Week Three – Finally – Sorry for the delay.
It’s 4am and Paul’s off home in a few hours.
We’re sitting on the Lanai, heart starters in hand, talking about Aisha. He’s really upset – this is a side of him that I’ve not seen before – I start getting all philosophical with him, meaning I make him another drink – GLUG! – don’t think I’ll make him another – he may not make the plane.
Mr Cool is in his cups – I never thought I’d see the day – we have one of those good mate cheer up chats, talking about what a great week we all had and where we went and what we ate and what we drank (errr…probably forget that one).
He’s on the 0815 Jetstar flight to Sydney, so we walk him downstairs and find him a cab. There’s a tear in his eye, which sets Katrina off and makes me come over all misty and sentimental.
I give him my best Hawaiian farewell – ‘Nick Off Dopey’ and that’s it, he’s away with what can only be described politely as ‘a very memorable week’.
We’re feeling a touch sad for Paul – not that sad I add, noting that nothing gets in the way of breakfast (and we’re still here for another week), so we amble over to the Cheesecake Factory. It’s shut – is this how today is going to be? – Naah – there’s always something open, so we walk down to Me’s BBQ. This place is great. It’s just off Kuhio on Uluniu Avenue. The food here is probably the best value for money in Waikiki. Huge portions, great flavours, (try the BBQ Chicken and Kalbi Beef) - so cheap – outside dining (no option actually, but who cares) - they have a courtyard to eat in – absolutely no frills but that’s half the fun.
Back to the Condo for a little John and Katrina time. We’ve been running around like headless chooks for the last week, so it’s time for us to have a nice quiet day, with a bit of a chat, a bit of a (quiet little) drink and basically, taking in the feast of views from the Condo.
The views from the Condo are spectacular, uninterrupted by any other building - there are sliding doors that open up the living area to the Lanai so that the whole Condo is ‘open air’ – does anyone get what I mean when I say Oahu has its very own, utterly unique ‘Island Perfume’ – sort of plumeria, sort of rainforest and mixed with a little ocean?
Katrina and I are lucky – we don’t fight – ever - (I know my place) – I must say how nice it is to have Katrina in my life – we share everything equally - I get us into trouble – she gets us out of trouble (that’s sharing isn’t it?) We had a really nice afternoon in each others company.
The Sunset – amazing – I’ve seen spectacular sunsets in Hawaii before, but never like this – It’s Pink – everything is Pink - and I haven’t even been drinking (well, not much).
We close out the day by combining what’s left in the fridge into dinner – I note in particular that the beer stock is in major decline – must be someone else drinking it.
Lights out on a really nice relaxing peaceful day.
Ahh – back to my early morning routine – sitting on the Lanai at dawn, watching the downtown buildings emerge from the night – time for a surf.
Not much in the way of waves today – but still just so worth it to be out on the water. I never cease to be blown away by the view that you get when surfing Waikiki. The skyline with the mountains in the background gets me every time.
There are still plenty of surfers out and we get talking, mainly about who’s surfed the biggest most dangerous waves (see my thoughts on yachties fibbing from week two – it applies equally to surfers, fishermen etc – you know, the older you get, the better you were, the bigger it was).
I got a few waves – pretty small - but who cares – this is not Pipeline Masters – just an old surfie who still gets a charge out of being on the water. I equally enjoy showing off the scars on my chest from surfing Banzai years ago – the bulldust is now settling pretty thick on the water.
Does anyone know why they stopped calling it ‘The Banzai Pipeline’? – it sort of lost a bit in legend status by being called just Pipeline.
Time to restock the fridge and as the car has been returned, we take the bus down to Ala Moana. Katrina is at her demonic shopping best, trying to breath air into a credit card that’s on life support.
I’m on rations – three cartons of beer to last the next week – what’s a young boy to do – easy – drink in bars!
We load up our shopping into a cab – here’s a bit of a shock and a warning. Our cabbie was the normal really good friendly chat – until we got to WS. She refused to drive up the ramp to the unloading area by the main entrance to the building, stopping in the Outrigger Reef driveway, meaning we had to unload our supplies onto the pavement and then hump them back down the road, up the ramp, along the driveway and so, into the Shores - personally, I was only worried about the beer getting warm.
We’ve missed a couple of calls while out – no message left – it can’t be Paul – our friends at home always call our mobiles or skype so, we have a little mystery.
It’s really nice to have the Condo to ourselves again – we’re staying in and eating healthy again after too many nights of excessive consumption of rich food, cocktails and beers and tequila and vodka and – yeah – you know…
My heart sends my arteries a note of thanks.
We actually turned the telly on – watched the news – turned the telly off – irritating - and spent the night on the Lanai watching the boats, the beach, the people and munching far too much Li Hing Mui (salty, sour plum) – my favourite crack seed. A great night.
Yet another beautiful morning – I will never tire of Lanai sitting at dawn with a nice cool bevvy and some fresh fruit.
There’s going to be some bloke shopping today – shopping is not a contact sport (it would be a lot more fun if it was). It’s also not a ‘girl only’ preserve. The difference between bloke shopping and girl shopping is that blokes know what they want – go in – buy it – and leave, without ruining their lunch by wondering if they should have bought that 47th pair of purple green Argyle socks.
To borrow an old idiom that really explains the difference between Girl and Bloke shopping:
A Bloke will spend $2.00 for a $1.00 item that he needs.
A Girl will spend $1.00 for a $2.00 item that she doesn’t need – but it’s on sale.
I figure I’ll now be ducking bricks from a host of people I don’t know – and definitely from Katrina – her Mother – her female relatives - her friends – basically the female side of Planet Earth – is that why it’s called ‘Mother Earth’?
So – Neiman Marcus - in half an hour, I bought myself: 2 suits – 8 shirts – 2 pair shoes – 3 chinos – 1 Aloha shirt (I buy one a year) and a wallet – I don’t know why I bought the wallet – Katrina has been in my old one and cleaned out the area where the moths live.
Lunch – we’re at Ala Moana and head for the Pineapple Room in Macy’s. We’ve eaten at Alan Wong’s previously and always enjoyed it, so we’re looking forward to trying the Pin Room food.
I hate queuing – I really hate queuing when half the room is empty, yet you still have to wait for a table. My Australian/French/Irish/Canadian blood is up - (Hmm - I’ve just realised what a Bitsa I am).
Anyway, we are finally taken to a table – I try to order two soothing beers – nope – one at a time. I’m feeling a little naughty, so while the wait staff is still at our table – GLUG – first beer down – (may I have another please) - HA – Gotcha.
Having now demonstrated that I can be a bit precious, we get on with ordering and settle on a Pineapple Room Caesar Salad and an Old Fashioned Burger. The food was essentially OK but nothing special and not a patch on Alan Wong’s on South King Street.
On the way back to the Condo, we stop at the Post Office on Saratoga, buy a parcel box and mail my shopping home – why you ask? – because with the amount of shopping that Katrina has undertaken – (maybe it is a contact sport) – there will be no room left in my suitcase for as much as a toothpick.
That done, we walk over to Henry’s for some fruit and a few of his great sandwiches. Henry is in the house, meaning that he’s sitting out the front, watching TV. I always say G’day when we see him to which he generally replies ‘ehhh’ but he’s a bit more talkative today, so we have a chat about when he was ‘up the road’. It’s blokes like Henry that make Hawaii such a great place to visit – the guy is an amazing character – hats off for Henry - Legend.
There’s a light rain falling as we make our way back – so what – it’s still a beautiful balmy 30c – where else can you simply not care about getting rained on?
I bought a bottle of Pomegranate Vodka at Foodland and spent an hour getting a cocktail worked up. Try this one for a zapy little lights out number: In a tall glass, two measures of Pomegranate Vodka, half fill with pink grapefruit juice, then top with sparkling lime juice and finally, add a watermelon slice and float some Galliano on top. Three should do the trick – nighty night.
We’re a lot more relaxed this week – island time is well entrenched. This may be the beauty of Hawaii – it will wait – it doesn’t matter – don’t stress – be nice. Just a great all round attitude to life – I wish I could bottle this attitude, take it home and sprinkle it on a few people who need a little adjustment in their lives, (starting with the Tax Office) – ooh – just kidding – I love you guys, you’re my heroes – you’re so dedicated and - and - and - errrr.
We walk down to the Natatorium WW1 War Memorial. We know its future has been a raging debate for years and the apparent cost of total refurbishment is astronomical. I
hope the powers that be are able to preserve at least the monument façade – far too much history to see the whole thing bulldozed – and before Duke K, Johnny W and Buster roll in their graves.
Two trips to the soapbox – sorry – won’t do it again, but I do love this area.
We stop at the beachside kiosk in Kapiolani Park for a shave ice – Surprise – they don’t sell shave ice any more – we get told that there is a cart on the corner that sells shave ice – very strange.
We order some hot dogs and some pink lemonade (please don’t tell anyone I ordered a pink lemonade – my image as a hard drinking surfie boy will be forever shattered) and head for a bench in the park.
We got talking to a homeless guy who was pretty well set up in the Park – very sad listening to him tell his story but at the same time, he was reconciled with his decisions – he was polite and friendly - we wish him well – and no – he didn’t ask for anything. Hi Brian – good luck mate.
We’re having an early dinner so as not to miss tonight’s fireworks. We feel like taking pot luck, ( must be the pink lemonade) so we walk into the Royal Hawaiian SC and after a walk around, we realise that of all the old and new restaurants in the RH complex – we have never tried Beijing before – in we go – nice greeting – good cocktail, but then…
My dear old dad always said if you can’t say something nice, don’t say something at all, so what I will say is that we stopped in the RH food court on the way back to WS for some food.
Back on the Lanai fairly early, so we Skype up Paul to rub it in – again. He’s happy to hear from us – no – actually, he’s not.
It seems he can’t get Aisha out of his head – I suggest alcohol – ahh – maybe I should learn words like ‘silence is golden’.
I’m saying ‘No’ a lot to Paul in this call, specifically:
No – we haven’t seen her
No - we haven’t spoken to her
No – we don’t have her phone number
We’re saved by the fireworks starting up – gotta go mate – see you next week – No – we still haven’t seen her.
And then, I see the answering machine light flickering – more on this later.
The Pomegranate Vodka drink is seriously good – it needs a name – any ideas?
- ‘JC’s Volcanic Wave Rider’ is the current favourite (if perhaps a little long).
I’ve been a good boy for a few days – time to put my normal shoes back on.
It’s time for a DDD – (Dedicated Drinking Day).
I set myself a target – Drink Kalakaua Avenue. – Possibly a little ambitious but let’s have a go – Note to self – no more than one drink per venue.
Round one - start off at the Shorebird with a nice cleansing Longboard Lager.
Round two - into the Halekulani - I order a Mango Daiquiri – the barman asks if I would like to try his new Lilikoi Daiquiri - yeah – sure – and that is where my bar crawl came to the end of the straw – those Lilikoi Daiquiri’s were goooood – and I was turned from a well adjusted calm and rational tourist into a small, dribbling mess.
Geez it was fun – thank you Tim – I’m sure we solved all of the world’s problems (and probably created a few new ones).
Strangely, I need a nap this afternoon.
Saturday night – early dinner – Roy’s. In years past, we have eaten here often.
The stars must have aligned because we had a simply sensational meal – we love Hawaiian Fusion cooking – it’s utterly unique in the world – fresh ingredients – stunning presentation – wonderful service and Roy’s is one of the originals and one of the best. We went for the ‘Prix Fixe’ three course – the crusted salmon and the soufflé - just so well done. Roy’s also does some great cocktails – try the Pink Grapefruit Paloma or the Lychee Caipirinha, plus a nice bottle of Riesling Kabinet – excellent.
We stop at ‘House Without a Key’ on the way back – the hula show is on – the cocktails are great and the band are the same guys as last year – very good, tight band with some amazing vocals – we tried to buy their CD – the shop was sold out.
Another great day comes to an end.
Now, I’ve had unusual starts to the day before – but nothing like this. I went for an early morning surf – perfect – nice little 3 footers – I must have still had my beer goggles on – I nearly hit the old jetty pylon near the channel – it kind of came up in fifth gear when my brain was stuck in first.
About this time, I have to own up to the surfies who read this, including the two who PM’d me – Yes – I am the bloke with the (cans of) beer stuffed into the pocket of my boardies – I do like my liquid comforts.
Note to self – invent a stubbie holder for a surfboard – you know, with Velcro ? – Hmm.
I’m walking back to WS – Mano (that’s close to his name) and his brother have the small red cat out the front of the O Reef. I stop for a chat – really good blokes – the epitome of ‘Islander Cool’. I haven’t seen them for awhile, so I’m trying to organise a sail when I get a tap on the shoulder – it’s Aisha and yes – it was her missed call.
This is a trip report, not Mills and Boone so I will simply say - that we gave Aisha Paul’s number in Adelaide - that they have been in touch daily - that she arrived in Adelaide on the 13th February and - that so far - well, so far we haven’t exactly seen a lot of them.
They must be doing other things.
We decide to have lunch at Chilli’s over on Kuhio. I like this place – good cold beer – big glasses – great staff (they always have a chat and a laugh) Their combi’s are good value - their soups are really excellent and better yet – Longboard on tap.
Katrina is happy – which means John is happy.
Maybe not so happy – we only have one day left. We start walking past places we won’t see for another year, waving ‘Bye’ to some of the people we may not see again but who have been kind or helpful to us this trip. Mind you – it’s a boost when you do get recognised and/or they remember your name – more kudos for the Aloha Spirit.
We’re walking up Kalakaua on the way back to WS when we are all but dragged into a Rolex Shop and offered ‘such a deal’ on a Watch.
Now wait up - I know when we arrived that I was a straight off the plane lily white tourist – dressed for travel and looking fairly ordinary after a long flight but hey – I’m tanned – in shorts (maybe a little unkempt) and wearing an old, faded Aloha Shirt and I haven’t opened my mouth – How do they know I’m a Tourist? I mean other tourists are stopping me and asking for directions – so what is it – is there a special tourist radar issued to locals?
Drinkies on the Lanai before dinner – having trouble getting past JC’s Volcanic Wave Rider as the drink of choice.
Late dinner tonight – we decide on Orchids – haven’t been there this trip, so AFMB at House Without and then into Orchids for a really enjoyable meal washed down with a slashing serve of relaxed, warm, balmy evening. We had a fantastic seafood platter for two – and drinkies – well I saw the name - had to have it – how can you go past a drink called a ‘Pink Elephant’ – it was good too (or three).
The combination of a few JC’s Volcanic Wave Riders and a few more Pink Elephants has proven too much for moderate drinkers like us, so back to WS – AFMB in contemplative silence on the Lanai and lights away.
Our last day begins with my last surf of the trip – I’m on the water not long after dawn complete with two tinnies – it’s very cool sitting on the board and watching the other surfers watching the old bloke with the beer – the old bloke being me.
I walk back to WS, doing the ‘seeya boys’ farewell tour of the early riser stall workers, beach boys and wait staff. One of the girls from the WS food court gives me a nut lei and a kiss on the cheek – thank you Kelly – that was really nice.
Mental note to self – remove lipstick before entering Condo.
No explanation needed for anyone married.
Katrina has the coffee going – normality is starting to seep back into my life – urrgh.
Packing – Noooooo – does anyone have a spare pneumatic press? Katrina has completely filled both suitcases – overflowing filled - and – surprise – none of my clothes have been packed. I take out 11 magazines; 4 books; about 50 brochures and a slow moving cat.
We stay in for lunch and start our last day ritual – drink the fridge – ahh – success.
Last night dinner – we’re off to Hy’s. We like the original ‘library’ area here. Combo’s again – Steak and King Crab with Bearnaise Sauce, washed down with a bottle of Margaux Lascombs – We finish with their Bananas Foster flamed desert – I somehow manage to resist the temptation to order a Louis X111 (Katrina wouldn’t let me – how harsh – it’s only $115.00 per measure) – I love saying only – it makes my Bank Manager cry.
We walk back to the Shores through the IM - a look around before a last night lights out – I swear I can hear Iz doing ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’.
And finally, to the people of Hawaii/Honolulu/Waikiki – Thank You - So Much - for your generosity – your friendship and your Spirit of Aloha – you make it special - we will be back in October for AFMB and this time, for four weeks in Hawaii.
Chug. Nice. Farewell.