ALOHA from Oahu

February 8th, 2012 · Lisa · Travel · Comments

Aloha Pumehana my friends.

I’m enjoying the refuge of my vacation rental (watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls) while a massive storm brews outside. Mother Nature has made quite an investment in the green vistas of Kaua’i since I arrived here on Sunday. The rain hasn’t stopped me from exploring the island but the strong winds and flooded roads are keeping me off of the trails at the moment. I’m hoping to wake up to a brilliant blue sky tomorrow. (Please keep your fingers crossed for me – just two days of the trip left).

Since, I’m hanging out and relaxing in my room I thought I should catch you up on all my forays and frolicking from O’ahu last week.

On the 27th, I landed in Honolulu after a nine-hour flight from Auckland. The lovely, Andrea was there to meet me with lei in hand. As soon as the perfume aroma hit me, I sighed. I was in Hawai’i. I have been dreaming of that exact moment for countless years.

It didn’t disappoint.

O’ahu is simply stunning. Everywhere you look there are palm trees swaying in the wind and people smiling on the sidewalks or strolling along the sandy beaches. Honolulu is a modern city with a busy workforce, university and community, set in one of the world’s most beautiful spots.

Instead of walking you through a week’s worth of awe, I’ve edited down my adoration to a list of O’ahu’s five unforgettable attributes.

A-  Atmosphere
O’ahu is an interesting intersection of surf culture casual and tourism’s finest offerings. Near Waikiki you can see flip flops walking into Prada and no one blinks an eye. What I have loved about Hawai’i is the warmth. Its not just the climate it is also the people. I’ve never seen so many smiles or received as many compliments just for walking down the street. Things move slower here than in Toronto, which I think gives people those precious seconds it takes to be kind. There also seems to be a consciousness about the importance of respecting and protecting the environment. It feels good to be surrounded by people who care about their choices and understand the impact.

L – Local Food
By now you know, I travel for food. I knew my time in Hawai’i would be a highlight because of the availability of fresh, local fruit.
When I arrived on Friday night I looked up the farmers market so that I could start my Saturday out with a  tasty selection of something special.

I wandered the aisles and admired all that O’ahu has to offer. There was coffee and chocolate, egg fruit, star apples, pineapples, macadamia nuts…yes, it is the farmers market you dream about during the wild, months of winter.

I brought home passion fruit, chikos, apple bananas, avocado and a pineapple. I only had a butter knife which made for an interesting test of my dexterity and determination over the next few days. When I finally got into the succulent fruit it all tasted absolutely fantastic. As they say, fresh IS best.

Beyond the produce from the market my favourite food finds were Down to Earth stores, Peace Cafe and Simple Joy.

O – Ocean
I love the sea. During the years I lived in Calgary I really missed being close to a big body of water. Listening to the waves and watching the blue blanket ripple has the most calming effect on me.

After my raw food demo at Down to Earth, Ori Ann from the Vegan Society of Hawaii took me to Ko Olina where I walked the halls that Obama visited during the APEC meeting and caught a glimpse of the new Disney resortbefore settling in to soak up some sunshine and do a few laps around a lagoon. It was the perfect way to unwind after the last demo of my trip.

The only thing that can improve on an afternoon by the ocean is watching the sun disappear and paint the sky in the most brilliant hues of orange, pink and gold. Waikiki puts on quite a show at 6:30 every night.

On Saturday after our swim, Ori Ann and I tried to wait for the sun to do its thing but eventually our appetites and reservations won out. We left, but couldn’t stop glancing behind us to see if the golden globe was peaking out between the clouds. By the way, do you like the lovely dress Ori Ann picked out for me. She wanted me to look very Hawai’ian for my last night in town.

Next time I’m in Hawai’i, I will go surfing or paddle boarding. I was quite enticed but was in need of a swimming pal. Anyone interested in coming along?

H – Hills
O’ahu has some great hikes. To really grasp the beauty of the island you need to find a high vantage-point to get a glimpse of the diverse terrain and the surrounding seas.

I hiked up Diamond Head on Monday morning after admiring the trail while sitting on the sand.

Andrea and I also tackled the trip up Mariner’s Ridge on the east-side of the island. We were rewarded with views at the peak and spouting whales and tumbling turtles along our route home.

A – Andrea
During my stay in O’ahu, spending time with Andrea was quite a treat. She’s beautiful, smart, and incredibly sweet. She opened up her home to me, organized my event, showed me around and provided me with an endless supply of kefir. Could you ask for anything more? She probably can’t provide the same service to everyone passing through but I hope you’ll find someone in Honolulu to welcome you and share the aloha spirit during your stay.

So, although I was very well courted by O’ahu and was feeling quite smitten by the time I went to the airport…

I do miss my friends in Toronto. Especially the crew who pulled off the 4th Annual Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off in my absence. It was an amazing success because a group of dedicated volunteers poured their hearts and countless hours into sorting out every single detail.

Thank you all for making me feel so loved. I feel very lucky to have you all in my life.

I’m heading to bed shortly…just two more sleeps before I start the four-airport-ordeal home.

I hope your Wednesday is as full of anticipation and excitement as mine. Let’s make it memorable.


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