Day 26/138 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise
What a fabulous time we had in Hawaii! WOW! I can’t wait to share with you our ACTION PACKED second day!
We had rented e-bikes for 4 hours in Waikiki Beach today and we needed to get to the bike rental shop at 9am. Unfortunately today was also Martin Luther King Jr. Day and that meant a parade directly on the street where the bike rental place was located. Bad planning! We had picked up an Uber at the port in a Toyota Prius and as soon as we got stuck in traffic our ‘super Uber’ driver as I started calling him, came to the rescue. To avoid the traffic which was being funnelled into one lane, from 3 lanes, our ‘super Uber’ driver decided to drive through the parking garage of the Ala Moana Centre, where we had been shopping yesterday. Our Uber driver was worried that his dispatcher would call him to see if he was ok, since he was deviating so much from the prescribed route to get to the bike rental location, but luckily, the ‘super Uber’ driver didn’t have any phone calls from his dispatcher and we arrived just a few minutes late to pick up our e-bikes.
The start of the parade happened right across from the bike shop this morning! I guess our timing was perfect! LOL!
Our rental at GOGO bike rentals included: e-bikes, phone holders, and helmets, so after learning how to work the e-bikes, we quickly jumped on them and tried to figure out how to work the throttle and the brakes. Neither one of us has ever ridden an e-bike before and we were shocked that the seats did not adjust upwards. For someone like me with very long legs and 6 feet tall, I felt like my knees were hitting my face, as I was riding. I am a cyclist, having cycled 116 times last year but with my right leg (broken femur June 2020) I was really finding the pedalling interesting as the knee was really having to bend in a way it was not used to, as we pedalled along.! I guess it was sink or swim for us today and we had to figure it out pretty quickly, since we had the bikes for 4 hours and had some stops planned for when we had the bikes.
The seat is way too low for both of us!
Our first stop was Hawaiian Graphics for art supplies.
Art supplies! Now I can paint even when we don’t have art classes! I picked up supplies for my friend Sharon from Thorold, Ontario who has also been coming to art classes every day. Who knows when the next time will be when we have a City that has art supplies? Probably not until Aukland, and then I’m sure I will need something else!
We were getting the hang of the e-bikes and thought we would ride up to Diamond Head to see what we could see there. As we were biking along nicely in our bike lane, all of a sudden the bike lane would end. I was leading because I’m the more experienced cyclist, and I was also the navigator with Google Maps open on my iPhone, on the phone holder on the bike. It was a bit nerve wracking trying to figure out what street we were supposed to be turning on, giving Richard advance notice that we were turning, then the bike lane would end, and a one point, we were almost turning onto the on ramp for H1 (which is the main Hwy on Oahu), but I caught myself and we slowly backed the bikes up down a narrow sidewalk until we came back to our previous road. Luckily as we were biking towards Diamond Head, we found a Longs Drugs and since we had a shopping list for the drug store, I went inside to shop, while Richard stayed with the bikes.
I had a shopping list today and these items were definitely NOT on my list, but I couldn’t help taking photos of such strange delicacies!
I had the ‘delicacy’ SPAM as a kid and I couldn’t stand it. I’m not sure at what point my mother stopped buying us SPAM, but I’m glad she did! I don’t think I would enjoy the other delicacies given I’m not really a fish eater.
Richard had brought his big travel backpack for our trip today, so anything we bought he could pack and we could keep riding. We found some great hilly streets on the way to Diamond Head, which had very few cars on them, and I was able to get the pedal assist up to 4 at one point (maximum was 5). I think I was even exceeding the 25 mph speed limit too, and when I realized how fast I was going, I quickly slowed down. Thinking about how much damage falling off a bike at 25 mph, will definitely get you to slow down!
Taking a pit stop before we ride into Diamond Head.
Le’ahi (Diamond Head) is translated as (brow of the tuna) in Hawaiian. The crater was named Le’ahi Head by 19th Century British sailors who thought they had discovered diamonds on the crater’s slopes. These ‘diamonds’ were actually shiny calcite crystals that had no value. Formed more than 100,000 years ago, the crater was used as a strategic military lookout beginning in the early 1900’s and was named a National Natural Landmark in 1968.
An aerial view of the Le’ahi crater which is such an iconic landmark for Honolulu/Waikiki in Hawaii.
We thought we would bike around the crater and see what we could
We saw this sign and realized ‘oops’! We didn’t have a reservation and after speaking to the guard, there was no way we were going to be able to just ride around inside the crater, so we turned around to wait for the one way tunnel to allow us to pass pack to the other side of the crater
Waiting to exit the crater.
Waiting for the light to turn green to bike out of the crater. We found that the pedestrian section was no place for us on e-bikes, so we rode behind the cars, down the middle of the road since we were able to go as fast as the cars in the tunnel.
We always stop to read tourist signs.
The lookout spot at the top of Diamond Head was pretty spectacular. The Ko‘OLAU Range is located to the left of the photo and its volcano is the youngest of the O’ahu volcanoes; active 2-3 million years ago. A catastrophic landslide caused the windward half of the volcano to slide into the sea around 2 million years ago. What remains now is the Ko’OLAU Range and the, 2,000 foot high cliff (pali) that forms the backdrop to Honolulu on south eastern O’ahu.
As we headed back down to the main road, I said it was time to get a treat! We were really very hot and sticky on our e-bikes and our drinking water was no longer cold, but luckily I had researched where the #1 location was for….
SHAVE ICE! Waiola Shave Ice was our next stop. I did not know what flavour to choose, given there were so many flavour options. I finally just asked what the most chosen flavour was and I was told ‘Waiola Rainbow’ which consisted of: Strawberry, Vanilla and Banana.
Watching how the ice is shaved.
Carefully adding the tasty flavors to make a rainbow shave ice.
Now that is a tasty, colourful treat!
The texture of shave ice surprised us because it was so creamy and pillowy! If you have ever eaten a snow cone, the ice in a snow cone is more granular. This ice, almost melted in our mouth. Shave ice traces its roots back to Japanese immigrants who came to the islands to work in the sugar and pineapple fields in the mid-1800’s. They introduced the concept of ‘kakigori’ meaning ‘shaved ice’. Immigrants to Hawaii used their tools to shave flakes off large blocks of ice, then coated it with sugar or fruit juice. In Pidgin vernacular the refreshing treat became known as ‘shave ice’, NOT ‘shaved ice’. After the immigrants finished working on the plantations, some families opened small general stores in the surrounding communities where they sold groceries, household goods and even shave ice. One standalone shave ice store opened in 1951 in Hawaii, becoming the first standalone shave ice store. Travelling tourists and surfers who came to Hawaii for its legendary waves loved shave ice and it is a staple now all over the place in Hawaii. Waiola shave ice was rated in the top 2 of shave ice joints in Hawaii by Hawaii Magazine. It was delicious!
After our shave ice break we decided to bike back to GoGo Rentals and drop off our e-bikes because we had to make a 12:15 appointment at the Apple store‘s Genius Bar to see what was going on with my new iPhone Pro Max. I couldn’t spend the rest of this epic voyage around the world with a phone that was overheating, and the battery being dead after only 5 hours.
I think we did pretty well on the e-bikes today. They definitely are not for the ‘faint of heart’ as Richard says. With the traffic we faced today, (because it was a holiday), and the fact the bike lanes on the road seem to end with no warning, riding on the side walks with e-bikes is illegal, and the seats were too low, we have absolutely no regrets that we rented e-bikes today. We got our shopping errands done, saw some local sights, experienced some local culture, and got some great exercise!
Our route on the e-bikes today.
We dropped the bikes around 12:05pm and we had a very brisk 10 minute walk to make the Genius bar appointment at the Apple Royal Hawaiian store on Kalakaua Avenue in Honolulu.
I’m glad I had an appointment because the Apple store was very busy. The technician ran a diagnostic on my iphone and said that there had been no battery warnings or heat issues with my phone. There was nothing he could see that was causing the phone to overheat or to run down the battery, but if I wanted the phone looked at in more detail, they would have to send my phone away for service. Well that wasn’t going to happen! I kept asking more questions, so the technician looked at what was running in the background to wear my battery down. He closed down a few apps that had ’location services’ running in the background and we agreed not to wipe my phone to factory settings. I have a full warranty on my phone and I’m paying for Apple Care as well, so when I get back to Canada in May if I have any issues still with the phone, I will deal with it then. Phew!
We wandered around shopping for awhile looking for Nordstrom’s Rack and Lululemon to replace and augment our wardrobes. There are always more things we didn’t pack that we wished we had more of like: workout shorts, sports bras, long sleeve casual lightweight tops, casual, but dressier t shirts (Like Tommy Bahama for example). The other danger of being on a cruise ship for any length of time is that the size of shorts you originally bring with you, may not fit after a few weeks, so its always best to bring a size up too. (Just speaking for a friend…I would not know this first hand)!!!!!
The usual greeting in Hawaii. The originals of the word ‘Aloha’ actually dates back to Proto-Polynesia in the 1800’s. When broken down the literal translation is: ALO- meaning ’presence’ and HA meaning ‘breath’. Together the word ALOHA translates to ’The presence of breath’ or ‘Breath of Life’. We definitely were living the life in Hawaii and packing in a lot in a brief two days on the Island!
This outdoor mall we were in had a very large banyan tree in the middle of the mall with a statue of Don Ho next to it.
Don Ho, the Hawaiian traditional pop musician, signer and entertainer who is best known for the song ‘Tiny Bubbles’.
We were very hungry after all of our running around and since we were pretty sweaty and didn’t feel like sitting in an air conditioned restaurant, so we found a local food court at the Royal Hawaiian Center outdoor mall and enjoyed a really great lunch.
Chicken Pho soup. I have to say for foodcourt pho soup, this soup was amazingly delicious. I found a chicken bone in my soup, so I know that the broth was homemade. I find a nice hot soup on a hot day is actually quite refreshing and chicken soup is very hydrating!
Richard elected to have the Lobster tacos and I think he thoroughly enjoyed them.
Big chunks of lobster! Lobster tacos are not available at any foodcourts I’ve been used to!
We thought it would be easiest to grab an Uber back to the Neptune from a major hotel and sure enough, right behind the mall with the food court, we found the Sheraton Waikiki.
Walking to the Sheraton we saw the neatest benches made completely out of driftwood.
The Sheraton Waikiki built in 1971. An iconic landmark on Waikiki beach.
Sand sculptures in the open air lobby of the Sheraton. While I was buying some bath products (I’m not keen on the Freya shower gel on the Neptune), Richard wandered down through the lobby of the hotel and found this:
The iconic Waikiki Beach! Wow! The beach was very crowded today with many tourists and locals enjoying a holiday Monday in January! I’m glad Richard wandered off on his own to find this place to take a video and a few photos!
Waikiki beach with Diamond Head in the background.
While we were tootling around in Honolulu and Waikiki Mike Schofield had gone on an excursion with Viking to tour the east coast. Here are a few of his snaps from his tour.
The Nu‘uaunu Pali lookout overlooking Honolulu.
Ko OLAU Mountain Range
HALONA BEACH COVE is a small pocket of sand located on the southeastern shore of Oahu which was featured in the movie ‘From Here to Eternity’, so the beach is nick named ‘Eternity Beach’. Mike got a great shot of this beach, and I love the turquoise water in the shot. We visited this spot 5 years ago with our friends Doug and Heather when we were in Hawaii for Richard’s 60th birthday. It is still as beautiful as ever!
Our timing to get back to the ship was perfect to be able to watch the Cowboys vs the Bucs.
Richard was very happy that his Cowboys beat the Bucs and will advance. Poor Tom Brady. Not a good season or year for him. I wonder where he will end up next?
At 5:50pm I felt the ship start to move and sure enough, we were on our way! Farewell Hawaii! It was a great action packed two day visit! I’m glad we got to spend some quality time on this beautiful Island again.
Sailing out of Honolulu at sunset with Diamond Head a very imposing figure in this photo.
An even better shot of the full skyline as we sailed off into the sunset for 6 days at sea until we reach Bora, Bora, (Vaitape) French Polynesia on January 22nd. Both me and Richard are really looking forward to visiting French Polynesia; exotic, dreamy and so tropical!
We had a blast on Oahu and have no regrets about doing our own thing while in Hawaii. Golfing at Ko’Olina was amazing. Well worth the 35 minute drive in an Uber to get to the golf course. The e-bike adventure was a bit ‘hairy’ but we lived to survive the tale and got to see a lot of Honolulu, like a local. I wish I had worn my ‘go pro’ camera on my helmet, so I would have been able to take some video or photos, but we live and learn! I was so tired last night I fell asleep writing the blog, so I’m sorry it is a bit late today. And now to keep ourselves busy for the next 6 days! I know what I’ll be doing!!!