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 !!

Day 17 – Last stop Honolulu

I was happy to be up at 5am on our last morning here so I could enjoy what will be our last sunrise over the ocean while here in Hawaii. I sat out on the lanai with my cup of tea to fully enjoy it.

I had yet another pita bread for breakfast, did most of the packing, then went down to have another swim. Kevin was super tired so he went to “try” and sleep some more. While I did enjoy my swim it was a bit windier and choppier than yesterday, and the sun refused to come out and play.

I rinsed off at the shower then lay on a sun lounger until I dried off.

Back in the apartment Kevin was awake (though he didn’t get much more sleep). We showered and finished packing and left just before 11am.

We had an hour long drive back to Honolulu. I must say it was a bit of shock seeing so many houses, tall apartment buildings and so much traffic. We found the Ala Moana Center and got parked. We were on the other side of the shopping center to our last time here so it took us a bit to find the entrance to the shops and get our bearings.

Unfortunately both Kevin and I were having bad pain days. Mine was mainly in my feet & hands but Kevin’s was all over.

We only went into stores we were really interested in, like Bath & Body works. And no, I didn’t buy the flamingo candle holders :-). It was strange seeing all the Summer scents since we’ve only ever visited during Christmas time.

Another favourite to explore is the Hallmark store. They always seem to have such good quality items.

This is a really nice shopping center but there is no seating to be found. Not sure if this is due to the pandemic or it’s always been the case. We probably would have stayed longer if we could have rested up every so often. We did catch a bit of a hula show so that was good.

Again, there didn’t seem to be a lot of cafes/restaurants like we get in Australian shopping centers – unless we just didn’t find them. We ended up, like we did last time we were here, at the food court. I was happy to be able to get the veggie option at Charli’s Philly Steaks. It was delicious as it always is, but rather messy. I also devoured a Strawberry Watermelon Lemonade. It’s not something I would normally choose but I was thirsty and it sound refreshing – which it was. Kevin (who was still in a lot of pain) wanted to get a bubble tea but the line was too long so he ended up with a frozen coke and some cinnamon pretzel bites from Auntie Anne’s.

After enjoying my lunch and giving my feet a fairly short break we head back to Box Lunch so we could facetime with Athena & Dan. Dan had spotted something he was interested in from the photos we had sent earlier. I was able to get a shirt (for his upcoming birthday) and the staff lady who attended to us was able to help Dan with some other queries about merch for one of his fav characters. Luckily she knew what he was talking about as we had no idea not being huge Marvel fans. Sadly they didn’t have anything but they seemed to enjoy their chat and the lady gave us a 25% off vochure (I assume because she enjoyed the interaction she had with Dan). Next time I’ll get everyone to check out the online store and give us a list to pick up.

I got myself some new Sketcher slip on shoes since my Crocs have pretty much had it and I haven’t been able to find a replacement for them at Crocs. The Sketchers don’t perhaps look as good but it’s like wearing slippers :-).

As we were heading back to the car I spotted Tommy Bahamas, which we had totally forgotten about. And we were able to get Kevin 2 of the boxer shorts he was wanting. Hopefully the other store in town will have some more in his size as they don’t sell them in Australia.

Finally we got back to the car, both so tired and sore, BUT we still had to visit WholeFoods before heading to our next apartment. We passed this awesome piece of street art on the way.

I put on my new Sketchers, which made a big difference, and we set out to get our groceries for our last 4 days in Hawaii. The store was really busy (to us anyway) but I still had fun checking out all the goodies that they sell. Like in Kauai we had to line up down the aisles but the line to check out, though it looked long, went fairly quickly. And it allowed me to find a VEGAN ice cream sandwich !! We always buy dinner at WholeFoods but we were just too sore to do that this time.

Kevin was excited to use one of these trolley escalators again.

We then had about a 15min drive to our airbnb at the Waikiki Banyon. The instructions we had were great and we were able to leave our car in the loading zone while unpacking and taking our luggage to the room – which is AWESOME.

As you can this airbnb is lovely. It’s clean and modern and well thought out. The only thing we miss is a bath – but that’s because a bath is awesome on a pain day.

We have a really nice view over to Diamond Head and we can even see the ocean. If you look straight down you can see the rooftop pool.

Once I’d filmed a room tour and all our luggage was up, I got a big glass of ice cold water and put my feet up. They were so sore !!! As were my hands and back !! Ahh, fun times with fibro !!

Kevin had to move the car so that the guy we rented from could come and pick it up later. The rental worked so good. We will definitely use this service again.

We obviously didn’t do anything more today except veg on the couch. We watched some YouTube on the nice big TV and later heated up a fridge dinner. I had lo mein and Kevin had Chicken of some variety. We both really enjoyed our meals – that tasted and looked home made.

Day 16 – A day off in paradise

It’s going to be a nice short blog post for you today since it was (I believe) our first “day off”. We had no plans but to relax and enjoy a day in paradise. I know we had pool days at Aulani but we still had things to do on those days. Today = no plans.

I was pleased to be up before the sun today which mean I got to enjoy the swift sunrise that there was – thanks to lots of clouds. I sat on the lanai with my cup of tea. What a way to start the day !!

I enjoyed another pita bread for breakfast, spent time working on a blog post and “trying” to read – but the view kept on distracting me. Kevin had trouble sleeping last night so he went back to bed to try and get some more sleep – he was somewhat successful.

I spent some more time admiring this sweet little red crested cardinal – which I just learned are an invasive species. But they are so cute !!!

Today I made a salad for my lunch and a pita bread for Kevin – since he liked the look of mine.

After lunch Kevin took the drone out on a test flight.

We headed down to the beach around 2pm. You are spared lots of photos since the GoPro was mucking up so all I have to share from this experience is the few photos I took on the beach with my phone. The swim was awesome. The water was so nice and warm (for the ocean) and so clear. It was low tide which did mean not a lot sandy area before the rocks started, which would have been fine if I was wearing my water shoes. After our swim I ducked up to the resort outdoor shower and rinsed off before going back to the beach, where we sat in the beach chairs we’d bought down with us. I had planned on reading, but like this morning, it didn’t happen.

This honestly has to be THE perfect set up (for me at least). From our accomodation we walk across a nice grass lawn, down a short little path and then (at least at high tide) you could almost fall into the water. No big trudge down or up the beach. Then the nice fresh water shower close by. There is NO EXCUSE not to go the beach or have a swim here. And we are definitely going to fit in another one before we leave in the morning, because this location is just magical. Despite the rocky start we had with this airbnb, we have fallen in love with what it has offered us.

Back in our apartment I sat outside to try and (unsuccessfully) read, while Kevin flew the drone again. As you can see it is such a magical location. Hopefully they renovate the building to reflect the specialness of this place, which I know might be hard to do with such an old building. Pats At Punaluu was built in 1975. There also used to be a restaurant on/near the site where Elvis Presley once performed !!

I lay out on the lanai for some time (again unable to read). It was just so nice watching the palm trees in the breeze and listening to the waves breaking on the shore. Kevin join me for a little while and then we went inside for the weekly facetime chat with the kids (and Dan joined us this week which was nice).

We then cooked some dinner – hash browns (which took FOREVER – if anyone knows the secret to cooking these please let me know) – and cooked pineapple, and watched YouTube before heading to bed around 9pm. Thankfully I did manage to get a bit of reading done before falling asleep.