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TRAVELSCRIBBLES is a blog featuring travel reports, advice, and idea sharing for those interested in both domestic and international exploration.


Roger Sauer and his wife Donna have spent years traveling the world but have many places yet to see. You can follow their past and current travels here as well as post comments and questions about places they have visited.


Roger and Donna will be travelling to New Zealand and Australia in September.



Donna and Roger own Disney Vacation Club memberships at Old Key West and Beach Cub resorts in Walt Disney World. They also have timeshare interests in Maui, Cancun, and Palm Springs.
Feel free to contact them at 503-585-3473 if you would like rent one of these properties.















Where Do You Want To Go Today?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Portland to Honolulu to Auckland


September 17-19, 2013: HONOLULU to AUCKLAND

 

We arrived in Honolulu on time after an uneventful flight from PDX. The walk to baggage claim was a long one, but our bags came through quickly. Honolulu International Airport is a complex place and its different terminals and the need for WikiWiki shuttles careening around the roof from gate to gate lead to confusion- a confusion that plagues even local residents as our experience the next day would demonstrate.

 

We got aboard a shuttle to the Alamo car rental office a few blocks away and despite the long line we were able to get our paperwork done in a few minutes in a kiosk as we were members of the Alamo frequent renter program. Two rentals a year make me frequent? Go figure. Our car was a white Fiat 500, a car I have seen advertised at home. Room for two people and three bags. The engine sounded like a sewing machine and it really revved up going up the hill onto the H1 highway, one of the busiest in the states.

 

Our destination was Aulani, a Disney resort we had stayed at in 2012 not long after it opened. We'd be there less than 24 hours. After a stop at Safeway for some snacks that we would convert into a meal later in the day, we arrived at Aulani, situated on one of the small coves carved into the Pacific shore at Ko'Olina west of Honolulu. As we had pre registered, all we had to do was mention our name and the attendants at the porte cochere called us by name. Our bags were retrieved and we were presented with our room keys and resort map and briskly taken to our room on the 7th floor.

 

The room was a studio with queen bed, large bathroom, and a sleeper sofa. Dark woods and tropical greens and browns predominated and a white and blue quilt with decorative "hidden Mickey" designs lay at the foot of the bed. The room looked out at the Pacific with the resort's water park and recreational area spread out between our tower and another across the way. The Waikalohe Valley water park below features luxurious foliage surrounding pools, hot tubs, a lazy river water feature where guests can float along its stream, and a mountain where more adventurous souls plunge down water two water slides- on for folks with inner tubes and another for those without.

 

Our first activity was to check out the gift shops for some Disney pin trading, an activity that we enjoy. Later after some wine, cheese, and apples, we tried the hot tub and a circuit around the lazy river in a tandem inner tube. Very refreshing.

 

After a little television and the fact that we had been up since 2 AM we were asleep rather early.

 

So early that I arose about 4 AM. Better, I guess, to make the most of the day.

 

We had a small breakfast and checked out the gift shops again and I even had time to visit the hot tub. We left by 9:30 AM or so and stopped for gas. The Fiat took all of 1.07 gallons. Of course, we then took a wrong turn off the H1 and proceeded up another highway (the H3) which had no turn-offs until we were in sight of the north side of Oahu, a detour that was unplanned but which provided some beautiful views of the North Shore and some towering cliffs.

 

We turned around and headed back and arrived at the Alamo office where our fuel gauge still red full despite the side trip. Thank you Fiat for making this trip economical.

 

Once at the terminal we were deposited at the "Hawaiian Airlines International Check-in area" by a driver who seemed to know where we were to go. This was not correct. Once we found we could have been dropped off at an earlier stop, we trudged with our four bags (yes, we moved some things into another small duffel) toward the counter, where we were told to reverse our path toward the north end of the facility where another person told us to go back. Finally we asked a Hawaiian employee to escort us to where we should be- an anonymous kiosk. At that point it would have been easy to check in except for the fact that the device could not read our passports. Time passed and eventually we were given our luggage tags, made our way through the TSA line, and through the use of the WikiWiki shuttle on the roof, made our way to Gate 25, one of the    International Gates at HNL.

 

At the gate we met another couple from Salem. The husband looked familiar but I could not place him. After a chat we learned he is a defense attorney in Salem. His clients were described as "bad guys" and included the father and son who had bombed a Woodburn bank killing two police officers a few years back. He and his wife flew First Class. Apparently crime pays in mysterious ways.

 

The flight to Aukland took nine hours though it left Wednesday afternoon and arrived Thursday evening because we crossed the International Dateline.

 

We arrived in the rain and customs did not take long. But because we had packed some leftover cheese and salami in a bag and been foolish enough to declare it, we spent some time in line while a customs agent inspected our food. Do you know what trans Pacific cheese and salami looks like? Not pretty.

 

A SuperShuttle to our hotel was obtained outside the terminal and we quickly found ourselves zooming around the city. We had no sense of direction or distance and arrived at the Best Western President downtown within 45 minutes.

 

The hotel was a business oriented one and our room in the tower was on the first floor which was on the second floor in our view. It was like a dorm room and Donna was not pleased. I trudged down to the desk and after some lengthy discussion with the international night crew of Yang Yang, Raj, and Peter, we were able to get a room on the fifth floor with a living room, kitchenette, and bedroom. Very Spartan. But roomy.

 

Having been up since 2 AM Auckland time, we slept soundly.