Hello everyone. Mr.C & Me are back and ready to share our amazing Hawaiian holiday with you! But first, to get you in the mood for this post, go to this LINK, scroll down just a few inches and click on the listen button right next to “Hawaiian Rainbow”, a new window will open up and, as it says, provide you with “a tropical vacation for your ears”. Haha! Enjoy. We heard this sort of thing all over the island.
Before we begin, a brief service announcement: we will be splitting up the coverage of our 7 day trip into a several posts that will show up over the next few days so bear with us. Thanks! Now onto our adventures!
***unless otherwise noted, all photos are personal and were taken by me or Mr.C
Tuesday, Oct. 11:
After staying up far too late the night before packing (and in a certain someone’s case watching the Bears game), we woke up wayyy too ridiculously early (5am) to get ready and head to the airport. Since we hadn’t been to the MSP airport before we figured being early was best because we weren’t sure how long it would take us to park, go through security etc.
Needless to say, it didn’t take us as long as we expected – we were able to get in and get to our gate by 7am….with our flight boarding at 9am and leaving at 9:30am.We killed time at the airport by people watching and checking out the planes. For those who don’t know, I had never flown before this trip so I was pretty stoked (and a little nervous!) Luckily, security was a breeze (thankfully Mr.C remembered at the last minute to take his box cutter for work out of his pocket and throw it away! – that coulda been bad!) – so with no hassle (or grope-age) at security I figured that had to be a good sign that our flights would go well too.
Our first flight was a 2 hr one to Denver, CO, where we’d then catch our second flight to Honolulu, HI. Mr.C and I were seated separately for the first flight which wasn’t a big deal, I slept the whole time. On the flight to Hawaii we sat together which was nice because that flight was 7.5 hr long! Ugh. It was crazy! Luckily they showed 2 movies (Mr.C watched both) and I was able to read one book (The Line by Teri Hall) and start another (Dreams of Joy by Lisa See).
We were also seated next to a nice but chatty girl who used to live in Hawaii for 5 years and who kindly told us what to see, where to go, what to eat. Although I’m a crazy researcher and knew most of the things she was telling us, it was fine because it helped pass the time on our long flight and soothe her flying anxiety. She has been in a long distance relationship with a guy she met in Hawaii before her family moved to Texas so they take turns flying back and forth. Even though she flies all the time, she’s still freaked out by the landings! And who wouldn’t be?! Most of ours were fine, except I was kinda creeped out by one when we bumped along and sorta leaned to the side – I swore the plane was gonna tip! It sounds overly dangerous when I type it though – it honestly wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Anyway, after close to 8 hours on the plane we finally landed in Hawaii, at 3pm (island time).
After landing we immediately hopped on a shuttle which took us to our hotel, the Ocean Resort Hotel (which is currently under construction and being changed over to a Hyatt this November). Before we left I told Mr.C that I wanted to check in as soon as possible and head down to the beach ASAP. So we did just that!
We grabbed our suits and the camera and hit the beach. It was unbelievable. I kept telling Mr.C that I couldn’t quite believe that we were actually here, that it was actually real. It felt like a minute ago we were walking out into the chilly, Minnesota fall and now, here we were, 85 degrees, turquoise waters, sandy beaches, floating on the waves looking out at the hotels and mountains. Crazy amazing!
Anyway, after swimming we went back to the hotel, changed, and then headed back out to catch the sunset and wander the Waikiki strip. Waikiki is all built up with hotels, restaurants, ABC stores (like connivence stores, honestly there were like 3 on each block!), and shopping centers with high-end stores like Hawaiian Cookie Company, Ugg Australia, Louis Vuitton, Gucci – you get the drift.
On our shuttle ride in we had spotted an Outback Steakhouse and decided to treat ourselves for since it was our first night in Hawaii (and since the rest of the week we planned be frugal, stick to the budget, and eat pb&j’s). And so Day 1 ended with a beach sunset, night walk, and delicious steak dinner.
Wednesday, Oct. 12:
We awoke early, about 7am, on Day 2 of our honeymoon. It wasn’t planned – we just forgot about the time change. It worked out really well throughout our trip though because we were able to get an early start most days (about 8am) and with the sunset at 6pm-ish we could have a great nightlife until 10pm and *still get enough sleep. It was perfect!
Side note: As we mentioned before – we chose to stay in Waikiki/Honolulu, even though it’s all “built up” and touristy ,because it was our first time in Hawaii & because it has affordable hotels, a super close beach, main airport, lots to do and see – much of it within walking distance,and public transit we could utilize to explore the rest of the island of Oahu.
Anyway, awake and full of energy we set out on our first adventure – hiking to Manoa Falls which we must ride The Bus (Hawaii’s public bus system) to reach.
But first – breakfast! Stopping by the ABC store we picked up fresh pineapple and water, then to Subway for breakfast subs (and extras subs for lunch), and finally to a bench on the beach – where we consumed our goodies. I can think of nothing better than watching the waves roll in while eating local fresh fruit!
Afterward, we set out to catch The Bus to take us to Manoa Valley. After a few hours of frustration in an attempt to try to figure out the pickups and the routes we gave up on the The Bus for a few moments and regrouped by the canal with more pineapple.
We also wandered around the International Market Place which is basically a colorful jumble of souvenir shops and kiosks accompanied by a small food court.
According to their website, the market features over 130 carts, shops and artisan stands in an open-air setting under the banyan trees in the heart of Waikiki. It’s a nice place, albeit a little run-down and the fact that about 30 shops all sell the exact same tikis, t-shirts, and Made in China jewelry. Still – it’s a nice place to stop off and waste time. We also were able to grab up cheap souvenirs and some delicious food but we’ll talk about that in a later post. Sadly, I just heard that the Market Place might be dismantled in the next few years and replaced with (yet another!) upscale mall. So disappointed that companies want to destroy yet another classic Hawaiian vacation experience for more the chance to clutter up the island with even more Americanized Tourist trash. I swear…..
Anyway – after our break decide to tackle the transit system again and ended up walking all the way down the the main bus transfer center at Ala Moana Mall. After asking around we finally found our bus and hopped on. Bus fare is $2.50/ea and you get a transfer ticket good for 2 hours. That way we could get to the valley, hike the falls, and still have a ride back – all for $5! Pretty sweet.
After a half hour or so we arrived in Manoa Valley which looked like this:
So basically – “Lost” the television show! Coincidentally, Lost was actually filmed all over the island of Oahu. I don’t think they filmed in Manoa Valley but definitely up on the North Shore, Waimea Bay, and the urban scenes were shot in Honolulu. Anyway, Mr.C and I loved the valley immediately because it was so quiet – a vast change from the hustle and bustle of tourist filled Waikiki. As we walked into the park you immediately felt transplanted into another world. Tropical and jungle-y – we felt like we were walking into something out of Jurassic Park. The exaggerated flora in this area was breathtaking as were many of the other sights we encountered on our hike. Travel along with us via the photos below….
And finally, what we hiked all the way to see -the Manoa Falls!
Yeah….pretty lame right? lol It was basically a little trickle down the side of a cliff. Apparently after a large rain it’s a really gusher, barreling over the 100ft cliff into a pool at the bottom, surrounded by boulders from a rock slide. Since no large storm had come through recently we had to settle for this lesser view of the falls. Neither one of us was disappointed though because the amazing hike to the top was worth a thousand waterfalls – we still think it’s one of the coolest things we did the whole trip.
After reaching the bottom of the falls we sat and caught our breath from the hike. Another couple was up there and started chatting with us. They in their 50s and from…guess where!….St.Paul, MN. Haha small world! They said they though we had to be from the Midwest because we didn’t have any weird accent. Bah! We laughed to ourselves because we think most Minnesotans have a strong accent (which we secretly hope to acquire!), but it was nice talking to them about the Twin city and their other plans in Hawaii. After awhile we said our goodbyes and took a quick picture of ourselves before starting the hike back down.
At the bottom we rested before slowly heading back to the bus stop. On the way we saw some gorgeous tropical flowers, gigantic leaves, roaming chickens, and a rooster. We apparently left the park just in time because a mere block or two from the bus stop it started to sprinkle…then pour. Hopping into the bus we escaped the worst of the downpour. It was the bus driver’s break so we just chilled in the bus for 15mins ’til he was done. As we waited we were treated to something amazing. Mr.C laughed at me because I was super excited, practically squealing – it was definitely my “full double rainbow youtube” moment. But seriously – can you blame me?!
So freakin’ cool! Apparently up in the mountain/valley area they have daily light rain showers, most of which do not reach Waikiki, so it was real treat to be there for one. Not only did it cool us down but provided us with some splendid photos.
Still on a high from our epic hike and afternoon rainbow shower we bused back to Ala Moana Center and grabbed dinner. A delicious Thai beef noodle bowl for me and mashed potatoes, mac ‘n cheese, and prime rib for the Mr.
After eating we walked back to our hotel; stopping along the way to enjoy our second Hawaiian sunset and nightlife along the streets of Waikiki.
And so ends our 2nd day in Hawaii.
Best Day Ever [yet!] !!!
Stay tuned for tomorrow when in “Hawaii Part 2” we go on a tour of Pearl Harbor, swim, eat local cuisine, and much much more.