Hawaiian Vacation: October 2013

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Thursday, October 10 - From the Big Island to Oahu

We took it easy this morning which actually let us see something we'd forgotten was happening for so many of the other visitors around us.

As it turns out, we were on the Big Island as the World Championship Ironman Competition was gearing up. Kona was swarmed with athletes and personnel from all over the world, along with all the media and hype that goes with such an event. While we weren't on the island on the actual event day, we did get to see the Underwear Race. People came out wearing all kinds of crazy stuff from fat suits to Superman capes, and carrying anything from their nation's flag, to an inflatable giraffe. There was even a guy dressed as a banana being chased by his buddy dressed as a gorilla.

Fun Ironman Facts:
The one-day event is a triathlon which includes a 2.4 mile swim, then a 112 mile bike ride, then a standard 26.2 mile marathon.
This year's winner was Frederik Van Lierde of Belgium.
Don't say we didn't tell you!

View photos from the morning (19 images)

We then checked out of our hotel and took the Highway 190 scenic drive. As we said, the landscape can be pretty stark, so the scenery wasn't so scenic. We did though see some wild goats strutting their stuff on the plains. After gassing up in Waimea we headed over to the "real" coffee tour.

The Mountain Thunder Coffee Company offers free tours to guests each hour on the hour during the day. There are some paid tours that go more in depth, but well, you know us. The tour lasted about 30 minutes and went through the coffee process and showed us some of the various machines used. We also learned that the signs we'd been seeing on the road for "Buying Cherry" meant that that particular location was buying the coffee bean cherries. The tour ends, at the gift shop where the guide explains the different blends, roasts and products. Not bad for a free activity!

View photos from Montain Thunder (18 images)

We found a spot to hang out for a while and eat some lunch at a little unnamed beach park on Alii Drive south of Kailua-Kona.

View photos from the afternoon (10 images)

Then it was time to go to the airport for our flight to Oahu which put us in Honolulu about 5:30pm.

And now, Oahu...

We stayed near Waikiki Beach on Oahu at the Hyatt Place. We were pleased that this location included breakfast, even though we don't really know the cost break down. We were unable to secure a self-parking spot at the hotel our first night, so we paid to park across the street. Early the next morning, we made a bee-line for the valet stand and secured one of their 15 spots for the rest of our stay.

We set out from the hotel toward dinner, walking down Kuhio Avenue which ran by our hotel. Dinner was at Fatty's Chinese Fast Food. It wasn't great, but it was quick and cheap -- dinner for 2 in Waikiki for $11? We'll take it! We got the meal deal and sat outside the door since the place was filled with cooking smoke and all 12 seats inside were taken. Sitting outside, Ginger noticed a cute chotchkies shop and got some necklaces to take apart and make into bracelets. You can't beat 5 for a dollar deals!

Then we strolled through the open air "International Market" nearby (if you like to bargain and deal, this is the place for you), hitting Kalakaua Avenue (along Waikiki Beach) where we saw all kinds of street artists.

View other photos from the day (7 images)