My friends had wanted to attempt the illegal way up to Stairway to Heaven with the people we met the previous day at Moanalua Valley Trail but ended up not going. The only person from the previous day on the trail still wanted to go had never been and we wanted the friend who was a local to take us. It also rained overnight and was raining in the morning when we awoke. In true Herbie fashion, we took it easy. We started off our morning at Liliha Bakery which is famous for their cream puffs. I ordered the lilikoi malasadas & coco cream puff.
There is a castle called the The Kaniakapupu Ruins off the side of the highway but apparently has been closed due to deterioration and vandalism – I am sure people still visit this site. We continued on to Nu’uanu Pali Lookout for a quick look. It was incredibly windy and the visit here did not last long. It is paid parking but Tiffany just stayed in the car as we took a peek and came back. On a dry and less windy day, this place technically has a few paths you can hike.
After turning around a few times, we found ourselves mall ratting for the day to get last minute souvenirs and we were on a mission to find the Hydroflask’s that have exclusive designs you can only get in Hawaii. We stayed at Ala Moana Mall for majority of the day after the lookout point. It is a half indoor half outdoor mall which also does performances on certain days. Similar to Yorkdale Mall back in Toronto, they have certain wings that carry high end brands and also lower end brands. The special feature with Ala Moana Mall is the food courts and the special hidden food court that is downstairs called Shirokiya Japan Village Walk. $1 beers all day everyday and loads of food options (mainly Japanese). They also have performances on weekends. It takes you to Japan in essence.
From the mall, we slowly made our way to the airport. It was bittersweet because although we were heading over to Kauai next, Tiffany was leaving us and heading to Calgary for work. Hawaiian Airlines flight was easy going but we were still worried about making the car rental hours once again. We did land a little earlier but I ended up just rushing and taking the shuttle over to Enterprise first and picking up the rental. A blue Elantra. We had booked an Airbnb at a vacation rental in Kapaa area. We checked in and went to bed as it was already midnight by the time we got in.
I’m usually not one to travel in the summer due to the fact that for a short period in time, Toronto has great weather and also because I dedicate my summer travels to volleyball (9-Man). It also is prime time for work opportunities. I made an exception this time around as it all started with my friend Lulu trying to convince me to join her and Renee back in Feb/March to goto Hawaii with them. With this being said, it led to us booking a one-way ticket to Maui. With the one-way ticket purchased, it left me to planning a trip that we could do in a 2 weeks span and also island hopping. Once my itinerary was made, I was able to convince (not very hard to) my friend Tiffany to join us making us a group of 4. I have previously been to Hawaii back in 2014 to photograph my high school friends wedding and staying in Oahu for 13 days – it was amazing and I was mistaken for a Kama’aina surfer girl (a local).
Looking at my last few trips, you can probably tell that I am a very ambitious person and my itineraries are jam-packed. This one was no different. For 2 weeks, we made it so we would island hop – Maui to Oahu to Kauai. This itinerary was made 1.5 months before the trip was to happen and a month before, I injured my leg – side note: sprained my hamstring a month before and didn’t let it rest enough – knee irritation during trip.
For good quality poke anytime, anywhere – goto Foodland.
Download the Gypsy Guide – for your most in-depth car ride. It is an off line audio guide that tracks where you are and will tell you where to stop off to get the most of the islands. It is also very informative and fills you in with all the history that makes Hawaii what it is. We downloaded it for Maui especially for the Road to Hana and also for Kauai.
And of course, last bit of advice: Check airport car rental hours before booking your flights to ensure the offices are open when you land. Late late night flights are no good if you can’t actually leave the airport.
Some facts about Hawaii:
Hawaii is one of the only places in the world that I cannot really tell ethnicity apart. That is because it is a mishmash of many ethnicities and of course tanned complexions. The reason for such mix of ethnicities comes from back in the day when the concept for having an owner and workers started. Before that, people believed they could just survive off the land and live well that way. There was a shortage of workers to work plantations once they adopted the owner and workers system. Since there was a shortage, Hawaii took in workers from different parts of the world such as China, Japan, Philippines, Korea, Puerto Ricans, and Portuguese etc.
After each ethnic group started to immigrate to Hawaii for a better life, the locals started to feel like they were taking all the jobs and started to xenophobia them over and over as a new group came in. Sugar cane plantations were a huge source of income however in 1990, 150 years of plantation ended as the introduction of high fructose sugars started being put into food and the demand for real sugar dropped.
100% Kona Coffee is one of the highest qualities however the price that comes with it isn’t always ideal.
Hawaii has also banned non-coral friendly sunscreens.
Now onto my itinerary. To make the most of our time, I tried to align each day to explore certain areas of each island and tried to alternate hiking days with beach days. I think the biggest thing I am happy to have done was reversing the Road to Hana route – Drive all the way to the end of Road to Hana and explore in reverse for optimal time at Pipiwai Trails and less tourists.
Final night in Waikiki. Melissa & family went to High tea and had to run errands and since they still had mopeds they took advantage of it. A group of us did a early morning beach session before we headed over to Ala Moana mall once again to shop.
We ventured around Ala Moana for a bit checking out some stores and of course stopping by Foodland for more poke. We went to Kicks HI again and finally hit up Don Quijote (801 Kaheka St). It’s a little different from the Don Quijote I’ve been to in Japan but it’s very similar. Don Quijote is a one stop shop for everything from souvenirs, fresh food to electronics and and even facial products. To make it even better – It’s 24 hours! For food products that you can find in the ABC stores, Walmart & Don Quijote as the places to go to purchase them for cheaper. They also had tons of green tea related candies and chocolates.
We ended up grabbing poke again at Foodland before heading back and stopping by Food Pantry – Hi Steaks for steak plates. We brought it all back and ate by the poolside. Afterwards, the girls went up to help Melissa with wedding preparations. What the made the night even better, the boys came back from a night moped ride with treats from Leonard’s Bakery – Malasadas!
Woke up and did a workout before we started our day. Melissa, Juancho, Jaira & Ronnel went for a run, Juan did a workout and I did a workout in the pool area myself. Melissa and Juan had to goto the department of Health to get their marriage license paperwork done. So the rest of us (Ronnel, Eric, Juancho, Jaira and I) headed for a quick little beach session.Nothing beats masubi (onigiri but with spam) and leftover Li Hing malasadas for breakfast.
We then joined Melissa & Juan at Ala Moana Mall (1450 Ala Moana Blvd) which takes about 15-20 minutes by bus (take the 8). It’s the biggest outdoor mall in Oahu. We ate at the food court and went to Foodland Supermarket to get fresh poke (marinated ahi ahi sashimi) which apparently is one of the best places to get poke. What makes its even better is that when you purchase items at Foodland, you give them the same phone number and that acts as your membership card and the more you buy, the more you save when you give them your phone number.
The sun isn’t as strong at 4PM as it is at noon. We wanted cheap but good food tonight and returned to Hi Steak at Food Pantry as well as Surf N Turf Tacos (2310 Kuhio St) for some grilled fish taco and garlic shrimp ($4.50 & 4.99USD). I really wanted the kalbi and spicy sesame poke tacos but they were sold out! The tacos were delicious but the grilled fish stood out and over the garlic shrimp.
First full day at the beach – literally. We were there from 8AM until about 4PM I left. Everyone got destroyed by the sun today. NOTE: the sun is extremely strong at noon and it will feel as if your skin is cooking. Re-apply often! Our friends Justin, Kim & Megan arrived however we were still missing a few people. For a late night dinner, we went back to Mac 24/7 with 16 people. I had the hawaiian boneless short ribs (too salty for my liking).