It goes without saying that any sort of big Andrew Lavigne trip probably involves some combination of tents, mud, wrinkled clothes, possibly some snow, and sweat. This trip was no different, with the notable additions of snorkeling gear, bicycles, and leis (a lei is a traditional Hawaiian garland of flowers).
In addition to sightseeing and beach relaxation (yes, we actually did both of those), we had several backpacks and climbs planned - some of which required some stamina and fitness. As a result, we endeavoured to spend a suitable amount of time leading up to the trip gaining our backpacking legs. The 24-story stairwell in the Dunton tower at Carleton University in Ottawa proved useful for that.
Friday, February 17:
Our trip to Hawaii took place in late February - deep in the grip of a not-that-cold Canadian winter. Jenn, myself and Brian watched as the wings and fuselage of our Embraer 175 jet were coated in de-icing fluid. We were starting the first leg of our three-hop journey westward.
We had a mildly complicated journey ahead of us: Ottawa to Charlotte, North Carolina; then on to Phoenix, Arizona; then on to Honolulu, on the island of O'ahu. It was a full day of travel, with us leaving at 7am in the morning and arriving in Honolulu at 6:30pm in the evening (and that's not counting a -5 hour timezone bonus).
Two things we noticed right away upon arriving in Honolulu. The first was that large sections of the airport were open-air - a sure sign of an always-tropical climate, and the second was the playfully cheerful shuttle bus driver. That cheerfulness continued on to our rental car agent, and as we pulled out of the lot and onto the main highway leading towards downtown Honolulu, we felt that there may be some generally positive personality traits present in the Hawaiian populace.
Brian got us a two-night stay at a modest downtown Honolulu hotel called The Pagoda. We navigated the grid-like streets of Honolulu, driving through several brief rainshowers, eventually finding our way. After dumping our luggage and quickly freshening up, we popped out onto the streets to locate a bit of food - much needed after a long and relatively food-less 18 hours of travel. We settled on a Vietnamese Pho restaurant just a block from the hotel.