Showing posts with label hawaii. Show all posts

Random Photo: Byodo-In Temple

Every time we were in Oahu, we make sure to stop by the Byodo-In temple. We walked around, rang the bell and fed the fish on the koi pond. Next time, I have to note that we need to bring an insect repellant. The mosquitos here are borderline aggressive.

Random Photo: Birthday Cupcakes

It so happens that our little girl is having her birthday in Honolulu. I looked up a couple of cake places but decided on getting a simple Hello Kitty cupcakes. It was a great idea and we ended eating all these yummy cupcakes in the next couple of days.

Ko'Olina Wedding - Oahu, Hawaii

When my sister got engage she mentioned that her dream wedding would be in Hawaii. She needed suggestions. I told her that the perfect location should be in Ko'Olina. It is a quiet place without much tourists since it is not easy to get there by public transportation. You need a car to get there comfortably not to mention that it had limited parking space. Most likely that you would get turned back once the public parking is full.

They were able to book the wedding on the K'Olina Chapel and have the reception at Roy's Restaurant.

Random Photo: Malasadas

Crossing off another item on our Oahu wish list. We finally tried the Malasadas (Portuguese doughnut) at Leonardo's Bakery. We ordered all available flavors. My favorite is the one with the custard filing. The flavors change every season. Perfect with hot coffee.

Diamond Head - Oahu, Hawaii

e on a roll in terms of hiking. The guidebook states that it is a challenging hike due to the stairs but the reward would be spectacular 360 degree views. Sounds good. We decided to go first thing in the morning, we heard that it can get crowded and parking is limited.

Halfway through the hike, we can now feel the sun bearing on us. We were rewarded with this view.

Random Photos: Aloha Friday

The photos were taken on a Friday afternoon at San Souci Beach near Waikiki. I asked the lifeguard if there was some kind of event happening in the park. I was told that this was a school activity of which they teach the 2nd and 3rd graders how to swim. I love Hawaii!!

KCC Farmer's Market - Oahu, Hawaii

Another wish crossed off on our list. Farmer's Market is usually set up on a weekend morning. And since we are on limited time in Oahu, we ended skipping this adventure. I am glad we were finally able to visit one.

The KCC (Kapiolani Community College) Farmer's Market is organized by the Hawaii Farm Bureau which was originally started by a group of local farmers to promote and advocate the locally grown commodities.

We started our day early and was able to get a close parking spot. Then it started to rain.

Random Photo: Hawaii Five-Oh

We had a celebrity sighting by the Aloha Stadium. We were excited to see the Shrimp Truck guy from the show Hawaii Five-O. Cool! He was selling his own brand of t-shirts and offered to sign them. There were a line of tourists getting them as souvenirs.

Manoa Falls Trail - Oahu, Hawaii

We have been to Oahu multiple times. Every visit we make sure to do something that we haven't done before. There were also times that we go back to our favorites like eating breakfast at Eggs N' Things, getting shaved ice at Matsumoto and swim at our favorite beach in Lanikai.

Good Morning Honolulu!

Our flight took us to Honolulu early in the morning. Coming from the East Coast, we had a good 6 hours ahead so instead of nursing a jet lag we decided to go for an early hike to Manoa Falls.

North Shore - Oahu, Hawaii

We have been in Oahu before. The first time was our honeymoon. We went back when my daughter was 9 months old then we set up another trip bringing the rest of my family. One sister loved it so much that she decided to give up her job in New Jersey and moved to Hawaii for good.

We decided to spend our day in the North Shore part of town. Since we were staying in the Waikiki area, it would take us about an hour drive depending on traffic. Oahu got really crowded from the last time we visited. Traffic is such a hassle that it is not even possible (on certain days or time) to drive from one end of the island to the other.

We started our day on a hiking trip to the Waimea Valley. From our guide book, the hike should be an easy 1.5 mile walk ending with a swim to the waterfalls.

Almost Paradise

My good friend Henry had been a life long resident of Oahu. A couple of years ago he caught the photography bug on which he started working on macros in whichever he finds on his backyard. Now his style has evolved and started catching the sunrise and sunsets of Oahu. To me, it is a reminder that he lives in paradise, on which I define as constant sun, surf, sand - and lunchplate.

You can check more of his amazing works on his flickr page, click here.

Travel Journal Oahu 2009 Day 8

Where did the 7 days go? I still refuse to leave the island.

Our flight was scheduled at 8 pm and we checked out of the time share by noon time. We have ample time to go around the area till we catch the flight home. We all decided to head to North Shore and check out Kualoa Ranch.

Kualoa Ranch is a family owned working ranch. It used to be a sugar mill owned by a personal physician of the late King Kamehameha. During World War II, the military has built shelters and used the area as a look out for Japanese planes. Currently, it has been used as a set background from popular movies and television series such as Jurassic Park, Windtalkers and Lost to name a few. It is also open to the public and offer various tours of the area.

We decided to take the movie set tour since it will take only an hour and half drive in the area. You would be driven around in a rundown bus while the bus driver narrates bits and pieces about the history and film locations.

At first, it does look like a non descript tour looking at trees and livestocks till you get to the mountains. For the fans of the television show Lost, you won't miss the location. It is where they shot the scene where Hurley and Jack played golf and the place where Hurley found the blue beetle Dharma "van" which he ended up driving it around the area. Somehow, I wish they are still filming in the area and see the Lost actors. I won't mind seeing Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly.

The guide also mentioned that the ranch closes whenever they have a scheduled production shooting. It also costs about $25 thousand a day to close the ranch during production. The longest time they closed the ranch is when they were shooting the movie Windtalkers. The movie took about 3 months to shoot on location.

Here are random shots of what to see at the movie tour:

Travel Journal Oahu 2009 Day 7

After a day of lounging, we decided to take on a more physical activity. One of my goals for this trip is to take on another surfing lesson. I took on surfing on our first visit, it turned out to be an unforgettable activity that I intend to pursue in the Jersey shore. So far, I haven't surfed by myself. I am afraid to do it alone. I know. I know they always say- you have to do it once.

Travel Journal Oahu 2009 Day 6

We all agreed to take a "rest" day from all activities and fully enjoy the resort. My sisters used this day to get some shopping done. For us, we went on to the car rental office to go through the paperwork and look over the extent of the damage. We were worried that we will miss our flight by the time we drop off the car. The rental agent only glanced at the damage and asked us to fill up the damage report.


Travel Journal Oahu 2009 Day 5

We have to check out at our hotel and move to the time share at Waikiki Beachwalk area. This has posed a problem when we were in the process of coordinating our trip, no available units for the first 4 days of our stay. We ended taking up a sub par hotel room in Waikiki Central. We got a 2 bedroom but unfortunately 1 bathroom located in the Masters bedroom. It was a difficult set up when you need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night with the lights off.

We saved the best for last. It was a pleasure to move in when we saw how our accommodations look like for the next 3 days. This time we have a 2 bedroom and a 2 bathroom unit complete with a kitchen and a living room.

From Corner Turn

Travel Journal Oahu 2009 Day 4

Halfway through the trip we all agreed it will be a good idea to drive around the island. We want to get it out of the way since we are moving from a hotel to a time share.
We started on driving through Waikiki heading east to the Windward area and end the day on a swim to North Shore beach. We also planned to stop by a well recommended Papa Ole's for lunch and a break for a shave ice from Matsumoto.

From Corner Turn

Travel Journal Oahu 2009 Day 3

After the 3rd day, we noticed that we are waking up later part of the day. Today we are up by 6 am, the sun has risen which is a good indication that we are getting used to Pacific Time.

We tried to pack a lot of sightseeing and ready to see much of inland Oahu. Our first stop is Pearl Harbor, then a lunch at Genki Sushi at the Waikele Outlet then to the Valley of the Temple then end the day on a swim to Lanikai Beach.

Pearl Harbor

There were a couple of places to visit in Pearl Harbor, some have entrance fees but the Arizona Memorial is free. Either way, you have to go in line which can be another half hour wait to pick up a ticket. You would be given a designated time to come back and line up to watch a half hour screening about Pearl Harbor. It is an educational video on what happened during the Japanese invasion. After screening, you are lead to the front door to the ferry to take you on the USS Arizona Memorial. We were given a 3 pm appointment; it would be enough time to go to the Valley of the Temples and a quick lunch.

Travel Journal Oahu 2009 Day 2

We woke up at 3 am and all wide awake. Our body is still on East Coast time which is 6 hours ahead so technically our body is on 9 am mode and ready for a nice cup of coffee.

We had decided to head over to the Honolulu Fish Auction. The auction promptly starts at 5 am at Pier 38. There was nothing much to expect but a whole room of different kinds of iced fish of varying weight and size. The whole process moves on very fast with a dozen people including the auctioneer vying for the prized catch. It was an interesting process and worth the visit to watch how this multi million industry works on an island that consumes a truck load of sushi a day.

Travel Journal Oahu 2009 Day 1

It is our 3rd trip to Honolulu. We fell in love with the island that we can't get enough of it. There is always a list to things that we did not do and vowed to come back next year. What is the difference from our previous trips? This time I will meet my sisters in Honolulu and we are all staying at the same hotel. It is a family trip without my Mother. She refused to travel this far.

From Corner Turn

We were set to stay in the Waikiki vicinity. We were scheduled to stay on a nearby hotel next to the International Market and eventually transfer to our time share. To be able to see the whole island, we decided to rent a car, the only available (also affordable) option was a 7 seat Ford Explorer. Not much room for luggage but enough to have a seat for everyone.

Recap - Hawaii 2009

Before I write my journal on my itineraries from the last vacation, let me make a list of new things that I did on the island, things revisited and would likely to do on the next trip back.

It is my 3rd trip to Oahu and seems that I can't get enough of the island.

Why do I keep coming back?

The island has all the criteria of items that I look forward whenever on vacation. It has an eternal close to perfect weather, it does rain from time to time but it is still warm enough to don a raincoat. It has gorgeous beaches. You have a choice between the child friendly Ko'Olina or Lanikai, the surf friendly Waikiki or the snorkel friendly Hanauma Bay or Pupukea. All locations have easy access either by car or bus. Don't even get me started with the food. A large number of the populations in Hawaii are Asians and they all live in harmony. Food is a fusion of each culture. Expect to find reasonable plates of meat, rice and macaroni salad. To me that is satisfying enough. They have a laid back approach. Everyone seems not to be in a hurry but things run efficiently. If you scale back a bit and go with the flow, you will know what I am talking about. Life is so simple. The simplicity of it all what makes me envious to the locals who live there. Granted that the expensive living conditions on the island, life there can be simple if you want it to be.

Things revisited:

  • Surfing – The real kind! I took surfing lessons the first time I visited. We enjoyed it so much that we vowed to do it again. It has simple instructions but I am afraid to go alone. The second instructions were very helpful that I am confident on renting my own board to go by myself. If I can help it, I'd rather go with a buddy.

  • From Corner Turn