Tag Archive: Oahu

Woke up. Got out of bed. Dragged a comb… Hey, not across MY head. Ate some quick food. Down to the  beach to boogie board. Lay in the sun.

Then off to a 90 minute cateraman cruise on the Mai-Tai for $36 total. If you call in with a coupon from one of the may activity books all over in advance and you get $5 off per person. Great ride, very fun, great crew, and if you do drink, they have drinks for $2 which is notedly a good deal.

If you don’t drink, $2 water or OJ is not so great. No drinking at all is a great price and allows you to take more photos and enjoy the view without interruption. We didn’t see any whales, but what a beautiful day, beautiful views, and it was just incredibly relaxing. Gigorgious!

We had early dinner at the Nakamura Noodle Saimen place, per tradition. It was very good as usual for about $12 each, but it really put in perspective how really good the little noodle place in Lihue was. It was comparitively awesome! And their most expensive shrimp tempura saimen was only $6! They were not too happy about us continually asking and calling about fried noodles though! “No fried noodles today!” Click… Bzzzzzzzzz.. “Um… Okay, Thanks. Hey! They hung up on me!”

Sunset at Waikiki, lots of photos. Again no torchlighting on Monday. Oh well. A bit of All-Blocks-Covered (ABC) shopping, elsewhere and then back to hotel where they were holding our bags, taxi was already arranged and loaded when we got there. Jumped in and we were off to the airport. We were immediately greeted by a sky cap. For six bucks gratuity, he got us checked in, took our bags through agriculture and to security for us and us off to our gate in about 360 seconds. That took so little time, we just plopped down for a about an hour before we even went through security. I forget how quickly you get done if you use a skycap.

The flight back was uneventful, just like it should be. We got good exit row seats with plenty of room for our legs and both fell asleep shortly after takeoff. We both actually slept most of the trip. Regardless, we were both still a bit groggy in Salt Lake trying to get our bags and find the car….

Go! Airlines lost our luggage on a 20 minute flight. Annoying, but they got it to our room by the time we got back after dinner and strolling. We went to the beach after checking in, lay in the sun, boogie boarded a little. Back to room for shower. We watched the sunset on Waikiki before heading east for food. Because it was Easter, no torch lighting. Then we went to To Dai Sushi in Honolulu over by the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Pretty good, if you stick to what you like, but it did not seem as good as last year. Snow Crab was good, tempura was great, the sushi, poke, sashimi were all pretty good. The walnut shrimp was also pretty good but not as good as at the Panda in Hanalei. We will probably try some different places next time. Maybe some dim sum places.

· University of Hawaii Arboretum
· Hike to Aihualama (1.3 miles or so)
· Hike to Manoa Falls(1.25 miles or so)
· Moana Terrace (fish sandwich, $14)
· Shopping, Sunset on Waiki and lighting of the torches
· Todai sushi (catty corner from the Hilton Hawaiian Village)


· JIB Breakfast ($8.25)
· Snorkeling at Ko’olina (free)
· Aoki Ice ($2.50)
· Matsumoto’s Ice ($11 sandals)
· Snorkeling at Shark’s Cove (free)
· Romy’s Shrimp Shack ($24)
· Sunset Beach, Chu’s Beach, Bonzai Pipe, Turtle Beach (free)
· Shorebird Restaurant at Outrigger Reef on the beach ($52)
Up early, grabbed a bite from Jack-in-the-Box on Kapahula and ate it as we drove to Ko’olina. It’s about 30 odd minutes depending on traffic taking H1 across until it turns into a highway. We took the Ko’olina exit and soon you are entering a private resort area. Marriott is the main owner, I guess, but there is also Paradise Cove which is one of the big 5 luau’s you can do on Oahu. Also there are some condo/houses, a golf course, and I think at least one other big building builder. Marriott has a few Marriott Club International timeshares going on there though (prices are 33k to 60k-ish, not too cheap for a week a year) plus the JW Marriot Resort (category 7 hotel/resort/spa) is over here. Anyway, the draw to Ko’olina is there are 4 man made lagoons along the west shoreline which are really great for snorkeling. Pools 1 and 3 are roundish in shape and are the better ones for snorkeling in my opinion as they have deeper channels that go out to the ocean. This is where all the fish hang out in teems and teems. Also you are protected from rough waters by a break wall in the channels as well. Just stay out of the middle channel which does not have a break wall and you’ll be fine. Otherwise, the west shore is pretty rough and there really isn’t much beach. Our last trip out we went to Hanauma Bay and by far preferred snorkeling the lagoons at Ko’olina. Just as many fish, just as many varieties, and a LOT LESS people. And it is free, free parking, no movie to watch, no dangerously shallow coral areas waiting to rip you apart. So it proved again, that the conditions are great for fish watching. I tried getting some pictures with our underwater camera with 800 film and a flash. We’ll see how they turn out. Last time out it was a bit iffy. Underwater photography with a $15 camera usually yields 1 good shot for every 5 taken. But that is still cheaper than getting a real underwater camera, but Pentax has tempted me a few times with their little underwater digital square camera that floats… Maybe next trip.
Jenivee snorkeled a little while too, but lay on the beach for about half the time we were there. They have great beaches at these lagoons. Lagoon IV has all the parking, about 100 public spaces. The other ones only have about 15 0r 18 spots and unless you go early in the morning, they are going to be full.
After snorkeling and laying in the sun, we headed out for Hale’iwa. We took the 750 up and the 99. We stopped in Haleiwa and went to Matsumoto’s and Aoki’s shaved ice shops. The line was super long at Matsu’s so we got our shaved ice at Aoki’s and then Jenivee bought some sandals at Matsumoto’s. Very interesting little ice shacks…
We then went up to Shark’s Cove to snorkel. Pretty cool snorkeling. At first I was thinking it was not that great, but once you get out in the Cove a little bit; WOW! All kinds of fish! I was trying compare with Ko’olina for snorkeling, and if I had to choose one or the other ONLY, I would say do Shark’s Cove. However, I would say they are more different than better or worse than one or the other. So do BOTH! The fish were good, some bigger types here, but mostly the same, and Ko’olina had a few that were better varieties as well and bigger too. So, different, not necessarily better or worse. They both had Tang, Surgeonfish, Snappers, Chubs, Boxfish, Porcupinefish, Moorish Idols, the famous Humuhumunukanukaapoaa, Butterflyfish, Trumpetfish (very interesting!) and MORE. And Ko’olina is definitely less crowded. I did see a huge eel at Shark’s Cove (probably a Yellowmargin Moray, kinda had leapord spotted skin with yellowish edging) that would stick its head out of a rock and make menacing faces with jaws wide open every so often when BIG sunfish would come by. Otherwise, it ignored the little fish that approached, and as soon as little fish would come by and see the eel inside, they would quickly take off. The big flat fish, like the big Tang fish that were bigger than my head and the Yellowfin Surgeonfish, almost seemed like they would come up to the eel hole and float sideways over it, taunting the eel to come out. Usually the eel would stick its head out, make some grimaces, and the big fish would eventually swim away. I got it to stick its head out a little by diving down and waving the camera in front of the hole, but it didn’t seem too interested. I was a little scared to taunt it too much either. It had a pretty vicious looking mouth. It had to be pretty big because it’s coiled up body looked like it was about 6 inches in width and I could see it coiled around at least twice in the hole. Hopefully one of those pictures turns out.
After snorkeling until we couldn’t stand it anymore, we drove up further along the North Shore and looked for a shrimp shack. We knew Giovanni’s and Romy’s were supposed to be good. We found Romy’s first and got Sweety & Spicy and the Garlic plates. A bit spendy ($11 each plate) but it was pretty good. They make it fresh, so you have to wait. They grow their own (or get locally) their own prawns, so those are what they are known for. Pretty messy too. They were NOT shelled, so we got butter and sauce all over. We pulled over at Sunset Beach (or Chu’s beach) and ate them up and then went out to the ocean to wash off. Then we just headed down the beach. We stopped at the Bonzai pipeline beach (Ehukai is the real name; it is across from a green painted school building and soccer field). The waves aren’t big this time of year, but there were still a few surfers and boogie boarders. They were filming a wedding scene some Japanese film on the beach and we had to cross the set a couple of times. They were trying to keep the section of beach foot print free and between the people and loose dogs, it took them a while to get the shot. Kind of interesting to watch. It was raining off and on as well, which probably didn’t help them.
We finally found Turtle Beach and sure enough, there were at least a half dozen turtles floating in the surf near the shore. None on the beach though, probably not a warm enough day for them and there were a fair amount of people around.
After hanging out at all the beaches for a while, we drove back to Honolulu. We cleaned up and went to the Shorebird for dinner. It’s in the Outrigger Reef, a bit past the official Waikiki strip, but still generally called Waikiki, near Hale Koa. They have live music, and you cook your own steaks on hot hot grills. I got a bug top sirloin, and Jenivee got the Hukilau basket. Excellent grub. Maybe not hoity toity, but just plain good. Plus I cooked the steak just the way I like it, about 3 minutes on each side, very very pink in the center. It came with a salad buffet as well which was good too. It’s right on the beach so the view and atmosphere are great. We listened to the music for a little while, walked back along the beach, and crashed at the hotel. Only one more day! It starts to dawn on you that you have to leave soon! How sad!

· Doris Duke’s Shangri-La and Honolulu Academy of Arts
· Zippy’s
· Wal-mart stop
· Chinatown
· Legend seafood (dim sum) (100 N Beretania)
· Leonard’s Bakery (Malasada’s) (933 Kapahulu)
· Pali Lookout
· Run Sushi at end of the Marriott Waikiki ($49.83)
· Hot tub

We got up a little late today. Ran off to get to the Honolulu Academy of Arts to catch the shuttle to Doris Duke’s Shangri-La. You need to reserve these well before hand (like 2 weeks before, not the week of), especially if you want the early tour. We didn’t get the stuff in the mail from them in time, so we weren’t quite sure where to park. I dropped Jenivee off to make sure we checked in while I found a spot. As it would have it, all roads past Ward have NO reasonable parking even going down as far as Punchbowl: All private parking or 1 hour parking. Even if you are willing to pay a LOT, there is nothing. I drove around and around. Signs are not obvious and lots of one way streets with no left turns. Jenivee finally had to switch with someone who was there early and was on the 11am tour so all in all it worked out. I finally found parking at the OTHER academy of arts. If you stay EAST of Ward and Victoria there is LOTS of places to park for free or cheap. If you get the stuff in the mail, the parking is clearly marked, but make sure you know where you are going before you head out. Even after I knew where the parking was, since we had some time to kill we drove around a little, and even then, starting from driving by the Honolulu Academy of Arts on Ward and Beretania and trying to directly go to the parking behind the Honolulu Academy Art Center (which is NOT the Honolulu Academy of Arts, but catty corner to it on Victoria street), it took about 18 minutes because of all the one ways’ and the roads you would normally take were closed to turns from King because of construction. We had to go down King, reduced to a one lane eastward, clear back to where Sam’s club was and get back on Beretania/Vine from there. Wow! Giant slow circle, we were almost late for the 2nd tour because we did not realize it would take almost 20 minutes to park from something we could see, but not directly get to! In the meantime, we went to Zippy’s on Vine and had a fine breakfast of pao dolce (sweet bread) French toast, beef-hash for me, ham for Jenivee, 2 eggs each. Zippy’s is Hawaii’s version of JB’s or Shoney’s, or maybe you might call it a Village Inn. It’s got a lot of localized grub, is decently priced, and most of the shops have a fast food side, the sit down side, and a bakery in the middle. I recommend it as a good value and a safe way to try out what locals might typically eat. It’s got a bit of everything with Japanese, Portuguese, Hawaiian and Western influence. Spam dishes too! You can now go to Zippys-dot-com and get an idea of what they have. They apparently ship some things too, hum! Then we ran over to Wal-mart and grabbed some cortisone anti-itch cream for Jenivee who seemed to be getting little sun blisters that were itching quite a bit. We were going to get this at ABC or whatever the night before, but the Equate brand was less than $3.00 and ABC name brand was more than $7.00 so we waited ‘til morning since we knew we would be in the neighbourhood. Anyway, there is lots of parking on Vine. $5 at the Art Center, less if you remember to validate (I did not remember and paid a full $5). Free at Safeway another block away if you dare. About 5 or 6 at the Medical Arts building also on Vine. And you could always resort ot Wal-mart Sam’s club parking for free if you wanted which is about 3.5 blocks kitty corner from the Academy of Arts and Art Center to the south east. We would have been better off just staying there and hoofing it than driving around and around like we did.
Once we got on the tour, it was pretty dang cool. It seems a bit odd at first, though. You get the sensation that this is a top secret place and they might haul you away if you step out of line. There is a security guard with an earpiece who follows your group around. The shuttle takes 20 people over at a time and they split you into two groups of ten each with your own guide. Apparently Doris Duke was a little bit eccentric and recluse of sorts, and rich enough to make her world conform to her standards, and that has rubbed off a bit on the tour system and the foundation running the tours. No indoor pictures, which probably just reduces hassle for what really should be or should not be allowed to be photographed for copy-right issues and flash deterioration issues. Outdoor photos are allowed though. It’s a pretty interesting building that reflects some of Doris Duke’s eccentricities. Big house, only 1 guest room plus her bedroom. She wasn’t an idiot though, and did a lot of her own grunt-work to boot. This house has only been open since 2002, so it is still relatively *new* to outsiders, and the tour makes you feel that way. Our tour guide, Lawrence Ward, was very very good and knowledgeable. He seemed to have a German accent, but apparently grew up mostly on Oahu, lived a few years in Vienna. But I can’t be sure of his actual origin and didn’t bother asking. I would guess he might be Hungarian if not German, and possibly Turkish (?), but has been a Hawaiian for most of his life regardless. Anyway, this tour is way way cool and very informational. I’ll let you discover the rest on your own. Back at the Academy of Arts, we checked out the native Pacific Island exhibits, the Asian stuff, the Islamic stuff (mostly donated by Doris Duke as well), and a bit of whatever else they had. We finally left about 3 o’clock.
We then decided we were rather hungry and had Legend’s seafood on our list. It wa rated an ONU and we had seen it highly rated elsewhere as well and especially famous for its dim sum variety. This was also on Beretania in Chinatown. We went and finally found parking. When we got to the front door along the canal facing side, we found it was closed between lunch and dinner and didn’t open again until 5pm. Our guide book did not mention this and we hadn’t bothered checking out the hours, so we were plenty disappointed. We walked a little through Chinatown, where apparently everyone sells leis, but we didn’t see much interesting so went back towards our hotel. We stopped at famous Leonard’s Bakery and got a dozen Malasadas. They are basically hole-less donoughts of Portuguese descent. To me they seemed pretty banal, but Jenivee loved them. We got six cinnamon-sugar and 2 each of chocolate, custard and coconut filled. I didn’t like any of the filled ones at all. Jenivee loved what she thinks are the coconut ones, but I think they are actually the plain custard ones. I think the other one is the coconut one with the whiter filling, which she did not like as much.
We went back to the room, freshened up, and then went out to Pali Lookout off of Pali highway. We just took some snapshots and hung out for a few minutes. We went here last time, but just wanted to take a gander again. We think we might hike the old trail road next time, but it is a pretty long hike. I didn’t take a jacket, but it didn’t seem too cold to me. Jenivee thought it was a bit chilly though. It’s pretty cool how windy it is there all the time. The story about Kamehameha pushing everyone off the cliff there is sort of spooky too. There are also the stories about how they buried the kings in the cliffs along with their best servant of selected family members. Whoever was lowered down to dig the tomb was then cut loose from above once they were done so they would keep the exact location a secret. This was of course considered an honour to take the king’s bones location to the grave… Hum… I’m thinking not.
This night, we wanted to do better, but we rushed into just going to Run Sushi in the Marriott. It was okay, a little expensive, but nothing spectacular. We got there a little late and they weren’t seating outside which actually is right across from Waikiki so has a good view. We got Miso, tempura shrimp, fried noodles, sashimi bento combo, and gyozas. On the whole, it was fine, but nothing we couldn’t make ourselves just as well or better, and for a lot less. So considering all that, we should have just gone out to a nicer restaurant. I recommend Run Sushi for their daily lunch special for a quick bite, or for just a snack of sushi, but not as a main course kind of place. We had tried them last time out to Hawaii too, and it is still about the same. Great for a quick bite if you are in a hurry, but don’t expect to be amazed.
After, we went and sat in the hot tub again. Very relaxing. Nice way to end the night


· Royal Burger on Kalakaua ($9.61)
· Walk on Beach (free)
· Picked up kayak at Go Bananas on 799 Kapahulu ($47)
· Drove to Kane’ohe JIB snak ($7.01)
· Paddled to Sunken Island, Kapapa Island

Today we woke up early; about 6am-ish and lounged ’til 7am. Then we decided to grab a quick breakfast at ‘Royal Burger’ because it is next door, not too big (after having been knocked out by the after effect of eating at Duke’s breakfast buffet the day before), and relatively cheap and portable.

We took our croissandwiches, OJ’s and hash browns across the street to beach and watched the waves while we ate.

After finishing, we walked up a bit farther to where the surfer and the seal statue are (near the big film thing they use for films on the beach) and combed the beach for the incredibly off-chance my Dragon sunglasses would miraculously wash ashore just while we were there from 2 days previous (lost body-board surfing by a big hellacious wave that knocked them clean off me). Then back to the room, got our gear.

We went to Go Banana’s rentals which is just up the street from the Marriott Waikiki on Kapahulu Avenue. The owner, John, and his mom are from Murray, UT which is interesting. But they have been here for over 20 years, so…. They had only a few rentals that day for kayaks and of the two others, one couple was also from Utah, and the other from Japan. I think the Japanese couple was right in front of us when we got to Kane’ohe.

Just so you know, it was SUPER convenient to get our double kayak there and a full set of equipment and John’s excellent advice on kayaking and what to look for out by Sunken Island (or Disappearing Beach, or simply, ‘The Sandbar’) and Kapapa island was a total of $47 or so with tax for the whole day! Another interesting thing he mentioned was that there would be a drive-on ferry to the other islands starting next year. First the smaller islands, from here but in 2 or 3 years they would also service Oahu to Hawai’i. Cool! So much easier than catching a plane!

Anyway, we drove up Pali Highway and then Kamehameha highway over to Kane’ohe. We grabbed a quick bite (shared a combo meal) at Jack-in-the-Box and then just past the state park is where the canoe club and some piers are, we pushed off for sunken island, and if we felt confident, for Kapapa. It was raining a tiny bit off and on, but about 80 degrees, so not cold at all. Rather windy, the waves were pretty good, occasionally getting to a couple of feet in the deep parts before sunken island. You get pretty wet, but nothing to scary if you keep a decent angle on the waves with the kayak. It is about 1.4 miles to the sand bar, depending on which part you are heading for. We probably drifted a fair amount and zigzagged as well trying to get a rhythm. Eventually, we got out there at roughly 2:00pm, I would estimate. We didn’t stop, as there didn’t seem to be much to see underwater, but we could see a few Japanese (and other?) tourists about a half mile to the left dropped off by tour boats, a few private boats and jet skis to the right. Off in the distance, we could see Kapapa. We just kept going. As we got a bit past the sand bar, we were surprised to see at least a dozen or so sea turtles of various sizes lazing, grazing, and swimming around us. At one point I was worried about smacking them with the paddle. They thinned out pretty quickly as we kept going. They are surprisingly fast swimmers. We tried circling around a couple of lazy ones, but they take off when they want to and there isn’t a chance of keeping up with them. So we decided to go out a little closer to Kapapa and eventually decided to just go for it. Once it got deep again, you could very visibly see the waves wrapping around from the open ocean and coming around each side of the island. They would frequently crash and churn just in front of what looked like the only approachable ‘beach’ area on the island. The waves were occasionally 3 or 4 feet here and it was a little spooky. We tried to hit them at a good angle and had a bit of adrenaline rowing the last quarter mile or so. We got thoroughly soaked as well. Earlier, I had wisely tied up our gear as we were leaving the sand bar. Anything loose would definitely have been lost and very difficult to recover in the crisscrossing waves. We pulled up on ‘shore’ and found the beach was all rock and coral pieces of pretty large size. We had Teva reef-shoes (or are they socks?) on and good thing. After the coral beach, the rest of the island was lava rock. Very sharp lava rock. Not the worn down smooth stuff you see on the Oregon coast. This stuff would HURT you if you weren’t careful. Even with reef-shoes, you could feel how sharp the rock was. Don’t even think about kneeling down. You’ll ribbon your knees. My shins and knees were already a bit sliced up from body-board surfing already so I was keenly aware of the real hazard of falling on this stuff. We checked out the north-windward side of the island and watched the big waves crashing in. Glad we didn’t have to try to kayak in that stuff. We checked out the little tide-pools in the lava rock. We were in-between tides so we found a few pools with little fish, little crabs, and couple of bigger crabs. After a while, we decided to head back. Going back was a lot easier, and we actually caught 3 to 5 pretty good waves in our kayak on the way back. That was pretty fun! I was hoping we could catch some more on the deeper side past Sunken Island, but they weren’t big enough to do much. Still, it was much easier going with the wind and waves than against them. The sea kayaking was a blast! I highly recommend it and will be sure to make that a part of any of our future trips when possible!

After getting home and cleaning up, we tried to figure out where to go eat. Because I was elite status at Marriott, they had given us a voucher for two drinks at Kuhio Grill or the Moana Terrace Grill. They also were pushing the Kuhio big time on all the inroom channels and lobby advertising and in the local advertising books like “This Week Oahu”. Well, the “Oahu Revealed” guidebook did not think too much of the place, and admittedly, it is practically underground, but on Waikiki. With a coupon from above, it was only going to by $20 for the prime rib buffet. Since it was close (in and run by Marriott) I figured it should be pretty safe and besides, who can screw up Prime Rib? Prime rib is called rib because it is PRIME rib, not scrap rib, rib tips, crap ribs or whatever. Well, we went to the underground dwelling and were somewhat promptly served, and our server was very kind and gracious. We started on the buffet and immediately I was a little worried. Everything that was cooked looked very overcooked and like it had been there all day. The prime rib guy slicer was sleeping standing up and I had cough loudly to wake him. He cut me a nice thick slab of prime rib and it *looked* good. But when I sat down and tried to cut it, it took a significant amount of my muscle force to cut through the dang thing. I took a bite and was immediately deeply saddened. It was very very bland even with the au-jus. In fact, I think only the au jus had any flavour. With enough horseradish-sour cream sauce it was passable, but it was incredibly tough and sinewy. It was like chewing rubber. I tried a piece of the outer edge and it was very similar to cooked blubber; not that I know what blubber tastes like, but I bet it was similar, and perhaps worse than blubber. The rest of the buffet was also pretty dismal. All the chocolate dipped fruits and things was more like white bland candle wax dipped items. The strawberries were pretty good if you chipped all the chocolate wax off first. The bananas were way overripe. Some of the other desserts were interesting but not anything near noteworthy. The BBQ chicken was okay, a little overcooked but nothing special. The fish was bland, tough, and overcooked. The Hawaiian pork was very dry and tough, but actually tasted okay, once you got over chewing on leather. The bread was so tough you nearly had to dip it in water to make it chewable. The only things that were okay were the fresh fruits and the fresh salad. But even Home Town Buffet is capable of that. So all in all, the food was one of the worst buffet’s I had ever been to, even free ones, let alone ones that cost over $50 for two. I should have trusted the book review. But I also feel like the book review was not strong enough. They should have simply stated the food was not only not good for the price and the view, but it was simply NOT GOOD at any price. You could not PAY me to go eat there again, unless, maybe, I was starving to death. Shame on Marriott for running such a terribly food establishment. I would be ashamed to have it attached to my property and to my name. Shame on them for foisting it on their hotel patrons as something worth going to! We were both very very disappointed and felt like we wasted one of our precious opportunities to have an enjoyable evening when there were so many good places we could have eaten at. If you read this and still go to the Marriott Kuhio Grill, you will rightfully deserve the worst food you will ever pay for.
Later, as I had only packed about 3 days worth of clothes, Jenivee did some laundry in the Marriott self-serve laundry. It’s about $4 per load, just so you know. And take a little laundry soap with you from home in a zip lock baggie if you plan on doing any laundry so you don’t have to buy little boxes for $2 more per load.

· Hot Tub
· Duke’s Breakfast at the Outrigger ($37.31)
· Beach Walk
· Lei Day (we didn’t participate)
· Nap digesting huge breakfast (free)
· Hike to Makapu’u head (about 1 mile each way) ( (free)
· Drove around from Makapu’u to Kailua, came back by Pali Highway
· Drove around downtown, picked up sushi from Sam’s Club deli ($6.44)

Today we again woke early. We went down and hot-tubbed it in our Waikiki Marriott robes (they will provide robes to anyone in the hotel if you call and ask. Comes with cute Waikiki slippers too which you can keep but the robe is $50 if you want to take it home). It is nice and cool in the morning and the hot-tub is just the thing.
Then we showered and headed over to Duke’s at the Outrigger to do their breakfast buffet. It was excellent as always and offers a great open air view of the beach. Not too horribly spendy either, about $14/person + tax and tip. We were so full, we slowly walked back along the beach and waddled up to our rooms and slept for about 3 hours before we could move again! Aughhh… We decided no more breakfast buffets for the week.
Mid afternoon we decided on a hike and picked a fairly short one but with good elevation. We have been using the same guidebook we used last time, Oahu Revealed put out by Wizard Publishing. It had just come out when we came here two years ago and was incredibly right on. There was a brand new update just before this trip too. We weren’t able to get it in time but many of the web-reviews from Wizard helped us make the most of it. This is an incredible book and is spot on. I imagine all their books for each island are just as good too. I highly recommend these books! In this case though, it appears this particular trail has been improved in the last two years. It now has parking and is paved all the way to the lookout. We looked on Google maps later than night and you can see the trail, but you can’t see the parking or improvements. So it must have been pretty recently. Anyway, it is a good mile hike with about 500 foot vertical climb. Not too bad but a good walk at a brisk pace. Makapu’u head is out on the east side and from the top you can see Kailua, Kane’ohe airstation, Rabbit Island, Flat Island, and a few more. Gorgeous views. The light house is a little below you but apparently it is gated off, so we didn’t try to get to it. There are a bunch of pillboxes and gun installments all over along with a memorial to a plane that crashed on the site mistaking the light house for Kane’ohe. Very interesting stuff if you are a war buff. You can do whale watching along this hike from February through April or so. We looked a little, but not very likely there were any lollygagging whales in the environs. Far below, there is the Dragon’s Nostrils along with 5 other blow holes. Apparently they are going off if the wind and tide is just right about one third of the time. We kept an eye out but it didn’t look like much was happening down there so we didn’t go down. We saw a few people down there though. It is funny how things don’t seem quite in perspective sometimes. We saw where the blow holes flat ledge is and it seemed pretty close. Later when we spotted people all the way down there, we could see they were just little specks on the ledge and many were floating in the pools on the ledge and swimming around. So it was much much bigger than what it appeared with no people on it. On the way home, we drove around the Kailua side and came back into Honolulu via the Pali Highway which is maybe my favourite drive across the Koolau Mountains. Spectacular view. We were still pretty full from Duke’s so wanted a light snack more than anything. So we swung by Sam’s Club deli once again and grabbed the daily sushi trays. They were marked down as they were closing so we got about 16 pieces (two trays) with wasabi and shoyu for less than $7.00. It was rather good too! We ate it while we watched a PBS special on “The Mormons” and drifted off to a deep peaceful sleep.

· Hot Tub
· Another Big Walk on beach, Hale Koa snack shop breakfast ($7.85)
· Boogie Boarding, lost Dragon sunglasses (L) (free, er….)
· Fried Noodles at Ramen Nakamura ($32.00)

Again, with the time offset, it was easy to get up early again. We went down and hot-tubbed it, then took a big walk out to Hale Koa. We stopped at CoCoCove and got a Diet Coke for the walk (44oz for $1.50, about as cheap as it gets on Waikiki). We pretended to do some of the exercise trail around the resort, then went to the Hale Koa snack shop and got two orders of heuvos rancheros and a fresh quarter of pineapple. Walked back, got our boogie board stuff and boogie boarded for a few hours on Waikiki. I lost my Dragon glasses from a big wave that caught me off guard. There were actually some pretty decent waves every now and then. But overall, I think I needed slightly bigger waves for my body size or a bigger board. I had a 40” board, but it really barely kept me out of the water when I got up on it. Even though I am a little fatter than I used to be, at 5’10” and 220 pounds, I am fairly dense and have never floated well. Guess I need to get a little fatter still. I also was using my snorkeling fins which weren’t quite as reactive as boogie board flippers would be. But I caught a few waves every now and then. Jenivee quickly rubbed her ribs raw and gave up after about an hour or so and lay on the beach the rest of the time.
After I was thoroughly tired and we had soaked up enough sun, we retired to our room, napped, showered, and then headed out for dinner.
We went to Ramen Nakamura which is on the corner of Kalakaua and Beach Walk. They have awesome noodles and ramen. There is usually a line, and it is very non-touristy. We saw only two other whites while we waited and ate, the rest were Japanese tourist looking types. We had a fried noodle combo, a Miso ramen combo, and an extra side of gyoza’s. The service is always friendly: still the same lady that has been there for years, apparently every day all the time. And the price is decent for the food and experience. Cash or Yen only!
We walked back along the beach to our hotel, watched the waves a little, and fell asleep quickly.

· Big Walk on beach, subway breakfast sandwich
· Visit Hale Koa
· Room Switch
· Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club
· Spam Jam

Saturday we woke up early (6-ish) and went for a long walk. We grabbed a smoothie and a couple of Subway breakfasts sandwich near Hale Koa. By the way, Subway has free internet service (wireless) if you buy a sandwich there, you can hook up your laptop to their wireless for free. We then grabbed a soda at Hale Koa (a military hotel resort, but you can enter from the beach side and eat at their snack bars and maybe even the restaurant for cheap. Tax free too). We walked back and got rooms swapped. The room Jenivee talked them into was a pretty good one. It was smaller than the executive suite, but it was a corner room in the back tower on the 20th floor. So we could see Waikiki from the balcony and Waikiki and towards Sans Souci beach from the window. It is still plenty spacious for two, with a big king bed. I think it is not quite as soft as the other bed though. I think the other one had a down comforter under the sheets and this one seems to only have a pillow-top layer under the sheets. Still quite luxurious though. The room was pretty decent, but much smaller, maybe 350-ish square feet. It was slightly over standard size as it had a window nook on the south where a desk was situated, and it was a corner room. Room 2051, which is pretty high up and has just one lanai facing westward and a window facing southward from which we could see our old room straight across and up a bit, Diamond Head, the Natatorium, and some more beach out easterly. Pretty good views. I think last time we were here we were, it was the same tower in a 24th floor room, but more in the middle. It was a mini-suite with two balconies; probably something like 500 square feet. So the view was very similar, but perhaps we could see more of the westward beach in front of the Royal Hawaiian (the Pink Palace) whereas we could not see too much of the actual beach even on the 2oth floor and being clear over to the corner.
Oh my, oh my. But Jenivee was happy with the view so that is all that really matters. We couldn’t get in it until 4 or 5 though, so we made the ritual trip to Wal-Mart/Sam’s club for basics like boogie boards, beach mats, case of water, pop, etc. Stuff you don’t want to bring with and don’t want to pay for as you go along at ten times the price. We bought some Ahi Poke at Sam’s. Know what that is? We were walking by the deli in Sam’s and they had all kinds. Jenivee thought it was for stir fry but they were sampling 2 kinds about 6 feet later in little plastic ramekins. So I tried them and they were awesome! I made her try them too. She liked it! So then we went back to the deli counter and ended up trying about 12 things. At least 6 ahi poke’s, some seaweed salads, oysters, mussels, and whatever else the guy kept handing us. We finally picked a 1/2 pound of spicy Ahi Deluxe Poke – Yum! After getting back, settling in to our new room, showering, etc, we went to the Spam Jam! They have it every year about this time on the main Waikiki street, Kalakaua. We tried a spam wrap with mango salsa and garlic fries. Later we tried garlic shrimp with garlic curly fries. The spam was fine in the wrap, actually. It was pretty good. But by and large, the whole festival could have just as easily been about garlic. Every other thing had garlic in it. The music was good; they had two stages: one on each end of the blocked off stretch of Kalakaua. The whole thing is done every year to support the Hawaiian food bank, so it’s a good thing.

· Airport SLC->SFO->HNL
· Pickup Rental Car: Budget
· Check-in at Marriott Waikiki

Jenivee & I arrived Friday night in Hawai’i on Delta. We had about a 2 hour layover in San Francisco where we grabbed a bite at Guava & Java. There were only two choices for food in the terminal wing we were in. G&J and Perry’s which looked good but would have been about $60 or so… Even so, Guava & Java was $18.00 for one smoothie and 2 panini’s of basic size and nature. Just getting you ready for Hawai’i prices J. Anyway, the plane to Oahu was about 10% full. The stewardess said they might cancel that particular flight this fall after the summer rush is over. We got upgraded to a great room: an executive suite that was about 700 square feet with two large balconies. Jenivee had sent an email some months back when we switched reservations (we were going to go in February, but changed it to April-May) to get a city-side view. Well, that is exactly what the room was. A city-side view. No ocean view at all. She thought that a city-side view would include a partial ocean. So… we went the rounds on changing rooms. Ultimately, after several phone calls to the front desk we decided to stay the night in that room as it was late and we would see what was available the next day.