We got back on Saturday around 11:30pm, but then we went to play on our computers, and then we went to sleep and sleep and sleep, so haven’t had a chance to update at all. Now you get to hear EVERY SINGLE bit of minutiae (lucky you!!!). I’ll put up more pictures too, later. These are just the picts I managed to put up while in Hawaii. Networking was $10 a day or I would’ve put up more pictures, but I wasn’t gonna pay $10 to cut into my hot tub/beach time:p
Sunday 15 May continued
So after buying all those t-shirts, we went to the beach to lay out. Yut and I didn’t get a chance to buy sunscreen so we bought it at an ABC store (kinda like a 7-11) — of all the things to not pack:p Oh well. We also bought these tatami-like beach mats which I’d never seen before but were available at every ABC store. Waikiki beach is soooo amazing. The weather was like 87 or so everyday, the sand felt great, the water was warm. I miss it already. After the beach, we went to the hotel sundeck and visited the hot tub:) Seriously, I think I might have to check for hot tubs at whatever hotels we’re ever going to stay at. Then we took showers and naps and went to Ilima Cafe for some ramen. Hawaii’s supposed to have some of the best ramen places around outside of Japan, but this place is not good. Not bad, and we had a coupon, but not brilliant. Then we went to bed. Seriously, no partying, no late night mai tai drinking, nothing, just bed.
Monday (16 May) morning we went on the “Circle Island Tour” at like 7:45am — that’s when the bus started out so we were up early! I’m not much of one for getting up early (:D) but it wasn’t too bad cos of the 3 hour time diff from Cali. Cousin Duke the bus driver was also the tour guide so the whole time he was driving he was actually holding a microphone:p He drove us all around, and talked about real estate the whole time. He’d just moved back in with his parents so I guess it was on his mind. Sometimes he’d talk about multi-million dollar neighborhoods, but he’d also mention “pretty nice” neighborhoods with homes starting from like $500,000 which maybe impressed the people from Texas or wherever, but being from the Bay Area, we were like… Whatta bargain!
One of the parks we stopped at had these two random chickens walking around on the grass. It was like being on a college campus only instead of squirrels it was 2 chickens:p The rooster’s v. showy isn’t he?
I took this at Pali Point maybe? Not sure, I just thought it was a cool view of lush greenery up into the clouds. I think there were firemen training at one of the places, rappeling down the sheer face of a cliff area.
For lunch we went to the Dole Plantation where there was a farmer’s stand where they were doing burgers (grass fed etcetc cows) which were supposedly super duper, but seriously they were mediocre at best. Pretty dry actually. But the Dole Plantation was pretty cool. They have these pineapple ice cream soft serve cones — tart and yummy. We also bought a bag of assorted hard candies (pineapple, pine-strawberry, coconut, etc) cos Julie said it was good. She bought 6 bags! We thought about it (cos it was buy 5 get 1 free) but decided that if we bought that much hard candy Yut might make himself sick:) Even though cousin Duke told us we were to be back on the bus at 12:15pm, 1 person didn’t make it back. After waiting like 1/2 an hour, he gave up and we left. He kept grousing about how she ruined his 6 year record of not leaving anyone behind:p Then he’d say oh well, it happens. Then he’d go back to complaining:) Pretty funny. We drove ’round the North Shore, then visited some macadamia nut place where we tried lots of flavored macadamia nuts. We were pretty tempted by the kona coffee flavored nuts, but in the end we didn’t buy anything. Maybe cos we’d already started in on the pineapple candy:p The last stop was the Byodo-In Temple (I think it’s a replica of one in Japan — all place names and factual sounding stuff are suspect, btw:p).
The tour was pretty good, but it brought back some seriously bad memories from a three-day tour I went on with my mom and CT where for three days in southern Taiwan we were out doing this stuff, waking up early, stopping at places for 15 minutes to take photos, the whole bit. Unfortunately for my poor mum, who enjoyed herself, and might’ve enjoyed herself more, CT and I were full of shit attitudes by the end of the first day/beginning of the second. Seriously, one day is pretty good, cos we got to see a lot of Hawaii and it was only like 8am to 4pm or so, but if you are thinking of doing a multi-day tour deal, I’d suggest doing a one dayer to see if it suits you:p
After the tour we went to the hot tub and the pool and the hot tub and shower and rest (this is a constant:) ) and then dinner at Legend Seafood restaurant, a Chinese place. The food was pretty good, but I don’t think anything special. It was one of those swanky places where they bring things out, then divide everything onto your plates and generally hover without seeming to, ‘cept Al spoke Cantonese and asked them not to. Go Al! :D The last thing for the night was this Magic of Polynesia show, which is this combination singing (seriously, she would’ve been excoriated by Simon:p), magic show, hula dancing, and fire stick playing. We got it as a part of a combination package together with the Circle Island and USS Arizona tours. It was pretty much only ok. Not brilliant, the dancers were only okay (Julie knows how to hula! but even a non-expert like me wasn’t too impressed:p), the fire stick twirler dropped his stick once, and the magic show got repetitive. Then we went to bed.
Tuesday 17 May we got on the tour bus at 6:30 to go to visit the USS Arizona memorial. I haven’t been up so early since like high school! (yuck) but they only have like 400 tickets per day (more suspect factual sounding info) so it’s best to get there early and line up. The line was pretty long by the time we got there and the memorial hadn’t even opened yet.
After the memorial, Uncle Bob (or I guess cousin Bob if you are older), our bus driver/tour guide took us on a drive-by tour of Honolulu (oooh yes!). Dooood, Uncle Bob is soooo cute, I am sorry I didn’t get a picture of him. He talked about his grandkids and food places. He kept saying things like, oh yeah, that’s a great place for Hawaiian food, some days you’ll see people lined out the door. Or oh yeah, they have great malasadas there! Or that’s the place people go for pho. etcetc. Seriously a man after my own heart:D
Anyhows, besides the food tour, he also took us to the Capitol, the Pacific Memorial Cemetery (like the Arlington Cemetary of the pacific) in the PunchBowl (a big crater), and other sights of the city.
Since he’d raved about it, we asked him to drop us off at Ono Hawaiian Foods on Kapahulu Avenue for lunch at the end of the tour (whatta guy:D ). They serve these combination plates with kalua pig (roast pork), laulau (chicken or pork wrapped in taro leaves), lomi lomi (a sort of salted salmon and tomato salad), and poi (weird taro paste) or rice and coconut jelly. They also serve some curry, tripe stews, all sorts of authentic Hawaiian stuff. Soooo delicious. We stuffed ourselves. But then Bob had also mentioned Leonard’s for malasadas, Portuguese donuts, which was a few blocks down the same street, so we decided to try it. Julie and Al’s guidebook said that malasadas were best warm, so we ate those, then walked to Starbucks and got Iced Thai Espressos. I think I was in pain from all the food:p The walk back was really long though, so I guess we made up for it:p It was the middle of the day too, so it was super hot. Then we went to the pool and the hot tub (again:)) and then shower then we got on the bus for the luau (the only planned activity thing that we bought separately from the tour breakfast thing). It’s too bad that the luau was the same day we went to Ono cos Ono was better food-wise. I mean, Germaine’s Luau is good, and we would’ve probably liked it a lot, but not after Ono and Leonard’s:p They gave us free drink tickets though, so who’s complaining:) They make some damn good mai tais and rum punches. Not so good greyhound, pretty good blue hawaii. They also had a lot of Polynesian dancing, better than the Magic of Polynesia:p We got back after 11pm and went straight to bed!
Wednesday 18 May was one of the days we had nothing planned ‘cept lying around. Yut was so used to it, he woke up at 8 or 9 anyhows. I, being more talented when it comes to sleeping, slept ’til 10:30 or so. Then we desultorily got ready to go out and went to a random sushi place in Waikiki for lunch. It was only ok. Started with ‘F’ but I don’t remember the name. We bought a floaty thing and met up with Al and Julie at the beach! We stayed there for hours! Then hot tub! Al and Julie were already on the sun deck having fish and chips and nachos and mai tais which they said was pretty good. After shower and rest, we went to L & L Hawaiian BBQ for dinner cos we saw this huge sign for loco moco and we decided we were going to have loco moco while we’re in Hawaii. Btw, I don’t think Hawaiians really believe in vegetables. Fruit yes, vegetables, eh:p Loco moco is a hamburger patty and a fried egg over rice with gravy on top. It’s actually surprisingly good:) We also got a bbq plate (bbq meat stuffs over rice). We really liked L & L:) After dinner we walked home and we both checked email and stuff and went to bed. Yeah, seriously, we didn’t do much at night:p
Thursday 19 May we went snorkeling! I was a little scared cos I don’t really swim. I mean, if I can tiptoe and touch the ground with my toes, then it’s ok:p We went to this cool sand bar which was all shallow water, with v. few people around. The crew cooked up burgers while we practiced snorkeling in the shallow water. After lunch we went to the actual reef. You’re not supposed to stand on the reef cos that would kill it, so I was pretty nervous. They gave us styrofoam noodles to help us stay afloat. It was damn cool! The fish came and ate right out of my hand. Unfortunately, I’m not the most brilliant snorkeler in the world. I saw this cool eel, and I was all, “Wow!” then I forgot to breathe through my mouth and lost the seal and sucked in salt water:p Salt water in your nose hurts! Usually after I got started it wasn’t so bad, but I kept feeling like Darth Vader. But it was soooo cool! :)
After snorkeling, we went to the pool, had fish & chips and nachos and mai tais and hot tubbed and then went to shower and rest. We watched the Apprentice finale, then called Al and Julie about maybe getting dinner. They were already asleep though, so we went to Nick’s Fishmarket ourselves. The place was pretty swanky, but we didn’t know cos most places in Hawaii are v. informal. So Yut was in a lime green t-shirt and jeans, and I was in t-shirt and jeans too. They were really nice to us anyways:) The food was pretty amazing. We got coconut shrimp (we looked at it like, we’re paying how much for this?! But it turned out really good. I got a sea bass in this olive/tomato sauce and Yut got a seafood grill. The dessert was amazing. It was this vanilla/banana ice cream pie. Really good. Then sleep. (I can’t fit into my pants anymore and this is why.)
Friday 20 May — our last full day! We taxi’d to Diamondhead, this big volcanic crater that you can hike up, and hiked all the way to the top. The last bit of it was really hard cos there were a lot of steps, then spiral metal steps (I hate those! I’m scared of heights). But the view was really nice. Coming down was harder than going up. But worth it. Then we taxi’d back to the hotel. We decided to try another ramen place for lunch. I think it was called Egi Goku or something. The best thing was, when we walked in, we saw a bunch of Japanese people sitting around having ramen, so it was a relief:) They have some good miso ramen!
After dinner, more beach, more pool, more hot tub, then shower and got ready for our reservations at Alan Wong’s (the only pre-trip activity planning we did:p). The food was amazing. I think I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story, when I put them up.
Saturday 21 May — on our way home already. We went to McDonald’s for breakfast cos they have things like the Deluxe local platter with spam, eggs, and portuguese sausage over rice — it’s better than it sounds:) All McDonalds value meals (not breakfast) come with a side of cut pineapples, but we didn’t get any value meals. We did try taro pie earlier on in the week (or actually I did. Yut took just a nibble, and Al and Julie didn’t even try that much:p) which was good, but I guess it was a limited time thing. We got home after 11:30pm Pacific time and then played a lot of DOTA on Warcraft with Cliff who was nice enough to pick us up:)
Was that the longest entry ever or what?! It was a great vacation. So relaxing… I am going to have to try to convince my parents to retire to Hawaii so I can go visit Hawaii for Thanksgiving or Christmas or whatever:p