Category Archives: Hawaii

Honolulu has been a gem.

Sunset from the taxi - over Kapiolani beach

Sunset from the taxi – over Kapiolani beach

Maybe it is because I didn’t expect to like it that much. Booking a few nights here was an afterthought, since we didn’t want to fly out on two unrelated bookings, one Hawaiian Airlines and one New Zealand Airlines tickets.

Maybe it is because we are splurging and staying in a nice hotel which is right on the beach at Diamond Head, which means we can walk to the beach in the morning, eat lunch in Waikiki while Kiddo sleeps, and spend the afternoon at the zoo or the aquarium. We have to walk a bit to go into Waikiki, but it is worth it because it is way less touristy out here and the beaches are WAY less crowded. Plus, the walk in to town is beautiful, with a beach esplanade or a park sidewalk for most of the way. The buses go frequently from the Waikiki/Diamond Head neighborhoods, so exploring a bit further is also possible, although we haven’t had the need for that yet.

Waikiki beach is packed!

Waikiki beach is packed!

The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and the big city is within walking distance…from the beach! It is kind of a paradise!

Sunset from Kapiolani Park

Sunset from Kapiolani Park

We have been to the zoo two days in a row. We ended up buying a Couples Membership, which at $40 was pretty reasonable. It has already paid for itself with us going just twice. I think we will go again at least on Friday before we take our red eye to New Zealand. Tire out Kiddo!

The zoo has a great monkey exhibit, with ringtailed lemurs, francois lemurs, ruffed lemurs and spider monkeys, not to mention chimps, orangutans, and baboons. Other highlights are the sloth, which they feed an apple twice daily so it comes out – it was the first time I have ever seen a sloth! – and the petting zoo, with koi, goats, a llama, and some exotic cows. Today a patron mimicked the Hippo mating call with a whistle he fashioned out of a palm leaf, and the female Hippo came bolting over and made a show right on the window. I felt bad that she was tricked, but I have to admit that it was AMAZING to see her mating behavior! Kiddo was mesmerized.

We have eaten some fantastic food too. We had Japanese food three times already already: Sunrise Restaurant, an Okinawan restaurant, Yoshitsune, a fancy place in the lobby of the Park Shores hotel, where we had amazing bento lunches, and Marukame, an udon joint where we ate the best udon of my life, plus watched them make the noodles. Tonight we are trying yet another place, Jinroku, which has more street food. I hope it is good. We love Japanese food, and Honolulu is a good place to get it. (P.S. We went to Jinroku and it was gooooood!)

Lemme just say it outright: we love Honolulu!

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Welcome to Honolulu

We are in a hotel! It feels like total luxury.

We checked in, had a free glass of wine (um, awesome!) and headed out to find some dinner. We walked a mile or so to this hole in the wall regional Japanese food place called Sunrise. I got Okinawan soba, which I now see was the top recommended dish on Yelp. Both the kid and I loved it so much, I had to get another one so we would both feel full. We got some sushi too. We were the only white people in there. The waitress loved seeing Kiddo slurp down soba noodles, which by the way look like ramen-like Odon noodles, but I guess that is the Okinawan style?

We forgot to bring an extra diaper and Kiddo peed a lot between leaving the hotel and coming home from the restaurant. We might have taken off her diaper, let her pee in the beachfront park, and carried her home with a bare bum…it is possible! 😉

Now we are chilling in our king bed.

There is a free yoga class I am jonesing to do tomorrow morning. Let´s see if I can wake up in time/extricate myself from Kiddo early enough to go!

Four nights here then off to New Zealand. Our US leg is almost done. This trip is going so fast!

The Composting Toilet

So I wish this wasn’t one of the more memorable things about our trip to Kauai, but it has been.

Our cottage had a composting toilet, which was composed of a wooden box with a hinged top with a hole in it and a full toilet seat that rested on top of that. Under the hinged lid was a Home Depot 5 gallon bucket. Next to the box was a covered can with sawdust and a scoop.

When we arrived, the owner gave the spiel. We were to use the toilet as we would, throwing the paper in there too, and then cover it with a scoop of sawdust. When we arrived, the sawdust in the can was fine and easy to scoop – no problem. When the bucket filled up or got too smelly, we were supposed to open the hinged lid, take out the bucket, put another big scoop of sawdust over the top, and put the bucket´s lid on. Then we were to leave the bucket outside the cottage and they would take it away.

Here is what I loved about the experience:

  • Peeing in the empty bucket. Ooh, how fun!
  • The first few times I scooped sawdust over the contents. A novelty!
  • Learning how much waste we produce (about a 5 gallon bucket a day, including lots of sawdust). Eek!
  • That it didn’t smell at all! In fact a poo in that toilet, covered in sawdust, smells not at all when the next person goes a few minutes later. In our experience… (Maybe we just ate no red meat while we were here though, which is true…)
  • Feeling like I was not murdering the planet too much.
  • Not having to deal with the waste after we put the bucket outside.

Here is what I did not love about the experience:

  • That after that first can of sawdust, the owner replaced it with dried bamboo leaves and other large and awkward to scoop plant matter, so it was difficult to scoop and messy.
  • The flies.
  • Remembering what to do in the middle of the night.
  • Going outside, in the rain, to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
  • Switching the bucket/refilling the sawdust can/other basic maintenance when all I wanted to do was a quick pee.

But, hey, I pee a lot. Maybe someone who uses the bathroom less frequently would not find it as aggravating.

All in all, it was not too hard. I even was googling composting toilets, thinking maybe there was a way to have one in our house in Norway. I am not sure yet.

Glad I got the experience, and glad that particular experience is over! 🙂

The End of Kauai

We are leaving our little cottage on moving to the big city!

We are leaving the rain, the dangerous stairs, and the composting toilet. I am a little bittersweet, though.

We had a nice time and lived pretty cheaply here, relatively speaking. For a cottage, the rental car and gas, it was about $175 per day. Of course if we were camping that would be heinously expensive, but we have been scoping out places to stay in Japan, the last leg of our trip, and thinking that we need to conserve our budget for there. For Hawaii, not camping, but with a car and Hawaiian gas prices, that is not too bad.

Yesterday it rained constantly. We went out for brunch at our favorite place here, though it was quite busy and we both chose things that left us wishing we had ordered our old favorites. What is that?! We are getting old 🙂 Afterwards we went back to the house and Kiddo took at 3.5 hour nap. I think she is growing. We went to a nice restaurant for dinner, where I treated myself to the first sugary item in awhile: gluten free lemon cake with strawberry and guava sorbet. I must say: I really love dessert. Well, I love food in general, but also sweets. I hate it when I get to the point of craving sweets constantly, which is where I was after Maui (the vegan desserts at Mana Foods were deadly), so that is why we are cutting back. Last night was a sweet reprieve.

The place was called Caffe Coco, and they serve Hawaiian/American food with a healthy twist. We got salad wraps as appetizers, and then I got organic chicken on purple sweet potato mash with coconut creamed spinach. It was sooooo tasty.

The meal, the dessert, the company of my beautiful family was all a perfect end to our stay in Kauai.

The next morning we woke up, hung around, cleaned the place up, took our last pees in the composting toilet and headed out. We ate our first Hawaiian plate lunch at Mark´s Place, a random hole in the wall we found on Yelp. Good, but greasy, as Hawaiian plate lunches are known to be.

Kiddo slept at the airport and we headed out without a hitch. Honolulu, also rainy, I hear, awaits!