September 20: Travel Tips from Day One on Oahu

We left for the airport at 4:35 a.m. Our friend Davy was super kind to provide our transportation to the Oh-So-Easy-to-Navigate Huntsville airport. The airplane ride to Atlanta lasted about 35 minutes.

For those of you that don’t normally ride planes for such short trips, you are not about to crash when you start going back down right after the pilot announces that the plane has just reached top ascension.

I was pretty certain we were going to die before we even made it onto our flight to Oahu. Absolutely terrifying. Thankfully, my husband appeased my worries.

After landing in Atlanta, we walked from Terminal “B” to “E” (about a 15 or 20 minute walk), which set us up well for the 9 ½ hour plane ride we were about to embark on after our 2 hour layover of Caribou Coffee and McDonald’s. Mmm.

Side note about traveling: If you have time to walk from terminal to terminal, do it! Don't take the easy route by riding the tram or moving sidewalk. Get some exercise in, especially before a long trip. It will reduce swelling and possible dangerous blood clots. Also drink lots of water and walk around on the plane during long flights to revitalize blood circulation.

The 9 ½ hour trip really was not that bad. JD and I entertained ourselves by reading books, watching movies on the sweet Delta TVs on the backs of the seats in front of us (Bridesmaids and Pirates of the Caribbean IV) and I tried my hand at crocheting. Key word:


. I’m still trying to get the hang of it. Let’s not forget the never-ending bags of pretzels, peanuts, cookies and [diet] Coke. We had both dinner and lunch (in that order). I suppose both meals deserve the title of “airplane food”… not too delicious.

Picture taken at Paradise Cove in Hawaii during our luau adventure.

And then – there it was – the island of Oahu. The indescribable beauty of Hawaii from the view of the airplane literally brought tears to my eyes. Literally. The ocean was so clear and blue with a light green tint flowing up to the shore. We landed safely as JD consoled me saying, “Are you crying? Are you OK?” I sighed and thought to myself, “I have arrived. I can't believe I'm almost finished with my “Things to Do in My Lifetime” List. All I have to do now is see Stomp on Broadway and go to California!” I continued to allow tears of excitement to fall from my eyes. I couldn’t believe I was finally in Hawaii… more importantly, with my sweet husband!

We went through the airport, grabbed our luggage and went in search of Hertz, our faithful car rental company. We waited about 15-20 minutes for a bus that drove us about 10 yards. [We most certainly would have walked if we had known it was that close!] A tiny white Nissan Versa Rent-A-Car awaited our arrival. Our luggage barely fit, but we managed. The traffic on Oahu is pretty vicious. It took us an hour to get to our hotel, which is technically 8 miles from the airport. You’ll hear more stories about that topic later.

We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Our first eatery was none other than Bennihana’s located in the village. Though it is not exactly Hawaiian cuisine, we love Japanese food and were exhausted. Therefore, it seemed like the best choice... and it was. This water mill captivated my attention every time we passed by the restaurant.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village is jam-packed with lovely employees and fantastic customer service. The front concierge hooked us up with a room in the tower of our choice.

They also gave us a coupon book for all restaurants and shops in the Village, a free Hilton Hawaiian Village beach bag, and a free ukulele CD by one of the state’s top ukulele artists.

As soon as we got settled in, the sushi and hibachi chicken resting in our stomachs cried out for a 16-hour hibernation period. Oh, the guts and glory of traveling. We have found during our travels that sleeping after a long flight is not rest.

Regardless of how many hours we sleep, our bodies still feel pretty gross and our minds hazy. “Rest” comes in the nights to follow.