LA Explored has been in Hawaii for a spell, where the island waves and breezes quelled all industrious intentions, and an all-media sabbatical prevailed. Aaaahhhh. Given that Los Angeles is the closest big city to the 50th state, is it fair to post a few vacation images? I have always wished we were even closer, but as someone pointed out to me, it takes no more time to get there than driving to San Francisco, or to Mammoth (about five and a half hours). We took Delta, which dings you $20 each way for each checked bag, but sort of makes up for it by providing personal entertainment systems, which rock. I caught up on movies I’ve missed – including The Soloist, which is a very L.A.-centric movie about the friendship between L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez and a gifted, Julliard-trained but mentally fragile street musician, Nathaniel Ayers, who was homeless when they met. It stars Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx. I liked the movie because it was very realistic about the causes and challenges of homelessness, and while this made it less than a fairy tale, it also made it more worthwhile. For comic relief I watched some of The Hangover, but we were landing before they even got to Vegas.
We spent the whole time on Oahu, which was a treat because we had time to really explore it. The weather was tropical – sometimes sweltering. For the first week, I lived on a sailboat in a marina in Honolulu. It was on the airport side, and giant planes flew overhead regularly, which sounds like a minus but was actually kind of thrilling. Waking up early to see the morning light on the water and having coffee on the deck was great – and the best part was when we actually took the boat out on the ocean, sailing past Waikiki and Diamond Head.
The boat, a 42-foot ketch, is the full-time residence of my friend’s son Roman, who’s just starting his marine biology studies at the University of Hawaii and is already a DJ at the college radio station. When he learned that I’m an entertainment journalist in L.A., he wanted to know if I’ve ever met Snoop Dogg. I can’t say that I have.
When my husband was able to join us, we moved to a vacation rental near the beach in a little town called Waimanalo, which is on the windward side of the island, reached by taking an extremely scenic drive along the coast from Honolulu of about half an hour (you pass the big snorkeling bay, and the beach where From Here to Eternity was filmed). Billy – known in the blog world as The 99 Cent Chef – was thrilled that the main street of this tiny town featured Keneke’s, a plate lunch stand that draws people from all over the island. I was more impressed with the beach, a nearly deserted five-mile stretch of white powder and heavenly water, just a short walk down the lane from our house. We swam and kayaked, and among other highlights, hiked Diamond Head (surprisingly strenuous, but with a dazzling payoff), hiked Manoa Falls (Jurassic Park-like), explored Chinatown (great tip: the happy hour at art gallery/scene bar thirtyninehotel, with artisan cocktails and live music on the sultry rooftop lanai), went to a Wailers concert (Bob Marley music) at the Waikiki Shell, learned about Hawaiian history and natural history at the fantastic Bishop Museum, and poked around on the North Shore, where we snorkled with the huge green sea turtles at Turtle Beach, ate from the shrimp trucks (I think Macky’s is the best) and sampled the shave ice at Matsumo’s grocery.
I wish I could go on reminiscing, but the real world waits
impatiently. Enjoy the pics!