Honolulu – Day 2

NEXT STORY: Traveling from Hawaii to Sydney Makes for a Very Long Day! – or – Back to South Pacific Cruise page

My only priorities for day 2 in Hawaii were to get to two recommended places; one for sushi and one for a Mai Tai. I elected to cab it around town today to give my knee a break. Charley’s Taxi had gotten me to the Urgent care with no trouble, so immediately after my x-ray, I called them again and had then take me over to Lewers Street.

At Teppan & Sushi KAIWA I ordered The Artists Palette (of course) and it was YUMMY! The photo in the menu was pretty accurate. The only challenge with this item is how to eat the end pieces gracefully!

MenuMenu Pic

Is This One Bite?
Is This One Bite?
The Real Deal
The Real Deal!

After lunch I checked my GPS to locate Rum Fire, the location recommended for a Mai Tai. The tricky thing about Rum Fire is that you can’t just drive there. When I tried to map it on my phone there wasn’t a road directly to it, but I knew it was on the beach, so I decided to walk the beach to find it. Turns out it’s actually at the back of the Sheraton Waikiki complex – so you must be staying at the Sheraton to know about it – or walk the beach.

I did a walk-through to scope the place out, and explored the many shops in the open breezeway that runs through the center of the space. There’s also a Koi pond on the left side of the property, with a row of rocking chairs along the edge for people to take a calming break. (I hung there for a bit while waiting for Charley’s to pick me at the end of my visit.)

Koi PondKoi Pond

The Sheraton was so open that I walked in from the back at Rum Fire, through the shopping area and out to the front loading/unloading area, stopped at the coffee bar to get a latte, and then sat at a table in the front of the complex watching people coming and going…for about an hour…and nobody seemed to care! I was fascinated by the number of wedding parties coming through the lobby. Later, I noticed they have a marriage license registration office inside the Sheraton!

Couple Heading Toward Marriage License Office
Couple Heading Toward Marriage License Office
Turtle Sculpture in Front Lobby
Turtle Sculpture in Front Lobby

Back at Rum Fire, I found a seat on the patio that had a tiny bit of shade. The inside (open air) seating was filled and I wanted a view of the ocean so I was willing to get a little warm.  So I settled in…and ordered my Mai Tai! There are several versions to choose from – I went with the Signature version. It was very good!

Mai Tai Options
Mai Tai Options
Signature Mai Tai
Signature Mai Tai

From my seat on the patio I had a great view of the water where there was no beach, so the water came right up to the walkway in front of the restaurant. As I enjoyed the view, I noticed two turtles swimming in the area right in front of where I was seated! I tried to get a good photo, but they were quick! They’d come up for just a second and then – right back under!

The green sea turtle is called “honu” in Hawaiian. It is considered a symbol of good luck. Legend has it that the green sea turtle lead the original inhabitants of Hawaii to the island. 

Green Sea Turtle
Green Sea Turtle, far away
Green Sea Turtle
Green Sea Turtle, closer

The decor at Rum Fire is really pretty cool. There are lots of areas that are just a little different, like this sitting area near the front entrance:

Rum Fire Flaming Chairs
Rum Fire Flaming Chairs

And then there’s the patio…

Patio Area
Patio Area
Patio Seating
Patio Seating

I managed to kill enough time to be hungry again, and I really wanted a burger. I also decided to move to a shadier place while eating – I can’t enjoy a meal when I’m blazing hot! Based on my waitress Teresa’s recommendation, I ordered the Truffle Burger – excellent choice! Teresa was a sweetheart. She was covering too many tables, but she remained pleasant and even let me take her picture before I left!

Burger Menu
Burger Menu
Live Version of Burger
Live Version of Burger
Dinner Guest
Uninvited dinner guest
My Waitress, Teresa
My Waitress, Teresa

NEXT STORY: Traveling from Hawaii to Sydney Makes for a Very Long Day! – or – Back to South Pacific Cruise page

Honolulu – Day 1

NEXT STORY: Honolulu – Day 2 – or – Back to South Pacific Cruise page

I have arrived! Longest flight I’ve ever not enjoyed, I must say that! For the next leg of my trip I will be using a motion sickness patch! Nothing devastating (or embarrassing) happened. It was just an uncomfortable flight with lots of deep breathing and carbonated drinks. And the “good drugs” I got just before the trip so I could sleep on the flight…didn’t work. I was awake. The. Entire. Flight.

But. Other than that, everything went very well and everyone I encountered was very pleasant!For example, at DFW, I was standing in the sink area of the ladies room trying to place an icy hot patch on my back, carefully adjusting my clothing in a way to hopefully not stick the pad to itself or my clothing, but also to not bare my backside to all passers by. A nice Asian woman saw me struggling and asked if she could help. She put it on for me perfectly and went on her way! So nice!

The Shuttle

I decided to shuttle it to my Airbnb location, which is in Marina Tower in Waikiki. I’ve got some great views of the Yacht Marina and the beach from my room on the 32nd floor! The room isn’t ritzy – could use some upgrading – but I’m only here to sleep. And blog.

So…back to the shuttle. I sat next to an alcohol-breathing man in his 60’s. He was really quite pleasant. His wife was seated in the row in front of us. 60’s Guy said he and his wife travel here from Richmond, VA every year and stay about two months. They stay over in Oahu for one night and then catch a flight to the big island for the rest of their stay.

He told me the story of their first visit. He said it was back in the 80’s, and he and his wife stayed on Oahu for the whole trip. Shortly after they arrived they noticed everyone rushing to the shopping centers buying up all the food. Turns out there was a hurricane coming. 60’s and his wife had no idea – had not paid attention to any weather reports. But he said they were stayed on the other side of the island from Waikiki, so it didn’t affect them, except that the entire island was out of power for several days. He said the Navy eventually sent over a nuclear submarine and they powered the entire island from this submarine! That’s quite a story! (We’ll come back to this one again further down the page.)

“Late” Night Snack

By the time I was settled in, my phone said it was 4:30 pm, but my body said it was 9:30(bedtime). Still, my stomach said, I want something good to eat and my heart said, it’s my first night in Hawaii, so let’s make it something cool! The restaurant choices directly across the street are Red Lobster and Outback. No.

The front desk was closed, so I went down to the valet and asked for recommendations for a place within walking distance that would be something a little more Hawaiian than my immediate choices. The valet pointed me away from the beach, which was disappointing,but I was tired, so willing to listen. He said there was a food court just over the bridge. Food court? Like a mall food court? Yes, but there are some Hawaiian and Japanese places there. He said if I went in the other direction the prices go way up. If I had been rested (and clean) I may have opted for the pricier options, but I was tired and travel-dirty, so I headed toward the mall.

First of all, OMG! I have never seen such a large, sprawling, open air mall in my life! The Ala Moana Shopping Center bills itself as the world’s largest open air shopping center, and I believe them. They have over 290 shops, a food court, and restaurants. I easily found a directory kiosk, and after trekking down to Hawaiian Blue Lifestyle (listed under cafes) and learning it was really a smoothie bar, I moved on. I wanted a sit down meal – and a beer. Back at the directory, I realized the restaurants were listed in their own, separate category. I also noticed that they were all on Level 4, which was accessed via the escalator to my right. Bingo!

There was a Japanese Steakhouse, which was fully enclosed and looked very expensive. As I browsed the menu posted at the door, I noticed the music, coming from just over -there. Right in the middle of Level 4 is an open air bar called Mai Tai Bar. There is a stage at one end, where a cute urban hippie couple was singing covers of…wish I could tell you, but it was good stuff. I had found my destination! I bellied up to the bar and was greeted by a very nice prematurely grey 30-something named Zach. As it was late for dinner (in my mind) I settled on the Firecracker Shrimp appetizer with a side of Edamame. And of course, a Blue Moon. So good!

Funny story: I was able to see Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. from my seat at the bar, and I thought, I’m glad I picked this place over Bubba’s, even though they do have an open airspace and I would still be able to hear the music. I like the atmosphere of this place better, and I’ll bet the food is better, too. Soon after my food arrived, I noticed a waiter coming out of Bubba’s carrying some plated food and bringing it into Mai Tai. I thought, that’s weird. I guess you can order from Bubba’s and they’ll let you eat it here.Then I looked around. Mai Tai has no kitchen. My bartender, Zach, confirmed that they use the same kitchen! Anyway, good shrimp and two beers later, I found my way out of the shopping center (I had my concerns about that after jet lag and two beers) and back to my room. The edamame came home with me and was my breakfast this morning – bonus!

Firecracker Shrimp at Mai Tai Bar
Firecracker Shrimp at Mai Tai Bar
Edamame - or - Tomorrow's Breakfast!
Edamame – or – Tomorrow’s Breakfast!

Dinner Guest

Oh, and while at the bar, I met and chatted with a very pleasant black Hawaiian man named Mike. When Mike was young, his father had been in the military and they traveled a lot, and when his father retired, he chose Oahu as the place to raise his family.Mike said he was six when they moved here and he’s never left. As I chatted with Mike I remembered 60’s Guy’s story about the submarine and decided to bounce it off of someone who had been living here at the time. When I got to the part about the submarine Mike raised his eyebrows.

“A submarine powered the entire island?”

“That’s what he said.”

“No, that didn’t happen. The power was out for a few days, but that was it.”

After returning to my room I decided to see what the internet had to say. According to Wikipedia, Hurricane Iwa hit the islands on November 23, 1982:

“The hurricane devastated the islands of Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, and Oʻahu with wind gusts exceeding 100 mph (160 km/h) and rough seas exceeding 30 feet (9 m) in height.”

Regarding the aftermath, Wikipedia says:

“The thousands of Hawaiians without power celebrated Thanksgiving by cooking turkeys on outdoor grills or smokers. Army and Air Force planes delivered 20,000 Thanksgiving rations to the thousands left in temporary shelters. The United States military also airlifted generators to Kauai due to several days of power outages.”

So. No magical submarine. Darn. I liked that story better!

NEXT STORY: Honolulu – Day 2 – or – Back to South Pacific Cruise page