Hawaii: The closest Pearson Testing Center…

Normally when I fly to Hawaii I am really excited and pumped.  I have to admit that I was less excited that normal because it is an eight hour flight over all these cool remote Pacific islands to get to Hawaii.  I would rather have gone to almost any of them instead of back to Hawaii.  After our mini road trip to Auckland we took an overnight flight to Hawaii , and I steeled myself for the gauntlet of time share salesmen leaving the airport, but first we had to go through immigration.  Immigration was a breeze with no line whatsoever thanks to Global Entry, but the foreign entry lines looked like a solid one to two hours wait.  I had steeled myself for nothing, as there were no timeshare salesmen to go through, which is probably because they want to sell them to US citizens, and there are not a lot of them arriving through the international arrivals hall.  International arrivals was actually pretty dingy, and the Honolulu airport was otherwise like I remembered. 

We went and got our rental car, and the compact car we had reserved turned into a Range Rover Evoque due to Katy’s Presidential Circle status with Hertz.  I have to admit it is a lot nicer car than our 8 year old Toyota Prius that speaks Japanese that we own in New Zealand.  We then made our first run to Costco and spent over $500 dollars.  That might seem like an excessive amount to spend for a four day trip to Hawaii, but we were stocking up on things that are cheaper in the US than in New Zealand or things that we can’t get in New Zealand at all.  We then headed to our Marriott Beach Club Resort that we got on VRBO that was someone’s timeshare.  Since this is a work trip for Katy it did not make sense for us to use points since the expenses will be reimbursed.  I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to add my Marriott account information and get credit for the stay even though it was a timeshare stay.  We then hit the beach for some afternoon ocean action.  The US had just turned the clocks back with daylight saving times, so it meant that even though it was an eight hour flight to get there, Hawaii was only one hour later, but on the previous day (Katy: international date line makes my head spin…).  It also meant that sunset was at 6pm when we were used to sunsets at 830pm, which definitely makes a difference.

Our first full day in Hawaii we went to Kahe Point and did some snorkeling.  We were lucky enough to see a sea turtle and a bunch of fish.  We then decided to go and put some miles on our Range Rover and explore the island a little bit.  We stopped to grab some garlic shrimp and poke for lunch and then headed to Turtle Bay to see sea turtles.  It was a semi letdown since the turtles were in the water swimming and a little difficult to spot, and there were large crowds of people watching them. Seeing them while snorkeling was way better. Waimea beach was our next stop, and we were able to get a parking spot without an issue. We hopped in the ocean for a bit and did some body surfing. The waves were surprisingly small for November but fun to play in. We then decided that our next step should be sharing a shaved ice. We split a green tea shaved ice with red beans and condensed milk (Katy: Yum!). Our next stop was the obligatory one at the Dole Pineapple Plantation. The last time I was there I got one of my all time favorite shirts, my Hug A Pineapple shirt, but this time I showed restraint and didn’t get a replacement. We did split a dole whip float, which is dole whip in tart pineapple juice. It was then time to head back to the Marriott for some more beach time. 

The real reason we were in Hawaii was that it is the closest place with a Pearson Testing Center for Katy to take her board exam. Katy had an early 6am departure to the testing center in downtown Honolulu. I decided that since Katy had absconded with the car that I needed to spend the day hanging out at the pool and beach.  When I went to make Katy a mai tai for a celebratory post test beverage, I discovered that the freezer had frozen the rum. I had to thaw some of the rum, but was able to pull together a mai tai with some fresh pineapple. I have to admit that fresh Hawaiian pineapple puts US pineapples to shame. After Katy conquered her exam we spent some time at the beach (read: Katy hung out in the ocean in her pink floaty for an extended period of time). We did the standard Hawaiian luau to celebrate that Katy is one step closer to being board certified. 

Our last day in Hawaii we attempted to go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, but the parking lot was full. We decided to hike Diamond Head instead. We were lucky that after a couple minute’s wait we were able to get a parking spot. We were eyeing a fresh pineapple when we finished the hike. We discovered that they only took cash, and while we were flush in New Zealand dollars, we were deficient in US dollars, so no pineapple treat for us. We decided that the best way to handle being shutout in the pineapple game was to go and get some ramen. 

We recharged on ramen and then headed to Waikiki. We were able snag a free parking spot and staked out our corner of the beach and went for a swim. We actually planned ahead for once and had our water shoes, which made the water a lot more enjoyable.  The next day we woke up “early” and eked out all the beach/pool time we could before we left to go back to New Zealand and take the long way back to New Plymouth. 

Flying southwest to New Zealand. Depending on how daylight savings falls in each country, New Zealand is 21-23 hours ahead of Hawaii

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