Hawai’i On My Mind: A Few Of Our Favorite Things

Not that we’re experts in Hawai’i or anything (especially since we’ve only ever been to one of the islands together), but, to paraphrase our friend Rosie, we know what we like and we like it hard.  So the following are some of the things that have been dancing in our heads as we grow ever restless for our Hawai’ian vacation:

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Sunset drinks at The Edge of Waikiki: We stumbled into this patio bar at the Sheraton Waikiki resort after its neighbor restaurant removed some of our favorite items and went scrambling for a place to get a drink.  What a find!  The Edge, sandwiched between the Sheraton’s infinity pool and the Pacific, has by far the best sunset views of any bar in Waikiki.  And the drinks are so bleeping strong that, after two. I was literally falling over in gift shops and politely asked to leave.  We can’t wait to see Lynn again, our favorite server!

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The steak plate lunch at HI Steaks: Like Las Vegas, the cost of eating in Hawaii can start to add up, and most places you can go to grab a quick bite in Waikiki are overpriced for the pretty mediocre food you get. On our last trip, as I was starting to get fed up with the lack of quality options, we stopped in the local Foodland supermarket on the way back to our hotel when we decided to try their counter-service HI Steaks.  And it just happened to be the best meal, hands down, of anything we’d had on that vacation.  Perfectly cooked steak, seasoned rice, AND a spinach salad for $10? (And it didn’t hurt that Lance’s Hawaiian boy crush, seen above, worked the register on every visit.)

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You know, natural beauty and stuff: This one is obvious, but between gorgeous sunsets, Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Waimea Falls, or various racially-insensitive islands, Hawai’i is a treasure trove of beauty.  Point-n’-shoot cameras don’t really do it justice.

collage4Bold-ass birds: There are a lot of birds on the islands, including wild chickens, peacocks that roam around the Waimea Botanical Gardens, or seagulls who will hop right into your hotel room and steal your food when you aren’t looking.  We dubbed them, “bold-ass birds,” because they get closer to humans than we’ve ever seen on the mainland.

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Yup, I”m pretty cool.

Uncle Bobo’s: We went to Uncle Bobo’s Smoked BBQ in Ka’a’awa based on the recommendation in the O’ahu Revealed travel guide.  And it is no joke the best barbecue I’ve ever had.  It’s a little shack-y type establishment next to a post office, just across the street from the beach; it seems a little dive-y, but isn’t that how BBQ is supposed to be?

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Shave ice and Yogurtland: Yogurtland is by no means Hawai’i exclusive (I don’t even think it’s Hawai’i born), but the first time we stepped into this self-serve froyo chain was in Waikiki, so it has a strong association with Hawai’i for us (it is, no doubt, the best chain froyo out there, too).  Then there’s Hawai’ian shave ice, too, which is basically where a huge chunk of ice is, duh, shaved down and served like a sno-cone and doused in sugary syrup, sometimes over ice cream.  These treats are a steal at about $3 (sometimes more if you add on a whole bunch of flavors).

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Fruit stands: Roadside fruit stands have the best, freshest pineapple you’ll ever have…and you’re supporting a local business!  Look at you, hippie!

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Being cute: Lance is no happier than when he’s in Hawai’i.  I can’t wait to see that smile on his face, even if his teeth are all brown and yellow.  Ick.

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Travel Tuesday: On A White Sandy Beach in Hawaii

IMG_1144Prolonged absences from blog posts be damned!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, yos (plural for “yo,” an old-timey word mostly associated with Yo! MTV Raps), but between taking classes and various other life distractions, the blog was regretfully put on the back-burner.

Once such distraction that I’m not sad about was a business trip to Hawaii a few weeks back.

Several of my co-workers and I were accepted to a conference on the Big Island.  Now, I felt incredibly fortunate to have already vacationed in Hawaii twice in the past three years, but I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to go again, especially to an island I hadn’t been too yet.  I ended up giving three presentations at the conference blah blahblah

…Okay, nobody is here to read about that.  You’re more interested in how Lance responded to my business travel, yes?

Now, keep in mind that Lance’s fave place in the whole world (close runners-up include Las Vegas and the Bath & Body Works test-scent store in Johnson City, Tennessee) is Hawaii.  When it was confirmed that I’d be able to go to a conference on the Big Island, he was very, very excited to go, as it meant that all we’d have to pay for our of our own pockets was his airfare and food.

Unfortunately, as we started looking into flights, the airfare began skyrocketing into the $1300-1400 range, which was a little steep for the four days we’d be there.  We begrudgingly decided that I’d go to Hawaii without Lance. Lance’s consolation prize? That we’re going to Hawaii for a ten-day vacation in August.

Still, it’s not like Lance was super-content with me jetsetting to a tropical island in the sun without him.  He barely held it together as I began posting photos on Instagram:

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Soooo he wasn’t handling it with the utmost dignity. Especially considering the late-night Domino’s run.

Anyway, between crazy conferencing at the ENORMOUS Hilton Waikoloa Village (which had both a dolphin and turtle habitat, not to mention a MONORAIL), we squeezed in a lot of fun little activities, and took lots of iPhone photos carefully edited to not reveal any of my secret pudge.

I’ll let the photos (mostly) speak for themselves:

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Akaka Falls
Akaka Falls

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Kilauea Caldera, the most active volcano on the planet…which was apparently taking a nap while we were there. No dangerous lava flow for us :’-(
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My co-workers Kelly and Terri and I, excited to experience one of the Big Island’s 11 climate zones!!!
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A traditional plate lunch at Cafe 100 in Hilo, Hawaii, with macaroni potato salad and Portuguese sausage
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Lava Lava Beach Club

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Hapuna Beach
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Pololu Valley

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Pololu Valley Beach, made up of black sand and lava rocks!
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Pololu Valley
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Petroglyphs, rock carvings done by ancient Hawaiians
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The coffee plantation we visited high up in the mountains. They make their own fertilizer to grow the beans in (featured on “Dirty Jobs”!)
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Mountain Thunder Coffee Planation (cameo by chicken)
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Our last stop before catching the plane home…Kona Brewing Company’s brewery and pub!
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WILD CHICKEN!