I love Tequila – come to think of it, I love Vodka – ooh and Scotch – and then there’s Beer, Glorious Beer. I also like Red Wine and White Wine and – yes well, I’m sure you get the general drift of this paragraph.
So, Paul and I are sitting on the Lanai at dawn, having a Tequila Sunrise to see in the new day. Katrina comes out, gives us that ‘you must be kidding’ look that I know so well, and starts preparing a pot of coffee.
Mental note to self – come up with a new recipe combining Tequila and Coffee.
Have you ever noticed just how much more intelligent you become after the first few drinks?
You also understand how everything works and can definitely offer sound advice to World Leaders.
Back to reality – I’m hungry. We decide to go next door to the Shorebird for their breakfast buffet. We used a discount voucher which means that we paid about $31.00 for the three of us. The food is pretty fair for a buffet – the honey roast ham is fantastic, sliced to order with lots of fruit options, but the star performer here is that you’re sitting literally on the beach – drop your glass (only the empty ones) and it hits the sand. I love the belt driven cooling fans and they also make a top Mai Tai and serve a cold beer at the bar.
We’re keeping it close today, so Katrina is off to Ala Moana to do the cosmetic thing (why did she take my credit card?), and Paul and I decide to be blokey blokes and visit the Fort DeRussy Army Museum.
The Army Museum is an absolute gem – it’s run mainly by ex service personnel who are really good people to have a chat with. We sign the visitors book and head into the old Battery Randolph area that houses the main exhibits. For the History Buffs, this is a ‘must see’. It’s not just current military history – it contains detailed exhibits on the early Hawaiians and their internal wars, through to colonisation and annexure. As you walk through, you come to a WW2 area with emphasis on the Pearl Harbor attack. There is also another, attached area, dedicated to those who received major bravery awards – very interesting and humbling to read their citations.
Time for some refreshment and, being a boys’ afternoon, we head off to the Lava Rock Lounge for some light entertainment and a few more beers (AFMB).
Time to play the colours game.
What this involves is downing bottled beers of different coloured labels until we’ve done the rainbow. (Red; Orange; Yellow; Green; Blue; Indigo; Violet).
Now here’s a classic oxymoron - as part of my Hotel Manager/Brewery duties, I had to do a course on ‘The Responsible Service of Alcohol’ – why do I hear you laughing?
Feeling nicely re-hydrated, we stumble back to the beach and suddenly realise that we have an enormous case of munchies. Nothing else for it - hot dogs. Under the Waikiki Shore building, there are a number of food stalls – one of them makes great hot dogs, so two apiece, a nice bench to eat them on and some semi serious heat – perfect.
Not so perfect – we both fell asleep on the bench and the semi serious heat turned into some semi serious sunburn for Paul. Semi serious sunburn is not a laughing matter, unless of course, you’re an Australian with a significantly warped sense of humour and you take great delight in pointing out the shade line (from his cap) basically bisects his nose – I think ‘two tone’ describes it well.
Back to the Condo where Katrina greets me with ‘What have you done to Paul this time’? – she is probably referring to the time that he fell asleep at a party at our house and woke up with a stripe painted on his face.
We apply my home made recipe for sunburn (Vodka) in profusion and if Paul is in any pain, well, he’s not capable of saying so.
Reality (I hate that word – it’s far too serious) – I made him an iced tea compress which really does suck the sting out of sunburn – I’ve spent my life surfing and sailing and this cheap little compress really does work – well, that and about four days of aloe cream.
We decide on Arancino for dinner – a good and small Italian Restaurant and only a short walk. Paul is doing his impression of (Weekend at) Bernie’s, mumbling the occasional order for another little drink and slowly showing signs of life. Arancino make some interesting and tasty drinks. Paul is off alcohol for a short time and starts hoovering Ginger Coolers – very nice, while Katrina and I opt for Mojito’s. We shared up our food orders for a bit of variety, but the Spaghetti Pescatora was the big winner.
It’s been a big day for the boys so with Katrina’s voice echoing ‘Wimps’ in the background, we make our way back to the Condo for lights out on day 8.
Pearl Harbor for the day – a little sombre.
I have tremendous respect for the men and women whose lives were forever altered by the events that took place on Dec 7th 1941. I’m an old Army boy and I must tell you how much I admire the manner in which America remembers her fallen and forgives her former enemies.
We drove over after the normal morning starters, arriving around 10.00am. The new Pearl Harbor Visitor Centre is a credit to all associated with the reconstruction.
The interactive exhibits are informative and interesting – I hardly had enough time to go through them properly before it was time go pay our respects at the Arizona Memorial.
I may be wrong, but I thought the movie was a little longer than previously? Regardless, it is well crafted and sets the backdrop for a visit to the Arizona very well.
Katrina had a good talk about the reconstruction project with one of the tour guides who was on her lunch break – very kind – very helpful – very interesting - thank you.
Following the movie, we take the Barge out to the Arizona - it moves me deeply every time we visit and to see that some of the survivors of the attack are choosing to have their ashes interred with their shipmates in the Hull of the Arizona - well – what can you say…
Back to the main visitor area and we purchase tickets for the Missouri and the Aviation Museum. We’ve done the Bowfin several times so we decide not to revisit but have been told that previously secured areas of the Missouri are now open.
The Missouri is fabulous – we spent hours going through her – they have definitely opened up areas formerly closed off, including some of the smaller gun turrets. I would really like to see inside one of the 16 inch gun turrets – maybe that’s next?
We then take the shuttle down to the Pacific Aviation Museum. There are two main buildings in use – the entrance area, which houses mainly WW2 aircraft, the gift shop and a canteen. The second building is a hanger that survived the Pearl Harbor attack and still has bullet holes. It’s full of aircraft from various eras and has cockpits from a space shuttle and a B52.
We took the last shuttle back to the Visitor Centre, shoehorned into the Mustang (does a car shrink in the rain?) and decide that we’ve been good for long enough and AFMB are in order – but perhaps not as many as yesterday. Naaah – just kidding.
The Mai Tai Bar at Ala Moana wins the toss – there’s a bit of something for everyone at the Mai Tai and we spent a very pleasant few hours sipping gently, chatting amicably and (the Fun Bit) - watching some of the local girls work out how to chat up Paul.
I should have said earlier, that Paul is one of those blokes that women find irresistible. He has movie star looks, sings like Sinatra, plays Flamenco like Feliciano and paints like DaVinci. I should get a sign made that says: ‘Warning – Naughty Boy’.
Entertainment over - it’s getting rather late, so back to the Condo – AFMB on the Lanai – Katrina chefs up some fruit plates, dips and cold cuts and there we are, warm, happy and content. A very pleasant end to a great day out.
I’ve decided to try coffee first up this morning – should make an interesting change.
No one else is up, so down to the rack, grab my board – time for a few waves. I had a great time – four to five footers, which is about max for me but I do admit, far more exhilarating than smaller waves – you also have to hold your breath a bit longer when you stuff the bunny.
Back to the Condo, stopping for a chat in the Lobby with Israel (Is) the reception guy. He’s been at Waikiki Shore for 13 years – always has a smile on his face and is invariably helpful.
Katrina and Paul have clearly been plotting in my absence – unheard of words and phrases like ‘exhausted’ and ‘burning the candle at both ends’ are mentioned – and I’m a Wimp?
Bottom line – day off.
Paul immediately turns into a couch potato – Katrina gives me that fleeting look that says ‘Shopping – and you’re not coming’ – so, there I am, with a day to myself.
What’s a boy to do – well, it took me about 1.2 nanoseconds to work that one out – I’m going sailing. I walk over to Waikiki Yacht Club and make my humble way to the bar for a quick bloody mary. I met up with Phil, a guy I met years ago and an hour later, we’re on the water with AFMB to pass the day. There’s a lot of big bitey rocks around the area, including jetty piers from long ago, but we had a great sail down to Pearl (beware of slow moving Aircraft Carriers) then along the Waikiki Beach strip as far as Diamond Head and then back.
You may have heard that all yachties have tall tales? So untrue – you can always tell when a yachtie is fibbing – his lips are moving!
Anyway, thanks Phil for a great day out and your very generous hospitality.
On the way back, I stopped at the Charthouse for a quiet little drink (QLD). Great location facing the yacht basin – good open air area – ice cold beer – all equals a very happy John.
There are clouds brewing back at WS – particularly over our Condo – in fact, specifically coming from our Condo. It seems that I’ve been away too long – and had the temerity to have a good time, consume AFMB and all without my better two thirds.
There is no defence – this I know – never argue with a Divorce Lawyer, so with a cheerful ‘where would you like to go for dinner sweetheart? rolling smoothly off my parched tongue, I amble over to the fridge and start making some ‘I’m sorry cocktails’. Try this one in a tall glass – Mash 4 strawberries per glass, add two measures of Peach Liqueur, top with POG and fresh mint leaves (bruise the mint leaves).
OK – I’m returned to the good books and – oh yeah, Paul, adding insult to injury has gone for a walk, met a nice young lady and is sitting on the Lanai and telling her the yarn
about the time he sang a duet with Tony Bennett. An impressive line mate, - didn’t I tell you he was a bad boy?
So, we’re all off for dinner – I am definitely in suck up elegant form tonight, so Azure gets the nod. An excellent meal follows with the highlights being the Alaskan King Crab Chowder and the Azure Ocean Risotto. As I am still sucking the humble stick pretty hard, we had a few bottles of Sancerre Reverdy – just right with quality seafood.
Back to WS – good news – both sides of the bed are turned down – I’m forgiven - must remember the cardinal rule – ‘Do not have a good time without Katrina’.
It’s Friday morning – that perfect dawn again – just a magic view looking East over Diamond Head. I’m in one of those contemplative moods, so I walk down to the beach and stick my tootsies in the water – I haven’t done something like that since I was a kid, but it just feels good in Hawaii. Stranger yet, I go for a swim. Normally, I only go for a swim when I fall out of the boat, but again, it’s just one of those things that you do in Hawaii. By the time I go back to the Condo, I’ve got quite a glow going on.
We’re doing a bit of history today, so we drive downtown to the Iolani Palace. What a magnificent building. At the set time, we gather on the balcony for a greeting and explanation of how our headsets work – ‘just press the number on the corresponding room’ and presto – you have commentary. If you’re visiting Hawaii and you’re into history, I would put the Iolani Palace high up the list of must do’s. It’s truly spectacular with major efforts by the Trustees to recover and maintain original furniture. The basement area is filled with displays and exhibits and you are able to walk around some of the rooms. One room contains the awards and decorations of the Royal Family.
Next stop – The Aliiolani Hale (contains the Hawaii State Judiciary), better known as the ‘Hawaii 5 O’ Headquarters’ Building.
I don’t understand why this building doesn’t receive more publicity. It is spectacular. From the intricate Marble and Granite floors to the staircase, the architecture is stunning. There is also a theatre where you can watch three short films of historic Hawaiian Land Law decisions and from there, you can tour a small area with artifacts and displays. The ‘old’ Supreme Courthouse is open, so I have a great photo of Katrina behind the bench where the Judge sits – she has a great photo of where she thinks I should sit – in the Dock.
That’s enough reality – I’m thirsty and hungry. We zoom down to Ward Center and decide on Ryan’s Grill – not bad on the food side - we had some pretty fair burgers – I love it when asked how we would like our burgers cooked – try that in Oz - but Longboard Lager is on tap – ice cold - oooh – Tarzan want more.
OK – I admit it – I’m feeling a bit slow today. We did a huge walk around, sunk AFMB in a few more places and seeing how it’s fireworks night, we’re staying in and so we ordered some Pizza to be delivered and set ourselves up on the Lanai.
Lots of ooh and aah when the fireworks start – a little liquid lubrication to wash down our Pizza – and then – oh shock horror - an early night for us and the lights are definitely out.
My my – that was a huge sleep – completely missed dawn and my early surf.
Only one thing for it – Chug. Nice. Good Start.
Paul wants to go for a sail, (how can you come to Hawaii and not) so we front up at the MaiTai Catamaran for a mid morning cruisy/drinky. There are some really good waves offshore with a solid breeze so the crew are basically feathering the boat so as give everyone an easy ride. I would love to see this boat angry. She’s got big heaps of tapered mast and a sail area to match – we’re told she used to race – let me know if you race her again – I’d love to be aboard when she’s cranked up.
We get off the Mai Tai almost in front of the Sheraton’s beachside bar – it must be fate.
We order a nice little pile of Pupus and decided to play cocktails for three. I must say, the location is great and the tables and chairs around the bar are good, so overall – pretty fair but my credit card had a mild heart attack when the bill arrived, not exactly helped by playing cocktails for three a few times.
A late afternoon nap is needed – must have slept too long last night and got in the habit.
Dinner tonight is at the Pacific Club. The Club is set on large grounds in almost a botanic garden setting, with open air terraces and world class facilities. We’ve booked into the
main dining room – a little old world and certainly not a setting for AFMB in shorts and a Tshirt. Our meals were simply brilliant – Their sampler plates was excellent – the Venison was cooked perfectly – the Chilean Sea Bass was amazing and then – to my delight, Crepes Suzette – table cooked – my personal favourite and with the crepes, a huge bonus – a few bottles of La Tour Sauternes. We had a wonderful night at the Club, finishing rather later than expected – a very big ‘hats off’ and thank you to the staff – very, very well done!
Back to the Condo – a good malt scotch (or three) on the Lanai and lights away on a perfect evening.
I got up really early – well before dawn - too much sleep yesterday. I’m sitting on the Lanai, sipping a tomato juice (nothing in it – yet) with the lights of Honolulu in front.
The fishing fleet is leaving harbor (to catch my dinner tonight – thanks boys – ooh – and girls) – there are a few other early risers walking along the beach - Waikiki is slowly coming to life. I enjoy watching the planes land and take off at the airport, especially when some of the military boys decide that they’re going high and fast. In short, if you’re in the habit of sleeping late, do yourselves a big holiday favour and spend at least one pre-dawn morning just sitting, listening and watching – and be greedy - do it by yourself.
Paul wants to see the International Market Place, particularly considering the coming development. Personally, I’m in two minds on the development. If you look at the beneficiaries and the purpose of the income to be generated, it’s the right thing to do.
To chuck the cat in the tree, I do miss the old Hawaiian ‘feel’ that was all over Waikiki when I first came here as a nipper (in the seventies). We don’t come here for frigid air-conditioned glass palaces – the same all over the world – we come here to experience a unique and wonderful culture that has not forgotten where it came from – please don’t sanitise your incredible Islands too much. Really glad to hear that the trees stay.
OK – off the soapbox – we’re walking down to the IMP, when a guy stops bang in front of Katrina – some small talk and this guy produces T-shirts that he’s selling on the fly. In short, it was a clever T-shirt about a shark dying of alcoholic poisoning after biting a tourist – Katrina bought one for me - she calls it ‘Exhibit One’.
I see what people mean about the IMP – there are too many stalls selling the same thing and the same thing is really getting a bit cheesy.
The second floor is all but empty but I do make note that the upstairs bar facing Kuhio is still open and I do like that bar (come to think of, I like all bars that serve liquid lunch – ooh - that’s all bars – Surprise!).
We head in – a fantastic bar – tabs on the coaster - nice, dark bar with games, live entertainment and nothing but locals.
Following AFMB, Katrina decides she’s taking Paul shopping - I try to hide back in the Lava Lounge – Nope – that didn’t work, so I spend a few hours tagging along, muttering ‘Oh – how nice’ and other agreeable sayings designed to keep me in the same bed tonight.
One of the best shave ices on Oahu is to be had in the food court. The owner has been here over 20 years (Cathy? – sorry, I forgot her name) – anyway, she uses blocks of ice and ‘shaves’ the block properly unlike some who just chuck ice cubes into a blender.
Katrina and Paul are now shopping in Crazy Shirts. We’ve bought a few of these over the years, particularly for staff – they always get a laugh. Katrina is a pack rat – she keeps everything, meaning that she produces from the depths of her handbag a Crazy Shirts ‘buy ten – get one free’ card with seven little stamps on it.
So, have you ever tried to pick four Crazy Shirts with 2 other people?
I look longingly towards the Lava Lounge.
Purchases finally made, we decide on Dinner from Blue Water Shrimp in the food court. Good value for money, meaning the plate was piled high and the food quality quite reasonable – try the Bowl of Garlic Clams and the Salmon with Lemon Dill Butter. There is some ‘entertainment’ on stage, opposite the shared seating area – I’m not a fan of steel drums – it makes my eyes water, my ears bleed and my prostate swell.
We take a leisurely stroll back along Kalakaua, checking out the buskers, artists and resellers on the way to WS. We turn into Kalia and some Japanese Tourists stop us and following some rather interesting sign language, we work out that they’re asking us how to get to the beach. Some more interesting sign language follows wherein we’re trying to say ‘follow us’ and they’re trying to say – ‘it can’t be that way’. Anyway, they do follow us back to WS, wherein we can point to the beach and some very happy Japanese head for the water while we head for our fridge and AFMB on the Lanai.
‘Another Perfect Day - Another Perfect End’.
Where is the time going? – I’m sure the clocks run faster in Hawaii. Paul’s just stamped his foot and spat the dummy - he’s going home tomorrow and doesn’t want to go – well – who does?
My liver has made a collect phone call, letting me know it would like a day off, failing which it may go on strike.
I drink a glass of pog – by itself! – and then a coffee – by itself!
How much is a liver transplant?
We’re off to Moose’s for brekky. I like the bar here – another classic ambiance ‘Bar USA’ with reasonable food, attentive service and heaps of interesting signage on the walls. There were also some Australian signs on the wall – Koala/Kangaroo crossing – a gift from some boys from Oz who liked the place.
I order a Tomato Juice – by itself! – that liver transplant is looking a good thing.
I ask for the Big Breakfast with lots of bacon – I love bacon – I want it my way – slightly undercooked (not black and crispy) and thick cut (not wafer thin). I hate saying things like ‘the way we have it at home’ when I’m in someone else’s Country – so I don’t, but to our American and Canadian friends – something different or new is good to try – sort of like Vegemite – you may not like it straight away….. but – errrr – anyway – Have A Go!
Paul is in a tiz – it seems he’s really rather keen on Aisha (the girl from the Lanai and dinner the other night). Will he be finally smitten (or bitten)? He’s arranged to meet her at 7.30 for drinks at Lewers Lounge in the Halekulani, followed by dinner at LaMer.
I’ve told him that suits are really cheap at NM and he’s out to impress, so we dash down to Ala Moana and Paul buys himself a really nice silk suit with a white linen shirt and some Sperry topsiders – roughly half price on what he would pay at home.
Well, Katrina says he looks HOT and she is not prone to exaggeration. I concede (trying not to sound gay – not that there’s anything wrong with that) – that he looks very much like Clooney.
We are told (and I mean told) – come for dinner, not drinks. We agree on 8.00pm at Lewers and then upstairs to LaMer. Paul’s about as frisky as a puppy in a butcher shop.
So, we turn up on time and there’s Paul sitting by himself – Ohhh I hear you say.
I’m sorry – I couldn’t help it – I nearly wet myself with laughter – Paul has been stood up – The Legend takes a hit – and in Hawaii!
I will dine out on this for years!
We had a fabulous meal at LaMer. We had asked for a table centre beachside and ordered the Degustation Menu with selected wines (the table now set for three – more laughter follows). Standouts were the Foie Gras; the Poached Lobster and the Veal Cheek and the deserts were a feast for the eyes as well as nicely increasing the girth of my now rotund stomach. I swear it wasn’t this big when we got here.
And on that fine note, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls – so endeth week two of our little trip. Judging beer is getting seriously in the way at present (can you believe it – a job where you drink beer professionally) so it will be some time before I get a chance to complete the report.
Please don’t blow me too many raspberries – I’m just a shy and sensitive sort of bloke.
Cheers, and all the best from Adelaide – Chug. Nice. Good Start.
Oh – and for the curious, Aisha arrived in Adelaide two weeks ago!