Memories, experiences & photos from my trip to Hawai'i in September 2017

Please note: If you are only interested in the photos and don't want to read any further, please just scroll down to the bottom of the page where you'll find links to the photo albums.

As most of you know, this was my second trip to Hawaii already but if you missed my blog and photos albums from March 2016, you may want to take a look now: Blog incl. links to photo albums from my Hawaii vacation in march 2016.
Some of the tourist information provided in that blog is obsolete but most of it is still applicable and should be helpful if you are planning a trip to Hawaii in the near future. Also view my page about Hawaii if you are looking for useful travel information: About Hawaii - travel and shopping info, Hawaiian dictionary and more

When I booked this year's trip, I was hoping to finally get to attend the annual Sunset-on-the-Beach premiere of the new season (SOTB8) on Queen's Beach in Waikiki. This event had taken place in September for the last seven seasons. Well, I found out too late that the event was postponed, for the first time, and it was too late to cancel for September and to travel later. While I'm not happy to miss another SOTB, which would have been my first one, I really cannot complain about my vacation in September.
Not everything worked out as I had planned or expected, but overall I had a great time in Hawaii. I may have to go back though to complete my H50 fan-photo collection since I still don't have photos with Scotty and Chi (Two of my favorites on the show) and new cast member Meaghan Rath. For a diehard fan and fansite admin like me, one of the main reasons for travelling the long distance from Germany to Hawaii is, of course, to see my favorite show filming and to get good photos of the cast to share on my fansites and to use in collages.
While one jealous fan accused me of "bragging" with my new photo of Alex and me (Another fan told me after reading her post), most fans seem to enjoy my photos and appreciate that I share them. It would be stupid and unfair not to share with fans who are not lucky enough to visit Hawaii but love the show and its cast and love seeing photos of them. Besides, I shared the photo of Alex and me on our "Alex O'Loughlin Fans for Organ Donation" page and on our fansites because Alex had thanked me for my support when I met him in Hawaii, and I wanted to share his Thank You with other fans who have also supported his work and his efforts to promote organ donation and to raise funds for the Taylor's Gift charity that Alex is a spokesperson for. I wanted fans to know that Alex appreciates his fans' support and takes note of it. He's just super-busy filming "Hawaii Five-0" and having a family and, therefore, rarely has the time to post updates or a Thank You message for his fans on his Facebook page - a fact that many fans have complained about. Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to share the photo and Alex's Thank You with his fans.

But back to my trip to Hawaii in September: I enjoyed spending time with my new friend Cheryl who's a lot of fun to be with. Together, we visited several beautiful places in Hawai'i that I probably would have never seen if she hadn't kindly chauffeured me around on the island. On our first excursions, we were joined by fan Helma from the Netherlands who sadly had to leave only four days after my arrival. Apart from the excursions around Oahu - which happens to be one of the main characters of "Hawaii Five-0", after all - I got to watch some filming of my favorite show and got photos with some of the great cast members incl. the new furry fan-favorite, dog Eddie, who will be adopted by Steve in Season 8 of the show.

Thankfully, I got tips about filming locations online and from a friend, so I went to several outdoor sets of the show and waited for hours but wasn't always successful at getting good photos of the cast. Sometimes, even waiting on set for a full day does not guarantee that you get a good photo, or any photo, at all. The first time I went to a set with friends, we found out after six hours of waiting and watching mere preparations that there would be no main cast members, at all, filming that day - or night (It was 8 p.m. when we found out and went home). On another day, I went to two sets with my friend Cheryl and we even got close to Alex once and he said "Hi" to us but it was early in the morning and we didn't ask for a photo then because we thought the timing wasn't good. Well, we didn't get any good photo of or with him later that day, and my friend still has no photo with Alex although she's lived in Hawaii for two years.
I'm just glad that waiting 11 hours at the last set on Magic Island (Sept. 21) paid off and I even got a photo with Alex. In the following, remaining eight days of my vacation, there was no filming at public locations, at all, and zero chance for taking photos of the cast. If I had stayed in Hawaii for just a week, like many fans do, I probably wouldn't have seen any filming, at all.
Actually, a photo together with Alex (2 photos, to be precise) was more than I had hoped for. I had been trying to get good photos of him (not necessarily together with him) in the breaks between filming on Magic Island since I was hoping for good "material" for collages, but he kept looking in the opposite direction, just like his colleagues did most of the time.
Unlike some other fans, I did not ignore security orders by jumping over barriers (yellow tape) or taking photos while the cameras were rolling (The view was blocked by equipment and crew most of the time, anyway, and I don't have a super-zoom lens on my tiny camera), nor did I run after cast members to get photos - let alone disturb an actor while he was learning lines from the script, like Scotty did in his car during breaks. I admit that seeing a couple from California, who did all those things, get "rewarded" by getting to talk to Alex (although they were not even fans of him but of Jorge and the show, in general), get photos with Alex and his autograph, was frustrating. And, yes, you could hear me curse on set that afternoon since I had been waiting there twice as long as they had - plus I am definitely a fan of Alex and run fansites to promote his work and show while they were just collecting as many photos and autographs from the cast as possible although they already had several from last year's SOTB.
The couple was actually very nice to me though and asked Alex's PA to let me join them when they got to meet Alex (The man had talked to the PA during the lunch break and asked if they could have a photo and autograph of Alex and she told them to wait and that she'd ask Alex but couldn't promise anything). The PA refused to let me come along with them since she was probably afraid that other fans (There were about 15 fans or more, at that time) would follow us to get photos with Alex, too, and that the filming would get delayed, which would have been a minor disaster since the sun was going to set soon and there were a couple of scenes left to shoot. If you've ever been to a set of H50 and have seen how much equipment and crew is needed, you'll understand how important it is to meet the schedule and to avoid delays since it takes forever just to prepare the set. After the frustrating experience in the late afternoon, I was very happy that Alex kindly took time to take photos with some more fans at the end of his long workday before he left. I was one of those lucky fans and, actually, the very last fan who got a photo with him before he went home. He definitely made my day after almost 11 hours on set, especially when he thanked me for my support after I quickly told him that I was Angie of the "AOL Fans for Organ Donation" page. His sincere, heartfelt "Thank you sooo much" is one of the best vacation memories.

After I posted my album with photos of the cast, I got quite a few messages from fans who asked me for advice on how they could get photos with the cast. Well, it's hard to say because, first of all, you need to find out when and where the cast will be filming. Sometimes, you can find such info on Twitter when fans detect the famous "EYE" signs of the production company that are usually set up the day before filming takes place. But even when such signs are detected and you go there, you have no guarantee that the main cast will be filming there because H50 often works with two different units filming at different locations at the same time. So it happens easily that you are at the wrong set or get there when the filming is over - both has happened to me before!
When you get to a set where the main cast is filming, you might still not be able to get good photos because the view is often blocked by equipment, little tents and crew members. You are also not allowed to take photos while the actual filming takes place since it's distracting for the actors who have to focus on their scene and text. So you can only hope to get photos during a break - provided that the actors don't quickly disappear into their little tents to get food and some much-needed relaxation. Sometimes, the cast will take time for fans at the end of a long filming day but since they work up to 14 hours a day, they might be too tired to take photos after work. So fans need a whole lot of patience, time and even more luck to get photos with the cast and should not be disappointed if they don't, even after waiting on set for a long, long time. I know that it can be a frustrating experience since I've made such experiences repeatedly - and I certainly don't have a "secret recipe" for getting photos with the actors - although I have been lucky to get photos with several cast members, usually after several failed attempts or many hours of waiting. Nevertheless, you might be one of the rare lucky fans who come across a set by chance and get photos quickly and even get to talk to the cast. I've heard that it happens occasionally but it's merely a matter of luck!

But enough said about getting cast photos...

I'll continue with a short diary from my trip and will add links to photo albums hat I've posted on Facebook.

Wednesday Sept. 13 and Thursday, Sept. 14:
Very late arrival in Honolulu after a long trip from Munich via Seattle with Condor and Alaska Airlines. Like last year, I had booked the Roberts Hawaii airport shuttle ($ 32 round-trip) which worked out perfectly again.
(https://www.robertshawaii.com/airport-shuttle/oahu/)

Since the Stay Waikiki Hotel that I had stayed at last year was already fully booked, I stayed at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel this time. It's located on Kapahulu Avenue opposite the Honolulu Zoo and only a 1-minute walk away from Queen's Beach where the SOTB premieres of "Hawaii Five-0" take place every year. The hotel would have been the perfect location if there had been an SOTB8 during my stay. But even without the SOTB, the Queen Kapiolani was a very good choice. The staff was very friendly and the hotel was close to bus stops, Waikiki trolley stops, shops and the beach. I was particularly happy with the room since it was bigger and more comfortable than last year's and had a great view of the ocean and part of the zoo and Kapiolani Park - although I had booked the cheapest room and expected to get just the ugly city view. Luckily, the room was on the corner and had windows on two sides, so I got the better view of the beach, too, which I enjoyed very much.
Actually I didn't do much on the day after my arrival (Sept. 14). I only did some grocery shopping. Then Helma came over to my hotel and we just talked, leaned back and enjoyed the view from my room and from the pool terrace of the hotel. It was so hot outside on that day that it was good to have a nice place to sit down and relax.
Please view my album below with photos of the hotel and of the great view from my hotel room on the 12th floor and from the restaurant and pool terrace on the 3rd floor.

Friday, Sept. 15:
Cheryl, Helma and I spent six hours at Ilalo Street in Kaka'ako waiting for H50 filming just to find out in the end that there would be no filming with any known actors, at all, so we left disappointed at 8 p.m. in the evening. I think the scenes filmed later in the evening were with the stunt-crew and there was a shooting in which some unknown person got killed in his car.
In the morning, I had gone for a walk along the beach up to the lagoon at the Hilton Hawaiian Village - I love the beach up at the lagoon.
At sunset or later, Cheryl (who lives near the hotel) and I often met at the beach on a little pier and enjoyed the sound of the waves. Don't miss my album below with tons of beautiful Waikiki sunset photos!

Saturday, Sept. 16:
Cheryl, Helma and I visited the Byodo-In Temple. We also went to beautiful Waimanalo Bay, the Halona Blowhole and Sandy Beach. At the end of the excursion, we came across a food-truck from Leonard's Bakery at Hawaii Kai and bought some of their famous, onolicious malasadas which Cheryl and Helma had never tried before.
Don't miss the album with photos of our/my excursions at the end of the blog.

Sunday, Sept. 17:
Cheryl, Helma and I had lunch at the famous Rainbow Drive-In that is known to fans of "Hawaii Five-0" since Steve took Cath there for a breakfast date in one of the Christmas episodes. I loved the funny scene at the drive-in in that episode.
Since it starting raining, we drove to Pearlridge Mall and later went to the Hilton Hawaiian Village to shop for "Hawaii Five-0"  shirts in the fan-shop at the Diamond Head Tower. Before Helma returned home to the Netherlands on that day, we enjoyed some cocktails and nachos with yummy dips at the Tropics Bar at the Hilton - the bar was also featured on our favorite show before.

Monday, Sept. 18:
Cheryl and I went to see some filming of "Hawaii Five-0" over at Ilalo Street after getting a tip that the main cast would be filming there, this time, and they did! We saw Alex, Scotty and Dennis film a scene in which they examined the car with the dead guy who had been shot in the scene filmed late on Friday night. In a short break, Dennis came over to talk to us and to take photos in which he was wearing his character Sgt. Duke Lukela's HPD uniform. Dennis knows me from my visit last year. He's been friends with my friend Wendie for a long time, and since I help Wendie with her Five-0 Redux Facebook page, I had the pleasure and honor to meet Dennis last year - and this year again. He's a very kind man who is grateful for the support of fans and fansite admins and, therefore, always tries to take time for photos with fans and to thank them for the support and for watching the show.
Although Alex walked past us once and said "Hi", we didn't dare to ask for a photo with him since it was early in the morning and he had to return to work after a short potty stop. We thought that we'd get a better chance for a photo later in the day but were wrong. Oh, well. Cheryl played with Scotty's cute dog Dot that morning and I got great photos of Dot and some not-so-good photos of the boys from a distance. After two or three hours of filming, the team packed everything quickly and they moved on to the next set at the "pretend" Honolulu Police Dept. (actually, the Dept. of Defense near the Hawaii Film Studio below Diamond Head). The cast was joined there by Chi McBride and Meaghan Rath, as well as the stunt-doubles for the main actors. While we watched them film a scene in which they got out of their cars and rushed over into the HPD building, we met another little group of fans who just participated in one of the famous Hawaii Five-0 fan tours with guide Amy Bakari, who's a friend of Wendie, too. Dennis came over again and took photos with the fans - and one of Amy and me to send to  Wendie. After this shoot at the pretend HPD building, the cast was quickly driven away in their van but we managed to catch a glimpse of Scotty smiling brightly at Cheryl and me from inside the van when Dennis got in. I suppose Scotty remembered the two of us from earlier in the morning when we played with his dog Dot and took photos of her :-)
Please view the album at the end of the blog with my photos from the sets and of the cast.

Tuesday, Sept. 19:
I got up early and took one of the Waikiki Express trolleys (Green Line) to go to Diamond Head where I hiked up to the top to get photos of Waikiki & more. If you ever do the hike, make sure to go early in the morning when the sun's not shining too brightly yet because it can be exhausting - at least climbing up the long staircase at the very top. Also make sure to bring some bottled water with you to avoid dehydration. And I wouldn't go when it's raining because I assume that the walkways and the metal stairs can get extremely slippery when they are wet. The admission which is paid at the bottom of the crater before you start the hike, is only 1 dollar.

Wednesday, Sept. 20:
I did the tour through Downtown Honolulu on the red line of the Waikiki trolley. I had done the tour before but since I had bought a 7-day pass for the trolleys online again before my trip since it's much cheaper than 1-day passes, I thought I might as well do all the tours once again - and try out the new purple line tour to Pearl Harbor, which I did the following week. Besides, the trolleys are fun to use on hot days since they are open on the sides and you get to enjoy a cool breeze while driving around in them. Check out their page for further info: https://waikikitrolley.com/ Please note that the public bus network is also quite good on Oahu and you can get to most places by bus (http://www.thebus.org/) for $2.50 one-way.

Thursday, Sept. 21:
I spent a long 11-hour day on Magic Island (Ala Moana Beach Park) to watch filming of "Hawaii Five-0". I didn't see any actual filming in the morning cause the crew was busy setting up the equipment and the set with Kamekona's shrimp truck etc. I sat on a bench in the park with a good view of the shrimp truck getting set up and didn't even notice that the team was filming on the other side of the island in the late morning, since the view was blocked by all the equipment trucks. Even when I went to the restrooms at the other end of the island (There were actually some restrooms right behind those equipment trucks, too), I didn't realize that filming was in progress on the right side of the island. I was all focused on the shrimp truck set on the left side. I'm such an idiot sometimes! Only after some fans came over right before lunch time and told me that H50 was filming far behind those trucks, I noticed how blind I had been. Of course, H50 was done filming at that part of the island as soon as I walked towards the area where they had been filming in the late morning - and Alex just got into one of the vans which drove them over to the big lunch tent at the other end of the island (which is not as big as it may sound), where fans were not allowed to get close to the cast - or rather just Alex who was having lunch in the tent alone when a fan and I saw him from a distance before one of the PAs told us to move away. We weren't really close at that time but had a clear view of Alex. Well, we moved back to the shrimp truck set and got photos with Taylor Wily who had just arrived and took time for photos with fans. I had also gotten three photos with Eddie, the dog, already before the lunch break because his owner/trainer Sue had parked her car near where I was sitting. I saw Eddie in the back of the car and asked her about him and told her that fans already looked forward to seeing Eddie on the show after Peter had posted a short video clip with Eddie earlier. When Eddie got out of the car a little later, Sue offered to take photos of Eddie with me.
After lunch, filming at the shrimp truck ībegan but it was hard to see the actual filming because there was a lot of equipment and little tents for the director etc. in the way. The fans were asked to stand behind a yellow tape which actually wasn't very far away from the little tent in which the cast spent their short breaks but, as mentionned earlier, the cast hardly ever looked in the direction of us fans when they walked the short distance between the set and their tent, so it was a little hard to get good photos of them, especially with my small camera. Beulah Koale came over once to take a few photos with fans though - and I was one of the lucky ones. He was super-nice and very grounded and humble. He brought his little family with him to the set - his wife and the adorable baby twins. The cast was also joined by Grace Park who visited her former colleagues on set and was welcomed with a good hug from Alex. She was smiling and obviously happy and also welcome by everyone. I'm not sure if we'll get a short cameo appearance by her in that episode** but it was nice to see her back on set and chatting happily with everyone. (**Update: The episode was originally filmed as ep. 8.08 but aired as ep. 8.06 on Nov. 10 - and there was no Grace but, instead, Claire Forlani guest-starred in it - I had not seen her on set. Surprise!).

Friday, Sept. 22:
I don't remember what I did that day. I think I went on another trolley tour or just for a walk or did some shopping. In the evening, Cheryl and I watched the fireworks at the Hilton Hawaiian Village from a pier at Queen's Beach at 7:45 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 23:
Cheryl and I went up to the North Shore since the bus tour I took around the island last year didn't go to Haleiwa Town which I was curious to see. We had lunch at one of the food-trucks and strolled through some of the nice, little shops in Haleiwa and went past "Kono's Restaurant" which I recognized immediately as the one recommended regularly by Kala Alexander (Kawika on H50). After our food-truck lunch, we drove to Waimea Valley and walked through the beautiful valley over to the Waimea Falls. The North Shore and, in particular, the Waimea Valley are the perfect places to go if you want to escape the crowds and noise of Honolulu. Don't miss the photos from our North Shore trip in the album at the end of the blog.
In the evening, Cheryl and I strolled along Kalakaua Avenue, enjoying the Aloha Festival with the food stands, live music performances etc.

Sunday, Sept. 24:
Cheryl and I went to the Target store in Kailua to look for the Season 7 DVDs of H50 but couldn't find them. The DVDs were very hard to find and were also not available at Walmart. We also looked for Jorge Garcia's haunted house in Kailua since Cheryl got a ticket to go there in October. On the way back, we stopped at the Nu'uanu Pali Lookout.
In the evening, we went to the Cuckoo Coconut Club on the Royal Hawaiian Avenue to listen to Shawn Mokuahi-Garnett (Cousin Flippa on H50) perform live. He's a great singer and also plays the guitar.

Monday, Sept. 25:
In the morning, I enjoyed a tour on the blue line of the Waikiki Trolleys along the South-Eastern coast of the island up to the Sea Life Park.
In the afternoon, Cheryl and I went to the Arboretum at Manoa Valley. It's a gorgeous landscape with lush green - and plenty of moskitos that enjoyed biting us. If you ever visit this valley which is truly beautiful and worth a visit, make sure to put on some insect repellent or you'll have itchy bites all over you from those insects.

Tuesday, Sept. 26:
I don't remember what I did in the morning but, in the afternoon, I went to Kahala Mall to meet Dennis for a little talk about H50. By chance, we met Tommy D. - a famous entertainer and former guest-actor on both the old and new "Hawaii Five-0" (He played an Elvis impersonator and a murder suspect on the reboot) - who was celebrating his 71st birthday. The "boys" started talking about the good old times and about entertainment in Hawaii, as well as the old and new H50 show. It was quite an experience - especially when they started singing and playing the ukulele right there at the mall. I suppose not many fans can say that they got their own little concert by Dennis and Tommy :-)

Wednesday, Sept. 27:
Since the Honolulu Zoo was right across the street from my hotel, I decided to pay a visit to it (Admission: $14) and didn't regret it - although I got even more insect bites while I was there. The zoo is not huge but quite beautiful because of the flora and the great views from the zoo towards Diamond Head. View my album with photos from the zoo and you'll understand why I enjoyed my visit there.

Thursday, Sept. 28:
In the morning, I went on the purple line of the Waikiki trolleys to visit Pearl Harbor. Since I had already seen the Arizona Memorial and the visitor center's movie theater and small museum last year, I focused on visiting the Battleship Missouri this year since it was seen on several episodes of "Hawaii Five-0" and I had regretted not having enough time to visit it the previous year since I had booked a bus tour which left the visitor center too early to enjoy the full package there. I hadn't quite expected that it would cost a hefty $29 to catch the shuttle bus to Ford Island (from the visitor center) and to get on deck of the "Mighty Mo" but it was o.k.. since the ship is well maintained and you get to explore the cabins etc. below deck, too, which was quite interesting. You also get a short introductory tour which was done by a guide who had been on the ship when H50 filmed their famous Pearl Harbor episode there. However, I skipped the Pacific Aviation Museum since I didn't want to pay another $25 dollars for it. Call me stinchy but I thought the museum admission was a bit high. At the big science and technology museum that I work at, you don't pay half as much for three times the size.
In the afternoon, I met with Cheryl and we enjoyed late lunch at the Big City Diner in Kaimuki.

Friday, Sept. 29:
I drove around on the Waikiki trolleys in the morning again before I had to check out of the hotel. Then I spent the afternoon with Cheryl relaxing at her home, going for a walk in Waikiki and watching the sunset etc. before the airport shuttle picked me up at my hotel at 8 p.m. The flight was delayed but since I had a long stopover in Seattle, it wasn't too bad. I even had enough time to meet my sister at the airport in Seattle.

Here are the photo albums - finally:
Hawaii Five-0 photos from the set and with the cast
My hotel in Waikiki and the beautiful view from my room 
Honolulu Sightseeing Mix
Hilton Hawaiian Village and lagoon
Diamond Head
Pearl Harbor
Honolulu Zoo
Excursions on Oahu
Waikiki Sunsets
 

Back to Alex Intro Back to News page or Aktuelles Back to my page about Hawaii

Designed, created & owned by: Angela Gerstner

Last update: October 2017