Sunday, July 27, 2014

Aloha #5

Our day started with our usual serenade and hula dancer.  It’s so nice to have coffee, look at Diamond Head, watch the surf and listen to Hawaiian love songs.  Happy!  The last song sung is always Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.  (Did you know that Israel died at the age of 38 and was laid in state in the Hawaiian Capital Building?  He was only the third person so honored.)

Ko Olina
We boarded a Marriott bus headed for their Ko Olina Resort on the far side of the island.  Here we listened to a marketing presentation, kindly said no to their offer and then collected 10,000 points.  More importantly, we got a day pass to the resort including showers and lockers.  Before hitting the beach we got refreshments at their beach restaurant and enjoyed the lovely view. 

Kihikihi (Moorish Idol)
The restaurant overlooks their man-made bay and beach, along with three man-made islands.  It struck us both that there was little “Hawaii” here.  In fact, this resort could be anywhere tropical as there is little real Hawaiian interaction.  And, it’s about an hour away from Waikiki so you never experience that side of Hawaiian life, either. 

Even though it’s not our style Ko Olina is beautiful to say the least.  The beach was huge with plenty of lounge chairs for all and there were buoys in the water telling you where it was safe to swim.  We swam and I snorkeled for a while.  Several honus (sea turtles) had been seen in the bay over the past few days, but they eluded me.  I did get to see quite a few fish and sea urchins.

The pool was glorious.  There was a big pool for noisy swimming: pool volleyball, pool basketball and lots of floaties with screeching little girls.  But the pool we visited was the Quiet Pool.  It was huge with two islands of rocks, flowers and palms.  And the pool was four feet all around.  Just perfect for lounging and floating.  Re Lax A Shun!

The ride home was interesting as the bus was full and I had to sit up front with the driver.  He, Junior, is a mountain of a man and full of stories.  He was raised in a small two room home with 17 other relatives. His grandpa watched the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  He killed his first wild boar when he was twelve.  He was terrified as the only weapons he had were his dogs and his knife.  He has six kids including three sons.  Sons #1 and #2 were full of promise and both headed for athletic scholarships, but then they got girlfriends.  Son #1 is now in the Army and Son #2 may be headed there.  No matter, Junior is still very proud of his children and says they are good people.  At the end of the ride we shook hands (his hand engulfed mine) and said our Alohas.  It’s always nice to meet good people like Junior.

It was late when we got home so we strolled down Kalakaua watching the street performers and enjoying the breeze.  Ended up at Duke’s again….we both wanted our own dinner of mango ribs!  It was another beautiful night with tiki torches and swaying palm trees.  Hard to get tired of this!

Saturday morning started much the same as every other morning we’ve enjoyed here.  Then it was time to walk back to the Hau Tree Lanai for breakfast.  Yes, we had our anniversary dinner there on Wednesday, but breakfast is an entirely different experience!  Lots of interesting beach activities to watch and great food.

Caching on a giant Kapok Tree
We geocached our way home finding nine caches in Queen Kapiolani Park and the surrounding area.  One cache we didn’t pick up was only 350 feet away from our breakfast table.  That's because it was 350 feet out into the ocean and a kayak and good breath-holding were required to pick up the cache.  Maybe next time!

Coming in to the beach.
Next up was taking a ride on an outrigger canoe.  Mona decided to opt out of this one so she was the on-shore photographer.  The captain of our vessel gave us brief instructions then we were off!  We paddled out past the surfers and turned the boat in.  The captain and the mate kept an eye on waves, waiting for the perfect one and then yelled at us to paddle hard!  We paddled furiously until we were in the grasp of the wave and it sent us rushing to shore, right through the middle of the surfers and swimmers.  Several surfers had to take dives to avoid us and we crashed into their boards.  We made it close to shore and then turned to head back out.  We rode three waves and didn't kill any surfers.

Our hotel is behind Mona
The rest of the day was spent swimming in the ocean and then swimming in the pool.  Did see something a little interesting in the pool;  two women swimming in hijab.  Yep, totally cloaked except for their faces.  Of course, their men were in the pool with them and only wearing swimming trunks.  I can’t imagine how uncomfortable it is to wear something like that in the water and hot sun.  I shall refrain from beginning a tirade.

We had dinner on our balcony….enjoying the view and listening to the music from below.  Our hotel has two ABC stores in it, so it’s easy to grab a salad or sushi for your room.  Speaking of ABC stores; it’s amazing how many there are on Waikiki.  At least one or two per block.  All filled with liquor, souvenirs, beach wear and food.  You don’t see any Walgreens or CVS here…just ABCs.

No matter the stores, it's still Waikiki and beautiful.


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