Aloha from Oahu?

I guess we all lost the bet on where I’d end up for the holiday, including myself.  It’s been a very odd turn of events the last 5 weeks and very derailing of the cafe life I strive for. The details are not important but once in a while reality is a reminder to enjoy every opportunity everyday.  I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason and in the future, one can look back and be reminded that you would not be where you are without the previous life experiences…the good, the bad and the ugly.

So here I am…in Oahu, by myself.  It was not the plan nor was it in my intention to blog about this particular trip.  However, since I am here, I guess it’s a way to give a solo traveler point of view.  It is a very pretty little B&B Resort I am at and I get to drive the awesome Jeep I’ve always wanted yet impractical in my suburban mom life.

So, let me decompress at morning yoga, gather my thoughts and blog away…

Let’s go to the islands.

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Day 1 – Aloha kakahiaka…Good Morning!

I slept well last night   It was also the first time I woke up in a foreign land without one clue about what I was going to do while I was here.  I’m staying at, what I would call, a small B&B resort on the east side of Oahu called the Paradise Bay Resort.  If you are looking for fancy city hotels with the hustle and bustle of city life, this isn’t for you.  If you want quiet, intimate, and off the beaten path, then this is just what you are looking for.  You would not know that this little place, on an inlet of the bay was here.  You would think you were driving through a neighborhood.  My room has a pretty mountain view and is just over the modest pool. Each room has a small kitchenette and contemporary decor.  It reminds me of staying in a guest room  at a nice lake cabin…but tropical.

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First things first, take advantage of the hotel amenities starting with breakfast buffet on the lanai.  Fresh eggs, waffle bar, fresh fruits, oatmeal, coffee and juice. They even had veggie sausage. Very satisfying and enough that knowing me, lunch will not be necessary.  After a short rest, It was morning yoga with Max.  That truly was a treat for me!  Not too intense, not so new age that a giggle here and there is welcomed and best of all NO omming.  Not that there is anything wrong with it, but I’m not into group omming.  The session went over an hour…I’m liking this “Hawaiian Time” mentality.

After there was a stand up paddle-board (SUP) lesson, also let by Max.  I’ve always wanted to try it, so it was my chance.  I was a bit concerned reading some of the Yelp reviews, but now that I’m here I can only assess that the unhappy customers were not suited to this type of lodging. After paddle board, it was another change of clothes and a 40 drive to do the hike to the Makapu’u Point trail to the lighthouse.  Generally I don’t mind hiking…but I’m not a fan of uphill hiking.  Up up I went.  The payoff were the beautiful views.

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When I got back it was time to relax my sore muscles with some hot tub time and contemplate what I’d do with the rest of my night.

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Day 2 – I.swam.with.a.sea.turtle!

That was the highlight of my day.  Ok..that and waking up to the sound of tropical birds outside my window.  I laid their thinking to myself that it could not be real…this wasn’t Disneyland…there are real frikken free birds living in those trees making that music. So cool.  Anyway,  this  morning I took a short boat ride to go snorkeling at the coral reef  of Kaneohe Bay (where the hotel is located).  My understanding is only two companies have permits to take tourists out there and the hotel has one of them.    The bay is really a volcano crater that broke on one side during some massive prehistory earthquake.  It then filled with water.  From that a coral reef grew.  It was thrilling to see the reef a few feet below the surface and then turn around and see that the water plunges into a deep dark hole that was the crater.   It was there where I met Mr. Sea Turtle and also where I regretted NOT buying that GoPro camera…  There I was floating along and there he was a few feet under me.  It was like another world to just float around among the colorful fish and Mr. Turtle. It totally made my day.

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That afternoon, I jumped into my rental Jeep (which was worth every penny)and cruised to Honolulu.

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First stop, the Bishop Museum for a little cultural history on the Hawaii and the former royal families.   I was intrigued by their textiles and a little taken aback by the importance and use of feathers.  I was looking at this one yellow wrap, and don’t get me wrong, it was quite beautiful. Then I read it took about 250,000 yellow birds to make it.  You read that number right.  That is a lot of dead little birds. Yikes.

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After, I headed out to Wikiki just to walk around.  As expected it was crowded with traffic.  I spotted a parking ramp and once situated I decided to walk through the hotel across the street to get to the beach area.  As I walked, it felt a bit eerie.   I stopped looked around and wondered why it felt familiar.  Finally I called my sister to ask what hotel we stayed at when we visited as kids in…1975.  We stayed at the Waikiki Sheraton. Would you believe I walked into the exact hotel? Out of all the places I could have stopped and parked, it just happened to be there.  Must have been my Dad’s influence from the other side.

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In the evening I headed back to a part of Honolulu that looked like an up and coming arts district.  As I drove by I heard loud music and sure enough, stumbled upon a fringe party with performing aerialists.  Quite a treat to end my night.  It’s amazing what one can find without any plans.

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Day 3- Kualoa Ranch and a drive up to the North Shore

It’s Sunday so it was slow going for me this morning.  I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do with my day.  I had heard of Kualoa Ranch as a location where many films are shot but really, they have a lot of things going on up there.   Trail rides, organic farming, ATVs and a ride to the top of the mountain in one of these heavy duty vehicles. Thank god there were only 3 of us riding and I went shot gun.  It was a crazy fast and bumpy ride.

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Once I reached the top I realized that Oahu isn’t really a jungle…It’s more like a forest.

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I also too the movie tour.  As they drove through the ranch, there were little signs that signaled what particular film was shot at that location.  The road itself was a big trigger and I knew it was the road from 50 First Dates when he tries to get Lucy to stop her car.

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Of course on the main attractions was the Jurassic Park tree.

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The ranch also has a war history and there are remains of old bunkers.

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Of course the movie industry takes advantage of those too.  Inside there were old props lying about.

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After the ranch I decided to drive north. Not for any particular reason other than to see what was there.

First thing I came across were many roadside shrimp shacks.  I wasn’t particularly hungry but I not one to miss an opportunity for firsts.

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Total awesomeness for the day was getting to the Bonsai Pipeline on the weekend of the Pipe Masters!

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How can you not love scenes like this?

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But what totally stopped me in my tracks was this bridge.  Why?  Because I am a huge fan of the cult film the North Shore.  This bridge was that bridge.

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I could not find a screen shot from the movie, but this guy new exactly what I was talking about.

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From the North Shore I cut through the middle of the island and headed back to my hotel.  Tomorrow is my last full day and I have to get up early to hike with Max and a few others.

Aloha.

Day 4 – Last full day in Oahu

Up early, quick breakfast and hour drive through commute to get to Diamond Head to hike with Max from the resort, and some others I’ve met along the way.  It was a fun group hike. Being able to chit-chat made the uphill climb less taxing.  And the views!  OMG the views!!!

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At one point this tunnel cuts uphill through the peak climb.

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Max and I recreating Titanic…lol.

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Our hike was followed up with a good (almost nouveau) Hawaiian breakfast at Koko Head Café. We came by this place quite by accident.  We yelp’ing on our hike and this place had decent reviews and wasn’t too far.  It was amazing, a real treat.  They had this cute gesture that if you gave the wait staff a couple of $ for the kitchen after work beer fund, they deliver it and the whole kitchen let’s out a whoop.

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On the drive back to Paradise Bay, down Rte 61, I came upon this vista point with the most amazing views to the east.

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I spent the rest of the day relaxing at the resort.  It really is quite a tranquil little place.

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In the evening I went back to Honolulu to meet the hiking gang for my final dinner before my morning flight back to California.   Although the original plan was not for me to be here alone, I did my best to keep busy and see/learn as much as I could about the island and interact with the people I met along the way.   It really was unfortunate that my mate was too ill to make this trip, I missed sharing the adventures.  I’m thankful he encourage me to go anyway.  Mahalo and Aloha.

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