We were beginning to be followed around by bad weather. A high wind advisory had been put out the previous night and was still in effect. We got up and went out to the KCC Farmer’s Market right by Diamond Head anyway. There was so much amazing food to look at – and eat! I have never been to a coastal farmer’s market before and was excited to see fresh shellfish for sale. Especially these giant prawns on sticks. People were just walking around eating them right off the skewer.
And the pineapples… SO MANY PINEAPPLES! People were eating açai bowls out of them and drinking out of them, and eating fresh cut, of course. It was so colorful, despite the gloomy clouds and rain. I got an açai bowl and a coffee and Jason tried a Portuguese sausage roll and an insane looking beef brisket breakfast sammy, complete with burger patty and fried egg. The plan was to hike up Diamond Head afterwards, a short hike up a volcanic cone that is supposed to have great views of Honolulu and the ocean as well. However, we were too late. The parking lot was full.
Apparently in Hawaii they create parking lots that accommodate only the number of persons allowed to be in any National or State park at a single time. So, if you don’t get there early enough, you have to wait till someone leaves.
At this point, the wind was really blowing and rain had started to fall in spurts. I was all set to do some hiking, so I found another short hike not too far from where we were, Manoa Falls. The drive to the trail head snakes through several little residential neighborhoods. As we got closer we almost ran right into a downed power line. Not a good start. We pull into a drive surrounded by jungle and then come to an opening where there is a tree top restaurant. The trail head starts just behind it, or so I think. Just as we were about to park, we saw that another downed power line, this one a bit larger, crossing right over the trail head. My sensible husband deemed it too dangerous to pursue and we changed our plans yet again.
Frustrated that the universe clearly didn’t want us hiking and really needing to pee, we found the closest restroom that I could use – a Burger King. Jason searched for something to do. Still in a bad mood from our plans being dashed, J began to navigate us to our next surprise location. As we got closer into the city we passed by the Oahu satellite Women’s March. I had wondered the night before if/when/where that would be happening, and wish I’d been better prepared. But I was so happy to pass by my fellow ladies and honk for our civil liberties. I am so thankful to every person who went out that day and stood together. I can only hope that the new administration will take note.
When we arrived at our destination, J went and bought our tickets to see the Iolani Palace. The only royal palace on United States soil. I am so glad we went to see it, it definitely turned my mood around.
The Iolani Palace was the residence of the Hawaiian monarchy. The building that stands today was built from 1879 – 82 by King David Kalākaua. It was fitted with electricity and phones from the outset, which was unheard of at the time. He was a very well traveled monarch, and it is apparent in the design and furnishings of the palace. His sister, Queen Liliʻuokalani was the last monarch to live in the building and was placed under house arrest there after a failed attempt to re-establish her power. Writing this, I wish we had taken more pictures, but we were really just enjoying our visit, sans camera. It was a very meaningful experience, expect a further post with more on this.
We grabbed lunch in Chinatown, where they were already celebrating the Chinese New Year. Char Hung Sut, a tiny little bao factory, is where we got lunch. And OH MY GOODNESS, the pork bao was probably the best I’ve ever had. I really wanted to try their black sugar bao, also, but they were out. Then we went and found this other hole-in-the-wall, but this time for shave ice. Shimazu is the real deal. And it was soooooo good. We had finally turned around our mediocre food mojo!
The weather was still terrible so we headed back towards our AirBnB. Just as we were getting close, we noticed some traffic lights out. J hoped aloud that our power wouldn’t be out, so, of course it was. Our room was hot and muggy and dark. It was our last night there. We waited about 45 minutes before we decided to go ahead and pack up as best we could in the dark. Another 30 minutes later, all packed and ready to go, Jason made his way out to find Kenny, our host, and see if we could get some sort of refund for our last night. Then we could high-tail it to a hotel with a generator. Immediately after he left our room, the lights came back on. Problem solved. And we were already packed and ready to go in the morning.
We left our AirBnB just before the sun peeked its head up so we would be sure to get into Hanauma Bay before heading to the North Shore. Breakfast was coffee, juice and malasadas from Leonard’s. They’re basically a Portuguese doughnut. We were not impressed. The interior seemed kind of undercooked, in my opinion. You win some, you lose some.
We made it to Haunauma Bay by 7:30 and were amongst just a handful of others. After watching the safety video and getting to the beach, about a dozen of us had the whole bay to ourselves. Well, us and the fish. It took a little searching, but we saw some really beautiful fish. Snorkeling that morning was one of my favorite things we did the whole trip.
We started to drive North towards our next AirBnB, a 1968 VW van converted into a camper. We stopped for lunch in Kailua, but this time at a little deli, then continued up Hwy 83. It is such a beautiful drive all along the coast. We stopped to see a blowhole, and a few other scenic spots. It was really nice to get out of the city and see more rural Oahu. This is what Hawaii should feel like. Lazy palms everywhere and quiet beaches, no skyscrapers, no big resorts and most importantly, NO TRAFFIC.
Arriving out our new home for the next couple of days we were pretty disappointed. The owner, an ambitious 20-something transplant from I don’t know where because he never gave us a straight answer, was doing a lot of construction. He was nice, however, and upgraded us to a converted shipping container room. His plan is to turn about 5 shipping containers into a little hostel/AirBnB property. The room was fine, albeit overpriced. I really just wanted to sleep in a VW camper.