It is said nothing is perfect, but for us there is a perfect place in the world for complete relaxation and that is Waikiki Beach on Oahu, Hawaii. This is the only place to which we have returned in our travels and to which we will continue to return when we are in the vicinity.
After four years living and exploring outside the USofA, there was really no better way to make our transition back to the states. So, when making our travel arrangements, we purposely worked the schedule so we would have to pass through Hawaii on our way back. True, we could have just flown over the state, but where is the fun in that?
We left Bangkok at 8am on Friday, June 10th and after flights of 7 and 6 hours and 5 hours in Tokyo, we arrived in Honolulu at 9am on Friday, June 10th (love that International Dateline!). For a time, we considered staying in Japan for two nights since we have never been and really want to spend time there, but we decided it will be better to simply return for a longer journey when we can really explore. However, we still enjoyed the little bit of Japan we saw at the airport – how fun are Japanese treats? We were tempted to take photos of the electronic control in the bathroom that offers everything from flushing, to a water spray, to moving the seat lid, but we refrained :)
Anthony has given his seal of approval on this green tea-flavored KitKat; the remaining half patiently awaits us in the freezer :)
Our transition time in Hawaii was devoted to rest and relaxation … and sticker shock; welcome back to the US. We clearly did not realize how expensive it is to eat in this country – seriously, one place (which we will not name, but they have famous cheeseburgers) charges $3.75 for one soda – a soda?!? What? We ate entire meals for less than that during this trip! So, we kept it simple: picked up groceries and prepared meals for ourselves and a couple times picked up inexpensive eats at smaller places (like the awesome Udon noodle place – if we’d gone there the first night we may have had it every day! We should have known since every time we passed there was a steady long line of Japanese tourists waiting to eat!).
Our days were filled with long walks around town, swimming and reading at the beach, and more walks through town at night. Our visit coincided with two major events: King Kamehameha Day and the Pan-Pacific Festival. We wandered the street market that took over the main street in Waikiki and was filled with treats and trinkets and lots of people watching, watched a sunset Hula Show, and found curbside seats at the closing parade. The festival exists to unite the many Pacific cultures found in Hawaii (whether as local residents or the many people who visit annually from Asian-Pacific nations).
Perhaps the most delightful discovery made on this trip was Yogurtland. We saw people with these large bowls walking through the streets, but having been tainted by the unappetizing taste of frozen yogurt from the TCBY days, we were not so sure, then we went inside and saw a dreamland where we could choose from 15 flavors and serve ourselves the soft-serve and then put our own toppings on from the topping bar filled with 20 or more items. It can add up fast at $0.49/oz, but we did well at not overdoing it (though ginnie’s fruit toppings are heavy – why does the healthy stuff always cost more?) and ate there twice (had we gone in sooner, that may have been our dinner for 5 nights!). You can imagine our excitement when we saw this dream land existed in a plaza very near to the brother’s house where we stayed while in CA (and it’s got a lower cost per oz there). Sadly (or perhaps fortuitously) there is not such a place in our new neighborhood; although, ginnie did discover a similar place in one town on her apartment search so we know we can make our way out there for a treat should we be in the vicinity ;).
I really like making my own frozen yogurt sundae!
I really like making my own frozen yogurt sundae!
sometimes when I take hundreds of photos at sunset, I happen to shoot a pretty fantastic portrait :) it helps to have an attractive subject
We spent six days resting in Waikiki and felt ready to return to the mainland where our first stop brought us back to California (after 7 years away) where we spent time reuniting with family for a Tarzia brother’s wedding and connecting with friends. Ginnie even made a trip to visit the amazing new Ronald Tutor Campus Center at USC – what a different place! All in all our initial return to the USofA was quite joyful.
Fun times with our nieces and nephews
Since our return, we have gathered our worldly possessions (and reduced them, too) and moved into a new city. We’re adjusting back to life in the US and while there are definitely challenges, a lot of new things to learn (like when we had to ask a salesperson what Android is since we are now 4-years behind technologically, which is weird for people who were pretty tech-savvy before we left), and days when we really, really miss our life in Belize (and Coca-Cola made with real sugar) we cannot complain about an automatic washing machine, an automatic dishwasher, knowing we will find our favorite cereal on the shelf when we go into a store, and m&ms that aren’t melty in the bag.
Life is good :)
Peace, Love and ALOHA!!