Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Visit to O'ahu, Hawai'i

I have half a dozen colorful blog posts coming your way this summer -- all shot on the beautiful island of O'ahu, in Hawai'i. I'm just now getting my feet wet compiling the travelogue of food recipe videos, GIFs, lush photos, and text. Below is the story in a (macadamia) nut shell - my version and my wife's. So do check back for plenty of fun and tasty times we'll share with you.

Billy: We landed in Honolulu International Airport and went straight to Sandra's (our hostess) boat in a marina nearby, to load up her SUV with our luggage and beach chairs.

Amy: Sandra greeted us at the airport with these fresh-flower Leis.  Billy's is made of orchids, and mine is ginger.  Fresh ginger became a theme of our trip, as we also used it to make ginger ale and tea.  

Billy: It all went well. And, boy did we get around. Of course, it was nice to hang out on the open-air patio at the house (in Ka'a'awa, on the Windward shore) a few blocks above the beach - for the first few days. On the island side we were hemmed in by lush and rocky hillsides.

Amy:  From the wrap-around deck, we watched the sunrise each morning, after the birds and roosters (wild chickens are all over the countryside) woke us.  We could always hear the ocean and feel the breezes.


Billy: Our backyard was fragrant with avocado, tangerine, breadfruit and mango trees.

Amy:  Our host at the house, Sandra's friend Rebecca, a painter, told us about a certain quiet North Shore beach, near Laniakea Beach where we'd find sea turtles (shadowy turtle on left side of GIF below).  It was a short distance from the one everyone else knows about, which was mobbed.

Billy:  We also spent time at beautiful Kahana Beach, a short drive from the house. Sandra and Amy have been friends since they were 19 and shared a house off-campus at Auburn University in Alabama.

Billy: Amy had a Hawaiian Lomilomi massage one afternoon at a place on the North Shore; then we got Shave Ice cones from a stand just around the corner.

Amy: These angel wings were painted on the wall at the stand. I posed here because they matched my top, but really, I think they suit Sandra so much better.  She is one of many angels that have gathered around me!

Billy: I found a local roadside cafe for a Kalua Pig Plate of shredded slow-cooked pork, rice and macaroni salad.


Billy: Sandra, our hostess with the mostest, generously shepherded us around, so all we had to do was roll out of bed. She is a vegetarian, so Amy had her share of healthy and restorative eats, and plenty of fresh-made Ginger Ale and Tea (which we will continue to make back home.) Sandra showed me a green smoothie recipe, too.

One lovely afternoon, we went to a Yin yoga class nearby. It was mostly slow, long-held stretches. They had a musician accompanying us on a harmonium (like a squeezebox.) One side of the building was open-air and faced the ocean, so we caught a beautiful sunset.

Billy: After a few days in "the country," we headed back to the city of Honolulu, stopping at a food truck under a banyan tree, for Lau Lau (pork wrapped in taro leaves,) a local delicacy.

​On the way to Waikiki we stopped at Waimanalo Beach, which is Amy's favorite, to leave behind her Lei of ginger flowers.

Amy: Above is Waimanalo Beach - we discovered it on an earlier trip when we rented a house nearby. Isn't it the most beautiful beach ever?

Billy: Back in Honolulu, we made it easy on ourselves by staying right on world-famous Waikiki Beach so we didn't have far to walk. We checked into the Park Shore Hotel, which is on the quiet end of the action, next to Kapiolani Park, with a perfect view of Diamond Head.

Billy: I captured this rainbow.

Billy: Here's more of a panorama shot from our 11th floor balcony

We walked the warmed sands, and took in the boogie boarders along Waikiki Beach.

And, I had to find some food things to shoot. One place I walked to repeatedly is Rainbow Drive-In, just a local dive a few blocks away, but well regarded as a mecca for Hawaiian plate lunch favorites - my kind of place.  Amy says she's heard President Obama likes it..

One specialty is the Loco Moco Plate: 2 eggs, 2 beef patties, rice, macaroni salad, and gravy over everything. Gotta try it at least once, and if you do, it's so huge, that may be all you eat for the day!

Fast food in Hawai'i is grabbing Spam Musubi at the local 7 Eleven, instead of a hot dog. A fried slab of Spam with rice and wrapped in's yummy!

Of course, we didn't live on fast food. One evening we had Poke and fruity drinks at Duke's Restaurant, on the main drag, near our hotel. Poke is like Mexican Ceviche, which is marinated raw fish, but with seaweed, sesame oil, soy sauce and crushed nuts.

On our last night we reconnected with Sandra. On the way to a quick meal we caught a Hawai'i-style music and dance show, right next to the beach.

Billy: By the end of our vacation, I could barely keep up with Amy, I think the trip did her a world of good.

Amy: Yes yes yes.  Much gratitude.


Debbie said...

Hi, I am glad that you had such a wonderful time on Oahu. :) Having grown up in Hawaii, I just wanted to clarify a few things for you in your post. First of all, you referred to Oahu as the Big Island. Actually, the Big Island is the Island of Hawaii (same name as the state so it can get confusing ;) ) where the active volcano is and Kona, where I grew up. Next, the lei that Billy is wearing is actually a orchid lei, not plumeria. Orchid leis hold up better than plumeria leis while plumeria leis are much more fragrant. The ginger lei is gorgeous and your friend must really like you because those a very special. :) I'm also thrilled to see that you tried out so much of the local food specialties. My mouth was watering as I saw the pictures...all of those are "comfort" foods for me. Thanks for sharing your trip!

Billy Vasquez said...

Thanks Debbie for the corrections - good to know. I have a lot of videos coming up. I'm sure some of my info will be off, but I'm giving it a go. Hawaii was were we were engaged ;-p

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