04.06.2015 - 10.06.2015
Here is the background story on how I ended up in Hawaii four days after Peru:
Five summers ago, I studied abroad in Spain. Earlier this year, a few friends from the program and I had mentioned a reunion trip, but we never planned anything. Then, we found out our friend Jon was moving to Hawaii for a six month rotation for his job. He extended an open invitation to visit him. It was busy season, so it took one text from Stacey to convince me to purchase a plane ticket to Hawaii. I did not really take into consideration the whole returning from Peru four days before jetting off to Hawaii situation. If the term “YOLO” is still popular with youth today, then I believe it is 100% applicable to this situation. Free lodging, cool friends, a creative vacation hashtag (#barcaloha = Barca (abbreviation for Barcelona) + Aloha) and a semi-local Hawaiian to act as a tour guide are enough reasons for me to take a trip to Hawaii.
Four days in between vacation did not give me much time to regroup and plan for Hawaii. The night before my flight, Stacey and I were discussing our early morning flight. I thought the flight was at 7 am. Stacey informed me the flight was actually at 6:30 am. Then, I mentioned I needed to see how long the drive was to Bush airport. Stacey quickly informed me our flight was out of Hobby. I felt like the unprepared Alyssa of this trip (see previous Peru posts to learn about Alyssa). Despite my ill preparation, I strolled into the appropriate airport with enough time to visit one of the four Dunkin’ Donuts in Houston. We flew to Dallas where we had a lengthy layover allowing us time to get breakfast tacos. While eating our breakfast tacos, we observed the table next to us was a big family with lots of little, loud children. We both said, “I hope they aren’t going to Hawaii.” Then, we heard the mom tell her son that they weren’t staying in Dallas. They were going to Hawaii. Karma.
Upon arrival in Honolulu, we drove to Kapolei where Jon lives. On our drive, we learned that the speed limit in Hawaii is very slow, 55 MPH, and the scenery on the leeward side of the mountain is ugly. The leeward side of the island is dry. In this case, the southwest side of the island is the leeward side. We arrived in Kapolei after a 45 minute drive. Jon lives by three resorts and a mile away from the beach.
Jon gets an A in hospitality management for giving us leis. After reading his Hawaii travel book, we learned that is it disrespectful to take off the lei in front of the person who gave it to you. We were exhausted from our flight and the five hour time difference, so we went to an early dinner at Roy’s which is a popular Hawaiian restaurant. Jon filled us in on some Hawaii lingo at dinner. For instance:
• They abbreviate macadamia nut as mac nut. Thus, we all ordered the mac nut crusted fish to blend in with the locals.
• Flip flops are called slippers.
• Hawaiian shirts are called aloha shirts, and people wear them regularly there. A pupu platter is an appetizer platter.
• The “w” in Hawaii is pronounced like a “v.”
• You will never be able to pronounce Hawaiian words correctly, so give up now.
Day 1 in Hawaii, we went to the Spitting Caves which was a quick detour on our way up the east coast of the island. They are located in a residential neighborhood and are really gorgeous cliffs that waves crash into giving off a fine mist (aka “spit”). Afterward, we hiked nearby at the Makapu’u. There were old army pillboxes from WW2 at the top of the trail. Our last stop of the day was Lanikai beach where I got my first sunburn of the trip. Day 1 wrapped up with dinner at Monkeypod right outside of Jon’s neighborhood. The food in Hawaii is heavily influenced by Asian cultures. Other than that, all the food is normal American food.
Day 2 in Hawaii, we drove to the North Shore. First we stopped in Haleiwa to eat acai bowls. On the mainland, we pronounce it “ah-sigh-eee.” In Hawaii, they look at you stupidly for pronouncing it that way. They simply call it “a-sigh.” An “a-sigh” bowl is filled with acai smoothie, granola, coconut flakes, berries, and honey. It is scrumptious, and something Stacey and I have tried to recreate since we have returned to the mainland. After downing our acai bowls, we went to Waimea Bay for the day. The beach at Lanikai had very calm waves. Waimea Bay’s waves were ridiculous. We kept moving our chairs farther and farther back to prevent because the waves kept crashing on us. The lifeguards made announcements every five seconds telling families the waves were too dangerous for children on that day. We decided to see if we could survive the crazy waves. Honestly, you could not get out of the ocean on your own accord. You had to wait for a wave to carry you on to the beach. At one point, I saw Stacey and Jon get thrown by a wave all the way up on the shore. Surprisingly, we did not drown.
On our way back to Jon’s, we stopped at the Dole Plantation. If you have ever wanted a Dole bumper sticker, t-shirt, and various other souvenir items with pineapples on them, visit the Dole Plantation. We stopped to see the pineapple cutting demonstration; however, we missed it but luckily got to sample a piece of delicious pineapple. The Dole Plantation is definitely a tourist destination you can skip.
Day 3, we stopped at a little bakery to get poy donuts and then hiked Aiea loop trail which took a couple of hours. It is through the forest in central Oahu. It was completely shaded and relatively flat. After the hike, we drove pass Wakiki Beach which is the most popular beach in Hawaii. The street by Wakiki is populated by upscale designer stores. We decided to go back to the beaches where Jon lives instead of battling crazy crowds at Wakiki. The beaches are called the Ko’olina Lagoons. They are a hot spot for Asian weddings. There are a couple of wedding chapels along the lagoons. On the 45 of every hour, the bells will chime, and a wedding party will head to the beach for pictures. We happened to sit right where the pictures were being taken. I hope the photographer could photoshop us out of the wedding pictures for the 3 weddings we witnessed that day. Day 3’s big event was sampling Dole Whip. Dole Whip is pineapple flavored soft-serve ice cream and something the mainland should start selling.
Day 4, Stacey and I ventured to Pearl Harbor after an acai bowl. We were there the first weekend of June which is high tourist season. We arrived around 8:30 am and went straight to the ticket desk to secure our USS Arizona Memorial tickets. The tickets are free for the USS Arizona Memorial. You can reserve them in advance, but Stacey and I were living life on the edge and decided to do walk-up tickets. The guy informed us the next tour was at 1:30 pm. Then another guy came by and offered us tickets to the 10:30 am tour. Yes, please. We credit our fortune to the fact that we actually put on make up and real clothes that day. We also bought tickets for the USS Bowfin Submarine and the USS Missouri battleship. The Bowfin tour could take 20 minutes or an hour, depending on how slow the people are in front of you. In our case, we neared the one hour tour mark since we were behind an older couple who needed to take a picture of every single item in the submarine. What do these people do with these pictures when they get home? What poor grandchild is forced to look at every single one?
After we visited the USS Arizona Memorial, we took a bus to Ford Island where the USS Missouri is located. Stacey and I opted for a self-guided tour of the battleship. The USS Missouri was commissioned in 1944 and then decommissioned in 1992. We did a speed tour of the boat because we were starving. Post Pearl Harbor, Stacey and I found a local sandwich shop in Honolulu to eat at. Then we decided to we need shave ice. Please note it is not shaved ice with a “d.” It is simply shave ice. Then, we noticed the famous donut food truck was parked right next to the shave ice stand we visited. The Leonard’s Bakery food truck serves malasadas which are Portuguese donuts that are similar to beignets. Stacey and I returned to Jon’s apartment with serious sugar headaches. That didn’t stop us from getting Kona coffee ice cream after dinner though.
Our last day in Hawaii involved us eating acai bowls, going on a run, and sitting at the Ko’olina lagoons to further aggravate my sunburns. We flew back to America, and after sleeping on a flight, I rolled into work at 10:30 am and realized my summer vacations were over. In the words of Eminem, “snap back to reality, oh there goes gravity.”