Day 5 – Surf from Sun Up to Sun Down

Yup, we watched surfers in the morning, we watched surfers in the evening and in between? Stuff happened.

Mike had a longer run planned for today, to run part of his race route. While Mike ran, I walked to a beach to meet him. This time I went closer to the famous Waikiki pier to plop down and watch life unfold around me. Surf was up.

Mike returned, jumped in the water, we had some toast and an apple banana, watched more wave action and then I received a message from a friend, asking for travel advice to Hawaii. Please don’t ask me that, I could spend hours telling you my feelings and thoughts.  I jotted off a quick response and delighted her with some photos our on way back to the house.

At the house we had to figure out the morning. We needed more fruit, we needed a farmers market. Mike found a small one in Manoa Marketplace by the university.  What a find and not a tourist trap.  Finally found butter avocados and mangos, all local!

We then needed more poke, so time for a new poke place, Keeaumoku Seaford. It was next to an interesting named chicken joint, that already had people ordering around 10 a.m.

We returned back to the house, put things away and packed a lunch to take to Waimanalo Bay Recreation Area.  We spent a little over an hour here, walking the beach, eating and just being.

To much sun for my fair Irish skin, so we packed it up and headed back.  We did have a 4ish o’clock date at the BeerLab Hi, so once we figured out where to grab food, we cleaned up and off we went.  Dinner was from Da Cove up the street. We got it to go.  We arrived at the BeerLab Hi and felt right at home in a local brewery setting.  Cool little place with good beers.  I was able to plant two Hartford Brewery stickers on the wall. And yes we will return before we leave.

We had to leave because the appointed hour of sunset viewing was at hand.  Mike went for a float in the ocean, I took in the local scene, watched the wave action and decided in retirement here, I will be writing trashy romance novels about the people I watch.

The surf way out was popping, it was great fun to watch through the camera lens zoomed in, way in.  Today was one of those non touristy days, just watching the surf and letting life happen.

Day 3 – Learning to Listen

The island tells you things, you just have to understand how to listen to the island and decipher the message.  We weren’t listening very well for some of the morning today, but once we figured it out things turned around.

Mike had a seven mile run scheduled and we planned to meet at Le’ahi beach at the end of his run so he could jump in the ocean.  He ran, I walked to the beach, plopped down, read and had some morning coffee.  It was perfect, men fishing, families swimming, dogs playing catch and just a calmness for a Sunday morning.  Mike arrived, jumped in the ocean to cool off and enjoyed some coffee with me.  The island was telling us, this is how we are meant to live, we received and understood that message.

Once home it was time to make a proper breakfast with all the lovely food items we picked up at yesterdays farmers market.  Scrambled eggs with swiss chard, topped with green onions and papaya boats filled with greek yogurt, granola and drizzled with lilikoi.  Perfection, the island told us.  And then we stopped listening.

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We debated on which farmers market to visit this morning,  I was thinking we should visit the Miliani one because we’ve haven’t explored that area for possible retirement, which has affordable housing for us. But we choose Kailau because five years ago we had gone to that one. We remembered plenty of parking, great veggie/fruit options and a vibe that was laid back.  We choose wrong and the island mocked us at the farmers market.  Parking had less options than the past, food stalls outnumbered farm stalls and the attendees were of a higher social class, very upscale and we didn’t fit in.  We weren’t dressed to impress.  We left without buying one thing.

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Next stop was Foodland in the area.  We were hunting down a plastic pitcher to put homemade fruit juice in.  We thought Foodland would have it, no. Ok there is a Target nearby, quick go there.  We spent over 25 minutes trying to find where a pitcher could be, it wasn’t in a logical place, please get us out.  Next stop lunch…

Oh let’s try Lanikai Brewing, I thought they had a food place now, nope not open till noon, we were at 11 a.m.  Ok let’s head back over to our area of the island and try this lunch place, that looks good.  We made it over the Pali Highway, found the building, spendt 15 minutes looping in the parking garage, we find a parking spot and get to the restaurant to be told there is at least a 45 minute wait.  We look around and realize the food may be awesome, but we aren’t dressed for that restaurant.

What to do,  where to eat?.  Learn to listen to the island. In our way over to this fancy place, we had to snake through an industrial area in Kaka’ako that had amazing murals, but to some people  this area  would look sketchy despite the stunning artwork, not us.

We had passed Waikiki Brewing Company on Queen street and it didn’t look busy.  So we returned to that area and guess what? We found parking (a feat in  and of  itself in this area) and the place wasn’t packed.  We sat at the bar, ordered beer and food.

Sitting there, we realized the island was pointing us to places where we fit in.  We’ve been to this brewery before but in Waikiki, we said at that time when we visited it, one and done.  I remember the food being good, beer ok, and the customers were the vacationing Waikiki crowd (yes I see the irony in that), just not worth a repeat visit.  This location was a different experience for us, a much better one. We fit in.

After lunch, we knew the next stop was to pick up poke.  Tamashiro Market was our choice. We had purchased poke from them before, some of the best on island and known as a locals place, you just don’t see tourists here.  We picked up 3 types  of poke for dinner.

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We returned home for some afternoon downtime, much needed after a morning of running around and failing to listen to the island.

Once rejuvenated,  we prepped dinner of greens, sea asparagus topped with one of the pokes and then grabbed some crackers for another of the pokes. We packed our cooler and set off for Ala Moana Beach Park for dinner with a sunset view.

Well the island agreed with our plan, no traffic and parking was easy.  We even found a great place to sit.  The people watching here is fantastic and the views stunning even before the sunset.

Dinner was simple, elegant and perfect.

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I think the island thanked us finally for listening because sunset was the prettiest yet.  You see,  we have learned the island picks you, but today we understood that said island will also test you and make sure you are listening to find where you belong. Message received Island!

Oahu Day 1 – Arrival

 

Our day begin at 3:30 a.m. eastern time, drinking horrible hotel coffee, but cheered by the fact that I raised $5,000 in donations for the Oahu Heart Walk coming up on August 11th.  Woot-Woot.

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We made it to the check in line around 4:30 for a 5:30 flight.  United was packed and the anxiety rose thinking we weren’t going to make this flight, until the agents starting calling for Dulles passengers to jump to the head of the line. We don’t always travel with checked bags, this time we did.  We checked our bag in and headed through the security checkpoint, smooth sailing.  We boarded quickly and another horrible cup of coffee was downed.

Landing at Dulles, we grabbed a breakfast meal and some lunch materials for later on in the flight.  Our flight boarded on time.  The ten-hour flight was uneventful and didn’t seem like 10 hours,  exit row seats with just two seats helped.  Flying in to Honolulu the rains clouds were around, but it just added to the beauty of the island.

Mike found a great deal for a car rental off airport grounds. This meant taking an Uber to the Pagoda Hotel to their rental desk and picking up our car there.  We had an awesome Uber driver, who just returned from swimming with whale sharks in the Philippines. He gave us some local snorkeling and hiking tips.

After we picked up the car, we drove right to our house at the base of Diamond Head.  We came in driving by Waikiki Beach.

For short stays this is a great location, can walk to little food places, Waikiki Beach, the Aquarium  and Kapolani Park.  Once we were handed the keys, we dropped our bags off and headed out for Poke and some essentials till we can do a full grocery shopping with a clear head tomorrow. We decided to try Ahi Assassins Fish Co. It was in a tiny strip mall on the second floor.  We sampled some poke and went “ahhhhh, yes”. So we picked up three types, traditional, spicy and secret.  The secret was my favorite.

From there we went to Foodland to use our Makai card and picked up a few items.  We needed to headed back to the house, our brains were starting to shut down.  We landed at 7 p.m. eastern time and by the time were done running around it was after 9 p.m. eastern time, I’m usually fast asleep by 8:30 p.m.  We ate the poke in about 5 seconds, unpacked, rested, wrote and……

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and Mike fell asleep before sunset, he rose just in time to walk across the park to catch sunset at the beach.  We don’t have a water sunset view this time of year, it sets behind land, but that’s ok, we see water and the setting sun.  We were treated to a monk seal on the beach at sunset, but I was so tired, didn’t have the energy to walk close by to snap photos, trust me he was there.

We have arrived, we ate poke, saw the sunset with a monk seal, what a welcome back to Oahu.

 

Day 20 – Welcome “Home” Gifts

Well, as you know, we did pop over to Maui on Thursday night and had planned to stay until Monday.  Maui just didn’t feel right and I think at our age, we’ve learned, if we are not happy, change the situation. So we did.  I really think Maui was telling us to go from the moment we landed at the rental house.  We didn’t sleep the two nights we were there. WHY? Dogs, lots of them howling and barking at all hours and they loved the hours of midnight through 4 a.m.  On our second night there, I ended up with an upset stomach and I took it as a sign that we made the right decision to leave.

We did manage to make some coffee and I had three bites of a croissant, all I could take, before we headed to the airport.

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We had a direct flight to Lihue, landed early, and were able to swing by the Farmer’s Market at the community college to restock up on fruit.  As soon as we picked up our car, our shoulders relaxed and we had our smiles back and going to the farmers market brought our world back in order.

The next stop was Costco.  As we walked into Costco, I joking said to Mike “I wonder if they have cans of Maui Brewing Mango, Hefeweizen?”  I had it fresh last night at Maui Brewing Company and it was excellent.  His reply was, “I don’t think they canned that one.”  We went in, heading towards the back. I stopped to look at something and came around the beer corner, seeing Mike with a smirk on his face. Sweet Lord, cases and cases of that beer.  Kauai Island was welcoming us back, providing us with a great welcome “home” gift.

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We also picked up pineapple, can’t beat the price. I can live with eating Maui pineapples, just can’t live in Maui.

After Costco we made our way back.  I love the drive past Hanalei Bay and snapped a few photos.

Our final stop before reaching the house was SushiGirl Kauai.  They are starting to recognize Mike and I as regulars.  Well we do have to get our fill while we can.

After we ate lunch at the house, I desperately needed a nap, so down for naptime I went.  We did stop at Foodland on our way back to pick up some fried chicken for dinner and tomorrow’s lunch, part of our tradition while here, two meals of fried chicken.

During dinner our friend popped over telling us the neighbor behind us had fresh caught ono for sale.  Off Mike went to receive our second welcome home gift of the day.

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After dinner and clean up it was time for sunset views.  We missed sunset the last two nights, so we were jonesing for one.

At the farmer’s market we picked up the nicest dragon fruit for dessert.  Once again thank you Kauai for giving us this welcome home gift.

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I really think you don’t pick the island, it picks you.  With the welcome home gifts that were bestowed on us, I think Kauai picked us.

 

Traveling Along on Day 1

Monday started at 3:45 a.m., slugging down ghastly hotel coffee before our 4:30 a.m. check in with United.

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We booked our tickets way in advance and somehow stumbled upon decently priced first class tickets.  Why not? We are celebrating our 100th combined.  We flew to Newark, I think the plane just went up and came right down, a mere 29 minutes.  Next we had about a two-hour layover and then onto first class, front row.  We had lie flats seats, two meals served and great movie selections.

The views looking out over our great landscape was breathtaking.  If I hadn’t watched three movies, I might have seen more of this great land.

We landed in Honolulu a mere 10 hours after leaving Newark. Now for another wait of an hour. Finally we boarded the last plan for what seemed like a two minute flight over to Kauai.  The island was a bit overcast, making it difficult to snap pictures as we flew in.

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My whole body felt a sense of returning home, why I don’t know? I am an Irish girl, perhaps it is just a lush green island calling to my soul.  I just choose tropical instead.

Once we landed we grabbed our bags, and yes for those of you who know how we prefer to travel, this was an oddity we checked bags in. Normally our travel style is backpacks and go!  Car rental was a breeze, thank you Hertz and we have an SVU this time!

Our next stop was to pick up rental keys for the house in Waimea.  First we had to fight through commuter traffic at 5 p.m. on the south west side of the island, but once we hit Hanapepe traffic thinned out.  We made our way to the house, dropping our bags off, quickly admiring the backyard view and headed out to find food.

Our original plan was to grab some poke and go sit at a beach to eat it. However, it was becoming clear to us we were way overtired and it was becoming dangerous to drive. We picked up some poke from Ishihara Market in Waimea and some beer.

We ate dinner in our cottage listening to the chickens, smelling the plumeria trees and devouring the poke. We couldn’t even sit outside to watch the sunset, we were that tired. After cleaning up, unpacking and cooling the house down, we headed off to bed.

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Tuesday is plan is to find breakfast, do some shopping, maybe visit a beach and hopefully see us finding a beach sunset!

Aloha!

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