Posts Tagged With: shave ice

Unscripted on the Big Island

After a busy week exploring Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island, we were ready for an unscripted beach day. And, because it rained most of the previous day on the windward side of the island, we looked forward to dry weather on the “Kona side” (leeward) at Kailua-Kona. Cruise ships anchor offshore at this port, so our first order of business was taking a tender from our ship to the pier.

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Tender to the Kona pier

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View of the Pride of America from our tender

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Beach ready

After the requisite photo on the pier, we were ready to find a beach. Fortunately, historic downtown Kailua is adjacent to the pier so we didn’t have to look far. We stopped at Tourist Information and learned the Kona Trolley would take us south to the beaches for just $2 per ride.

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Roadside view from the Kona Trolley

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Trolley View

We got off the trolley at Kahalu’u Beach where Jim was first into the water. When he spied a large sea turtle swimming next to him, he was intent on avoiding contact after seeing the sign announcing a $35,000 fine for touching these protected creatures. An underwater camera sure would have been handy to capture the experience, however.

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Kahalu’u Beach

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Jim swimming with the sea turtles

While the beach was lovely, there was too much coral in the water which makes for good snorkeling but awkward wading, so we packed up and got back on the trolley to try another beach. Magic Sands Beach was perfect.

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Magic Sands Beach

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Magic Sands Beach

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Magic Sands Beach

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Yours truly in the water at Magic Sands Beach

The official name is La’aloa Beach, but locals nicknamed it Magic Sands because the sand washes away in the winter only to return each summer when the currents change. Fortunately for us, there was plenty of sand during our visit in November.

A sweet little dog wandered about the beach visiting various groups of sunbathers and eventually he joined us, too. We, of course, assumed he was a stray but when he turned up his nose at the granola bar we offered, we knew his owner was nearby. Sure enough, as we left, we saw him jump into a car with a local.

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Lori and I made friends with this sweet dog

When we’d had enough beach time, we took the trolley back to town for a little exploration. We’d been advised to have a shave ice with azuki beans and finally located a place that sold them. Azuki (or adzuki) beans are red beans that are sweetened and used in Asian confections. Since the tradition of Hawaiian shave ice was first introduced by Japanese immigrants, it makes sense that they would use azuki beans. They were surprisingly tasty in the shave ice.

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Shave Ice offerings

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Ordering our shave ice

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shave ice with azuki beans

At the end of a relaxing unscripted day in Kailua-Kona, we were ready to return to the Pride of America to set sail that evening for the island of Kauai. And if you’re wondering why we didn’t visit a coffee plantation, we did –on Kauai, so please come back and check it out.

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Home sweet Pride of America

 

Based on events from November 2015.

 

 

 

Categories: cruise, Travel, Uncategorized, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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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