(In mid-flight, we crossed the international date line and advanced a few hours, which is why this is the second July 19th I've been through.)
I got my luggage, went through US Customs, then caught a cab. The driver took me to the wrong "Waikiki Beach" (the Aston, next door). I got to the right one (the Marriot), and tried to check in. Unfortunately, it was about 12 noon, and they don't guarantee check-in until 3pm - my room wasn't ready. I was tired, not feeling well, and really wanting to lie down for a bit, but that was denied to me. (Note that this was the first time this has happened this entire month-long trip, despite random arrival times.)
I checked my bags at the bell desk and began wandering around. I got lunch at Burger King (the next corner over), then got some tomato juice (proper Campbells finally!) and went to sit and read next to Waikiki Beach. I spent about 25 to 30 minutes doing that, until a park worker came up and shifted everyone sitting on the benches there 'cause she wanted to "clean" (sweep up some sand and leaves). Pretty well disgusted, I got up and went back to the hotel to see if my room was ready yet (it was about 1:45).
The room wasn't (I don't know why it took more than and hour and three quarters to clean it), but this clerk was nice enough to find me another room - a front-tower, front-OF-tower room for $90 more per day. I took the second upgrade, got my bags delivered, and went up to the room. The room is very nice - my previous room was in the back tower, on the side (a very liberal interpretation of "partial ocean view" - probably about as good as the one I had at the SandVilla), but this one is right on the front corner of the front tower. It has two windows, one that doesn't open that faces the ocean and Waikiki Beach (from the 9th floor), and one on the side that opens onto a nice balcony that overlooks this tower's pool, the atrium well down to the ground floor, and, of course, the beach looking west along Kalakaua Ave. The bulge on the balcony allows lets me look right south to the ocean and beach. (It would be nice if they had rinsed the beer off of the balcony, though.) There are two queen beds, a nice table, a very nice couch, another chair (besides the desk's), and a nice armoir that holds a few drawers, the TV, and an empty fridge.
I spent some time unpacking (as much as necessary, not everything) and getting the room arranged (which included getting the rollaway bed removed and dealing with the maintenance folks replacing the air conditioner filter), and then went swimming in the Pacific Ocean at Waikiki Beach.
The water was cool, not what I expected. Still, it was nice. The wave action was mitigated by a stone wall that creates an artificial lagoon just for swimmers. The surfers and body-boarders were all out beyond that breakwater, and catching some nice (if not pipeline-type) waves. I bounced around for a while, then went back to the room when my feet started cramping up. By then it was 4pm. I had a shower (to get the salt off) and then watched TV (Judge Judy), Reno 911, and some other shows (including a couple of versions of Law and Order, which I've gotten a little hooked on because it was pretty much all that was on in Cairns, oddly enough). I headed out for dinner at about 7pm, intended to walk down to the Taco Bell, didn't quite feel well enough, and settled for McDonalds. After getting some drinks at ABC, I returned to the room for the night.
I'm not at all sure what I want to do tomorrow. Probably go to Sea Life Park and/or Hanauma Bay, depending on availability and transportation. I don't intend to get up early for anything, and if I don't feel terribly well, I may just go to the zoo and back to the beach. I hope whatever is wrong with my stomach does go away - I don't really want to waste tomorrow sitting in my hotel room.
Random thoughts: it's nice to be back where the light switches work properly and there are automatic toilets. I saw a submarine out in the ocean as the plane came into O'ahu. It's nice to be back where things don't cost an arm and a leg - my lunch was about $6, and my dinner $5. It's also nice to know what the news folks are talking about when they mention wind speed, temperature, and rainfall (I'm just not a metric kind of guy).
Speaking of TV (and it's nice to have 20 chanels to choose from, as opposed to 4, or maybe 10, and have them showing stuff I know about), Australia has Big Brother (of course - they've got Millionaire, too), and they also have an "uncut" (or "uncensored") version that is shown after 10pm and with a M(ature) rating. And uncensored it is - I caught a bit of it (again, that limited set of choices) and it happened to be a shower scene with total nudity of both men and women. I decided I didn't need to watch.
They've got these odd comedy shows, too - sort of talk shows, sort of skit shows. One is called Glass House, another is Spicks and Specks, and another is called the Memphis Trousers (a couple of 60ish year olds chatting about highlights of events in Australia, but it's (supposedly) broadcast from Omaha, NE (I think - not Memphis). Very strange). There's a show that involves 24 (or 26?) briefcases, and one person chooses one, then picks a set amount of the others to reveal what is in them. The idea is that they get what is in their suitcase (money amounts from $0.50 to $200,000, or a car) unless they take the deal that is presented to them after they open their latest set of suitcases (which are not then available for them). The bank offer is calculated by what is left on the board, and can get pretty high, but never as high as the highest value on the board.
There are also some British imports - I watched one called Black Books (a guy named Black owns a bookstore and employs two interesting characters, one of them the "new girl" from Green Wing). There were also a couple of episodes of Little Britain (for some reason called Very Little Britain). Not to mention Doctor Who, of course.
I guess that's all for today.
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