Roadtrip in a convertible

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

Today was all about doing a roadtrip around big parts of the island of Oahu since this was our last day here. And I have to admit that the car made a big part about it better. For $11 extra we got a convertible Chrysler!! It was so awesome! The guy who helped us got us a discount so we pretty much got the GPS for free, and the upgrade was $20 normally. Maybe it’s good to be blonde and blue eyed.

#1 Our first stop was Matsumoto’s Shave Ice. It is Oahu’s most popular shave ice place. Shave ice is just ice in snow form with flavored juice poured over it. Really good actually and it looked cool. Mine with mango, pineapple and watermelon flavors looked like a rainbow.

#2 Our second stop was Turtle Bay. I got fooled by the name of the place. I thought that was a beach where turtles always lay in the sand, but no. It was a big resort and a cute little bay. It wasn’t as nice with the bunch of grey clouds completely covering the sky and I was disappointed when I only saw some tourist lying on sunbeds.

#3 Third stop was Mokoli’I, also called the Chinaman’s Hat because it looks like an old Chinese worker’s hat. The park, Kauloa Regional Park was so beautiful. The beach was almost empty and the mountains were right behind it and if it weren’t for the clouds it would have been even more perfect. We tried taking a few funny pictures with the hat and then Caroline drove us to our next stop. And while she was driving it started raining. Quite a lot too. So we had to pull the roof back in the car. Too bad. But good too, because my hair got so messy after driving 70mph on the highway.

#4 The fourth stop was supposed to be for the rest of the day but the bad weather caught up to us and we had only 20 minutes before the cold wind and rain came. The stop was at Hawaii’s most beautiful beach, Lanikai. It was indeed beautiful. Not exactly as the pictures on google, but we might have been at another spot on the beach than the photographers on google. The sand there was the finest sand I’ve ever seen. It was like a powder. I wish Waikiki Beach could have been that amazing! We took a few pictures and started towards our last stop on our little roadtrip.

#5 Nu’uanu Pali Lookout. Our last stop for the day. From up there you’re supposed to see the northeast coast of Oahu and we did. At least part of it. Because of the bad weather there were a lot of fog. But we could see the ocean, not all the way to Chinaman’s Hat, but we could see Valley of Temples and the city (don’t know which one) down there. I read online that it was supposed to be super windy up there, like you literally could be blown away. But it wasn’t particularly windy at all. It  was chilly because of the drizzle of rain. The story about that place goes like this. To try if a person was a liar, they threw them down the side of the mountain and if the wind carried them upward to save them, that meant that they were honest. Otherwise they were liars and deserved to die.

It was an Alaskan older couple who told us the story after they so kindly helped us change one of the tired on our car. This is the really stupid part of the day. When we started driving we heard a noise. We went out of the car as soon as we got the chance to take a look at the tires but couldn’t see anything at all. So we continued to drive for like 6h. Still a noise and a tire pressure warning sign lighted. I know that’s common among rental cars so I thought it was no biggie. But it was. When we were parked at Pali Lookout to wait for the rain to ease a couple of Japanese women came up to us and told us that one of our back tires were completely flat. We got help from the super nice Alaskan couple and we got the tire change within 15 minutes. We saw that there was a big nail stuck in the tire. Now the noise made sense. But it wasn’t particularly nice of the rental place to give us a car with a ticking flat-tire-bomb. So when we returned the car we asked for some money back, and we got $36 back without any questions.

At 3:30pm we drove back to Waikiki to return the car. An hour later when we were in the hostel the lobby was full of policemen. I have no idea what happened and I didn’t want to stay and find out. I was hungry so we went to Burger King to bring it to the beach and eat it while waiting for the sunset and Vasoula (she is the German girl living in my neighborhood in San Diego). She found out this morning her hostfamily’s secret destination. It could have been Costa Rica, Mexico or Hawaii. So after the last sunset on Oahu we met up and talked on the beach for a couple of hours. So weird, but nice, seeing her here on Hawaii!

Back to the hostel, took a quick shower, packed everything and went through all the pictures from today so I could upload them to my blog. Now I’m done and so tired! I will fall asleep as soon as my head hit the very flat pillow.

Tomorrow a new island waits! Maui!! I really look forward to it :). I’m guessing it will be completely different from Oahu.

Matsumoto's Shave Ice Matsumoto’s Shave Ice. They had so many flavors I didn’t even read them all, I just took three of my absolute favorite tropical flavors, and it turned out like a rainbow.Oahu North Shore Big waves on the North Shore!Oahu North Shore Chrysler convertible Turtle Bay Turtle Bay.Chinaman's Hat (Mokoli'i) Chinaman’s Hat.Kualoa Regional Park (by Mokoli'i) Kualoa Regional Park.Kualoa Regional Park (by Mokoli'i) Chinaman's Hat Beautiful landscape Beautiful scenery while driving (Caroline was the photographer).Waimea Bay Beach Park Waimea Bay Beach Park. Way out in the water on the huge waves some surfers did what they do best.Lanikai Beach Lanikai Beach.Lanikai beach Lanikai Beach Powder sand.Lanikai beach Nu'uanu Pali Lookout Nu’uanu Pali Lookout. On my right side is Valley of Temples and on my left side is a city (don’t know which one) and farther to the left is Chinaman’s Hat supposed to be.Last Sunset on Waikiki Beach Sunset on Waikiki Beach.Last sunset on Waikiki Beach Me and Vasoula in front of Duke KahanamokuA small reunon with Vasoula in front of Duke Kahanamoku! 🙂

Diamond Head and TURTLES

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

Another eventful day has come to its end. It started early with a pretty easy hike up the side of a crater. It was called Diamond Head State Monument and took one hour up and down. So not too bad, but it was hot so the sweat was everywhere anyway. The view during the whole hike was amazing. Mountain in the background, the ocean with the sun rising and the Koko Head Crater in the distance. That’s the big mountain we saw from Hanauma Bay the other day. The view from the top was incredible! We could see all of Honolulu and Waikiki and even as far as Pearl Harbor. It was so beautiful!

When we were done we took a quick look at the Farmer’s Market at the bottom of the crater at the University there. They had a lot of weird stuff like Apple Banana and Avocados the size of a baby’s head! I bought a slice of Hawaii’s Original Farmer’s Market Pizza. It was tomato, cheese and a basil pesto sauce. It was really good.

Back to the hostel to change into bikini and then off to Waikiki beach again. I didn’t get burned today but I did get a lot darker brown. Wonder how I will look after another two weeks. I am using sunscreen all the time. I’m alternating between 30 and 70.

Okay, so to the coolest thing that ever happened to me. In the afternoon I rented a paddleboard. One hour $20. And it was totally worth it. First I went out by myself and even if I actually could stand up with the big waves (today the waves were perfect for surfing, but because of the sharp rocks I resisted the urge to rent a surf board) it was nicer to be on my knees or sit criss-cross-applesauce (as my hostkids say). But, to see something you had to stand up, so when I realized there were some turtles swimming around I stood up and just went around. Didn’t see any though… When I went in to the beach (I was far out, really far out, but it is shallow and everyone else were out there too so it felt safe, and I don’t think there are many sharks here) to get Caroline I actually saw one! It was far away from me, but I definitely saw the shape of the turtle. It might have been around 1m from head to tail. I picked up Caroline so she was sitting on the board while I was paddling us out. And when we were out there we saw five more turtles and they were within touching distance, except that it is illegal to touch them! I seriously can’t believe I saw huge sea turtles right at Waikiki beach, right next to my board and they were also swimming under it. It was the most awesome thing I’ve ever been through!

We changed seats so I was sitting down with my legs and feet in the water looking out for more turtles. One of them were of course the biggest we saw and I’m not joking, I’m sure it was 1.5m from head to tail. It was huuuuge!! I cannot describe how it was to see and experience that. It was so awesome I couldn’t sit still, couldn’t stop smiling and couldn’t stop saying all the time how fucking awesome it was!!

I returned the board and spent another 30 minutes in the water. It was a very hot day today, maybe 85F (I’m not very good at guessing temperatures, it was too warm to just be at the beach all day, you had to be in the water) so we spent a lot of time in the water. And then was when we saw the 7th and last turtle of the day. It was like 5m away from me and when I saw it I jumped and screamed and pointed (and squirting water at Caroline at the same time and scaring the shit out of her). If you thought I was excited about the dolphins in Cali… Haha, compared to today, I wasn’t!
I regret that I didn’t bring the underwater camera with me out. If I did I could have gotten some cool pictures of the turtles from above the water. But I will probably have time to get cool pictures of one of the most amazing animals in the world!

Back to the hotel at 5pm where a strange girl was laying on my bed. She had taken away my sheets, my pajamas and everything that was one by bed because she blindly believed the confused receptionist that she was supposed to have that bed. How can someone think that a bed is hers if stuff is on it still at 5pm when checkout is at 11am? I got it back but I had to put on the sheets again which was annoying… I took a shower and then go back to the beach to watch the Hula dance show. It wasn’t anything special but it is nice to have seen it.

We said goodbye to Jair who’s leaving tomorrow and then went to Cheesecake Factory. It was a two hour waiting, but we spent that time in souvenir shops. I probably shouldn’t have, but I bought two cute shot glasses, another bracelet for myself and an opal turtle necklace. And some Hawaiian candy. Now I’m done with shopping. I have some money, but I have to get everything home too.

We shared a Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic, my favorite there. And for dessert, and my 18th Cheesecake, we shared a Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake. We are on Hawaii!

Back to the hostel where I’ve planned tomorrow. We are gonna rent a car and drive around the island. Our first stop is gonna be a shave ice cream place that is supposed to be the best on the island. The next Turtle Bay, after that Chinaman’s Hat (Mokoli’i) and after that Pali Lookout and the rest of the day we are gonna spend at Kailua Beach. It will be a long but fun day 🙂

So now I really have to go to bed! Goodnight!

Diamond Head Crater Inside the crater.Diamond Head hike Diamond Head hike The crater with the mountains in the background.View from Diamond Head Honolulu and Waikiki from the top of Le’ahi Diamond Head State Monument.Honolulu+Waikiki from Diamond Head Diamond Head hike Farmer's Market Farmer’s market.Stand up paddling at WaikikiHula show on Waikiki Beach Duke Kahanamoku Statue Cheesecake Factory Honolulu Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake #18 Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake.Fancy VS store RoadtripThis is the trip we are gonna do tomorrow. Four hours of driving in total. Good thing we are starting at 8am!

Pearl Harbor

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

My third day on Oahu is over. This morning we took one of those buses for more than 1.5h to Pearl Harbor National Park. When we studied WWII in school the focus was mostly on what happened in Europe and I didn’t even pay that much attention. It just didn’t interest me. I wasn’t super excited about Pearl Harbor. But I will probably only be on Oahu once, and Pearl Harbor is a pretty big deal here. And it was interesting to learn it from the Americans point of view. I didn’t really understand why Japan attacked the Americans like that. It had something to do with China and Japans previous invasions and America who didn’t want to sell oil to Japan anymore and Japan who wanted to vanquish the American fleet. They didn’t really explain that in the movie we saw. I should probably google it. There were two exhibitions, “Road to War” and “Attack”. We only had like 1h before the USS Arizona Memorial tour so I spent most of the time in “Attack”, learning about those 2 hours when Japan surprised the Americans and killed 2400 people. It was interesting and the Japanese were smart. They had specially engineered torpedo’s that could go in the shallow water of the harbor. They had designed bombs that could penetrate the battleships and they attacked from different directions so all the battleship sunk. All the American aircrafts were blown to pieces too. 64 Japanese died, 9 airplanes out of several hundred crashed. They really knew what they were doing. December 7th 1941 was the day USA joined the war.

I almost wished we could have stayed longer so I could learn more about “Road to War”, but I would rather stay longer at the beach. So after the short boat trip out to USS Arizona Memorial (it was like a white cube above the sunken battleship) and back, we took the bus back to Waikiki.

Caroline took a surf lesson for an hour and Jair rented his own surfboard for several hours to try. When he was out there he told us that he saw three turtles swim by!! I am so jealous! The waves were so tiny, so I didn’t want to spend money on a surfboard rental because I would get so frustrated when I wouldn’t be able to get speed enough to catch a wave. And, when I got in the water (it was warmer today, probably 28C) I realized the whole bottom was full of sharp rocks. And it was shallow, so if you fall you will most likely fall on sharp rocks. I decided to rent a Stand Up Paddling Board instead, but I fell asleep at the beach so I will do it tomorrow instead.

We stayed at the beach and watched the sunset. It was so beautiful! I took a lot of pictures but it doesn’t give the real thing justice.

Then we waited for the hula dancers that were supposed to dance at the beach in the sunset. But they never showed up so we went to Subway and bought dinner to eat at the beach while watching tonight’s firework from Hilton Hawaii Village. The funny thing is that the firework was behind the tall buildings so we didn’t see anything. Too bad! The rest of the evening was spent in an ABC Store. There are millions of souvenir shops here but they are all the same. There is like one ABC store on each block here, it’s ridiculous. But anyway, both of me and Caroline bought so many souvenirs to our loved ones and a little to ourselves too of course. I bought a new bracelet and a tiki statue. I’m not gonna write about the other stuff, in case someone happens to read.

A quick shower back at the hostel and tonight I’ve just been going through pictures, and a little bit of tiny things. I should go to bed, because tomorrow I have to be ready at 7:30 so we can do the Diamond Head hike before it gets too hot. I’m really excited about our first hike :).

USS Bowfin Torpedo's Pearl Harbor Veteran USS Arizona Memorial USS Arizona Memorial USS Arizona deaths Sunset at Waikiki Sunset at Waikiki Sunset at Waikiki Sunset at Waikiki Sunset at Waikiki Hidden fireworks Sunset at Waikiki (Caroline's) Caroline’s system camera is slightly better than my HTC One phone…Sunset at Waikiki (Caroline's) Sunset at Waikiki (Caroline's)

Hanauma Bay

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

This day has been so amazingly fantastic! Hawaii is paradise. I, Caroline and Jair spent the day at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve with is a very pretty lagoon on the east side of Oahu. You have to pay an entry fee of $7.50 and then watch a movie about how to behave around the reef that’s in there. Look but not touch and don’t feed the animals pretty much.

We took the bus out there and it went really smoothly. 30 minutes and the AC was perfect in the very warm morning. $2.50 for every ride out here and you can go wherever you want to on the island.

When we got to the bay we were awestruck. My jaw was at my knees. It was sooo beautiful!! Just imagine those big mountains from the Jurassic Park movies, the ones formed from lava. They were circling the turquoise water and you could clearly see where there were sand bottom and reef. A lot of palm trees and mongooses running around on the grass next to the sand. Mongooses are very common here apparently. They are really cute. I tried getting a photo of them, but they were fast.

Anyway, we stood up on the side of the lagoon and took a lot of pictures and then walked down the steep hill into the lagoon. The sand wasn’t perfect, it was kinda rough actually. So my soles under my feet hurt now. But it’s okay, we’re not gonna do a hike until Saturday.

We did a lot of snorkeling but after the Red Sea in Egypt I wasn’t impressed. There were a few cool fishes. I recognized them all from Egypt and they are pretty. But the reef just looked dull and grey. I bought an underwater camera yesterday though so we took a few pictures today and will save the rest of them for Maui when we are gonna go snorkeling with turtles!

When we weren’t in the 80F water we just hung out at the beach. It was exhausting snorkeling without fins so I think I actually fell asleep a few times. I had sunscreen with factor 70 and I only got burned in my face where I forgot to reapply it a second time. And I think I got a lot more tan after today. I’m not gonna be recognizable when I go back to Sweden if it continues like this.

The sun disappeared behind the mountain at like 4:30pm so that’s when we went back to Waikiki to shower and get ready for dinner. We went to Tiki’s Grill and Bar where Crystal (Chad’s cousin) works. I had coconut shrimp and it was really good. It was a very tiny portion, so we decided to have ice cream at Cold Stones after. Marshmallow ice cream with Heath bar as a mix-in was pretty good!

We sat on a bench by the beach while eating our dessert and then went back to the hostel to get some sleep. It’s exhausting snorkeling and lying in the sun a whole day!

On tomorrow’s agenda is Pearl Harbor, Honolulu downtown and surfing at Waikiki Beach and later fireworks at the same beach.

Hanauma Bay Hanauma Bay Hanauma Bay Hanauma Bay Hanauma Bay 80F (26C) in the water isn’t all wrong :). The air temperature was the same!Hanauma Bay Hanauma Bay Jeep riding guinea pig On the way back to the hostel after our dinner we saw Boo Boo the Amazing Guinea Pig. I wonder how that guy made the guinea pig so obedient.Boo Boo the Amazing Guinea Pig

Jan 15: Aloha, Hawaii!

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

It’s been a really exhausting day. I woke up at 5:30am, did the laundry, said a small goodbye to the kids and got driven to the airport by my hostdad. I had plenty of time at the airport, read a little and then got happy when I got the window seat. Not that it really mattered since there was only water outside, pretty much the whole way. I got a complimentary breakfast consisting of fruit, some crackers and macadamia nuts. It was enough to still my hunger.

After that I tried to read, but after a few pages I got too tired so I tried to sleep but that didn’t work either. So I tried reading some more and when I got tired I tried to sleep. And so it went on. Super annoying and this is the first flight that I actually didn’t enjoy. Even if the service was awesome, you had your own TV screen in the seat ahead of you, I just wished for it to be over.

Five and a half hour later it was over and I got out of the aircraft at 1pm local time. I got on the shuttle to the hostel and met a guy who were gonna stay at the same hostel. He is from Mexico, but went to high school in Canada and is now studying in San Jose and decided to go to Oahu by himself for four days. He was nice so I told him he could join us for our plans if he wanted.

After we got settled in at the hostel, Hostelling International Waikiki, like one block away from Waikiki Beach, we decided to go explore a little before Caroline got here from D.C. So we talked and walked up and down the whole of Waikiki Beach. I’m not that impressed to be honest. The beach was way smaller than I thought. But it was a pretty fantastic view with the skyscrapers right at the beach. And the water was so warm! I really did want to go in it, but I didn’t have my bikini on… The weather is pretty nice too. It is around 80F (27C) and humid (that was one of the first things I noticed when I left the plane, it was really humid). It is pretty windy, actually it is a lot windy. But it’s not a cold wind so it’s fine. But my new hair got messed up…

We watched the sunset but the clouds were in the way so we only saw red/pinkish light glowing through them. It was pretty, but I look forward to the day there will be no clouds to cover up the setting sun. Hawaiian sunsets are pretty famous. It seems like there is always a lot of clouds here. That’s sad.

At 6:30pm Caroline arrived at the hostel and I helped her check in and we got ready for dinner. On my request we went to Hard Rock Café and I had the local burger which had pineapple, teriyaki sauce and sausage (that reminded me of falukorv!) on it. Really good! With it I had a Long Island Ice Tea for the very first time. It was good, but I thought it wasn’t supposed to taste any alcohol at all? I liked it anyway though.

When we were done eating Crystal and her boyfriend Alex came by to have a drink with us. Crystal is Chad’s cousin who moved to Honolulu last September. They both were really nice and told us about stuff to see and do around here.

We said goodbye around 11pm and on the way home I and Caroline stopped by in one of those ABC Stores so she could buy a mask and snorkel. I also bought an underwater camera since we are going snorkeling tomorrow at Hanauma Bay which is a very nice reef here on Oahu.

I wanted to go to the lounge when we came back to the hostel to update my blog because I bet all of my 7 readers are super excited about how my first day on Hawaii was. But it was closed and that is the only area where there is Internet. So I have to post this tomorrow morning I guess.

I got my 9th Hard Rock Café glass and I also had time to buy one of the refrigerator magnets and also a little key chain with my name on it and how it is told in Hawaiian (?) on an Hawaiian registration plate. Like the one I have from Texas.

I’ve been up for so many hours now. My body thinks it is 2:30am and I’ve been up since 5:30. So it is high time to go to bed. And I feel even more sorry for Caroline who flew for 10h and have 5h of time difference instead of my two.

It will be nice with a pretty mellow day tomorrow. I’m just so exhausted now. And my legs hurt after the long walk on the beach. Goodnight and mahalo for this opportunity!

2014-01-16, 00:35

Pacific Ocean Long flight Waikiki Beach Waikiki Beach, Oahu, HawaiiMe on Waikiki Beach Honolulu Waikiki Beach 2 Sunset at Waikiki Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu #9 hard Rock Cafe HonoluluHard Rock Cafe Honolulu 2 Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu 3