Monday, October 4, 2010

Power-Shopping in Walmart

Well, we made up for yesterday's frugal day by blowing $350 in Walmart in about 1 hour.

Our friends on Infini came in this morning about 9am (trailed by a USCG launch--they got 'practiced on' by the local Coast Guard cutter as they were crossing the harbor). They stuck it out through the light winds and sailed right up until about 10 miles out when the wind dropped off to nothing. They were luck and got cleared through Customs in about an hour--having told Customs (via us) that they were coming today, there was a guy in waiting for them. No overtime fees either.

As soon as they got cleared, we arranged a taxi to the Mall and Walmart. The free bus doesn't run on Sundays, but 5 of us splitting the $11 taxi ride to the Mall wasn't too bad.

Dave and I were on a mission--to buy 2 bicycles. But we also hit the mall (where I bought a new pair of adventure shoes), and showed the Infini crew where everything was in the Mall/Walmart area. We had lunch at the Oriental Food Court next to Office Max, and then went back to Walmart.

Walmart had some nice 'priced right' mountain bikes for $92. Another cruiser who wrote a little 10-page cruising guide to Hawaii, really recommended you buy bikes when you hit Hilo. Great idea, and thanks a bunch for all the advice, Mita Kuulu!

We plan to use the bikes while in Hawaii over the next 6 months, and then sell them at a discount to someone else (we hope) when we leave. But if we use these bikes enough, we might spring for some good quality marine folding bikes before we leave Hawaii in the Spring. We bought a few accessories (locks, luggage rack for the back, cover for the bikes, etc) and spent an hour in Walmart trying to assemble this stuff, so we could ride our bikes and our other stuff back to the boat. It was a success. We had a nice ride back, and are looking forward to exploring some more of Hilo on the bikes later.

I also bought 2 bathing suits--mine from 3 years ago are in tatters. I hate to shop, in general, but I love 'power shopping' in Walmart.

We have arranged a 3-day car rental for Tuesday morning. It was a bit of a struggle--there is an Ironman Triathlon going on in Kona (also on the Big Island) starting in a few days, and all the rental cars are getting sold out. For the same car our friends rented for $40 a day this past week, Enterprise wanted $70/day for this week, but told us they didn't have any cars. I finally went online last night and found a Hertz car for 'only' $50 a day. This was after checking Budget and Avis and finding no cars available.

We are going to cram 5 of us in the rental and split it with Infini, so it will end up being pretty reasonable. We figured we can get the highlights of the Big Island in 2-3 days, leaving Hilo (where we are) for more leisurely exploration using the bikes and the free local bus transportation.

Tourist magazines are in racks on every corner, with maps and ads and recommendations for what to do. There are lots of guided tours available that all sound really interesting and fun, but they start at $100-$150 per person for a half day tour. Forget it! These range from horseback riding, ATV adventures, lava viewing trips, hiking, biking, etc. Cool stuff but pricey. (We got so spoiled by South America). With the rental car and a Lonely Planet, we'll do 'self tours'.
At 10/2/2010 4:00 AM (utc) our position was 19°43.88'N 155°03.16'W

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