Day 2 would be our first full day in Hawaii and it was going to be a long one because we were still on east coast time. At one point I woke up at 12:30 am pretty much rested! I managed to sleep until 5:00 and then finally got up. My wife swam laps in a pool she had all to herself while I went to the fitness center. It’s pretty tough to beat an elliptical machine that looks out over the Pacific Ocean as the sun comes up!
We decided we would explore Oahu’s North Shore. This is the absolute opposite end of the hustle-bustle Waikiki, not only geographically but in every other way.
To get there we drove up the center of the island. This is a landmass formed from volcanic activities and the landscape is dramatically beautiful! As we drove through a fertile valley planted with pineapples (the Dole plantation), coffee, and coccoa, on either side of us was breathtaking lush green mountains. I felt like I was on the set of Lost, or Survivor!
We arrived at the town of Haleiva and drove west all the way to Kaena Point. It was here that we found our own deserted private beach. On one side of the street was a small airstrip, a glider-port to be exact. The whole time we were there we saw planes towing gliders up into the air and a while later they would come arc’ing into the strip to land.
We also saw a plane drop a dozen skydivers all at once!
On our side of the street however, was a beach that went on as far as the eye could see, and about 6 other people!
I could not believe that here we were in Hawaii and seemed to have the place all to ourselves. I knew it would be a different story in Waikiki, but that was for another day.
We were swimming in what was a pounding hard surf. Occasionally we would look up to the beach to see we had drifted quite far from our towels and bags.
We also had several friends in the water! Sea turtles were everywhere! They would wash around in the surf, occasionally coming up for air but otherwise seemed happy to just float around.
We left the beach for the town of Waialua. There we found an old sugar plantation that is now a coffee and coccoa business. The owner explained that those were his fields we saw coming into the north shore and that they did the drying here, but did the roasting at another site. We tried a sample of Waialua coffee (very good!) and tasted raw coccoa beans, unroasted but dried, very cool!
We continued to explore the coast, pulling into a store or beach when it looked interesting. We ate in Haleiwa. This is a classic laid back surfer town. We ate at a Mexican restaurant called Cholo’s and even Mexican food here has a distinct Hawaiian twist. The fish taco is grilled ahi, the margarita is prepared with a Hawaiian tart spice called Li-Hing, and the restaurant is, like most buildings here, open air.
The food and the geography, the friendly people, it was all so inspiring that we decided to assemble the ingredients and flavors we had experienced to make dinner at our villa this night.
I bought some ahi tuna, as well as a tuna dish called Poke (pronounced pok-ay). This is a sushi style dish in which sashimi grade tuna is tossed with soy sauce, seaweed, green onions, and sesame seeds. It is so fresh and amazing!
We bought fresh local grown fruit, papaya, pineapple, and Hawaiian grown long beans, string beans which are each about a foot long.
The result for dinner that night was fantastic! Seared ahi tuna on a bed of asian cabbage slaw served with cucumber kimchi and fresh papaya. For me this was the best of both worlds. I got to cook, which I love, but Hawaii provided the inspiration, and the ingredients!
This time we made it until it got dark, so we are beginning to adjust to the 6 hour time difference.
Tomorrow would be Memorial Day and we planned to visit Pearl Harbor.