A Travellerspoint blog

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Day 62 - Rob is 40!!! (from +12GMT to -10GMT)

overcast 29 °C

So today was a long day, 46 hours in total but a great way to spend my birthday.
We woke in time to go fish feeding in the reef again, then spent the day making the most of the sun, snorkelling around the island and then lying on the beach and in the hammock. We had the bure until 3pm, and after checking out spent the 2 hours before our boat transfer at the bar. Fiji Bitter is about £1.33 a pint (4FD), and was required to cool down. We were waved off by some of the staff singing a farewell song.

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The boat ride took 45 mins and we arrived at Port Denarau where we stopped for dinner at a Indian/Asian fusion restaurant called Indigo for popadums and curry.

The flight from Nadi to Honolulu was ~6 hours and I caught up with some sleep as we were only 1/2 way through the day at this point.

Landing at 7am on the day we took off we arrive at the Coconut Waikiki Hotel about 8am and luckily our room is available. After having waffles for breakfast we unpack and walk though town to the beach. It's cloudy but warm, but when the sun comes out it's great. Waikiki beach is crowded, as it's a Sunday and the locals are out, with many surfers.

That evening we eat at an International House of Pancakes, and retire just after midnight... what a long day.

Posted by RobBuckley 13:40 Tagged air_travel Comments (2)

Day 63-66 Hawaii - Honolulu (-10 GMT)

semi-overcast 26 °C

O'ahu is the third largest of the Hawaiian islands (597 square miles), but the most populated. It's often nicknamed "The Gathering Place" and is made up of two major mountain ranges that were once two shield volcanoes which have long since become extinct.

We stayed in Waikiki a suburb of Honolulu. Apart from lying on the beach, we did two long walks. The first followed some of the red line historic sightseeing trolley bus tour. We visited Iolani Palace and the Hawaii State Capital.

Iolani Palace was the official residence of the Hawaiian Kingdom's last two monarchs - King Kalakaua who built the Palace in 1882, and his sister and successor, Queen Lili'uokalani.
The State Capital has the number 8 throughout the building signifying the eight major Hawaiian Islands. The statue in front of the State Capital is King Kamehameha the head of a dynasty that ruled the Hawaiian Islands for more than a century.

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The second walk was to the Diamond Head crater. The 760-foot crater is also called Le'ahi (brow of the tuna). British sailors named it when they thought they'd found diamonds but it turned out to be shiny calcite crystals which are worthless.
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Overall the weather was good (Wikipedia states that its a warm and cloud free climate), it was partly cloudy most of the time but there were plenty of breaks in the cloud for the sun to be very hot. It did rain a few times, normally for a few minutes though the rain was so fine it was like being sprayed with a cold mist.

Posted by RobBuckley 02:26 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Day 67-71 Nevada - Las Vegas (-7 GMT)

sunny 29 °C

After a very early start in Hawaii (pick up at 05:45) we flew to Las Vegas. Due to the time change (+3hours) it was getting on for 6pm when we checked in at the MGM Grand.
After the calm of Fiji, the noise and volume of people was awful but you soon get used to it. (Note: I loved it - Rob)
The hotel is enormous - it has a casino, 4 Starbucks, restaurants, a food court, an enormous pool complex (including several pools and a lazy river) and it's own lions! It takes about 10 minutes to walk across it.

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Apart from our day trip to the Grand Canyon, which we will include as a separate entry, our days mostly consisted of sitting around the pool during the day drinking frozen cocktails. (Tickled Pink - Vodka and Pink Lemonade). During the evening there is plenty of sightseeing, eating and gambling to be done.

All the hotels on the strip seem to be enormous with different themes and various pirate (Treasure Island) or water fountain (Bellagio) shows. The Venetian has an 'indoor' section complete with gondolas - the photo below was taken at night even though it looks like daylight. The Luxor has an Egyptian theme.
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Posted by RobBuckley 17:46 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Day 70 Nevada - Grand Canyon (-7 GMT)

sunny 30 °C

Today we did a trip to the Grand Canyon. A mini-bus picked us up at 10am and took us towards Boulder City and a small airstrip about 30-45 minutes drive from the strip.
We flew in a Twin Otter Vistaliner plane with huge viewing windows. The journey takes about 30 minutes and flies over Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam.
Hoover Dam was completed in 1936 and contains enough concrete to pave a two-lane highway from San Francisco to New York.

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We landed at the West Rim and visited Eagle Point (where the Skywalk is) and Guano Point where we had lunch. Eagle Point is so called because of the V shape in the rock that look a little like an eagle in flight. Guano Point is named after the guano (or Bat Poo) that was mined there. Bat poo is very rich in nitrate so was a prized fertilizer for gardeners.

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We had about an hour and three-quarters to visit these two areas and eat, so the time went very quickly. Our next stop was the heli pad for our descent to the floor of the Grand Canyon (4000 ft).

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The Colorado River was very muddy looking, the guide estimated the water was flowing at about 8 miles an hour today which is considered slow. The water was quite icy.
A boat took us on a quick trip along the river. The green stripe in the 2nd picture is Turquoise.

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From the boat, we took the helicopter back to the top and then sadly it was time to catch the plane home. All in all, a very good trip.

Posted by RobBuckley 19:03 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Day 72-74 USA - New York (-4 GMT)

sunny 19 °C

We arrived at the hotel about 9pm this evening (Holiday Inn Manhattan 6th Ave) on W26th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. We were on the 20th floor with views of the city and the Empire State building which was about 10 minutes walk away.

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Times Square was about 20 minutes walk away (though it's just a reasonably busy city block area).
As our time was short we decided to buy 48 hour a bus tour ticket ($54 each) and did 3 of the 4 loops they advertised.

The next day we did the Downtown route (4 hours) which took us through Greenwich, Soho, Little Italy and Chinatown where we stopped at Battery Park to go on a Statue of Liberty tour.

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That evening we did the night tour (2 hours) which took us across the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn for views of the city skyline.

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Our final day was spent on the Uptown tour which took us through Harlem around Central park (2.5 hours)

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Our flight out of New York was at 7.30pm from JFK Airport which took about 1 hour 15 mins through rush hour traffic by taxi, though it took the porter at the hotel nearly 30 mins to retrieve our suitcases.

Posted by RobBuckley 11:09 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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