Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hawaii Trip - Day 8

We went to Planet Hollywood for breakfast and that was a big mistake. I felt ill when we left. That’s what I get for eating at a tourist trap. I won’t be eating pancakes for a long time. Geof however, has found a new meal that he likes and had a few times during the week called, “Moco Loco”. It is eggs, rice, ground beef and gravy. He wants to try a healthier version of this at home.

After Planet Hollywood, we decided to go to the Wet ’N’ Wild, the water park on the island. It was a blast! We went on some fun water slides and then relaxed in the wave pool. When the waves were on, it was pretty intense. My favorite slides were The Flyin’ Hawaiian where it is similar to a regular waterslide, but at the end there is a drop-off into a 12 ft. pool of water. There was another slide called the Raging River that we also loved. It was a 4-person raft that goes fast and had some big drops. We’re big kids when it comes to that stuff!

After the water park, we came back to our hotel and watched our last Hawaiian sunset. Next, we went to the Hilton Hawaiian Village and got some shaved ice. I couldn’t get enough of that stuff! We watched the fireworks show at the hotel and then had dinner at Round Table Pizza. It was really good and the dough was delicious.

Last night, last sunset

I cannot get enough of the sunsets.

Pretty sailboats


We came back to our hotel, got some souvenirs from ABC and then started to pack for the trip back home.

Day 9 was a travel day and we said goodbye to the beautiful island and headed off to the airport. I don’t think I’ve ever been so sad to come home from vacation. I really hope to go back one day. We had the time of our lives (cue Dirty Dancing music) and enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you for reading my recaps!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hawaii Trip - Days 6 & 7

Day 6

We took it very easy today, since we’ve been running around like crazy all week. For breakfast, we went to Duke’s in the Outrigger for their buffet and it was decent. There were a lot of well fed birds that hangout at the restaurant. They didn’t bother me; I’ve just never seen anything like it. After breakfast, we relaxed in our room most of the day and had some cocktails.

Later in the evening we went swimming and then had a light dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (again, I know!). After dinner, we went to watch the sunset and then called it an early night.

Heading out for dinner

Day 7

Today, we went to Hanauma Bay and it was beautiful. It is a nature reserve, so they keep the beach protected. After watching the video (you have to watch before you’re allowed down to the beach) we learned that the area was formed from lava that cooled over time and the word Hanauma means curved bay. There are many species of fish in the water that thrive with all of the coral that is in the bay.

Hanauma Bay from the top

Us at Hanauma Bay

We made our way down to the beach and rented some snorkel gear. The water was somewhat murky when we were there, so we didn’t see a lot of fish. We only stayed an hour or so and then headed off to Waialae Beach Park. After we visited there, we went back to the hotel and swam in the ocean and then the pool.

For dinner, we went to a sushi/Cuban fusion restaurant called Doraku. Everything on the menu is made to share and we ordered a lot. To start, we had garlic edamame and I had the house salad with ginger vinaigrette dressing. It was so good. We then shared California rolls and I had chicken teriyaki and a Cuban beef roll. It was interesting having steak in a sushi roll. Geof had the Doraku Roll and Dragon Roll. He also tried some Nairagi (Hawaiian Marlin) sashimi and loved it. For dessert, we had tempura brownie and this ice cream that was covered in rice paste, called mochi ice cream. I know that it sounds a little strange, but it was delicious.

Heading out to dinner

One of our sushi rolls

After dinner, we shopped the Waikiki strip. We stopped in Tiffany & Co. and Geof was asking me to pick some things that I liked. He surprised me and got me an anchor necklace in sterling silver as an anniversary gift. It is so pretty and will always remind me of our vacation. I love that man! After we finished shopping, we came back to our hotel and called it a night.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hawaii Trip - Day 5

We planned an excursion today and went out on the Starlet for an Ocean fun & BBQ cruise. We took the shuttle from our hotel and arrived at our ship to set sail on the beautiful waters of Waikiki Beach.

Once we anchored, it was time to have fun! They have a slide that goes off the back of the ship and you plunge right into the ocean. There was an area for swimming and fun. They had a water trampoline in the ocean that you can climb up and bounce on. They had kayaks, floats and gear for snorkeling. We started out down the slide and swam around in the warm ocean. I made my way up on the trampoline and was watching everyone do tricks on it. I finally just decided to dive off back into the ocean. We met 2 really nice couples both from Ohio and everyone was asking where I got the huge bruise on the back of my thigh. I let them know that it was from the rock at Waimea Bay. It made for a good story!

We played around in the ocean and then decided to snorkel for awhile. There were some beautiful fish swimming about. We went back to the boat and had a BBQ lunch with hot dogs and hamburgers right off the grill. After lunch, they opened the plank and diving deck. I was a little hesitant to jump off after the day before but did anyway. It was quite a drop, but the ocean was very deep where we were at. I finally got the guts to dive off the deck and it was scary, but worth it. We used a disposable underwater camera, so I will have to post some pics of it later.

This tour was so worth it and we had a blast. I wasn’t ready to head back in at all. Once we got back to our hotel, we relaxed in the pool for a bit and then got ready for dinner.

Ready to head out to dinner

We went to The Cheesecake Factory and as always, it was very good. It was fun going to a familiar place even though we’re on vacation. After dinner, we went to watch the sunset and it was another beautiful evening. We walked around a bit and then called it an early night after such a long day.

Another shot of Diamond Head from the beach

Sun starting to set

Another beautiful sunset

So pretty

P.S. We just got back from our trip last night. I have a few more vacation recaps and then it will be back to normal. I'll be making the rounds and catching up with all of you very soon. I hope these posts aren't boring you too much!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hawaii Trip - Day 4

Geof and I decided to drive to the North Shore to checkout some of the beaches and sightsee. Our first stop was Waimea Bay. This beach is known for it’s beautiful water, big waves and cliff rock that rises up out of the ocean. Before we came on our trip, I watched videos on YouTube of people jumping off the rock and decided that I wanted to at least see it on my trip and possibly jump off myself.

Waimea Bay

We arrived at Waimea Bay on the North Shore around 10:30 am and the beach was rough. The waves were literally knocking us over even when we were just heel deep in the water. I have never experienced anything like it. There were some local girls climbing the rock and jumping off. I watched them do it a few times and decided that I was going to do it too. I asked the girls if I could follow them as they climb up the rock, so that I would know where to step and climb. I would say that the peak is about 40-50 feet up. Once I slowly made it to the top, I was asking the girls for any tips or tricks they had. They told me that I could jump anytime and if I wanted to I could wait for a big wave. They said that no matter what I wasn’t going to hit the bottom and that the water was very deep. I knew that I was already up there and the only way off was to jump. There was no turning back. The next tricky part before the jump is balancing yourself on the rock you jump off of. I don’t know when I have been so scared. I was terrified that I was just going to fall. Thank god I didn’t. I stood up, balanced myself and finally took the plunge. It was over in what felt like a second. Everything was fine until I hit the water and bent my legs forward. They smacked the water and it felt like my thighs ripped open on my right leg. It was a quick, sharp pain and finally subsided. I came out of the water and felt like I had done something really big that I didn’t think I could do. I will always have the video and this nasty bruise (at least for the next week)…haha. After the big jump, we went down the beach where it was a bit calmer and just treaded water and relaxed.

Here is the video of my jump. I still cannot believe that I did this!

After Waimea Bay, we went to the Bonzai Pipeline so that we could see the big waves and watch the surfers. The water there was beautiful and the waves we like nothing I have ever seen before. There were a ton of surfers out in the water and it’s the first time I have seen anyone take on a big wave. There may be a swell that comes in on Friday and if so, I’d love to head back up there to see the surfers take on some even bigger waves. Walking in the sand along the Bonzai Pipeline felt like walking in quicksand. My calves got a killer workout!

Me at the Bonzai Pipeline

Geof and I on the beach at the Bonzai Pipeline

The last beach spot we visited was Shark’s Cove. It was another beautiful place protected by coral and rock from the rest of the ocean. The word cove really suits the area. It looks like a lagoon and it is full of shallow water perfect for snorkeling. We made our way down to the cove, got in and snorkeled. There were some beautiful fish and the water felt fantastic.

Shark's Cove

Our last stop on our trip to the North Shore was the Dole Plantation. The whole area smells like fresh pineapple. We went through the World famous maze and Geof was my hero that followed the map so well and found all of the secret locations inside. It took us about 45 minutes to get through. The world record is 8 minutes. I have no clue how that was accomplished. After the maze, we headed inside the store to browse around. Geof got me the cutest silver pineapple necklace and we bought some fresh roasted pecans to snack on.

Geof getting ready to take us through the maze

One of the "secret" locations

Me outside the plantation

On the drive back to Waikiki, we had a late lunch at Jack in the Box. I’d never been to one before and for fast food, it wasn’t half bad. We made the trip back to the hotel and sat in lots of traffic the closer we got. Once we got back to our room, the hotel surprised us with a bottle of champagne and more banana bread as an early anniversary gift. It was very nice!

View from the highway driving back

Surprise waiting in our room

We cleaned up and took a walk around the main strip and then ended up having dinner at the Top of Waikiki. It is a revolving restaurant that gives a 360 degree view of the Honolulu/Waikiki area. The food was delicious and the view was amazing. It was a fun experience. We had the cheese fondue for two as an appetizer and I had the Kobe bacon cheeseburger Wellington for dinner. I finally tried a Mai Tai cocktail with my meal and it was okay. I think it was a little too fruity for my liking.

Ready to head out to dinner

Mai Tai

Our restaurant

Cheese fondue for two

After dinner, we hit up ABC to grab some things for the morning and then called it a night.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hawaii Trip – Day 3

We went back to breakfast at Hula’s and had Dan as our server again. He gave us his number and said we should get together on his day off…ha! Breakfast was excellent and I had a Belgian waffle with fresh pineapple and strawberry.

From breakfast, we got ready to head out to Diamond Head for our big hike. We arrived around 12:30 pm which was probably the hottest point of the day (not so smart). The crater looks so much bigger once you get to the park and realize that you’re about to climb it! The signs say that the trail is about 0.8 miles each way and takes about an hour and a half to complete. We began the hike and took breaks when we were feeling winded. Thank goodness for the recommendations to bring a big bottle of water and wear a hat and sunscreen. We would have suffered without these items.

Geof ready to hike

View about half way up. You can see the parking lot and how far away it is.

Looking out at the ocean about half way up

So pretty and the view just kept getting better

The hike was completely uphill to the top, with several flights of stairs (one of the flights was 99 stairs), an enclosed cave-like area and some treacherous terrain. Needless to say, we made it and the payoff was well worth it.

We met a few really nice people along the trail and got some wonderful photos. You definitely look at Hawaii from a different perspective atop Diamond Head. The mountains, the ocean, the landscape…everything looked like a dream. Pictures do not do it justice. I didn’t want to come back down.

I loved this lighthouse right on the ocean

View from the top

You can see our pink hotel from the top

We finally made our way back down, which was much easier than the way up. It was so nice to relax and chat with Geof during our walk. We really enjoyed ourselves and this was definitely great bonding time for us. Once we got to the bottom, we were wiped out and treated ourselves to a shaved ice flavored with coconut, pineapple and strawberry. It was so refreshing and just what the doctor ordered after our workout. We met a really nice couple from Vancouver and then all of a sudden the rescue helicopter headed to the top Diamond Head to get a hiker that was in distress. We don’t know exactly what happened, but there was a wife at the bottom that was saying that her husband did the climb and it had been a few hours. I hope that everything was okay.

Refreshing shaved ice

Helicopter going up for a rescue

We came back to the hotel and changed into our swimsuits to take a dip in the ocean. We were finally able to make use of our floats. It was so nice to chill on the water after our excursion. Where we were in the ocean, we had a perfect view of Diamond Head and I just looked at it in awe and couldn’t believe that I had climbed it just a few hours before I floating around. After the ocean, we went in the pool for awhile and just relaxed.
Later, we went to the Ala Moana shopping center and browsed around. It was getting late and we ended up having dinner at Assagio's (yes they really spelled it that way). It was an Italian restaurant and the food was good. We had Mozzerella in Carrozza (basically mozzarella sticks) as an appetizer and then I had chicken parmesan and homemade ravioli for dinner. For dessert, I had some of their homemade chocolate gelato and it was also very tasty.

Ready to head out shopping and have dinner

Another beautiful sunset

Sunset from our hotel

Mozzerella Carrozza

After dinner we were wiped out and came back to our hotel and called it a night.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hawaii Trip – Day 2

We started the morning out with a walk and then went to Hula’s in the Outrigger Hotel. We had a lovely view of the beach and enjoyed a delicious breakfast. They bake muffins each day and we shared one that was banana macadamia nut. It was still fresh from the oven and so delicious.

Front of our hotel

View of the beach from breakfast

From breakfast, we went to the beach and took a dip in the ocean. It was so refreshing and we stayed in for awhile. There were many surfers and paddle boarders. After we were done swimming, we laid out and relaxed. The Royal Hawaiian has a private area of the beach with lounge chairs and pink umbrellas. It was so nice to lay there and listen to the ocean.

View from our beach chairs

Once we were done with the beach, we went swimming in the pool for awhile and took on the waterslide. It was fun and we felt like big kids. After the pool, we decided to grab lunch and ended up at Senor Frogs. I felt like I was back in Mexico since there are so many of them there. We got a drink to share in a giant palm tree glass called a “Bahama-Mama” and shared some chips and salsa. They were yummy. For lunch, we both got carne asada tacos and everything was really good. Our server, Marco was a Miami transplant that moved here to surf. I have to give people that do that a lot of credit. You could tell that it was really his passion. He used the word gnarly more than once and it was cracking me up!

The waterslide at our hotel

Our Bahama-Mama

After lunch we walked around the shopping area and then came back to our hotel. I was feeling the time difference and decided to take a nap. It did me a world of good. Once I woke up, we got ready to head out to the Aloha Festival that was going on that night. There were many vendors serving up local food and selling their goods. The whole street was shutdown for this event. Every few blocks a stage was setup with bands playing traditional Hawaiian music with hula dancers. It was a lot of fun. We were getting ready to go to dinner and ended up stopping in the Coach store because I had a coupon that was about to expire. I decided no more bags and ended up getting leopard print flats. They are so comfy and I think they will be perfect for fall.

Leis for sale at the festival

Out at the festival

My new flats

For dinner, we ended up back at Hula’s in the Outrigger. This time we sat at the edge and had a beautiful view of the ocean at night. Our server, Dan was one of the best I have ever had. He had a sense of humor without going overboard and was very knowledgeable about the wine list and menu. He was even teaching me the difference between some of the chardonnay’s on the wine list. I had picked one from Sonoma that I was going to get and he talked me into another that was unique and very tasty. If we go back, I need to write it down so I can get a bottle when I come back home. For dinner, Geof and I split pork pot stickers and both got the seafood special they were offering that included scallops, shrimp, lobster tail and swordfish with jasmine rice. It was the first time that I ever tried swordfish and I really liked it. Our server said that we won the “customer of the night” award and brought us out a one of their special ice cream sandwiches. It was homemade vanilla ice cream in between homemade brownies. It was to die for. He only brought us half because we didn’t want to be wasteful and we’re already so full.

Geof drinking a tropical itch, complete with a Backscratcher!

Delicious dessert

After dinner, we came back to the hotel and called it a night!