With a new job and a two-hour commute to and from work, I just haven’t had the time, nor the energy to post anything. Life has been full of changes for us, but supporting each other and keeping a positive attitude has gone a long way to managing it all. I’ll admit, some days are all about just getting through the day so I can get home and get a ginormous hug from my family. That magical hug that can make life all-good again. Lately, I’ve found myself thinking about Hawaii a lot, specifically the long walks I took in the mornings by myself with my tunes along Waikiki Beach last January. It’s strange how just bringing up that memory can bring a wave of calm and peace.
Before I started my new job, my hubby, daughter and I fit in a trip to Hawaii. We love the Big Island, but it was time for us to explore a new island, so we chose Oahu. We’re usually about finding solitude in nature, but after our very solitary trip to Red Rock Canyon SP and Joshua Tree NP in December, we were ready for a more bustling, and especially warmer, trip. We stayed at the Westin Moana Surfrider on Waikiki Beach and loved how convenient the location was to everything. It didn’t hurt that they upgraded us to an ocean view room. It was great to be able to go down the elevator and right out to the beach or across the street to the International Marketplace, not to mention they have a great Banyan Tree courtyard to hang out and have a drink or meal.
This trip was all about the beach and ocean for us. Many hours of most of the 6 days we were in Hawaii, we were in the water or looking out longingly at the water from the beach. Even though we had prepared ourselves for crowds, it took us a second to get used to how crowded it was (first week of January). At national parks, I become allergic to crowds and I always look for ways to have nature all to myself. In Waikiki, however, I didn’t mind it. There was something nice about quietly sitting together with many people, watching and appreciating the sun go down below the horizon. There were smiles all around and people cheering, a shared positive experience.
There is no shortage of things to do in Waikiki. Don’t forget to have good walking shoes, I developed a blister or two from all of our walking. We had made plans to rent a car and explore the rest of the island, but instead we ended up taking our time to explore/walk all over Waikiki. At the back of the International Market Place on the second floor, we found Mitsuwa Market where we went everyday to pick up fruits, drinks and various food items to stick in our backpack for our day of exploration. Dukes Lane Market and Eatery was a fun place to explore and pick up lunch items from several eateries. I still dream about the hojicha shave ice from Nana’s Green Tea in the Waikiki Yokocho gourmet alley. Between surfing lessons, loooong walks on the beach, exploring the many areas of Waikiki, trying as many Hawaiian bites along the way, not to leave out relaxing/napping on the beach, we often came back to the hotel room completely spent. That’s what I love about Waikiki, there’s always something to do, whatever the pace. Looking out at the glistening blue ocean, hearing the lapping of the waves, and smelling the slightly briny air, reminded me to focus on and appreciate the beautiful nature that was all around.
Some of our favorite Waikiki bites:
Island Vintage Shave Ice, located near the Waikiki Shopping Plaza on busy Kalakaua Ave, was centrally located and very popular, it always had a line. We went back several times to try as many of their interesting flavors, and it was worth the wait every time. Our favorite was the yuzu-passion fruit combo, so refreshing!
The Mai Tais at Duke’s are best served with a sunset and Kalua pulled pork nachos. The outdoor seating area opens up for service before the sunset, and we happened to get to the restaurant just when the line to wait for the outdoor seating opened up.
Kailua Beach Adventures:
We signed up for a 2 hour guided sea kayaking tour in Kailua Bay through Kailua Beach Adventures. I can not recommend this company enough, the kayaking tour was amazing! A definite highlight of our Hawaii trip. Our guides, Austin and Chad, were friendly and knowledgeable and made us feel safe even as we kayaked through choppy waters of Kailua Bay on a very windy, drizzly day. The weather didn’t deter us from exploring Popoia Island (also known as Flat Island) before we headed back. My daughter got her foot stung by a jelly fish and they immediately pulled out their first aid and applied a topical cream that instantly made her feel better. This is why you hire experienced guides, this is the kind of stuff I wouldn’t have even known to prepare for and could have ruined the trip for us. The kayaking tour was only 2 hours, so we also had time to have lunch and spend time on Kailua Beach before the van took us back to Waikiki. I can’t wait to go back and try a longer kayaking tour some day.
Six days went by fast. Real fast. As much as I loved all our experiences in Honolulu, it’s the memories we created together that I will treasure the most. The talks we had on our long walks on the beach. The laughs we had over the “interesting” foods we tasted. The feeling of awe we shared as we watched the sunsets together in utter silence. The memories even include how we recalled our trip favorites weeks later, bringing us all back there again. Honolulu will be another place on our great earth that I will think of with much fondness and appreciation. I’m sure all of you have your own precious travel memories, this is why we keep planning for the next trip, and the trip after that, and so on. Having time with loved ones, being able to explore new places, feeling excited, creating treasured memories, etc… so many good things rolled up in a trip. Happy Travels everyone!