One of the foods on the you-must-try-this-when-in-Hawaii lists is shave ice. (Not SHAVED ice, but shave ice.) One of the most popular places to get your shave ice is at M.Matsumoto. The place was busy
Being a person who needs my ICED tea as soon as I get up in the morning – I knew I would like this AND I did. A. Lot. Shave ice is kind of like a glorified snow cone, but not really. The ice is shaved thinner and the flavors are stronger.
And truly it’s a place not to be missed.
As we sat in the courtyard, enjoying our treat, the sun was going down in the West (Duh! Seldom does it go down in the East.) The night was beautiful and I perfectly understood the lure of the Islands.
The next day was a long flight home … in time for another conference journey – this one about as far across the country as you can get.
So one thing I haven’t talked about on my Hawaii posts is the lady who sat next to me on the plane from L.A. to Honolulu. As soon as I sat down, I was instantly her best friend. W. was my new Pilipino, Hawaiian tour guide who actually lives in Texas. During the five hour flight, she periodically would nudge me and tell me somewhere else I HAD to eat or I HAD to visit when in Hawaii. She was very funny and very sweet and really did have good recommendations. Not only did she tell me where to eat, but also what to order. And when I got to Hawaii – I ate at some of those places because they were so very good.
Anyhow here are three restaurants Tom and Marti introduced me to in Oahu.
Zippys. Zippys has several locations on the Islands. Two brothers opened the first Zippys back in 1966 (they planned to open a car wash, but it turned into a restaurant. Go figure.)
Zippys was the place I had my first loco moco – an Hawaiian speciality.
Basically loco moco is rice, topped with a hamburger, topped with a fried egg and covered with brown gravy.
Since gravy, meat and rice are a favorite of mine, it didn’t take much for me to enjoy this.
Another popular restaurant is The Big City Dinner (clever name). I also had loco moco here.
My very favorite restaurant, however, was 604. This is right off the parking lot at the Pearl Harbor Memorial. The front isn’t spectacular, but the back has beautiful views of the harbor itself. (And my Hawaiian, Pilipino friend from Texas didn’t even mention this one.)
Here I had a seafood melt that was out-of-this-world delicious. The top was crunchy and so good! Marti and I then split a dessert – a pineapple chutney cheesecake. We both super enjoyed it. Yes. This was my favorite.
On Sunday afternoon between church and going to another church, we headed up to Nuuanu Pali Lookout, an Hawaiian State Park. (Pali means cliff.) The lookout looks out (got that?) over the northeast coast of Oahu. Specifically over Kāneʻohe, Kāneʻohe Bay, and Kailua.
The day we were there was cloudy and rain started coming down as we took in the view which is why there are spots on the pictures. (I always am more concerned about my camera than I am me when I get caught in the rain.)
The area has a lot of history … and a lot of visitors. Even on this rainy afternoon, a lot of people were walking around, taking pictures, admiring the view, and dodging raindrops.
Over the years, I’ve done a lot of blog posts about places I’ve visited while speaking at conferences. And I always feel kind of funny because I talk about the scenery, but not the people. That’s because it’s hard to talk about the people. I don’t have permission to post their pictures, and I don’t want to break any confidences by talking about questions they asked or challenges they have in their ministry.
And part of this trip was ministry.
The conference was at Calvary chapel, Pearl Harbor, a fairly large church located in a strip mall. I met so many friendly leaders.
And the music during the opening was appropriately Hawaiian! Such fun.
The next morning we were able to attend the service at Hawaii Kai. (I love saying Hawaii Kai!) Good service and more friendly people.
In fact, afterwards, one of the men took us out to lunch at the Maona Cafe – a popular breakfast place in Hawaii Kai. He told us that there is always a wait. I had a super delicious strawberry waffle and good conversation.
That afternoon we visited two Awana clubs in two different areas and once again, I had the opportunity to meet great people. (I took a lot of pictures but can’t post them because of privacy restrictions.)
But here is the Game Square for one of the churches.
One night we drove through Wakiki – which is a part of Honolulu best known for its beaches. But Wakiki is also an area of city lights, upscale stores – think Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
The night we drove through the area, the roads were semi-empty because some of them were blocked off for a festival. However, the sidewalks were packed with people. I mean, we kind of wondered how they could walk there were so many of them. You can’t really tell from the video because a lot of the people were back off the sidewalks a little – but one corner must’ve had 500 people standing on it.
I didn’t get a great picture since I took it out of the car window at night – but the red and blue building is the Aloha Tower which is actually a lighthouse that can be seen 15 miles from shore, an iconic symbol of Hawaii.
Some people say that like the Statue of Liberty welcomes people on the East Coast, so the Aloha Tower welcomes people into Hawaii.
The tower was built in 1926 and up into the 60s was the tallest building on the islands. Now, it is being redeveloped by the Hawaii Pacific University as a residence hall.
(Ok, interesting sidenote – Honolulu ranks seventh as US cities with most high rises.)
During World War II, the military protected the tower and in fact, painted it in camouflage colors and turned off the light so it could not be seen. Finally, in the late 40s it was sandblasted back to its original color.
One of the iconic trees in the Hawaii landscape, is the monkey pod tree. The branches stretch forever (so it seems).
But remember how I’ve been saying that I’m only seeing alien birds? Well, some people are saying that monkey pod trees are alien (or invasive) plants and even though they’ve been there years and years and years … some are making an effort to get rid of them. Honolulu itself is saying “no more invasive plants.” However, no one is cutting them down, just not replacing ones that die. Other people see them vital to Hawaii’s scenery and don’t want them touched.
I have no idea. I am just the messenger of something I’ve read in several places.
For now, they’re happily growing on the Hawaiian Islands
Here is one we saw. Even before I knew anything about the monkey pod tree, this tree(s) caught my attention and I took its picture.
The night we went over to the resort area, we ate a very cool restaurant called the Monkey Pod Kitchen. We ate on the patio as spotted doves danced around our feet and looked for handouts.
And we ate watermelon pizza. Truly. The pizza was good! I’d get it again!
I remember attending a conference at DisneyWorld. The shuttle picked us up at the airport and took us right to our hotel complex. We never saw anything outside of the magical world of Mickey. Since I had been to Florida (and DisneyWorld) before, that was fine for the conference visit, but kind of limiting to someone who hadn’t been to the South.
You can do the same in Oahu. A shuttle will pick you up at the airport and deliver you to the Disney (and other hotels in the resort area) and then take you back when your stay is over.
One night we went over to the resort area and walked down to the beach. Although the resort areas are closed off to the public – the beach is public and they have a path that you can follow to the public area.
After dining on shrimp as we listened to the roosters crow, the pigeons coo, and watched the cats wait for their dinner, we headed up to Keana Point State Park.
Part of the park was closed to cars because of the recent flooding, (won’t be open again until 2019), but there was still a lot to see as we watched the sun go down over the Pacific. The closer it got to the sunset hour, the more people showed up, but still, compared to other areas we visited, there weren’t that many people around.
The point was beautiful and I could have sat there for hours just watching the play of the sun on the water.
Plus, I got my first glimpse of a red-crested cardinal! In my research on birds I might see in Hawaii, this one was often mentioned and I liked its coloring. The cardinal, however, is not a cardinal, but a tanager. And, like all the birds I saw, this one is also an alien – from South America.