Saturday, March 08, 2008

We see the world - Hawai'i

I wanted to do a cute little picture blog on our Hawai'i trip. But I very well knew, I would be eaten live by things happening around me and never get to it, so I used to jot down main points everyday while we were there. So finally that set of notes comes to the rescue.

There are some things I absolutely have to say about Hawai'i.

1) It was terribly sad seeing how tourist-oriented it was. We wanted to see some native habits etc, but all that we could do was settle with a Canoe Pageant at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

2) The one and only thing I absolutely loved about Hawai'i was its tropical weather. So much like India. Hot, and abound with life. Coconut vendors on streets and Guavas to pluck along the roads:) Smiling all the way!

3) Spotless scenic views. So much so, at the end of the day, we had a complete overdose of it. But it was fabulous and very much out of this world!

4) Hotel accommodations were extremely difficult to come by. I think I gained at least a dozen gray hairs while I was trying to get a hotel accommodation in Maui.


-Oakland Airport - had dinner at 360 World Burritos
-Honolulu @ 11 PM
-Alamo - We had to rent a car.

And if you are going to Hawai'i in peak season, the best way to get an upgrade is to rent from Alamo. They will definitely not have an Economy car, and will show you their fleet and ask you to pick which one you like. We had a convertible Beetle at the Honolulu location which we wanted to rent, but we found its tires were bad. We took the second one and found something else that was wrong with it mechanically. So we finally settled for a Sebring convertible. If there is one American car I am a little partial to, its the Sebring. It was my first rental vehicle ever. I remember I rented a Sebring in April 2003, to go to Wisconsin Rapids for an interview. The guy gave me a convertible in the middle of a snow storm and I was aghast as to what I was supposed to do with it;) But now we are in Hawai'i and I know exactly what to do with a Sebring convertible!!

-Maile Sky Court - Since we only got two days at our Marriott, we had to stay at some hotel (ohh, those high-season combined with Valentine's Day week woes!) We paid for Parking and took our keys, took the stuff up to the room and slept.

-Check out, walk to iHop, breakfast, walk to Waikiki beach,
-Drive to Iolani Palace, get back, check-in at Mariott
-Buy glasses etc, go for lunch at Keoni
-Get back to room, get ready, go to Fossil
-New Watch!
General walk around the area, back to room


-Get an early start, plan is to go to the North shore of Oahu.
-Get on I-H1, pretty heavy traffic, decide to take a detour and go around the island
in a counter clockwise direction than the original planned clockwise direction.
-Take the Pali Highway, HI-61. Beautiful views, green lush mountains all around hiding their heads in clouds.
-First stop = Pali lookout. Historic significance. Beautiful views. Awesome. Back on highway 61.
-Drive around island along coast, stop at replica of old Japan temple. Beautiful location, quaint temple.
-Get back on Highway, stop at coconut vendor. Gift shop. Got corals and a beautiful red dress.
-Stop at Subway to pick up subs, starts to rain, get on the road immediately.
-Get to Polynesian center. Finish lunch and start. First canoe tour, next IMAX film, next Canoe pageant. Got shell garlands at welcome!! Yay!!
-Get back on road after four hours. Sunset beach. Hour and a half to sunset, lounge around, walk etc, take in sunset views and get back on road to Honolulu
-Just before getting on H1 from H2, cop stops. We talk our way out. Get away with just a warning. (71@55)
-Get back to hotel, freshen up and walk to Indian Hotel (Bombay) @ Ala Moana. Great food. Elixir for parched souls. Get some take out as well.


-Get a little late (getting used to Hawaii time zone now ;) ). Finish Bombay's food for breakfast, check out and get to Pearl Harbor.
-Finish Pearl Harbor and get to HNL airport for flight to Maui. Some interesting rushes, didn't find Alamo's return spot. I go ahead and check in while Subhash returns car. etc etc
-Maui's flight is half an hour! Like a taxi. Good views of Molokini crater and Maui from flight
-Maui much more beautiful than Oahu, even on first sights.
-Check in to room, after a good beautiful 45 minute drive from airport. Amazing room with ocean view. And Lanai.. Wow.
-Mulligatawny soup and Bisibele bath and Chinese fried rice for lunch. After sunset sit to write notes and go grocery shopping.
-Sit on pool chairs along ocean and talk :) (I remember we mostly talked about our impending India move. - 5 March, 2010)
-Boiled some eggs and had bread with Rajma :)


-Sunset sail to Lanai.
-Wake up early get ready attend orientation breakfast, get some useful info (island is Molokai'i and not Oahu;) ) and get to Lahaina Harbour.
-Sail well, watch whales, plenty of them. Stop within 100 yards whenever whale is sighted.
-See Sweetheart Rock.
-Get off at Lanai, take plantation tour. Had not known that Lanai was privately owned. Went from Plantation town to private town.
-Get back to beach, will snorkel.
-First attempt was disaster, both went together, I was very scared I came back. I got a thorn stuck in my toe and it took sometime away from the activity.
-I finally got back and asked Emily to help get on,went alone with her on the surfboard.
-Saw lots of coral!!
-Got back around 3, washed, had lunch, lounged around for sailboat to come back
-Saw some more whales. Conditions were good for sailing, so sailed. Had ice cream. Wind was beating and it was terribly cold!
-Got back to Lahaina Harbour around 7. Went back to room. Made omelettes and had them with rice and Dal Makhani.


-Had two options, to cover Haleakala or Hana. Decided to go to Haleakala. Drove up. Reached around 12. Beautiful views.
-Got back down around 2.30. Wanted to eat some place. (Had noodles for breakfast along with some cereal) Decided to go to Fresh Mint in Pa'ia. It came up as a result for Indian food. Went to Pa'ia around 3. Turns out restaurant opens only at 5. And it was a vegetarian restaurant. Such a pity!
-So walked back towards the car and saw a Moana Cafe which looked decent. Food was ok. I had a spicy Thai (astonished the waitress and the chef by ordering extra chilli paste for it) and Subhash had the Potato cakes (they were perfectly made cutlets;) ). Did some window shopping. Got going. Decided to cover the south side of Maui as well.
-Drove past Kihei and stopped at the Wailea shops. Very disappointed. Its just like Valley fair, where I was expecting something like Waikiki's shops. Walked to Wailea beach, its a very small one and had a snobbish air to it. Very wealthy neighborhood, built for totally upper class people. Didn't like it very much. Subhash got some coffee at Lappert's and we headed back.
-Got to the room. Had to check into a new one, it was 8 by the time we reached. We decided to go out for dinner after checking in but when we checked in we were too tired/lazy to get out of the room. So we had some Palak Dal with bread along with some fried rice.


-Today was the day to do Hana our only chance because we are leaving tomorrow. I wanted to take the "shorter" way along the northwest coast of Maui, since we were now in Napili and I didn't want to drive all around on the same path along Lahaina to Kahului and then to Hana. So we researched a bit and read about the "Road Less Taken". How Hana got all the hype for being the tough road where this was much tougher. We read on the Hawaiian airlines website that the road was repaved and was not dangerous anymore as far as road conditions went. Subhash felt up to it and so we decided we would go with it. I never wanted to go all the way to Hana anyway, so we decided we would drive up to a certain point in time and get back.
-Subhash was the only driver on the car as I didn't drive at all in Honolulu and we decided not to waste money by adding an additional driver ;)
-We wanted to have the famed banana pancakes at the Gazebo restaurant in Napili Shores but the wait was 45 mins and we were already running late so we decided to try some other place for breakfast.
-Subway and Maui tacos. Packed subs for on the way and had Haiku in Maui Tacos finally in Maui! (Earlier had it only once in Minneapolis airport)
-We left around 11 and decided to get back by 5. So that meant, go further along till 2 and turn around at 2 wherever we were.
-Started on the Kahekili HWY. First stop we saw some whales in the ocean. Drove along, very beautiful views. Stopped at Julia's banana bread stall and at an art gallery. They were both amazing. Overall a well worth it drive. We got to Kahului around 1 PM.
-Since we had 4 hours to get back we decided to do Hana till 3 and turn around at 3 so we could still catch the sunset at Ka'anapali beach. Hana was beautiful too. But so hyped that we probably didn't appreciate it as much.
-Keane'e was where we hit 3 pm, we drove down to the peninsula and checked out the awesome views and turned back, keeping to our time ;)
-Found a cove between hills along the way decided to stop and check it out. Pulled over at a spot where we found a walkway further down, and just walked. It was quite exciting. As it was a rain"forest" I was scared of some wild animal rushing out :P
-We decided not to stop any further ( I guess we had an overdose of scenery and pretty spots;) )
-Plucked guavas and flowers on the way back and also saw a peacock on the way back.
-Reached home around 5.30 and changed and set out for Ka'anapali beach. This is the only decent beach we found, long and somewhat sandy. Walked around for a little bit, got back in the car and went to downtown Lahaina. Window shopped for an hour before having dinner at Longhi's and shopped for a little bit (Maui Rain was before dinner) after dinner. Got back to the room and hit the sack. We have to leave early tomorrow.


Last day...
-Got ready and packed up by 8 and left for the airport. We had a 10.30 flight into Honolulu which arrived at 11.10 and we had a 3 pm flight back to Oakland. We decided to have breakfast at the airport. Stopped at the airport got gas for the car and some coffee for my chauffeur;) I almost finished that yummy banana bread we got from Julia's.
-Flight delayed by half an hour. Spoke to Trilok in the airport. Finished the banana bread completely, now I didn't need any breakfast ;)
-Got to Honolulu on time took care of that Agricultural inspection, got some souvenirs for friends at the airport.
-Had a pizza at Pizza Hut and a Burger at Burger king for lunch and headed out to the gate. Waited for an hour and boarded the flight.


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