Sunsets are amazing!!
Sunsets all around the world are amazing, Hawaii's are no exception. Just about anywhere on the island youll be able to witness this spectacular view. Luckily when i was here in 2004 my hotel blacony was overlooking Waikiki beach. This picture was from my balcony. When you get a chance get out on the beach, plant yourself in the sand and just watch. Youll be glad you did.
Blue skies, beaches... shopping malls and mountain
It is very multi ethnic. This island is for the most part multi racial. People here have so many different types of ethnic blood that it's hard to see what others may consider racial lnes that may bee seen in other locales. It's great though, the ethnic mixing of everyone leads to and interesting and wonderful culture.
Here's a view of Waikiki Beach...
Here's a view of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. This just might be the most famous beach in the USA. There are lots of tourists, and from what I've heard, you're better off visiting some of the other islands for quieter beaches.
If you have already visited...
If you have already visited my ~ HAWAII ~ page, we would have to first decide what you prefer to see and do. There are many who come to Honolulu and never get much further away from the Waikiki area than the Ala Moana Shopping center.
Waikiki District is a world unto itself, beautiful and exciting in a way that is rather different than most tourist sites. It is all about pure unadulterated non stop 24/7 tourism, that's what it has been for many years. A perfected art as Hawai'i's principal source of income.
No one would be surprised to hear that the concentration of people per square inch of ground in the Waikki district of Honolulu makes it one of the most densely populated places on earth. It is very easy to become captive to the area, so much to see, so very many places to eat and stores to visit.
There is nothing wrong with that kind of vacation, a person who has never been here before and just wants to circulate this area can find lots to do. The first timer should definitely take advantage of a Circle Island Tour as a means of familiarizing themselves with the fact that there is life beyond Waikiki.
Personally, I think that one of the more difficult decisions which many have to make is before you even leave for the Islands. When to go? What hotel? How much should I pay? Should I rent a car? Where will I park it? How much trouble is it to find parking ?
Would it make just as much sense to go on a tour package?
These are all valid questions depending entirely on you. One of our most enjoyable visits to Howaii was as part of a packaged tour group, we did not have to plan a thing, leaving it entirely up to the travel agency to handle everything. If you have never been to Honolulu/Oahu, this is a highly recommended way to do it. We often used PLEASANT HAWAIIAN HOLIDAYS who are very skilled at getting you what you want.
The second or third time around, you just might try it on your own. The Internet gives you instant access to multiple choices, with a little perseverance, you should be able to put together a pretty nice package. Whatever you do, get your hands on a THIS WEEK brochure, loaded with good values, especially if you have a family. Better still, CLICK on the picture and see what's in store.
And if you do have a fair sized group, consider a condo, there are many of these available. If you are a couple, give some thought to a bed and breakfast, they are really a good value. You won't have to pay for parking, that's a plus. Your host/hostess will be glad to sit down with you and plan out an itinerary giving you all the data to enable a good day , every day.
They will also tell you where the best food at the best price may be found. On top of that, many of these include a knock your socks off breakfast. This advice applies to all of the Islands, not just Oahu. More of you should give it a try.
If you just want a very casual drive that maximizes sights with a minimum of getting in or getting out, take a drive on the new H-3, clearly marked on the maps you will find in THIS WEEK. Even the local folks like to take this drive which cuts through some of the most majestic scenery anywhere on any of the Islands. Presently it is unspoiled, part of the beauty. How long that will last is a certainty, it won't.
Another scenic wonder which is easily missed is to travel up Nuuanu Avenue, it runs alongside the Pali Freeway, the Tunnel. You can also access this OLD PALI ROAD from the freeway after you have been up to the Pali Lookout, a major site. Personally, I prefer to go slowly up the Old Pali Highway which is at the very end of Nuuanu, kind of jogs off to the right. There will be very little traffic there and the entire road is as driving through a dense thickly forested tunnel, perpetually shaded, cool and mysterious. Along the way, you will see a beautiful sight, a private home and small wee waterfall. You cannot help but linger and look. It has been there forever. Stunning.
Once you have completed that little excursion, continue on to the Pali lookout, realize that this used to be the principal way to get to Kailua, Kaneohe and Lanikai.
During and after the Second World War, the Kaneohe Naval Air Station/ Submarine base, was a place that I frequently visited. Many times back and forth over the Pali, the narrow winding road full of hairpin turns and me prone to carsickness. My father managed the Bus company who had the exclusive rights to transporting military personnel with base access. What a treat for a little kid.
There are a number of these bed and breakfasts on that part of the Island. The best of Oahu is not entirely in Honolulu.
THE WORLD VISITS HAWAII
People from all over the World come to Hawaii. It is only fitting that we pay tribute to the people from these lands. They, probably more than anything are now Hawai'i's leading economic influence and depends upon these vistors.
It is as important for the people of Hawaii to continue in their cordiality toward the visitor as it is for the visitor to treat the lands respectfully.
What I miss most about Hawaii is the friends who I have known since childhood and, of course, the food. I never thought that I would miss the smell of pineapple in the air but now that it is no longer, it is a sadness that forces one to recognize the insidious changes.
SPEAKING OF FOODS
A VARIETY OF SEEDS
The Chinese brought with them from their lands. what Island kids refer loosely to as MUI or simply SEED and all who leave the Islands will usually have a large bag, or several, of the many variety of flavoured, preserved seeds which are best when made in China.
In our travels through out China, these became more prevalent in Guangzhou, but they really were most available in Singapore.
Ann has developed a fair amount of expertise in developing a homemade variety of this tasty delicacy. Be careful, they have cathartic properties.
ANOTHER ISLAND FAVORITE
I thought that by now these would have been completely eradicated by the fast food chains which have come to be so popular not just in these Islands, but all over the world.
The local SAIMIN STAND was the default food source for us as kids. They are still found in the side streets and back alleys of Hawaii, seldom frequented by the tourists and usually managed by a few Japanese ladies, all of whom jealously guard their secrets. When you go into these little shops, there are just a few tables and usually always a few locals slurping away at this favourite noodle soup, not unlike the soups you would find at hawker stands throughout S.E. Asia and China. But saimin is different in Hawaii, there is an unusual quality developed after decades of development.
These flavours vary from one Saimin stand to another. The formulation is usually based on a chicken based broth with a pork bone but sometimes it is made with little more than small dried shrimp, with a small piece of seaweed, a little aji-no-moto (MSG) a dollop of shoyu, and the secret formula. That rare and unique combination of ??? which makes the difference. As a child, saimin kept me alive, I was frightfully skinny. No matter how poorly I felt, this would always perk me up.
I once attempted to eat at every saimin stand in Honolulu. There were many. It took considerable resolve and great courage to wander into some of the seediest and toughest neighbourhoods in the world, as I knew it, just a small, skinny half breed kid in search of the perfect bowl of SAIMIN.It was a quest that has yet to end. A mission that will continue until that last bowl of SAIMIN has been consumed. Pray for me that my dream of the perfect bowl will one day come true.
Those who remember how Errol Flynn went out in a blaze of glory, actually not terribly far from where I live, may remember that he died while in an act of great ecstasy. I do not seek or expect that kind of departure, just pass the chopsticks, please.
No bowl of saimin is complete without at least two b-b-q sticks. Again, secret formulas. These must be done to the point where the succulence is captured within the small pieces of beef that have been marinated for optimum taste quality and then placed on a hibachi, no doubt with a special type of Hawaiian kiawe wood charcoal and brought to the point of blackening without burning, a fine art which takes many years to develop.
I'm sure you think I jest, NO, it is all solemnly truth. The final, equally important imperative, is one large or two small inari sushi , preferably the cone shaped variety. Sushi aficionados the World over, even in Japan, cannot match the giant cone sushi made in Hawaii, unmatched for quality and quantity, unknown but to the chosen few. Take your ebi, your maki, nori, your California Roll, move over, KING CONE RULES.
And for those of you who consider yourselves devotees of dim sum, that great favourite of the Chinese, when is the last time you had a MANAPUA Hawaii style? Or PIPIAU? Fess up, you don't know what I'm talking about, do you? And have you ever eaten a half ripe mango with soy sauce, aka shoyu? Or cracked a macadamia nut in just the right sized hole on the curb of a sidewalk?
Ever have a Mountain Apple, bathed in a RAINBOW? Eaten a Hawaiian thimbleberry? Seen a MENEHUNE?Trembled as MADAME PELE walked by?
Have you ever slid down a muddy groove on a mountain in the driving rain with a bunch of ti leaves as your sled? Gone swimming at a leper beach and lain awake at night wondering when your arms and legs would start rotting off? Woven a fish net? Made a coconut hat? Climbed a coconut tree to get the single new shoot to make the hat with knowing that if you miss the right spot the tree will die? Violated a KAPU sign? Made your own spear gun and goggles out of bamboo? Shot an eel with your speargun and watched in horror as the eel slid up the shaft of your spear to attack you? Beaten to a pulp for speaking proper English? Gone squid fishing on the reef at night?
Rode the sugarcane flumes, the greatest water ride ever invented? These were built in the cane fields like rivers on stilts, the cane would be bundled and placed into the flumes. Thousand of gallons of water would then be released and the cane would be rushed by the force of the water for miles on a merry ride to the mill. The trick was to know when this would take place, and as importantly, when to get off without being swept into the mill at the end of the ride. Could be a bloody experience.
Have you picked a Pineapple in the fields? Or chewed on sugarcane until your jaw got so sore that you couldn't talk?
These too, all of them and more, are the way it was in Honolulu, just routine everyday living, no big deal. No toys, just boys being boys.
Waikiki Post Office - Mail Stuff Home!
Did you buy so many things that you can't stay under the 50-lb limit on your checked luggage? Don't want to lug those carved tikis and boxes of macadamia nuts in your carry-on bag? Want to mail your gifts to family and friends directly from Hawaii? Fear not! You can do all these things at the conveniently located post office on the west end of Waikiki on Saratoga Road. USPS boxes are available for free and have self-adhesive so no packing tape is required. You will need to find larger boxes if you're planning to mail large items or want to pack them into a single box.
There's lots of parking available at the post office so no need to hand-carry your treasures from your hotel. Drive it on over if you have a rental car.