Hawaii: Honolulu in food, views, sketches, and kitties

When one of our Honolulu friends offered her apartment to us while she was out of town, we were grateful for her generosity, though we hadn’t seen the space itself. If anything, we thought it would be like the places we all lived in when we were almost-neighbors in LA: decent, a little dated maybe, but cozy. We did not expect a spacious 2-bedroom on a corner of the 29th floor of a highrise, overlooking a beach park and a shopping center.

Excited Lisa

Honolulu beach view

Fancy apartment building outdoor areas

Rainbow over Ala Moana Center

As predicted, Honolulu is completely different from the Big Island. It feels like a city — albeit one where surfboards, monkeypod trees, and plumeria are common sights.

View from one side of the building

Surfboard "parking"

Ala Moana Beach -- there were little fish in the water!

It might all be a bit overwhelming after the small-town calm of Waimea, but because our friend’s nephew Jeff is also staying here, we have a live-in guide (and he’s fantastic company as well). The first night we arrived, he drove us to Waikiki to wander around the fancy hotels and see the fireworks.

Waikiki Beach by night

Fireworks at Waikiki

We also spotted a fire dancer. (The “fireworks” setting on my camera again proved useful!)


In the four days since then, we have visited the farmers’ market, hiked to a waterfall, eaten Okinawan donuts with one of my grad school friends, baked a pineapple cheesecake, and devoured some excellent meals. I also attempted to paint on the beach, which was not easy since it was very windy. We have not: gone swimming (either in the ocean or in the apartment’s pristine pool). I have no excuse for this; it just hasn’t happened.

{mouse over for descriptions, click to enlarge}

Tako (octopus) poke bowl at the farmers' market -- Erik's lunch, not mine!

Thai desserts

Sketch of Manoa Falls

Kaka'ako Waterfront sketch

The Kaka'ako waterfront rivaled Cihangir in Istanbul for cat-watching.

Sunset cat

Jeff also brought us to a cool lookout point where we could see Diamond Head (that crater in the distance that looks a bit like Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh) and Manoa.

Dusk view


There was a full moon and it danced with the clouds.

Cloudy moon

Night clouds

Full moon hiding


City lights

I took a little video so you can see their dance (which I set to music by local ukelele player Jake Shimabukuro):

I can’t believe it myself, but the day after tomorrow we are leaving for Kyoto.


6 responses to “Hawaii: Honolulu in food, views, sketches, and kitties

  1. Wow! Amazing photos. (Rainbow! Octopus! Sunset! Cat!) I loved the video, too! And the drawings are charming. (What sort of pen are you using?)

    It feels like a lifetime ago that I was last in Honolulu. I’m having trouble matching up your photos to my memories. Maybe much of that is because I mostly saw things from the ground. I did lots of walking.

    • Hee, thanks, Alejna! (“Rainbow! Octopus! Sunset! Cat!” indeed. 😀 ) And thanks for watching the video! Yeah, we didn’t do a whole lot of walking while we were in Honolulu, and we got a selective tour of the city thanks to Jeff showing us around. I’m sure if we’d stayed for a month I’d have an entirely different take.

      I use a number of pens for these quick sketches. I did the waterfall sketch in the Edding 55 fineliner I bought in Glasgow (I love it!), and for the one below that I also used a Berol Fine Color (also bought in Glasgow, and so much loved that the name has rubbed off and I momentarily panicked while trying to look it up, thinking I’d never find it again) and the brush end of a Staedtler Marsgraphic 3000 duo (bought in Cambridge, in fact! it’s nice and inky, almost liquid if I press down hard).

    • Thanks, Carla! I’ll do what I can — the many shrines and temples of Kyoto are just calling out to me. Also the trees. And houses! 🙂

  2. You know me, I’ll comment mainly on the drawings (but I must say you two look as happy as clams! your joy is contagious)
    Excellent drawings! both are great (and you know I don’t just say stuff, doncha?)
    The rhythms in both are varying and interesting, the balance of horizontals vs verticals in the first one, and the false symmetry of the second one (where the higher palm is thinner, and balanced by a lower bush)

    Really good!

    • We’re pretty happy clams, for sure. 🙂 Thank you so much for the good words on the drawings — I do know you don’t just say stuff. 🙂 I thought you would like that first one. I actually don’t think I would have dared try to draw a waterfall, say, last year, but I thought of you telling me to just try it! 😉

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