Monday 29th I am up early again. It is the best time of day here; looking out over a most tranquil scene of gentle waves breaking onto the beach with only a few early morning walkers and swimmers about whilst the glow from building lights is gradually replaced by that of natural light. We have booked beds by the pool for this morning at 9am. Maybe that deadline is why I woke so early. There is a strict and highly regimented booking system for pool and beach chairs that somewhat undermines the pleasure of undertaking this lazy indulgence. Places can only be reserved, in person, between 1pm and 6pm. I was lucky to get the last few spots when I turned up at 1.10pm yesterday. Anyway, we all headed down and took up our coveted positions. We used the time to read, discuss our itinerary for the remaining days and make restaurant reservations. At around midday we sauntered up, that is in a NW direction, along the beach following the Lonely Planet walking tour. We checked out all of the other hotels and stopped along the way to have lunch. We realise now that we were staying at the nicest hotel in the nicest location for this beach front strip of Waikiki. It was interesting to note the change in demographic of tourist as we ventured along our way; firstly Japanese and wealthy Americans (+ us!) then, more Aussies plus tattooed Americans and, finally, many Europeans. The kids left us to return to the hotel after lunch so, Mark and I finished the round trip winding further up along the beach and then back along the high-end shops along our street, Kalakaua Ave. We called into ‘Coach’ so I could check out a bag but, the shop assistant looked us up and down, both in our walking clothes and then didn’t even bother to ask if we needed any help. This preserved Mark’s credit card…… temporarily that is. Ali, Tom and I went back down to the beach for a while later in the afternoon. The boys to play ball, Ali and I to people watch. Later, we all showered and gathered in our room to have a drink before heading up the street, just a few doors away, to have dinner at ‘The Cheesecake Factory’. It is nothing like ‘The Cheesecake Shop’ from home but, rather, a Hawaiian style, family-friendly restaurant with a menu as long as your arm. The meals were very large and left us all rather distressed at the extent of waste that this place must generate. The whole place seemed to capture the essence of the current US economic crisis: over sized meals like the cars they drive and the credit they issued and a big smiling, no care no responsibility waiter who failed to guide us on our meal size much like the credit providers dishing out large loans to people who couldn’t manage them. Our waiter assured us that our leftovers, surely enough bio-waste to power the Maldives, would be processed and sent out to a pig farm. When we enquired as to where the pig farm was…he looked at us blankly. Don’t get me wrong…it is a nice place to eat but, order conservatively. We passed on dessert and headed home for an even earlier night; we were in bed by 8.30pm!