Hawaii Recap

Hi everyone! I've been back now from Hawaii for a couple days and after doing loads of laundry and recovering from a trip cold, I'm ready to post up a trip recap.

To sum it up, Hawaii was a great, relaxing getaway. Mr. Artist and I had a lovely time exploring the island together, trying out new activities, new eats and enjoying some alone time. While the weather wasn't as sunny as we would have liked, it was still warm being around a balmy mid-to-late 20 degrees.

Our flight to Honolulu was delayed by 2 hours so we didn't arrive at our condo rental till after 4am! I felt terrible for our hosts who had to stay up to wait for us, but despite that they were sweet enough to show us around the place and checked in with us during the week to ensure we were enjoying our stay. This was my first time using AirBnb and if this is a normal experience, then certainly I will be using it again. Our condo was spacious, well located, and our hosts uber considerate. Our condo had a balcony view and was stocked with snacks and beach amenities and free Internet! Definitely check this place out next time you go.

Our Honolulu condo that we rented on airbnb. Photo: Just J
Our lovely home for the week. All photos: Just J

Day 1: On our first day it was pretty cloudy and rainy, so we explored the Waikiki area and went shopping at the nearby Ala Moana shopping mall to pick up souvenirs. That night, we waited almost an hour in line for the much recommended Japanese udon restaurant, Marukame Udon. The wait was well worth it as the udon was super chewy, made in house and came with a variety of choose-your-own tempura options! Best of all, each of our udons cost less than $5!!

Yummy marukame udon and tempura. Photo: Just J
Yummy Marukame udon and tempura

Mine contained a soft boiled egg and I chose shrimp and a veggie ball tempura for my side. The soft-boiled egg was perfect, although I wish my noodles were slightly more chewy. The veggie tempura reminded me a lot of an Indian pakora as it contained a mix of potato and onions.

Spam musubi, tempura and udon from Marukame Udon. Photo: Just J
Spam musubi, tempura and udon from Marukame Udon.

Mr. Artist's choice was a unique salty udon that came in a wooden bucket with a vinegary dipping sauce. On the side he opted for the fried chicken and a Hawaiian specialty, the spam musubi, which is what I like to call, the Hawaiian version of lembas (cue LOTR geek moment). His udon was massive, though you can't tell from this perspective.

Day 2: The weather had improved a lot so we did more walking around and shopping. We also checked out a beach park nearby and tried our first Hawaiian plate lunch at Kaka'ako Kitchen. Plate lunches are the quintessential Hawaiian takeout and consist usually of a macaroni salad, rice and a couple meat-based mains. The one below feature fried catfish and 5 spice sohyu chicken. The chicken was slightly sweet and tender, while the fish was fried perfectly, if lacking a little spice.

Hawaiian plate lunch. Photo: Just J
Hawaiian plate lunch.

Banyan tree at Ala Moana park. Photo: Just J
Banyan tree at Ala Moana park

Wherever I travel, I always love to visit the McDonalds as they often feature local twists in the menu. The Honolulu McDonalds' featured these DELICIOUS taro pies. Warm, gooey and just a little sweet and creamy, I wanted to eat these treats everyday. Unfortunately, it seems that the deep-fried method they use to make the pies in the US cause my throat to get out of whack and I'd always wake up with a super sore throat the day after! Why do the things we love always hurt us.

McDonald's taro pie. Photo: Just J
Yum! McDonald's taro pie

Besides exploring,shopping and eating (3 of my favourite things) we also went whale watching! Our cruise included a meal and cruised out of the Honolulu harbor. We did get to see a couple whales, but none close enough for me to capture a good photo.

Day 3: Got our rental car so we were off to explore the island! First stop, was the town of Kailua to eat some banana macadamia nut pancakes at local joint, Boots and Kimo's

Banana macadamia nut pancakes. Photo: Just J
So much sauce!!

These pancakes were literally smothered in a creamy, condensed milk sauce, so it was a little overly sweet to me, but still pretty yum. The portions in Hawaii are massive, so most every dish you see here was shared by Mr. Artist and I and we were always full after! After pancakes, it was off to Kailua beach, a popular spot with locals and much recommended if you like long sandy beaches with a minimum of tourists.

Kailua beach. Photo: Just J
Kailua beach. 

Feet in the sand. Kailua beach. Photo: Just J
Contrary to what this picture makes it seem, my feet (top) are NOT actually that tan!

Then, it was off to visit Obama's favourite shaved ice spot (reportedly), Island Snow. I do have to agree, that this shaved ice featuring various fruit juices, ice cream and condensed milk was super delicious and refreshing! Good choice Obama!

Hawaiian shaved ice - so good! Photo: Just J

Day 4: This day I didn't get many photos as we spent it driving up to Oahu's North Shore and the little surf town, Haleiwa. I love the North Shore. It's full of unique little stores, it's lush and rural, has great beaches and delicious food. We checked out local favourite, Macky's shrimp truck (Hawaiians seems to love shrimp and food trucks, definitely check this one out) and also went paddle boarding, which was AMAZING as we saw tons of sea turtles that swam around us like it was NBD.

That evening, we headed over for a luau at Paradise Cove. No visit to Hawaii is complete without a luau and while we found the food too salty, the hula dances and the terrific beach side sunset made it worth the trip.

An amazing sunset. Photo: Just J

Waiting for the luau pig to be presented. Photo: Just J

Day 5: As our last full day on the island, we decided to jam pack it with activities so we woke up early and drove back to Haleiwa for Mr. Artist's surfing lesson. As I wasn't feeling well, I opted out and instead chilled on the beach, hanging out with these 2 golden retrievers who were just chilling by themselves on the beach, while their owner surfed. Ecko would NEVER be so well behaved!!

A cute golden retriever on the beach in Hawaii. Photo: Just J
Mr. Artist thought I was taking pics of him, but this cutie was the only one my lens was focused on

Right after surfing, we headed out to go snorkeling at the famous Hanuama Bay. This beautiful sheltered cove is a popular spot for snorkeling in Hawaii and did not disappoint. We saw tons of beautiful fish and even watched a turtle feeding literally a meter away from us!

The stunning Hanauma Bay in Hawaii. Photo: Just J
Amazing Hanuama Bay

So that was our trip! Sorry for the super long post, but I found it really helpful reading other bloggers' trip experiences when researching for mine, so hopefully this will help others out there too! If you have any other questions about Hawaii, please feel free to email me as I've been to several of the Hawaiian islands. Mahalo!

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