Dive & Thai

Today started out with rain.  The dive shop called yesterday afternoon to let us know that rain was on the way and if there was no visibility underwater they might need to cancel. Luckily, they didn’t and at 11am they picked us up.  By noon we were on the water with Reef Pirates Jake, Lauren, Captain Dan and two other divers, Farouk & Hakan.  The rain had cleared up, but it was still overcast.  Jake would be teaching Sue and Hakan, while Lauren was Farouk and my dive master.   A quick ride to the first dive spot and we were ready.  Jake walked Sue through the ABC’s of diving while I hit the water.   It was an amazing dive.  Beautiful coral, fabulous fish and more sea turtles than a terrapin soup recipe.   The GoPro behaved perfectly and videos will be up soon.   Sue did her first dive, hanging out at about 30 feet.  It was a little scary at first, plus I get seasick and very easily cold, so I wasn’t sure how it would go. I am game to try anything once, so there I went. I didn’t make the second dive—the cold got to me even though I am sure it wasn’t cold for most people—but I did enjoy it and might even try again. Steven really likes it, so chances are good. I will keep the scopolamine patch manufacturers in business.

We got back to the hotel around 4pm, sat for about 15 minutes then headed out to Waikiki beach.  We walked about a mile and a half to the Maui Brewing Company and grabbed a pre-dinner beer.  For dinner, Sue found a place called Opal Thai, where the chef asks you about your likes and dislikes then prepares your dinner. I asked him why he has menus and he said, “I don’t know.”  It was great.  We have no idea what we the food we were served was called, but was delicious.  We started with a rice dish—can’t really do justice to describe it, but it was yummy.  Then we had a tofu lettuce wrap and I had chicken wings in a honey garlic sauce.  For our main courses, I had a savory duck with chilis while Sue had vegetables with noodles.  We talked a bit with our table neighbors—Dominic & Moe—who work down the street at place called Moku, where we are going tomorrow.  They are some of my closest friends now as they shared their tequila with us; it is a byob restaurant.   We ate every morsel and I don’t think I ever had such wonderful Thai food.

A quick Lyft back to the hotel and somewhat surprisingly, when we got back to the hotel at 8:30, we were both ready to call it a night.

Sorry—no photos or videos tonight—I will post them as soon as I can.

We’ll Take It Easy On Travel Day

Tuesday was saying goodbye to Maui and aloha to Honolulu day. We had an exhausting 25-minute flight (We arrive an hour and 30 minutes before the flight to drop off the car and check the bags…so all in the wait at the airport was 3 x the flight time) after deciding we liked Colleen’s so much we would eat breakfast there once more. My relative, Carol, (what do you call you mom’s first cousin’s granddaughter?) graciously picked us up at the airport and deposited us at the New Otani hotel just past the end of the craziness of Waikiki.

IMG_20180501_161635343_HDRThe plan was to take it easy, maybe wander around and get the lay of the land. Well, that lasted about a minute until we got the idea that we should hike up Diamond Head. We unpacked and off we went. From the hotel, it was 3. 2 miles to the visitor’s center and then another 0.8 to the top. I counted 250 stairs once we got past the switchbacks, but I could be off a couple. You can avoid a steep 91 steps by going up a concrete ramp, but that’s no fun. Up we climbed. Steven is a little nervous about heights, so he didn’t go all the way to the tiptop, but he didn’t miss much except people jockeying for a better photo op.

The 1.6-mile round trip took us about 50 minutes. When you get back down, stop at the drink stand at the visitor center and get a delicious smoothie or fresh-cut pineapple. The view is definitely worth the hike, but it’s not necessary to walk from your hotel. There are cabs and tourist trolleys–we’re just a little stubborn. Yum! So our easy day in Honolulu started with an 8-mile stroll.

We’re not completely crazy, though. We were pretty hungry and tired so we caved in and took a Lyft to Waikiki Brewing Company for refreshments. It was OK, but good enough for two tired travelers and if you like spicy, try the jalapeño pineapple margarita. Of course, we walked the 1.7 miles back along the strip. For you Chicagoans, it’s just like the Mag Mile except warm. Not our scene, but if you like shopping, it’s the place for you.