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.

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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.