It took us almost 24 hours, but some destinations are worth the journey.
Hawaii is the perfect meeting-up point for my family, dispersed as we are all across the globe (L and I, from the UK; my parents from Canada, my sister and her bf from Australia). We started as most people do – with a couple of nights on Waikiki beach. And what a place. Full of life and action, Waikiki is not what I would refer to as ‘chilled out’ (and especially not where my parents were staying, the frenetic and huge Hilton Hawaiian Village) but it is so much fun.
How else would I sum up Waikiki?
1) It’s a surfer’s paradise
The time difference between the UK and Hawaii is 11 hours – so long it’s almost meaningless. We were up early the first morning, but still not as early as these surfers – who hit the water at first light.
2) It’s a shopper’s paradise
Along Kalakaua Avenue, you’ll find every luxury boutique you can think of (although who wants to wear stuffy designer clothes in laid-back Hawaii? I’ll never know. I’m thinking of permanently ditching all footwear for flip-flops for the rest of the trip). We did do some sale shopping (of course!) in Ala Moana shopping centre, but if you have to shop anywhere, doing so in a bright, breezy open air mall is the way to do it.
3) It’s a foodie haven
We were only there for two days, but we ate some of the most amazing food – and not at ridiculous prices. My highlights were the ahi katsu at Chai’s cafe. Food this good should not be served in a box (but when it does, hallelujah!). Chai Chaowasaree is a world class high-end chef but this restaurant of his is no frills. Perfect for eating top quality food while not changing out of your sarong. Also delicious was the Luau Eggs Benedict from Tropics cafe in Hilton Hawaiian Village with kalua pork and a purple taro roll. Yum.
4) It’s ridiculously beautiful.
Who knew a major city could be this gorgeous? With sunsets like this, it’s tempting never to leave. But with Maui ahead, I’m looking forward to some major R&R…