Friday, April 04, 2014

Oahu Hawaii: Beach Hops, Byodo-in and Pearl Harbor (Day 11-13)

Day 11 
We walked to Kalama Beach (10 minutes from our rental), and along the beach to Kailua Beach. Pleasant walk on soft sand. Saw heaps of kitesurfers. Back to the rental for a late lunch and napped with baby. She napped for nearly 2.5 hours and I was glad for that because sleep would help her recover from her cold. When she woke, we drove 20 minutes to check out Waimanalo Bay State Recreation Area. Apart from a pair of bodyboarders, we had the entire beach to ourselves. It was gorgeous. Soft soft sand, but bigger waves and windy. Stopped at Whole Foods for some groceries on the way back to the rental, and had pasta for dinner.

Day 12 - From Kailua to Haleiwa, Coastal Drive
Drove up the east coast, which was a very scenic drive. Stopped at Byodo-in, a replica of a 900 year old temple in Japan. We arrived shortly before 10 am, and there were only two other cars in the parking lot. About 15 minutes after we had entered the Byodo-in, the tour buses arrived, so I think we did well with timing! It has well manicured grounds, and probably would be very interesting to those who have never seen a temple before. We have visited actual temples all over Asia that are larger and that house practising monks, and don't charge a $6 per entry (they are free to enter), so we weren't blown away by the Byodo-in. By the time we left, the parking lot was full and cars were circling the lot.

We stopped briefly at Malaekahana State Recreation Area, hoping to spend some time at the beach there before lunch, but decided against it in favor of letting baby continue her nap. It was very windy and rough surf there.
Lunch was shrimp scampi from Giovanni's Shrimp Truck at Kahuku. It was good - decent size shrimp, well cooked and loaded with garlic oil that the two scoop rice soaked up nicely ($13 for a dozen shrimp).

Met up with hubby's brother at Waimea Bay and had a nice time at the beach there. We parked ourselves on the far left of the bay where we could watch people jump off the big rock into the water. Hubby also did some rock climbing on the cliff face fronting the beach. He didn't go all the way to the top - there seemed to be a homeless encampment on the ridge there. We all took turns snorkeling. There are two resident turtles.

Waimea Falls was next. I think $15 for admission is kinda steep. It was like an arboretum, with the plants all labelled with their scientific names.
Last beach stop was Sharks Cove where hubby went for a quick snorkel. He spotted a six foot long pipefish! He was very excited about that. The water that evening was calm and visibility very good.
Dinner was at Luibuenos - we ordered the fish tacos ($7 each) and were disappointed. The tacos were very small and not particularly tasty. Hubby's brother thought the tacos at Killer Tacos were better.

Day 13 - Pearl Harbor
As soon as we could, we left the rental for Pearl Harbor. Baby has been waking around 8 am, and we left at 9.30 am, after breakfast and doing laundry (a quick swish and rinse, then hang dry in the yard). We pulled in to the parking lot at 10 am and it was already full. Hubby dropped me off to try get tickets while he attempted to find parking. I got tickets no problem, which was pretty awesome considering how I'd agonized over dragging baby out of bed early to be first in line for walk in tickets. We visited the free museums at the visitor center and had lunch while waiting for our turn to visit the USS Arizona at 12.45 pm. Baby was unfortunately a little chatty during the movie viewing, but dozed throughout the ferry ride and memorial visit. It was a solemn time for me, and I felt close to tears thinking of those young men who died. An average age of 19 years old, they were just boys.

After the USS Arizona visit, we took turns seeing the Bowfin submarine. I found the kid's audio much more entertaining than the adult's one. We paid $6 each for admissions (reg $12), using our Entertainment book coupon.

Talking to the staff at the ticket and information counter, I found out that the busiest days are Mondays and Tuesdays, because that's when the tour buses come. The slowest days are Saturdays and Sundays. We visited on a Wednesday. The 1500 tickets allotted for walk-ins that day, ran out at 2 pm.

Picked up hubby's brother at Waikiki, and headed out to Hanauma Bay to snorkel, but found out on arrival that it was closed due to tsunami warnings. After taking some pics and seeing what we could see, we went to Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha for some shaved ice. It was delicious and refreshing. I loved the lilikoi (passionfruit), but the strawberry and mango were good too. That was followed by dinner at Mama Pho's next door. Meili ordered the kid's chicken pho and attacked it with gusto. It was okay for pho, the soup base much sweeter than the pho I've had in Vietnam.
Dropped Jeff off at the airport and said our goodbyes.

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