Aloha from the Oahu Island of Hawaii! Honolulu has brought a whole new style of adventure to our group, one that is laid back and filled with sunshine and surfers. Our already relaxed group is becoming seemingly more chill- this could be due to the mellow island vibes in the ocean-infused air, or the fact that we have been soaking up Honolulu the local way.
We took a stroll along the famous Waikiki strip our first night in Honolulu and it was hustling and bustling with people and activities. Some folks were reminded of South Beach in Miami, with all the shops and restaurants, Jake being one of those people in particular. People lined the streets selling various items “indigenous” to Hawaii- leis, wooden Tiki carvings, coconut doodads, shark-tooth necklaces, hemp bracelets, and floral patterned clothing galore. Since we weren’t adorned with leis the way Hollywood films often portray an arrival to Hawaii, Kennedy, Samantha, Gillian, and Lauren made use of all the vendors on the strip and purchased their own.
Our first morning in Honolulu was a leisurely one which really helped get us into the laidback island lifestyle. We went for brunch at a local place called LuLu’s and although Harrison couldn’t pick up any more athletic wear (ha-ha), we all got some tasty eats. Nothing gets more authentic than grilled pineapple as a sandwich and burger topping! We continued our day of ease by hunkering down on Waikiki Beach. We were able to get a really nice spot on the beach to spread out and soak in the rays and the beautiful views of the aqua blue water and distant lush mountains. The day was very warm so the refreshing ocean water was enjoyed and appreciated by everyone; it was also a blast playing in the waves and body surfing them to shore. Naturally, our group was paid a visit by some local ocean-life: a green sea turtle. These creatures are native to the Hawaiian waters and the one that was amongst our group had to be at least 3 feet wide and probably weighted nearly 150 pounds. The friendly turtle kept surfacing and poking its head out of the water after diving down to grab coral from the bottom of the ocean. Being in the company of a sea turtle made our time at Waikiki Beach all the more extraordinary.
We really got to experience local Hawaiian life at the Ice Palace skating rink. It was really cool being in the presence of so many local Hawaiians and doing exactly what they do for fun on a Saturday night. The rink was refreshing and the music was pumping. It was a disco party on skates. Samantha and James showed off their moves as they skated to the beat of the music, and first-timer Kennedy did a great job moving along the boards. Partners Isabel and Lindsey did a nice job supporting each other on their skates, as did Vivian and Nikki. Karly W. and Gillian got right in there with the locals who were looping around the rink with ease. In fact, we were actually very surprised at how many great Hawaiian skaters there were because ice isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Hawaii.
More Hawaiian mementos were picked up the following day on the Waikiki strip, including a ukulele which we’re hoping Allie will serenade us with on the beach. A Jack Johnson song will do just fine.
At the Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial Site, we learned about the surprise attack by the Japanese on December 7th, 1941 and how this disastrous event united Hawaiians and the rest of America to enter into World War II. Much respect was paid to the lives that were lost at that very site by our group. Although we couldn’t relive Jake’s very first childhood concert with Jimmy Buffet himself, we were serenaded by a fabulous guitar player and singer at Margaritaville. Several of the ladies were swooning over his voice, especially when he sang anything John Mayer. Abby, Vivian, Lauren, and Amanda did a great job providing back-up vocals from our banquet style table.
The hike up Diamond Head State Monument was well worth the sweat as the group got to enjoy 360 degree views of Honolulu from above. The creation of Oahu itself began around 2.5 to 4 million years ago with volcanic eruptions from 2 shield volcanoes. Diamond Head is believed to have been formed about 300,000 years ago during a single volcanic eruption. This vast crater is one of Hawaii’s most recognized landmarks and we were able to conquer it after climbing 560 feet. Our time spent at Kailua Beach was well deserved, as were the Hawaiian Snow Cones that we got afterwards. The creamy snow-capped tops gave each persons flavoured creation the perfect amount of added sweetness. James got creative mixing several flavors of syrup together- coffee, banana, and coconut. When in Hawaii go big or go home!
“Hi, I’m Amanda and I’m a Sushi-a-holic”! The ladies had a fun night out at Odoriko Restaurant, sitting on the floor in traditional Japanese fashion. Lots of laughs were shared over edamame, dumplings, and spicy tuna rolls. Karly K. mastered picking up her udon noodles with her chop sticks and Lindsey ate an entire clump of wasabi not knowing how spicy it was going to be. The guys enjoyed their night out at the Hard Rock Café and bonded in true manly fashion over lots of meat. Let’s hope the good Hawaiian times keep rockin’ and rollin’. Shaka Brah!
The Westcoast Blogger