Now Honolulu may not be your first choice when you think of going to Hawaii but when the significant lover was sent to Pearl Harbor for work, I bought a ticket. A boutique hotel named VIVE WAIKIKI was home base for the week stay: coffee all day and as many beach towels I’d need. The problem was I was car-less on the tourist-side of the island and wasn’t about to miss the opportunity to visit the North Shore. So…I bought a bus ticket.

Waikiki

Fueled by complimentary coffee, a four day bus pass, and a list of recommended eats from a good friend, I began the 15 mile bus ride that lasted over two hours. Mass transportation on the islands really immersed me inĀ island time. Determined not to let me nervousness and impatience get the best of me, I worked on my phone (thank goodness I packed my charger in my beach bag!) and notated any stops that looked close to points of interest so I could sharpen my island navigation skills. The weather went from sunny to rainy, to sunny to cloudy, to rainy and back to sunny. The passengers coming and going just as frequently. Eventually it was I who was popping out of the bus doors on a strange corner outside a 76 station guided by the salty smell of the sea. I walked into the village only to turn around realizing I was moving parallel with the ocean rather than toward it. I admired the little boats lining the small harbor, passing the closed excursion tour booths until I found the passionate Pacific. Of course by this time, I was hungry. But I took my time, snapping a few photos, sitting in the sand, taking note of the no swimming signs.

Haleiwa Ali'i Beach Park

heart

If I was going to have to take a two hour bus ride back, I realized I better get something to eat and enjoy my stay in North Shore for the rest of the afternoon. Just maybe, I’d make it back to have dinner with the significant lover and his coworker. Surprisingly his call came. They were done for the day and hungry. With a draining cell battery, I convinced them to meet me at the 76 station with the promise that food would be had.

This is when I stumbled into Island Vintage Coffee reluctantly. It just looked like a Hawaiian version of a Starbucks of which I am not a fan. My crinkled nose arose even after eating amazing shaved ice from their sister shop in Waikiki the night before. How wrong I was…or maybe I’m right but it is just way better than a Starbucks.

Island Vintage Coffee

I’m still craving that coconut flavor in my coffee and the gritty bits of peaberries blended in what became a coffee milk shake. Hey, I was on vacation. Fully charged and ready for savory, I had four great options for the men to choose from. Shrimp was decided and led us to shaded lot of food trucks including the local favorite: Giovanni’s. It must be told that I am not a shrimp lover but cover anything with a heart attack’s worth of butter and garlic and I’ll sign myself up for a plate.

Giovani

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shrimp

With my Island Vintage Kona Mocha long gone, the significant lover’s coworker insisted Dole whip was in order. All of us had noticed the bright yellow plantation among the spiky pineapple fields and the idea of a tart fruity soft serve was too much to pass up. Day one and I realized I would be eating my way through Oahu.

dole whip

Here are a few sights from our drive around the coastline:

oahu

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Don’t worry, we made sure to eat:

good travel buddy poke

Followed by plenty of desserts (sometimes I shared…sorta):

IMG_6239 shaved ice

We did fit in the USS Arizona, a hike up Diamond Head, and a dip in the waters of Waikiki–all on the last day. The memorial was one of the most tasteful I’d seen.

USS Arizona

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arizona

From Diamond Head, we could gestalt island life from the Disney-feeling shores of Honolulu to the residential boroughs to the north, and the quieter easterly beaches in the distances. The span of it all just about spelled out how lucky we were to be standing there. It was the kind of day that made me thankful for starting my own business and sticking to it, for taking risks and believing in myself, even just saying yes to the opportunity to go to Hawaii.

Diamond Head

sunset