Thursday, March 19, 2009

Memories of Waikiki

An invitation to paradise. May 2006.

I was invited by my dear friend Jenni Adair, to stay with her in her hotel while she had business in Honolulu. I decided to head over two days early and got a room in the cheapest place I could find, with the best reviews. I am a brave traveler.

Arriving at night, a welcoming sight if I ever saw one.

The view from my balcony. Later that evening, the hotel owner came out to play the ukulele while guests are invited to sing along. It was a happy sound! I couldn't wait to wake up the next day.

Here she is, the front of the Royal Grove Hotel in the heart of Waikiki. Known for the friendly owners and just a block and a half walk to the beach. Can't beat that for $62! It's pretty much the opposite of The Four Seasons, but it was perfect for me those two nights.

Waikiki Beach. I noticed that the locals came to swim here every morning, along with the tourists. Eating at the parks and swimming seemed to be a part of the locals' daily life.

Oh, Duke Kahanamoku. How I admire you. A fun little secret is that you can stand in front of his statue and ring up your friend back at home - tell them to go to this site so they can see you throwing shakas at them! I did that to Jay and my Mom and they saw me. Jay told me that it made him happy.

Canoes surf break. Mellow waves and not that crowded! I rented a board and had so much fun. I mentioned last Friday that I had my longest and best ride ever on this day. It was pretty magical.

A little shower after your surf sesh, good vibes from the locals.

After a simple lunch of sushi, it was time for some shave ice. I had one every day when I was there. That was my rule.

I walked along and heard the most beautiful sounds. My ears led me to a park in front of the Hyatt Regency, where the Royal Hawaiian Band was playing a free concert at lunchtime. Hearing the sounds of this band while alternating my gaze on the hula dancer and the surfers = heaven on earth.

Isn't she beautiful? Her graceful gestures and sways while always smiling, brought tears to my eyes.

Next was the famous International Marketplace, where you can get trinkets for the folks at home.

The Moana Surfrider is a beautiful, old grand hotel. I stayed here in my 20s and had to go back to see how "the first lady of Waikiki" was doing. Their Banyan Court has one of the most majestic banyan trees on the island and wonderful entertainment in the evenings. I found on this trip, that I could sit by their pool to read a book and no one seemed to mind!

Later at the Moana it was a fine time for a Blue Hawaiian, with a perfect view of Diamond Head. Which by the way, is amazing to see from a surfboard.

When Jenni arrived, we checked into our new digs near the Honolulu Harbor and this was the beautiful view from the balcony. It was wonderful to be with one of my best girlfriends in this paradise. To tell you the truth, I kind of missed the little pink hotel.

The next morning I awoke to discover some peelers with just a few locals surfing at the harbor.

On my last day, I walked to the beach and took all of it in one last time. I smiled and thanked this beautiful place for making me feel at home. The Aloha spirit you've heard of truly presents itself to you as soon as you land on the ground. They hope that you take it home with you.


Ramsnake said...

That just sounded like a great holiday and so nice to know that you can get waves in Hawaii without the crowds.

Toddy said...

Great photos. Great travelogue.

Andrea said...

I LOVED this post...Mahalo, Jamie!

Clare said...

Oh how I loved going on this trip through your post. I have never been and it looks just divine. I like your shaved ice rule.

Jessica said...

I remember this trip of yours! What fun to look at the pictures again.

Santos SurfArt said...

Aloha nui loa Jamie...

Miss Hawaii from the deep of my heart.
Love for you and Jay,

rebeccajane said...

What a delightful post.

I heart Waikiki too. It's a complicated place, but a pretty one - as catalogued by your lovely pictures.

readysteady said...

love love loved this post .... how did you get that perfect sixties colour balance??!! shot of the pool at night rocks.

Paulo Ribeiro said...

These pictures are awesomely cool!! :) Makes me want to leave the office right now! I want an ice cream!!