I arrived to U.S. soil and a beautiful island to await me! I may have been one of the happiest passengers to get off that plane. I know I had one of the biggest smiles, walking thru the airport and that's a hard thing to beat when you're in paradise!
This would be the first time I was on Oahu renting a car and deciding on my own accommodations. In the past I either had been visiting friends or with a friend to share these living costs with. I wasn't thrilled to be coming from SE Asia's low prices and jumping into hawaii's higher costs. It didn't take long (a half hour, maybe?) before I was over it. I was where I wanted to be, home away from home and I had complete freedom to drive wherever I wanted to. I liked it! I rented a gray VW Passat that had a proper trunk so that I could have my backpack with me and out of sight to prevent break ins.
The car rental came out to around $27 a day plus fuel. If I wanted to stay in a hotel or hostel I would have had to pay extra to park the car there. So I decided to steer clear of those places plus they both cost more then my rental car per day! If you want to travel for a long period of time you need take these things into account.
The first 2 nights I had couch surfing accommodations lined up and the last two nights I wasn't sure of yet. I was considering beach camping out of the car.
First thing was first though! Once I got the keys to the car I changed into my swimsuit and headed to diamond head beach! The guy I was couch Surfimg with invited me to come out with him and 2 others to outrigger paddle.
Because I couldn't take a picture of us (3 guys and myself) in action I borrowed this from the web. But it's the closest photo to what we were doing and oh my gosh it was AMAZING! This sport is so much fun!!! Just that little taster got me hooked.
My new friend and couch surfing host and I left the beach a few hours later and headed for Banan, a food truck my friend Heather had told me to go to.
Side note; The 2 towers overlapping each other on the left is where I lived with my auntie when I was 19 and 20. I lived there and worked at 24 hour fitness in Honolulu. Seeing these buildings off the Pali highway brought back good memories.
We arrived to Banan! It lived up to the expectations I had for it after Heather had my mouth watering with her description.
This place represents all sorts of good! Delicious frozen banana healthy treats and a good for the environment outlook. They also have composting and recycle stations as well as compostable spoons.
You pick the flavor combination you want from the menu or you can create your own.
Across from the food truck they have a pretty chill seating area.
I visited this place everyday I was on Oahu and made it a mission to try all their flavors.
The menu board.
Can you tell I am absolutely obsessed with this frozen desert!?
After our frozen fruit desert I followed my couch surfing host back to his house so I could see where he lived. I got situated with my room and then headed out to Kailua to meet up with my cousin Ka'aimea (Mea) and meet her boyfriend and their new lil baby boy, Bohdi.
This is one of many views I don't get tired of seeing on Oahu. This is in the mountain side of Kailua. Driving thru the neighborhood on my way to the cousins house. They live right up against this mountainside. I've also heard there's a good hike up the side of it that I'll have to look into next time I'm visiting.
This is Bohdi. My newest cousin.
I met Ka'aimea at the family's house and met Cody (her boyfriend) and their baby boy. We went to Japanese Bbq for dinner that night and made plans to go to the north shore the next day. Moving right along as the dinner details won’t excite much, let’s get into the next day already!
On the drive to the North Shore I just had one request and that was to stop at the shrimp truck. Which one do you stop at thought when there are so many now to choose from? Well I prefer Giovanni's as it's the original.
This is a picture of the backside of the truck (the famous side?), you order from the other side.
Garlic shrimp with rice.
We headed on ward after our quick lunch stop. The next location we hit was Ted's bakery which Mea insisted we go to since I had never eaten there. Her and I shared a mango pastry and a lilikoi pastry, Cody had doughnut holes. What the bakery is famous for its Hawaiian cream pies but we skipped out on those.
A yurt buisness was our next stop. Ka'aimea had just bought one from these people and she was excited to show it off to me. Hers was going to be made in the next few weeks as they are all made to order.
The family who makes these also lives in this one. It duals as their home and a model yert.
The view from above their yert home. I'm standing above on a lani (Hawaiian for deck) that use to house another yert. The view was to good so they took it down.
After we lest the yert homestead, we headed to sharks cove, North Shore, Oahu. We picked this little spot of beach (behind me) and ocean, to hang for the day.
We stayed, playing in the sand and surf till the end of the day when I captured this little gem.
2nd and 3rd cousins but who really cares. A cousin is a cousin. Family is family!
I love tossing babies (safely of course!) into the air. I don't know what it is, probably the deep belly laughs I get in return! Bohdi loved it just as much as any other baby I've tossed. It was an amazing day to share with family. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to be able to travel and see loved ones as I move along this earth.
Im an adventure hiker and Hawaii has some pretty awesome hikes. There are a few that are still on my list and there's a few I enjoy enough that I keep going back.
This is the mountain that holds one of my favorite hikes, koko head. A staircase made of railroad ties that's 1106 steps to the summit. But who’s counting!?
This is me (captain obvious! I know!) at the start of the trail. The key is to just keep moving! Your pace will slow down but just keep moving to that next step. If you must stop make it a quick rest. 3, 2, 1… and get your booty moving upward again!
One of many beautiful views the summit will offer you upon completion. It's worth the trek, promise! I did this hike 2 mornings in a row. I'd love to be able to do it every morning, I mean wouldn’t you!? What a great way to get your day started!
On the second day of my koko head hike I also hiked PillBox in the afternoon followed by a jump in the ocean to clean off from the sweaty hot mess I had become!
I liked the artsy sign at the trail head. Reminds me of my friend Spencer's art style.
So the hike starts out looking like this.
Some will tell you that this is an easy hike and it is but a hike is what YOU make of it.
More of what the hike looks like...
I hiked this at a very quick pace got to the first “pillbox” (pictured here) and took a break for photos. I messaged my dad back in Oregon letting him know what I was doing, he did a GPS search on me thru the iPhone app, find my friends. He looked me up and informed me there was another pillbox above me. I wasn't aware of it honestly I thought there was only one pillbox. Haha! Guess it pays to have your dad occasionally track your every move!
Creeper dads are the best! Thanks dad!
The view along the way! I LOVE the Kailua (windward side) coast line.
So I made it to the 2nd pillbox and walked just above it, contemplate going on further. My cousin had told me you can keep going and make it to a lake.
As I was thinking about it, a man in his... Oh... 70's? quickly walked towards me and without stopping he said are you going further? I told him I was thinking about it and without skipping a beat he said, Well come on! It's always better with company!
I didn't hesitate any further, I just quickly caught up to him staying just a few steps behind. The man asked where I was from and a little about me. He informed me that he has 2 sons living in Portland Oregon so we instantly had a connection. He is Irish and a retired teacher in Kailua.
I mostly listened to him tell me stories about his life and family and I throughly enjoyed every second of that Irish acented story!
That's him! Such a sweet guy with a mission to power thru the hike! Seriously! I thought I was going to fall trying to scurry after him and keep up!
We didn't go in the direction of the lake but it was a memorable hike! I loved it, every minute of it!
We completed the trail coming out into a neighborhood and walking back to my car and his moped. As we said our goodbyes and parted ways we exchanged information and he told me he'd love to have me as a house sitter sometime as I seemed like the responsible type. I of course said, yes! And to call me. It's always great to have another reason to go back to Hawaii!
Acai bowls seemed to be a big thing for me on Oahu. Similar to how elephants ended up being a big thing for me in Chiang Mai Thailand. Weird how that works. Was all that just completely random information that I just gave you? Point is, I love a great Acai bowl and Hawaii THE place for these! I had some sort of fruit or Acai bowl everyday. Tropical, light, refreshing and healthy! What else did I need on a sunny day, nothing! Well, okay, maybe also paired with some vitamin sea. Like what I did there!?
Here's one of those delicious bowls of absolute goodness. It wasn’t one of my all time favorites though. Banan won my heart for the best!
My last full day on Oahu, Ka'aimea, Bohdi and I ran around doing an impromptu food tour and partial island tour.
We visited this cafe, Blue Tree cafe that my friend Jen discovered.
It reminded her or Portland, I agree and they make their own, well... Everything! Almond milk, kombucha, gluten free pastries and more!
Turns out it was also a cafe Mea had been wanting to go to for a long time. I couldn't decide on a smoothie so the awesome staff made me a sample of all 3 of the ones I was interested in. They don't normally do that. They also let me sample the almond milk and kombucha! Seriously! That was amazing customer service!!! I even asked them for their names so I could write a great review on them and the cafe. I definitely followed thru!
We headed back towards Kailua and stopped along the side of the road to watch the whales. They were being really active and we even caught one with a baby who just couldn't stay in the water! It was constantly jumping out and splashing around. Whale season here is breathtaking!
Mea and Bohdi.
The next morning I would be Hawaii (Big Island) bound. I would take my rental car back, shuttle to airport and catch the plane to the next island over. Ready for more Hawaiian adventures with more of my Hawaiian family