Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hawaii Recap - Day 2

I slept amazingly well that first night in Hawaii and woke up early on Friday morning to the sound of ocean waves. Sigh. Did I mention I REALLY wish I were back there???

Anyway, Max went downstairs to the coffee shop and brought back some bagels, banana bread, pumpkin bread, and coffee for breakfast. Our plan was to go to Hanauma Bay for snorkeling, and then kayaking at Kailua Beach. Since we got up so early we just took our time eating and getting ready. That was definitely the theme of the vacation - no rushing, no stressing, just taking things easy! We picked up some underwater cameras, extra sunblock, and a few souvenir beach towels and off we went.

Hanauma Bay is located south of Waikiki Beach. It took about half an hour to drive there. On our way, we stopped at Leonard's Bakery, which is famous for their "malasadas" - Hawaiian donuts. Oh god, these things were delicious!!! Fried but very light and airy, and the filling inside was so delicately sweet. The special custard filling of the month was "guava." I've never had guava custard before but it was so so yummy.

Leonard's Bakery - very small and unassuming, but wow they make a mean malasada!

Guava custard filled malasadas!

After our second breakfast of malasadas, we headed straight to Hanauma Bay.

A bit overcast on the morning we went. It actually rained a little while we were snorkeling.

There were already tons of people there. It's a great place to go snorkeling - the whole bay area is a giant reef and you can see lots of different fish and marine life. It's SUPPOSED to be very calm, but on the day that we were there, it was somewhat on the choppy side, which made my snorkeling experience less than ideal (more on that later). When we first entered the bay area, we were ushered into a theater room where we had to watch a 9 minute film on some basic rules to follow in the water. Mainly - snorkel with a buddy, don't touch the fish and turtles, don't feed them and don't stand on the reef. Well, some of those rules proved easier to follow than others.

After the film we lined up to rent our snorkeling equipment - which included mask, the breathing tube, and flippers. I was relieved that for an extra $3, I could get a new mouth piece! Nice!

Max snorkeling!

Me snorkeling!

Snorkeling was...okay. Honestly, I had a lot of trouble breathing through the tube. I just wasn't used to breathing only through my mouth. Also, I had a hard time getting my mask to fit. I actually ALWAYS have trouble getting masks and goggles to fit. Last time I had to buy swimming goggles, I tried on every single pair and found the only pair that fit were pink and for children. I don't know if it's my face, or possibly other Chinese people have problems with masks and goggles (flatter faces?), but mine just kept leaking and fogging up. So, I had to keep standing up to fix my mask. And the only thing to stand on was the reef. So yeah, I broke that rule. A lot.

While Max saw the following:

I saw the following, since I spent most of my time standing up:

Max snorkeling.

Max snorkeling.

To be fair, I did see some fish but the thing is, I got scared of them and would try to swim away, which sort of defeated the point of snorkeling. I blame it on that 9 minute film, which, in an effort to stress the importance of not touching the fish, showed some scary images of some of the more dangerous creatures living in the reef. Between having a hard time breathing (started to get a bit hyperventilating-y), and the relatively choppy waters, I ended up having to swim back to shore after a little while, a feat that was hampered by the fact that my mask and tube had become entirely tangled in my hair. When I finally got to the shore, I felt rather demoralized. I mean, snorkeling is NOT supposed to be hard. And, it was rather embarassing, standing there on the beach like some crazed Medusa, with a mask and tube stuck to my head.

But, I gave it another try after resting for a bit. My second effort was considerably shorter - turns out snorkeling really tires you out! After about two hours we decided to pack up and go to lunch. Our next stop was Kailua Beach, which is on the opposite side of the island from Waikiki Beach. On our way, we stopped for lunch at a place called Fat Boys. We had asked the Kailua tourist center to recommend a place to get a "plate lunch" which is a typical Hawaiian lunch. It always consists of two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad, and your choice of a variety of entrees - chicken teriyaki, beef teriyaki, garlic shrimp, etc. Regardless of what you choose, they drown the plate with gravy. Max had roast pork and mahi-mahi, and I had roast pork and chicken teriyaki. Not bad, but nothing to write home about either (which ironically is what I'm doing at the moment.)

Our original plan was to kayak at Kailua Beach, which again was supposed to be a very calm beach, but I guess it was just going to be choppy everywhere we went that day. We were also exhausted so we just walked around and enjoyed the view. I have to say, I think it was the most beautiful beach I've ever been to. The sand was powdery white and soft, and the water was such a gorgeous color.

Max on Kailua Beach. I can't get him to stop making that damn face.

We headed back to the hotel after spending some time at Kailua. Our goal was to get back before 5:30 p.m. There was going to be a big festival in Waikiki that night, and the main street where most of the hotels are located on, including ours, would be closed off for 12 blocks. We got back in time, showered, changed and went down to the streets for dinner. There were a lot of local food vendors serving various kinds of cuisines, and numerous stages with hula dancers, Hawaiian musicians, and other performers. The atmosphere was great - tons of people roaming around. We had heard there would be around 40,000 people there that night - I believe that!

I chose a plumeria lei - it smelled so so so nice!

Performers on one of the many stages.

We settled for a Chinese "seafood plate" which while smelled good, was rather disappointing. Apart from two shrimp, where was the seafood???

Max foolishly thought he could block the camera with his chopsticks. Or maybe he was demonstrating his chopstick skills?

After dinner, we walked along the Waikiki beach for a little while. We were looking to pop in somewhere for a mai tai, but none of the beach front spots looked very good (particularly not the one where a singer was crooning Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" - talk about a party pooper). We finally decided the best place was, in fact, Duke's in our hotel so we ended the night there!


Anonymous thode said...

Have you ever considered being a travel writer? Or you could do one of those travel shows like "No Reservations" except it would be called "Mild Reservations" since you are kind of OCD and it would feature you sort of nervously approaching everything. Max can produce!

4:48 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

reading this is kind of like going on a mini vacation.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

I like Thode's idea. I love travel shows but always feel a bit chagrined that I'm not the adventurous type that can take on all challenges like most of the hosts. When Randy & I were on our honeymoon in St. Croix, we went on a sailboat/snorkeling excursion and despite the patient efforts of the tour guide to teach me to snorkel, I ended up waiting on the boat while all the others snorkeled. Very embarrassing.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous LaLa said...

Ha Ha mom, I was thinking about you in St. Croix while reading Sarita's story. Sarita, your pictures are gorgeous. I've never really considered Hawaii, but now I really want to go!

2:32 PM  
Blogger Sareet said...

Thanks for reading and posting all the comments guys!

I would love to be a travel writer. Or do a show, like "the Adventures of the Non-Adventurous."

I'm glad I'm not the only person who finds snorkeling difficult. It's HARD! My mask hurt my face, it got all foggy, and water kept going up my nose. Not fun.

I highly suggest that EVERYONE go to Hawaii at some point in their lives. It's so beautiful and relaxing there.

3:30 PM  

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