Aloha from Oahu

I’m a morning person. I enjoy rising early and walking on the beach before all the bodies are packed blanket to blanket in the hot sun. If I can find a cup of coffee to accompany my exploration, all the better. This is my reflection time. My meditation.

Our first morning on Waikiki, I was greeted with this pink-tinged sky over my water view.

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Morning has broken on Waikiki

We had only a “partial” ocean view from our room and the sunrise was actually behind us so I wanted to get down to the beach to see more.

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Waikiki morning

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Early morning view of Diamond Head from Waikiki

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Here comes the sun on Waikiki

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Early morning view of Outrigger Waikiki

We checked out of the Outrigger Waikiki well before the noon deadline in hopes that we could check in early at the Marriott but we had no luck in that regard. We stored our bags at the hotel and headed to the bus stop to go to Diamond Head. While we waited for the bus, a taxi came by and offered us the same rate as bus fare so, needless to say, we hopped in. I noticed the meter wasn’t running for our ride, however, so I can’t guarantee the rates.

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Entrance to Diamond Head

Diamond Head is a state monument with a 560 feet climb on a .8 mile trail from the bottom of the crater to the summit. Go early to beat the crowds and the heat.

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Before our climb, we found a stand near the entrance selling shave ice, the iconic Hawaiian treat that everyone must experience while on the islands. We decided a cold sugar energy jolt was just what we needed before we hiked the trail to the summit.

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Rick and Jim posing with their shave ice

This is a strenuous climb according to signs posted to warn those with heart or respiratory conditions not to attempt it. It’s deceptive, however, because the trail begins on the crater floor where it’s flat and paved.

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The crater floor at Diamond Head

The ascent includes dirt paths, switchbacks, stairs, and tunnels.

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Hikers on the trail ahead of us at Diamond Head

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Tunnel along the trail

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Stairs along the trail

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Spiral stairs on the trail

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Low ceiling overhead in WW2 bunker

But the views were spectacular!

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View from the trail at Diamond Head

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View from the trail at Diamond Head

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View from the summit of Diamond Head

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View of Honolulu from Diamond Head

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Diamond Head Lighthouse

We worked up an appetite and we were ready for lunch after our hike. We’d planned to have a plate lunch of authentic Hawaiian food at a well-known local restaurant. Our taxi driver suggested we try Haili’s instead, a less well-known local place that he claimed served much better food at lower prices. He finally convinced us and we’re glad he did. This family-owned and operated restaurant deserves rave reviews. Mahalo (thank you) to our driver and Haili’s.

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Jim at the counter placing his order

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Traditional Hawaiian foods: poke is marinated ahi tuna, lau lau is pork cooked in taro leaves, and poi is mashed taro.

 

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top row is kalua pig, lau lau, rice; bottom row is lomi salmon, haupia (coconut milk dessert), and poke

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The same as above with poi instead of rice

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Purple sweet potatoes

 

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One of the family members who told us about each of the dishes and how to eat them with Jim, Lori, and Rick

We walked a little over a mile back to the Marriott and after an additional wait, we finally checked into our rooms. The view was definitely worth the wait.

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View from our room at the Marriott

As much as I enjoyed the early morning on Waikiki, it was nothing compared to sunset. Watching the sun sink into the Pacific is an unforgettable experience and one of the highlights of Waikiki for me.

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Sunset view from our hotel room at Waikiki

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Waikiki Sunset

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Last ride at sunset

An extra special addition was the free hula show offered on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights at Kuhio Park on Waikiki Beach. With authentic live musicians and dancers, this show is a must see. Beginning at 6 or 6:30 pm depending on sunset, the show lasts just an hour so get there early with a blanket to sit on and your camera.

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Hula show at Kuhio Beach Hula Mound at sunset on Waikiki

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Audience at hula show at Kuhio Park

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Hula dancers at Kuhio Park

Here’s a bit of video from the show to whet your appetite.

Check back next week for another highlight: Pearl Harbor.

Based on events in November 2015.

Categories: cruise, Food, natural history, Travel, Uncategorized, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Aloha from Oahu

  1. Hawaii! So Jealous. Come on over and visit and leave a comment or two, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen you!

    Like

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