Under an hour of the flight remains, thank the Lord! It began relatively bumpy, but has smoothed considerably since. I’m not the best flyer, but I’ve certainly improved from my earlier fears. Any slight hint of turbulence and I would begin praying, rosary after rosary until I thought it safe. I still get nervous as the plane shakes lightly but not as much as before. The flight was delayed four hours, which is quite unfortunate because it means that we won’t be arriving in Los Angeles until half past two in the morning. It’s going to completely throw out our sleeping pattern.
We arrived in Waikiki on the 11th of December, and immediately made our way to the hotel to check in. We were told that our room was not yet ready and to return in a couple of hours. We asked what was a good place to eat. Duke’s was the response from the concierge. He provided me with instructions ‘left turn here, right turn there’, which I pretended to take in, knowing I would never remember, and would not need to remember, not with both Google Maps and Maps on my phone. Paula, Christie and Mary-Joe had not tasted any food since Sydney and were positively famished, especially Paula. My sisters are even worse flyers than me. I’ll at least eat the food on the flight. They won’t even consider it. Paula and Christie are the worst, always on the verge of gagging. Thankfully they retained vomit on this flight. Duke’s, according to google maps, was only a few minutes walk on the main road in Waikiki, right on the beach. We walked around slowly, taking in our new surroundings. Waikiki city is nothing particularly special. In fact it’s rather old in places and not in a charming sense. There was construction across the road from our hotel, which only added to the perception of disrepair. On Waikiki road, we crossed past a vast length of shops and restaurants. There was an Apple Store and Macy’s, H&M and Forever 21. We even came across the world famous Cheesecake Factory. Everybody I knew that had gone to Hawaii strongly recommended I go. Their food is great, they would tell me, their serving’s are enormous. I convinced my parents we should go there instead, but the line was deemed too long and my sisters simply could no longer wait. So we continued a little further down to Duke’s, hidden somewhere inside a hotel. My concern that this was an obscure place that we were recommended because of an arrangement between the establishment and the hotel proved unfounded. A 10-15 minute wait, proclaimed the girl at the counter. Her American accent something I was still not accustomed to. We decided we’d wait, because we wanted good food and could not be bothered to look for another. We sat on wooden chairs, with leather bottoms, waiting. The restaurant lies right in front of the beach, attached to a swimming area for hotel guests, from which the restaurant opens out into. The sun beams into the restaurant, shadowing only some sections of the restaurant. I ordered a Caesar Salad, being not too hungry having actually eaten on the plane. My sisters ordered burgers which they absolutely loved and would convince us to return to Duke’s for a second time. The second time I ordered a burger and I saw what it was my sister’s loved. I will give Hawaii something, the beef is amazing.
We stayed at Aqua Waikiki Pearl, a hotel one street off the main. It was chosen more for its affordability than anything else. 11 nights for six people this time of year was always going to be expensive. So I picked the best option I could find. The Hotel wasn’t too bad. A 6.5-7/10. The location was great as was the price. The room was clean and there was nice running hot water, but the beds weren’t great, especially the sofa. It had the thinnest mattress imaginable. I thought the mattress I slept on in Madrid was terrible, this was worse and made just as much sound. Christie and I originally shared it, but after one night she realised this was not feasible and concocted her own bed from the couch cushions. Her bed ended up being more comfortable than mine. We also had to change rooms, because of the excessive noise being made by drunkyards at a bar attached the hotel. We weren’t getting any sleep. The second room was a vast improvement.
The flight is about to land, and I need to preserve my battery.