It was quite the surprise! After being told (and planning for) a trip to San Diego and the Grand Canyon, we reached the airport. My sister incessantly bugged us after looking at the departures board: There was no flight for San Diego! I tuned her out, but was soon shocked to learn the truth: We were going to Kona!
After that, we went through all the mundane activities needed at an airport: check-in, security, and baggage, before walking to the gate and onto the plane. The plane flight was long, thankfully I was sitting next to college sophomore and quickly struck up a conversation.
And then we landed in Kona. I had never seen an airport anything like this. There was no indoors; even in India the airports I landed in had indoor corridors and check-in. It was warm, but not ridiculously hot, and there were trees everywhere. We took a complimentary shuttle service to the National rental car agency, where my dad rented a Ford SUV.
We drove to downtown Kona, which was maybe 15 minutes away and right on the shore. Kona is a very laid back, old-styled kind of a town, with random patches of beach everywhere. One of the first things we did when we got there was venture to the nearby Wal-mart and buy a few packs of water bottles,some milk, and some cereal, something we almost always do on trips.
After that, we drove down Alii drive, essentially main street Kona. There are lots of old fashioned buildings and quaint restaurants, but also a few multinational fast-food havens. We visited severallittle shop/stall areas that sold little touristy items like bracelets, necklaces, and t-shirts. Since everyone was starving after the meager snacks served on airplanes, we stopped at Subway to eat.
After eating, my sister and I were roaring to get into the famous Hawaii water. We drove to a nearby enclosed beach/cove called Kahalu'u , and broke out our new snorkeling sets. It was quite an experience; I got to see fish, coral, an eel, and even a sea turtle!
At this point, it was time to check into our hotel, the King Kamehameha’s Courtyard Marriot, located right at the start of Alii drive. It was a nice hotel, although relatively simple. It’s main perk was its location, right in the heart of town, and the great views. Everything you could want to do was literally right outside or within 2 blocks: submarining, parasailing, scubaing, and boat riding.
After checking in, my father and I left my sister and mother to their own devices and explored Alii drive, walking down a mile or so before sitting in a quite area and eating some ice cream.