Hawaii – November 2016 – Day 6

Ah, the last day of our vacation…

My heart was reluctant to leave such a wonderful place.

We had a 5pm flight. We would have lunch, then at 2pm, get on the bus that will take us to the airport.

Saying goodbye was hard. We sat at our balcony for the last time and tried to enjoy the Hawaiian wind. But the wind was really, really strong.

20161114_154311 blog.jpg We got slapped around by the wind as we ate Hawaiian chocolates at the balcony. The box got carried away by the wind.

We got food to go from a truck called Ken’s Kitchen.

20161114_172845.jpgThis food truck sold 4 flavors of shrimp. It was run by a young man and his pretty wife. We saw a cute little boy who didn’t look 5 years old playing happily with his toys in the truck. 

Ken’s Kitchen’s Garlic Butter Shrimp was soooooo good.

20161114_175339.jpg Oh my gosh, why didn’t we try this place sooner?!

We also got a local specialty called Loco Moco from a nearby restaurant.

20161114_175333.jpg Loco Moco: White rice, some weak gravy sauce, beef patty and fried egg. Hmm, could have done without this.

So we ate these local specialty items and got on the bus to the airport. Maybe we should have had a snow cone too, to top it all off.

I told myself that I would definitely come back again.

Hawaii, I miss you so.

Thank you for giving me such beautiful memories.

It feels as though I am ending my Hawaii journal by trickling off, but this is exactly how I felt when I left Hawaii. Trickling off, drop by drop, slowly and quietly.

-The End-


Hawaii – November 2016 – Day 5

This is the day we rented a car and went to Lanikai Beach and Sunset Beach. Waikiki Beach is great, but we heard Lanikai was a more remote place with a beautiful background. Sunset Beach, as the name implies, is known to be a wonderful place to watch the sun set.

google maps.jpgWe had a chance to drive around the the island by visiting Lanikai Beach and Sunset Beach.

We had already booked a car in advance with Budget. Cinnamon said that we absolutely must drive around the island in a convertible for just one day, and I also thought it was a great idea. So we dug deeper into our wallets and rented a convertible, and got the best insurance there was.

This was our first time renting a car, so there were some hiccups. We went to the basement garage to pick the car up, but then were told that we should have picked up the paperwork from the office first. So we went up to the office, and were told that we had not rented a convertible, but just a more expensive vehicle without an open-top. So we paid more money, and got the paperwork and went back down to the basement garage for pick-up. There were red and black convertibles. We asked for red, for that Sex and the City feel (I have never watched the show, but I felt like such a Samantha that day, whatever that means). Then we were told that the reds were taken, and so we got a black one.

20161113_230541.jpgGet in.

The moment her butt touched the seat, Cinnamon got very nervous. She was the designated driver. Of course she’d get nervous; anyone would, when driving an expensive and unfamiliar car in foreign land. She managed to throw in smiles and laughs despite her nerves, although I thought I saw the corners of her mouth twitch involuntarily a few times.

I don’t necessarily put the “gay” in “navigation”, so I don’t know how much my directions that I read aloud from Google Maps helped her. At her request, I took pictures of what we saw from behind the windshield.

20161113_143608.jpgThis photo doesn’t capture the “Whoah” factor that we experienced in the car, but you get the idea.



We were on the freeway for 90% of the ride to Lanikai, so we had the top closed, for safety reasons. We tried to lower the top after we got out of the freeway, but learned that it is locked while the car is in motion.

Finding parking at Lanikai was difficult. On that day, a nearby elementary school was having a fundraising event where you could park in the school parking lot for $5. We had hoped to find parking nearer to the beach for the sake of instagrammable pictures, but we settled for easy parking. We were the first car in the parking lot. A few cars came, then left after seeing the parking lot. We felt alone and I felt scared because I am a worrier. Of course, nothing bad happened.

1479343358710 blog.jpgAt the elementary school parking lot lol

It was the first time with a convertible for the both of us, so there was a lot we struggled with. When we went to a gas station to top off the tank later at night, we didn’t know which gasoline to use, so a passing customer helped us. Before this, I hadn’t even known that you needed to use a certain type of gasoline for a convertible. I wished that at a time like this, a tall, handsome manly-man who was knowledgeable about cars could have spent the day with us two ladies. Actually, an average dude with some knowledge about cars would do as well…

1479093917684 blog.jpg Lanikai Beach. As we had heard, there were less people and beautiful islands in the background. However, there was nowhere to eat or rent beach chairs and parasols, like in Waikiki. 

I played in the water and Cinnamon enjoyed music while lying on her back in the sand. When 4o minutes had passed, it started to rain. It seemed like a light drizzle at first, then the rain drops got bigger and bigger. We were getting hungry anyway, so we packed up and said our goodbyes to Lanikai Beach.

We asked a local resident where we could go to eat. We drove 5 minutes in the direction that she pointed at, and arrived at a plaza. We got fish and shrimp tacos, and got some snacks at a grocery store and headed to Sunset Beach.

20161113_182526.jpg Fish taco.

We loosened up and got more used to the rented car as we drove on to Sunset Beach. Also, the road view was prettier, and the idea of seeing a sunset at Sunset Beach pumped us with adrenaline.

20161113_193125.jpgMountain, sky, trees and clouds…Ah….


20161113_201346.jpgFelt like we were in the driveway of some unknown palace.

20161113_202731.jpgSaw this when I turned my head while riding over a bridge.

Since we had a not-so-great-time finding parking at Lanikai Beach, we were eager to park whenever we saw an empty spot. We neared an unknown beach on our way to Sunset Beach, and saw that a parking spot was available. We assumed that it’d be hard to find parking at the popular Sunset Beach, so we parked there, and thought it’d be a good idea to walk to our destination. We walked for 20 minutes with all our stuff, heavy on our shoulders.

As we walked, we noticed that this was a residential area that had developed around several nearby beaches, Sunset Beach being one of them. The pedestrian road we were walking on was very close to the front yards and garage doors of many homes. It was quiet, and we got to see how the people in the north of Honolulu spent their Sunday afternoons.

There were several memorable things I saw on our walk to Sunset Beach.

First off, I saw wild chickens…Healthy wild chickens were clucking around on the pedestrian road and the surrounding grass. I kept seeing groups of them as we walked, so I am assuming that they don’t belong to an owner… I heard in Japan, there were lots of stray cats, but I guess they have stray chickens here instead. I would have loved to take some pictures of this uncommon sight, but we were holding too much stuff.

Also, I saw a young boy selling lemonade across the busy road. It was in the front yard of his house (albeit I don’t know if I should call it a front yard, because it was huge and his house was situated very far back). I thought him brave for standing there alone, trying to sell lemonade to the cars that were zooming by on the open road.

As we walked, we saw several tall, sun-kissed guys walking around in nothing but swimming shorts. In November! Most of them were holding surf boards. We could tell that their muscles were not made in the gym (not that there is anything wrong with gym muscles). These were muscles developed from years of swimming and surfing. They weren’t washboard abs, but they were toned and just as delightful to glimpse at (blush).

We also passed by a house with its garage doors open. Two older teenage boys were fixing a car with the hood popped open, listening to music from a stereo. I have seen these kind of things in Hollywood movies and sitcoms, but to see it in real life was something else. It felt so nostalgic, for some reason.

We passed by more beaches than we could count on one hand, it seemed. There are no signs anywhere to indicate the name of the beach, so I asked passing residents, “Is this Sunset Beach?”. They’d answer, “No. It’s at the far end”.

Finally, we got to Sunset Beach. Lo and behold, there were tons of parking spaces at Sunset Beach. We complained that we should have just driven here instead of carrying our stuff, but now that I think about it, I’m really glad we walked.

Here are some pictures of Sunset Beach.20161113_211300.jpgThe wind was very strong that day.

20161113_211255.jpgThe sun sets on this side.

The wind was so angry, so there was a sign warning people to not enter the water. But we saw a bunch of surfers, cowabunga-ing at the far back, riding huge waves. It looked very dangerous, and I was in awe of the size of their metaphorical balls.


20161113_214428.jpgCinnamon receiving the energy of the furious waves.

20161113_214634.jpgSitting on a towel, snacks laid out infront of me…So relaxing. 

20161113_221658.jpg I need to go back.


Here are pictures of the sunset.

20161113_224718.jpg20161113_224747.jpg20161113_224750.jpg20161113_224822.jpg20161113_224958.jpgI had never seen a sunset before. It was very ephemeral.

It was getting chillier and the wind kept blowing. We set off to return to the hotel.


We had a hard time finding the basement garage to return the car, and this drained the remainder of our energy. With the car dropped off, we went to get dinner for our last night in Hawaii.

20161114_023721.jpgWe walked around and ended up going back to Marukame Udon, a place we said we would love to try a second time. I got the cold, plain Zaru udon, with chikuwa tempura and tuna mayo rice ball. 

Feeling full but very tired, we walked back to the hotel instead of going out to a bar like we had originally planned. The weather outside was wonderful as usual, and we said we would really miss the nightly walks in Hawaii.

20161114_035916.jpg Mini Grey Goose Orange and Melon.

We spent our final night in the island rolling around in bed and looking at the pictures we had amassed.

Click here for Day 6

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls. No other words are needed.

Ingredients (Bread):

1.5 tsp yeast

1C warm milk (Not hot. Warm)

1/2C white sugar

1/3C butter, cubed, room temp

0.5 tsp salt

2 large eggs, room temp

4C all-purpose white flour (if you have bread flour, that’s even better)

Ingredients (Cinnamon filling):

1C brown sugar

1.5 Tbsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1/3C butter, room temp

  1. Turn on the breadmaking machine. I make the dough with a breadmaking machine, because I like my arms and I don’t like them falling off my body. I speak from experience because I have made the dough before by kneading entirely with my hands. If you don’t have a breadmaker…just go buy cinnamon rolls from a good bakery.
  2. Put all the liquids in the bread maker (warm milk and eggs), then pour half of the flour on top. Put the salt in, and pour the rest of the flour on top. I’m burying the salt under a layer of flour because salt kills yeast. I put the cubed butter to one side on top of all the flour, and the sugar and yeast I put together on the other side. Sugar and yeast are best friends. Sugar is food for yeast.
  3. Set the breadmaker onto the “dough” setting and let it do all the hard work. See the size of the dough after the first 20 minutes, and remember the image of the dough in your head. You will take it out of the breadmaker when it rises to at least the double the size you saw.
  4.  When the dough has doubled from its original dough size (for me, it took 2 hours from when the machine started to operate), turn the oven on to 375F, as it will take time to preheat.
  5. Wash your hands, because we’ll start working with them. Take the dough out of the breadmaker onto a clean, floured work surface and the real fun begins.20170128_125421.jpg
  6. Knead and take all the air out. Add a bit more flour if the dough is too runny. I asked a family member to take this photo, and of course, he took it at an angle where my arm covers most of the dough… But yes, knead the dough. If you don’t know how to knead, there are tons of videos on YouTube featuring actual professional bakers. I’m wondering if anyone is even reading this, since there are trained chefs and bakers with videos on how to make everything, including cinnamon rolls. I tell myself that this is for my self-fulfillment and timeless recipe compilation, and move on from this mini-existential crisis.20170128_125534.jpg
  7. Shape into a ball and cover with plastic food cover or clean wet cloth to prevent drying. Let the dough rest 15 minutes. It will need to relax before you can shape it easily.
  8. After it’s done resting, pick up the ball and evenly flour the work surface. Put the ball back and start flattening the ball with your hands, stretching it out. Use the rolling pin to spread the dough evenly into a big rectangle.20170128_131746.jpg
  9. Mix up the cinnamon filling mixture in a bowl with a spoon. Spoon the paste and spread onto the dough. K, I know what this looks like, but don’t say it. I already know. Yes, it looks like smeared, um, something.20170128_132156.jpg
  10. Roll like sushi and cut into, well, rolls. Spread the rolls on a good-quality baking pan. I really don’t care what they look like, because it’s going to taste amazing no matter what. I cut mine all rustic and weird because I’m not a trained chef (sound familiar? heh???) or baker, and I’m ok with that.20170128_132845.jpg
  11.  Bake for 20 minutes. Check, and bake longer, if needed. I usually turn the tray around in the oven at the 15th minute mark for a more even bake on all sides. I take mine out when the rolls all look golden.
  12. I let it cool a bit in the pan, and take it out roll by roll. Here is one on a plate.20170128_141002.jpg
  13. It tastes like a chewy cloud. Sweet, chewy cloud that melts in your mouth. Here’s a picture to try and show you the wonderful texture.20170128_141907.jpg
  14. I was really happy so I started making a latte, even though I can’t even drink coffee. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I got a family member to volunteer to drink it.20170128_140335.jpg20170128_140342.jpg20170128_140519.jpg

Ah, such a neighborhood bakery cafe moment, in the comfort of my own home. The cinnamon rolls tasted better than any cinnamon roll I had from any bakery.20170128_140846.jpg


Roll Cake

I’m making Asian style roll cake. Thin sheet, lots of whipped cream. Yum.

You can skim arm day for your  dominant hand when you make this, because there’s a lot of arm action.

Ingredients for the sheet:

4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated

40g fine sugar (for egg whites)

40 g sugar (for yolks)

40g cake flour

Optional: 1 Tbsp powder of choice (matcha, cocoa, etc.)

Ingredients for whipped cream:

Whipping cream

Icing sugar

Optional: Pinch of flavoring powder (matcha, cocoa, etc.)


  1. First, separate the 4 eggs into yolks and whites into two bowls. Put the yolks in a bigger bowl. Eggs are easier to separate when they’re cold, so you can separate into two bowls right out of the fridge and leave them covered. Give them a few hours to warm up to room-temperature.
  2. When eggs are room-temp, measure out the dry ingredients.
    • When I say “fine sugar” in the ingredients section, I don’t mean the quality of the sugar, I mean the texture. I like to put the sugar that I will use for the egg whites in an electric grinder and blitz to a fine powder. You can skip this part and just use the white sugar as-is.
  3. Mix and aerate the cake flour and 1Tbsp powder by sifting them together at least 3 times. If not using any flavoring powder, just substitute the 1 Tbsp powder with cake flour.
  4. Line a long rectangular oven tray with parchment paper. Make snips in the corners of the paper, and fold the cut parts to cleanly cover the corners of the tray.
  5. We’ll whip the whites. Before whipping, it looks pale and gross like the below.20170128_173905.jpg
  6. After whipping until your arm starts to hurt from holding the mixer, it looks like this, white and glossy. You should be getting firm peaks. 20170128_175013.jpg
  7. You can use the mixers you used for the whites to whip the egg yolks and sugar together.  You cannot do this the other way. If you whipped egg yolks first, you must clean the mixer attachments thoroughly and make sure they’re completely dry before touching the egg whites with them. Otherwise, the fat from the yolks will weigh down the whites, and you will fail before you start.20170128_175022.jpg
  8. Whipppppp20170128_175334.jpg
  9. Stop when the color is pastel yellow. I like to turn the oven on at 350F at this point as it will take time to preheat.20170128_175603.jpg
  10. Pour in the sifted cake flour + 1 Tbsp powder.20170128_175704.jpg
  11. Fold. 20170128_175716.jpg
  12. It will feel tacky and heavy. That’s normal. Keep folding.20170128_175830.jpg
  13. Now, get approx. 1/3 of the whipped egg whites and put it in the yolk mixture.20170128_175847.jpg
  14. Mix. You don’t have to fold at this stage, but I like to fold. We’re introducing the light whites into the yolk mixture. The batter will feel lighter, and turn a lighter shade of color.20170128_175929.jpg
  15. When the first batch of whites is well-incorporated, do the same with another 1/3.20170128_180050.jpg
  16. Fold. Do the same for the last 1/3 of the whites. In the last stage, I like to fold at least 70 times. Your arm and hands will feel tired.In the end, you should end up with something like the below. 20170128_180503.jpg
  17. Pour out on to the parchment-paper covered pan. Level the surface evenly with a spatula. Put into the preheated oven.20170128_180814.jpg
  18. Bake for 12 minutes (depends on oven) and check. After the 12th minute mark, I like to turn the pan around and bake an additional 4 minutes, for more evenly baked sides. It’s important to not overbake the sheet, as it is thin and will crack as you try to roll it, if it’s too dry.
  19. When it’s done, take out of the oven and bang onto a table to prevent shrinkage of the sheet.20170128_182555.jpg
  20. Take the sheet out of the pan, parchment paper and all, and let cool on a cooling rack.
  21. The sheet will cool quickly as it is so thin. We can move straight onto whipping the cream. You should use 35% whipping cream.20170128_183523.jpg
  22. Whip, and add icing sugar gradually as you go. You can use regular white sugar, but icing sugar will stabilize the cream as it’s already got cornstarch in it.
    • I don’t have any measurements for the cream or sugar because I just measure with my eyes, and I have no clue how much they are in mL or g. I taste and flavor as I go, and I think that’s the best way.
  23. Oops, I forgot to add instant coffee granules early on, so I just added them later. I like coffee-flavored whipped cream. The white powder is the icing sugar. I put in batches at a time and stop when I think I put in enough.20170128_184018.jpg
  24. Whip until it gets thick and heavy….like whipped cream. Do not overwhip, as it will turn into butter. I stopped when it looked like the below.20170128_184456.jpg
  25. The sheet should be cool to the touch by now. Flip cake-side first onto the cooling rack, and start peeling off the parchment paper carefully.20170128_184637.jpg20170128_184703.jpg
  26. After you’ve peeled off the paper, put the cake sheet back onto the paper.20170128_184823.jpg
  27. Load with cream. Spread evenly. Spread a little less on the ends so they will roll better.20170128_185230.jpg
  28. Roll like you would a sushi roll. Roll carefully. If your sheet cracks, it’s either your sheet is too dry or you put too much strength into it. Do not use the Force at a time like this.20170128_185457.jpg
  29. Wrap with the parchment paper and put in a plastic bag to prevent drying. Store in a fridge for at least a few hours for the shape to set. These taste the best the next day.
  30. Cut with a proper serrated bread knife for a quick and clean cut. Serve.

I loaded mine with a ton of whipped cream and rolled just so that the ends of the sheet meet, like I’ve seen in Japanese bakeries. If you put less cream on the sheet, you can roll it so that it’s all swirly like a cinnamon roll.

20170128_202722.jpg   A cut piece.

Below is what I made last year with this recipe.


A matcha one I made last year.


A tea-leaf flavored sheet, with tangerine pieces inside.


The possibilities are endless!

하와이 – 11월 2016 – Day 6

아….마지막 날. 눈물이 또르르…

이 날에는 하루 종일 아쉬운 마음이였다.

5시 오후에 비행기를 타야하니 아침에 일어나서 서두를 이유는 없었다. 3시까지는 공항에 도착해야하니, 2시에 떠나면 됐다. 점심 먹고 나가면 딱.

마지막으로 호텔방 발코니에서 하와이의 바람을 즐겼다. 근데 이 날 바람이 엄청 셌다.

20161114_154311 blog.jpg 발코니에서 하와이안 초콜렛 먹고 바람한테 뺨맞는 기분. 바람이 얼마나 많이 불던지…

점심은 대충 Ken’s Kitchen 에서 take out.

20161114_172845.jpg네가지맛의 shrimp를 파는 food truck. 젊은 일본 아저씨가 마누라랑 한다. 트럭 안에는 5살도 안 돼 보이는 귀여운 얘가 해맑게 놀고있음. 소문으로는 이 아저씨가 유명한 일급 레스토랑 헤드셰프였는데, 자기장사하겠다고 나왔다고 한다.

Ken’s Kitchen의 Garlic Butter Shrimp는 정말…너무 맛있었다.

20161114_175339.jpg 여러분, Garlic shrimp는 Ken’s Kitchen에서 먹으세요…새우가  너무통통하고 소스도 진하고 딴데서 안 주는 샐러드랑 파인에플 한 조각도 줘요. 가격은 다른데들이랑 똑같이 $14인데…

근처에 있는 레스토랑에서 Loco Moco도 take out….

20161114_175333.jpg Loco Moco: 흰밥, 하이라이스같은 그레이비 소스, 쇠고기 패티, 달걀 후라이. 음…별로….

암튼 하와이에서 유명하다는 음식을 먹고 공항으로 출발…스노우 콘 한번 더 먹을걸 그랬나…

다음에 또, 꼭, must돌아오겠다 다짐하고 공항으로 나섰다.

하와이, 그대는 아직도 내 눈에 아른거린다.

고맙다, 아름다운 추억들을 줘서.

하와이 포스트를 너무 싱겁게 마무리 하는것 같지만, 하와이 떠날때 그 마음을 살려서…


하와이 – 11월 2016 – Day 5

오늘은 렌트카 타고 Lanikai (라니카이) Beach랑 Sunset Beach 가는 날. 와이키키도 좋지만, 라니카이는 더 조용하고 배경도 아름답다고 들었고, Sunset Beach는 이름 그대로 일몰 보기 좋은 해변.

google maps.jpgLanikai Beach와 Sunset Beach를 방문하면서 호놀룰루 섬을 둘러본 날

토론토에서 Budget이라는 회사랑 미리 렌트카를 예약했었다. ‘신나’가 하와이에선 뚜껑열리는 차를 타야지 느낌난다고, 그리고 나도 ‘옳소!’ 하면서 좀 화이팅 해서 비싸도 스포츠 카를 빌렸다. 차 보험도 제일 좋은걸로…

이런건 처음이라서 많이 헤매면서 차를 픽업했다. 먼저 지하 픽업 센터로 갔는데, 오피스가 따로 있으니 오피스에서 영수증을 가져오라고…그래서 오피스로 갔는데, 우리가 오픈카가 아니라 뚜껑 닫혀있는 고급 승용차 빌린거를 알아냈고, 그래서 돈 더 내고, 영수증을 받아서 지하로 차를 받으러 갔다. 빨간차, 검은차가 있었는데, 우리는 검은차로…빨간차로 달라했는데, 빨간차는 다 예약돼있다고…

20161113_230541.jpg사모님…어서 타시죠? ”   “ㅇㅇㅇ 그래. 니가 수고가 많다”

차를 타는 순간 ‘신나’는 드라이버니까 긴장했다. 길 모르는 타국에서 몸값 비싼 차를 운행할려니 긴장할만도 하다. ‘신나’는 성격이 좋아서 긴장해도 웃을줄 아는 멋진 사람. 근데 웃을때 입 꼬리 근육이 경련하는걸 본것같은데….장난 ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

내비게이션의 게이도 모르는 내가 Google Maps로 ‘신나’를 도와줬는데, 도움이 안 됐다. 그래서 못 찍는 ‘신나’대신 사진 많이 찍어줌.

20161113_143608.jpg차에서 육안으로 보는것보다 사진이 별로다. 그때는 ‘우와~~~’ 하면서 그랬는데.



라니카이 가는 길은 한 90%가 프리웨이 (고속도로) 타야하는데, 프리웨이 탈 때는 안전을 생각해서 뚜껑을 닫았다. 프리웨이를 벗어나도 차 운행중에는 뚜껑을 못 열게 고정돼있으니, 라니카이 가는길에 멋지게 뚜껑 열고 달리는거는 조금밖에 못 했다.

그렇게 해서 Lanikai Beach 도착. 파킹을 찾는게 쉽지 않다. 그날에는 해변 근처에 있는 동네 학교가 특별히 $5 주면 학교주차장에 댈 수 있게해서, 돈 내고 주차했다. 시커먼 아스팔트에 차를 대니까 멋은 없었지만, 자리 잡을려고 좁은 주차장들 돌아다니는것은 부담스러웠다. 처음에는 학교 주차장에 사람들이 너무 없어서 무서웠다. 왔다가 주차장 보고 그냥 돌아가는 사람들도 있었다. 겁이 많은 나는 이러다가 안 좋은 꼴 볼까봐 걱정했다. 쓸때없는 걱정이었다.

1479343358710 blog.jpg학교 주차장에서…ㅋ….

둘 다 스포츠 카는 처음이어서 조심조심하고, 모르는 것도 많았다. 나중에 집에 가는길에 기름은 어느 기름을 넣고, 또 어떻게 넣는지도 몰라서 옆에 있던 아저씨가 도와줬다. 이럴때 차에 대해 많이 아는 키크고 잘 생긴 멋진 남자 오브 남자가 필요한데… 없으면 그냥 평범한 남자라도…

1479093917684 blog.jpg암튼 우여곡절끝에 라니카이에 도착. 와이키키와 달리 배경에는 물 건너 섬들이 보였다. 인파가 적고 더 예쁘긴 한데, 와이키키와 달리 먹을곳도 없고 비치 의자나 우산을 빌릴곳도 없다. 

나는 라니카이에서 물놀이 하고 놀고, ‘신나’는 모래에 누워서 음악을 즐겼다. 40분밖에 못 즐겼는데, 비가 내렸다. 처음에는 그냥 조금 오다 말겠지했는데, 나중에는 소나기가 올 것 같았다. 배도 고팠으니, 짐 싸들고 그냥 라니카이 해변이랑 이별했다.

주민들한테 물어서 먹을곳을 찾았다. 차 몰고 동네에 나가면 플라자가 나온다해서 갔다. 플라자에서는 그냥 간단하게 생선 타코와 새우 타코 먹고, 마트에서 간식거리 사 들고 Sunset Beach로 향했다.

20161113_182526.jpg 튀긴 물고기가 들어간 fish taco.

Sunset Beach로 갈때는 어느정도 차도 조금 익숙해지고, 길도 더 예쁘고 일몰에 대한 기대감도 커서 더욱 더 기분 좋게 갔다. 긴장하더라도 차를 침착하게 잘 몰아준 ‘신나’에게 박수 한 번. 아니 두 번!

20161113_193125.jpg산, 하늘, 구름, 나무… 좋다.

20161113_193631.jpg속 마음이 시원해지네

20161113_201346.jpg궁전으로 들어가는 느낌.

20161113_202731.jpg다리 위를 달리다가 오른쪽으로 고개를 돌렸을 때

우리는 라니카이에서 주차하는것때문에 고생을 좀 했었으니, Sunset Beach에서 가까운 아무 해변으로 들어설때 주차장 빈 자리가 보이길래 일단 파킹했다. ‘Sunset Beach로는 좀 걸어가면 돼지’,  생각하면서 내렸는데 한 20분을 걷게 됐다. 이 부근에는 해변들이 여러개 모여있는 일종의 해변거리였다. 그러면서도 사람사는 동네였다. 조용하고, 하와이 사람들의 일요일 일상을 옅볼수있었다. 주민들의 집들이 줄줄이 있는 인도를 걸으면서 Sunset Beach를 찾아나섰다.

인상적인 것들이 한 두 개가 아니였다.

일단 야생닭들이 걸어다닌다는거…건강한 닭들이 인도와 잔디풀을 서성거렸다. 한 군데만 아니라 계속 보이길래, 주인이 없다고 생각한다. 일본에는 길 고양이가 많고, 이 동네에는 길 닭이 많구나….온갖 무거운 짐 들고 걷느라 사진을 못찍은게 억울하다.

걷다가 도로 건너쪽에 lemonade를 파는 남자아이를 봤다. 집 앞에서 차들이 쌩쌩거리는 도로를 상대로 장사하는거 보니까 얘가 참 용기도 많다 생각했다.

그리고 자연산 전복보다 더 귀한 자연산 복근들을 봤다. 키 크고 구릿빛 피부를 가진 잘 생긴 청년들이 수영바지만 입고 서핑보드 들고 가는데…근육들이 gym에서 만든게 아니라 수영하고 서핑하다 만들어진 탄탄한 잔 근육들이었는데, 정말 멋있었다. 빨래판 복근처럼 선명하진 않았지만, 오히려 자연스럽게 생겼다. 빨래판은 아니지만 초콜릿 복근인건 분명하다. 닭들을 볼 때 나온 침이 여기서도… (장난, 장난).

또 한 집은 garage문을 열어놓고 두 청년이 음악 틀고 같이 승용차를 고치고 있었다. 할리우드에서 영화에 왜 이런 장면들을 넣는지 그 날 알았다. 뭔가 너무 풋풋하고, 젊음이 느껴졌다.

걸어가면 해변이 계속 나온다. 해변마다 이름을 알려주는 싸인이 있는것도 아니니, 나는 직접 주민들한테 물어물어 갔다. “Is this Sunset Beach?” 라고 하면, “No. It’s at the far end (아니요, 저 멀리 끝쪽에 있어요)”라고 대답했다.

드디어 Sunset Beach에 도착했을때는 주차창에 차가 엄청 많은것도 확인할수있었다. ‘아….그냥 차 몰고 올껄!’ 하면서 우리는 짜증냈지만, 지금 생각하면 몸이 고생해도 걸어오면서 본 그 장면들이 너무 소중하고 재밌다.

지금부터 Sunset Beach사진들을 좀…20161113_211300.jpg바람이 세게 불었었다.

20161113_211255.jpg이쪽으로 일몰이 나타난다.

이 날은 바람도 심해서 수영하지 말라는 싸인이 올라와 있었다. 근데 해변 깊이 surfing하는 사람들이 보였다. 목숨 걸고 하는것처럼 느껴졌다. 겁도 없다.


20161113_214428.jpg거친 파도의 기운을 받고있는 중.

20161113_214634.jpg돗자리 깔고, 간식 펼쳐놓고…좋네.

20161113_221658.jpg언제 또 이런거 찍어봐…


지금부터 일몰사진 대방출.

20161113_224718.jpg20161113_224747.jpg20161113_224750.jpg20161113_224822.jpg20161113_224958.jpg일몰은 정말 순식간이었다. 아쉬우면서도 아름다웠다. 

춥고 바람도 많이 부니까 우린 빨리 차 타고 호텔로 돌아갔다. ‘신나’가 짐을 내려놓고 차를 Sunset Beach 주차장으로 가져온 덕분에 바로 출발할수 있었다.


차 돌려줄때 어디로 가야할지 몰라서 힘들었지만, 겨우 돌려주고 한결 가벼워진 마음으로 저녁을 먹으러 나갔다.

20161114_023721.jpg결국 걷다가 한번 더 먹고 싶었던 마루가메 우동으로 또 갔다….차가운 Zaru udon. Chikuwa (긴 일본 오뎅) 튀김과 참치마요 삼각김밥.  삼각김밥은 단 맛이 없고, 짠 맛도 별로 없이 심하게 담백했다. Chikuwa튀김이 쫄깃하니 맛있었다.

피곤한 몰골을 끌고 호텔로.

20161114_035916.jpg 미니사이즈 술 사서 자기전에 한 잔씩. Grey Goose Orange and Melon.

이렇게 우리는 침대에 뒹굴거리며 하와이의 마지막 밤을 보냈다.

Day 6 (마지막날) 바로 가기

Hawaii – November 2016 – Day 4

We set off for Diamond Head at 8am. I wondered why a mountain was called “Diamond Head”. The obvious explanation would be that there are diamonds. Turns out I was kind of right.

We took bus #2 and got off at the Kapiolani Community College stop. Across the bus stop, we could see a sea of people at KCC Farmer’s Market, which is open on Tuesdays (4-7pm) and Saturdays (7:30-11am). We planned to get brunch there after we finished our mountain hike.

I had thought there’d be some arrows at the bus stop to direct tourists to the mountain, but there were none. We followed a bunch of people who looked like they knew where they were going, but we found ourselves walking by a cactus garden. We went back to the bus stop and asked for directions, and learned that we had been going the opposite way.

So we headed off in the right direction, and we saw a row of public exercise machines made out of metal. I had never seen these before in Toronto. I thought to myself, ‘The sun is always blazing, so wouldn’t the heated metal burn your skin off?’ As if to prove me wrong, an ex-Marine-looking guy suddenly appeared out of thin air and started to operate the machines expertly. Contrary to the scenario in my head, his hands did not start to combust. I reminded myself that I have a very overactive imagination and kept walking alongside Cinnamon like a normal person.

The moment we started to get some inclination, Cinnamon chattered on about how she is finally going to a mountain, how she always loved to climb mountains, and why the hell doesn’t Toronto have any mountains, and doesn’t the air feel fresher already?

After the initial hill, you find yourself at a vast area of flat land. There is a ticket vending hut, and beyond that, the washroom, and a food truck, which seemed very out of place at first. Beyond all that is the mountain you’ll be climbing.

We were surprised that the entry fee was just a dollar per person. Looking back, we never felt ripped off as tourists during any of our time in Hawaii.

The ticket vendor was managing two queues. There was the line of people who climbed up the initial hill on foot, and there was a long queue of cars that were waiting for a spot in the parking lot. While we were handing our dollar bills to the vendor, the driver in the other line said something, and the ticket guy replied back, “You’ll have to wait. Don’t worry, just wait”. Then the ticket guy turned to face us again, gave us our ticket, and offered us a jolly chuckle that seemed to come out of nowhere, but we could tell it came from a good place. We reciprocated with a giggle. There was nothing funny about the situation and I don’t know why we all laughed the way we did. A laugh is a funny thing because it’s so contagious. It’s a good disease. The ticket seller wasn’t bothered in the least by the backed-up line of angry cars, and I respect him for that.

We saw that the food truck was selling sliced pineapples, and behold, snow cones. We thought, ‘How great would it be if we climbed Diamond Head on this hot day while eating this iconic ice dessert?’, and ordered the rainbow flavor (mix of coconut, strawberry and banana, if I remember correctly).

20161112_144128The rainbow snow cone from the food truck by the mountain.

The return hike on the mountain takes 30-40 minutes. The hiking path is littered with rocks of all sizes, and it can get very steep, so it’s a lot of strain on your knees, ankles and hip. On top of all that, it’s so hot that your clothes will start sticking to you, like the eleven herbs and spices on a KFC drumstick. The hike is not recommended for the elderly, the injured, etc.

The snow cone was such a great idea at first. The more we hiked, the more we regretted our purchase. The path was getting rockier and steeper, and it was hard to balance with a cone in my hand. There was a garbage can at the midway point, and we should have just thrown it away here, but there was still so much snow left, so we decided to throw it away at the next trash can. Well, there was no next trash can, so we were stuck with our cone. To be fair, having a trash can in the middle of a mountain is already an amazing feat. Someone has to come collect the garbage every day, probably multiple times a day.

The snow in the cone melted to a highlighter-colored liquid, and we started drinking it like a bowl of cold soup.

1479343383956.jpgWhen you’re feeling tired, turn around. You’ll feel compensated.

Everyone moved in a tight line and we had to move quickly so I couldn’t take any pictures, but somewhere along the way near the top, you’ll go through a tunnel. As I went through it, I realized why the word “diamond” is in the name of the mountain. There are lights installed in the ground of the tunnel that illuminate the sparkling jewels on the walls, and it feels like you’re walking right through the middle of a starry night sky.

I’m not sure if they’re real diamonds, but I doubt it. People would try to pick it out of the wall.

1479343386047.jpg The peak. Crowded.

1479343404949.jpgThe view from the peak.

The area at the peak was so tight and everyone was cramped together. The view from the top was indeed breathtaking, but I’m partial to the stamps of scenery that I could see when I would turn my head as I climbed up. The more I walked, the more beautiful it got, and it energized me to keep hiking.

1479343407885.jpgThere are small pockets of rest area along the way where you can stop and enjoy the view. The walk down is really relaxing, because you are constantly facing the scenery as you hike.

20161112_154116.jpg We got our breath back at the rest area, by the washrooms and the food truck. I recommend getting the snow cone after you finish hiking.

KCC Farmer’s Market was in the middle of wrapping up when we finally arrived back there. They were selling grilled abalone, grilled shrimps on a stick, freshly squeezed juices, etc. and other food souvenirs to take home. We helplessly watched as the vendors started putting their goods away and dismantling their white tents.

We carried our empty stomachs to the bus stop, and listlessly waited for our ride among the tourist crowd.

Soon, a van pulled up infront of the stop and the driver got off. The van was empty.  The driver stood infront of the crowd and announced that he is scouting 6 people that will each pay $2, and he will drop any number of them off at any hotel they name. I glanced at his van again. It was a plain white van with no indication of it being affiliated to any taxi company. It was a personal taxi. No one moved or said anything. He slumped back to his vehicle and drove off. He came back 10 minutes later, and bargained. He was only asking for 5 people this time, and he will still only collect $2 per person. It’s cheaper than the bus, which is $2.50, and he will drop you off at any hotel you wish, so wouldn’t you come ride in his van? Again, no one responded. Many averted their eyes. Looking even more disappointed than he did at the first rejection, he turned back with lowered shoulders and drove away in his empty van.

The bus came shortly after. People lined up, and each person quietly handed over their $2.50 as they got on.

We were so hungry that we went to Marukame Udon as if under a spell. This is a very popular spot among the tourists and locals.

20161112_165914 blog.jpg It’s a well-known udon chain in Japan.

Marukame Udon has the three elements of a fast food chain. Tasty, fast, and inexpensive.

20161112_170723.jpgMolded fake food display. How Japanese-y.

There is always a line-up, but it moves fast. This place is not a restaurant, more like a cafeteria. You order, pay upfront and everything is self-serve. The employees were very efficient and people don’t take long to eat the noodles, so we didn’t have to wait for a seat. There is a sign up front that asks customers not to save tables in advance.

20161112_170951.jpgDat price, though.

You can get a bowl of udon for $3.75 – $7.50. That’s crazy.

Cinnamon ordered the limited-time special Nikuzaru Udon, and I ordered the Ontama Udon with the slow-boiled egg. We salivated as we discussed our choices. There are cold, hot, soupy, soupless udons; something for everyone.

20161112_171150.jpg Open kitchen. 

We waited around 20 minutes in line. I put my order in and received my bowl in what seemed like 20 seconds. The team was like a well-oiled machine. I took my bowl and let my eyes feast on all the tempura options that was spread out on heated trays. Each tempura piece is around $1.50. You can serve yourself with the tongs provided, and take as many as you like. There were the familiar varieties like squid, shrimp, veggie, but they also had chikuwa, Hawaiian sausage, and whole soft-boiled egg. I already had a nice, oozy egg in my bowl of Ontama Udon so I passed on the whole fried egg, but it’s a very popular item. I also saw three kinds of onigiri and two types of musubi by the cash counter.

20161112_172318.jpgKaraage and shrimp tempura. There is an egg hiding behind the mountain of green onion.

20161112_172620.jpgOh, hello, egg. How’s it going down there?

20161112_172322.jpgCinnamon’s Nikuzaru udon; comes with its own sauce. She also got shrimp tempura. Can’t remember if the rectangle is korokke…

Tempura sauce, chopsticks and spoons are self-serve. After you’re done eating, just carry the tray to the drop-off station.

We slurped in harmony, nodding our heads in silent approval as we chewed. The noodles were thick and chewy, and bounced around in my mouth, gently caressing the inside of my cheek.

Feeling full and satisfied, we went back to the hotel and got ready to go shopping.

We had both come with full luggage bags, so we knew we couldn’t really take anything back home. We walked around Kuhio Avenue, Kalakua Avenue and Royal Hawaiian Avenue and window-shopped. There were so many people on the avenues, but when we walked inside any mall or store, it wasn’t busy.

1479093670930 blog.jpgJust me in this big mall…(and Cinnamon too, of course)

While walking around, we passed The Cheesecake Factory multiple times. We always saw tourists scattered about outside, waiting for their table. Cinnamon and I decided to drink the Kool-Aid and have dinner there. We went inside at 6pm to put our name down, and was told to wait an hour.

They had given us a buzzer that will vibrate when our table was ready. An hour and 10 minutes passed by and the buzzer had been lifeless the whole time. We went inside and asked about our table, and it turned out that our name was never entered. The service rep immediately contacted the manager and we were given a table within a minute. He had given us whatever table was available, so we got a nice 4-person table by the open walls.

The interior was Las Vegas-style;  everything was huge and fake-looking. I thought I was going to get hypothermia from the jacked-up air conditioning. Did they delegate temperature control to Elsa or something? Thank goodness we were by the open walls, because at least the warmer outside air somewhat neutralized the artificial arctic chill.

The restaurant was packed, so of course it was very loud. Cinnamon and I had to yell at each other to be heard even though we were sitting by each other, so we both started to talk less.

All of a sudden, two elderly musicians started setting up their speakers and microphones in the front of our dining section. They looked and sounded so out of place, with their gentle acoustic music. People were too busy yelling over each other to enjoy their sounds. After each song ended, there were a precious few that clapped out of politeness, but they hadn’t heard a single word that was sung. As I clapped, I made a wish that the musicians would get a better gig next time.

The menu was the biggest I had ever seen. There were pages and pages of options, and we had a hard time making a decision, so we just got recommendations from our waiter. I started to wonder how this establishment could pull off such a huge menu. They would have to have so many stations in the kitchen and have all kinds of ingredients on hand. We each ordered a Lava Flow along with our mains.

After my order was put in, I went to go wash my hands and came back, and the food was waiting for me at the table. I’m exaggerating a little bit here, but I think the food came out within 10 minutes of ordering.

20161113_002934.jpgChicken Bellagio and…I don’t remember what Cinnamon ordered. It was very dark. Dark and cold. Like a solitary confinement cell. Food was pretty good though.

20161113_004036.jpg Lava Flow! I couldn’t taste any of the alcohol. Delicious strawberry, coconut and pineapple slushie. 

I could taste why this place was popular. The food was good. Another notable thing was the portions. We both ended up with left overs.

We also got a slice of their famous cheesecake to go.

20161113_120814.jpgWe ate this as breakfast next morning. It was so good. Ours was pumpkin pie flavor. 

After we got back from the dinner, we laid on the bed and looked at useless YouTube videos until our eyelids started to feel heavy.

Click here for Day 5

Hawaii – November 2016 – Day 3

Cinnamon went off on her own to Waikiki Beach earlier in the day to learn surfing. I joined her later at our rented beach chairs and parasol, to fill the role of her designated photographer. I made my best effort to capture her at her shining moments, but failed miserably.

She swam out deep into the waters to catch the waves along with the other surfers, and became one of many tiny dots by the horizon. She was sporting a black rash guard, but so was everyone else. Even after zooming in, everyone looked like Cinnamon. So I did what I could do, which is snap shots of anyone who was successful in riding a wave. I thought, ‘One of these surfers has to be Cinnamon’. She looked through the pictures when she came back ashore, laughed, and asked, “Where am I? This person on the board is not me, that’s for sure. I kept falling!”.

Even though I was only observing from afar, I could tell that surfing is an exhausting sport. Hours later, Cinnamon’s knees had turned a mixed shade of blue, purple and red. Those contusions were her battle scars from trying to stand up on the board.

20161111_162404.jpgIt’s too bad I don’t have any pictures of Cinnamon in action…Those dots near the back are the surfers trying to catch the next wave.

When we got hungry, we walked around and decided to try Lulu’s Waikiki. It’s on the second floor of a building near the end of the beach, by the Zoo.

20161111_175906.jpgThis is what we got to enjoy along with our meal.

Lulu’s has decent sandwiches and burgers, offers a nice view and has the beach breeze coming through the open walls, but the service was painfully slow. The waiter did not come for a long time after we were seated.

When he finally came, we ordered a burger and a fish sandwich and waited another hour. The restaurant wasn’t even half-full. At the 50-minute mark, the waiter happened to meet eyes with me. I guess I was looking at him with sad, deer eyes because I was so famished. He came by shortly after, to explain that the kitchen had been very behind on fish sandwich orders, but our food should be out soon.

Although we had to wait an hour, we still managed to enjoy ourselves. It’s amazing what a new environment can do for you. We laughed when we had to wipe off sand debris from our table, then we laughed because we were just so hungry, and we laughed when the salad that another customer ordered came out, looking like someone cut an iceberg lettuce in half, tossed some shrimps on it, and called it a day.

I have tried in the past to live my daily life as if I was on vacation. It’s a hard state of mind to keep up. In the morning, I would tell myself, “My life can be a never-ending vacation if I carry out my routine as though I’m doing it for the first time!”. When the afternoon rolled around, I found myself dreaming of a cocktail and letting out a sigh. I realized that routine is supposed to be boring; instead of lying to myself that it’s not, developing a strong sense of gratitude would be the better approach. With that said, it’s difficult to be thankful for things you take for granted.

1478976906193.jpgOn the left:  Grilled Island Fish Sandwich.    On the right: Aloha Burger, with the patty doused in teriyaki sauce and topped off with a pineapple ring. They were good. For drinks, we had what the menu listed as “POG” (abbreviation for Passion Orange Guava). 

We headed back to the beach after our meal. We had rented two beach chairs and a parasol for the whole day, for a flat fee of $40, and had had a great spot. Alas, we had not told the man at the rental stand that we were going off to lunch when we left, so he had rented our spot out to another couple. They set us up again at a spot near the back. If you ever leave your beach chairs to go get lunch, make sure to tell the guy at the rental stand, or you’ll find other people sitting on them when you come back. Of course, the rental guy was not at fault. He is in the business of renting; if he sees an empty spot, he needs to fill it.

Cinnamon enjoyed some music and I enjoyed a book at our new spot, then we went back to the hotel to wash up and bus over to the Ala Moana Shopping Centre. It’s a 3-storey mall, with big sections of the ceilings missing, so that it can open up to the sky. It didn’t seem that special, but the third floor was quite beautiful. The weather was nice as usual, and there were cute lights and tall trees by pockets of wooden benches. It was pretty empty for a Friday night, so we felt as if we were at a park.

1478971616126 blog.jpg That park feel.


1478971620492 blog.jpg Obligatory shot infront of my favorite kitchenware department store, Williams-Sonoma. 

After dropping into a few of the shops, we went to ABC Store to get their popular spam musubi, our favorite fruit juices, and coke-flavored Haribo. Then we headed off to Magic Island, a man-made beach that is a few minutes walk away from the mall. This is one of the popular spots to catch the fireworks show that Hilton Hotel puts on for everyone’s enjoyment at 7:45pm on Friday nights.

When we arrived around 7:15pm, the grassy area by the water was already occupied by people that had brought their own picnic chairs. The show wasn’t on yet, but their eyes were fixed on the cluster of hotel buildings on the other side of the beach, the spot where the fireworks usually burst into life. We splayed out our snacks, and sat on the brown paper bags that had held them. The juice was sweet, the air was fresh, and the hotels across the water glittered.

The spam musubi was some flavored rice pressed into rectangles, topped with a thin layer of egg, sauced-up slice of Spam, all held together with a thick haute-couture seaweed belt. It was warm because it’s kept in a heated fridge (Can I call it a fridge if it’s heated?). It was pretty good, but nothing to lose your socks over. It tastes exactly as how you’d imagine it tastes.

20161111_235223.jpgThe popular ABC Store spam musubis, Hawaiian juice, and the coca-cola jellies from our childhood.

I shot some videos when the fireworks came, but WordPress says I have to pay extra to upload videos. So I won’t upload them. Here’s a picture lol

20161112_004542.jpgA very pretty firework show provided every Friday night, courtesy of Hilton Hotel.

Something as memorable as the show was the Friday night culture of some of the local families. After the show ended, we naturally walked to the bus stop to go home. The show was done, what else was there to do? On the way, we saw Hawaiian families with young kids having dinner from delicious looking take-out boxes. They were sitting on the grass and listening to the music from their stereo. Another family had brought a whole set of camping cookware and a portable gas stove, and was making dinner. The kids were running around the grass, and into their mothers’ laps. My heart filled with warmth upon seeing these sights. All I could think about after the fireworks was heading back to the hotel, but for these families, the fireworks were the opening ceremony for their family night. I’m sure I can see other families having a great time in other cities too, but most cities don’t have a firework show every Friday night. If there is a regularly-occurring event like this in the neighborhood, it’d be a great opportunity for families to naturally spend more time together. We don’t have such a thing in Toronto, I believe.

After we arrived at the hotel, we decided to get some late-night dinner. One of the many things I miss about Hawaii is the pleasant, summery weather in the dead of the night. You can head out at 1am with a t-shirt and shorts on. Most stores and restaurants are open late, so there is lots to do.

The place of our choice was a popular ramen restaurant among the tourists, Ramen Nakamura. Long story short, I do not recommend this place. I found a hair in my bowl….Need I say more? Later, I read reviews and saw that the same had happened to a few other customers and the place had had conditional passes on some of their past health inspections. Setting aside the issue of hygiene for a second, I did not enjoy my food. I got their special menu, Oxtail ramen. The oxtail meat wasn’t cooked properly, so it chewed like leather and had the lingering scent of old beef fat.

20161112_031916.jpgMiso ramen on the left, Oxtail ramen with surprise hair on the right. They give you grated ginger and soy sauce for you to dip your oxtail meat.

Back at the hotel, we put on some facial masks together and fell into a deep sleep.

Click here for Day 4



하와이 – 11월 2016 – Day 4

오늘은 Diamond Head를 가는 날. 왜 산 이름이 Diamond Head인지를 모르고 그냥 갔다. ‘다이아몬드가 있는 산이겠지’, 하면서. 나중에 올라가보니 내 통밥이 맞았음. 훗…괜히 뿌듯함.

2번 버스를 타고 Kapiolani Community College에서 내렸다. 정류장 건너서에는 KCC Farmer’s Market이 한창이었다. 화요일과 (4-7pm) 토요일에 (7:30-11am) 열리는 야외시장이다. 우리는 산을 왕복한 다음에 시장에서 점심을 먹기로 했다.

정류장에서 Diamond Head로 가는 길을 표시할 싸인이 한두개라도 있을줄 알았는데, 없었다. 그래서 우리는 가까이있던 사람들 몇명을 따라갔는데, 갑자기 선인장 가든이 나오고 이상했다 (‘선인장으로 김치를 담글수 있을까?’ 라는 생각을 해봤다). 버스 정류장에 돌아가서 사람한테 길을 물어봤다. 음, 완전 반대편으로 걸어가고있었었다…

산쪽으로 가는 길에는 한국 공원처럼 여러가지의 야외 운동기구들이 있었다. 우리가 나무에 등 치고, 박수 치면서 뒤로 걸어도 안 이상할 풍경. 근데 이렇게 햇빛이 강한데, 기구들이 쇠로 만들어져있으면 달아서 손이 닿는 순간 피부가 타지 않을까 걱정했다. 그 순간 어떤 백인 아저씨가 와서 열심히 기구를 쓰셨다. 손에서 연기가 나지 않으셨고, 내 오지랖이 너무 넓다는걸 느꼈다.

언덕이 시작되는 순간, ‘신나’는 드디어 산을 오른다고, 한국에서부터 산 오르는거 너무 좋아하는데, 토론토에 산이 왜 그리 없냐고, 벌써 공기부터 다르지 않냐고하며 신나있었다. 귀여워…

언덕을 오르면 또 땅이 평평해지고, 매표소에서 티켓을 사야한다. 인당 1불. 너무 저렴하다. 하와이는 여행객을 호구로 본다는걸 느낀적이 한번도 없었다.

매표소 아저씨 한명이 줄 두 개를 관리하고 있었다. 우리의 반대편 쪽에는 주차장을 들어가길 기다리는 차들이 길게 서 있었다. 우리는 차 따위 럭셔리한게 없으니 1불만 내면 끝. 우리가 돈을 건낼때 차에 있던 손님이 매표소 아저씨한테 뭐라했고, 아저씨는 “You’ll have to wait. Don’t worry, just wait” (“기다려야 돼요. 걱정마요. 기다리세요”) 라고 답했다. 바로 후, 우리에게 티켓을 주면서 넉살 좋고 여유롭게 소리내서 웃음을 건네주셨다. 우리도 따라서 웃었다. 사실 웃긴건 하나도 없었다. 아저씨는 이 더운 날씨에 밀린 차 줄 때문에 짜증나 있었을줄 알았는데, 전혀 그렇지 않은게 보였다. 웃음이란건 웃기다. 전염이 된다. 좋은 병이다.

산이 시작되기전에 스노우 콘을 파는 푸드트럭이 있다. 이 더운 날 산을 오르면서 하와이의 대표적인 얼음스낵을 먹으면 너무 운치있겠다 생각하면서 하나사서 들고 가기로 했다. 레인보우 맛으로 시켰다 (코코넛, 딸기, 바나나맛을 섞어준다). 우리는 나중에 이 결정을 후회하게 되는데…

20161112_144128 Diamond Head산 입구에 있는 푸드트럭의 레인보우 맛 스노우 콘.

산을 왕복하는데는 길게 잡아서 40분, 보통 30분 걸린다. 돌이 많고 가파라서 무릅, 발목, 허리에 무리가 많이가고 날씨도 더워서 노약자에게는 강비추.

스노우 콘이 처음에는 마냥 시워한고 별로 달지도 않아서 산 오를때 너무 좋은 먹거리였다. 근데 더 가파라지고 울퉁불퉁한 길을 들어가니 콘을 손에 들고 가기 힘들었다. 산의 중간포인트에 쓰레기통이 있는데, 여기서 버렸어야했다. 아직 많이 남아서 다음 쓰레기통에 버리기로 했는데, 다음 쓰레기통은 없다는것이 함정. 쓰레기통이 산 중간에 있는것마저도 대단한거다. 누군가 매일 와서 이 쓰레기통을 비워야하지 않는가?

나중에는 얼음이 다 녹아서 신나랑 나는 냉면국물 들여마시듯이 마셨다. 그냥 아무데나 버리고 싶다는 유혹이 있긴 있었진만 (바위 위에 버리고 간 사람이 있었다), 그러면 안 된다는걸 알아서 귀찮아도 우리는 계속 이 애물딴지를 들고다녔다. 왜 어르신들이 산에 오이를 들고 다니는지 뼈저리게 느꼈다.

1479343383956.jpg힘들게 걷다가 뒤 돌아보면 보이는 풍경

사람들이 밀리고 빨리 움직여야하니 사진을 찍지 못했지만, 가다가보면 Diamond가 왜 이름에 있는지 보여주는 터널을 들어가게 된다. 땅에 조명을 설치해서 터널 벽에 반짝이는 보석들이 있다. 진짜 다이아몬드는 아니겠지? 개념없는 사람들은 파갈려고 할테니…


1479343404949.jpg정상에서의 뷰

정상에는 사람들이 너무 많고 좁아서 조금 실망이였다. 정상에서 보이는 뷰보다 오히려 중간 중간에 보이는 풍경들이 묘미다. 걸어갈수록 더욱 더 아름다워지는 뷰 덕분에 계속 걸을 에너지를 받는다.

1479343407885.jpg한번씩 쉬면서 뷰를 즐길수 있는 공간들이 있다. 

돌아오는길에 쓰레기통이 다시 보여서 드디어 콘을 버리고 지친 다리로 등산을 끝냈다.

20161112_154116.jpg피곤해서 넋이 나간 우리는 벤치에 앉아서 쉬었다. 여기에 화장실도 있고 푸드트럭도 있다. 스노우 콘은 등산 끝나고 먹는걸 추천. 들고 다니기 너무 힘듬.

아쉽게도 우리는 KCC Farmer’s Market이 끝날때쯤 도착했다. 많은 상인들이 마무리 하고있는거만 보았다. 거기서는 구운 자연산 전복도 팔고, 새우구이도 팔고, 밥도 팔고, 꿀도 팔고, 쥬스도 팔고, 골라먹는 재미가 있어보였다. 토요일에는 11시에 마무리 한다. 등산 끝내고 여기 와서 아점 먹는거 추천.

허기 진 배로 엉뚱한데서 버스를 기다리다가 놓치고 (구글 맵, 너를 믿었는데!), 우리가 내렸던 큰 정류장에서 버스를 다시 기다렸다. 무슨 방향이든 2번 버스는 똑같은 정류장에 온다.

기다리던 중에 어떤 아저씨가 큰 밴을 몰고 정류장 앞에 차를 대기하고 내리셨다. 사람들 앞에 서서 인당 $2만 내면 아무 호텔에 데려다주겠다고, 6명을 모집한다고 알렸다. 하지만 아무도 대꾸를 안 했다. 아저씨의 밴을 보니, 택시 차량이라는 표시도 볼수없는 하얀 밴이었다. 개인 택시였다. 실망한 얼굴로 가시더니, 10분후에 또 돌아오셔서 5명만 모여도 좋으니, 인당 2불이면 버스보다 싼거니, 아무 호텔 앞까지 편하게 모실테니, 모여라 하셨다. 이번에도 아무도 눈길도 주지 않았다. 그리고 더욱 실망한 표정으로 아저씨는 또 내려진 어깨로 뒤돌아 가셨다.

버스가 오고, 사람들이 줄을 서서 각각 $2.50을 내고 탔다.

사는건 쉽지않다.

배가 너무 고픈 우리는 언젠가 꼭 가겠다던 Marukame Udon을 가기로 했다.

20161112_165914 blog.jpg 마루가메 우동. 일본에 있는 큰 우동 체인점.

마루가메 우동은 fast food 체인점이 가져야할 세가지 요소를 갖쳤다: 맛있고, 저렴하고, 빠르다.

20161112_170723.jpg일본스러운 모형 디스플레이.

항상 줄이 있는데, 빨리 움직인다. 휴게소처럼 음식을 주문하고 돈 내고 자리 비운곳 찾아서 먹는 시스템. 직원들이 워낙 일을 빨리하고, 사람들도 후루룩하고 자리를 뜨니까 앉을 자리가 없는 일은 없었다.  ‘음식이 나오기 전에는 테이블을 차지하지 말아주세요’라고 싸인에 써 있다.

20161112_170951.jpg착한 가격. 

우동 한 그릇 가격은 3.75불에서 7.50불 사이.

‘신나’는 스폐셜 메뉴 Nikuzaru Udon을, 나는 몽글한 반숙 달걀이 들어간 Ontama Udon 을 시키겠다고 둘이 대화하면서 침을 삼켰다. 차가운, 뜨거운, 국물, 노 국물의 여러가지 우동들이 있으니 좋다.

20161112_171150.jpg입구에서 보이는 뽑고 삶는 풍경. 그들에겐 일상이겠지만, 열심히 맛있는 면을 만드는 그들은 너무 멋있다...

20분쯤을 기다리니 입장. 앞에 오더를 넣으면 직원들이 콜라보해서 빠르게 우동을 주고, 내가 식판위에 가져다가 튀김을 마음대로 고를수있다. 튀김은 개당 가격이 $1.50쯤이다. 호화스럽게 먹고싶으면 여기서부터 먹심을 발휘하고 지갑을 더 열면 된다. 튀김은 흔한 오징어, 새우, 아스파라거스도 있지만 반숙달걀 튀김, 치쿠와 (긴 일본 오뎅), 하와이안 소세지 튀김도 있다. 난 반숙이 우동에 있으니 달걀 튀김은 패스. 계산대에는 세 종류의 삼각김밥과 두 종류의 무스비도 판다.

20161112_172318.jpgKaraage (닭 허벅지 살)과 새우튀김. 탱글말랑한 ontama가  파 산 뒤에 숨어있다.

20161112_172620.jpg내꺼 한번 더…밑에 ontama 달걀…이삐당.

20161112_172322.jpg‘신나’꺼. 특제 소스가 있는 Nikuzaru udon. 새우와, 감자 고로케 튀김인가?

수저와 튀김 소스는 내가 알아서 가져오면 된다. 다 먹으면 식판 그대로 가져가서 반납하는데가 있다. 시간 낭비를 용납하지 않는, 잘 돌아가는 공장 분위기.

맛은…면빨 하나를 입안에 호로록 하고 씹으면, 면이 통통 튀면서 내 입 안의 볼살을 어루만져주는 느낌. 말캉하고 매끈하다. 국물들도 간이 적당하면서 맛있다. 튀김이나 삼각김밥도 취향대로 추가할수있으니 내 맘대로 골라먹는 재미가 있다. 근데 튀김이 갓 튀긴게 아니면 눅눅하다. 이것을 방지할려고 튀김위에 heat lamp도 쬐우지만, 역시 튀김은 방금 튀긴게 진리다. 튀김이 대체적으로 간이 안 돼 있으니, 난 소스에 좀 많이 찍었음. 소스가 걸쭉하고 달콤 짭짤하니, 내가 아는 튀김소스랑 다르다. 진한 데리야끼 소스라는게 더 적합하다.

‘신나’랑 나는 면빨을 드링킹하면서, 서로것도 맛 보면서 오순도순 배 불러갔다.  튀김없이도 우동으로 충분히 배부르다. 근데 튀김이 빠지면 섭섭하지…

다 먹고 나오니 우동집 뒤에 일본 스타일 마차 소프트서브 아이스크림 파는데가 있었다. 배가 불러서 패스. 맛있어 보였다.

버스타고 호텔로 이동. 씻고 쉬다가 윈도우 샤핑 나갔다.

우리 둘 다 캐리어를 꽉 차게 가져왔어서 사 봤자 못 가져 갈걸 알았다. 다 아는 얘기지만, 하와이는 샤핑하기 좋다. 샤퍼홀릭 기질이 조금이라도 있다면 Kuhio Avenue, Kalakua Avenue , Royal Hawaiian Avenue 이 가까운 세 거리만 다녀도 하루가 모자랄거다. 사람들이 차 렌트해서 자주 멀리있는 outlet mall도 가지만, ‘신나’나 나는 패스.

거리에는 사람이 많은데 오히려 안에 들어가면 사람들이 없었다. 매장이 너무 많아서 인파가 흩어져있는건가?

1479093670930 blog.jpg이렇게 넓은 곳에 사람이 너무 없었다.

저녁에 뭐 먹을까를 고민하다가 결국은 그 인기많은 Cheesecake Factory를 가기로했다. 대기시간이 얼마였지? 1시간이였나? 배가 심심할때쯤에 이름을 맡기면 배고플때 쯤 들어갈수 있다. 우리는 SNS하고 사진 찍으면서 재밌게 기다렸다.

시간이 지나도 진동하지 않는 우리의 전기 대기표. 들어가서 물어보니 직원이 잘못해서 우리 이름은 당초에 없었다고…슬픔과 허탈함이 섞인 눈으로 직원을 쳐다보니 매니저에게 얘기하겠다고, 기다려달라고했다. 다행이 매니저는 바로 테이블을 줬다. 그것도 넓은 4명짜리 테이블로! 바깥배경이 보이는 곳으로!

인테리어는 Las Vegas 스타일로 호화스럽고 모든게 큼직큼직했다. 그리고 에어컨이 다른곳들보다 심했다. 우리는 탁 트인 문쪽에 앉아서 차가운 바람이 빠져 나가서 오히려 남들보다 덜 추웠다. 돈도 아끼게 좀 덜 틀지…밥 먹다가 얼어죽겠네. 내가 엘사냐?

워낙 사람이 많으니 시끄러운건 당연하다. 서로 목소리 높여서 대화했다. 근데 갑자기 방 한쪽에서 두 아저씨들이 기타 연주하면서 마이크에 대고 노래하기 시작함. 뭥미? 너무 안 어울렸다. 열심히 하셨지만, 사람들은 먹고 대화하기 바빴다. 노래가 끝나면 매너상 박수 쳐주는 사람들이 소수 있었으나, 아무도 음악은 안 듣는 눈치였다. 나도 박수치면서 미안했다. 다음엔 좀 더 분위기 어울리는 곳에서 연주하시기를…

내가 미리 조사한대로, 메뉴는 너무 다양했다. 없는게 없다. 이럴려면 재료, 직원, 쉐프들도 엄청 많이있어야하는데. 과면 맛있게 할수있는지 의문도 가고…중국식당 가서 메뉴에 스시가 보이면 의심이 가는 그 느낌. 웨이터에게 추천을 받고, 각자 Lava Flow 한잔에다가 메인을 시켰다. 난 치킨 벨라지오 (Chicken Bellagio), ‘신나’는…기억이 안 나네…

얼마나 주방이 잘 돌아가는지 뻥 조금 보태서 화장실에서 손 씻고 나오니 음식이 도착해있었다. 주문하고 10분안에 온 것같다.

20161113_004036.jpg너무 컴컴해서 눈치 보면서 플래시 키고 찍었다. Lava Flow! 딸기, 코코넛, 파인애플을 크리미한 슬러시로 만든 술. 술맛은 안남. 술이 들었는지도 의문.

20161113_002934.jpg너무 컴컴해서 음식의 색감을 즐기지 못한다. 왜 이럽게 컴컴하고 추워야하나? 독방인가?

소문대로 음식이 맛있었다. 내꺼는 기름지고 고소하고 바질덕에 향긋하고, ‘신나’것도 맛있었다. 근데 ‘신나’꺼는 먹다보면 너무 기름진 덮밥갈아서 그런지 실증나는 맛이라했다. 그리고 소문대로 양이 많았다. 둘 다 조금씩 남겨서 싸 감. 호텔 냉장고에 보관했다가 심심할때 데워 먹기로 했다.

그 유명한 cheesecake도 takeout했다.  우리는 호박맛!

20161113_120814.jpg음…호텔에 가져왔을때는 생크림이 조금 흘러내렸네…근데 정말 맛있음. 펌킨파이맛의 치즈케익. 꾸덕한 미국식 치즈케익일줄 알았는데, 오히려 부드러워서 놀랐다. 일본인들이 좋아하는 가벼운 스타일. 맛있어!

정말 오랫만에 산을 올랐던 우리 둘은 호텔에서 발 뻗고 음악 듣고 유튜브에서 웃긴 레전드 동영상을 보고 킥킥대다가 잠에 들었다.

Day 5로 바로 가기





Calmly booking a trip to Japan

At 1AM on a seemingly normal weekday, I booked my flight to Japan.

I had trouble sleeping, so I searched for flights from Toronto to Tokyo. Behold, a great deal for non-stop, return. I took approximately 2 seconds to mull over this trip, then I put it on the plastic.

For months, I have been reading blog posts about Japan and staring at photos of various cities and towns. Countless number of times, I had so badly wanted to jump into the computer screen and be a part of that colorful world. I achieved something to that effect by walking around some of the streets of Tokyo using Google Maps street view. I realize I am starting to border on crazy when I say that, but I did it, and it made me happy.

I have never felt so calm in booking a flight. In the past, I would have strictly stuck to my ideal travel dates, have at least five hotel options memorized, have all the activities planned out, and research the public transportation/taxi system beforehand. Then I would start booking the flights.

I had told myself all along that I would go to Japan in April when the weather is nicer, but now I am going in February. I doubt I could have waited patiently until April anyway. What am I in such a hurry to do in Japan? I just want to walk, walk some more, and then keep walking.

I will be celebrating my birthday alone in Tokyo this year. Not fully intended, but I don’t mind it.