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Hawaii - Oahu - Day 9

Oahu - Day 9

Our last day in Oahu! We did some last-minute souvenir shopping in the morning and Tim wanted to go back to a coffee shop he went to earlier in the week. It is small local chain called Kai Coffee, and he really like their Macadamia Nut Latte. After coffee we spent the rest of our time laying on our suitcases trying to get them closed.


We left early for the airport because of my mom's leg. We dropped my parents off and then returned the jeep. We returned to the airport to find crazy long security lines. Crazy long. Like the line is outside and snaked down the sidewalk long. And we had TSA pre-check! My parents didn't and got through right around the same time as us. That's how long it was. Luckily we had enough time before our flight to grab a quick bite and one last Mai Tai at Stinger Ray's.


On the flight back the movie selections were way better and the flight was an hour shorter! We stayed the night in San Diego and then headed out the next morning for Denver. My parents flight was cancelled so they had to stay an extra day in San Diego (boo!).


I would definitely recommend Oahu but take ear plugs if you're a light sleeper because it is a really loud, major city. And renting a car is a necessity. I can't wait to visit the other Hawaiian islands!

Posted by juliejakicic 17:11 Comments (0)

Hawaii - Oahu - Day 8

Oahu - Day 8

sunny 83 °F

This was our last full day in Oahu! We capped off our trip with a hike to Diamond Head. Diamond Head is an old volcano that you can hike to the top. We got there late so we didn't get parking inside the volcano where the parking lot was. Instead we dropped my parents off and then drove down the hill to a community park and walked back up. We found out after there was a trolley that went to the park - I would definitely recommend taking the trolley as it wasn't that far from Waikiki Beach.


The hike to the top of the volcano is not for the faint of heart. There are a lot of steps, at one point you go THROUGH the volcano (low, tight and claustrophobic) and once you get to the very top, a ton of steps that go straight up to an old WWII bunker. The views at the top are totally worth the it though. I was under the illusion we could walk around the top of the volcano but it really is just an out and back.


On the way back down the trail my mom fell and split her knee open. Luckily I had a small first aid kit in my hiking pack. My dad and I patched up her knee the best we could but it definitely needed stitches and she wasn't going to be able to make it down the volcano. Let me paint you a picture. Mom lifts up her pant leg and Tim, my dad and I all lean back and simultaneously gasp in horror "GAH!!!" while I yell at my mom to not look at it and my dad tells her it isn't that bad. Don't you want to travel with us? We sit her down off the trail and a couple walk by. The man said he used to be on ski patrol and can he help? We lift up her pant leg and he and his wife leave back and scream "GAH!!!" in unison. Great confidence builders for my mom, hahaha. My dad called 911 and they said they were going to have to helicopter her out. I promised my mom I would Facebook Live the event. My dad convinced them a helicopter wasn't necessary and the EMTs showed up shortly after. They patched up my mom, called off the helicopter (it was on the way) and got her around the bend to a service road where we road in the EMT truck to the base of the volcano where the ambulance was waiting. The ambulance patched her up more and then drove her down the hill to the jeep. We drove her to the ER where she got inside and outside stitches, but was cleared to fly the next day. While mom got her stitches, Tim and I went back to the Ala Moana mall to get food for us and my parents.


After my mom was stitched up, we picked her up and took her to Walgreens to get her prescription. Guess what was in the lobby of the Walgreens? A DOLE WHIP MACHINE!!!


That night my dad treated us to a fancy dinner at DK Steakhouse in the hotel. My mom and I got the king snow crab legs. They came sliced in half so we didn't have to crack anything open, which meant inhaling our crab legs was that much easier! It was a great, great meal to end the week.


Tim really wanted kona coffee and somehow didn't get anyway all week so we walked to a coffee shop after dinner so he could get his coffee and do some late-night shopping.


Our last full day in Oahu - sad face!

Posted by juliejakicic 17:10 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Hawaii - Oahu - Day 7

Oahu - Day 7

sunny 84 °F

Tim and I woke up early and drove to Hanauma Bay. I read that the parking lot fills up by 8am so we left pretty early. Hanauma Bay is a state park with a beautiful beach and amazing snorkeling. It was raining when we arrived, but you're required to watch a 10 minute do's and don'ts video on how to keep the bay safe and for those that don't know, that coral is living and you're not supposed touch it.


The bay itself is a volcano that's collapsed in on itself so to get down to it, you either take a golf cart shuttle for $1.50 per person or you walk. We decided to walk. You can bring your own gear or you can rent it down at the beach. By the time we got down to the beach it was raining again. As I mentioned yesterday, the water wasn't super warm so we were building up our courage to get in. But after sitting in the rain I figured, I was already wet, why not jump in and see what the hype was about. Tim waited under cover (I brought my own snorkel) while I went in. After swimming for a little while I was just about to turn around when I saw a fish, then another, and another and another!


I got out of the water and Tim rented gear and we spent the next couple hours swimming around the bay. The sun eventually came out and it was beautiful. I would go back in a heartbeat.


We started getting hungry and there were more things we wanted to see on that side of the island so we left. As we were leaving we saw the parking lot was closed and even though there were people leaving, they wouldn't let anyone in except tours.


Not far from where we were, was the #10 most beautiful beach in the world. How could we not go? This was also another place where you need to get there early in order to get a spot, but we got lucky and found one. The beach is in a residential area so you're parking in front of people's homes (all beaches in Hawaii are public). We walked to the beach and it was definitely beautiful, but to be honest, I would rather have stayed longer at Hanauma Bay. We debated staying to snorkel, as there were a lot of people snorkeling, but we were getting hungry so we left and headed to Kona Brewing.


We got a beautiful table on the patio at Kona Brewing and I had the most delicious marlin tacos! I'm still thinking about them! Tim got pulled pork tacos and of course a couple of Kona beers. The view from the restaurant was so pretty - the water, sailboats, mountains in the distance, blue skies. We couldn't have asked for a nicer lunch in paradise. After lunch we took the tops off the jeep and headed back to the hotel to clean up.


Later in the evening, my parents weren't hungry but my mom came with us to dinner. We walked by the udon place (crazy line) and then wandered around before we finally found ourselves in a Japanese food hall. It was similar to the food hall in the mall but this one had a lot more options. We settled on place and ordered tempura and shared udon. It was very delicious.


From there we decided to go back to Duke's (we obviously didn't learn our lesson) to get that Hula Pie we saw the couple eat the first day we arrived. As usual Duke's was ridiculously crowded but we managed to score a small table in the bar area just as we were getting ready to leave. Grumpy and another waitress fought over who would get our table. Keep in mind they do all of this arguing right in front of us. Grumpy lost. The waitress came over and we ordered water and a slice of pie. You should have seen her face. She said "Oh. That's it? Enjoy!" and walked away. She complained to the bus boy that we only ordered water and one slice of pie. I've never, ever been to a restaurant where the staff are so blatantly rude and cutthroat. It must be the culture at that particular restaurant because we didn't have service like that at any other restaurant. It probably comes as no surprise that our pie never showed and neither did our waitress. We left. I would never recommend Duke's to anyone. There is much better food and infinitely better service elsewhere.

That left a bad taste in our mouth so we decided to call it a night and dream about snorkeling and tacos....

Posted by juliejakicic 17:09 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Hawaii - Oahu - Day 6

Oahu - Day 6

rain 73 °F

After several days of non-stop activity, we decided to take an easy day. We all wanted to hang at Waikiki beach right across from the hotel. We lasted 15 minutes. It was hot and the water wasn't super warm. Instead we headed back to the hotel to lay by the pool....that was heated.


It was supposed to rain so after the pool we headed to the Ala Moana mall. I was specifically interested in visiting the Shirokiya Japan Village Walk in the base of the mall. I had read about it and was excited to try food from authentic street vendors and see souvenirs they had for sale. I was thoroughly disappointed. It was a ton of ramen stalls and the only souvenirs were Japanese toy vending machines.


We decided to walk around the mall instead and we ate in the food court - which turned out to be very interesting. There were lots of Japanese options. I had sushi while my parents shared a stir fry plate. I also got a spam masubi, which is a slice of spam over rice wrapped in nori. It was DISGUSTING. I don't get the hype. Oh man was it bad. Tim went off the rails and showed up at the table with two Korean corn dogs!!! One was rolled in potatoes and sprinkled with sugar. The other was filled with a hot dog and mozzarella and also rolled in sugar. The dipping sauces were....interesting. There was honey mustard, the orange one was "cheese" and the bottom yellow one was "cheesy mustard". Tim said the honey mustard was the only one that was edible. For the record, he liked the corn dogs but said the sugar on them was weird.


The Ala Moana mall is huge and had a ton of high end stores. We ended up in a CVS (called something different but it was definitely a CVS) and we got Hurricane Popcorn. I had read it was a Hawaiian tradition and I was so excited to try it. Spoiler alert - it was stale and the flavor was eh. If you want to try it at home, crush up nori and sprinkle it over popcorn with some salt. If you need chocolate covered macadamia nuts go to a drug store - they had an entire isle and every flavor imaginable, including Spam. They also had a lot of things you don't normally see in a drug store. See the photos below. Because the mall was so big, we only walked a small portion of it before we were tired and headed back to the hotel.


On the way back to the hotel we stopped at Leonard's. We had heard good things but like most good things, there was always a crazy line - especially in the morning. Since this was late in the afternoon the line wasn't so bad. Leonard's makes made-to-order malasada's, aka Portuguese donuts. You can get them filled or unfilled. We tried several kinds - unfilled, filled with custard, filled with jam, filled with chocolate - they were all amazing. My favorite was the custard filled donut. Warm, soft, but slightly crispy pillows of heaven.


By this point the rain showed up so Tim and I napped and ended the night with a late night pizza at Wolfgang Puck next door.

Posted by juliejakicic 17:08 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Hawaii - Oahu - Day 5

Oahu - Day 5

sunny 80 °F


After breakfast we drove to Pearl Harbor for our boat tour. You cannot take any bags into the park but they have a bag check area near the parking lot. After you check your bag you can go in and either buy tickets or provide receipts of the tickets you already purchased. That's also where they'll give you your audio tour headset. We skipped the headset because we had tickets for the USS Arizona tour. First we watched a 23 minute film on the history of the attack on Pearl Harbor. A while ago the dock at the USS Arizona sunk so you can no longer go on the memorial. No reopening date has been announced. Instead, you are given a tour of the harbor by boat. It was amazing how long the USS Arizona was and how close it was to the surface. They had a buoy at each end of the boat to show its length. There was audio during the tour that gave additional historical information as we drove around the bay. 1,177 men lost their lives on the USS Arizona.


After the boat tour, we got our audio headset and walked around the park. There are a lot of things to see and read, as well as a Submarine to board if you'd like to purchase a ticket to do so. The food selection was gas-station style snacks, a hot dog cart and make your own nachos with pump cheese. And lots and lots of vending machines for drinks. The Pearl Harbor website says to give yourselves 6 hours to get through everything. That's not nearly enough. So if snacks and hot dogs aren't going to cut it for you, I recommend leaving food in your car and taking a break before you board the bus for the Battleship Missouri and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum or wait and eat at the Battleship Missouri where there is a food truck with better options.


The bus to the Missouri is a large tour bus and it's only about a 10 minute ride to the battleship. There is a charge to go on the Missouri and an additional fee if you want to view the mechanics of the battleship. We chose to purchase tickets to tour the Missouri only and not see the mechanics.


If you've never been on a battleship, it's amazing how big it is. At one point we were 10 stories up. You can walk all over the ship except for some parts which are roped off or locked.


It was at this park that I finally had the infamous "shave ice" that Hawaii is famous for. Yes, it's called "shave" ice, not "shaved". It's just like a snow cone, except the ice is finely shaved.


Before the bus takes you back to the park, it stops at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. At this point we had been out all day and were exhausted, so we skipped the museum and went back to the park and back to the hotel to decompress.

Later in the evening we went out to get udon at Marukame. They make the noodles right there (you can watch them) and they serve them in a couple different broths or as dipping noddles. There is also an array of tempura options, like shrimp, sweet potato, zucchini, etc. It was set up very "soup nazi" style and every time we walked by the line was out the door and down the block. We timed this visit on an off time to avoid the line. Mind you, there was still a line, but it wasn't awful. And lucky for us we found a place to sit! We wanted to go back so badly before we left Oahu but the line was always down the block.


After dinner we went back to Duke's to have drinks. And once again it was crazy crowded, but low and behold, the random large table in the bar area was occupied by a couple who invited us to sit with them. A few minutes later it started to rain and two other couples showed up and asked if they could sit too. I bet you can guess who our waitress was? Grumpy! She scoffed when she found out the two couples from outside had already ordered. She got in an argument with their outside waitress over who would take over. Then she was miffed that Tim and I were only ordering drinks. Which doesn't make sense because if none of us sat there, she'd only be getting a tip from one check, instead of four. We finished our drinks and went to Maui Brewing instead.


Maui Brewing is awesome. They have an outside and inside seating area and for being in a city area they had a ton of real estate. It was huge!


We sat at the giant bar and had drinks. It was hopping and lots of people were ordering food. It was a great cap to our day.

Posted by juliejakicic 14:57 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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