What does a girl do when she’s 22 and has everything going for her? She goes on her first international holiday with one of her girlfriends, of course!
I started planning my first international holiday with my girlfriend Miss C, when I met Mister. Being the free spirited sort, I told him I was still going and he was fine with it. He had officially asked me out a week before I left but that’s another story for another time.

Miss C and I have been friends for years and one day out of nowhere she said to me “let’s go on a holiday”. We discussed possible places for a week until we settled on Hawaii. We still don’t know why but we had made the right decision. We were there for a total of 10 days in July (their summer our winter, it was perfect!).

It was 2008 and we arrived at Honolulu Airport at 11.00am after a 10 hour connecting flight via Sydney from Melbourne. I had had about three hours sleep so you can imagine how I looked! Needless to say, I was wide awake when we landed. OH MY GOD I WAS IN HAWAII! OH MY GOD I WAS IN ANOTHER COUNTRY!! As soon as we arrived at the hotel, we showered and were ready to go exploring this beautiful island. Of course our first couple of days we didn’t venture to far out of Waikiki, where we were staying. On our arriving day lunch time was approaching and I had to try McDonald’s. If I can offer any advice, do not order a large meal from any McDonald’s in the United States. It’s not like a large meal from Australia. It was huge! After eating, we just had to go to the beach. It was spectacular. I had never seen anything like it before. I’m not a big fan of Melbourne beaches so this was simply breathtaking for me! Miss C and I didn’t have our bikini’s on so we just got our feet wet. Unlike Melbourne’s beaches, the water was warm and soothing.
Later that evening our hotel was right next to the International Market Place. For all travellers to Hawaii make sure you go there even if you don’t plan on buying anything. It’s huge, out in the open and so much fun. I bought a clam that housed a pearl. The Hawaiians have a tradition where once you purchase a clam, they have to ring a bell. It was really funny because after a while you would hear someone buying a pearl. With that you can proceed to get it made into a necklace or take it home and do what you would like with it.

Like many tourists, I had to visit the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbour and it just so happened we went on the 4th of July. It was so beautiful for something so tragic. Many men lost their lives that day during World War Two when the ship was bombed by the Japanese. From land you have to get a boat out to the memorial built right on top of the ship that was struck. You also are not allowed to talk inside the memorial as a sign of respect. Many names of the deceased are carved along the walls of the memorial and you really do get a haunting sense of young lives lost fighting for their country. Back on land because it was 4th of July, there was a special presentation featuring survivors from this disaster. It was sad listening to their stories yet I feel grateful that I had this opportunity to listen first hand.
Later that evening Waikiki stops and the whole town turns into a massive party. Music surrounds the streets of Waikiki celebrating this significant time on the American calendar.

Miss C and I became friends with two members of the American Navy. Lucky for us because they showed us around and even let us on board their ship that was stationed at Pearl Harbour as well as showing us the best clubs and restaurants on the island. One place you must visit is Senior Frogs. It’s a bar and plays the best music, plus it’s also a venue where all Navy personnel from many countries can just let their hair down. After about a week I was starting to miss the Australian accent and one night we met Australian Navy. We had a great time and enjoyed talking really fast as the American’s didn’t understand us!

For all shoppers out there the Ala Moana Shopping Mall is the place to be. It made me laugh because there would be Sears (kind of like Target) right next to Louis Vuitton! Strange combination but it worked for me because I didn’t have to spend a lot of time walking if I wanted to look at different stores. We got lost so many times inside but I was happy because I love shopping! At the time the American Dollar was on par with the Australian so I didn’t have to worry about conversion and was able to purchase many brand name items because they were so much cheaper! We were exhausted that day!

I always believe when in Rome (I’m half Roman and will tell you my Roman adventures another day) do as the Romans do, so naturally we were invited to attend a Luau. I didn’t really know exactly what a luau was but we enjoyed the experience. It is a traditional feast, huge meals and spectacular performances. We met an Australian couple there and had a really fabulous time eating and participating in the performances.

I’ve never been snorkelling before until one day Miss C and I went on a tour to the North Shore for a snorkelling adventure. And what an adventure! The ocean was deep but once you get your head under you can see the fish and coral. I think we were the only Australian’s there as the rest of the tourists were American’s who thought we were New Zealander’s (really, our accents sound the same to you?). Snorkelling, to me, was by far the highlight of our trip. The water was blue and cool, the air was hot, the coral was all different colours and fish were out and about. I saw everything I was hoping to see!

I would love to go to Hawaii again as to me it just felt as though the air was fresher and the beaches were more beautiful and I enjoyed the “isolated” feeling as Hawaii is just islands and the North Pacific Ocean surrounds it. Miss C went back recently but she went in December and said it was a lot quiet and cooler this time around. We went during the 4th of July festivities, hopefully in the future I could go back again during this fantastic time!

20120305-154548.jpg Large Big Mac meal from McDonald’s!!!

20120305-154601.jpg The memorial on top of the USS Arizona in the water

20120305-154614.jpg At the International Market Place, I had just purchased a pearl and the stall owner is ringing the bell

20120305-154629.jpg Me with a fireman on the 4th of July in Waikiki with many children and adults behind me, enjoying the fireworks, music and festivities of 4th of july!