacific Ocean to be near the nature and not to encounter the freeways, the tall buildings and thousands of cars. It would have been a huge disappointment if we had encountered all this soon after landing. Our hotel Marriott Waikiki beach was well located and we had a decent sea view room. We found a decent Italian restaurant just near the hotel and as it was late at night , Devicka and the kids decided to call it a day. I was a bit more energetic so took a walk down the Kalakaua Avenue. I liked what I saw. There were a lot of colorful boutique shops having Hawaiian identity. They sold stuff not seen normally in shops around the USA. There was a lot of color in the shops and I was tempted to buy a Hawaiin shirt at that very moment.The shops were open till late. There were quite a few restaurants, and even late at night there was a lot of activity on the road. One thing that really strikes you in Honolulu is that you almost feel that you are in Japan ! The place is full of Japanese tourists and as a consequence you see many Japanese restaurants.
Waikiki Beach and Kalakaua Avenue
|The tall concrete hotels border the beach|
One associates a beach with serenity, shacks and a beach road having small shops and restaurants. Waikiki beach is covered with tall concrete buildings. The beach is over crowded most of the times but water is crystal clear. There are a lot of water sports and activities happening all the time. It does have a beach road and thankfully it has some lovely shops and some good restaurants.
Each morning we would go swimming in the sea and the water would be cold but refreshing. One had to choose a safe side so that one would not be in the way of surfers. As evening would set in, the people would sit in restaurants and the music and sun downers would flow. Most restaurants had live band playing.
|This is a common sight in the evenings|
We did try a lot of restaurants and the good one's were Tiki's and Duke's. Waikiki is a tourist dominated area so one has to be prepared to pay a hefty bill if one goes to a reputed restaurant. There were a few very good Italian places as well and one could always pop into the Cheesecake factory located very centrally. There was a food court also but the food was pretty bad there.
It is however the ubiquitous Japanese Restaurants which remained full due to so many Japanese tourists.
Shopping at WaikikiThe entire Kalakaua avenue is full of shops . Not only do they have the boutique stores but also big names like Macy's. But a little further away is a huge open-air shopping center. Ala Moana happens to be the world's largest outdoor shopping center.A pink line shopping shuttle takes you there for a fixed fare of $2 per person. Service is pretty good but while coming back we had to stand in a long queue. The funny part is that someone had told us about this trolley but whenever we would see a trolley there would be a lot of Japanese sitting in them. When we tried to enter them, we were told that trolley was reserved. An American who was watching us smiled and told us to take the pink trolley . Japanese tourists had made sure that they chartered the other trolleys on island with a guide.
|The shopping trolly|
The Ala Moana was quite well laid out and one could have spent a lot of time there. On an upper floor they had a lot of good restaurants and we decided to go fora Chinese meal on 4th Level called the Royal Garden. The food was really nice here and it was a very comfortable restaurant.