That’s got to be one of the most forced titles ever. But hey, let us still talk about it. Because why not?
One of my bestfriends is traveling to Honolulu in a few weeks and I cannot help but envy that she’s going, so I am pushing her way all suggestions that I possibly can so I can live vicariously through her in the meantime.
At this point I would like to write about a few things I did while on the amazing island. Granted, part of what made it amazing were a few experiences that are too personal, but man, taking that away, the trip was still many levels of awesome.
What did I do while in Honolulu?
As I mentioned in my first round-up, I got to Honolulu mid-morning of Thursday, after 10 hours of a smooth and uneventful flight (the best kind) from Manila.
I rented an Airbnb room and my host allowed me to check in as soon as I arrived in the building before lunch. I wasn’t jetlagged, wasn’t sleepy, but suddenly very hungry and the creature of habit in me walked to Ala Moana Center to eat.
Taken at the Ala Wai Canal on the way to Ala Moana Center. There were buses from my airbnb to the mall but I chose to walk because per the map it was a simple inverted L route ergo very easy to follow. Took me longer but it was worth it. I was there barely an hour pa lang but I felt that I was gonna like it and boy, I was right.
Ala Moana Center is said to be largest open-air shopping center in the world (not too clear on the ‘largest’ and ‘open-air’ bits because from a Pinoy window shopper’s point of view. . .using MOA or SM North or SM Cebu as references. . .anyway, irrelevant). I could have taken the bus but I opted to walk so I can familiarize myself with the area. If you have traveled with me to any U.S. location you will know that my default first food is always orange chicken-honey walnut shrimp-white rice from Panda Express.
Tourist comfort food, for the win. I have had this same combo each time I touched down any U.S. city. When not very hungry days later, I take away the shrimp, but really, when all else doesn’t cut it, my palate always goes back to Panda Express. Tignan natin when they open here in Manila if it’s gonna be the same.
As this mall is huge I went around, shopped a few, and settled at, well, you guessed it…Barnes & Noble. Alam mo yun, I knew I just arrived and had seven days to go but #priorities and #addiction, so yeah. Two hours went by too fast and with a plan to catch my first sunset in Waikiki, I left B&N with quite a few loot, then I headed to Target for my essentials.
As a solo traveler who has ‘starvation’ among her top fears in life, I always troop to the nearest supermarket or grocery because you’re surely saving money on food this way. Grocery shopping is fun for me, too, and one more cheap thrill which we don’t have yet: self-checkout.
The island of Oahu in general is survivable for non-drivers like me because they have an efficient transport system. With plenty of bus routes it could get confusing though, so one tip I have is to download the transportation app (if available), bus map, or anything related to it, and of course connect to Maps to know how to get to your destination without losing time.
With my bookish time and grocery time — both times well-spent — I missed the sunset. I still walked (and walked and I mean walked) both in the dim light by the shore (only those with restaurants fronting the beach were well-lit) with muni-muni in between, to the people-filled Kalakaua Avenue.
This was around 8 pm already. I missed the sunset and the fireworks display by Hilton Hawaiian Village every Friday. It wasn’t as crowded for a Friday. I took a leisurely walk para sulit ang mga pinaplano ko nang kainin that night.
I walked back to the apartment which was a good 15-minute walk along Kalakaua Avenue. It was ok, felt safe, there were people from work, tourists, and joggers sharing the sidewalk with me so it was good. I ordered food to-go from Tony Roma’s because it was conveniently in the way. I cannot feel my feet when I got back to my apartment but it was really fun for a first day!
I woke up at 11 am because my body clock was still adjusting. I had breakfast in the room and walked the strip of Ala Moana Boulevard to reach Olive and Oliver.
Olive & Oliver is a small coffee bar and boutique that serves coffee to-go. Their coffee drinks are classic and no-frills; they come in artsy cups like the ones above. If you search for recommended coffee places in Waikiki, they usually made the list so I was glad it was on my walking route when going to the beach.
Ah, Waikiki. There’s also the Diamond Head crater making this canvas more beautiful. The waves were a bit rough the afternoon I came but it was also warm and sunny so it wasn’t as scary. I failed to capture a panoramic video. I did it without a camera though and until now I feel it as if I was still there. Ang drama ano, but really, that’s how it affected me when I was there. Dahil yata mahal pamasahe kaya ninamnam ko ng bongga. Chos.
The other side. You can see the Ala Moana area and Hilton Hawaiian Village. This photo remains my wallpaper until today. Didn’t capture the beauty of Waikiki Beach, I swear.
It was a bright and sunny day so I took lots of photos para sa obligatory IG na ganyan, then I sprawled in front of Fort deRussy for my first taste of Waikiki beach.
I stayed until I was able to witness the sunset.
On the way back to my apartment, the classic black and white stripes lured me in. This was a very busy street and the shop was easy to miss but I didn’t. Bought a few essentials (essentials daw o). Meron pala sila sa Ala Moana Center which I missed the day before.
On my way back to my apartment (ang tibay di ba, hindi pa ako nag-bubus ulit), I went to Maguro Brothers, a popular hole in the wall that serves delicious poke bowls. They open from 5 pm to until after midnight. They are situated unassumingly along Lewers Street, so much so that I passed it the first time. In my tired and nervous English I managed to throw in the “It’s my birthday!” card (though it was a day after, what a hustler) so the guy at the counter smiled and added more spicy mayonnaise, which if you also know me enough, something that I like my food to be swimming in. It was a big win for me.
So yeah, back in the room, with amazing view of Manoa, was my happy dinner. You can see my leftover chips and artichoke dip from the night before. My room doesn’t have a TV which wasn’t a big deal to me. The wifi was strong so I just watched Def Comedy Jam 25 on iFlix and some Parks and Recreation episodes. Simple forms of happiness, I tell you.
A day and a half, done! See the next post for days three to seven!