Our last several trips to Hawaii unintentionally bypassed a visit to Honolulu, and the island of Oahu. That by no means indicates how we feel about Wacky-Wacky, as many Japanese tourists so cleverly call Waikiki. We just never were able to stop over for a few days on the front or back end of our trips to Maui and Kauai.
When the opportunity came to attend a wedding on August 31, we decided to return to Honolulu, even though we were just in Kauai and Maui in March. Our dear friend, Leicey, is getting married at the Royal Hawaiian on Saturday, August 31.
This will enable us to visit some of our favorite places on the island, maybe rent a bicycle, and play some golf. Our first stop after getting off the plane will be Libby’s Manapua. Time permitting, we will head up to the North Shore to slurp a shave ice at Matsumoto’s, and stop by our favorite black pearl store, I Am Paradise in Haleiwa.
On Saturday, the highlight is always the famous Aloha Stadium Flea Market. This has always been my favorite flea market, better than the famous Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, or the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena. And I may even sneak over to the UH football game against the hated Trojans of SoCal on Thursday evening.
In between, we will eat some of our favorite island specialties. These include places like Leonard’s Malasatas, Dee-Lite Bakery, Libby’s (again), and perhaps a few food trucks. They have long been known as “roach coaches” in the Honolulu area. Please don’t come to Hawaii to eat McDonald’s, Taco Bell, or Pizza Hut! Please avoid Nico’s Fish Market on Pier 38, a total waste of time and money. They do not know how to prepare ahi!!!!!
A mere 1.3 million people visited Oahu in the first three months of 2013. Known as “The Gathering Place”, Oahu is experiencing a return of tourist travel in the amount of a 7% increase over 2012. Along with that, we are spending 8.6% more on our visits here. The various airlines who serve Hawaii from the mainland have also increased their flights, including both Hawaiian Airlines (which we tend to use), and market upstart, Alaska Airlines.
Many tourists prefer Maui and Kauai. But most do not realize Oahu offers the most and often times best, of everything, including better shopping and dining options. But the best kept secret to Oahu are the beaches, especially on the windward or eastern side of the island. During the week, when locals are at work, the beaches are almost empty! How many of you can say that you have had an entire white sand, public beach to yourself for a day? You could get into some serious trouble here, if you know what I mean.
So, Honolulu and a high rise condo in Waikiki will be our home until Monday. It will be a relaxing six day trip, with a wide variety of activities and venues. Is it the ideal vacation spot? Maybe not, but it sure beats 100 degree weather back in California.