Last week I had the most wonderful vacation in and around Honolulu, Hawaii. We mostly stayed in the Waikiki Beach area and on Oahu (no island hopping) due to our reason for going in the first place: new baby in the family! My brother (who is in there studying at the university for a master’s in food science) and his wife welcomed a baby girl on August 13. (Sorry, no pics—I feel weird about posting photos of other people’s kids.) But I can tell you she is the cutest, sweetest little baby girl ever, of course! So says her proud auntie, at least! :)
Anyway, here’s a breakdown of our activities (besides baby holding, cooing, and cuddling) all week:
Lots of beach time at Waikiki, even squeezing in a little reading! Waikiki itself is an exceptional tourist trap—lots of high-end stores, chain restaurants, etc. But it’s fun, lots to do, and at the beach the salt water (and basically just being there!) is incredibly restorative.
Hiking up Diamond Head. This state monument is a dormant volcanic crater, which has a lot of military history and breathtaking views.
Chief’s Luau—cheesier than Wisconsin, pretty touristy—but a lot of fun nonetheless! Excellent dancing and drumming, and super entertaining. The best part was that it made me want to learn more. I wish I had had time to go up to the Polynesian Cultural Center. Maybe next trip!
Yoga on the beach at sunset. I highly recommend Karen’s class if you’re ever there! I felt so centered and refreshed afterward.
And definitely the highlight (not counting my niece and family time, of course): Pearl Harbor. I was so moved by the memorial to the USS Arizona. Very emotionally powerful. Think of the Vietnam Memorial, if you’ve been there—it’s a similar vibe. You can see the ship below the memorial, which is propped above and has the names of the men who died on the day of the attack, December 7, 1941, including the 900+ men that are still below, inside the ship. Visiting the site was perhaps extra special for me since I went with my father, a Navy veteran. He gave me some insider perspective on what it was like to serve and live on a ship (although he was on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War, not a battleship) and all the dangers you’d face, in the midst of forging bonds of camaraderie. He said that fire on the ship was always the greatest fear, because you’d be forced to shut the hatch doors on your friends, for example. Honestly, mere words are so ineffectual here—I’m not doing the experience full justice. But if you are ever on the island of Oahu please make a visit to Pearl Harbor a priority. I can’t recommend it enough.
Although I wouldn’t say Waikiki was necessarily a culinary destination, I did have poi (ok never having that again: taro root base, a pasty texture and particular sweet-and-sour flavor while still pretty bland), Spam musubi (like a big piece of sashimi with marinated, sautéed Spam instead of fish. Not bad!) and some really fabulous fruits and sushi. My parents were able to extend their trip for a second week, but I had to come back home after just one. But! I’m planning to return over the week of Thanksgiving with my husband if we can swing it, and I’m already forming a list of things I want to make sure to do when we go back!
[Photo credits: All © Kristin Shafel Omiccioli / mylittleheartmelodies.com, except top two photos in yoga collage from Beach Sunset Yoga Hawaii's Facebook page.]