Week in Oahu - Trip Report (long!)

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Sep 27th, 2004, 06:36 PM
  #1
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Week in Oahu - Trip Report (long!)

Just back from a wonderful week on Oahu with DH. Thanks to all the Fodorites who helped with the planning!!! Before getting into the trip report a few brief words of explanation:
1.) I lived on Oahu for 3 years as a teenager, but haven't been back in 25 years; this was DH?s first trip. Therefore we were combining visiting old haunts with first-timer sightseeing.
2.) The impetus for this trip was an anniversary celebration for my former high school, so everything had to be scheduled around those events.
3.) We are road-trip people at heart who truly love driving and discovering, so there is probably more time spent in the car in this trip than most people would enjoy.
4.) Info about food is in a separate post under ?Oahu Good Eats?

Thurs 9/16
Flew Aloha from Burbank to HNL. Got out of the airport with the rental car with a couple hours before hotel check-in time and with our stomachs still on California time, so headed straight for lunch. Headed up the central plateau and had lunch in Wahiawa. Then we were off to the Dole Plantation where we walked around and marveled at the varieties of pineapple and learned about how they grow, but didn?t feel like taking a tour or doing the maze, so we had a pineapple whip (yummy!) and bought some souvenirs (a mistake ? found the same things later at ABC for much cheaper.) Then, I have to admit, we headed for Wal-Mart. DH needed a new swimsuit and we picked up milk and a few groceries. Then we headed to Waikiki. Poor timing on our part here, as we hit the evening rush hour. Took advantage of the time stuck in traffic to do some slow motion sight seeing, giving me enough time to share stories from my youth about various places, including my having taken driver?s ed in Honolulu before H2 or H3 existed. Checked into the Hawaiiana and headed straight for the beach to catch sunset on Waikiki. We walked the length of the beach then headed back toward the hotel. Dinner was at Buzz?s (great pupus).

Friday 9/17
As our schedule put us on Oahu during Aloha Week, we were able to attend the Aloha show at my former school in Manoa Valley Friday morning. Followed that with Lunch at Andy?s Sandwiches. Then we hiked to Manoa Falls. Lyon Arboretum is closed until further notice, so you must park either at the trailhead or at Paradise Park. The hike was beautiful. When we got to the falls there was a sign telling us of a landslide in early 2002 and advising us to stay in a cordoned-off viewing area (and therefore out of pool at the base of the falls). Very disappointing as the cooling dip after the hike was a pleasure I had enjoyed many times. Headed straight back to Waikiki, as the Aloha Week Hoolaulea (a street fair with many booths and about 10 entertainment stages) was that evening and we needed to get a parking space. We cooled off in the hotel pool and relaxed until time for the Hoolaulea. Had a great time at the Hoolaulea ? bought lei, crafts, and various kinds of food, and enjoyed a wide variety of entertainment.

Saturday 9/18
Arrived to hike Diamond Head about 7:45. I thought the 99 steps would kill me, but the views were so worth the effort! After that we headed directly for the Farmer?s Market at KCC, where we had some great breakfast and bought fruit and baked good to last us the weeks. Next we were off to Ala Moana (spent a lot of time there as a teen-ager ? boy has it changed!) where we ate lunch at the food court and spent a small fortune in the Crack Seed Center.
After a brief nap at the hotel, we decided to do the Round Top Drive of Mount Tantalus. This offered some really beautiful views, especially from Puu Ualakaa Park. Wish we had turned around at that point, as the rest of the drive was just too long and quite winding and offered very few views as stunning as those we had already seen. After that we visited Punchbowl. Then it was back to the hotel to get ready for the school event that evening at HHV, which we walked to.

Sunday 9/19
Slept in and then made ourselves breakfast in bed from the bounty we had acquired at the Farmer?s Market. Then we swam and beached for a while at Ft. DeRussy, followed by a walk to and around HHV, where we watched a beautiful wedding in the courtyard. Then stopped by Church on the Beach ? a great service provided by the Waikiki Beach Chaplaincy (http://www.hawaiiguide.com/freedo~1/wbc.htm). We decided to walk around the capital and Iolani Palace and then checked out the view from the observation deck of the Aloha Tower. We grabbed some summer rolls for lunch and sat and listened to music from the bluegrass festival at Kapono?s. We had planned to follow that with a walk through Chinatown, but the prior two days? hikes were catching up to me and I really didn?t want to walk any more, so we got in the car and headed up to Pali Lookout. This was so fun as DH was stunned by how windy it was and got a picture of me with my hair blowing straight up over my head. We had plenty of time, so we continued along toward Kailua and did the Kalanianaole Hwy loop, with stops at Sandy Beach and Halona Blowhole. When we got back to Waikiki we headed for Duke?s to hear Henry Kapono and have a drink, but the place was packed, so after listening to a few songs in the rain, we went and stood on the beach to watch the sunset and then walked to Chuck?s Cellar for dinner.
Monday 9/20
What a great day!! Started with Hanauma Bay. We arrived at 6:40am and they weren?t charging for parking yet. The ticket booths weren?t open yet either, so they let us in for free. Video not playing yet, so we just had to read some information boards and then hit the beach. The water was really choppy and therefore unclear, but we saw lots of fish and even a couple of eels. This was my first snorkeling experience and I highly recommend it. The only problem here was that the waterproof fanny pack I bought to protect my cellphone and camera turned out not to be waterproof, so they were both ruined. Tried not to let it bother me. We left Hanauma at 10, happy that we hadn?t had to wait in the long lines we saw as we were leaving. Put the camera in the glove compartment and tried to forget about it. Tried plugging in the phone to see if a full charge would help.
The plan was to then do some body surfing at Sandy, but DH was tired. The next option was hiking to Makapuu head, but my legs weren?t up to it, so we decided to just head up the windward side to see what we would see. (The plan was to stop at various places for additional snorkeling, but the conditions were so choppy, we opted against it.) We stopped at Byodo-In temple. Found a great plate lunch in Waiahole, took it to go and stopped up the road at Kualoa Beach Park to eat. Spread out a blanket and I read while DH took a nap. At that moment I found myself the most relaxed and stress-free I have been in years.
After a few hours there we continued up toward the North Shore. We had contemplated the hike at Kahana Valley State Park, but the atmosphere in the parking lot made us uneasy, so we passed on this one. We did stop for a while at Malaekahana Bay where we walked along the beach and wrote love letters in the sand. Back on the road, we stopped at a shrimp truck in Kahuku, then continued driving and looking, with occasional stops for pictures until we found ourselves at Matsumoto?s for shave ice. Headed back to Waikiki. Walked along Kalakaua and shopped a bit. Ritz?s camera not only has 1 hour photo, but also does prints from digital media. I had removed the memory stick when the camera got wet, and was please to find out that I didn?t loose any pictures. Later in the evening DH was craving noodles. He really wanted to go back to Shige?s in Wahiawa, but instead we hit Ezogiku Noodle Café.
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Sep 27th, 2004, 06:43 PM
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Are you still reading??
Okay, Here's part Two:

Tuesday 9/21
Needed to head for the Arizona Memorial early, so got in the car at 6 am and immediately discovered that the cellphone and charger were missing, along with the camera from the glovebox and the loose change in the console. Yeah, I know, I?m a complete idiot for leaving them in the car. Fact is, I was so successful in forgetting about them so that I wouldn?t be bothered about ruining them, that I just had completely forgotten about them when we go back to the hotel on Monday. We were lucky in that the thieves jimmied the lock rather than breaking a window, but I find it ironic that, with all the places we parked the car, the only place it was bothered was in a parking lot patrolled by security for which we were paying $10 per night. Anyway, taking solace in the fact that the phone and camera were both already broken and worthless, we headed out for Pearl Harbor.
We had an appointment with Navy Public Affairs at 7:45 and were told to get tickets for the 10am tour. They told me that they don?t give tickets for later times, but a little bit of talking got us two tickets for the later time. We then met up with Grace from NPA, who drove us over to Ford Island for morning colors at the USS Utah Memorial, followed by a tour of Ford Island and then a drive through the housing area where I used to live. She then returned us to the Arizona for our tour. The movie shown at the beginning is quite good, but DH was disappointed that there was no further info given at the memorial itself. The people who purchased the ?audio tour? seemed to be quite pleased with it. Next was to be the Bowfin, but it is dry dock until October 8. The park is still worth a visit. The ?This Week? magazine has a 10% off coupon for the gift shop, and a rack of the magazines is right outside the gift shop door if you forget to bring your coupon
Got a snack in Aiea to tide us over till lunch, then headed up the leeward side. Stopped in Waianae for lunch at the Aloha Aina Café, then drove to the end of the road at Yokohama Bay. It?s uncrowded once you get past Makaha and the beaches are completely deserted. Beautiful views of Makua Valley and in both directions from Yokohama. Hadn?t planned on hiking to Kaena Point, and all the broken car window glass in the parking area confirmed that this is one place where you would want to leave the car unlocked and the windows open.
Might mention here that we found the cheapest gas here in Makaha ($2.15 as compared to $2.29 in Waikiki).
On the way back to town we headed for the Barber?s Point area, visiting the military cabins at White Plains beach and Nimitz beach, then watched the sunset from Barber?s Point Beach, where we saw the emerald flash for the first time. It?s true what they say about this one ? the smells from the industrial park make it hard to enjoy and the beach itself is unattractive, but the sunset views were beautiful and we were only there for about 25 minutes.
Once again headed back to town, but stopped for dinner in Waipahu. Once we were back in Waikiki we walked down to the HPD booth to ask about filling out a report for insurance regarding our theft.
Wednesday 9/22
Stopped at Leonard?s for hot malasadas and some Portuguese sweet bread, then back to Manoa Valley for a tour of my old school and a visit with my favorite teacher (still there!) and a former classmate who is now director of admissions.
Back to waste the next few hours trying to get a police report filled out. A few words of advice for anyone who may find themselves in this situation: If your car is parked on federal property (our hotel contracted with Ft. DeRussy for parking) you must file your report with the MP?s rather than HPD. They have to wait for someone from the ?main office? in Fort Shafter to drive down to Waikiki before they can complete things. Also, since we didn?t expect to ever leave our valuables where they would be vulnerable, it never occurred to me to have a list of serial numbers. I also didn?t anticipate loosing 3 hours to the process. The police report is required by my insurance, but I?m not sure that the reimbursement I will get is worth loosing even 3 hours of my vacation.
Had lunch at Kelley O?Neil?s Irish Pub. We spent the rest of the day relaxing on the beach. We stood in the water and watched the sunset during a light trade shower. It was beautiful and perfect. Had dinner at Duke?s then went back to our room to pack.
Thursday 9/23
Ate malasada?s for breakfast before heading for the airport. Rental car return at Budget is the quickest and easiest I?ve ever experienced. A note for anyone planning to carry pineapples home: at the airport they sell 3 packs and 7 packs. Both meet the size requirements for carry-ons, but the 7 packs weigh about 26 pounds, which exceeds the carry-on weight allowance, so you?re at the mercy of the airline gate agent as to whether you get charged an extra fee or not.
A final note about flying Aloha ? the warm chocolate chip cookies and ice cold milk that were served after the in-flight movie were such a nice touch, and really tasty!

Sorry about the funky ?'s - wish Fodor's could fix that little quirk with the cut and paste.
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Sep 30th, 2004, 03:31 PM
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sart29, Sorry to hear about losing your pics and the break-in but it sounds like you had a great return to Hawaii and didn't let it get in the way of having a good time. Thanks for sharing!
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Oct 1st, 2004, 09:34 AM
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My hubby and I were at Diamond Head on sat, 9/18. We were there at 6:30am, then hike up. The view was truly beautiful, specially the sun rise.
We were at the ALoha Festival in Waikiki, did you see the rainbow after the rain? I haven't seen a rainbow for years... just so beautiful
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