Part of our vacation package was a welcome breakfast our first morning on the island. Most of us headed down to the lobby in our pajamas, thinking breakfast was at our hotel. It was not. We ran upstairs to change and grab our cameras as quickly as we could. We then boarded a bus and were taken to another hotel a few blocks away. This is when I learned that "continental breakfast" is a pastry and a glass of orange juice. They also offered tea, and I learned there were ways to drink tea other than over ice. It's quite tasty served hot with milk or cream, too.
Breakfast was actually a sales pitch for snorkel tours, dinner sails, luaus, and sightseeing trips. I now know that it's best to book your tours at the activities desk of your hotel. They have all the tours offered at the breakfast and more, without the hard sell tactics. You can even rent a car.
After breakfast, it was Hilo Hattie's turn to kidnap us. Hilo Hattie is an excellent place to shop for souvenirs, but you can get a ride any time. They have several pickup locations in Waikiki. They bus was also scheduled to take us on a tour of the pineapple and macadamia nut factories. We didn't want to spend our day visiting these places, so we declined the "free tour" and walked back to our hotel. It was a beautiful morning and not an unpleasant walk.
Our route took us past the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (The Pink Palace), The Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, and Waikiki Beach. About halfway back to our hotel, I spotted an old woman lying half on the sidewalk and half in the street. Thinking she was sick or had suffered a fall, I stopped to ask if she was okay. "I'm awful hungry," she responded. Another first; we didn't have homeless people living in the streets of Magnolia, Texas. They try to keep them out of sight of the toursists, but there are plenty in Honolulu.
I don't remember the rest of the trip in chronoligical order. The next seven days are a blur of luaus, snorkel tours, Australian rugby players, beaches, and concerts. I'll post the highlights in no particular order beginning next week. If you have travel stories of your own...post them and link up here: Travel Tip Thursday.
Today's tip: Unless you are traveling with a tour group and there will be information or announcements you need to hear, skip the free breakfast. It's a high-pressure sales event designed to separate you from your money before you have time to spend it elsewhere.