Postcard From Hawaii - 1

When it's winter in North America, when lakes and pipes are frozen, there's ice and snow on the ground, when everyone you see outside is bundled up in layers of warm clothes and heavy coats and rushing to get back inside and all you want to do is curl up in front of a comforting fire in the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book, is there anything better than a vacation in Hawaii? I can't think of anything!

A large portion of the Honolulu airport is open-air. In my
opinion, it is one of the prettiest airports in the world
It's a long time getting from Arkansas to Hawaii - leave very early to get to the Little Rock airport to catch the first flight to Dallas and then an 8-hour flight to Honolulu. Then there's the 4-hour time difference to contend with. By the time we got our bags, loaded up the rental car and headed to the hotel, our bodies thought it was 8:00pm, but the clock on the wall said no, it was just 4:00pm in Paradise. Yeah, I know, it was tough!

I must pause for a minute here to be a bit negative about Hertz. After arriving at the beautiful Oahu airport and being excited about actually being in Hawaii, the last thing you want is to sit on the concrete and wait an hour for your rental car. It was crowded, it was frustrating, the employees didn't seem to care and there didn't seem to be a reason for the delay. When they finally called my name, I was handed an electronic key and told to walk about 200 yards down rows of rental cars to get mine. They didn't deliver it to the waiting area, no smiles, no "Welcome to Hawaii," no "Aloha," no thanks for doing business with Hertz, no nothing. Perhaps I'm expecting too much for my $55 per day to rent their 4-door Chevy Impala, but I'll use a different rental car company next time.

Once out of the airport, we made our way to the JW Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina Resort & Spa in Kapolei, our home for the next 4 days and 5 nights. The lobby was spacious, open and beautiful; the staff greeted us with smiles and seemed genuinely happy to have us. Check in was quick and a bell hop quickly gathered up our bags and showed us to our room. Nice! The room was great - very clean, quality furniture, soft, plush carpet and tiled floor, excellent beds, high-end bathing products, a very large spotlessly clean bathroom and a wonderful view of the ocean to the front of us and mountains to the side of us. This was something we all decided we could definitely get used know, if we hit the lottery!

After going out to get a bite to eat at a locally-owned restaurant we saw on the way in, we returned to our room tired and happy. The Mama-woman made a pot of Kona Coffee and we took our cups outside to sit on our private balcony as we listened to the waves and watched the sun set over the ocean. Look up the word "contentment" in the dictionary and there will be a picture of us at that moment. We made it until a little after 9:00pm local time before we crawled into those nice comfy beds and got snuggled in. We left the patio door open and drifted off to sleep listening to those waves gently washing ashore.

Our first full day in Paradise was spent mostly hanging around the grounds of the hotel and the beach below our room. Still tired and not yet acclimated to the time difference, we relaxed, took a nice afternoon nap, and let ourselves begin to shed the stress and forget the obligations of our daily lives back home. Of course we were looking forward to seeing all the things and doing all the stuff we had planned beforehand, but this was the perfect way to start our Hawaiian vacation.

Relaxing on the beach. Now this is the life!
Youngest-daughter napping on our balcony.

Late afternoon - view from our balcony.
Sunset - end of 1st full day in Paradise.