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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 3
Hawaii - Oahu
The Long Weekend


Day 6
We woke to another glorious sun-filled morning in Paradise. Although every descriptive adjective has been used ad nauseum to describe the Islands, words cannot do justice to its beauty and serene charm - it must be experienced. To call this place Paradise is a gross understatement. The windward side of Oahu, from Diamondhead up to Haliewa on the North Shore, is my favorite, with the Ko'olaus forming a lush emerald-green jungle-jewel-encrusted backdrop. At the foot of the Ko'olaus, the mango trees are dripping with fruit. But the most picturesque landscape I have ever seen in all my travels on this planet is the Na Pali coast along the North Shore of the island of Kauai. Carol and I have visited Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Maui and the "Big Island" of Hawaii. Each island has its own "flavor" and charm. Our favorite is the "Big Island" because of its great diversity. In one day you can see volcanoes and flowing lava, cactus, snow, orchids, waterfall, rainbows and 16-foot manta rays.
After breakfast (Denny's again) we drove west on H1 to Pearl Harbor, hoping to see the Arizona Memorial. We decided not to spend much time there, however, since the crowds were massive and we had both been there before. One funny note - Carol made her obligatory visit to the Ladies Room while I found a place nearby to sit and wait. After sitting and waiting for twenty minutes I began to worry and decided to ask a woman to please check, when my wahine tapped me on the shoulder. Turns out the bathroom had another exit and we just missed each other.
dml and anchor at Pearl Harbor
Here's a real Catch-22 - at the parking lot at Pearl Harbor there are signs warning that this is a "high-theft" area and advising not to leave valuables in the cars. Since you are not allowed to take backpacks, bags, fanny-packs or packages of any kind into the Pearl Harbor exhibits, you don't have much choice but to stow things in the car.
After that reunion we had a delicious ice cream cone and jumped in the car and headed east on H1. Whenever we are in Hawaii we love to take a leisurely drive around whatever island we are on. This can be accomplished in half a day on Oahu. On the Big Island you need a full day. So we took the H1 until it became highway 72, driving through ritzy Kohala, past Diamondhead, Hanauma Bar (excellent snorkeling) and Kokohead until we rounded Makapu'u Point with Rabbit Island off in the shallow water to the east. We moseyed north hugging the coastline until Waimanalo Beach where the road bears inland to bypass the now-defunct Bellows Air Force Station. We passed through sleepy Kailua, where we had stayed at a cozy and private bed-and-breakfast back in '97. Then north through Kaneohe where we picked up the coastline once again, and on through small towns like He'eia, Kahalu'u, Waikane and Kualoa. At Kualoa we stopped to visit the picturesque Kualoa Macadamia Nut Ranch where Carol sampled the strong coffee and we stretched our legs. Then we continued north through Kahana, Punalu'u and Hauula until we came to Laie where we took some photos of the beautiful white Mormon Temple for our dear friends Chris and Dan.
Mormon Temple on Oahu
We then proceeded north to Kahuko, where we found Giovanni's Shrimp Shack (actually a couple of ancient panel trucks covered bumper-to-bumper in ages-old grafitti.) We enjoyed the most savory shrimp scampi we've ever tasted. As we sat under the tarp with several other guests, a tropical rain shower inundated the area and we were treated to some wonderfully cool breezes and spray. Such a change from broiling Tucson. We also purchased an ice-cold coconut from Jim, who whacked off the top and drilled a small hole into which he inserted a straw so that we could access the sweet, cold, refreshing nectar of coconut milk. Fabulous. When we were finished licking our fingers, Jim cut the coconut in half and scooped out the jelly for us, which had a very unique and subtle flavor. In the process of scooping out the jelly, Jim managed to get coconut all over his face, and as he presented the coconut to us I asked him to please "freeze" until I took his photo. In the tradition of Giovanni's, we scribbled our names on the truck, which immediately became lost amidst the thousands of others, most of which are in the process of fading into oblivion. What a fantastic rest-stop along the windward side of the Island…
Giovanni's Shrimp Shack
Jim at Giovanni's Shrimp Shack
Bid aloha and mahalo to Jim and continued on to Hanakaiio Beach, the northernmost point on Oahu. It is here that the lush Turtle Bay Hilton golf resort is located. We had stopped at Turtle Bay in '97 to make use of the "facilities" and were very much impressed with the beauty of the grounds and the entire resort in general. The best restrooms on the Island in our humble opinions…
Turtle Bay Resort
Then on to the world-famous surfing beaches of the North Shore - Sunset and Waimea Beaches - until be reached Hale'iva, where we bought a too-sweet shave ice and window shopped until we tired ourselves.
Riding the tube at the North Shore
We then retraced our steps as far back as Kailua, enjoying the intermittent misty rains and accompanying rainbows all along the way. At Kailua we headed west on the Pali Highway, through tunnels bored through the Ko'olawes, in the mist and the rain. The pervasive Hawaiian rainbows each outdo the previous one. Soon we found ourselves once again on familiar H1 heading into Waikiki.
Self-portrait from car
Back at the hotel we rested as we watched yet another glorious sunset from our vantage point 22 floors above Honolulu. As the day faded, the lights of Waikiki began to illuminate the shop-and-restaurant-lined Kalakaua Avenue, promising another balmy night of revelrie.
We decided to wander out into the ever-present crush of tourists meandering about and soon, near the hotel, a sushi bar called Run Sushi and Ramen caught our attention, not only because the window displays looked so appealing, but moreso because every patron inside was Japanse - a sure sign the fare was delicious. I ordered the cold ramen, long a favorite of mine, which was excellent. Carol ordered sushi and hot miso ramen, which was superb as well. A fine meal, great service, and within 100 yards of our hotel.
To cap off our last evening in Hawaii for this trip, we walked west a few blocks down Kalakaua to the Pacific Beach Hotel to view its incredible two-story 28,000 gallon salt water aquarium called the Oceanarium. This incredible structure houses sea creatures too numerous to list - sharks, rays, and multiple species of brightly-colored fish. We stood on the stairway between the floors for several minutes, taking in the awesome sight. Not bad for two houhlis from Arizona. (Houhli = slang for Americans who are not of Hawaiian descent.)
The Pacific Beach Hotel's Oceanarium
Oceanarium/restaurant at the Pacific Beach Hotel
Exhausted, we slowly strolled arm-in-arm back to the hotel, sadly packed for the next day's flight home, and fell into bed.

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