Whenever I go home to visit my family on Oahu, there's always a long list of favorites to check off. Straight out of the gate at Honolulu's breezy airport I drink in Vladimir Ossipoff's rich modern 1970's architecture, chandelier's with giant amber lanterns, high wooden paneling, and with the open airy walkways I breathe in the scent of plumerias. I head to Kailua for my staple foods, a bag li hing mui, a bowl of saimin, and let's face it, a bucket of poke. Maybe I do things backward, but I stuff myself with treats, and then jump in the ocean.
Last week's trip was no different, and luckily I had my favorite partner in crime with me, my sister Chelsey. After a soak in the waters of Lanikai, & only after total exhaustion we dragged our salty bodies to Island Snow for shave ice. I always go for snow capped, which is traditional shave ice topped with condensed milk, lilikoi is a favorite of mine, and I rarely stray. On occasion I'll add a nip of rum or tequila.
This trip we hit the hay pretty early in the evening, as this was a short trip and we wanted to pack in as many daylight activities as we could. My sister is a personal trainer and to her, waking up at 4 a.m. to meet with one of our cousins to swim with dolphins or go for a sunrise jog on the beach, is the only way to start the day. I however, usually sleep in, draw for an hour or so, and wait for her to come home and tell me stories of her daring dawns. I mixed it up this trip, and went with her. (If you ever get a chance to travel with Chelsey, go with her, she knows what she's doing.)
Lanikai beach was pretty populated with blue bottle jellyfish early in the mornings, so we'd make breakfast and swim on a different side of the island.
One of our favorite daytime excursions on the island, is to go up to the Old Pali Road, get a little stoned and wander through the bamboo. The tall stalks are so dense they let little light in, and as they sway in the wind they crackle and drop leaves, a truly eerie, unforgettable sound. The route we normally take transforms suddenly into a valley of waist high grass with a hill that plateaus above, if you know where to look, there are stairs that'll help you up the hill. Then BAM! Gorgeous views, in all directions. It's difficult not to reach for your camera, but It's so overwhelmingly beautiful, that I don't believe it can be fully captured, don't get frustrated. This trip we made it to Mānoa falls. I highly recommend this little hike, but wear sneakers ad clothing you don't mind turning red in the iron rich mud. Trust me, there will be mud.
One evening when we weren't too exhausted, we went to the movies, and what a surprise treat! One of my favorite Hawaiian treats from my childhood was there to greet me in a whole new form. Hurricane Popcorn. This brightly colored bag is a "kit" for transforming your regular, run of the mill theater popcorn into total joy. Hurricane, is a seasoning mix consisting of nori, sesame seeds, should, sugar (sometimes bonito and mochi crunch). Think kettle corn, Hawaiian style. The kit comes with a large cellophane bag, and a pouch of seasoning. I stole Chelsey's popcorn and started mixing everything together without permission. She looked shocked, but the results won her over. If you and I are friends, expect to be gifted a bag of this mix for your nondenominational winter gift.
Our second unplanned joy of the trip was Swiss Army Man, as the director duo, Daniel's first feature (check out their other gems here http://www.danieldaniel.us ) I knew I was looking forward to seeing it, but I wasn't expecting to love it like I did. I'm not going to write out a review, but I loved that fart filled film.
Many more wonderul sights, sounds, and tastes were had on that trip, but I won't try to list them all. At the end of the trip I got on my flight, enjoyed a glass of complimentary wine and nibbled on Hawaiian Airlines' idea of farfalle with eggplant (a great effort in an era of skimpy airline offerings). I was sad to be leaving, it's always a protest, there's always a voice that says, "what if you just stayed?" I dozed off, and when I woke up as we landed in LA, I fumbled through my purse and found the sandwich my mother had packed me. In a clear plastic bag, a peanut butter and lilikoi sandwich, a little piece of the island to take with me.