Monday, April 25, 2011

Hawaii photos

Last week, Daniel and I spent a few days in Oahu. He got to travel for work, so I tagged along! It was a fun few days, and I want to go back sometime to do and see all the things on my list we just didn't have time for.

See the slideshow of all our photos here (the post below features highlights):

View from the plane

We stayed the first 3 nights at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel. We were upgraded to a mini suite (SWEET!) at no extra cost due to booking errors, with 2 lanai (I still called them balconies) overlooking Waikiki beach. Super awesome! The hotel provides a little lunchbox you can fill up with complimentary breakfast foods and take down to the beach. It was neat to eat Japanese style breakfast (which they offered alongside Cheerios and bagels). Miso soup and musubi!

Here's the view at night. Hawaiian sunset was beautiful, but there is NO twilight. After 7:00, it was instantly dark.

At night, there are hula performances on the beach near the hotel.

To give you an idea of how beautiful almost every "view" is in Oahu, this is around th corner from the ice machine on our floor. I watched the sun come up there!
I took so many photos of landscape, I started to forget where they were from...I started labeling photos like, "view19".

Here we are, tired after 10 hours of plane rides, eating a good little Mexican place (I know, right? But it was recommended and really good) called Cha Cha Cha. We ate on a budget the whole trip, and were never disappointed.

And here I am, attempting to eat that bomb of a burrito. I was successful, don't worry.

This is the statue of Duke Kahanamoku. Read about this guy, he was pretty flippin amazing.

And here's King Kamehameha I! He's downtown near the Iolani Palace.

All of these people and places have great and intriguing history behind them. I highly recommend a stroll through Wikipedia if your interest is piqued.

Another great restaurant we found was The Olive Tree Cafe. It's Greek, and really really good. We didn't eat much traditional Hawaiian food on this trip, I admit. Poi is nutritious and spam is popular, but it didn't suit our stomachs well.

You can grab a free trolley from Waikiki to Hilo Hattie's (THE Hawaiian shirt company). On the ride, you get to see views like this. Awesome.

I was insanely jealous of the climate which allowed for GORGEOUS orchids to grow in all the lobbies of shops and hotels, all year round.

We went on a hiking tour with Discover Hawaii Tours. We stopped at the Pali lookout on the way to the trail head.

...where, hundreds of years ago, a battle forced hundreds of people off the edge of the cliffs there. Yikes. The highway below this area is apparently still an issue of contention among natives, and some refuse to drive on it.

Our guide claimed the water cistern for the golf course below was used as part of the filming of Lost for outer shots of the Swan Station. Neat! Can you see it?

Here it is from below (our hike took us by it). We found Lost! Har har.

Wild roosters and chickens can be found in those areas.

Sleeping Grass was fun to see.

Here we are, about 1/3 of the way along the hike. We learned a lot! Hawaii has no snakes, very few poisonous anythings, and rarely do plants have defenses like thorns. Holly grows wild there and it won't poke ya! The trees grow fast and constantly (no seasons), so they have no rings and the wood is very weak. Koa is the only hawaiian hardwood to be found, and it is EXPENSIVE.

Here you can crack open some Kukui nuts and try to coax a chicken out. We saw one, but it was leery. The guide here talks about a tour with a group who did not speak English, and one of the members was eating Kukui nuts all along the trail. Apparently, that is a big no no as they really mess up your stomach. Ouch.

Impatiens were growing wild too! I thought that was too funny. I'd never seen them outside of a flower bed or green house.

The hike culminated at Likeke falls. It was surprisingly dry while we were there, so we were thankful to see a spring-fed falls that was running despite the lack of rain.

Here's the view looking out from the falls.

Back at Waikiki, we moved into a tiny hotel down the street for our last night. It was..very tiny. And dated. A lot of Oahu was built in the 1970's and a lot of it hasn't changed.

The elevator was pink and gilded with carpet on the walls. Score!

That night, there was a "Celebrate of Youth Parade #1" by the beach. I think Hawaii has the most holidays of any US state.
The Japanese high school in the video there was amazing! I missed filming their really great dance performance from the front, but you can see it again from the back a little bit.

There are a lot of stairs leading up to the top of Diamond Head Crater, but it's worth it.


I swam a couple of days, but it's not the best swimming on Waikiki if you like relaxation and quiet. It is excellent people watching. If we get to go back, I want to make time for snorkeling, kayaking and maybe parasailing! There are temples we'd like to visit as well.

I recommend a guide book for sights and food. We were able to find quite a few tasty hidden-away places that didn't cost a fortune. One thing that made me sad was the fact that most of the pineapple served there is no longer grown in Hawaii. It comes from south America. BUT, the papaya was local and it was SO GOOD.
The bus system there was great, and I wished we'd bought day passes (many people recommended against it, saying it wasn't worth the value but we used the bus several times a day and highly recommend it).

We saw weddings, tourists from every corner of the globe, great street performers, beautiful vistas, and had a great time. Hawaii, I want to go back again some day!

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