Now it's time to really enjoy my vacation! I'm well rested and energised after getting up to do some aerobics in my hotel room. I booked a tour with Oahu Nature Tours and they were supposed to pick me up at 7. I didn't want to go out for a run and get too far away.
I chose the Mountain Rainforest Adventure. It's a four mile hike up some trails leading to the Kalawahine Trail. I did a tour with them last year and I really liked it. This one was just as good. The views were absolutely stunning. We had to drive way up Tantalus Drive and then climb through the rainforest for a little bit. The guides for Oahu Nature Tours are extremely knowledgeable. From what I understand, most of them have a background in ecology or environmental studies. They really know what they're talking about, or at least they have a good way of faking it. I hiked with a guide, a man from Suriname currently living in the Netherlands and a family from Texas. The husband pronounced Waikiki as Wacky-Key.
When I came last year this is what I really wanted to do more of, this hiking and getting out into nature. I like Waikiki because I like modern conveniences and the proximity to everything but Hawaii is really so much more than fancy shopping centres and ABC stores. I was really having a blast and was sorry the tour had to end. If you’re interested, do remember to bring comfortable walking shoes. The man from Suriname wore shoes like gentlemen wear to work. He slipped a couple of times, and so did I, but I think his shoes were ruined afterward.
The tour took most of the morning, returning to Waikiki around noon. I stopped for some Szechuan shrimp at Fatty's. I love this place. It’s cheap and fast. I ate on the balcony of my hotel room where I contemplated attempting to find the bakery in China Town I went to last year.
Okay, so let me tell you about this bakery. They have DELICIOUS pineapple buns. When I went to China Town last year I just happened upon the place, but I didn’t think to get the name of the place, or even where it was located. There was no way I could ask someone. Can you imagine, “Yeah, so there’s this place in China Town. It’s a bakery. Don’t know the name or the street or anything around it. Do you know what I’m talking about?”
When I go on vacation I like to go on an adventure so I said why not? I got on the bus to China Town and walked up and down every street. It was a great way to learn the area, I’ll say that. There are many great places to eat down here, besides the bakeries. It is also a great place for souvenirs and other trinkets. Beware of panhandlers and I was also told that after dark this is not the best area to loiter in.
Before I left the hotel I did look up several bakeries on the internet. I went to all of them but none of them were my bakery. Finally, I was ready to give up. It was very hot and I was tired, but then I saw something that looked familiar. I saw a "buy one, get one free" sign and I remembered that last year the lady told me that everything was buy one, get one free.
I FOUND MY BAKERY. For the record, the place is called China Express and it’s on the corner of Hotel and Mauna Kea Street, next to the police station. I bought two pineapple buns, some mochi and a whole bunch of sweet bread, with the intention of sending some to my sister. I actually ate all of this before the weekend was up.
Happy as a clam I headed back to Waikiki.
There are many things to do in Waikiki on a Friday night from hula shows to the torch lighting to twilight tours at the Honolulu Zoo. I chose not to participate in any of them because I preferred to wander around aimlessly instead. I like to people watch and discover odd little things. There is a farmer’s market at King’s Village on Fridays. I wended through there and bought some crepes from one of the vendors, then I stopped to have a conversation with a man about said crepes. He was French and didn’t know that he could get crepes on the island. He actually thought they were taquitos because they were so small.
I stopped outside a bar to listen to a band play. I don’t know who they were, but they were pretty good. I didn’t go into the bar because I wanted to stay outside where it was warm and sunny. It had been quite hot in the afternoon but the evening had brought this breeze in. It was both cool and warm, if that makes any sense.
I walked all the way down to San Souci beach and sat there watching the sunset. I took about a hundred pictures of the sunset, of a guy paddle boarding, of the many dozens of sailboats and the water breaking against the shore. (I’ll post some later.)
It was all very relaxing and I could have sat there forever but it was getting dark and it was time to head back to the hotel. I had bought a bottle of wine at an ABC store, so I enjoyed a glass or three on the balcony while watching the street traffic below. A perfect way to end the evening.
But wait…there’s more!
Tomorrow: Koko Head, an art festival, the bakery revisited and the bus ride from hell.