I got lucky this year in that I got four days off work during the holiday weekend. Rather than stay in Kona, I decided to fly over to Oahu for my four days since airfare to the US mainland was expensive. I lived on Oahu for a while a few years ago and I go back often so I didn’t really go anywhere I hadn’t already been to before but it’s still fun to enjoy the “big city” from time to time, especially when you spend most of your time on the Big Island.
I flew into Honolulu and took public transportation to the hostel I was staying at in Waikiki. The typical Honolulu traffic meant that it took far longer to get to where I needed to go than you would think when you consider how small of an island Oahu is. I sprung a little extra for a private room at the hostel. The room itself was not the nicest I’ve ever stayed in but it worked for me since I didn’t plan on spending a whole lot of time there anyway.
After I got settled in, I walked on over to Wolfgang Puck Express in Waikiki. Back when I lived in Los Angeles, I would often take the LA Metro to the Gold’s Gym in downtown Los Angeles. I would always go to the Wolfgang Puck Express nearby there after I was done with the gym. Nostalgia.
Later in the afternoon, I walked over to Ala Moana Center, a large, upscale, outdoor mall. I’ve been there many times but not since the new Bloomingdales store opened up. It’s a nice store with a lot to offer in terms of shopping but the truth is that I already have such an extensive wardrobe that there really wasn’t anything for sale that I didn’t already fundamentally have. It was still nice though.
At night, I went over to Wang Chungs Karaoke bar since I knew that my bartender, Cory, was probably going to be there. Since it was Chrismas Eve, it wasn’t overtly busy but there were a few people there. I ended up doing a reasonably decent rendition of “Better Days” by the Goo Goo Dolls after some people befriended me. I had a good time.
It was Christmas Day and I had made a car reservation in order to drive around the island since I knew that many people where going to remain at home while they celebrated the holiday. That means that beaches and other landmarks that would normally be crowded would be easier to photograph.
I started out with driving toward the leeward(west) side of Oahu and made my way up the Waianae Coast. The leeward side of Oahu is drier, more arid, and in my opinion, has more character than other more publicized areas of Hawaii. The town of Waianae is, in my opinion, the second most distinct town in Hawaii. I think the title of most distinct town in Hawaii goes to Waimea on the Big Island. The road along the Waianae Coast dead-ends at Kaeana Point. At which point, you have to turn around and drive back the way you came.
After the leeward side, I drove up to the North Shore of Oahu and made my way east bound toward the windward side. The beaches on the North Shore were actually pretty crowded. More so than I thought they would have been.
The windward side of Oahu is more overcast, greener, and it rains a lot more. Personally, that’s not a deal breaker to me. I like variety. I stopped for a late lunch/early dinner in Laie at a place I haven’t been to in a long time……McDonalds. It tasted great when I was eating but felt terrible for eating it after I was done.
When I stopped on the side of the road for some pictures at Kualoa Ranch, some of the horses got really close to me and the other people there. They obviously weren’t afraid of humans. Chinaman’s Hat is also visible from the shoreline near Kualoa Ranch. The sun was beginning to go down and the sun rays were piercing through the cloulds. The view was serene.
I wanted to go out in Waikiki again at night, but I actually caught a little bit of a sniffle. I started noticing it the day before but by the day’s end, I wasn’t feeling very well. I ended up staying in and sleeping. It’s ok though. I like sleeping.
I woke up in the morning feeling a bit better but still a little under the weather. Daniel, a friend I had been communicating with on Facebook, invited me to the movies to see Star Wars with some of his friends. I was happy to go, even though I wasn’t too familiar with the Star Wars movies. After the movie we went for lunch to a Tex Mex restaurant near the theater. The food was ok. I would go back again but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it if one was looking for authentic Mexican food. I left the camera in my room because I probably wasn’t going to be allowed to take it into the movies with me. Hence no pictures of lunch.
For dinner, I met up with Bair, another friend I had been communicating with on Instagram, at the Top of Waikiki restaurant. I’m getting pretty used to eating at these revolving restaurants, and though the food was always good, you’re mainly paying for the view. The view itself was not bad, but because this restaurant is not as high-up as others, such as the Stratosphere Tower or Space Needle, the view was not as charming as it is at other elevated revolving restaurants.
After dinner, we went to Bucca Di Beppo to pick up a tiramisu. I don’t go to Bucca in Hawaii often, but I went frequently with my friend Andy back in the days when I lived in Austin. Though my communications with Andy are now few and far between, I’ll still always appreciate him and the things he did for me back in Austin.
After getting desert, I went back to Daniel and his partner, Craig’s, place for drinks and a movie. We watched “Trainwreck”. The movie was funny but it was kind of long for a romantic comedy.
I went back to my room after the movie because I was going back to Kona the next day and wanted to pack up all my stuff so I didn’t have to do it in the morning.
Before dropping me off at the airport, Bair took me to the Tantalus Lookout where you get a nice panoramic view of Honolulu. I’ve actually been to that lookout before, but I didn’t know the name of it or how to get there as someone else drove me. It’s definitely a nice view. I’ll have to try to go back at night time.
On the way to the airport, we stopped at Jamba Juice for a smoothie. I always get the same thing: Matcha Green Tea Smoothie. Back when I used to go to Booster Juice in Toronto, I always got the Mind over Matcha smoothie after working out. What can I say? Matcha green tea is good.
All in all, this was one of the better trips that I’ve taken to Oahu. Ironically, this is also the first time I went there that I didn’t climb Koko Head. It’s okay though. I did a lot of walking so I didn’t lose out on my exercise. I have three more round trips that I got with the interisland package I bought from Hawaiian Airlines so I’ll be back to Oahu again soon enough.