29/30 April 2018 – Waikiki, Hawaii – Day 5 – Sad Day, Happy Day – The End

Today is the last day of our adventure and we have a lot of mixed emotions. Happy to be going back to our son, Paden, our home, bed and TVs. Sad that this amazing trip was ending.

We departed our home in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 6 February 2018. We have been gone for 83 days now and won’t arrive home until tomorrow morning, 30 April 2018 for a total of 84 days. Originally this trip was supposed to be for 105 days, taking us to 21 May 2018, but as we have mentioned, we were just getting exhausted and cut out many places to visit. Looking back now, we probably should have taken a good week and just rested up at some resort, totally stress free. That way we could have continued and seen more of what was originally on our list of places to go.

We have stayed in 7 countries and 21 cities with quite a few day visits to other cities.

  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Pai, Thailand
  • Phuket, Thailand
  • Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
  • Krabi/AoNang, Thailand
  • Ko Samui, Thailand
  • Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand
  • Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Battambang, Cambodia
  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Sihanoukville, Cambodia
  • Koh Rong Sanloem, Cambodia
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
  • Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
  • Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
  • Brisbane, Australia
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Waikiki, Hawaii

We eliminated 11 cities in 4 countries:

  • Ko Tao, Thailand
  • Preah Sibanouk, Cambodia
  • Langkawi, Malaysia
  • Penang, Malaysia
  • Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • Malang, Indonesia
  • Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia
  • Gili Air, Indonesia
  • Lombok, Indonesia
  • Komodo Island, Indonesia

We slept in a bit this morning as check out wasn’t until noon and our flight wasn’t until 3:55 pm today. We headed to Wolfgang Puck’s for breakfast. It was okay. Not a big fan off Cool Whip, an edible oil product, being used instead of real whipped cream. One would think with the name Wolfgang Puck’s on the sign, you would get the real thing, but not the case at this location.

Went for our last stroll down the main drag and took a few more pictures. The ABC store that seems to be every couple of hundred feet here and that the locals refer to as the “All Blocks Covered” store. That is definitely true!

Thought we would check out Alohilani Resort just for the heck of it. Talk about one massive fish tank in the lobby. Apparently it is a two story, 280,000-gallon saltwater tank. 

Time to head back to the hotel and check out. We had arranged a shuttle to the airport through the hotel. So convenient and easy to do. We arrived at the airport a little before 2:00 pm in plenty of time. If you ever need to buy a lei, the airport had lots of them. Silk and real flowers.

Came across this Mexican restaurant and decided to pass some time in here.

The happy couple. Time to order!

Doug ordered a beer, I ordered a margarita and we split some tortilla chips and guacamole. OMG this guacamole was so good. It was topped with pickled jalapeños. Yum Yum

Our gate was in another terminal of the airport so we headed over to it.

It was getting really real now and we were heading home. Still time to change our minds!

We were flying Honolulu to Chicago, Chicago to Ottawa. Our next flight from Chicago wasn’t until tomorrow at 6:30 am. However, with the time change, we were scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 5:08 am and therefore wouldn’t be waiting long for our final flight to Ottawa.

And we were off! Goodbye Honolulu/Waikiki, Hawaii. We will be back some time.

Sure miss the great meals that were free and we always got on our Asia flights. Well not all tasted great to me, but were for others. Even on 1 hour flights we usually got a quick meal. Free pretzels on this flight and we purchased the M&M and Hummus. Plus the cost of the flights over in SE Asia were so much cheaper.

We dozed a little on the flight, but didn’t sleep as it wasn’t night time for us yet. We were still on Hawaii time. We landed in Chicago around 5:00 am. No customs to deal with as we were flying from the USA to the USA. We would have to deal with customs when we got home in Canada. Made our way to the next gate and final gate of this trip.

We landed on time in Ottawa, Canada and had to line up at customs. Customs wasn’t very busy as it was morning in the Ottawa airport, which isn’t a very big airport compared to many of the airports we have now been to. Thinking back to some of the customs lines we have stood in during the last three months, this one was nothing.

We had packed all of our souvenirs, except for the t-shirts, in our daypacks in case Customs wanted to see any of them. Good thing we did, as the Customs Agent did want to see a couple items. We had bought 2 wooden flutes as gifts and a small wooden surfboard plaque in Bali. They allowed them in, but did inform us that unfinished wood is not usually allowed. Since they were able to inspect the items and they were small enough, they could tell there were no bugs in them.

We called for an Uber to take us home as Paden was working and we couldn’t be sure exactly when we would land.

We were home! ♥ We are still old, but no longer lost. ♥

Did we have a favourite place? I don’t think either of us did. We really enjoyed every place that we can think of right now. Some more than others maybe.

Maybe didn’t enjoy the spiders, bugs or lizards so much! At least I didn’t!

Would we do this again? In a heartbeat! ♥♥

Did we learn anything from this experience? More than you can imagine.

82 Blog entries!

Over 17,000 photos taken between my 2 cameras and my iPhone X !!!!

We flew over 41,808 km (25,978 miles) and traveled hundreds, probably even thousands of kilometers by van, car, bus, boat and ferry. We may have put a few steps on the Fitbit also.

6 – 28 February 2018247,794338184.1159409
1 – 31 March 2018317,675415232.1175336
1 – 30 April 2018280,204296206.1571171

None of these months beat our numbers from December 2016 when we were in Vietnam traveling.

Thank you to everyone who followed along, whether it was for one day or for all 84 days. Hope you enjoyed it almost as much as we did.

If you ever feel like going on a virtual trip again, please feel free to re-read the blog. It will be available for at least the next year.

Bye for now…….until next time! Maybe!

28 April 2018 – Waikiki, Hawaii – Day 4 – Diamond Head

Doug and I had compromised, I did the Pearl Harbor tour and he would do Diamond Head. I really wanted to hike up Diamond head. When we lived in Calgary, AB, we did a lot of hiking. Oh the good ‘ole days.

We grabbed breakfast at McDonalds. We had checked into how to get to Diamond Head and it was super simple. One bus and the stop was close to the hotel. We headed out around 11:00 am and took Bus #23 to the base of the Diamond Head National Park. Here is a photo of our hotel from the street.

We arrived at the entrance to Diamond Head around 11:45 and started walking in.

We came up to a tunnel that we had to walk through. Narrow sidewalks and quite busy with traffic. A little scary.

We survived and came out the other side. Thinking we should have looked into this trolley! We saw a few trolleys. It was actually a further walk from the main road than I had thought it would be, but definitely doable, since we were able to do it.

We finally got to the base and purchased our entrance tickets. I have to chuckle at the tours that list entrance fees included for Diamond Head. All of US $1.00 but no refunds now!

Had a quick pitstop at the washrooms as we had quite the hike coming up. Of course I had to take a picture of the sign. Haven’t seen a good one in a while. Do not wash clothing. I guess that means no hand washing for us here. Guess it is a good thing we didn’t bring any with us.

Saw some of the local wildlife both before and after our hike. The red headed birds are Brazilian Cardinals and the red butted bird is a Red-Vented Bulbul. I have no idea what the 4 legged animal is.

A last check before you head up.

We were off! Don’t let this level ground trick you.

It was a gradual incline at the start.

Saw a couple of guys that must be military practicing, as who else would lug huge backpacks up Diamond Head?

The path slowly started to deteriorate and get steeper and the switchbacks started.

The view was getting nicer.

More switchbacks and steeper terrain.

You can see the entrance to the park in the distance.

We were getting there.

There were even tunnels way up here. I really dislike tunnels.

We made it to one of the first lookout points. Someone felt sorry for me trying to take selfies, so offered to take our photo for us. Thank you kind person.

In the distance to the right you can see a couple of old bunkers. My camera has a pretty good zoom on it for a point and shoot camera. I never bring my DSLR as it is too bulky when traveling with backpacks only.

And still MORE stairs. By now I felt like the little engine that could….I think I can, I think I can!


People have a really hard time following instructions on signs. Wonder how many have fallen off?

The view from up here was pretty spectacular!

There was an old bunker up here that you could go in.

And not to be forgotten, there was a spiral staircase up here. I HATE spiral staircases!!!! I don’t like heights, I don’t like open stairs and I don’t like small spaces. Spiral staircases often have all three. But I wasn’t hiking all the way up here and not going up them.

Another bunker and yet another staircase.

The view from us here was absolutely worth the hike up. According to my Fitbit it was the equivalent of 59 floors. Not the most I have ever done, but not too shabby either. When we were in Vietnam we did over 100 floors ones day.

Now it was time to start heading back down. What goes up must come down. That includes us today.

We did it! We made it back down and it was only 1:45 pm. Doubt that was any record time, but we had hiked all the way up there.

I bought myself a “I hiked Black Diamond” t-shirt and a certificate. LOL We also indulged in a pineapple-coconut shaved ice for me and a banana smoothie for Doug. The pineapples sure did look tempting though.

Now to walk back to the bus stop. Oh my, that seems so far away now. But first, quick! Let’s get a selfie in the road in front of the tunnel. Good thing that wasn’t a lot of traffic coming in at this time and we were facing the traffic leaving, so knew if we had to move.

Made it back to the bus stop and had to wait 45 minutes for our bus to show up. Many other routes showed, but not ours. Finally made it back to the hotel and we needed to rest up a bit before heading out again. We were going to head to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner tonight and it was a good walk away. This is a picture of where we hiked up to today. I took the picture from outside our hotel room.

We headed out again around 5:30 pm after resting for an hour or so. Thought we would walk along the beach for a bit on our way to the restaurant. The weather had been overcast most of the time we had been here, which wasn’t really what I think, when I think of Hawaii. I think of hot and sunny. Oh well, we had had lots of sunshine that past almost 3 months.

We walked along the beach as far as we could and then headed off onto the road. We couldn’t believe what we saw when we got to the road!!!!

It was a SPAM JAM Festival!!!! Yes a festival all about the canned meat, SPAM! They had blocked off a mile of so of the main road for this festival. They even had portable bank machines in vans on the side streets to get cash from. It was honestly like nothing we had ever seen before. The crowds were insane! They had live entertainment set up in a few spots. Every meal imaginable made with SPAM. SPAM souvenirs.

The crowds were INSANE!

We finally made it to the Cheesecake Factory and were given a seat beside the gardens. It was so beautiful and not crowded. Guess most people were at the Spam Jam Festival.

As the sun was going down, they went out and lite the torches. An extra added touch.

Placed our orders and got our drinks. It was so nice to sit down and relax after so much walking today. First round I had a Blood Orange Martini and Doug his usual Shiraz. It was delicious.

Dinner was absolutely delicious, but the servings were just humongous. Doug had Spicy Cashew Chicken and I had Angel Hair Pasta with shrimp. Guess Doug was already missing the Asian vibe. Actually we were both already missing SE Asia and may have been tempted to go back, except that our flights home were all booked and tomorrow.

Second round was a Lemon Drop Martini for me and Doug once again a glass of Shiraz.

We were so full, but there was no way I was coming to the Cheesecake Factory and NOT getting cheesecake. I got the Chris’ Outrageous Cheesecake (Chocolate Chip Coconut Cheesecake with layers of Chocolate Cake, Browned Coconut Pecan Frosting) and Doug ordered the Key Lime Cheesecake (Key Lime Pie in a Cheesecake! Deliciously Tart and Creamy on a Vanilla Crumb Crust). Our bill also reflected that we were no longer in SE Asia. I also had an issue with the waiter and my debit/VISA card. He somehow messed it up and put it through more than once and then had to void it. All I could think was, is this going to be a repeat of Singapore and Indonesia? Thankfully, when we got home and I got my bill, everything was good. And my card still worked.

It was time to walk back, yup, walk back, to the hotel. The Christmas store looked so pretty all lite up at night. We had already bought our Hawaii Christmas ornament a couple days ago.

The crowds for SPAM JAM were even more insane than earlier.

There was a cruise ship leaving port as we walked back.

We got back to our hotel and crashed. The bar looked pretty lively, but that a pass for us. We had done 14,632 steps today. That is along with the 59 floors recorded.

It was cheesecake and bed. Tomorrow was a travel day.

27 April 2018 – Waikiki, Hawaii – Day 3 – Pearl Harbor Tour

Today was our Robert’s Hawaii Star and Strips Pearl Harbor tour. We were being picked up at our hotel at 9:05 am, so had to get up at a reasonable hour and get breakfast. Hmmm, McDonalds? No, we headed off to Starbucks. LOL

Took a quick photo of our bus as there are SO MANY tour busses and it could be easy to get on the wrong one. So far we have never done that, but never say never. Took about 30 minutes to get everyone loaded and to Pearl Harbor. The rules are enforced and no bags are allowed.

The day was to include time in the museum, a tour of the USS Arizona Memorial and a self tour of the Battleship Missouri. We didn’t have much time at all in the Road to War Museum as our shuttle to the USS Arizona Memorial was at 10:30 and it was already 10:00. I was good with that, but I am sure Doug would have enjoyed more time in the museum area.

The USS Arizona Memorial was closed indefinitely in order to do repairs the week after we were there, due to critical structural and safety issues to the monument’s loading dock and visitor ramp. Apparently there were also cracks on the outside walls of the monument. Good thing it didn’t collapse while we were there!

The memorial straddles the hull of the sunken battleship and there is an opening in the floor where you can see the sunken decks.

The names of all those killed on the Arizona.

We headed back over to the main area, where we were given more time to explore the exhibits before heading over to the Battleship Missouri. Practiced taking a few more selfies. Only took 5 attempts to get this one with both the Memorial and the Battleship between us. You will probably have to zoom in to see them though.

This is the USS Bowfin, a WWII diesel submarine which you can tour, but was not included in our package. I’ve toured a submarine before, so definitely did not want to do another one. Once was more than enough. I don’t know how people can live on submarines.

This is a Mark 14 Steam-driven Torpedo

This is one of the anchors from the USS Arizona

There were many other displays that we saw, but you will all have to go to see them.

It was now time to head over to Ford Island and to tour the Battleship Missouri. Back in July 2008 we had had a private tour of the Canadian frigate, HMCS Montreal in Halifax, NS, so touring another ship was not on the top of my to do list. But Doug enjoys military stuff.

And of course there is a gift shop at the end. It was after 3:00 pm by now and time to head back to the bus as we were departing at 3:30 pm. It had been a long day already and we still had places to see on this tour. We had a few drive by places and I took lots of pictures of who knows what now. National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, Hawaii State Capitol Grounds, Honolulu City Hall and Kawaiahao Church.

But this place I know from watching Hawaii Five-0. Iolani Palace and King Kamehameha Statue

Saw some great graffiti and some not so great.

We finally got back to the hotel around 5:00 pm and went to rest up and freshen up before once again heading out for dinner. We had also been told about the possibility of fireworks tonight and wanted to see them.

Headed out for dinner about an hour later and we weren’t going too far. Found this place, Cheeseburger in Paradise and thought it would be perfect. Drinks were great. My burger not so much

We had to sit at the bar first while we waited for a table so of course ordered a couple of beverages. After all, it had been a long day. I had a Blue Hawaiian and Doug had a Mojito. We may or may not of had another one or two at the table with dinner.

It’s All Good

After dinner we headed across the street by the beach to hopefully catch the fireworks. Unfortunately we could not see the fireworks from where we were. We did have a nice chat with 2 Australian ladies. That was until a cranky vagrant on the other side of the rock wall yelled up at us that we were keeping him awake. AND he threw sand at us.

We grabbed a couple of Haagen-Dazs ice creams at the ABC store and took them back to the hotel. Enjoyed them while we relaxed and watched tv. Another busy day tomorrow.