This morning saw the return of the beautiful weather which was just as we hoped as we had big plans for our final full day on the island of Oahu before we have the start the slow long 7000-mile journey home.
We were ready to leave the room just before 8.15am to walk to the pick-up point for the car I had rented for the day. For the first time I had use Turo, which is the car equivalent of Airbnb where owners rent out their cars for the hour/day/week. The rates are at least half of what rental cars want to charge. I have seen their prices come up on comparison sites but have always been weary to use them. The cost though for a single day hire in Waikiki from the usual rental companies though meant that trying Turo this time was a no brainer.
I had set up my account and found there were several people willing to either drop off their cars to me at the hotel or were within easy walking difference. I was tempted to try a Tesla but it was double what I ended up paying plus before you could rent it you had to sit through several instructional videos that I did not have the time to do.
I settled for the cheapest which was a new model Kia Soul which was parked 15 minutes’ walk away. The guy who was offering it was very responsive to messages. I had to upload my photo, a copy of my driving licence and a copy of me holding my licence. The cost of the car for the day was $35 although it came to double that with various fees and insurance.
We found the car on a car park as instructed but there was no sign of the owner. I messaged him and via the Kia Access app on his phone he unlocked the car remotely giving me access to the key locked inside. The Turo app instructed me to take photos of the car to record its current state before we set off. It really was that simple.
Our plan was to use it to go to Diamond Head first of all. This was something I was very keen to do and was going to be a real highlight for me from being here. It really is an iconic landmark. As they only have limited parking and limited capacity for people to climb it, I had booked tickets online for a fee of about $20 for us to do that from 10am. As collecting the car had been simpler and quicker than we anticipated we decided to use the car to call into Walmart on route to get some water and food for the day.
By 10.05am we were pulling into Diamond Head State Monument car park after driving through a tunnel into the volcanic crater. The plan was to then take what was described as a strenuous 1 hour walk to the top. It looked a very long way away and very high and we were both unsure if either of us would be able to make it. It was already hot but we felt suitably prepared and agreed we would take it slow – the tortoise and the hare and all that. So, with strapping on my knee, more on Karen’s knee and ankle, our walking boots on and a rucksack on my back – we were ready to give it a right good Norfolk go.
It was a long concrete path that started the trail with a gentle slope which we guessed correctly would not last. The path then got gradually rougher and steeper with many hairpin turns as it wound itself up to the summit. It was tough going made harder by the number of people attempting it also going up and coming down. We took a couple of breaks until we came to the first of the even tougher section. There were 74 concrete steps that led to a 225 foot long tunnel through rock with a very steep incline inside. It was quite eerie. Once back out in daylight there was another steep walk followed by a further 85 metal stairs. We were not the only people by now breathing quite heavily. We admired the view before ascending the final 54 steps to the summit.
We felt very pleased with ourselves having made it and there were lots of other people all congratulating each over for doing the same. Not bad for a couple of old codgers with bodies that have seen better days.
It had taken us a full hour to get here and we felt it was all worth it for the sense of achievement alone without the amazing views in all directions. We could see of much of the island and all of Waikiki laid out before us and it looked beautiful as did the various shades of blue of the sea with the sun shining on it from this vantage point.
Karen was just as worried about going down as she had been going up as she finds it puts even more pressure on her ankle and knee. We took it slowly and she made it down in one piece.
I should mention that we were past 3 times by a ‘wild’ looking large man with no shirt on who looked like Forrest Gump who barged past everyone and running at speed both up and down the summit without stopping. He was so quick over the treacherous terrain that no one had a question to ask him – why? It’s a wonder that some people weren’t knocked over especially the ones that were either old, or infirm, or carrying young babies that must have just come from the delivery ward, or just wearing totally impractical clothes or shoes.
We decided to eat our picnic on one of the benches outside the small visitor centre, whilst we mused what to do next. We had wondered about driving to do a waterfall trail after this but felt that would possibly be an extra walk too far today and certainly would not top this.
We were surrounded by musical Red Cardinals which was nice. What wasn’t so nice was the sparrow that took a bite out of Karen’s tuna sandwich whilst she was holding it in mid-air. She was not impressed and threw half of it away.
So we drove to the nearest ‘Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’ store and had some hot drinks. We moved on quickly though as the table was in the full sun and Karen was concerned about getting burnt. From here we drove and parked up near to Honolulu Zoo and walked out onto Kapi’olani Beach. We sat for a while on the little jetty admiring the views in all direction as well as watching the surfers expertly ride the waves.
Before we took the car back, we diverted to the nearby Honolulu Patagonia store. Even the items in the sale had eye watering prices. Rain Jackets were reduced but still around £200 each. We left wondering how people can justify spending that much money on clothes from here.
We left the car on the same car park from where we had picked it up after being instructed to take more photos and having topped up the little petrol we had used. I messaged the owner who remotely locked it up.
There was a reasonably quick turnaround by Karen and we headed back out to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner again. I had the most enormous Caesar Salad whilst Karen had the Club Sandwich. Neither of us could finish our meals and pretending we were Americans we took what we left home in boxes for the next day.
We were hurrying back to see the weekly Hilton fireworks when we found we had got the time wrong and that they were about to start. We managed to watch them through a gap between other Hotels. They didn’t last long but were very good. Karen loved seeing them.
Finally, back in the room we put the TV on for the local news whilst Karen started to sort out her bags out ready for our departure tomorrow.