My wife and I had another wonderful trip to Oahu ending last week. We had a lot of relaxing beach time, got some snorkeling and surfing in, saw beautiful sights, took 9 gigs of pictures, ate good food - had an all around superb time.
Our United flight arrived in Honolulu around 1:00P after a 90 minute delay due to a medical emergency in L.A., paramedics had to come on board and check a passenger out.
They gave us a Chrysler PT Cruiser at Advantage Car Rental. No problems with pickup or drop-off. I waived the optional insurance. I would have preferred a car with a trunk, but the cruiser was fine.
Stopped at Costco for the essentials – coffee beans ($8.99/2.5 lbs.), creamer, milk ($4.53/gal), fruit etc.
We checked in at the Royal Grove. They gave us a corner room with two sliding glass doors and a huge lanai running the length of both exterior walls. The double bed seemed like a king-size without the two big red dogs that we left at home hogging it.
We unpacked and walked down to the beach by Dukes statue, the area looked remarkably like it did this past January.
Day 2 - the a/c in our room wasn’t functioning very well and was going to be a deal breaker for me, but I was able to pop it open and clean the filter, it worked much better. We had coffee, juice and bagels on our lanai, read the local paper.
Beach time again on Waikiki, borrowed a surfboard from the RG. Had a pretty good burger for lunch from the stand there. Shopped at Safeway on Kapahulu for groceries. Prices are noticeably higher than Costco.
Day 3 - coffee and bagels on the lanai, again. We borrowed a cooler from the hotel, filled it, and then stopped at Leonard’s Bakery for malasadas on our way to Waimanalo Bay. I ran in and bought one of each, then got back to the car and realized that my wife wanted some too - just kidding.
Waimanalo Beach was beautiful as always. The warning signs for Portuguese man o wars were posted, and as the screams from my first encounter with M-O-W’s some 40+ years ago are still echoing around the Pacific we opted to just enjoy the beach, it was a perfect day. There was a group of elementary school students on a field trip doing experiments and different beach/ocean activities. Lucky kids. We had a wonderful, relaxing day at the beach, sipping ice tea and reading.
We took our time driving up to the Pali Highway on the way back, stopping to take pictures along the way. We stopped in Chinatown at the Golden Palace for dinner, had several dim sum items along with Kun Pao Chicken and Hot Ginger Chicken, everything was really good and the whole meal was only about $25.00.
Day 4 - we took it easy around the Waikiki area with a cooler of drinks, borrowed surf board and a good book at the beach.
In the evening the Aloha Festival - just us and about 50,000 of our newest friends strolling up and down Kalakaua. All kinds of food booths and entertainment set up. After checking out several booths we decided to walk up to Dukes for dinner, another good meal. After dining we enjoyed the festival activities.
Day 5 - after coffee we went down to see the Aloha Festival Parade, which was ok as far as parades go. We walked over to the park for the Hapa Haole Hula & Music Festival and Competition afterwards. They didn’t get a very big audience for this event, we enjoyed it though. Picked up some burgers and garlic fries at Teddy’s and wolfed them down in the park. Does anyone actually think it’s a good idea to eat a “Monster Double Burger”? We waddled around Waikiki after.
Day 6 - services at Kawaiaha’o Church. I’m kind of a heathen, but always enjoy the friendly people, beautiful songs and nice messages that are presented. Kahu Kekuna remembered us from previous visits.
On to the north shore/windward side drive. We stopped at many spots briefly, taking pictures and taking it easy before arriving at the Byodo-In Temple. It was overcast and raining intermittingly making for some wonderfully mystical pictures of the temple and grounds, different then when you have the morning sun and get reflections in the pond – which are beautiful too. I took around 180 shots. My trigger finger was frazzled.
Then on to Chinatown for dim sum, Szechwan Shrimp and Seafood Platter at Mei Sum Dim Sum, another good meal.
Day 7 - we walked over to the Hale Koa and lounged by the pool all day. Had a few cocktails and did some visiting.
Dinner at the House Without A Key. Good service, food and entertainment.
Day 8 - coffee on the lanai, of course, then off to the Sharks Cove for snorkeling. We went in for a short time, but the water was too rough for us, so we drove over to Waimea Bay to swim and relax on the beach. My wife practiced her cannonball off the big rock. It was pretty crowded: we had to wait a while for a parking place. Another postcard setting. Then off to Matsumoto’s for a shave ice. There were about 30 people in line at Matsumoto’s and only 3 or so over at Aoki’s. We thought we’d give it the “Pepsi Challenge”; wife got in line there and I walked to Aoki’s for one of theirs. We thought they were both good.
It was music night at the Royal Grove. The owner, Mr. Fong and some of his friends play their guitars, ukuleles and sing Hawaiian music in the lobby area. The music and hospitality were amazing. Mr. and Mrs. Fong served everyone cake and ice-cream after the music. They are very nice people and exemplify the Aloha spirit.
Day 9 - Hale Koa pool and beach time
Day 10 – We both seem to forget each trip how wonderful the coves at Ko Olina are. It’s hard to describe the tranquil beauty. It was quite deserted this day, only a few people at the second cove. We spent the day snorkeling and relaxing on the grassy areas sipping ice tea and reading.
We had another fine meal at the Golden Palace in Chinatown again. I could eat there everyday.
Day 11 - Punchbowl Cemetery today, a very emotional place for us. If I’m feeling sorry for myself spending time here is a sure cure.
Drove up Tantalus - tool a bunch of pics.
Day 12 - Breakfast at Dukes, then Waikiki beach today. I borrowed a surf board again. We walked through the IMP, and then made a stop at the Food Pantry grocery store. Their prices are scary i.e. milk $9.49/gal.
We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant on Kapiolani and stopped for dessert at Leonard’s.
Day 13 - services again at Kawaiaha’o Church, then over the Pali to the Kailua area where we explored for photo ops and stopped for lunch at Teddy’s. We then drove on H-3 all the way over to where it merges with H-1 and back. I wanted to get pictures from both sides. Then on to Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. What an incredible place for picnics and family outings. Took about 200 shots.
This report is getting too long, so to sum up the last few days of our trip – snorkeling at Ko Olina, chillin at the Hale Koa and just taking it easy.
We usually don’t rent a car the whole time if we’re staying the Waikiki area, this time we did and used it all but 5 days.
This trip was incredible, we had absolutely no problems. Everything worked out as planned, everyone was helpful and nice. I guess the only thing that could have made it better is if we’d won free lodging at the Halekulani.