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Writing by Jenny Wood ~ Web Design by Andy Wood

Day 1, Aug. 7, 2002 - Wednesday

Welcome friends and family to "The Wood Family's Hawaiian Holiday." We hope you enjoy reading about our best vacation ever. Our adventures started with an overnight stay in San Francisco. We got a great deal from AAA on a hotel close to the San Francisco Airport that would also park our car during our Hawaii trip - all for $125. That's cheaper than just parking at the airport, plus it was very nice not to have to get up at 4:00 am to get to the airport by 6:00. Instead, we got up at 5:00 and began our first trip to the beautiful islands of Hawaii. The flight was not much to talk about but we got a treat in the Honolulu airport. Our "Pleasant Holidays" deal included a "traditional" lei greeting, complete with photo op. The leis are lovely fresh pink orchids with some carnations. They'll only last a day or two but they're very pretty.

The hotel is a tall tower in Waikiki called the Ohana Maile Sky Court. It's just fine for our purposes. Oahu is very pretty. The ocean is a lovely aquamarine color near the shore and there are lots of exotic flowers growing around town. Ohau is more of an urban area than what we hear about Kauai, next week's destination. Oahu is where we'll do lots of touristy things like hula dances, a Don Ho concert, and a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center. Today, we walked around Waikiki, getting to know our surroundings and beginning our search for the best buys in Aloha-wear.

We had lunch at Duke's Canoe Club, right on the beach. It is named for Duke Kahanamoku, Hawaii's most famous surfer and swimmer. He won several Olympic medals for swimming and introduced surfing to the mainland. The view at the restaurant was beautiful and the food was great. We also enjoyed lunching with lovely little birds that came to search out some crumbs. In the afternoon, we met Robyn. She is our Pleasant Holidays agent that sits in the office in the hotel. She helped us to book some big ticket events, like the Polynesian cultural center and the luau we want to go to next week. She was great! Very enthusiastic and she appeared to really like us, too: "You guys are so cute! You're so adorable!" Vienna and I found a couple of Sarongs that we'll gladly wear to the beach and Andy bought his first two Aloha shirts of the trip. I'm on the lookout for a nice aloha dress that isn't too pricey and isn't a mumu. Dinner was also very good. We tried a traditional Japanese place where we cooked our food at our table. At first, it seemed like a bit of a dive but after the meal we really liked it. The place was called the Royal Yamiki and I'd recommend it to Waikiki visitors.

On the way to the hotel, we saw a gorgeous sunset on the beach and a statue of Duke that looks like the surfer stature in Santa Cruz, only Duke has his arms out in a welcoming pose. After that we returned to the hotel for a good night's sleep. Plus, we were a bit tired from the day and the fact that we are three hours off from California time. It feels like midnight to us, rather than 8:00. Tomorrow, we're looking forward to our first day of basking on the beach and doing not much of anything . . . except seeing Don Ho in the evening! Yay, Don Ho!