Tag Archives: oahu

Hawaii Part II

Welcome to Part II:

38944985050_3721d5a289_z

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make time to visit the famous Pearl Harbor Monument which was situated right here in Honolulu. Apparently, it’s one of the most visited National Monuments in the US and ticket sales are limited each day. Tickets were sold out on the only afternoon I could have seen it. No worries though, there was plenty to still explore. We decided we had enough of the big city and wanted to see the inland and north shores of Oahu. So, I rented a 2016 CR-V for the day, and we set out.

26686323168_f2cb6b9132_z

After several Uber uses, it sure was nice to be behind the wheel again and having more control over the destination and stopping points.

38851935550_61367d771f_z

39781241705_1053d59308_z

The first stop was to the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park located on the windward side Oahu. Here we would visit a 1968 replica of the 11th-century Phoenix Hall of the Byodo-In Buddhist temple. James and I both share an interest in Japanese culture, so this was a must.

25791655087_8c8c9fab9f_z

39847047634_fa949373db_k

The Byodo-In Buddhist temple was quite impressive in person. It was established in 1968, to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. It’s currently a non-practicing Buddhist temple and welcomes people of all faiths to worship, meditate or simply appreciate its beauty.

40559520501_ab4e91ca75_k

Back on the road driving along the north shore. It was a nice change to see some local life rather than the tourist-packed areas of Honolulu.

40515026532_bd5a2252b4_z

26686321848_64ac2975ef_k

Getting some beach time near Turtle Bay.

25791413187_9735c5984e_z

Some more Hawaiian grub at Haleiwa Bowls. I had a Acai Smoothie and James got the Hapa Bowl.

39662425435_17a99b8a5f_k

39767312335_60c5721d89_z

One thing that blew my mind is how we circled the majority of the island in such a short amount of time. Before long, we were back in the outskirts of Honolulu. Of course, we got back right at the peak of rush hour traffic.

38851412150_4b967b9f8c_k

Some views of the skyscrapers.

39847044914_c206f3f855_z

The last day on the island was more relaxed filled with good food, beach time and general relaxing. I couldn’t shake a nagging feeling of sadness though knowing this was the last day. This is a rare thing for me. Normally I’m itching to get back home. Lunch was one of my favorite meals of the trip at Marukame Udon.

38747334310_9c0d7aacac_z

I opted for the curry flavored udon with an egg and tempura shrimp.

26686322628_08af0f2f41_z

Moving on to check out the small Waikiki Aquarium…

26791121808_b576e2a07e_z26791121448_23355c055a_z

As evening set in, we wandered around a bit to soak up the last of the night life.

25549806337_fd843fc657_z

Dinner was at a local chain called, Zippy’s. I had another try at Loco Moco… I loved it that much!

39952174004_186c0aceab_z

Dessert was some shaved ice from a local stand.

38851937120_9c4c4ef91d_z

40662290861_bf88bddaf7_z

James and I stumbled upon a hula show!

40676116311_546e3f3c76_z

40515025632_69f4b714c0_z

That covers the last of the trip. As I write this, I’m actually sad to bring this to an end as I absolutely loved my time in Hawaii. The people, the culture, food and scenery made for a spectacular experience and I will be back in due time. Mahalo, Hawaii, it was fun!

Tagged , , , ,

Hawaii Part I

39966102214_406f329826_k.jpg

Aloha! It’s been a while since I’ve taken a legitimate multi-day trip to get a break from reality. Fortunately, I got quite a sweet deal offered to me: My buddy James Zamora had to travel to a Honolulu conference for work that would last for about a week. He could bring a guest where a good chunk of the expenses would be taken care of. The main cost out of pocket would be the airfare and any miscellaneous entertainment. When this offer was put on the table, I took it in a heartbeat!

To be honest, Hawaii was never at the top of my list of must-see places. Mainly for the cost and the lengthy flight required to get there. There was also the sad realization that I would not be able to drive my own car unless I was prepared to spend the hefty $1,000+ cost (one-way!) of shipping it over. However, I did need to get out there sooner than later since Hawaii is one of three states I had yet to see (other two being Florida and Maine). Let’s get to it!

Flight arrangements worked out quite well. Our first leg was from Albuquerque, NM to Phoenix, AZ, then Phoenix to Honolulu. Total flight time was around 11hrs including a few short delays. It was the longest I’ve been on a plane, but I managed.

Capture

Boarding the American Airline flight to the island of Oahu, HI.

40421225151_559b3f6240_z

Mercifully, all seats had their own entertainment units with free movies, live TV and some games.

39525406605_e92333bfef_z

Being the odd guy I am, I chose to leave it on the GPS so I could monitor the flight stats. I resorted to Netflix on my phone for shows, music and movies.

40377228132_eed2bd6af1_z

After what seemed like eternity, we finally arrived at Honolulu, Oahu. Oahu is the third largest island of Hawaii and houses about two-thirds of the state’s population. Most of this population in concentrated in Honolulu, the state capitol, which has a metro area population of well over 950,000. It’s the most remote city of its size in the world. We were to stay at Waikiki Beach, an iconic beachfront neighborhood of Honolulu, at the Marriott Hotel at Waikiki Beach.

26803943568_a951be6fe1_z

Views from the hotel room.

26550272398_f51ed3f72b_k

Some evening exploring on the beach. Weather was perfect at a steady 60-70°F the entire time we were there.

39710672294_e2c1355b74_z

40421227491_301839dc7b_z40421227241_fb0cc17742_z

Dinner for the first night was at Rainbow Drive-In. I opted for the Loco Moco which was a delicious mixture of gravy, over beef pattys and rice. Top that with eggs and a side of Hawaiian macaroni salad and you have one satisfying meal.

40516807192_b19114b767_z

The next day while James was attending his conferences, I took the opportunity to see what trouble I could get into. I’m normally not a big breakfast person, but I needed to try a Hawaii exclusive McDonald’s spam, rice and eggs meal. With the soy sauce packet, it wasn’t too bad!

25687017957_7d1352a7f1_z

Looking around the beaches and downtown areas.

25549796547_b405c4670b_z

Checkout this banyan tree. Some of these are historical and one in particular at the Moana Hotel reaches over 75ft and is 114 years old.

39525453425_6a9dd735e5_k

First challenge: I wanted to get some good hiking in while in Hawaii. Though I was on the most urbanized and developed island, there still was a wealth of hiking opportunities. First stop was the Koko Head Crater trail. Koko Head is a dormant volcano which last erupted 35,000 years ago. The trail is made up of stairs…lots and lots of stairs. Old railroad ties mount to the side of the hillside which lead to an old military lookout pillbox bunker used in WWII. The railway (now the ‘stairs’) was used to haul cargo and supplies to the top. All the reviews I could find online said this was one challenging hike. Accepted! I took an Uber (12 miles from Waikiki) over to the trail head and was pleasantly surprised how steep it looked from the bottom.

38610524090_39ed4c7c4c_k

Photos don’t do this justice. This is about 1,048 steps and an elevation climb of 1,200ft.

39710732084_5e3b389538_k (1)

40662022441_b41fbffbc9_z

A good portion of the trail was open like this just waiting to break a few ankles or legs.

39525452965_411a5f061f_k

This had to be by far the toughest hike I’ve attempted, but I made it to the top. With high humidity and relatively warm temperatures, I stopped to rest on several occasions. However, the views from the top were well worth it!

40421273581_0e74aa7565_k

View of the old bunker.

40619943572_3f46445e86_z

View of Waikiki in the distance.

40377282232_c8e8516bd5_k.jpg38610535350_99f190210c_k.jpg

Headed back down wasn’t easy either. Trying to maintain balance on tired legs, and the constant pounding on my knees took a lot out of me.

40557558041_9ed4b3ea41_k

Once I rested after the hike, I went back to Waikiki to take in the waves. My legs were sore and trembling from the strain, but the day was not over. I’m not much of a water guy, so I left the surfing to other other tourists. Oddly enough, I ran into some nice folks who where from Los Lunas, NM…that’s only about 200 miles from my home! Small world.

40377287652_3f157d925f_k

40619896912_03bd241073_k

Second challenge: James was able to sneak away early from his conference and we went to Hanauma Bay there we’d get our first experience of snorkeling! Hanauma is located along the southeast coast Oahu in the Hawaii Kai, not too far from Koko Crater.

39525453875_44c2317f46_k.jpg

Renting the gear was a reasonable $25 and we dove in. I hadn’t been in the water since my teenage years, and I discovered my swimming skills were a bit rusty at best.

39951729534_3f65ee5744_z

So with that limitation discovered, I didn’t venture too far from the beach. The clean water offered some cool fish encounters.

26803923448_dd9232918f_z

Later in the evening, I got my steps in on my Fitbit (19,000 total for the day) as we wandered around various farmers markets and shops in Waikiki. Of course, we had to sample some of the local food and beverages around.

25549879187_e480c671e7_k

I was tempted to buy this as a gag gift!

25804684237_7d0a592745_z

Speaking of coconuts…

25687021787_9207b24b28_z

39525450665_1cf3dfb131_k

Some fresh paella.

40377282082_203f398a82_k

Creamy Japanese Ramen.

40557556611_aad359aeef_k

Fresh fruit cup.

40377275852_3fdab2c359_k

This is mighty condensed, but hope you get a flavor of the fun. That covers Part I of this trip. Stay tuned for Part II in a few days!

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,