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-

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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.

20161113_144234.jpgBlue-ish.

20161113_144246.jpgGreen-ish.

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_193631.jpgNice.

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_211819.jpgPretty…

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.

20161113_232332.jpgGoodbye.

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

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…

-끝-

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…

1479343386047.jpg정상.비좁다.

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

 

 

 

 

Hawaii – November 2016 – Day 2

I slept at 1am and woke up at 4am…What do I do now?

4am in Hawaii is 9am in Toronto. I have always been unable to sleep in past 9am. It doesn’t matter how tired I am; my brain has no consideration for my body.

I tried to go back to sleep, but I was too sensitive to my new environment. My eyes were alert, and my heart seemed to beat faster than usual. Quietly I rose from the bed, careful not to wake Cinnamon. My phone accompanied me to the dark balcony. Although it was 4am in mid-November, the air was as fresh and cool as that of an ideal summer night in Toronto.

I opened the balcony door and the Big Dipper greeted me from the night sky. I traced an imaginary line through the seven stars of the Dipper, like I used to draw in a connect-the-dots exercise book when I was younger. I felt as if those stars were shining with all their might, making themselves extra bright, just for me. I know that this is far from the truth, but one can fantasize. I tried to take a picture of it, but my camera phone wasn’t good enough to capture it. So I stared at it for a long time, trying to engrave it in my head. I am saving it for the rainy days when I need to recall a comforting memory.

I sat on the balcony, jotting down things on my phone and just thinking about stuff until 6am. I wrote about the first day of this trip, then I stared into the night view and thought about how I should live my life, and when I couldn’t figure out the answer, which is usually how it goes, I recorded fantastic business ideas that I knew I would never put into action. Then I wanted a change of environment so I went to the washroom and sat in the tub and thought some more.

Cinnamon woke up at 7am. She wanted to go jogging before breakfast. I don’t like to exercise, so I chose to walk.

We could see our morning workout route from the balcony.

20161112_125301.jpgThe view from the balcony in the morning.

We got out of the hotel and crossed a street to get to the walkway by the waters.

20161110_1225398am. The clear water was a giant mirror.

20161110_122548The other side; sun in my eyes.

20161110_122759Even the birds here are beautiful…Look at their cute red hats.

20161110_123000Water so clean, you can see the fish.

20161110_123206Cinnamon jogging on the left. Far down, you can see the bridge that connects to the other side. 

Cinnamon has a friend who frequently visits Honolulu, and when she saw the picture, she immediately recognized this walkway as “Ala Wai Boulevard”. We didn’t know this was such a well-known road. How lucky we were to be able to look at this everyday from our hotel room.

We had breakfast and coated ourselves with SPF 60 sunscreen before we headed out. SPF 60 was the highest SPF level I could find in Toronto. You walk into an ABC Store in Hawaii, and there’s SPF 100, right by the cashier. They know their sunscreens here.

Speaking of ABC Store, it was our first stop of the day. We desperately needed a SIM card with data. They said they had stopped selling SIM cards for a while now, and referred us to “Hoku Wireless”. The manager of the store was really nice. He couldn’t remember the name of the store off the top of his head, so he googled around for a while to find it, then gave us a tourist map, drew and labelled Hoku on it, and gave us directions for the best route. Is there something in the water here? How is everyone here so kind?

So we got to Hoku Wireless, which was on our way to Waikiki Beach. Hoku is a small store on the first floor of Ohana Hotel, with a sign and door facing the pedestrian road.

Cinnamon and I hadn’t unlocked our phone before coming here, but the Hoku employee was really helpful. The SIM card gave us unlimited data and local calls for 5 days for $41.85 USD. Pretty sure it included phone calls to North America as well, but we just used WhatsApp to communicate with people back home, because this is 2016.

Our first time walking to Waikiki Beach was filled with anticipation. The beach…the beach…Waikiki Beach!!!

It was 35°C, but it wasn’t sticky and humid, nor was it too drying on the skin. It was tolerable heat, and best part of all, I did not see a single mosquito in all of my 6 days in Hawaii. Surprising, as beaches are usually a buffet table for mosquitoes…

20161110_165802.jpgAnxious to cross over and get to the blue water!

The beach wasn’t as populated as I thought it would be. I guess November is off-season.

20161110_171058.jpgI want to go back… 

20161110_172156.jpgLots of benches for you to sit and relax if you don’t feel like walking in the sand.

When we got hungry, we stopped at Waikiki Beachside Bistro. They sell burgers, snacks, snow cones, but of course we wanted poke (pronounced POH-keh). There were three different flavors to choose from.

20161110_174625.jpgHere are the two poke bowls we chose.  The one on the left is sweet, salty and sour. It has seaweed salad and gari (Japanese pickled ginger). The one on the right is spicy mayo. Both had tuna; they don’t have salmon poke here.

20161110_174642.jpgClose-up of the left

20161110_174648.jpgClose-up of the right, Spicy Mayo.

It’s the same concept as bibimbap. Mix it all up and start eating.

I wouldn’t make an extra effort to go to the Bistro, since I did not cry metaphorical tears of joy and pleasure as I ate, but it is at a convenient location and poke just feels so right when you’re at Waikiki beach. There are lots of other good places to eat by the beach, so take a walk and explore the options. You don’t have to worry about being short of drinks or snacks, as there is an ABC store every few steps away from each other. I guess market cannibalization isn’t a concern…Seriously, it’s worse than Starbucks.

We were eating our pokes outside, and Cinnamon had the pleasure of getting shat on by a friendly seagull. I told myself, ‘This gloop of green, grey, and white is not poo. It’s not poo….’ as I wiped it off her hair with a bunch of napkins.  Suddenly, the seagulls that were surrounding us all seemed to look at us with hateful eyes. They looked like they were ready to play another round of Call of Doodie (heh heh, get it? Call of Duty, but with doodie, which is poo. Heh heh). We hurriedly left their turf and started walking in the sand again.

20161110_185427.jpgWish you were here, XOXO

20161114_144438.jpg Hawaiian Sun juice is so good…“Pass-O-Guava” is short for Passion Fruit, Orange, and Guava. This is a very popular flavor in Hawaii. So popular that it’s simply written as “POG” in menus. 

I was drinking this can of Pass-O-Guava juice while sitting on the sand at Waikiki. Then we got up and walked some more, and I started to get little seeds from the bottom of the can. I wondered if they were tiny pieces of guava seeds or something. I bought this can of juice again two days later, and I never got any seeds, even when I got to the bottom of the can. It was then I realized that I had unknowingly consumed the sands of Waikiki Beach.

After admiring the beach from the shore and taking tons of pictures, we headed to the hotel to change into swimsuits and drop off our valuables. We walked back to the beach and played in the salty water. Whenever it got into my mouth, I worried about my rising sodium intake level. Whenever it got into my eyes, I felt as if my eyeballs were turning into pickles. But no one wore swimming goggles here…so I didn’t either. As Patrick Bateman would say, I… want… to fit in.

We swam and floated until we felt cold and hungry, at which point we went back to our hotel to get ready for dinner. Feeling tired and lazy, we decided to go to Sam’s Kitchen, the place we couldn’t find last night. It was a 3-minute walk away, had a good Yelp rating and there were great reviews about their Garlic Shrimp, which is a symbol of touristy Hawaiian fast food.

The more I use Yelp, the more I feel that the best way to discover a new restaurant is to just get out and walk around, without reading reviews beforehand. I have started to go in to a place if I see a lot of people inside, or I just trust my nose. If it smells good, it probably tastes good.

Sam’s Kitchen was meh. It was an outdoor patio with tables and chairs that took up a long alleyway, and the food came out in styrofoam containers… The shrimps were marinated so they were savory, but they were tiny, like the freezer-burned shrimps in the frozen section of a Food Basics. Yes, ghetto shrimps. The steak was better than the shrimps.

I recommend Ken’s Kitchen if you want good Garlic Shrimp. It’s a food truck close by Sam’s Kitchen. The shrimps at Ken’s are juicier, the sauce is more flavorful, and it comes with salad and a piece of pineapple, and it’s also open late. We made the mistake of trying Ken’s Kitchen for our last meal in Hawaii before we headed off to the airport, and we regretted not trying it earlier.

20161111_005219.jpg Garlic Shrimp and some beef steak thing from Sam’s Kitchen. $14 USD each. Garlic Shrimp is always $14 USD everywhere. 

There was an old man at the entrance of Sam’s Kitchen, switching between “Konnichiwa” and “Ni Hao” whenever he saw an Asian, trying to convince them to come in. I wished he’d stop doing that.

We were still hungry, so we went on to the next round of drinks and a snack.

We finished off our night at Duke’s. It’s a huge restaurant with a back patio that opens up to the beach. The ambiance was really nice, but it was really dark even with the fire lamps on, so all we saw was darkness in place of the beach. If you’re looking for scenery, it’s better to come here in the day. We enjoyed the summer night breeze with our drinks and food. Hawaii is great to walk around in at night, and almost all shops are open until 11pm or later, including clothing stores, if you didn’t get enough shopping done during the day.

20161111_020847.jpgThe outdoor patio at Duke’s. You can find these standing fire lamps all over Hawaii. But WHO is lighting them? Is it island magic?

20161111_020338.jpgCocktails and nachos. The cocktail is called Mai Tai, and is a staple at any bar in Hawaii.

20161111_021322.jpgMai Tai. The glass was so pretty! It was sweet and bitter. 

I’ve been told to drink Mai Tai and Lava Flow when in Hawaii. I guess they’re the local cocktails, as I’ve never seen them in Toronto. We tried Lava Flow two days later. It’s a sweet and creamy strawberry-coconut-pineapple slushie. It’s yummy, but you can barely taste the alcohol. Not my cup of booze.

We chatted on into the night and headed back to our hotel with just a bit of a buzz.

Click here for Day 3

Hawaii – November 2016 – Day 1

I went to Hawaii with a friend from university. For the sake of the her privacy, I will call her Cinnamon.

We arrived at Pearson airport bright and early at 5:30am for our 8am flight. We were tired but wired for our trip. Our flight included a 1.5 hour layover, and it was 13 hours in total.

Pearson was as much a nightmare as I expected. Long lines, grumpy people, etc. The man who was x-raying the bags asked me to take out the umbrella from my luggage bag. I reached into my stuffed-to-the-limit bag and took it out. He felt the umbrella for a bit, nodded his head, and handed it back to me. I still don’t know what he expected to be in my umbrella.

The people at customs, and even the other flyers were very rude. Was it because no one got any proper sleep?

Cinnamon and I bought a breakfast bagel at the Great Canadian Bagel near the gate. It honestly tasted like heated plastic. We couldn’t stop laughing as we munched on our melted plastic sandwich. We couldn’t believe how terrible it was. I bought milk because I don’t like coffee. I was expecting a paper carton but all they had was “Milk2Go” in a plastic bottle. It looked, smelled and tasted exactly like white plastic powder dissolved in water. Wow. I had two gulps and I threw it out because it tasted like cancer cells. Thankfully, the trip was uphill from there.

After 13 hours later, we arrived at the Waikiki airport at 5pm with bloated legs that were in need of blood flow. Hawaiian air was much different from the chilly wind in Toronto. Cinnamon was excited from the change in scenery. Right out of the airport were mountains and palm trees, the two things you never see in Toronto. Cinnamon started taking pictures, but I was anxious to get on the bus to our hotel because all I really wanted was a hot shower.

We had only had liquids and dried snack packs in the plane. When we saw a Burger King, we ran inside. Thankfully, the Whopper set tasted so much better than the melted plastic that we had 13 hours ago.

We dissolved our whoppers and went to get a bus to our hotel. After asking several duty-free shop employees for directions, we got to a run-down-looking bus stop. We had expected the Honolulu airport to be painted in gold, and half-expected a hula-dancer to adorn our necks with leis, but the roads, bus stop and street signs all looked ghetto and 80’s-ish (this is only my personal opinion). I just felt like they haven’t invested much money into these things in a while. Possibly because all their attention is on southern areas of the island, near the beaches.

20161109_213539-blogCinnamon waiting at the airport bus stop. I didn’t take this picture to capture anything special, but it has all the elements of a Hawaiian background; blue open sky,  palm trees and mountains.

You can take bus #19 or #20 to get “To Waikiki Beach and Hotels”, as the bus will say. $2.50 USD for a one-hour ride; not bad. The bus came and I expected it to be at least half-full with other tourists like myself, but I was surprised to see it filled with locals. It stopped at many of the major points of Waikiki (like Chinatown, and Ala Moana Shopping Centre), so it was a popular bus among the Hawaiians. It was nice to see people other than travelers and flight attendants, whom we had been seeing for the last 13 hours.

Cinnamon and I carried our un-showered bodies and heavy luggage bags on to the bus. Two middle-aged Hawaiian local men immediately got up and gave us their seats. We were very surprised that they were so ready to offer their seats to young, able-bodied tourists. I am not trying to insult my own city, but I have seen many healthy-looking Torontonians who do not give up their seats for the injured or the elderly. Yet here I was, a young traveler, getting to sit down for my one hour bus ride with my luggage bag comfortably stowed under my seat. All the other Hawaiian locals we got to brush elbows with during this trip were very pleasant and I developed a fondness for the people of the island.

It was easy to distinguish locals vs. outsiders, because the skin told all. The moment you see a face that has seen the sun for 365 days a year, you’ll instantly recognize it.

The bus went onto a major street out of the airport, and there was a long row of tents on the wide pedestrian road. I wasn’t sure what this was at first, but when I strained my eyes for focus, I saw that the tents were weathered down, like they have been out here for a while. It then dawned on me that these were the homes of the homeless. This is possible in a place where it is summer 365 days a year.

The bus kept going and so did the row of tents. I could see T-shirts and shorts hung on clotheslines, and a toothless resident smiling and talking to another resident in their front yard (i.e. the pedestrian road).  The tents were all of different colors and sizes, and I seriously wondered to myself whether the residents with the bigger tents were considered the upper-class of this neighborhood. There was a whole community here.

I couldn’t help but feel extremely vapid in that moment. Sitting on the bus on my way to my hotel, my bag filled with different outfits for each day of the trip, while feeling grumpy because I hadn’t had a proper lunch. Nobody had forced me to come here. I came here on my own accord because I wanted to hang out at a beach. I was just another tourist, spending my money in the same restaurants, bars and shops like all the others, and leaving the island when I had my fill.

I can’t pinpoint the reason why, but I saw these tents projected from the back of my head sporadically throughout the trip. I thought I could see them hiding just behind the ostentatious shopping malls and the glistening hotels. Almost as if I reached out my hand and peeled off the glitzy layer of tall buildings, I could see the tents in their place, clear as day. And this must be the case everywhere in the world, not just here. I had known for a while, in a textbook-regurgitated kind of way, that there is always shabbiness in the shadow of luxury, but seeing this with my own eyes left a lasting impression on me and to this day, I still think of these tents.

During the bus ride, we saw a few tourists get on, but it was mostly the locals. Around 40 minutes into the ride, we started to approach the cluster of hotels. We relied on a screenshot of Google Maps to navigate to our hotel.

Thankfully, the hotel was at a great location and our room had strong wifi. The best part about the room was the balcony view.

20161109_233237.jpgThe view from the balcony. An even more beautiful view was waiting for us when we woke up the next morning.

We finally took a hot shower, celebrated our arrival, and looked for a place to eat. We found a “Sam’s Kitchen” that was nearby on Yelp. In our tired state, proximity was the most important factor.  But of course, with the wifi cut off the moment we exited the hotel, we got lost, and ended up asking for directions to a nearby foodcourt. At this point, we needed food; any food. I settled for an Orange Chicken combo at Panda Express, the US-equivalent of Manchu Wok. It tasted really terrible and I was surprised to find myself yearning for Manchu Wok instead. Yes, it was that bad.

We stopped at one of the many ABC Stores (a Hawaiian chain of convenience stores) to buy some chips, beers and small necessities and headed back to the hotel to sleep.

Click here for Day 2.

하와이 – 11월 2016 – Day 3

아침에 ‘신나’는 서핑 배우고, 나는 앉아 놀았다. 멋있게 서핑하는 사진을 멋지게 담아줄려 노력했지만, 서핑은 물에 좀 깊게 들어가야하니까 너무 멀어져서 누가 ‘신나’인지 몰라봤다. 검은색 래시가드를 입고있었는데, 모두 다 검은색 래시가드를 입고있어서 ‘신나’를 추적하지 못 했다. 아무리 카메라 렌즈 확대하고 봐도 그 닝겐이 다 그 닝겐임. 멋있게 서프보드위에 서서 파도를 타는  사람을 보면 일단 찍었다. 혹시 ‘신나’의 찬란한 서핑 성공기의 흔적으로 남을수 있을까봐… ‘신나’는 찍은 사진들을 보고 “내가 어딨지? 근데 이렇게 잘 타는 사람은 진짜 내가 아니야 ㅋㅋㅋ” 그랬다.

난 멀리서 보는데도 서핑은 정말 힘들다고 느꼈다. 나중에 ‘신나’의 무릅은 파랗게 멍 들어있었다. 배움의 흔적…

20161111_162404.jpg‘신나’의 멋진 서핑체험을 촬영하는것에 실패…저 멀리 보이는 검은 점들이 거의 다 서핑하는 사람들

나중에 배가 고파서 해변가까이에 있는 Lulu’s Waikiki 레스토랑에 갔다. 2층에 있는 레스토랑인데, 벽이 뻥 뚫려서 바깥을 볼수있다.

20161111_175906.jpg2층에있는 Lulu’s Waikiki 에서는 이 뷰를 즐기면서 식사할수있다.

Lulu’s는 샌드위치/버거도 맛이 괜찮고, 멋진 뷰와 시원한 바람을 즐길수 있는데, 서비스가 매우 느렸다. 자리에 안내 받아서 앉아도 한참 웨이터가 안 왔다. 우리는 햄버거 하나, 피시 샌드위치 하나를 시켰는데, 한 시간을 기다렸다. 레스토랑이 반도 안 찼었는데… 한 50분동안 음식을 기다린 후, 웨이터가 내 눈을 마주쳤다. 내가 너무 간절한 눈빛으로 쳐다봤나보다. 너무 배고팠다… 조금 있다가 찾아와서 우리 음식이 곧 나올거라고, 지금 피시 샌드위치 주문이 너무 많아서 밀려있었다고 얘기해줬다.

음식을 오래 기다려도 새로운 환경이니까 나름 즐겼다. 우리의 몸에 불어있던 잔잔한 모래가 마르면서 테이블에 조금 떨어지고, 그걸 닦아내고, 그게 웃겨서 웃고, 그냥 배고파서 웃고, 옆사람이 시킨 샐러드가  너무 형편없어서 웃고, 그러면서 보냈다. 일상을 여행 온것처럼 살수있으면 좋을텐데…시도를 해봤지만 힘들다. “그래, 여행이 따로 있나? 깨어있는 시간들을 새로운 느낌으로 보내면 일상도 새로울수있어!” 하면서 아침을 시작해도, 오후가 되면 소주를 그리워하면서 한숨을 쉬는 나를 발견한다. 어쩔수없는것같다. 매일매일 똑같은 것들은 지루할수밖에 없지만, 고마운 마음을 가지면서 산다면, 그래도 좀 나은것같다. 근데 그런 마음을 맨날 유지하는게 힘들다고요.

1478976906193.jpg 좌:  그릴드 아일랜드 피시 (Grilled Island Fish)샌드위치     우: 뽜인애플 링이 들어가고 데리야끼 소스를 패티에 듬뿍 바른 알로하 (Aloha) 버거. 맛있었다. 쥬스는 POG (Passion Orange Guava를 줄인 말). 메뉴에도 그냥 POG라 써 있다.

우리는 밥을 먹고 해변으로 돌아갔다. 와이키키 해변에는 서핑/비치파라솔 렌팅하는 스탠드가 몇개있다. $40을 내고 비치파라솔 하나, 해변의자 두개를 하루 종일 렌트했었다. 12시쯤에 밥 먹으러 떠났을때 주인아저씨한테 밥 먹고 돌아온다는 말을 안 해서, 아저씨가 우리 갔다고 우리의 꿀자리를 다른 사람들한테 줘 버렸음…그런 다음 더 안 좋은 자리를 받게됐음… 여러분, 잠깐이라도 자리를 뜨실려면 아저씨한테 말하고 뜨세요. 안 그러면 아저씨가 딴 장사합니다. 뭐, 아저씨는 잘못이 없다…장사하시는 분이시니까 당연히 자리가 비면 채우는게 맞다.

해변에서 또 앉아서 음악 듣고, 책 읽고 즐기다가 호텔로 돌아갔다. 씻고, 쉬다가 슬슬 Ala Moana Shopping Centre로 갔다. 3층 샤핑몰인데, 중간 중간 모든 층의 천장이 뚫린 야외 샤핑몰이다. 그거 빼곤 그렇게 특이하진 않다. 날씨가 너무 좋아서 3층에 가니까 오히려 이 샤핑몰의 묘미가 드러났다. 귀여운 전구들, 키 큰 나무들과 틈틈히 놓인 나무벤치들이 인상적이었다. 금요일 저녁인데도 몰이 바쁘지 않아서 공원에 놀러온 느낌이 났다.

1478971616126 blog.jpg 공원에 놀러온 느낌

 

1478971620492 blog.jpg랑하는 윌리엄스 소노마에서도 한 컷 (주방용품 백화점). 천장이 뚫려서 상쾌한 공기를 즐길수있었다.

이렇게 돌아보고 몰안에 있는 ABC Store에서 한국사람들이 자주 사 먹는 스팸 무스비와 우리가 좋아라하는 과일주스 사고, 불꽃놀이 보러 몰에서 아주 가까운 Magic Island해변으로 갔다. Magic Island는 사람들이 만든 인조해변이다. 힐튼 호텔에서 매주 금요일 밤 7:45에 펼치는 불꽃놀이를 멀리서 즐길수있다.

7:15분쯤에 벌써 많은 사람들이 물가의 잔딧풀에 의자를 펼쳐놓고 저멀리 해변건너를 바라보고 있었다. 우리도 ABC Store 에서 산 스낵을 펼쳐놓고, 종이 봉투 찢어서 깔고 앉았다. 주스도 당연히 맛있고, 공기도 좋고, 건너로 보이는 호텔빌딩으로 가득 찬 야경도 멋있고, 좋았다. 스팸 무스비는 밥덩어리에다 얇은 달걀부침과 소스바른 스팸 슬라이스에다가 패션센스 쩌는 김 허리벨트 하나로 묶은 따뜻한 간식. 온장고에 보관돼있다. 맛있었는데, 놀랍지는 않았다. 그냥 생각 그대로의 맛. 20161111_235223.jpg하와이에선 빠질수없는 주스, 스팸 무스비, 그리고 추억의 콜라맛 젤리.

비디오도 찍었는데, 비디오 올릴려면 WordPress에서 돈을 더 내란다. 그래서 안 올림. 여기 사진 한 장 보소 (무책임).

20161112_004542.jpg공짜임에 불구하고 너무 좋았던 힐튼 호텔의 불꽃놀이 쇼! 사람들 많다.

불꽃쇼만큼 기억에 남는건 몇몇 하와이 주민들의 금요일밤 가족 문화였다. 쇼가 끝나고 버스정류장으로 가는길에 보았다. 어린 아이들이 있는 가족들이 테이크아웃 한 음식을 먹고 배경음악 틀고 놀고 있거나, 돗자리 깔고 캠핑용 냄비로 저녁을 만들기 시작했었다. 아이들은 신나서 뛰놀고, 엄마한테 달려가 안기고, 훈훈한 모습이였다. 우리는 불꽃쇼 끝나면 집에 갈 생각만했는데, 이분들에겐 불꽃쇼가 금요일밤의 시작을 여는 개막식이었다. 다른 도시들에서도 볼수있는 풍경이지만, 다른 도시에는 불꽃쇼가 없으니, 조금 색다르게 느껴진다. 집 근처에 이런 조그만 이벤트들이 있으면 가족끼리 더 가까워질수있는 기회도 자연스럽게 많아지는것 같다.

버스 타고 돌아온 후, 저녁을 제대로 못 먹은 우리는 야식을 먹으러 나갔다. 하와이에 대해 그리운것 중 하나는 새벽 1시에 나가도 날씨가 너무 좋다는거…티에다 반바지면 준비 끝. 매장들도 늦게까지 여니까 볼것도, 할것도 많다.

우리가 간 곳은 꽤 알려진 라면집, Ramen Nakamura였다. 결론부터 말하자면, 비추. 내 라면에서 머리카락이 나왔다… 말 다했죠? 비위생적인걸 떠나서 맛이 없었다. 여기의 특식인 소꼬리 라멘을 시켰는데, 소꼬리를 제대로 안 끓여서 누린내도 나고, 고기도 정말 질겼다.

20161112_031916.jpg왼쪽은 미소 라면, 오른쪽은 머리카락이 나온 소꼬리 라면 (oxtail ramen). 소꼬리 고기는 갈은생강+간장에 찍어먹게 마련해줌.

ABC Store에 들러서 ‘신나’는 지인들에세 선물할 마카데미아 초콜렛 사고 호텔에서 같이 쌍팩 하고 잤다.

Day 4로 바로가기

 

 

하와이 – 11월 2016 – Day 2

새벽1시에 자서 새벽 4시에 일어났다….어쩌자고….

하와이 새벽4시는 토론토 아침9시다. 평소 늦잠 못 자는 나. 아무리 내 몸이 피곤하다해도 냉정한 뇌는 무시하고 깨운다.

다시 자려고 했지만, 실패. 내 눈에는 힘이 잔뜩 들어가있고, 심장도 더 빨리 뛰는것같았다. 새로운 환경에 들뜬 나는 내 친구 ‘신나’를 안 깨울려고 조심히 일어나 핸드폰을 챙기고 발코니에 나갔다. 11월 중순의 새벽4시였지만, 바람은 어느 여름밤보다 더 상쾌하고 시원했다. 공기가 좋아서 그런지 오랫만에 국자모양인 북두칠성을 봤다. 사진을 찍으려했으나, 내 삼성 갤럭시 카메라로는 예쁘게 담을수 없는 별들이라 눈으로 보는거로만 만족했다. 아직도 나는 새벽 4시에 국자모양을 만든 별들을 잊지 못한다.

혼자 조용히 6시까지 핸드폰에 하와이 첫날에 대한 일기를 쓰고, 나중에는 화장실 욕조에 한시간 앉아서 많은 잡생각들을 하면서 보냈다.

수면미인 ‘신나’는 7시에 일어났다. 아침부터 조깅을 하고 아침 먹고 싶다했다. 나도 배가 안 고프니 따라나가기로 했다. 운동이랑 먼 나는 그냥 아침 산책하기로… 심하게 편한 실내 복장을 입고있던 나는, 그냥 입고있던 대로 따라 나가면 안 되냐고 물어보니, “쪽 팔릴것 같아”라고 솔직히 말해줬다. 역시 사람은 이렇게 솔직담백한 친구가 있어야한다. 빈티 풍기며 하와이를 산책할뻔 했었다. 고맙다, ‘신나’야!

발코니에서 보던 야경은 아침이 되니 돌변했다. 파란 물, 멀리서 섬을 지키는 산의 머리들, 초록색 야자수와, 그래도 도시라는걸 잊지못하게 하는 회색 빌딩들이 우리를 매일 아침 반겼다.커튼을 제치고 침대에서 누워도 아래같은 풍경을 볼수있었다. 참고로 우린 Coconut Waikiki Hotel에서 Mountain View 룸이였다.

20161112_125301.jpg발코니에서 보이는 풍경. 

이 물옆에는 인도가 있으니, 우리는 그 길을 따라 운동하기로 했다.

호텔을 나와서 강에 가니, 더 아름다웠다. 여기서 사진 폭발.

20161110_122539아침 8시. 운동하거나 어딜 가고 있는 사람들이 종종 보였다. 맑은 물은 거울이다.

20161110_122548햇빛을 바라보면 눈은 시리지만, 이렇게 예쁜 반대편을 볼수있다.

20161110_122759여기는 심지어 새도 이쁘다… 빨간 머리가 눈에 띈다.

20161110_123000물고기들도 훤히 보이는 너무나 깨끗한 물…

20161110_123206 아름다운 풍경에서 조깅하는 도시여자 ‘신나’의 모닝 워크아웃 (workout).  사진 좌측에는 강의 다른편으로 갈수있는 하얀 다리가 보인다.

‘신나’의 하와이 단골 친구는 사진을 보고, “오, Ala Wai Boulevard!”라고 한번에 알아봤다. 그때서야 우리는 이 거리의 이름을 알게됐다….이게 나름 잘 나가는 거리였구나….발코니로 항상 볼수있다니, 우리는 복도 많지.

구글 맵으로 보니 유명할만한도 하다. 이쁘고, 길고, 해변에 안 가도 물과 가까울수있으니. 이 인조 강에서 아침에 rowing하고 수영하고 있는 사람들도 종종 봤다. 많은 호텔들과 가까우니, 이 근처에 호텔을 잡았다면 꼭 ‘신나’처럼 아침에 레알 하와이안 로칼처럼 조깅을 하기를 권한다. 물론 우리는 첫날밖에 안 했지만….나랑 운동이랑은 썸 타는 사이라서.

google mapsscreenshot ala wai blvd.png한번 걸어보면 여운이 남는 Ala Wai Boulevard.

돌아와서 씻고 호텔에서 조식 먹었다. 물론 숙박비에 보너스로 포함된거라서 고기, 크림 수프 같은건 기대도 안했다. 숙박비가 다른 호텔들이랑 비슷하면서 개인 방에 와이파이, 조식까지 주니까 너무 기대하면 안 된다.20161110_135650.jpg공짜치고는 좋았던 조식. 시리얼도 4종류, 와플이나 식빵은 토스터에 데울수 있고, 삶은 달걀과 주스, 우유, 커피, 여러종류의 차 제공.

먹고, 썬스크린으로 무장하고 예쁜 썬드레스 입고 인터넷을 할수있게 sim card 산 다음  와이키키 해변 (Waikiki Beach)을 즐기기로 했다.  ‘신나’가 미리 블로그에 보고온게 있어서 ABC Store에서 sim card 살수 있냐고 물어봤는데, ABC Store는 더 이상 안 판다고, 그건 옜날 얘기라고했다. 사실 어제도 물어봐서 어떤 직원분이 통신사 대리점을 지닌 호텔 이름을 알려줬는데, 그게 하와이안 이름이라서 우린 금방 까먹었다. ABC Store직원들은 너무 친절했다. 오늘 또 물어보니까 매장 이름도 다시 알려주고, 지도 하나 가져가라 하면서 지도에 그려주고, 편안하고 인위적이지 않은 서비스에 감탄했다. 먹고 살려고만 위해 친절한게 아니라, 정말 그냥 여유있고 사람 대 사람으로 잘해주고싶어서 친절한것같았다.

그래서 우린 통신사를 찾아갔다. 이름은 Hoku Wireless (“호구”라고 생각하면 쉽게 기억함). 와이키키 해변 가는길이라서 너무 편했다. 오하나 (Ohana) 호텔 1층에 있는 매장이다.

여기 일하는 아저씨도 너무 친절했다. 우리 둘다 핸드폰을 unlock을 안 하고 갔었는데, 아저씨가 기본 sim 카드가 들어간 전화기도 빌려주고…우리가 산 sim 카드 가격은 5일 동안 전화도 되고, 인터넷도 무제한 해서 $41.85였다. ‘신나’가 좀 고생을 했다…이 사람 저 사람 전화하면서 시간이 걸리게됐는데, 또 나는 말을 잘못 알아들어서 도움도 안 됐는데, ‘신나’가 끝까지 일을 잘 처리했다. 고맙다, ‘신나’야.

우린 와이키키 해변가는길에서부터 너무 들떴었다. 11월 달의 하와이 날씨는 아침에 27도, 오후에 35도, 저녁에 22도, 대충 이렇다. 생각보다 습기가 많지않아서 끈적이지도 않았고, 그러면서 너무 습기가 없어서 피부가 마르거나, 그런건 없었다. 이런식으로 더운거는 참을만 했다. 그리고 놀라운건 벌레가 하나도 없었다. 모기한테 뷔페가 될줄 알았는데, 우리가 있는동안 모기 한 마리 못 봤다.

20161110_165802.jpg해변에 거이 도착했을때…파랑을 보는순간 “우와!”를 외쳤다.

해변은 낙원 그 자체였다. 생각보다 사람들이 많지 않았다. 딱 생기있을만큼의 사람수라고 해야할까?

20161110_171058.jpg아…또 가고싶다.

20161110_172156.jpg그늘에 앉아서 쉴곳도 많다.

‘신나’는 다음날 서핑을 배우겠다고 하면서 가격을 알아봤다. Instructor들과 얘기도 나누고, 나도 같이 하자고 꼬셨다. 운동이랑 나는 아직도 알아가는 사이라서 쑥스럽다 했다. Instructor들이 다 너무 밝고 재미있었다. 개인 레슨이 1시간에 $30 아니면 $40이였던가? 그룹으로 하면 $20불로도 할수있는거로 기억한다.

우린 포케 (poke)를 먹으러 갔다. 와이키키 해변이 시작하는곳에 “Waikiki Beachside Bistro”라는 해변 공중 화장실과 경찰서 (Honolulu Police) 를 스쳐지나서 들어가면 있는 야외 음식점에서 포케 세 종류를 판다. 포케는 쉽게 한국식으로 말하면 하와이안 회덮밥이다. 포케는 흔하게 참치 (tuna)로만 만드는데, 연어 (salmon)로 만들기도 한다. 이곳은 참치로만 만들었다.참고로 Waikiki Beachside Bistro는포케말고 햄버거, 스낵, 스노우 콘도 판다.

20161110_174625.jpg세 종류에서 제일 기본으로 보이는 맛빼고, 두개 시켰다. 왼쪽은 새콤,달콤, 짭짤한 미역 샐러드와 생강절임이 많이 들어간거고, 오른쪽은 spicy mayo.

20161110_174642.jpg왼쪽꺼 클로즈업

20161110_174648.jpg오른쪽; spicy mayo

먹기전에 회덮밥처럼 잘 섞어먹으면 된다. 젓가락으로 퍼 먹기 쉽다. 냉정하게 말하자면 왼쪽은 맛있고 (근데 생강절임 너무 많음…왜 이렇게 쓴 맛이 많이 남?), spicy mayo는 약간 매웠는데, 그래도 느끼하고 간이 안 돼 있었다….차라리 기본 맛은 어땠을까? 또 참치를 조리있게 자르지않아서 질긴 힘줄이 많이 씹혔다. 굵은 힘줄이 이빨에 껴서 호텔가서 치실하고 싶다는 생각이 너무 들었다.

와이키키 해변에서 꼭 포케를 먹어보고 싶다거나, 배고픈데 이게 가깝다면 괜찮은데, 강추는 아니다. 걸어가다보면 인기많은 레스토랑과 다른 야외음식점들이 있으니, 한번 돌아보고 정하는것을 권한다. ABC Store편의점도 엄청 많아서 음료수, 스낵도 쉽게 살수있다. 물놀이 튜브도 싸게 사고 공기도 넣을수있다.

야외에서 먹는거라 ‘신나’는 우리를 둘러싼 수많은 비둘기들한테서 떵을 머리카락에 선물(?)받는 일까지 있었다. 정성스럽게 엄마의 마음으로, 냅킨 한 웅큼으로 닦아줬다.  우리를 둘러싼 비둘기들, 살기있는 눈으로 쳐다보는것 같았다. 우린 자리를 빨리 뜨고 또 다시 해변가를 걸었다.

20161110_185427.jpg어머 자갸, 너무 좋앙

20161114_144438.jpgHawaiian Sun이라는 회사의 너무 맛있는 쥬스…Passion Fruit, Orange, Guava를 줄여서 “Pass-O-Guava”라 한다. 레스토랑 메뉴에는 그냥 “POG” 라고만 할 정도로 인기많은 쥬스

이 쥬스 마시다가 생긴 사연…이거 들고 해변 모랫바닥에 앉아서 놀다가, 또 걸으면서 마셨는데 이상하게 딱딱하고 조그만한 알갱이들이 씹혀서, “어, guava에서 나온 씨인가? 그게 씨가 좀 딱딱한것같던데” 라 생각했는데, 2일후에 또 사서 마시니까 없었다. 그때 깨달았다. 난 모래를 씹어먹었었다는걸….

이제 핸드폰에 인터넷도 되고, 사진도 찍을만큼 찍었고, 호텔로 돌아가서 수영복으로 갈아입었다. ABC Store에서 도난방지용 방수 파우치 목걸이를 파는데, 거기안에 전화기, 키, 돈 넣고 목에 걸어서 물놀이 하는 사람들이 많다. 근데 우리는 그냥 중요한 물건은 호텔에 놓아두고 물놀이하기로 했다. 난 개인적으로 너무 개목걸이 느낌이 나서 하기 싫었다. 재밌게 물놀이 하고 싶은데 그걸 매고 있으면…그리고 만약 제품에 하자 있어서 방수도 제대로 안 되면…걱정 많은 나는 차라리 화장 이쁘게하고 옷 이쁘게 입고 사진 실컷 찍고 놀때는 편히 홀몸으로 놀고싶었다. 해변에서 호텔은 별로 멀지도 않으니…

여기서 물놀이 팁 몇개…

-모든 호텔에서 비치타월은 빌려주니까 그거를 챙기자. 비치타월은 인당 2개를 권한다. 하나는 깔아앉고, 하나는 몸 닦을때 필요하다. 집에서 큰거 하나 가져온걸로 나중에 몸도 닦고 추우면 감싸고…호텔에서 주는 타월은 얇고 중간 사이즈다.

-물놀이 신발 한 켤레 가져가자. 대중적으로 Crocs가 좋다. 해변에서 멀지 않게 Crocs매점이 있다. 해변바닥에는 돌이 많이 깔려있어서 발바닥을 다치기 쉽다. 모래는 젖은 발과 신발에 들어가면 엄첨 따갑다, 걸음마다  사포가 내 발을 문지르는 느낌…구멍이 많지 않은 신발을 권한다.

-썬스크린은 필수. 물 한 통도 필수

-물은 바닷물이라서 엄ㅁㅁㅁ청 짜다. 입에 들어가면 소금을 먹는것같고, 눈에 들어가면 눈이 피클이 될까봐 걱정했다. 근데 아무도 물 안경 안 쓴다. 로마에 가면 로마법을 따르듯이, 하와이에서는 물 안경을 안 썼다.

-우리는 ABC Store에서 커다란 튜브 2개 샀다. 도넛형과 침대형. 하나씩 2.99밖에 안 하고, 공기 넣는것도 하나에 1불 밖에 안 한다. 보통 이런데에서는 바가지 씌울줄 알았는데, 아주 정직한 가격이였다.

물놀이 실컷하고, 배가 고플때 호텔로 돌아가서 씼고 먹으러 나갔다. 어제 못 찾았던 Sam’s Kitchen을 다시 찾아 나갔다. Yelp 별점도 괜찮고 하와이의 명물 Garlic Shrimp를 잘 한다 해서 기대했는데…음….역시 여행의 묘미는 걸어다니다가 냄새가 좋거나 사람이 많이 있거나 그냥 느낌이 좋으면 아무 생각없이 들어가는게 최고인것같다. Sam’s Kitchen은 그냥 그랬다…넓은 패티오 스타일 포장마차 느낌이 강하다. 음식도 스티로폼에 주고, 새우가 짜잘하고…새우를 마리네이드 해놓은거라고 간이 잘 배인건 좋았다. 근데 오히려 스테이크가 더 맛있었다. 하나씩 $14이였다. 어딜 가나 Garlic Shrimp는 $14로 통일 돼있는것 같다. 난 차라리 여기서 멀지 않은 Ken’s Kitchen 푸드트럭을 권한다. 똑같은 가격에 새우는 훨씬 크고, 밥도 더 많이 주고, 샐러드와 파인애플 한 조각도 준다. 밤 늦게까지도 한다. 우리는 마지막 날, 공항 가기전에 Ken’s Kitchen을 먹었다. 흑….좀 더 일찍 먹을껄…

하지만 Sam’s Kitchen은 맛이 여러가지라서 고르는 재미는 더 있다.

20161111_005219.jpg Sam’s Kitchen 의 Garlic Shrimp와 Beef 스테이크 같은거. 메뉴가 크지 않아서 쉽게 찾을수있다.

Sam’s Kitchen 앞에 서서 어떤 백인 아저씨가 자꾸 아시안만 보이면 “Konnichiwa”, “Ni Hao”를 바꿔가면서 전투적으로 호객행위를 하는데, 난 사실 좀 무서웠다.

배는 어중간하게 찼고, 음식과 술을 찾으러 갔다.

우리의 다음 스탑은 Duke’s. 여기는 큰 레스토랑인데, 해변이 보이는 패티오가 뒷쪽에 있다. 분위기가 너무 좋았다. 근데 깜깜하면 해변이 하나도 안 보인다는거….경치를 기대한다면 낮에 오는게 좋겠다. 그치만 저녁에는 시원한 바깥바람을 느끼면서 식사를 할수있어서 좋다. 하와이는 오히려 밤이 되면 돌아다니기가 너무 좋으니까 H&M같은 옷집들이 밤 11시까지 오픈이다.

20161111_020847.jpgDuke’s의 야외 패티오. 저녁에는시원하고 불램프도 켜 놔서 분위기가 너무 좋다. 하와이는 밤이되면  야외에 길마다 이런 불들을 켜놓는다. 누가 다 키고 다닐까? 우린 한번도 불켜는 사람을 못 봤다. 

20161111_020338.jpg나쵸와 칵테일. 칵테일 이름은 Mai Tai라고, 하와이에서 흔하다. 맛있음.

20161111_021322.jpgMai Tai. 잔도 너무 예쁘다. 달달하니 쌉싸름하니…좋다.

하와이에서 여행객들이 잘 시키는 술은 Mai Tai 와  Lava Flow가 있다. 하와이 지역에서만 찾을수있는가보다. 일단 토론토에서는 한번도 못봤다. 우리는 떠나기 전 날 Cheesecake Factory에서 Lava Flow를 시켜먹었다… 둘다 다르게 맛있다. Lava Flow는 알코홀이 조금 들어간 달달한 딸기-코코넛-파인애플 슬러시다.

술과 분위기를 즐기며 수다를 떨고,  우리는 그렇게 day 2를 마쳤다.

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