June 18, 2015

Hawaii 2015

It's been a while since I've posted anything. It's hard to stick to blogging when people you know are no longer into it. It also gets tiring and whatnot, but because I've been having a lot of downtime lately at work, I thought I should update you all on my most recent trip. At the beginning of May, I had the opportunity to return back to my favorite place in the world: Hawaii. The island of Oahu, to be more specific. I was able to enjoy a 10-day trip, solo, and it was amazing.

Because I had been there before, 2 years ago, I had already gotten a lot of the tourist things out of the way (luau, climbing Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, Kalakaua Ave, etc). Because I only stayed for 5 days on my prior trip, I didn't get to see the entire island, and that was my main goal for this trip. I also wanted to be able to live the Hawaiian life and relax, instead of cramming as much as possible into my days and exhausting myself. I also took the trip over my 25th birthday and thought it would be the best way to celebrate 25 years of my life: by myself, in the place I love the most.

Because I was solo, I was able to walk around aimlessly and make all the mistakes I possibly could, without feeling bad for toting someone along. It's something that I've always wanted to do and Hawaii was the perfect place to test my theory. The first few days were spent walking around downtown Honolulu, revisiting Ala Moana and just getting reacquainted with the familiar surroundings.

On this trip back, I booked my lodging through Airbnb and ended up staying in Honolulu for less than $100(CDN!!) a night. I did have a coupon offer however, that saved me even more, but I would have been paying around $100 a night...which is still a lot less than paying for a hotel. I ended up with a really nice, small, bachelor's apartment on Ala Moana Ave and was within walking distance to pretty much everything I needed. It was perfect!

The first place I visited outside of Honolulu was Kailua. I had briefly driven through Kailua during my previous trip, but hadn't gotten to explore anything. I had rented a kayak and did some kayaking for the first time ever on the Pacific Ocean. While it was pretty easy, I didn't last very long because we were hit with a little bit of a storm with high winds and rain, thus making me return to shore within an hour. After the rain had cleared and I had gotten some lunch, the kayak rental place was nice enough to let me rent a bicycle to cycle around the town with. I think I had more fun cycling around and taking in the beautiful scenery of Kailua and neighboring Lanikai, than I did on the ocean haha. I seriously began to question what I was doing living in Canada.

A few days later, I had gone on an island photography tour as a way to 1) get to see the entire island, 2) get to see all the scenic parts of the island, 3) learn some new photography tips. We started at 7am on the east coast of the island. There were lots of clouds and wind, which created a very interesting mood. We started at Makapu'u Beach and spent a few minutes here. It was absolutely beautiful and quiet. We stopped at a lot of beaches and lookout points. I couldn't believe how much beauty there was on such a small island.

One of the things that I wanted to do for myself with this trip was to get myself out of my shell and make sure that I didn't waste too much time being spent indoors. I won't lie though, it did get lonely at times, especially being in a honeymoon and family vacation destination, so going for many walks with my camera was a good way to keep myself busy. Oddly enough, I did get a lot of people applauding my bravery for being there alone or a lot of people thinking I was local as well haha.

The island is so incredibly rich in culture, especially from Asia and Polynesia. I was just constantly blown away by the preservation of all the cultures you could find everywhere you went. I even made the trek out all the way to Kaneohe to visit the beauty Valley of the Temples. It's so gorgeous that you wouldn't feel so bad about dying if you were to be buried in this place. I know I would love to be.

The main purpose of my visit to the Valley of the Temples was to see the beautiful Byodo-In Temple. For any of you Losties out there, it's the temple where Sun and Jin got married. It was beautiful! But a lot smaller than I had expected. You could even go inside the temple to be greeted by a giant Buddha statue and the fragrant scent of incense. There was even a bell on the premises to ring for good luck and a little gift shop as well.

A few days after my visit to the temple, was my birthday. Normally I am not a fan of such a day, but I figured since 25 is a milestone, I should suck it up and do something extra special. I woke up and treated myself to a tasty breakfast of a coconut macadamia soufflé pancake at a nearby restaurant. A few hours later, I was on my first ever helicopter tour!! I was so excited for it. I had originally booked my tour with another company that boasts having the doors of the helicopter off. Unfortunately they had to cancel my booking because their helicopters were out of commission for repairs. It was sad, but I wasn't going to let it ruin my day. I'm glad I went through with it because the views from a helicopter are stunning!

I had even gone to a concert that night to see local Toronto-based band Silverstein for the first time. I was so impressed that when I came home, I went to see them on the following Friday.

The next day I had made the 2 hour bus trip to the North Shore. Haleiwa, to be more specific. The little surf town was adorable! I walked up and down the little strip they had and visited a bunch of shops. I even passed by the infamous Matsumoto's Shave Ice, but wasn't in the mood to have any, despite the short line-up.

I didn't spend too much time there since there isn't very much to do if you're not surfing/swimming. It was still very cute and a very memorable part of my trip as well.

My trip was finally coming to an end, so I spent my last full day there shopping my heart's content. I was so happy that Lupicia was open this time around since last time I was there, they were closed for renovations. I picked up a bunch of tea and Hawaii exclusives as well. I did most of my souvenir shopping this day as well and managed to grab some things for friends/family. I then decided to walk over to the Hilton Hawaiian Village to watch the firework display, as a sort of send off to myself. It was really nice. I was so sad to be leaving...

Unfortunately my return home was a little stressful as I had almost missed my flight because the shuttle service I had booked had missed my stop, leaving me forced to take a cab. Ah well. The entire experience of the trip definitely trumps that little incident. I had a 10 hour layover in Seattle, WA to look forward to. Unfortunately it was overnight, so I didn't get to see much of Seattle. That being said, I think Seattle and even Portland are on my radar for my next possible trip.

If you're interested in seeing more photos from my trip, visit my Flickr page.


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