19 May 2008 – Our gruelling 20-hour journey began from Changi Airport Terminal 1 where we departed on an 8am JAL flight and touched down in Hawaii at 9.30am on the same day. This was possible because we crossed the International Date Line while flying over the Pacific Ocean. All in all, the flight from Changi to Narita took 7 hours followed by 5 hours in transit and finally another close to 8 hours from Narita to Kona on Big Island.
Big Island is also known as Hawai’i and like its namesake happens to be the biggest of the Hawaiian islands. The neat thing about this island is that it has both tropical and temperate climate zones due to its highest point being 4.2km above sea level. Talk about putting Bukit Timah to shame!
Upon our arrival, we were greeted with a lot of friendly alohas by various airport personnel and the nice customs lady didn’t even lose her temper when we filled up the visitor cards wrongly not once but twice! However, that aside, when they say that Americans are the most litigious society in the world, they weren’t kidding, evident by the fact that upon picking up our rental car, there were various insurance packages that specifically covered against the event of being sued. Not only that, none of the assistants were willing to help us mount the child seat due to the fact that they were not “licensed” to do so (i.e. did not want to get sued if anything went wrong) though they were happy to talk us through the complicated process.
The drive from Kona to the King Kamehameha Hotel took less than 20 minutes and it wasn’t as difficult driving on the right side of the road as I initially feared. Traffic was also very light by Singapore standards and most roads had only one lane on each side.
Upon checking in, fatigue set in and we all ended up sleeping till evening, waking up only in time to have a nice stroll along Alii Road to see the sunset before settling down for dinner at the The Kinghopper.
Full Day 1 gallery here.