Hawaii Travelogue 2 – Windward Oahu

One good thing about a 5 hour time difference is that a dedicated night owl like me has a fighting chance of getting up even before the crack of dawn!  People who know me will be flabbergasted to know I was up, dressed and on my way to a classic old Honolulu diner for breakfast by 7 am!  The delightfully divey Wailana Coffee House was walking distance on Ala Moana Blvd. between the Ilikai and Thrifty Rent a Car on Kalakaua, so it was a perfect stop for breakfast.  John had a great Belgian waffle (he is a connoiseur of Belgian waffles) and I got my first (and sadly only) taste of coconut syrup on pancakes.  Fear not, this is one of several Hawaiian foods I shall figure out how to make for myself and I will post my results.

With a belly full of pancakes and waffles, we picked up our dirt cheap rental car which we scored through Waikiki Discount Rental Car, fired up Garmina (our “pet” name for the lady voice in our Garmin – creative I know!), and headed for our first stop of the day – Diamond Head.  I read that you want to get to Diamond Head early in the day for 2 reasons:  (1) the parking lot fills up quick, and then you are stuck walking an extra mile from the other lot; and (2) it can get hot hiking up to the rim later in the day.  I also read that many people get to Diamond Head before sunup so they can watch the sunrise on the rim.  Hmmm.  You better bring a great flashlight, because it is a rocky, twisty trail!

Hiking to the top of Diamond Head is a definite must if you are in Oahu.  They views are great, and I dunno – you just have to!  If you spend any time at a gym at all you will find it an easy 1.5 mile round trip hike.  The steep, long flights of stairs at the end are a bit scary, especially if it is windy, but nothing to stop anyone from going.  Here are some of the views from the top:

View from the rim of Diamond Head, looking into the crater, towards Makapuu

View from the rim of Diamond Head, looking into the crater, towards Makapuu

Long view from the top of Diamond Head, looking toward Waikiki & Honolulu

Long view from the top of Diamond Head, looking toward Waikiki & Honolulu.  You can see the famous Shell amphitheater in the foreground.

Rainbow over Waikiki, seen from Diamond Head

Rainbow over Waikiki, seen from Diamond Head

As you can see from these pictures, the weather was not quite ideal.  An extremely unusual weather system parked off the northeast corner of the Big Island for the duration of our trip, bringing lots of wind and frequent, short showers throughout the islands.  Thankfully Oahu didn’t get much of the rain, but it was a little too windy for us to enjoy the beaches.  Guess we’ll just have to come back!

Our next stop on our tour of Windward Oahu was a house on Kahala Ave which was used for filming several episodes of Five-O and served as the Angel’s home base in all the season 5 Hawaii episodes of Charlie’s Angels.  I was very tickled to see this place in person!

The Townshend Agency!

The Townsend Agency!

Okay, now we’re off to real Oahu sites.  We took HI72/Kalanianaole Hwy along the shore, past Hanauma Bay to two amazing scenic lookouts.   The first didn’t seem to have a name, the second was the incredible Halona Blowhole.  The wind was crazy, which made for quite a show!

Definitely not a day for swimming at "From Here to Eternity" Beach!

Definitely not a day for swimming at “From Here to Eternity” Beach!

Halona Blow Hole
Halona Blow Hole

Halona Blow Hole.  Apparently the show is extra-spectacular on a windy day.

Halona Blow Hole. Apparently the show is extra-spectacular on a windy day.

Our next stops on the Kalanianaole Hwy were at Makapuu Point and Makapuu Beach where we had great views toward Waimanalo and of the Makapuu Lighthouse.

Makapuu Beach - there were some hardy people swimming.

Makapuu Beach, looking toward Waimanalo Bay.

Makapuu Point Lighthouse

Makapuu Point Lighthouse

We went in to Waimanalo and had our first of two great lunches at Sweet Home Waimanalo, a fab cafe that serves locally sourced food creatively prepared.  I especially loved the pineapple tea and the bok choi coleslaw.  In fact the coleslaw was so good, I got them to tell me what was in the dressing.  The tea and the slaw are two more items on my list of Hawaiian foods to add to my repertoire.  After lunch we headed to Waimanalo Bay for some beach time.  I read this was a favorite beach with locals because it is beautiful and not cluttered with tourists, but I was also excited to go there because it was prominently featured on Five-O and Charlie’s Angels.  Because of the wind we had the place practically to ourselves, and I was surprised to see that I actually “recognized” the views up and down the beach!

Waimanalo looking south.  The water was the most beautiful shade of turquoise!

Waimanalo looking south. The water was the most beautiful shade of turquoise!

Waimanalo looking north.  My man and I had it all to ourselves!

Waimanalo looking north. My man and I had it all to ourselves!

After chilling at Waimanalo we headed inland to the Valley of the Temples to see the Byodo-in Temple, a replica of a 950 year old Buddhist temple in Japan.  Again, this is another Five-O and Angels filming site, but it is also a beautiful memorial park to stroll around.

The Byodo-in Temple

The Byodo-in Temple

We headed back into Honolulu via the Pali Hwy, which had some amazing views down into the Windward side of Oahu, particularly from the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout.  It was on the Pali Hwy that we saw our first “wild” chickens.  I snapped some pix because I thought, “how fun!”  No.  Not fun.  Those dang chickens would be my nemesis on Kauai!  Apparently there was a hurricane in 1992 that liberated the farm chickens in Hawaii and now they are on the loose and breeding like, well, chickens.

looking toward Windward Oahu from the Nu'uanu Pali Lookout.  The winds were knock-you-down fierce up there.

looking toward Windward Oahu from the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout. The winds were knock-you-down fierce up there.

As we got into Honolulu, we stopped at one last lookout, overlooking the city and I caught a glimpse of a beautiful Asian cemetery which, yes, I recognized from Five-O.  John graciously figured out how to get there so I could snap my pix!  Then we buzzed by the Iolani Palace, the Territorial Bldg and the State Capitol.  Unfortunately we never got back into town to really tour those places, so I’m glad I at least got to see them.

Me on the steps Steve runs up!

That speck is me on the Iolani Palace steps that Steve ran up!  Such a fangirl!

The Territorial Bldg and the King Kamehameha statue

The Territorial Bldg and the King Kamehameha statue

One of our bucket listy things is to see all 50 state capitols.  Hawaii’s state capitol bldg is one of the most interesting ones in the Union.  It is not designed to mimic a traditional American capitol bldg, but to reflect the uniqueness of Hawaii itself.

The capitol is surrounded by water to symbolize the islands of Hawaii

The capitol is surrounded by water to symbolize the islands of Hawaii surrounded by the Pacific Ocean.  The columns represent royal palms – 8 on each side, for the 8 main islands of Hawaii.

The capitol bldg is open to the sky to symbolize a volcano

The building has no rotunda but is open to the sky, and the entire building is open on all sides to the elements.

The capitol as seen from the Punchbowl

The capitol as seen from the Punchbowl.  Note the overall effect of the building is that of a volcano rising out of the sea.  Totally cool!!!

After a very long day of touring around we took a seemingly endless walk up Kalakaua Avenue (the Rodeo Drive of Honolulu) to Tiki’s Grill, where I had the most life-changing macadamia nut crusted piece of Mahi.  Highly recommend it – it was worth the walk!

Tomorrow we discover Malasadas, surfers on the North Shore, and the magical entity known as “the Shrimp Truck”.  Aloha!

Advertisements
Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Comments

  • donna francis  On March 18, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Elizabeth, am enjoying your travel log so much. Brings back beautiful memories.

    Like

Comment on this Post

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: