Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hawaii and Japan, 2014 - 10/21 - Day 6 - Diamond Head and Udon

It turns out that Hanauma Bay, the place at which we were going to snorkel today, is closed on Tuesdays. This forced us to switch a few things around, though our overall itinerary for Honolulu remained the same. Instead of going to Hanauma, we decided to take today to hike Diamond Head, one of the most popular trails in the area.
View from Outrigger Waikiki's Hula Grill, overlooking
Waikiki Beach
The first thing we did was go out to breakfast, this time at the tragically named Hula Grill, which is connected to the Outrigger Waikiki hotel. They use locally farmed eggs and had a few selections I was interested in trying. I ordered the eggs benedict with Portuguese sausage. It also had spattering of passionfruit salsa on it because I think there's some sort of state-governed mandate that every dish in Hawaii contain either passionfruit, coconut, macadamia nuts or mahi-mahi. Sean had a breakfast burrito with the same sausage. The whole experience was so-so, though the restaurant did have a nice view of Waikiki Beach and wasn't obscenely expensive.
After breakfast we drove out to the Diamond Head crater (it's volcanic, not meteoric) and started our hike around noon. The trail is fairly gentle throughout the whole hike, though the actual path is rocky and eroded. There are a few dramatic staircases and even a ladder at one point, but for the most part, Diamond Head is easily climbable and the pay-off is definitely worth it. I was rather surprised however at the number of people choosing to do the hike in flip-flops. Some of the women we saw were even wearing sun-dresses. Folly. 
From the Summit of Diamond Head hike,
looking down at Waikiki to the North
From the summit of the Diamond Head hike, looking down at Waikiki to the northFrom the promontory at Diamond Head you can see all of Waikiki and it was a beautiful day to do it - lots of big fluffy clouds, brilliant and sunny, a breeze in the air. This was the weather we had been hoping for in Maui. We took a few photos at the summit and did the return hike. My Fitbit reported that by the end we had hiked up about 45 floors from start to finish.
By the time we returned to the hotel it was about 2:00, and I went out to buy some mixers while Sean had a rest. I stopped by another coffee shop on the way, a place called Island Vintage Coffee, where I got an iced Kona which, to be honest, was only ok. The place seemed to be more popular for its fruit and yogurt bowls than for coffee.
After I returned, we went out to Waikiki beach for our first swim of our entire stay in Hawaii (I know, I know, we're ridiculous.) The water was perfectly aquamarine and while the beach was crowded, it was still a lot of fun. I've been basting myself liberally with SPF 30 every day, and I still feel destined for a sunburn...and tomorrow we go snorkeling, one of the most sun-burny activity there is. Hopefully I'll be slathered with enough sunscreen to prevent it, but I have my doubts.
Curry Udon and all the fixin's at Murakame Udon in Waikiki
From the beach we went into the Apple store to lust over the new 27" retina iMacs, then we went back to the hotel and changed for dinner. Even though we're going to Japan in a few days, eating Japanese food in Hawaii is practically unavoidable, so we embraced the inevitability today and went to a noodle bar called Makurame Udon. I had a curry udon piled with tempura - squid, sweet potato, pumpkin and fish cake. Sean had an Otama bowl, which was an udon soup with a meaty sauce and poached egg, also full of tempura. It was a great price, and pretty decent food. I'd recommend it if you're in Waikiki.
Afterward we retired to the hotel. We have to be up fairly early tomorrow as we not only want to do the snorkeling thing, but we also have to ship a box back to Salt Lake City with all the clothes we are not taking with us to Japan, including our suits. Then we have dinner tomorrow night at the very fancy Alan Wong's.
Oh boy, stay tuned, readers!

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