Oahu’s Windward Coast Vacation | Days 12-15 (Last Days)

Updated: 12/2017

Day 12: Zip lining & Beach

Zipping through the palm tree tops! Three rides 1,200 ft! At first when I saw how far off the ground I was going to be, I started freaking out. I’m not afraid of heights, but it looked to be very scary. Now that I tried it, I will be doing it again. The morning started off with a down pour for five minutes, then cleared up long enough to take three rides down. The first two rides were with Mom , and then the last one was just me by myself. Once I got through the first one, I was fine to take the last two rides down. It was very short ride, and so I recommend getting at least more than one ride to really experience the zip line. I now can add this to my life experience list and hope to try out the one near home called Wild Life Trex near Seattle. The rest of the day was spent at the beach again just relaxing.

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zipping along

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me zipping along

Day 13: Marine Base Crazy & Last minute stuff

Another relaxing day getting last-minute stuff done before we leave for home. Took on last trip to the Marine base to do some last-minute shopping at the Exchange. When I stepped outside the store I saw a new sign that appeared in front of the doors. Apparently the new base commander is trying to keep the unmentionable people from “polluting” the base and disrespecting the military environment. So just imagine the pictures you see on People of Wal-Mart website and you have a good picture of what was posted on this sign. These were the things that are not allowed to be worn when on base. I really could see why the commander is doing this and why he doesn’t like half-naked people walking around base when not in uniform. The whole time I was on base (even Bellows had a dress code in their commons areas) I never say anyone out of uniform looking like a bum.  I just go some Hawaiian theme stuff to take back to Seattle at the Exchange.

Relaxed on base for a bit and started to see Man of Wars washed up on the beach. Remembering there was a full moon when we got to Hawaii and five days later the jelly fishes started to appear, every time we walked the beach we had to make sure to watch where we stepped or else get stung by the blue tentacles. Later that evening we all went out with my cousin one last time to a small local pizza place in Kilua.  The place was busy with locals stopping in to grab a slice of pizza or a whole pizza for dinner. The pizzas are huge at Bob’s Pizzeria, and so a whole pizza can easy be shared with five people. I had two big slices which amounted to four small slices.

Now here is a funny story in a way to share….When we went to drop off my cousin at the Marine base, we did not go through the main gate as we have in the past, but he back gate where the housing is. A huge mistake because when we pulled up and my cousin showed his ID, the guard at the gate wanted everyone’s ID. Apparently there is a huge crack down at night due to a Marine sneaking a prostitute on base a few weeks back and getting caught. Also the guard in a moment of putting his boot in his mouth made it almost clear that he thought Nana, Mom and I were prostitutes! Nana and Mom felt offended, but for me I just though “oh thanks for letting me know I look like one.” As I was stating in above paragraph, the commander of the base is really on a crack down. We did drop my cousin off at his barrack without anymore trouble from the Marine Security Force.

Day 14: Sea Turtles

Our last full day in Hawaii. We did some last-minute shopping again and packed up our bags for our afternoon flight back to Seattle. Walked the beach one last time (ok a few times). While on one of our walks we saw a group of sea turtles swimming along the beach. A half a mile down there is a little cove where the waves are strong and the turtles get stuck in. All three turtles tried their hardest to swim back out to sea, but kept getting swept back into the rocks. At one point one came very close to some kids in the water and freaked them out along with the poor turtle. I believe the three turtles did get out when the waves calmed down a bit.

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While packing for the trip home, I realized I had bought a lot of Hawaiian food. Hmm…I think I will need it when friends come over for tea and a Hawaiian short bread macadamia nut cookies.

Day 15: Going Home

Going to the airport was crazy stressful adventure. Why? Because 1) my suitcase all of sudden put on weight, 2) security check point was a mad house and I thought for sure I was going to throw my shoe at TSA (Sea-Tac has it down to a science), 3) USDA inspection line was crazy! Poor Nana had to be patted down because she set off the metal detector and her sleep machine had residue of liquid in it. Really just wanted to get on the plane and get to Seattle without anymore stuff happening. The flight was six hours as usual. The only crazy part was landing in Seattle after a huge windstorm came through. Overall, the six-hour flight went off without much stuff happening. When I left Seattle for Hawaii the temperature was 70 degrees F, when I came back it was 50 degrees F and a storm blowing through. Just shows how much the weather changes within two weeks of being gone. I still look at my phone’s weather app for Bellows to see what the weather is at the moment. I miss the warmth, but Seattle did have a wonderful summer with all the sunny hot weather we had. I can’t complain.

I really enjoyed my two-week adventure on Oahu Hawaii. I will of course return to the islands again in the near future. I think the next island to visit is Kauai or Big Island. I am glad I had the chance to see my cousin while he is stationed at K-Bay, and hope he has a great time while there.  I loved not having to do all the touristy things this time. I really got to see the island from a different perspective. I know now all the main freeways, and know which major highways lead to where. Great to stay somewhere other than Waikiki for a change. I really got to see the beauty of the island without the sky scrapers in the way. I still would love to hike up Diamond Head since I did not get the chance this time. I guess I will be making a return visit again.

Mahalo for reading about my adventure in Hawaii! Hope you enjoy Hawaii really soon.

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Disclaimer: All links are for reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive or am paid for promotion on products mentioned in this post.

Oahu’s Windward Coast Vacation | Day #10 (North Shore)

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Update: 12/2017

Day ten was all about our adventure along the north part of Windward Coast and the North Shore. Last time in Hawaii I only got as far as Laie (Polynesian Cultural Center) so naturally I wanted to see the other small surfing towns along the Kamehameha highway.

Our first stop was at the Tropical Farms where they grow some of the famous macadamia nuts. Inside their store, there are tons of macadamia nut products. Any possible flavor roasted with the macadamia nuts can be sampled. The ones I liked were the garlic (theses are very garlicky and if you want to kiss someone, make sure they to had some too.), cinnamon sugar (very sugary), plain roasted, coffee roasted, and jalapeno spiced nuts. Also for the first time I tried the macadamia flavored Kona coffee which is the bomb with macadamia milk! Starbucks cannot compete! I wonder where I can find this coffee in Seattle? I will have to check this out. Tropical Farms is also one of those touristy stops, so I still recommend coming early to have the chance of seeing the farm without the crowds. To bad we did not have the chance to go on the farm tour since we did get there an hour after they opened. But I still had the chance to cracks some nuts! Apparently to crack a macadamia nut the native Hawaiian way you pry open the hard woody nut casing to reveal a lighter colored nut shell. Then using an old tree stump and a good size heavy rock you whack the nut with the rock until the casing splits open to reveal a white fleshy inside-the macadamia nut. The process is close to un-shelling peanuts. I did open my nut with only one whack of the rock, but I did mash the inside a bit.

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Nut + rock = macadamia nut!
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Hard outer shell
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Macedonian nut
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Cracking my nut

A mile down the road we stopped at the Kualoa Beach Park in Kualoa to see the small island off the island called Chinaman’s Hat (Mokolii Island). This park affords a great view of the Pacific ocean, Kaneoha Bay, Chinaman’s Hat and the Ko’olau Mountain Range ( setting for lots of movies and TV show back drops). Across the road from the park is the famous Kualoa Ranch where Jurassic Park was filmed.

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We stopped for lunch in Kahuka for the famous garlic shrimp plates that are famous in this part of the island. Two years ago while driving up to the North Shore, there was a little shrimp stand that sold plated lunches called Titia’s Grill (CORRECTION: This place is permanently closed.). Outside this town there are huge shrimp farms where they harvest shrimp for the whole Oahu Island. And really there is no difference between farm grown or wild grown shrimp. I recommend  this place for lunch or dinner and try any of their shrimp plates especially their garlic shrimp!

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As we continued along Kamehameha highway towards Haleiwa we stopped at Sunset Beach. This beach has a little secret. This beach is said to have Sea Turtles coming up on the shore and lay to the beach. To bad this time when we went there were no sea turtles lying on the beach. I would love to say the turtles knew when the tour buses came and so scurried back to the water, but the life guard said most of the time the turtles were either on the beach at sunrise or sunset.  When we pulled into this beach’s parking lot there was not a bus insight. Come out of the bathroom two minutes later, the parking lot looked like chaos! Goes to show how anything in Hawaii can change in a blink of an eye 🙂 .

An hour later we pulled into the town of Haleiwa, the surf capital of the world. The beaches were packed with surfers, snorkelers and paddlers enjoying the surf. The waves were not as much monsters yet because it was still summer, and winter is when the huge waves usually came into play for surfers. Since I was in the North Shore area, I had to try the famous local shaved ice treat. So where did I go? To the famous Matsumoto Grocery Store for the rainbow shaved ice. The picture looks like the shaved ice must be a large, but this is the smallest they had. At this point I figured all things in Hawaii are done big, and never small. This motto suited me just fine. At $2.50 a pop, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Having it run down my legs trying to eat it, and having the stick sweet mess all over my hands brought the child out of me again. Matsumoto is not the only place in town that sells shaved ice, but this place is the most famous and popular spot to try one. As you see from the picture below, there are many different flavors you can order. All those flavor combinations, and do I want ice cream or azuki beans on top of the ice? I will have to come back to find out next time I’m there.

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Rainbow Cone
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What’s your Flavor?

At this point I still was not done with ice anything. Just up the road from Matsumoto is a little ice cream parlor called Scoop of Paradise. Oh man, sorry Dave’s Ice cream, this place has the best ice cream so far on the island. Ice cream here is made from real cream like the Italian ice cream which makes this ice cream creamy and rich. Chocolate Macadamia nut and Pineapple Cheese cake were the flavors I tried together.

A few hours later we all head out-of-town towards Bellows AFS. On our way back I wanted to stop at the Fine Ass Chocolates and Coffee place right off the highway (CORRECTION: the shop is now permanently closed as of 2017 at all locations). The famous “Donkey” balls chocolates are sold. Just the name of the place sounded bad ass! I bought some chocolates called “Dirty” balls and “Flaky” balls in dark chocolate. I did try the “Fire” balls which has pepper flakes it the middle. The major hit for the family is the Flaky balls with coconut in the middle.

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Disclaimer: All links mentioned in this post are for further reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive nor am paid for promotion of any products mentioned in this post.

Oahu’s Windward Coast Vacation | Day 5 (Hanauma Bay) & Day 6 (Mini Golf & Pali Lookout))

Updated: 12/2017

One thing about waking up early in Hawaii is the sunrises. The reason why I can roll out of bed so early for Hanauma Bay. Waking up before 7am to arrive at this very popular touristy spot is almost a must if you want to avoid the crowds and the tour buses/groups. Arrive well before 9:30 am or right as the park opens at 6:30am. So here I am awake and ready to go snorkeling!

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Hanauma Bay from the top
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Hanuama Bay

I rented my gear from an off site vender (Bellows AFS $10.00 for the whole set), other than that, you either bring your own or rent from the site itself. The parking was so cheap! A dollar cheap! But what really dings you, the admission price of $7.50 for an adult.  I can understand why change a price for entrance, the park is a conservation site.  After we all paid we all waited with other people for the video they show every one who enters the park outlining what the whole coral reef is and what you cannot do while snorkeling, swimming or scuba diving in the reef. The worst part of the video, knowing people are going to do it anyway because as Nana pointed out, people who do not have a grasp of the English language and watching the demonstrations of what NOT to do, will not understand. Believe me, I saw it happening!

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Ready to snorkel

After a walk down the steep hill to the beach, we staked out a claim under a shady coconut tree to put our stuff. At this time there was not may people down on the beach, so I decided I need to get in the water and start snorkeling before it’s too late. I went out with both parents around a section of the coral reef. I am amazed at how you can just enter the water, lay on your belly, put your head in the water and see underwater! Now you can probably guess, this was my first time snorkeling. I saw huge fish swimming past me, huge coral, some creature stuck to the coral looking like a human brain, lots of species of coral, and yes you guessed it, sea turtles. On my first try my mask kept fogging up to the point I had to un-fog  it multiple times with my own spit. Then I was having  a hard time breathing through my snorkel tube since water kept going in, and swimming with the flippers was a challenge. Eventually I figured out how to snorkel. I would do this again next time somewhere else in the Hawaiian Islands. Around 11:00am we decided it was time to go and have some lunch. At this point the beach and water had become very crowed. We all forked over $1.25 to ride the trolley back up the steep hill. At this point I was tired and did not want to pack all my stuff back up the hill.

We had lunch at the park’s picnic area that overlooked the beach and water. As soon as the food was unpacked, all the park’s feral chickens made a B-line toward us. As you see, no shame for a chicken.

_DSC0130_edited-1After a picnic lunch, we parked up and left to drive along winding coast highway back to Bellows AFS. Along the way we stopped at the Makapuu Point Lookout. Oh my goodness this is a postcard perfect look out! The lookout towards the windward coast line, and the tropical blue water. This is a breath-taking view to see. There is a lighthouse by the same name on the side of the cliff. I would love to come back and hike up to see the place (every night at Bellows, I could see it off in the distance). The rest of the afternoon was spent getting ready for our dinner date with my cousin.

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Makapuu Lookout
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Makapuu Lookout

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Family

My cousin is stationed on Oahu at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay. Earlier that week my cousin’s “gunny” gave him permission to give us a tour of the place where he works  (a rare thing in this day an age). The whole family had the opportunity to meet his team, and see what his everyday job on base in logistics. Seeing him in action was very cool. It is amazing the last time I saw him was eight years ago when he was just a little skinny kid his older brother use to beat up, and now he is all grown up in a military uniform. I feel old just typing that! Also seeing more of the base then just the MCX (post exchange) and the Commissary. I will have to say, it is hard to pick out some of the guys when all of them are in uniform because they all look the same. Also like most active base, the base had the semi-desert feel to it.

Buzze’s Steakhouse in Lanikia . This place is where Nana, and my cousin had gone to the last time Nana was there for vacation. The place has a beach theme to it, with seating inside and outside. The menu is very limited to steaks, seafood and salad.  At first I could not find anything appealing except Teriyaki Chicken with rice. All meals come with the salad and fruit bar option. The favorite item at the salad bar was the mint cucumbers. My cousin raved about trying them and I have to say, they are pretty darn good! For desert my cousin and I split an Almond Joy cheese cake. OMGoodness! It tasted just like an Almond Joy bar! I would give the place an eight out of ten because even with the cool atmosphere, I think there needed to be a little more options on the menu for the steaks and seafood (I think this time the menu did not have any seafood on it).

IMG_0291The next day we all just relaxed and stayed on the beach and surrounding areas of Bellows. One major event was mini golf or as I call it put-put-golf on the Bellows mini golf course. For an hour all of us played a fourteen hole mini golf. Now I would like to say the game became competitive and there was throwing golf clubs around, but my family is pretty tame when it comes to these kinds of things (except Pit, oh boy this game gets very competitive!). For $6.00 for a mid morning game of golf (how do people find golf relaxing? I find it stressful) we went around the course hitting brightly painted golf balls through, under and even over obstacles that represents each of the Hawaiian Islands. Oh dear….I’m bad at golf and not much better at mini golf either. There was no score being kept, but Nana had all of us beat. Overall I had quit a good time laughing at myself trying to hit the ball into the hole. I know I will never be playing golf in the near future, and hope who ever I end up marrying will understand I should not be allowed on the “green” at all. I’m dangerous with a golf ball apparently.

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Family
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Us girls
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Me put-putting

After lunch Mom, Nana and I took a little trip up to Nu’uanu Pali Lookput in the Ko’olau Mountain range over tunnels of the Pali Highway. The lookout has a panoramic view of the Windward Coast, the Marine Base, Nu’uanu valley, and the spectacular view of the tropical blue water.

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As you can see from the pictures, it is very windy up there with strong trade winds. At one point when taking a picture of where the old Pali highway use to be, there was a huge wind tunnel effect.

After the little trip to Pali Lookout, I needed to have a few things washed at the laundry. Right by the small Post Exchange store is an outdoor laundry room. All I have to say is, the washer and dryers here work a whole lot better than the piece of crap of a stacker laundry machine I have in my apartment! While there sipping on my soda, an Airman (Air Force guy) drove up and bought a six-pack of beer at the Exchange. Then thirty minutes later, he was back for a pack of cigs. Then an hour later back again for another twelve pack of beer and two cartons of cigs. It must have been one of those hard duty shifts at the guard gate to need to buy 18 cans of beer and three packs of cigs! Then again, there are days where I need three cans of coke-a-cola to get through the day. After fresh laundry folded, I headed back to the cabin to relax from all the snorkeling I did the day before.

Disclaimer: All links mentioned in this post are for further reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive nor am paid for promotion of any products mentioned in this post.