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.
It’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.
This 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.
On 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.
That park feel.
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.
The 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
A 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.
Miso 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.