When I found out the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association annual conference was going to be held in Honolulu, I was ecstatic. Kristin and I immediately started planning to extend the conference travel for a vacation. Neither one of us had ever been, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go. I submitted a proposal on Native American musicians that was accepted, so we booked our trip.
It was a few hundred dollars cheaper to fly out of DFW, so we reserved a hotel for Monday night since our flight Tuesday morning was at 7:21am. We ate supper at the Cheesecake Factory with two of Kristin’s cousins, who were flying to San Diego the same day we were leaving. When we got back to the hotel, I discovered that I forgot my pjs, so we went to Walmart so I could buy some cheap ones to make it through the trip. I was so frustrated, because I had just bought new pjs for the trip and forgot to pack them.
We set our alarms for 3:30am and prayed that we would wake up on time. The hotel let us park our cars for free, so we needed a way to get to the airport. The hotel shuttle didn’t start running until 7, so we decided to call Lyft. Neither one of us had ever used this service, so we were a little nervous that they wouldn’t come on time. Thankfully, the car arrived on time and took us to the airport with no problems other than a driver who complained about customers who don’t tip.
Our flight from DFW to LAX was uneventful. When we landed at LAX, we had only about an hour to get to a bathroom, grab a quick lunch, and find our gate. We grabbed a sandwich at a cute little French market and ate while we waited to board.
The six hour flight to HNL went by pretty quickly and the views coming into Oahu were incredible!
We landed about 1:30pm and took a shuttle to the hotel. After we got checked into the Ala Moana Hotel, we walked to the Ala Moana Center, the world’s largest open-air shopping mall to find some lunch. It was surreal ordering Mexican food from a menu written in English and Japanese. Interestingly enough, they didn’t have cheese dip. Who’s heard of Mexican with no queso?!
Hawaii is 5 hours behind Central time, so even though it was early afternoon, our bodies were telling us it should be supper time and soon bedtime. We knew that we needed to power through, or else, we would be messed up for the rest of our time in Hawaii. So we changed into our swimsuits and walked down to Ala Moana Beach Park and laid on the beach for a couple hours napping. We saw our first of many Hawaiian rainbows, a super cool Indian banyan tree, and rowers in front of Diamond Head. It proved to be a nice, relaxing afternoon.
We were so tired by 7pm that we decided we would just order in pizza. It was all we could do to stay awake until 9pm (2am our time!). Our adventure had just begun.