Off to Oahu

Well, after a year off from traveling, the world is finally starting to open back up. And thanks to that I have something to blog about again. Even if it was a more minor trip than some of my past ones.

As I took a teaching position this last year, I had the good fortune of finally having a summer off! Which meant as soon as school was out, it sounded like fun to go somewhere. If you’ve read my past posts you’ll know my family and I are fairly close and still sometimes travel together. So when they suggested a quick trip once school was done, I had to agree.

So why Oahu? A couple of reasons:

  1. Limited time- The family knew we had obligations in early June and only had a couple of days. Meaning best choices were ones in the US or close by.
  2. COVID Restrictions- likewise many countries still weren’t opened up. Even some states we thought about visiting really were asking for no unessential travel.
  3. Something different- We’ve visited quite a few places in the US so were looking for something more unique. My brother and I both had not been to Hawaii before, my mom had stopped by as a very young child in route to the Philippines when her dad was stationed there with the navy, and my dad had been a couple of times but was willing to go back.
  4. Rental cars- At the moment rental cars are facing shortages. Oahu was one of the only islands that actually had cars that weren’t listed at a totally unreasonable rate.

And so, with those factors we settled on Oahu for our vacation, and with that decision made we set off on our destination.

Well, sort of. There are still COVID restrictions on travel in Hawaii (or there were when we went). Meaning we all had to be tested less than 72 hours before flying out. My poor parents and brother accidentally tested just a few hours too early (72 hours before the LAST leg of the journey), and had to do it twice! But I was lucky and only had to do one test which was pretty easy. Just a quick drive through visit to Walgreens and my results were in an hour later. Negative thank goodness!

Alright, let’s actually get to the travel part.

Our first day had a lot of bumps in the road. And I mean just getting out the door to go to the airport.

Our flight was scheduled to leave very early from our home town, so I’d slept at my parent’s place to avoid having to drive over at 4 in the morning. We’ve done this in the past for travel and usually just called an Uber to take us to the airport to avoid the exorbitant parking rates.

But when my brother pulled up the Uber app he was startled to see that no cars were available.

Keeping calm, he quickly dialed a cab company. And was informed that no one was available. He called a second, but they were too busy talking to someone else in the office to let him know how long a wait it would be for a taxi. We were all glancing at the clock, knowing we had only a few minutes to make a decision before it would be too late. And so with a sigh, we decided to drive to the airport and just deal with parking rates.

At the airport itself, we all tried to relax and laugh it off. However, going through security, my dad, my brother, and myself all got through the first checkpoint with no problems. But when my mother presented her ID and ticket, she was held back. As I moved further through the security line, I kept looking back at her and watching as she became more and more uneasy with every minute she was held back. Stuck in line, I had no way to go back and reassure her, so I resorted to shouting at her to “take deep breaths”.

Through the rest of security, my dad and I waited impatiently. My brother joined us a few minutes later, and we all stared back, hoping they’d finally let her through.

Thankfully, a few minutes later my poor mother appeared, still looking shaken. Apparently there was something wrong with her ticket, and the TSA had initially told her to go get it fixed again before coming through security. But thankfully one of the other agents decided it was alright and let her through.

Turns out, my dad had put HIS birthday on the ticket instead of my moms. So when looking at her driver’s license the dates didn’t match. Whoops. Problems with booking four tickets at the same time.

Thankfully, at the gate it didn’t cause any further problems. We boarded the plane and settled in for a short ride to Seattle.

Our layover was just about the perfect length, long enough to grab some breakfast without feeling rushed, but not so long as to get antsy waiting.

From there was the flight to Hawaii. And good news, I was able to sit at the window and enjoy some of the views as we landed on the island.

After landing, we enjoyed the beauty of Hawaii from the airport while we stood in line to have our COVID tests checked. There’s a beautiful open air pavilion in the center of the airport with trees and greenery, and birds flying through.

After getting the okay on our COVID tests, we caught an Uber to head into the city to our hotel.

We stayed at the Aqua Oasis, close to the beach, but not right on it. All in all we had a great experience there, and didn’t feel we were missing anything not being oceanfront.

After leaving our bags, we went to grab some lunch. Our Uber driver had mentioned a dim sum place he liked in the Royal Hawaiian Plaza (a shopping center in downtown).

It was a bit of a wait, but we decided to go ahead and do it. We walked around the other shops for a bit before heading back to get our table. Once there we ordered a variety of different dishes, and enjoyed almost all of them.

After a delicious lunch we headed down to Waikiki beach and enjoyed the beautiful water, the views of Diamond Head, and the other beauties the island had to offer. We took some photos. I especially enjoyed the ones I got of my mom being surprised by a wave.

After our fun in the water, we headed back to check into our hotel rooms. We relaxed a bit, and I enjoyed the views from our balcony before settling back to relax in the air conditioning.

Views from the balcony

After some relaxing time, we took an Uber over to a restaurant called Moku Kitchen in a shopping complex called SALT. The area had lots of cute shops and restaurants and a fun artsy type scene. Again we ran into a pretty long wait, though that was okay since there were plenty of things to look at while we waited, and some people watching to enjoy.

Art near our restaurant for the evening.

Finally they told us our table was ready. Funnily enough, rather than having us go sit and order, they wanted us to go to the bar and place our order before taking our seats. It put a little pressure on us to decide quickly. I went ahead and chose the Hawaiian pizza with kalua pork, pineapple, and jalapenos. And yes I know some people think pineapple on pizza is an abomination, but I’m one of those who LOVES it. Especially good fresh delicious pineapple rather than canned.

Other dishes ordered at our table were the fish tacos, the Saimin, fish and chips, and a Mai Tai. All in all we found the food delicious.

After a delicious meal, we walked back to the hotel. It was almost three miles, but it was fun to see more of the city at night. I especially enjoyed seeing some of the Black Crowned Night Herons out by the canals.

At last we arrived back at the hotel, and settled in to get some sleep. After a four hour time change, an early wake up, and a lot of walking, we were definitely ready for some rest.

Stay tuned for more about the trip to Hawaii in the next couple blog posts! It’s such a pleasure to be back on here writing about travel again after a year off.

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