Did another sunrise run along Ala Wai Canal. I didn’t put in heavy mileage like I wanted to because I was slightly sore from yesterday’s Koko Head hike, but I knew that was a possibility. Went to Eggs’n’Things for breakfast again. They are starting to know me in there. After breakfast I was going to walk to Wal-Mart again but I decided to catch the bus since it was right there with no waiting. On Sundays the buses have a different schedule and some routes go down to only once an hour.
On the bus I met a large family headed to Diamond Head. I overheard them and I pointed out that they were going in the wrong direction. I also noticed that they were accompanied by a man in a wheel chair. I said, “I don’t mean to be insensitive but he will not have a good time at Diamond Head. He cannot go up and I do not believe there are wheelchair accommodations for him. He’ll just be sitting out in the sun waiting for you to come back.” They seemed very surprised when I said this. Apparently someone told them that the hike up Diamond Head was paved. I replied that unless they made some changes since last year, I do not believe that information to be correct. So my tip is to do some research if you have special needs. They would have wasted so much time, because guess what? We were on the dreaded 42 bus!
I left those nice people at Ala Moana Mall with directions how to get to Diamond Head if they still wanted to go and I walked across the street to Wal-Mart. I needed tape so I can send off all my goodies that I got at the Chinese Bakery. (The sweet bread arrived yesterday and I’ve already demolished half the bag.)
On the way to Wal-Mart I saw a man wearing see-through pants, and when I say see-through, I mean SEE-THROUGH. I think these pants were like women’s tights actually, meant to be worn as an undergarment or with something else, because when I said see-through, I truly meant it: full frontal exposure. At first I was confused by what I was seeing and then I was like…. uhm, yeah…. Thankfully there were no children around. It was 7AM. He was not a bum. He was clean with a nice hair cut and a cup of Starbucks. So he must have been in the Starbucks next to the Wal-Mart and they did not notice that his [whoops!!] was highly visible, and I don’t think by accident.
I caught the #5 to Manoa Falls trail. You can drive here but then you have to pay to park at the restaurant at the trailhead. I know some people are complaining about the parking fee but the restaurant owns that parking lot, not the state. You can either park in the neighbourhood and walk, or you can get on the bus, or you can pay the fee and get over it.
There are paid tours for this hike, but I do not believe they are necessary. The trail is easy to follow and highly accessible. It was absolutely marvelous. I’m told that if it hasn’t been raining the falls can be disappointing, but it must have been raining in the early morning hours because the ground was still wet. It can be a very muddy hike so be prepared, if you’re interested in this sort of thing.
The air was very fresh and clean from the rains. The foliage is thick and verdant. It’s like from a postcard, so beautiful and scenic. I hear birds chirping in the background, roosters crowing (you know the island is lousy with the wild chickens) and crickets chirruping constantly because they don’t know night from day being in the shadows like that all the time. There is a scent that I cannot name wafting through the air. I wish I could bottle it up and take it home.
There is some light climbing involved, nothing strenuous, over some large tree roots and rocks. Plus, since it had been raining all morning the path was soaking. I don’t mind getting my feet wet but I draw the line at being ankle-deep in standing water. If you’re a brisk walker it’ll take you about 35 minutes to get up to the top, and this is not a hard climb like Diamond Head or any of the other hikes I did. It’s relaxing.
There was no one out there but me and God. It was like I had the whole place to myself, as if I was the very first human on the earth and God had yet to create all others. You can hear the falls before you see them and when you go around that corner, it’ll just take your breath away. The falls were lush and full, rushing down into an inviting pool below. (TIP: Heed the warning signs. Do not swim in the pool.) I was warm from the walk and I did so much want to jump into the pool but I believe they put warning signs for a reason. I contented myself to take hundreds of pictures, and I really enjoyed it because I was alone. There was no one to get in the way of my shots, nobody to interrupt my thoughts.
There is a little bench and I sat there for 30 minutes before I decided the mosquitoes were draining me of my life’s blood. (TIP: Definitely bring some insect repellent. I was eaten alive.) I started back and none too soon because a couple was coming up the path, followed by a larger group and other people. That private moment was lost and I looked at them resentfully as they had invaded what I had come to think of as my own private space.
(TIP: Do bring a poncho or some other type of wet weather gear.) As soon as I exited the trail it began to rain in earnest. I was completely soaked through. I’m glad I went to wal-mart because I had a plastic bag to wrap my camera in, but nothing for me. Thankfully, the bus driver who had brought me out there gave me a list of times he would be back. He told me to time my trip so that I would not have to sit out there waiting. The #5 only runs once an hour on Sundays. I had planned to go to the Lyon Arboretum which is next to the trailhead, but the Arboretum is closed on Sundays.
I only had to wait about 8 minutes but that was a very drenching 8 minutes. By the time I got on the bus it was like I had taken a bath in my clothing. There were other tourists on the bus. One couple was prepared for the rain; the other couple was not. They decided to go to Manoa another day.
I went back to the hotel for clean up and lunch. I ate the leftover Fatty’s I bought the night before (my hotel room had fridge and microwave.) It’s time for another adventure. I was truly determined to see other beaches on the island. I did a bit more research this time and discovered the Beach buses, #22 and #23. You can take these buses to Sandy Beach, Hanauma Bay and others in the area.
It was a very bizarre 15 minutes waiting for the bus across from OHANA East. First, two vagrants argued fiercely. Truthfully, it was rather amusing because they were obviously rip-roaring drunk. They were also related, apparently brother and sister. They argued like any pair of teenage siblings, except they were clearly not teenagers anymore. Then there was a young surfer kid trying to find his way to Sandy Beach. He asked anybody passing by for directions but almost everyone was a tourist. Then he tried to sit on the bench with me and several other patrons when there was quite obviously no more room on the bench.
Lastly, the funniest thing was this guy whom I assumed was a Japanese tourist. He was very well dressed in tennis whites and a pair of tennis rackets. He was not a Japanese tourist but an American. He saw me staring at the two drunk vagrants and he came over to talk to me. First he said that he tries to look out for tourists. He asked the bums to lower their voices and to behave themselves. Then he launched into a well-detailed conversation about the potential presidential candidates. He talked about his liberal views and his conservative friends and his having to hide his political leanings so that he would not be ostracised. He said he was a political scientist and had to be careful about his job. It was so funny. Then he said, “I can tell you’re in love with Obama.”
I was confused by this statement. What do you mean in love? He meant IN LOVE, like I wanted to marry the president. How can I want to marry someone I have never even met, don’t know anything about. He just smiled and said, “I can tell. Love is in the air.” Then he got on a bus. Weird.
I rode the first bus (#22) all the way out to Sea Life Park and walked across the street to whatever beach that is. I sat out there for a little while, taking pictures. The waves are still a little bit high and there were some surfers, but you can tell the season is coming to an end as far as surfing is concerned. I went back to Sea Life Park and took the #23 to Hanauma Bay. (TIP: Hanauma Bay is closed on Tuesdays, therefore these buses do not run on that day.)
Hanauma Bay is lovely. Unfortunately, I did not actually go down onto the beach. Remember, I don’t swim or snorkel so there was little point in me paying $7.50 just to walk around. I sat instead on the wall up top, just enjoying the scenery. While I was taking pictures, a lady came up to me to strike up a conversation. She is one of the vendors out there selling cold drinks. She said I looked like a vegetarian because, “Vegetarians are nice people and you look like a nice person.” Then she launched into a whole tirade on vegetarianism and places where I could get free vegetarian meals. She gave me a veggie cookbook as long as I “promise not to throw it away.” I was a little bit annoyed by her because I was getting some great shots but she talked so much that three buses loaded with tourists arrived and clogged up the whole scene. By the time the tourists were getting ready to leave, the bus back to Waikiki had arrived. The #22 and #23 are about once every 45 minutes to an hour on Sundays.
It was around 530 when I got back to the hotel and I was quite hungry for dinner. I had eaten my fair share of lunch plates, time for something different. It’s my last full day in Hawaii so I might as well go out in style. There are many wonderful places to eat at by the shore, where you can watch the sunset with a few good drinks, but since I am a solo traveller I kinda did not want to do this because I didn’t want to look weird being by myself. It’s a sense of being romantic and feeling dumb because you’re alone. I have no qualms dining out by myself but sometimes there is a line to be drawn.
I was in the mood for a good steak. There are plenty of great steakhouses in Honolulu but I didn’t want to leave Waikiki so I settled on Hy’s, a place that came highly recommended. Oh boy, that food was deee-licious. I’m going to write a review for TA, but I’ll say this is one of those old world traditional steakhouses. I had a teriyaki marinated steak with scallops in some kind of Thai peanut sauce with a side of sauteed spinach and rice, and several glasses of wine. For dessert I had this delicious confection of coffee ice cream in a hard candy shell. I spent a small fortune. To be honest, I think I spent more on that one dinner than I did for all the breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks I had the whole time I was there. Seriously but it was so worth it.
I was STUFFED!! I had to take a stroll around the neighbourhood to reset myself. Really, there’s no reason to eat like that but every now and again it’s not so bad. I started packing when I got back to the hotel room and was kinda sad because my vacation was coming to an end.
But wait… there’s more!
Tomorrow: Circle Island tour, Haleiwa town and sea turtles!