Day 19 – Seeing the sights in Honolulu

I was awake well before the sun this morning so actually got to see the moon and the stars. Thankfully I seemed to be feeling pretty decent. We had a very lazy morning and didn’t end up leaving the apartment until 11.15am.

We had a short 5 min walk to the Waikiki trolley stop. For a while we thought we’d missed it, even though we were there before the pick up time of 11.36am, but eventually we spotted it coming around the corner. We took our seats. Trying to socially distance as much as possible meant we sat on the “wrong” side facing into the street – it wasn’t too bad though.

There was a live audio guide on this tour but it was a little hard to hear at times (Kevin heard very little), so I can’t remember what most things are but it was great to see more of Honolulu than just the tourist area. There is a lot of history here which I didn’t realize.

It’s so odd how we’ve been on Oahu for 1.5 weeks and Aulani and the other place we stayed are both only an hour away, yet all feel like such different experiences and that they could even be different countries. Kauai was different again. It’s felt like we’ve had 4 different holidays. We often have holidays like this and I really do like it.

From the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific there are amazing views over Honolulu and out to Diamond Head. It is located in the Punchbowl Crater –

“The Punchbowl Crater is the visual evidence of secondary activity of Honolulu’s Volcanic Series between 70,000 and 100,000 years ago. In 1964 the Honolulu Memorial at the National Memorial Cemetery was erected and the names of 28,788 military personnel listed as missing in action (MIA) or buried at sea in Pacific conflicts, including the Vietnam War, were listed on marble slabs in ten Courts of the Missing. Over 53,000 military personnel are interred here” – Waikiki Trolley website

This would be a fascinating (& sad) place to learn more about and even explore – though I don’t believe there was a stop here. The trolley is a HOHO (hop on hop off) but we just did almost a full loop.

Sadly the flags were at half mast following the mass shooting the US primary school. Just horrifying. I can’t begin to imagine how the parents and families of those kids must feel. Makes me very grateful for the strict gun laws that we have in Australia.

The land around here is owned by the Government and anyone who is at least 1/2 (native) Hawaiian can rent land for $1 a year for 99 years (and a further 100 years upon request). I wonder how many people can take advantage of this…

We drove through Chinatown, our driver pointing out all her favourite places to eat.

And then into the most historic part (I believe) of Honolulu – with the old State Capitol buildings and historic mission buildings.

We then went through an area full of awesome (yet hard to photograph from a moving trolley) street art, before finishing our tour at the Waikiki Shopping Plaza.

A short walk found us at Tommy Bahamas where we had more success getting some boxers for Kevin, and also a couple of shirts. We have spent quite a bit on Kevin’s wardrobe this year but I think he deserves it. After wearing pretty much the same style of clothes for the last 30 + years it was definitely time for a style upgrade :-).

After our successful shopping we had to wait until the restaurant opened. We really wanted to eat here since we’d had such a lovely experience on Maui. Luckily this didn’t disappoint. We walked up a flight stairs and got checked in – we were the first ones. Then had to walk up a second flight of stairs to get to the area we were seated (there is a lift that can be used). From here we had a lovely view over the street which offered some good people watching. Our waiter was super nice and helpful. One thing I always love in America is how you are given a glass of iced water as soon as you sit down. We also recieved some bread here (and a butter that Kevin enjoyed).

Kevin had coconut shrimp (prawns for us Aussies). And I had the caramelized cauliflower and some grilled asparagus. We both loved our food and only a little asparagus & some bread was left. We left very happy and satisfied.

We wanted to walk back along the foreshore instead of catching the trolley so we made our way – with a bit of difficulty to the beach. We had watched lots of walking videos on YouTube of Waikiki Beach and it was fun to see the places for ourselves. I remember being absolutely amazed when I saw this infinity pool overlooking the ocean. Looks incredible – but I’m not sure it’s my kind of place to stay.

We walked along the path (and through hotel areas) as far as the Royal Hawaiian – where we had to take to the sand – which was a little on the hot side. I’m pretty sure you can normally get through but it looked like they were setting up for a wedding.

Not wanting to deal with the hot sand for very long we headed up through the Royal Hawaiian. We had actually been going to stay here for 3 nights when we first started planning this trip (but then changed to head to Kauai on the first day – a good decision since the airports always seem to be most stressful time on vacations). It does look beautiful though (my parents stayed here back in the 90s?) and I would love to stay here one day. It’s so buried in amongst other buildings now though which is a shame.

As we headed back along the street we came across a shave ice place. I was still pretty full from lunch but Kevin wanted to get one. I did have a little of it, since it was so big. Kevin enjoyed it – he chose the Waikiki Hula because it had extras like pineapple and boba. We sat for a quite a while since it was a nice shady area. Funnily enough it was right beside the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani – where we stayed on our honeymoon almost 30 years ago. And I just love how this palm tree had grown up through the branches of this other tree. I’m guessing they were planted at a similar time.

As we made our way back home Kevin wanted to stop in at Dylan’s Candy Bar – which was a HUGE lolly/candy shop. When he spotted this huge donut we decided to buy it for Koda. Can’t wait to see what he does with it – carries it around or snuggles with it to sleep :-).

Now that I have just discovered that Oat milk is nicer in tea than soy milk (in the USA at least) and we had none left we went on the search for it. None of the ABC stores had it so we tried to find the natural food shop that was near the Waikiki Banyon. I had to laugh when I found it !!! Don’t think we’ll find our oat milk here. You just gotta love Google maps sometimes :-).

Finally we made it back to our room. Still in need of oat milk (for tea and Kevin’s oats) we placed our first ever Prime delivery order. Was kinda odd to find our groceries outside our door just a few hours later. I know you pay for it but that is very good service. I also got some more popcorn since I really love the Boom Chicka Pop brand as it’s not overly salty.

Kevin wasn’t feeling great again tonight so I made the Gardein Mandarin chick’n. It was a little overcooked but turned out fine. Such a yummy meal. This is the third time we’ve had it on this trip since I’m yet to find it locally at home and it’s one of our favs.