Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Oahu, Hawaii | Part 2

We had read amazing things about the views from the top of Diamond Head, a famous crater that was previously used as a strategic military lookout but is now a National Natural Landmark and a hiking spot made popular by its panoramic views.

Be sure to arrive early (it's packed by 9am) and be prepared for a solid walk and a fair number of steps. I wouldn't call it a hard hike, but it seemed a lot of people were prepared for a leisurely stroll and were struggling to make it all the way up in their flip flops or other cute shoes. It'll be a bit of a workout, so plan accordingly (and bring plenty of water). The stunning views at the top are definitely worth the climb, though I wish we'd gotten there even earlier to avoid fighting crowds through some of the narrow pathways.

Having worked up an appetite, we went back to Waikiki's main area to find lunch. We wanted something cheap but more adventurous than noodles, so we settled on Iyasume Musubi, a local favorite for Japanese-Hawaiian fusion. After struggling a bit with the menu (pictures and dish titles, but no descriptions), Taras ordered a spam musubi, fulfilling his personal mission to eat spam while in Hawaii, and we completed the order with various rice balls (or onigiri) and soups. Everything tasted great and we loved having such a unique food experience.

We couldn't let a day in Hawaii slide by without a visit to a beach. Lanikai Beach is said to be beautiful (just look at all those pictures posted on yelp!) so we made a leisurely afternoon of getting there, stopping along the route to look out at the roadside cliffs along the way.

Once near Lanikai Beach, we drove around a lot of residential blocks looking for a place to park, then had to search for a beach entrance. But we were greatly rewarded for our efforts: this beach was legit, with perfect sand and stunning turquoise blue waters. The one iPhone photo of the beach, above, does not do it justice. On our way back home from Lanikai, we passed a Whole Foods and decided to grab a few provisions for the house. We stocked up on local fruits and beers, and had a nice afternoon snack. :)

We had reservations to go to the Fia Fia Luau at the Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club. [Tip: there is a lot of traffic in Honolulu and the Marriott is a bit of a drive away, so give yourself more drive time than you think you'll need.] We went back and forth deciding on whether to spend the money on the luau (would it be cheesy? a waste of money?) and ultimately decided when in Hawaii...

There are many luaus on the island, ranging in style and price. We settled on the Fia Fia, which seemed to be well-priced and promised to be entertaining and have good food. The Chief and the rest of performers were amazing! And the fire show! And the view at sunset! It was unbelievable. While it's probably not something I'd splurge on for a second time, it was such a fun night and I'm glad we went for it. [We have a hunch that the same Chief does both Fia Fia and the Chief's Luau, which offers more showtimes throughout the week.]

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