Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hawaii in photos - celebrations


On our anniversary, we decided to rent a car and do some exploring-- just the two of us.  We don't know much about the island of Oahu.   We had a few recommendations from a dear friend and our travel agent, and we already knew our first stop:   Leonard's for malasadas.

So exactly what is a malasada, you wonder?  They are Portuguese donuts, made fresh to order.   Fluffy, warm, glutenous masses of pure yumminess. Need I say more???  Just take a look:

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Does this place look awesome or what??

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This Honolulu landmark has been around since 1952-
and there is a darn good reason.

Anyways, if you ever remotely near this place, please go.

Freshly fueled, we headed up to Diamond Head State Monument.
The website claims that the slightly challenging hike takes you to the edge of a 300,000 year old crater.  Oh really.
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Anyways, at the top you can get some pretty nice views.
You and everyone else that's there that is....

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 I guess I'm just used to being alone under quiet forest canopies in Maui when we've gone hiking.   The kind where you only hear your own footsteps and you feel like 
you are on the set of a Jurassic park movie 
(minus the dinosaurs, of course).

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Nope. This was a hot, dry hike surrounded by brown foliage 
....and a bunch of tourists. 
Well, we can say we did it.

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And it was worth the photos.
I never get over the beautiful water of Hawaii.

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Next stop was for an authentic Hawaiian lunch at Helena's.  
Totally our kind of a place - jenky and at a strip mall.
(no, really, it is) 
Again, people people people.  
Can you tell by my face that I'm not feeling the crowds 
on this island?

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Ahhh but the food -- worth the wait!!  Short ribs, Kalua pork, poke, LauLau, deep fried butterfish collar, and... the most perfect fluffy white rice ever made on this earth.
Also, those things that look like butter sticks were the complimentary dessert of coconut jello.   
Rich is not so hot on the stuff, but I kind of go crazy for it
(so I ate his).
Anyone else find it peculiar that they put raw onions on the dessert plate?   I guess to save dishes (it came with lunch), 
but it wasn't working for me.

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After lunch, we headed to a beach known as the most picturesque on the island, Lanikai Beach.  
It truly was spectacularly beautiful.  
Probably the most beautiful beach I've ever seen in person.
We wondered why no one was there.
As we soon found out, it was a super windy day.  
We laid on the beach to rest after stuffing ourselves at Helena's, 
and both of us promptly fell asleep.
When we woke up shortly thereafter, 
we were covered in superfine sand.  
And the wind was whipping it everywhere.  
Sadly, we couldn't stay, so we packed it up.

I'm pretty sure, that a week later, there is still sand in my hair.

We took a pretty drive as we headed back to the hotel 
to freshen up for our anniversary dinner.

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For our dinner, we chose Alan Wong's Honolulu in Waikiki.  
It is billed as one of the best restaurants in Honolulu.   
The only odd thing is that it's on the 4th floor of a building downtown with no view!  
Strange for Hawaii, but it is indeed an excellent restaurant.

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This was my entree, a ginger-crusted Onaga.  It was amazing.
Rich got the Opakapaka and it was spectacular as well.


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They made us feel very special.  

They gave us a personalized menu signed by the evening's staff, and a pretty dessert.
And at the end of our meal, our waiter told us that we owed nothing as the bill had been taken care of in advance by our children!  
We were grateful and blown away!



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The next day it was Rich's birthday.  We celebrated him by going to the character breakfast.  It was so much fun! 
First, you get a photo session with Mickey.

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Duke was curious about this Mickey dude.


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And Violet... I think she was in love!

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Darsy however... well let's just say, she wasn't having
this BIG Mickey.

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She is not quite sure why we have to get our picture taken 
with this scary guy!

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When is this OVER?? Mammie...help!

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Still keeping a watchful eye on him....

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The ultimate selfie with the birthday boy!



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Ok...the food was BOMB.  It was an unbelievable buffet!  
Incidentally, this was a GREAT perk of having a Disney Visa card - complimentary character breakfast for all! 

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They had a low buffet the kids could reach with such cute stuff like these little dolphin bananas and Mickey waffles.

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They even gave Rich a special birthday dessert!  
Dessert after BREAKFAST?  Why not, it's your birthday.

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It was so cute that the characters were walking around visiting...

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But for one little girl it was pretty much the worst nightmare ever!
I think Darsy spent the whole meal watching out for them. 
When they would get close, she would grip onto me and say 
"Mammie....Hold YOU!!" 
 

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