Day 21 – Our last day in Hawaii

Wow, I can’t quite believe we up to our last day of this 3 week trip to Hawaii. It’s definitely been a nice, long vacation, especially for Kevin who was in desperate need of a proper break from work.

It was another lovely start to the day, with the usual holiday routine.

We headed out a little earlier today, after taking a rather badly lit selfie on the verandah. First stop was starbuck to get some drinks. I am going to miss these Dragon Drinks when I get home. Spotted some cute birds. I don’t know if Hawaii doesn’t have sea gulls or I just haven’t spotted any. Here, in Waikiki it’s mainly pigeons and zebra doves, which is why I was excited when I spotted that white bird in the tree.

We took our Starbucks down to the beach area and found a seat to sit and enjoy the views.

The surfers here are quite a way out and it’s such a different style of surfing with the long gentle waves. It’s easy to see why is a popular place to learn to surf. It always makes me think of “Gidget Goes Hawaiian”. Since I was zoomed right in with my video camera I didn’t know I’d caught a Dad teaching his kid to surf – how cute is that?

After a bit we moved further along the beach and found another place to sit and people watch.

While we’ve both decided that Waikiki and Honolulu in general isn’t for us, you can’t ignore the beauty that is Waikiki Beach.

It was impossible to capture the size of this banyon tree (though the one was saw on Maui was much bigger) – you can just see a person on the left for some scale. Love the little pigeons making themselves at home in it.

Something you may not know about me is that I love watching surfing and surfing movies. I don’t have many regrets in life, but not learning the surf is one of them. I’m very excited to see the upcoming documentary “The Waterman” which is all about Duke, who introduced the world to surfing.

We moved along away from the beach into the shopping area. We had quick look in this cute Christmas shop. I would have bought something if we didn’t already have our ornament from Aulani.

We then visited the International Market Place, which is probably the most beautiful shopping center I have visited. I love how it has been built around the banyon trees.

It is mainly designer stores here and, as you’ve probably gathered, we aren’t good shoppers anymore, but it was nice to have a look around.

They also have some really great photo ops.

I was starting to not feel great by now (too much time walking around without a rest) so we checked out a few other places on the way home and picked up a few gifts to take home. Kevin tried to buy a donut since he really wanted one but they had a minimum buy on credit so he left without one (since neither of us have any US dollars).

We did check out this Plant Based cafe that we just stumbled upon but they mainly had acai bowls and smoothies and I wasn’t quite ready to eat lunch yet. Kevin ended up with his first poke bowl from an ABC store and cooked some (I think) Japanese Sweet Potatoes (and now understands what all the fuss is about). I really enjoyed my nice simple lunch of Japanese potatoes & salad.

I spent the afternoon reading and starting to pack.. Around 4pm Kevin discovered that our flight home was not tomorrow (Friday) as I’d thought, but on Saturday. Oops. Since we were both ready to head home and Kevin wanted a day with the pups before returning to work, we managed to change our flight to Friday.

I was in a bit of fibro pain so we didn’t go to the beach for another swim as planned. Much as we’ve loved the room here, I’ve realized that I really need to see (and have easy access to) places like a beach or pool, that I want to use. It’s kind of like “out of sight, out of mind”.

I read some more and we watched YouTube. Kevin really wanted takeaway/delivery tonight (though we still had some vegan pasta in the fridge). He eventually decided on The Cheesecake Factory since he’s always wanted to eat there.

So convenient that it just arrives outside your door. Probably good we don’t have access to this (as much) at home. Kevin had avocado egg rolls and a banana cream cheesecake. I had the chicken ranch salad (without the chicken). We both really enjoyed our meals.

We went to bed about 9pm and I fell asleep reading only to be rudely awoken by the emergency alarm going off telling us to leave our rooms and proceed down the stairs. Did you remember that we are on the 33rd floor !!! We got dressed and ready to go but looking off the balcony could see nothing. Nor could we smell any smoke so we decided to just wait since it most likely a false alarm. After about 10 mins they announced it was okay to return to our rooms. So glad we hadn’t bothered leaving. Kevin’s knees would be dead and I’m not sure how I would have managed. Definitely don’t want to be having a fibro flare day on a travel day.

Day 20 – Swimming at Waikiki Beach

We seem to be very much slowing down in the final days of our holiday. Not sure if it’s because we are trying to draw out this vacation as much as possible or it’s because we have enough of doing touristy things. But I think it’s really because Honolulu is just not for us. The city itself seems to only have the beach, shopping and restaurants to offer, which isn’t really what we’re about or would rather get from somewhere like Aulani. And since we don’t have the car anymore we can’t just take off and go exploring.

I was awake around 5am again and enjoyed another nice sunrise while drinking tea and working on my blog post.

We had another lazy/slow morning. We had breakfast. Kevin had another nap (he has been super tired lately even though he thinks he’s sleeping well at night). I painted my nails.

Finally around 11am we managed to get ourselves ready and out of the apartment. It’s just an easy short walk down to the beach. As you can see it is a stunning day – as all of our days here in Honolulu have been.

The water was again the perfect temperature. We were at the family friendly end of Waikiki beach where the rock walls protect from the waves and it’s fairly shallow for a good way out. Perfect for kids. And a good bit quieter for us :-). But tomorrow we will go swim at the more iconic part of Waikiki Beach.

I enjoyed floating in the water taking in the views, while Kevin had fun “playing” with a board fin that he found in the water. When we finally got out of the water I rinsed off at the showers (which were a lot colder than the ocean) and we lay on the beach for a bit to dry off. We didn’t stay as long as we’d have liked since we were in the sun and it was rather hot. We were too late to get any of the shady spots on the beach – which thanks to all the lovely trees there are plenty of.

We stopped in at Starbucks on the way home – we had the usual – Dragon Drink for me and Iced Chai Latte for Kevin. I spent most of the afternoon reading – which is always such an indulgence and such a treat.

We are working on using up the food we had left and when I realized just how much the salsa and guac from Wholefoods had cost (over US$10 EACH) I did not want to waste them so this was our lunch. And having tasted both the salsa and guac I would gladly pay that again since they were amazing (and I’m not even a fan of guac). We had first lunch and second lunch and used everything up.

We did talk about going down to the pool for a swim or spa, or going out for a walk, but after being settled all afternoon we just couldn’t be bothered. And we were both happy so that’s all that matters.

We ended the day with YouTube, dinner (potstickers/dumplings and sweet potato “shapes”) and enjoying a bit of the sunset (which we can’t actually see) from our room.

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.

Day 18 – A fibro day in Waikiki

After a rather interrupted nights sleep (lost track of how many times I woke up) I was up around 5am in time for the sunrise, which we can see off in the distance. Poor Kevin had an even worse sleep than I did and didn’t go to sleep till around 4am !!!

Not surprisingly Kevin had a sleep in. After writing up my blog post I did a bit of reading and started work on the vlog. I also played around with the incredible zoom feature on my big video camera.

Though we felt better than yesterday, neither of us felt that great. But we did want to do something today so eventually headed out on a little walk. I got my first look at the open air lobby of the Waikiki Banyon and it’s really lovely with a fountain and fish, and some lovely artwork.

We walked to two blocks from the Banyon to the waterfront. I was kinda surprised to find it looked just like in all the walking videos we watched on YouTube during the pandemic (which was a big factor in Kevin wanted to return here – we haven’t been since our honeymoon in 1992 – 30 years ago).

I spotted a Mexican place with views overlooking the street/beach and we decided to have lunch there. I had thought it to be a restaurant but it was more fast food – like Guzman y Gomez or Chipotle. We both ordered rice bowls – Kevin got some chicken & guacamole in his – and got the last table by the window, so we enjoyed the view and people watching while having lunch. Kevin really enjoyed his. My stomach wasn’t the most settled today so I only found mine to be okay.

After lunch we popped into one of the MANY ABC stores and picked a few things (nail polish remover, watermelon & chips). We had planned to go on a bit more of a walk but Kevin started to be a lot of pain again (much like yesterday) so we cut it short and started to head back to the apartment. Luckily we have more days, and no plans, so we’ll get to do this another day.

We did however quickly check out the Honolulu Cookie shop and Kevin went into Starbucks (which was right next door to the cookie shop) to get the usual – a dragon drink for me (love these as they are so refreshing) and Iced Chai Latte for Kevin.

I spent some time reading and we received these photos from my Mum. It is Bailey’s 14th birthday so they had a little party for him. Mum said “It was very hard to get their hats on. Koda got his off and started chewing it before we got Keani’s on.. bailey wasn’t happy either getting his on. Party sandwiches, cheese and fruit to celebrate.” Sounds like they had a good time !!

Towards late afternoon I actually started to feel better (typical) and I believe Kevin was as well. We watched some YouTube as the day came to end.

I had another Amy’s frozen meal tonight and Kevin had a Wholefoods fridge meal. Mine was really good (as Amy’s meals are) and Kevin’s was okay (he wasn’t a fan of sausage in his). And later we enjoyed the ice cream sandwiches we had picked up at Wholefoods. However, once we realized how big they are we only had half. We both enjoyed them. It’s first time I’ve had a vegan ice cream sandwich and it was SO delicious. I think it’s for the best that we don’t as many of these vegan treats in Australia !!