04 October 2010

Aloha Hawaii

Well, after a great weekend with S, I'm back at home in LA and ready for another workweek.

On Thursday night, I got to the hotel in Waikiki just in time to see S before we turned out the light. On Friday morning, after she left for work, I tried to run Diamond Head again, this time at sunrise. I got to the park alright, but the trail up to the top was mobbed with tourists, so I couldn't get a good stride going. I ended up just turning around and heading back to the gym. Later that morning, a van picked me up to go kayaking on the other side of the island. That was a lot of fun, particularly when we went out to a couple of islets and when we snorkeled. I saw a turtle! Dinner Friday night was traditional Hawaiian food.

Sarah had a two-day weekend, so Saturday started out with a Scuba trip. We had brief training session in the hotel pool before piling into a van to head out to the bay. Once in the bay, we had two dives with our small group of daring doers. The first was down to a reef, which was stunning. Octopi, snails, eels, and tons of fish. The second was down to a small crater, which was not quite as cool as the first dive. Post-dives, we had a nice massage at the hotel spa. Then, off to a fancy dinner for S's birthday!

The birthday restaurant situation threatened to be disastrous. I made online reservations at a highly-regarded restaurant in Waikiki, but when I phoned to confirm the reservation on Friday night, i got a disconnected tone. After deducing that they were in fact closed, i tried to call our second choice, but they couldn't seat us when we were available. Fortunately, one or the guides fro my kayak trip had recommended a place (after poo-poo-ing our original choice), and that place could seat us. Ninniku-Ya Garlic House turned out to be an amazing place, with garlic infused into every dish. Delish! We crashed that night.

Sunday was a day set aside for hiking, and we knew we needed to rent a car. Last trip, we rented from Hertz, but they were pricy (and shiny). Instead, I opted to rent from VIP Car Rental, which rented us a crappy Isuzu Tracker for next to nothing. The car engine grinded, squealed, and the transmission smelled. The tires were virtually bare, and when we got caught in a squall, we discovered that the roof (half of which was missing to begin with) leaked. Actually, we almost got in trouble when I parked too close behind a car facing down a hill in the rain. We couldn't back up, and every attempt to back up just slid us further down the hill, closer to the other car and into the sidewalk. After an unsuccessful neighborhood canvasing to try to find the owner and a failed attempt to push the car up the hill (thanks to a local man for some help), the owner came and drove his car away. Phew!

The hike was terrific! We started at the top of a neighborhood and went deep into the forest. Along the way, we saw beautiful vistas and foliage, and when we turned around, we saw Waikiki and Diamond Head in the distance. We eventually got to see a small waterfall before turning back. Then, a relaxing dinner at the hotel poolside bar, with tons of tourists, 'authentic' Hawaiian music, and overpriced cocktails.

This morning was back to the grind for S, and I went for another sunrise run. I didn't try to climb Diamond Head this time: I just ran around it. Then, home for a shower and packing, a walk across Waikiki in search of coconut pancakes (success!), a phone call to my folks, and back to the airport. Now, I'm en route back to LA. The trip computer says we have four hours of flying time left. That's a lot of time for watching movies handwriting emails.

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