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Trip Report May 4, 2013 to May 13

Winfield, Illinois...
Level Contributor
83 posts
3 reviews
Trip Report May 4, 2013 to May 13

Posted as a reply since it is long --if I can figure out how to transfer my report on this tablet. Wish me luck!

Winfield, Illinois...
Level Contributor
83 posts
3 reviews
1. Re: Trip Report May 4, 2013 to May 13

Trip report Oahu 5-4-13 thru 5-13-13

We spent 9 nights at the Aqua Waikiki Joy hotel. We have stayed there 3 times before, twice with our boys and the last time just the two of us. We are very content with the Joy. It isn't fancy but it works for us. We like the size of the rooms (a club suite this time). Because we booked our room about 8 months ago our rate was only 104 for the lowest price room which we then were able to upgrade. We like having breakfast in the open air lobby. I even enjoy the birds who try to steal said breakfast. We love the fact that the hotel is small enough that the valet gets to know us and has the car ready for us in a matter of minutes. I hope that the planned renovation by Aqua doesn't lead to such a price increase that we have to look elsewhere.

We rented a car from Alamo thru Discount Hawaii Car Rental. First time we've used them to book a car. Rate was terrific -242USD for the whole time, taxes included, for a mid size SUV. Our rate was supposedly a"non-negotiated " rate which would not include a free extra (spouse) driver. But when we were filling out the paperwork we were told that Discount Hawaii rentals always include an extra driver. So that was nice. The off airport location was not a problem. We just had to figure out where to wait for their shuttle bus (outside baggage claim on the farther island).

This was the earliest visit we have made - usually have gone in June. So we wondered about weather. It did rain several days but we had a blast anyway. We did our wandering at Ala Moana in the rain. And when it rained on us while we were out, we just kept going. That is easy to do when it isn't cold. 

We ate at a variety of places, none of them very fancy. But I didn't feel the least bit deprived. We averaged 46 dollars a day for meals out for the two of us. 

We ate dim sum twice at the restaurant on the top level of Ala Moana (easy free parking). I thought it was very good, although they don't wheel food around on steam carts. You order off a picture menu. Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant -- I had to look up the name.

We ate at Helena's Hawaiian Food. Got there within a half hour of their opening and didn't have to wait. I enjoyed the kalua pork and pipikaula short ribs. And yes, I do like poi. Polished off a large bowl. This time we tried the onion dipped in salt that came with our meal--quite a nice addition. I am not usually a proponent of raw onions, but these were sweet.

Elvins Bakery in Kailua was a nice place for a simple lunch. We ate there after spending a nice chunk of time at Bookends (used and new) Bookstore in the same strip of shops.

Had Mahi mahi plate lunch at Papa Ole's in Hauula. Good food and friendly people. We discovered Papa Oles by chance on our last trip. I saw a nice sign on a strip mall restaurant and saw lots of pickup trucks in the parking lot. Tourists don't drive pickups and the big guys at the outdoor picnic benches didn't look like tourists either. So we pulled in. We were delighted with our meal. Best meal I 've ever had on styrofoam .

We ate at Killer Tacos in Haleiwa. Had shave ice (with condensed milk on top and ice cream under it) at Matsumoto's. We had garlic shrimp outdoors at one of the trucks under the trees in Haleiwa. 

We stopped at the roadside fruit stands near Turtle Bay each time we were in the area and bought papaya, avocados and banana lumpia (fried bananas wrapped in sweet crispy won ton wrappers, served still warm). As far as I 'm concerned, a papaya with lime juice is mandatory each morning while in Hawaii.

Our basic approach was to get in our rental car most mornings and take off for the day. We put 1100 miles on our rental car in 10 days of driving. That takes some doing on an island! We just enjoyed wandering . It is also hard to get too lost on an island so we didn't always follow our maps and I don't think we ever used the GPS.

We got to Waimea Beach Park early enough to get easy parking. We spent several mornings there and then got off the beach by noon. We saw turtles in the water there each time and on the sand at Turtle Beach. We saw lots of fish and a small snowflake Moray eel just by wading near Sharks Cove. We went shell hunting on several beaches. Lots of scallops and a tantalizing number of broken shell pieces to let us know what is out there.

We did the drive around Tantalus both directions and went to the lookout point. That is where we met someone from Oahu who told us about the colony of Wallabies who live in one of the valleys on Oahu. Eight trips to Hawaii and I had never heard that. Try googling 'wallabies in Hawaii' for the story. 

We visited the Cemetery of the Pacific in the Punchbowl. I think we have been there every time we've been to Oahu. To me it is a counterpoint to the rest of our vacation and puts what we have in context. I find the rows of graves with December 7th on them and the section of graves belonging to brothers especially poignant .

We made a point of walking thru the International Marketplace most evenings. I do enjoy that place. We were glad to hear the steel pan music of Greg and Junko Macdonald on our first Sunday night there. They play on the little stage by the IMP food court on Sunday and Tuesday nights. We enjoy their music and have been delighted to watch some regulars who do beautiful ballroom dancing to their tunes. One night last visit, a little girl of about 11 got up in front of the stage and did a beautiful hula dance --just because.

Even though we did well, I don't know that I would want to go that early in May again. I didn't think as many trees were in bloom . The lychees I bought were not fully ripe. And we were not able to snorkel at Sharks Cove because it was still too rough. On the other hand, it was distinctly less crowded. So maybe I would choose that time again. Choices, choices.

Dallas
Level Contributor
29,245 posts
79 reviews
42 helpful votes
2. Re: Trip Report May 4, 2013 to May 13

Good luck, can't wait to read it. We were there at the same time almost.

Aloha

Winfield, Illinois...
Level Contributor
83 posts
3 reviews
3. Re: Trip Report May 4, 2013 to May 13

Just saw the "brown water" warning info for Waimea. I guess we had nothing to fuss about with our rains. I am sorry for those who had to deal with the current heavy rain. Hope it clears fast for you all.

Dallas
Level Contributor
29,245 posts
79 reviews
42 helpful votes
4. Re: Trip Report May 4, 2013 to May 13

robertaj419 - sorry you hit the rain. I think that was the couple of days before we arrived on May 6, so we missed it. We didn't feel a drop of rain while we were there from 5/6 to 5/16 but there were a couple of kind of cloudy days.

We always go in May and October and generally have been pretty lucky not getting rained on very often. We do like May because it is a little cooler than the peak summer months, and a little less crowded.

Sounds like you made the best of it though and had a nice trip.

Thanks for the report.

Aloha

Oahu, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
30,617 posts
5. Re: Trip Report May 4, 2013 to May 13

Aloha,

Mahalo for your report.

Looks like you made good use of your car rental.

Aloha

Kapaa, Hawaii
Level Contributor
55,757 posts
3 reviews
5 helpful votes
6. Re: Trip Report May 4, 2013 to May 13

Thanks for the wonderful report. Yes, we had a couple of days of very heavy rain on the north shore and windward sides. Things are clearing up. Did you notice the flowering trees? I'm a bit surprised as May is the month that everything is flowering at their fullest. Snorkeling on the north shore has been flat the last week or so.

Winfield, Illinois...
Level Contributor
83 posts
3 reviews
7. Re: Trip Report May 4, 2013 to May 13

I saw some beautiful Jaquaranda trees at the edge of Scoffield Barracks. The Shower trees at Ft. Derussey were just starting to bloom. I didn't see the bright orangey red flower trees that we called "flame of the forest" where I grew up. I think maybe we were just a touch early. I have wondered when peak bloom time would be in a place that is so consistently lovely. I think peak bloom and spring lasts just about a week here in the Midwest!

NORTH CAROLINA
Level Contributor
7,278 posts
16 reviews
16 helpful votes
8. Re: Trip Report May 4, 2013 to May 13

Sounds like you really got out and explored that's great so many think of a visit to Oahu as just Waikiki.

Surrey, Canada
Level Contributor
756 posts
17 reviews
6 helpful votes
9. Re: Trip Report May 4, 2013 to May 13

placebets- I'll be there May 6th next year until the 20th. Love that time of year, everything is in bloom and smells wonderful.

Dallas
Level Contributor
29,245 posts
79 reviews
42 helpful votes
10. Re: Trip Report May 4, 2013 to May 13

delygirl - we go back 9/30 to 10/14, and then probably back again next May !!

Maybe we can run into you again.

Aloha