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Oahu

Posted on Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Dave!Honolulu is just a big city like most big cities except it has a really excellent location.

If you're into big cities then you really can't do much better in Hawaii than here, and I recommend it highly as a place to eat, shop, play, and (if you're lucky) work. The problem is that a big city is not really what people want to see when they visit beautiful Hawaii. Myself included. For this reason, I avoid Honolulu like the plague. I'd much, much rather spend my time just about anywhere except here. This usually means I end up on my favorite island, Maui, or taking side-trips to Kauai or The Big Island of Hawaii. I only come to Honolulu when work brings me here or I am changing planes or something.

Except...

For a very long time I had been treating the entire island of Oahu as if it were Honolulu.

All that changed one year when a colleague drove me to Oahu's East Shore for dinner and I was shocked to see that after you get outside of Honolulu, it's an entirely different world. Oahu is just as beautiful and amazing as the other islands... it just happens to have a big city on it.

So this trip I decided to not bail on Oahu the minute my work was over. Instead, I decided to stay here a few days and explore a bit.

And what better place to start than iconic Diamond Head?

Diamond Head Sign
It was a nice cool overcast day... perfect for hiking up Diamond Head!

Diamond Head Thistle
These cool thistle-like things were everywhere.

The view from the top is pretty spectacular
Looking down at Honolulu from the top.

Former bunker now a tourist attraction

The websites I looked at for Diamond Head had me worried to hike it with my messed-up back, but it was actually a pretty easy hike. I rewarded myself with a bag of fresh-cut pineapple spears when I made it back down to the visitor center...

Pineapple Spear at Diamond Head
Yes, it was insanely delicious, just as you'd expect.

Almost as cool as Diamond Head itself is how you get into the crater through a tunnel bored into the side...

Tunnel bored through the lava rock.
It reminds me of the Big-Foot alien's tunnel on The Six Million Dollar Man!

After that, it was time for fresh-n-hot malasadas at World-Famous Leonard's Bakery...

Leonard's Bakery Exterior

A box of malasadas.
Kind of a Portuguese version of a doughnut... but without a hole.

After stuffing my face with malasadas and getting sugar all over my rental car, I was going to go find a comic book shop for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, but decided to consult Gowalla to see if there were any cool spots to visit. First on the list? Beautiful Byodo-In Temple...

Biyodo-In Temple Oahu, Hawaii
The rainy weather actually made for a prettier visit with the fog in the mountains.

Then I decided to continue driving around Oahu's North Shore. Here I stopped at a number of different lookouts and beaches, with one of the more interesting being Chinaman's Hat Island...

Chinaman's Hat island Lookout
The island is that blip on the right-hand side there.

Chinaman's Hat Island
A better view of Chinaman's Hat.

Despite being fairly close together, the many beaches each seem to have their own personality...

Pretty Beach

One of the more famous stops was "Sunset Beach" which was fairly empty now but, during the Winter, is overflowing with surfers. That's when some of the biggest and best waves on earth arrive...

Sunset Beach

Eventually I got tired of beaches and made my way to world-famous Matsumoto's General Store... one of the best places on the island to get a shave-ice treat...

Matsumoto's General Store

Shave Ice at Matsumoto's
I got "The Hawaiian" which had a colorful variety of tropical syrups on top.

The shave-ice wasn't enough cold sugar for me, so I stopped off at the Dole Plantation for a Pineapple Whip. If I were hungrier, I would have got for the Pineapple Whip Float, which is drenched with delicious Dole pineapple juice...

Dole Pineapple Whip

Even though it was still fairly early in the afternoon, I was getting tired and decided to head back to my hotel for a nap. But then I saw The Bishop Museum was on the way, so I had to stop and take a look. It's a beautiful, beautiful museum which does a great job of documenting Hawaiian history...

Bishop Museum Interior
The Bishop Museum is SHARK EXTREME!!!

Bishop Museum Interior

Once back in my room, I suddenly realized I was hungry. Since I was dead-tired I thought I might just order in room service, but decided I couldn't resist the urge to have yet another Puka Dog! This time I downshifted to "Spicy" garlic-lemon sauce instead of "Hot" because I wanted the Maui Sweet Onion Relish to shine through. This made a good thing even better...

Puka Dog Relishes
Delicious Puka Relishes on tap!

   
And now... I'm done. Time to kick back and read a few blogs before bedtime. All-in-all it was a pretty great day. Despite the off-again-on-again rainy weather, Oahu treated me pretty well, and I'm glad I took the time to get to know her a little better. Hopefully tomorrow will be just a fruitful.

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Categories: Photography 2011, Travel 2011Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. Invader_Stu says:

    It looks like an amazing place.

  2. Lora says:

    I don’t know if you’re heading over to Maui this trip but if you are, have you been to the Hana Lava Tube yet? Excellent side trip, if you have the time.

  3. Sybil Law says:

    Awesome, awesome, awesome. Jealous, jealous, jealous! :)

  4. the muskrat says:

    So glad you got to explore Oahu! I’ve enjoyed it all 3 times I’ve been and have found different pursuits to enjoy each time. Many you wrote about above!

  5. martymankins says:

    As much as I adjust well to big cities, I felt the same way about Honolulu. I didn’t venture much past, until we got to Kona and the big island. Next time, I plan to visit the North Shore. And Leonard’s Bakery sounds like it needs to be added to my list.

  6. Corhusker64 says:

    Malasadas and pineapple Whip – it’s a true foodgasm….

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