Useful Tips, Oahu
Some of the filming of the current tv series called "Hawaii Five-O" are done on the premises of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
The tv series is a "remake" of a popular show which was originally aired from 1968-1980 with the original cast members of of Jack London, Richard Denning, James McArthur and Kam Fong Chun. Most people will remember the catch phrase made famous by Jack London "Book-em Danno"
Throughout the property of the Hilton Hawaiian Village you'll see signs and advertisements about the show, so if you're lucky to be here during taping, you'll get to catch the hottest new cast members, Alex O'Loughlin, Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park.
Fondest memory: Unfortunately, we didn't see any of the cast members during our stay as the hotel was brimming with the upcoming Pro Bowl and I was so busy searching for players.
Maybe next time?!!
When travelling with a kid in Hawaii, you must remember to have a car seat especially if you are renting a car.
Kapolei is nice and quiet because this is a town where most residents live. It is not touristsy town. If you go to the beaches here, you rarely see tourists. If there are, mostly, visitors visiting their own relatives who live in Kapolei.
The beaches' waves and current here are strong and most of the time, strong swimmers come here. There are warnings on the beaches.
You can rent a hotel in Honololu and just drive in Kapolei. It's not that far.
Next time check the internet first :)
A few years ago same thing happened to me, I thought hotel phone calls are just little expensive than regular rates and I was wrong big time. Learned my lesson and now use calling card or VoIP for international calls from Onesuite.
Favorite thing: Here’s a piece of useless information. In case you’ve spotted large metal rings on the palm trees, all around Honolulu, this is not some kind of a local art (which was my first thought). I was told that this is the way to protect the trees from rats that simply climb up the massive trunk to either eat the fruit or cruelly destroy the wood.
The Islands had 7 Kings and 1 Queen, who also was the last monarch of Hawaii. 6 of therse kings were of Kamehameha lineage.
Kamehameha I - known as Kamehameha the Great was the king that united the Islands. The small exhibit at the Nuuanu Lookout Point tells the story of the last battle after which all the islands were united under one reign. He was also the only Hawaiian king to have children that succeeded him.
Kamehameha II - is mostly remembered for breaking the rules of the ancient “kapu” (taboo), he was the first Hawaiian that allowed men and women to dine in one room. This king’s legacy is depicted in the permanent exhibition at the Ali’iolani Hale in Honolulu.
Kamehameha III - the first Christian monarch of Hawaii he’s responsible for the first constitution of Hawaii and diplomatic relations with other countries. Kamehameha the third had no children, which brought him to the idea of establishing law that would allow kings to be elected!
Kamehameha IV - contributed a lot to education and healthcare, together with his wife – Queen Emma he established the Queen’s Medical Center which is the leading Hospital in Hawaii until nowadays. A lot can be learned about this king while visiting the Queen Emma’s Summer Palace.
Kamehameha V – this king’s name was biblical – Lot, even after he became the fifth Kamehameha he was still referred, by many, as Prince Lot. He’s responsible for building the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (nowadays Hawaii State Art Museum), Ali’iolani Ale, the State court house, and the Royal Mausoleum. Although contributing immensely to the architecture and development he left huge debts!
He didn’t have children, and was never married being separated from the love of his life at a very young age.
Lunalilo I – although part of the dynasty, he was not the direct Kamehameha and therefore was not named the Sixth. Lunalilo was an elected monarch that won his throne over David Kalakaua. He was very popular and known as the People’s King. Lunalilo is one of the two kings that is not buried at the Royal Mausoleum, demanding to find his resting place close to his people. He’s buried at the Kawaiahao Church (located by the Mission Houses). With death of Lunalilo the Kamehameha dynasty came to its end.
You will enjoy this lovely island as it is jammed pack with things to do. When you arrive to Oahu in the baggage claim area you will see many free for the taking brochures of things to do. They all have maps and coupons for your use. This will help you to see what there is to do that hold your interest.
If you go to Pearl Harbor arrive very early to ensure a short wait time to get in and note due to heighten security they do not allow anything in that cannot fit into your pockets.
You can also check out the Trolley system as well as the Bus. The trolley is a great way to get around and the red and blue lines are great for sightseeing and you can get on and off the trolley as much as you wish.
Aloha and enjoy your stay
Fondest memory: I will never forget how it feels off step off the airplane and into that beautiful soft tropical air. I have visited the islands countless times and it is always the same every time I travel to the islands.
Favorite thing: Just in case you're wondering why you have to fill in those agricultural forms when you're flying into Hawaii, it's to protect these fragile islands. Plants and animals introduced from elsewhere have wreaked ecological havoc on Hawaii, whose endemic life leads the world's endagered species lists. Evolving in isolation for nearly a million years, those plants and bird that made it to Hawaii were unchallenged for millenia and lost their adaptations associated with avoiding prey. Hence, the arrival of predacious species has challenged their survival. A perfect example is the nene, a Canadian goose that is now Hawaii's state bird, whose survival is threatened by the mongoose, because the goose no longer instinctively knows how to protect its eggs. In fact, the only island on which the nene population is growing is Kaua'i, which happens to be the only island to which the mongoose was not introduced.
It's no accident that Hawaii puts rainbows on its license plates -- there are rainbows everywhere. The nature of the Hawaiian weather means that sun is often shining through rain and midst, creating hued arches almost everywhere. I once saw a complete double-arched rainbow commuting east-bound on route 78. More often, however, you'll see peices of rainbows here and there. Rainbows are one reason to have your camera with you all the time on Oahu -- I've missed more photo opportunities than I can count!
By the way, the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow is often guarded by an ill-humored leprechaun, so don't bother even starting off on the search unless you're armed with a keg of Guinness
You will notice it when you visit here and you certainly would notice it if you lived here: Oahu is far away from everything on earth. In fact, Honolulu is considered the most isolated large city on earth, being farther from any other large city than anywhere else (Perth is considered second in this category).
Of course, the isolation is geographical -- to get to Hawaii you need to fly at least 5 hours from anywhere. We sit on islands amidst the vast North Pacific and even the Pacific Island nations and Alaska are quite distant. But the isolation is also temporal -- three hours behind the U.S. West Coast and 6 hours ahead of Japan or Australia, we share a time zone with very few others. Therefore, all live sporting events are over by the time we get home from work and live events like American Idol (which Andrea watches) or Presidential addresses are never in prime time. If you want to call a friend in Maryland after dinner, you can't -- it's already past midnight there!
Fondest memory: But there are other factors affecting one's feeling of distance, too. First, the newspapers (of which there are two) are horrible, so when you even bother to buy one they don't keep you up on half the things going on. Tornados rip through Florida (where family and friends live)? Who knew? Local TV news is not better (see the earthquake story). North Korea signed a nuclear accord? Last week? Really?
Of course, the weather also makes keeping abreast of events difficult. After all, with perfect temperatures, tropical sunlight and cool breezes all year round, it's hard to make the effort to click through a million internet pages to keep up on the news and stay in touch. We'd much rather be at the beach or hiking the trails.
When I first visited Hawaii, I was quick to notice the use of "Aloha", "Mahalo" and a few other Hawaiian words in conversation and I figured it was just an affectation to make tourists feel like they were in a more exotic locale. However, now that we live here we realize that these words are used in every day life by every resident of Oahu and even appear in front page newspaper stories (e.g. the fatal pedestrian accident occured just ewa of Kahili Street). Mahalo is not used just to thank tourists but is even used to than people over after announcements at the gym. Speaking of the gym, I was once asked if I was "pau" with a piece of equipment -- finished. So don't think of the use of these words sounding fake.
Fondest memory: Here are some good Hawaiian words (and we're sure we've missed a few):
pau hana: end of the day
ohana: family & friends
mauka: mountain side
ewa: towards ewa or west
So, do you think you want to live in paradise? Well, if you do, you'd better come with a full wallet and low expectations. For the quality of house we could buy in Maryland for $400,000 (and we though THAT was overpriced!) we would have to pay over $900,000 here. And if we wanted the same amount of land, too? About $1.5 million. Of course, if you make the decision to buy less house, you may find something of quality below $900,000 but most likely you'll find a termite-infested fixer-upper in a sketchy neighborhood or choose to fight the traffic from Ewa Beach or Mililani to get your cheap house (and who wants to commute for over an hour each day in paradise?).
Still, I'm sure you don't believe us. For those doubters, check http://www.oahure.com which has an exhaustive list of properties for sale. If you check Kailua (where we chose to live) you'll see that we're more or less telling the truth.
Favorite thing: There are two areas that are the best to buy leis. Chinatown has many, many lei stands that sell a HUGE variety of leis. So forget about that boring ol' single orchid lei. Go for the Christina! The second location that is good to buy leis is at the lei stands at the airport. Just remember whenever buying a lei to take back to the mainland that some CANNOT be taken since they have seeds and things that are not allowed to be transported to the mainland for agricultural reasons.
Favorite thing: Hawai'i's unique history has led it to have some very interesting racial backgrounds of it's people. In the United States, people claiming to be of more than one race is about 3% to 4% of the population. In Hawai'i, 25% claim to be of more than one race.
Favorite thing: If you want Kona coffee, be particular about what you purchase. Many coffees are "Kona blends" which will not be the best you can get. Only buy it if it says "100% Kona Coffee", if you want the really good stuff. The blends are much weaker of course and don't have the purest Kona style to them that you can get.
If you like to watch how they make elaborate candles, go to the International Market Place Waikiki, where you will find quite a few stalls like the one shown in the picture.
They have such elaborate designs, of all shapes and sizes, and can bubble wrap them for you to take home.