It was hard to leave the little island of Maui, which had won my heart with rain forest-like drives and sunsets that looked like they were from paintings. Our next stop would be Honolulu, a more urban-style Hawaiian island and also the most densely populated island of them all. We hopped aboard a full-size Hawaiian Airlines jet, which felt a little unnecessary considering the fact that our flight was barely 40 minutes. We took off, reached cruising altitude, and promptly began our descent. When we landed, we hopped an airport shuttle to get to our hotel, and we were greeted by a bracing reminder that we were no longer on a quiet island—traffic. Driving through downtown Honolulu on a Friday afternoon is about as unpleasant as driving across the George Washington Bridge at rush hour. After a grueling and painfully slow journey, we finally arrived to check in at our hotel in Waikiki. Our room had promised a “partial ocean view” which we were not terribly optimistic about, but when we saw it, we almost fell over. There was a balcony which overlooked a sweeping and unbelievable view of the sea, with bubbling whitecaps and bright sunlight. We were used to staying in budget motels during our travels and that view made this feel like the Ritz. Traffic–so very, very forgiven.
In an attempt to waste as little time as possible, we changed and left to find some lunch before hitting the beach. We picked a local spot on a side street called Heavenly, which was full of rustic wooden tables and offered an Asian inspired breakfast and lunch menu. We learned that acai bowls in Honolulu were more popular than cold-pressed green juice back in NYC–we saw them everywhere. So I decided to give one a try. It tasted kind of like acai berry sorbet and was covered with juicy pieces of Hawaiian fruits and fresh granola. We sipped on some berry-infused mimosas on the side, because it’s 5-o-clock somewhere.
Finally on the beach, we jumped into the ocean as fast as our mimosa-filled butts could go. The water was warmer than a bath and crystal clear. It was actually warmer than the water in Maui, if that is even possible. The tide was gentle and the waves were low, letting you bob up and down for a seemingly endless period of time. We snapped some photos mid-wave with an old school disposable waterproof camera that I’d found on Amazon, fearing that it had been sitting in the warehouse since the 90’s.
We actually have two friends living in Honolulu who we’d met through a mutual friends back when they were visiting NYC. Ironically, their apartment is 3 blocks from our hotel. Since we were staying smack dab in the most touristy and hectic part of the city, this was completely unexpected, so we made our way over there after we were sufficiently beached-out. Sitting outside their apartment door and sipping a drink, you forgot that just a few blocks away sat the “Times Square of Hawaii”.
Having heard about our affinity for Hawaii sunsets, they took us to dinner at Rumfire, which was so close to the water that the waves would occasionally splash over the rocky cliff and onto the sidewalk just outside. The sun teetered above the horizon as we sat among the lantern lights and snacked away on pork belly with scallion pancakes and parmesan truffled “tatas” (tater tots), waiting for the supposed weekly firework show in the distance.
“…Don’t get too excited about the fireworks”
One blast was heard, a single sprinkling of lights, and then a mysterious silence. Shortest (presumably malfunctioning) firework show that I’ve personally witnessed. We decided to stick to sunsets.