Monday, January 18, 2010

Back from Hawaii!!

And wow - I guess it goes w/o saying, but that's a fun place to be, esp. in the middle of winter! Thanks to Chaminade University and Prof. Steiger for inviting me and showing so much hospitality!

Here are the highlights, with whatever helpful observations I can offer future travellers!

Airport food (on the way out) - way better than I remember. We saw Maui Taco and took it as a sign that was the right place to eat and it was a great choice for airport food.

Airplane food (both ways) - way worse than I remember. Despicable.

Waikiki - beach a little too calm, and we were there so early in the morning because of the jet lag that it was still chilly. Stores much more upscale than when I visited as a teenager - it used to look more like Times Square did, with lots of arcades and X rated theaters, but now it looks more like Beverly Hills or Fort Lauderdale (Burberry, Coach, Yves St. Laurent, etc.). International Market was the one concession to low price, and it was looking kind of seedy and dilapidated, selling mostly t-shirts.

Perry's Smorgy - boy, mediocre food at half the price of anything else in the vicinity, served outdoors in a jungle setting - not a bad arrangement!

Diamond Head - the women punked out before even starting the trail, as they were wearing flip-flops. I made it a third of the way before I was panting too hard to think it worth continuing. The boy did make it to the top and took some pictures.

Ono Hawaiian Food - regular visitors know I like to eat lots of different stuff, but I'm afraid all I could say of Hawaiian food (and this restaurant is universally recommended as authentic) is that it reminds me of Mexican, only without spices and way oversalted. Sorry.

Hanauma Bay - even for someone who doesn't snorkle (I'm sorry, I could probably try it, but I'm just not confident in my swimming to enjoy it) it's pretty beautiful and awe inspiring. I waded out to hip deep water and was surrounded by fish most of the time. The rest of the family who snorkled saw even more sights, of course.

Polynesian Cultural Center - presentations more respectful than I remember, less of the chest thumping warrior stuff (though you'd still leave thinking the New Zealanders were the most warlike tribe ever, given the volume and vigor of their chants). And the Mormon influence was fairly subdued: you could take a tour of the temple (we didn't), but no one said "Lamanite." Though the whole climactic floor show makes sense in a Mormon context, once you look back on it: who else would put on a Vegas-style show (with exploding volcanoes and all) whose overwhelming message, that it hits you with every scene, is to extol the joys of marital devotion, the fulfillment of the raising of children, and the endless bliss of dwelling in heaven with your ancestors and descendants? But - flame dance, Hawaiian hula, Tahitian hip-swinging - they hit all the things you want to see at that kind of show. And the kulua pig tasted pretty much exactly like it did the night before at the Ono restaurant, so I wouldn't slam the dinner too badly, though there really weren't many choices other than that, some white rice, and regular salad.

Pearl Harbor - our one wipe out. Got there by 11am and all tickets to the Arizona were gone for the day. Little disappointed by that, but forged ahead.

Snorkling with dolphins and sea turtles - the ladies went on that excursion while the boy and I tried to get into Pearl Harbor. They saw lots of stuff up close and seeemd to get their money's worth out of it.

I almost forgot! I went into the Waikele Borders store and signed all their copies of D2L, D2L2, and History Is Dead! The manager and staff were so nice!!

North Shore - big waves and sea shell collecting, made more enjoyable by it being about the only thing on the island (other than the Arizona Memorial) that was free.

Chinatown - we chose Little Village House of Noodles. Nothing too exotic, but for your standard fare (beef with broccoli, fried rice, honey-walnut shrimp) it was some pretty excellent batches. My wife paid them the rare compliment that, although she usually doesn't like Chinese food, she would eat there anytime.

Dole Pineapple Plantation - this is one goofy, overpriced tourist trap, but my wife insisted on stopping. My son enjoyed the maze, but we didn't do the other overpriced activities.

Haleiwa Farmers Market - more the kind of thing you like to run into. Very hippie, Green clientele and merchants. Ate a bag of tomatoes and some fried green tomatoes, while the others ate pesto pizza. Everything organic, all natural, very tasty.

Airport food (on the way back) - more like I remember, and made less pleasant by Continental beginning boarding AN HOUR (?!) before flight time, when we'd just gotten food.


Blogger ChrisI1024 said...

Looks like we just missed each other--I was in Kona for five days ending Monday with a day trip to Pearl Harbor and Diamondhead in there.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Nimble said...

Hawaiian farmer's market = words to conjure with. I hope to go to the big island again some time.

10:41 AM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

I was skeptical when we pulled up to the market - right on a major tourist thoroughfare and just down the road from the hilariously tacky Dole Plantation. But wow, those were some good tomatoes!

Sorry we missed you, ChrisI! I had no idea you were out there!

11:12 AM  

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