Hawaiian Airlines were okay, but it isn’t Air NZ is it! The transit in Honolulu was horrendous…many, many people missed their flights! We just made ours, and I mean just!!
The queues in the arrival hall were beyond belief. The snake queued left to right to left and then just when you thought you were at the front, you were going up and down. Our finger prints were checked by a machine and then a human!! Even though our Visa said they were valid for 10yrs, they only gave us 6 months. Clearing our bags through customs was another queue, but at least I could keep my shoes on – Colin had to take his off!
It was a mad dash through the entire airport, as our departure gate was at the opposite end. And to add insult to injury, because it was a domestic flight that we were on, you had to buy your wine and movies, although we did get a seat upgrade to premium economy because we were an international transfer.
So we have spent two days in and around the city. It has been blowing a howling gale, and you spend your whole time taking your sweatshirt on and off, on and off, especially walking up and down all the hills.
We bought a visitor pass (thanks for the tip Keri) and have been on and off the cable car, bus and train. The cable car is fun to ride but it is so busy here that there is usually quite a wait. Today (Friday for us) it was an hour to wait from Fishermans Wharf.
We have walked along the waterfront to Pier 39 where the Sea Lions are (you can smell/hear them before you can see them!) down Lombard Street, which is very cute and in and around Union Square.
Today we went to Alcatraz and Angel Island (more queues), but really loved being out on the harbour, albeit that it was blowing a gale! I found it fascinating that the children of the guards who stayed on the island had a fabulous life on their island paradise, hardly ever seeing or knowing the prisoners hell !! Angel Island was the immigration processing island and had bleak conditions during the Gold Rush.
After our tour we walked from the Pier up to Coit Tower, which is at the top on Telegraph Hill. It was a long way up the hill and mostly stairs, but again there were queues for entry to the tower, so we just walked around the base and caught the bus back down. All along the stairs, were little gates leading to peoples private gardens. I can only imagine that very fit people live on these hills with only stair access … not sure about getting the groceries in.
There is a lot of new architecture around and it really just doesn’t live up to your idea of San Fran! The older houses are amazing, have gorgeous features and are seemingly just stuck to the hill. Love the old stuff …
When walking about in San Fran you can’t help but notice the homeless / beggars on the streets. It is quite confronting! Tonight four fire service trucks turned up when one man went a bit nuts. I am thinking they are fire/paramedics. Full on call out! I don’t spend a lot of time in Auckland City, so I don’t experience this at home. We were told by a local that there are 12,000 people living on the streets, so that explains the volumes were have seen. The other thing that we have noticed is everyone smoking the legal weed here. The smell pervades many transit entry / exit points and is just generally the norm! Spot the mohawk!
Anyways, two days in and so much to see and do.
Ps: did I say it was windy!