Thursday, April 12
4 AM wake-up call for a 5 AM pickup by my favorite driver, Younus. He drives for Dulles Flyer and has his own Town Car but runs the meter, so it's luxury travel for cab price. AND he has mints in the center console. He gave me his card once and now I never use anyone else. AND he texts. It's the little things...
|Dulles has futuristic trains|
12:45 PM 5-hour flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL). Sat next to an older woman sitting next to a big guy. They were not excited to get up every 30 minutes due to that drink I had earlier. She was friendly, though, and I found out she was there to visit her very first grandchild. Congrats! (.... sorry, can I get up again?) No sleep on this plane, but oh well, I got a lot of reading done.
3:36 PM arrival in Honolulu. (wait, did I just go back in time?!) Met up with Nathan in the baggage claim and we made our way to the Hale Koa in Honolulu. The place is gorgeous, though a little confusing (why would they have a revolving door in a place with no walls??), went out for appetizer-sized meals and drinks at Rum Fire at Waikiki Beach. The fish tacos were good, but they were the first ones of the trip (more later).
Friday, April 13
|Hale Koa Breakfast|
Lasted about 20 minutes before we decided to find some lunch, so we meandered through the shops (aka "stuff") and ended up having fish tacos (#2) at Duke's Waikiki (best fish tacos of the trip).
After lunch, rented some surfboards and hit the waves for a bit before getting beat up and exhausted. Back to the hotel to clean up, and then a fancy dinner at the Koa Lanai of the Outrigger Canoe Club, where we watched the sunset and enjoyed a huge dinner. It was still early, so Nathan called up some friends and we met up with them at the Modern. After lots of laughs and a random back flip (did he actually make it?!), we meandered back to get some much-needed sleep.
Saturday, April 14
|The hike up Koko Crater|
|The top of Koko Crater|
Finished the hike around noon and stopped at Wahoo's for some fish burritos. These things are massive. Delicious, but massive. You can not even imagine how gigantic they are. Nathan ate his AND the remaining fish out of mine. What a beast :) Rolled (literally, rolled) out of Wahoo's and headed over to the Honolulu Zoo, where we cracked up at the random awkward animals and I got to enjoy a particularly strange encounter between Nathan and a lucky goat. Unfortunately, they didn't set the zoo up very well for the public being able to see the shady parts (it's Hawaii.. you think the animals are supposed to stand in the sun?!), and it was hard to see a lot of the animals, but we still had a good time.
Done with the zoo and time to get ready for a sunset cruise on the catamaran, NaHoku II. It is a half rowdy, half relaxed crew with some strange backgrounds, but also an all-around good time with friends while getting to see Honolulu from the ocean. The views of the shore are amazing, especially when the sun goes down, and the breeze is refreshing. Back to shore and on to dinner at the Yardhouse, where we finished up the night with good food and some even better people.
Sunday, April 15
Back to the Hale Koa to get ready for the Wolfhounds Re-Deployment Ball at the Sheraton Waikiki. All the guys look so handsome and their dates all dressed up nice. They fed us well (chicken and steak... or chicken and chicken for me) and we got pictures taken before heading out to Rum Fire for a post-ball hangout with some of the guys. Exhausted by 9:30 (this was consistent for the trip), so we said goodbye (even got a "hurrah for Nate and his beautiful girlfriend!" as we passed) and headed in.
Monday, April 16
Up early for the buffet at the Koko Cafe (this is getting repetitive...) and a few minutes on the beach. Decided to pack up and check out so we could spend the day downtown, so after stopping by the craft market in the hotel lobby (more stuff!!) we jumped in the truck and headed toward "the city." After convincing Nathan he NEEDED it (yea, TONS of convincing...) we got massages at a spa in the city and then grabbed some tacos at a small place in the square. I had been DYING to see The Hunger Games, so he agreed to take me and we made our way to the Ward Stadium and walked around a bit before the movie. Enjoyed the movie and jumped in the car to head to the North Shore, which was about an hour drive along the most beautiful scenery you can imagine. At this point it felt like a dream!
|Nathan's room in Waialua|
Tuesday, April 17
|Getting ready to jump!|
Back to the house in the afternoon to cook out chicken and vegetables with Nathan's roommate out back. The night is perfect and the food great, and all I can think about is falling out of the sky. Naturally, asleep by 10pm.
Wednesday, April 18
Again with the work thing. Nathan was taking a hike with his guys for PT and I had quite a bit of work to do myself, so spent most of the morning answering emails, sending invoices, etc. He got home around 10:30 and made breakfast, which consisted of eggs, bacon, and potatoes, NATURALLY shaped like smiley faces.
|Turtle at Laniakea Beach|
Dinner was at Luibueno's, but the fish tacos still weren't as good as Duke's.
After dinner, Nathan, his roommate and I started a fire in the pit behind the house, and through some crazy stories and silly jokes, we just generally enjoyed the night.
Thursday, April 19
Nathan had PT again, I slept in until around 8:30. Woke up, did a little work, started to make some breakfast and he got home, so we grabbed some Thai food at Haleiwa Thai and then rented snorkeling gear at Shark's Cove. With the fear of burning to a crisp from forgetting suntan lotion, we threw on our gear and floated around the cove for a good hour. The water was chilly but the fish were beautiful, and with Nathan's GoPro we were able to take a few.. interesting... videos!
A stop at Surf N' Sea for some Haleiwa tshirts and "stuff," and back to the house to change for dinner. Dinner was great at the Shack in Mililani with a bunch of the guys and their wives. Of course Nathan always runs in to friends at these restaurants, so we stopped to say hello and I was able to re-live my "falling out of the sky" moment with guys who were going for the first time the next day. Back to the house to pack, and bed at 10.
Friday, April 20
|Waimea Canyon, Kauai|
|Dinner in the condo|
|lizard in a coffee pot!|
Saturday, April 21
|Hiking the Kalalu Trail|
After eating our packed sandwiches, we attempted to jump in to swim around the falls, but the water was FREEZING. Nathan jumped in (naturally) and swam around under the water fall while I took pictures of the scenery and gripped my phone for Nathan-throwing-me-in security. Left the falls and hiked back, then spent some time at Kee Beach (where I had no phone for safety) and drenched, found our way back to the car.
Stopped at Bouchon's for lunch, and realized how nice it was to just sit for a bit, then looked at "stuff" for a while, and finally headed back to the condo to recover. Dinner was done at home again (another high-five) and consisted of guacamole with chips and pizza, which we devoured. Started storming outside, so we watched some "Shark Tank" on tv and passed out around 9:30 listening to the rain.
Sunday, April 22
|Queen's Bath, Kauai|
Woke up around 9 and made ourselves breakfast, then wandered down a trail behind the Sealodge condos to a private, reef-protected beach to snorkel. The fish were sub-par compared to Shark's Cove, so we packed it up and drove to Queen's Bath, which is this ridiculously scary area of lava shelf where people sometimes swim. When I reference the scary part, I mean, when you get to the bottom, there is a board with a warning that is carved with tally marks for the deaths that have been caused there. Awesome.
|Nathan at Queen's Bath|
You can tell it's dangerous by watching the ocean pound against the shelf, sending sea spray shooting up and over the rocks. Nature at its finest. Took lots of pictures but didn't swim, though some people were in a small, calmer-looking pool of water. It was too cold.
|The Nene, State Bird of Hawaii|
Of course my flight back to San Francisco was delayed 2 hours until 1 AM, so we napped in the truck and headed to get me checked in about 12:15. The airline was nothing but nice about everything, and even gave Nathan a gate pass so he could go back with me. My bag was over 50 pounds, and they let me go with a normal bag fee, so I can't complain there. But, the farewell was no fun, and since we were both up wayyy past our bed times, we were exhausted.
Monday, April 23
Made it to San Francisco around 9 AM but had missed my connecting flight, so had to stand in line for a reschedule. The reschedule got delayed 2 hours, so I ended up hanging out in the airport for about 4 hours. Had to call the kennel to add an extra day to Keana's board since I wasn't going to make it to closing time, which was a bummer. Came time to board the final flight and no one was around, so I checked the screen and it had been moved, so I ran to the gate and was boarded right before the doors locked. Almost missed it! Slept most of the flight and arrived at Dulles around 10 PM.
Grabbed a taxi ($60 later) to my parents' house, walked inside, and the house was EMPTY. My parents were on vacation and the floors were being redone, so there was no furniture, the kitchen was all taped up, the heat was off, and all the doors upstairs locked. So I dragged my suitcase upstairs and used a paper clip to get in the bedroom so I could just sit and mope for a bit. (Funny side note: My parents had a camera set and it recorded my entire time in the house, which included about 20 different times of me trying to set the thermostat, and one hilarious video when I found the camera.. whoops!).
All-in-all it was a fantastic trip, and I'm excited to try and make it back there soon! We had a great time, and if anyone is interested in some suggestions I would be happy to help. Nathan will be back on the mainland next month, so I'm going to have to start coming up with some fun things to do in DC!
Aloha and Mahalo,
Honolulu on Dwellable