As noted above, today was a free day - nothing officially planned. I took my time getting up and out because my first stop was going to be that Borders Bookstore that I had seen several times while traveling down the Ala Moana Blvd. and I wanted it to be open.
I waited at the Waikiki Trolley sign in front of the hotel. Two trolleys, each labeled with a pink banner that said "Ala Moana Bound" on it stopped, but I didn't think those were what I wanted. However, when the third such trolley stopped, I got on it anyway. I paid my $2 and rode.
The Ala Moana shopping center is large but not (IMHO) well designed, mainly because it is surrounded with a multi-level parking system that completely hides the mall from the street. You also have to walk through this cave-like place to get to the actual stores, some of which even face the parking lot (in other words, they're not all "inside" the mall like at home). Because the trolley dropped me off at the trolley complex and I had no idea of what my other options were, I walked into the mall and found a directory. That huge mall, and the only bookstore was a Borders Express! I have come to the conclusion that people do not come to Waikiki to read. Anything. At all.
I left the mall and walked up Ala Moana Blvd. I walked and walked, and it was hot and a long walk, but I had no choice. Eventually I was fully rewarded by ending up at the Ward Center (part of a large complex of Ward "Something"s (Ward Farmer's Market, Ward Warehouse, Ward Gateway (under construction), etc). I went into the Borders, shopped around, bought two books and two magazines, and left very happy.
I walked some more along Ala Moana Blvd, looking for lunch. I knew that there was a "restaurant row" somewhere up ahead, and I eventually found it. I wanted sushi, and found it (after passing a Bucca de Beppo, a Dave and Busters, and two movie multiplexes).
I went back to walking, because I had no intention of walking all the way back into town. I could see the Aloha Tower from the place I had eaten, and I walked toward it because I knew there was a trolley stop there. I went into the shops there and got a delicious concoction known as "shave ice" down here - a huge mound of ice with syrup poured on it (basically a water ice by another name, though I've never seen a corner water ice stand dish out that much shaved ice!).
I went over to the trolley stand and got in line. Everyone in line got on one of the other trolleys that I've seen going around (some kind of special transport), but finally a yellow-line trolley came by and I got on it, headed back to Waikiki by way of Ala Moana Mall once again. Due to some construction the trolley took some back ways to get to the trolley complex, where I got a transfer to the pink line that was going back to Waikiki. Two trolleys came by pretty quickly and the long line filed into them quickly. I got into the second one, which broke down as it was pulling out of the parking lot and onto Ala Moana Blvd! Fortunately, another couple of pink line trolleys came by soon, and I was on my way back again.
My goal was to visit the aquarium. I know that the Waikiki Trolley has a stop there, but apparently the Ala Moana trolleys don't - the trolley turned away from the zoo a block early, so I got out and walked some more. The aquarium was small, but nice. I saw some interesting fish and tried to take pictures of many of them (and failed many times, too). I spent more than an hour there, all told.
Afterwards I wanted to go home, of course. Lacking any knowledge of the bus or trolley lines and stops, I walked. My back still hurts! I walked back to Kuhio Ave, stopping at a shop I'd seen the day before for another shave ice. I returned to the hotel, stopping at the ABC store on the corner for some goodies (Pepsi) and some necessities (toothpaste and some aloe lotion for my sunburn - the duck tour yesterday was the first time I'd been out in the sun all day (the other times were on air-conditioned vehicles), though today's walking hadn't helped). I dropped off my purchases and went back out for dinner. I tried the buffet place on the corner (opposite the ABC store) which I'd seen ads for that raved about the place. The ads lied. The choices were somewhat limited (less than an Old Country Buffet, at least at the salad bar), the floors were concrete, it was largely open which meant that the blue-faced doves and the chickadees were out in force - which wasn't helped by the kids throwing muffins to them. The food was okay, but I wouldn't go back.
After dinner, I wandered around a bit. I've wanted to go into some of the tattoo places that also do piercing - I'm looking for some new ear jewelry. I also neglected to get shoes for my SCA garb at home. And lastly, I needed some more CRV3 batteries for my camera (just in case - I've already burned through 1 and with the one in the camera, I only had two more in reserve which worried me because I saw that battery in the camera show a yellow icon while at the aquarium. I managed, with some more walking around, to accomplish all three tasks (the shoes at a Payless, and the batteries at that good old ABC store).
I went back to the room, stopping at the front desk to arrange a taxi for tomorrow's airport ride. Then I went down to the pool to swim for about 40 minutes, including some time in the jacuzzi. At the ABC store I bought a little pool caddy for around my neck, and my pool test proves it is waterproof (my room cardkey stayed perfectly dry). I'm definitely going into the ocean on my return to O'ahu (even though I'll be rather farther from the beach)! And lastly, I did my laundry (so far I've needed to run the dryer a second time - can't pack damp clothes!).
I'm typing this at 10:24 while listening to the news. I am leaving just in time to miss a box jellyfish infestation at Waikiki Beach, but I'm also leaving just a few days before the NASA comet crash, which is supposed to be very visible here in the islands. They're going to put the video feed of it up on the movie screen at the beach on Sunday, but I'll miss it. Too bad.
Next time I write, I'll be in Sydney. Aloha!
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