Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oahu: Topside, Part III

We were in the neighborhood so we took one afternoon to come to the city, Honolulu and Waikiki. We hit Honolulu's China Town off Bethel Street. One always finds the most unusual stuff there. Chinatown is not a tourist destination so much as a market for asian goods. Some store operators are completely disinterested in non-asian shoppers because their goods are the common place stuff of asian homes. It is always an interesting experience to wander through this historic district.
Later on towards evening we headed into the heart of Waikiki for a look around and something to eat. We started with the International Market, an open air place with vendors hawking every imaginable tourist bauble. The setting is really unique. Only here can you have this warren of stalls under ancient ficus trees less than 100ft from Hermes, Coach, Gucci, and Channel.
We have learned that the best way to see a quality luau without paying or sitting through four hours of time-share talk is to enjoy a great sunset meal at Duke's Canoe Club on the sand of Waikiki Beach, and then wander about a hundred feet east until you're in front of the Sheraton Waikiki. They have a fantastic luau show and you don't have to pay (because you're on public beach), don't have to eat pulled pork and poi ( because you didn't pay), and you get to relax on the sand as a couple instead of sit with a bunch of tourists on plastic chairs.

Oahu: Submerged, Part II

Here are more great sub-surface photos of our time on the North Shore. As you can see, we had local's luck with the wildlife. In Hawaii, you can see more wildlife in an hour than in a year of diving the Channel Islands off Ventura's coast. Kinda makes it hard to dive in cold water after having lived here. It's been 2 years since I put on a 7mm Michelin Man suit just to dive off the local islands.
The North Shore.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Oahu: Topside, Part II

Sometime a brudda go to town with wid his honey. Get da plate lunch or da pupus and beer. Sometime go to da market, sometime to da shop. Sometime get da shave ice.

You know it's country when a rooster is digging through your beach bag. Or when you can have a mile of beach to yourself.
Above, at Turtle Bay.

Above, Huanama Bay.

Above, at Waiamea Beach.
Above, in Haleiwa Town.
Above, Kaa'awa Beach,
The North Shore.

Oahu: Submerged, Part I

Want to avoid the crowds of tourists at your favorite snorkeling spots? Snorkel in a shark cage.

We had time to visit all our old favorite water spots, and the chance to make some new friends beneath the surface. I have to admit that I wish I knew the names for all the different tropicals one can see on the average Hawaiian reef. I can only identify the obvious ones: parrots, puffers, wrase's, blennys, jacks, etc... there are also the cucumbers, eels, urchins, stars, slugs, snails, crabs. The best snorkel find on the reef is the green sea turtle. Want to get in touch with your inner zen? Ask a turtle to let you swim with him. Below, a couple of the seven tutles we met during the week.

Two of the best places on Oahu to snorkel are Huanama Bay and Shark's Cove. Both sites are on all the tourist books but crowds can be avoided by putting in from another direction or at a different time of day. Of course there are reefs everywhere. The reef off our back yard in Haula Town was huge and I counted six resident turles while we lived there.

Oahu: Topside, Part I

Above, Sunrise from our room.

Above, Laie Point

Ruth & I just got home from a week on Oahu, celebrating our 7th anniversary at our roots. We used to live up on the North Shore where country means country. Chickens on the roads and horses in the bananas kind of country. Our kind of country. Was soooo nice! Most people who visit Oahu stay in Waikiki and travel up to the North Shore for a day. We stay on the North Shore and travel to Waikiki for an evening. This is, after all, where we used to live, so we already knew precisely what we wanted to do and see.

Above, Ruth in the Waiamea Valley.

Above, the marina at Haleiwa.

Above, the view from our room

We started with a 30 shrimp for 15 bucks at Ahi's on Kam Hwy. This was our favorite haunt back when. A huge lanai with tables, jungle on three sides and herds of feral cats acting their sweetest for just a morsel. Everything remains but the felines.

We spent a morning in the Waiamea Valley taking in the botanical gardens and swimming under the waterfall in the upper valley before heading to a favorite locals beach, hidden from Kam Highway. Most folks can't do "island time", we slipped back in so easily it was as if we never left. I slept super nice that very first night, with the windows open and the surf rolling in, just like how we used to sleep when we lived here.

The North Shore.