Monday, January 30, 2012

Honolulu Is Nice

We're back from our vacation to Hawaii—got home just yesterday afternoon where the sky was gray, the wind was howling through the trees and snow was falling in clumps. We didn't get much more than a dusting in the end, but it looked like it was going to be a real blowout for a few minutes. I've spent the morning running every errand—pet store, post office, dry cleaners, liquor store, grocery store—and now I can catch my breath and reintroduce myself to the puppy. We think he grew in height and weight while we were away.

So, we went to Hawaii, Honolulu more specifically, and the Kahala Resort to be exact. It's a hotel on the southeastern end of the island in a quiet residential area. The resort has a private beach, three restaurants, and a helpful concierge, so all you need is handy.

View from our balcony.
Every morning, we would wake up, open the doors to the balcony and have a gander at the ocean—I was surprised by the view every single day. "Oh yeah, there's an ocean here!" We'd go downstairs and have breakfast at an outside table, stop by the pool area to reserve a cabana for the day and slowly make our way back up to our room. We'd eventually make it out to the beach and settle into the cabana, which came with a cooler with water, and we'd raise the flag. Each cabana was equipped with a little flagpole and a little yellow flag. When you wanted something, you raised the flag, and within a few minutes, a cabana boy would come running to take your order. It was lovely.

On really sunny days, we might position ourselves in the shade of a palm tree or expose our tender Ohio skin to the full rays of the sun. We'd test the water, feel the sand, sip some coconut water, think about what we might have for lunch and read. I read Benjamin Hale's The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore and began Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. We became familiar with the other guests who all seemed to be either from Australia or Japan, determining which of their little kids were sweethearts and which were terrorists—Charlie from Australia should have been strung up by his thumbs for his bad deeds, but the Japanese brother and sister set were a delight.

Palm trees on the little Kahala peninsula.
After awhile, we'd walk a few steps to the outdoor restaurant and order lunch, and then we'd walk a few steps back to the cabana and recommence with the vacation. By five o'clock or so, we'd be back up in the room to shower and dress for dinner, which we had usually arranged to have around seven o'clock. Then we'd go to claim our reservations. There was a particularly wonderful restaurant called Hoku's, and we had amazing meals there. For those of you who know about the molten chocolate cake I make, I they make it here, too. Here is fried fish for two that was really great:

But sometimes we'd have dinner at Plumeria, which was meant as more of an everyday spot, still good but not as grand or pricey. They celebrated the Chinese New Year there with fireworks, Chinese musicians and a buffet. Here is one of the dragons from the special presentation—it's the year of the dragon:

It only looks like the dragon is eating the woman.
We ventured out from time to time, driving around Diamond Head and having dinner in Waikiki, where I fell in love with the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. We had one of the most amazing meals there at this magical place set back from the main drag. The area is like 5th Avenue mixed with Times Square—lots of high-end shops and noise and crowds and tourists. But if you follow a passageway back away from all that noise, you discover a courtyard lined with trees and lit with lamps, and it opens up to present the Royal Hawaiian, calm and peaceful with palace-like passageway and a beach. If we ever return to Honolulu, I would love to stay at this hotel.

And we found a few things to amuse ourselves. We went on a helicopter ride that toured all of Oahu.

We are not wearing fanny packs! These are life preservers.
Waikiki as seen from the helicopter.
A steep hillside and the tiny shadow of our helicopter.
We went whale watching:

Two humpback whales near Pearl Harbor.
 And we visited the Arizona Memorial:

The memorial, which was haunting and solemn, I felt.
Visible remains of the USS Arizona
where more than 1,000 men are entombed.

And we got to all of these destinations in a Mustang convertible. So, yes, Honolulu is nice. I'll look forward to the next time we get to go there.


ejbisme said...

Wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

Scout said...

It really was wonderful, but back to real life. I got my music today, and there is work to be done!