Rewind to April 2016 when the Bestie and I went to Hawaii. She had never been, and my only experience in Hawaii was the women’s room in the international terminal of the Honolulu Airport (because they don’t let you pee on the plane when it’s stopped for fuel). Let me start by saying I didn’t get paid for any of the stuff I did in Hawaii (but I couldn’t ever get real work done out there anyway). Everything I write about is my own opinion and experience.
Let’s get started with Day 1…
We stayed at an Airbnb place in Honolulu, because everything we wanted to do was on Oahu, plus you see Honolulu all over Hawaiian advertisements and videos and such. First thing about Honolulu in April is that not only were the flights cheap (we paid under $400 each roundtrip from OAK), but also the weather was awesome. Even when it rained it was great (because even the rain was warm).
I fell in love with the food as soon as lunch hit. We found a health food place, Ruffage Natural Foods, down the street from our Airbnb (because the Bestie is a vegetarian/sometimes pescatarian) and I loved this food. It all tasted fresh and not “heavy,” like my go-to cheeseburger and fries. One way to cheat on food pricing when traveling with a friend? Order two different plates and split. We both got a variety of food without a crazy price tag. Oh, and I’ve learned to not tell the waitstaff you’re splitting; some places apparently charge for splitting dishes. Just get real friendly and pick off the other plate.
BeeTeeDubs — When planning for this trip, the first thing everyone told me was, “Hawaii is expensive.” I didn’t find this to be the case; the tax is about 4%. Coming from CA where the sales tax alone is almost 9% in my area, most items were cheaper for me. The impulsive buying expert in me found this to be a hinderance to my 50-lb check-in weight limit. I do understand how Hawaii can be expensive, but keep in mind that they have to import a lot of the things on the island.
After lunch, we spent the afternoon walking along Waikiki Beach. Definitely crowded, especially around the Hilton Waikiki Beach Resort. Clear water, white (HOT) sand, and EXTREMELY friendly people. Not kidding. Hawaiian people and tourists alike here are super friendly. Even someone as socially awkward as myself can find themselves chatting up strangers.
Fast-forward three hours and some sticky shaved ice later and the Bestie and I showed up to Kapiʻolani Park for a hula lesson. We met with Malia who runs Hula Hula Entertainment, and may I say, she is AWESOME! I had exchanged emails with her as I was planning the trip and scheduling the lesson, and she is very prompt in her responses and very informative. She is so sweet and such a great teacher. Malia is also incredibly patient, as I constantly reverse directions for left and right, and the Bestie has no dance background besides Zumba. We had an hour lesson to learn a hula to “E Huli Makou,” learn a little few Hawaiian words (all of which have escaped me), and play with a few Hawaiian instruments. She provides a Hawaiian skirt to borrow for the lesson and helped us snap some pictures at the park. We all had so much fun together that the hour zipped by. Malia was kind enough to send us pictures she had taken of us at the park, and now we’re all Facebook friends. Happily Ever After.
Dinner took us to Musubi Cafe Iyasume, a small place connected to the lobby of Aqua Pacific Monarch Hotel. We were lucky and found it to be quiet; according to a regular we met in line, this place is usually pretty crowded. Which I don’t think is hard to do, since there are only 5 or 6 small tables. Their dining area is about as big as an NYC studio apartment. Anyways, I thought the food was great. I loved the tuna poke, and the regular was eager to point out his favorite dishes that he recommended we try. I did enjoy the curry bowl he recommended as well. Forgive me, I’m not so great with food descriptions; it’s either I liked it or I didn’t. Any other descriptions are bonus. Oh, and I actually don’t like Spam, but when you go to a place that specializes in musubi, you have to try some. It was alright. But this place has a wide range of Spam musubi varieties, so musubi enthusiasts please visit. There are also cans of Spam you can buy here if you don’t feel like trekking it to the local grocery store. I had no idea it came in different flavors. I brought some home to give to people I think should have heart disease.
Island Vintage Shave Ice. Remember that name. It’s this tiny stand at the Royal Hawaiian Center (I think near Kate Spade), which I unknowingly passed twice because it was so inconspicuous. This was my favorite shaved ice in all of Honolulu (yes, I made it to the North Shore). The Bestie and I shared what I think was the “Heavenly Lilikoi” (did I mention that Hawaii is the land of words I cannot pronounce?). The photo is above, it might have been something else, I don’t know. It was dark and there were a lot of people. But one thing I remember for sure — it was SO good. I would have drank the melted leftovers like soup if people weren’t watching me.
HI is 3 hours behind CA, so I was pretty much exhausted by 10pm. We had an early day the next day, but more of that next time.