What I was hoping for had turned out to be what I was fearing. J was busy and couldnt meet with me, so I flew solo. My carefully selected hotel turned out to be exactly what I've wanted. Just across the street from the beach, with ABC store on the first floor, McDonalds across the other side, and Starbucks in 2 blocks, the room was big and not outdated. The lanai on the 31st floor (I've asked for a higher floor) offered spectacular views of Honolulu and partial ocean view. Except for the pigeons who werent afraid of humans, who came to rest on the lanai's edge, the hotel was all I desired. Oh, the cable signal went out on the last day but the TV was 40in flatscreen.
First order of business was to walk the Ala Wai canal. Many times I've been to Honolulu but never paid much attention to this area, behind Waikiki. This time I promised myself to check it out. The peaceful quietness of the place was a world apart from the busy, noisy Waikiki. And it's only 3 blocks away. The view of the north hills were gorgeous, and walking west, I turned my head a few times to check out Diamond Head behind me, basked in the late afternoon sun. Joggers and rollerbladers passed me from time to time. A Japanese woman pointed out to me a red crested cardinal. Multi colored with a brilliant cardinal red crown, a shy bird that didnt allow me enough time to whip out my camera to capture its beauty. And nowadays, who would have enough time to pause and admire such a tiny creature?
Last time I was in Honolulu I was with T and T in 2000. We stayed at the Ohana, top floor with views of the city highrises, hills on the north side and partial ocean view, just as spectacular, and I remember T taking night pictures with his camera set on long exposure. And of course McDonalds next door. I remember having McDonalds Portuguese Sausage and Egg breakfast, complementary from T, sitting on the lanai. This time I repeated the same except I was alone.
Waikiki hasnt changed much except for new hotels, same buildings but new names and owners. This time I walked all the way to the zoo and the other way to near Ala Moana shopping ctr. Swam every day. The water was warm but not clear and the sand irritating. This part of waikiki, the water was shallow and the waves gentle. Craving noodles I searched the yellow pages in the hotel room and discovered Ezogiku noodles, about 5 blocks from the hotel, but luckily the Royal Hawaiian Shopping center had a food court and Ezo was just right there. Their signature ramen and gyoza were so good, I had them for dinner 2 nights in a row. The food court saved me because being alone, I didnt feel like eating in a restaurant. Vaguely remember eating by myself at noodle houses back in the 80's. Now that I think of it, dont really remember how many times I've been to Honolulu. Without counting the first time in 1970 with the family, I think I went there alone twice. I remember staying in a hotel a few blocks from the beach and J stayed over 1 night with me. The room was big and with a lanai that overlooked a side street. Went there to escape. Not sure if that was the time or another time when I signed up on island hopping (pineapple farm in Maui, Lovers grotto in Kauai but dont remember if we stopped at the big island) and then spent 1 day in Mauai with a van tour driving to Hana. Later in 92 spent 2 days with M on a hotel on waikiki with no windows. The hotel was small but luxurious with only a small continental breakfast and no restaurnat. Made a fuzz, much to M's dislike, but got an ocean front room on the top floor. Met up with J and her boyfriend at that time, a baker, and had a nice drive (to the north shore?). It was a good trip. Probably my best in Honolulu. So all together, 5 times to the capital of Paradise!
And with 1 full day without plans, I rented a car and drove up the Pali highway and stopped at the lookout which had breathtaking views of Kaneohe Bay, and then after getting lost a few times, to the Byodo temple in the Valley of Temples near Kaneohe. The temple was almost an exact replica of Kasugaji in Nara, Japan. Then got lost again before finding the right way to Kailua and stopped by the Kailua beach, a gorgeous white sand beach that went on and on. Should have brought my bathing suit to test out that clear blue water. S had stayed there earlier in the summer and raved about Kailua. Nice busy town. Took the east route back and what do you know, should have gone all the way to the north shore instead, because the whole trip took only 4 hours, including time getting lost. All along I thought the route that J took me all those times was the east but boy was I ever so dead wrong. I remember the hills on the left and nice beaches on the right, with stop areas along the way. And I've always thought we went east. And do I miss those drives. Ah well, there'll be more times to Honolulu.
This time Hawaiian airlines went smooth. No delay, no birds sucked in the engine. But I was so sick on the way back. First I thought it was because I went out for a walk in the sun in the morning and thus precipitated my headache. But it got worse and worse, so I just tried to sleep on the plane. Then nasea and stomach pain took over the splitting headache. And I totally missed the meal and drinks onboard (the whole point of taking Hawaiian). I wondered if I caught a bug or because the airport shuttle AC was turned too high. Was freezing in the bus.
Like every single time I've been to the islands, I reluctantly left and promised to return soon. The islands have that effect on you. Even Oahu!