I consider Hawaii my home away from home. I always tell people that if I'm not living in Vancouver, I would be living in Hawaii. I love the laid back life style and the close proximity of the sun and ocean life. Hawaii, in a way, reminds me of Vancouver. The culture is very diverse. Besides Hawaiians living there, there are many other nationalities living there like the Japanese, Filipinos, Koreans and Chinese! Actually, I find Honolulu very much like Vancouver. Vancouver has many different nationalities living here, too. Hawaii is also a haven for multicultural food. Plenty of Japanese and Korean restaurants to choose from as well local Hawaiian cuisine and, of course, since it's a part of America, you can find your standard American food as well. Right on the Waikiki strip is a Cheescake Factory with normal wait times of an hour. I was told that this location is one of the busiest ones across all the states in the USA. I discovered many restaurants in Hawaii where there is a crossover of foods, like Hawaiian meals with a Chinese flair. I especially appreciated the many unique Japanese stores and restaurants that I don't see here in Vancouver. I only recently discovered Don Quijote. It's like a cross between a Walmart and a Japanese supermarket. I had a fun time browsing the aisles and checking out the Japanese goods that are not available here in Vancouver. There are actually quite a few Japanese speciality shops in Honolulu. I guess there is a market for it in Hawaii with a visibly large Japanese population and with so many visiting Japanese tourists. There are many Asian influenced stores even at the Ala Moana Center which is Honolulu's largest shopping mall. I bought some tea and a cute tea jug from a Japanese tea store there. I also found some Korean beauty products at the center as well.
Although I have visited Hawaii many times, this was actually the first time for me to go visit in the summer. I wasn't quite prepared for the heat. Low 30's with a humidity of 70%. I don't think I've ever sweated so much. Actually that's not true, a previous trip to Malaysia was an eye opening experience as far as the heat was concerned. Lucky there was still an ocean breeze. Apart from the heat, it's business as usual with many trips to the beach with some shopping thrown in. For this vacation, I first went to Honolulu for ten days before moving onto the Big Island to round out the rest of my summer vacation. I would say that this is my most activity oriented trip. I did many fun things and took a ton of photos which I'll post in three different blogs. Don't forget to check out all my outdoor adventures including snorkeling and ziplining in the blogs to come. http://deborah.oybsite.com/album/2441
This time during my stay in Honolulu, I visited Iolani Palace which was the royal residence for the rulers of the kingdom of Hawaii beginning with King Kamehameha III and ending with Queen Lili"uokalani. I was very impressed with many of the intricate details that went into the building of the palace including the intricate woodwork on the staircase and other areas of the palace. It's been preserved as best it could and was renovated in 1978 and was opened to the public to give visitors an idea of what life was like for the Royal Hawaiian family back in the day. Check out my photos for more on the palace. I also visited Chinatown for the first time on this trip. I didn't have time to stop and eat though. Maybe next time. I also went snorkelling at famous Hanauma Bay. It's one of the most popular tourist spots on the Island. On the day I went, there was a long queue waiting to pay to get in. The reason for it's popularity is the snorkelling and the colourful fish within this protected coral reef. I did see many different types of fish and also got incredibly sun burnt that day! No stop in Honolulu is complete without a couple of beach days on Waikiki Beach with Diamond Head in the background. Even though Waikiki Beach is man made, it didn't seem to bother the marine life. It was super fun to see a turtle pop it's head up next to the swimmers. I stayed in a hotel that had a really good view of the fireworks which takes place every Friday night at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. I've seen many fireworks shows in my time, but, never this close and from my lanai. It was really loud but fun.
I also love the shopping in Honolulu. I've noticed that many companies and some brand names make an "Hawaii exclusive", tea, coffee, handbags, jewellery, etc. I love these exclusives as many of them have a Hawaiian theme. I love Aloha wear and always end up with at least one top to wear with my shorts. "When in Rome..." or as in this case, "When in Hawaii...". As usual I over packed. I always feel that if ever one was to end up in Hawaii without anything you really needn't worry. There's everything you need in the shops. So, note to self, next time I'm going to go light and buy what I want there. Let's see if I can keep my promise. After 10 days in Honolulu, my family and I hopped on a flight and headed to the Big Island. I love the Big Island and consider it my favourite Hawaiian Island. I did many fun things including zip lining across waterfalls! Definitely a first for me! It's safe to say I don't have vertigo! Those photos as well as my other adventures in Hawaii coming up in the next blog. Here are the rest of the photos for Honolulu - http://deborah.oybsite.com/album/2441