Hellllllllooooooooooo Hawaii! I can't really say that Hawaii has always been on my radar. I figured it was nice there, but I had no clue how many islands there were, things that I should do etc. The only thing that I really knew was it was going to be expensive. So let me start out by saying, if you are looking for a budget vacation, I'm gonna kindly ask you to keep flying right past Hawaii!
I was going to write a separate post about my experience trying to get to Hawaii. I would have titled it 'You Are The Devil Standby!' Good Lord! Standby life just isn't for me. I'm not cut out for it. I've never flown standby before. It's nerve wracking. You don't know if you're going to get on the flight until people have started to board the day of, and if there is extra room, then they call your name and you get on. If you don't know if you'll get on a flight or not, you can't book a hotel in advance! Now I like to consider myself a law abiding badass, but Gaawwddd I can't deal with such spontaneity! What if the hotel I want is booked up because I couldn't book until I actually land? What if I only have one week vacation, and I spend 2 of those days in the airport hoping and praying that I'll finally get on a flight? Nah... it's just not for me. I made it onto my first flight from Toronto to Vancouver without any issue. I landed in Vancouver at 930am, and my connecting flight to Honolulu wasn't until 615pm! Ugghhhh.... I contemplated leaving the airport to explore Vancouver since I've never been, but opted not to because I was told I'd have to pick up my suitcase if I was leaving, then go through the check in process again. I was terrified I'd miss my connecting flight, so I stayed.
Aaaaand guess what??? I didn't get on my connecting flight, it was full!!!! Sweet Jesus, all of that waiting for nothing.
Thankfully I made it onto the 930am flight the following morning, so thank you for the wonderful 24hrs in Vancouver....your airport is lovely! (Serious side eye)
I know I say this about most of the places that I visit, but Hawaii is gorgeous. Stunning. Beautiful. There are 5 islands that are popular vacation spots for tourists. On this trip I had the opportunity to visit Honolulu in Oahu and Maui. More specifically I stayed in Waikiki, and I swear it could have easily doubled for downtown Toronto, or Rodeo Drive in LA. Not what I was expecting at all.
The city was full of tall buildings, designer stores (I wanted to do a little shopping in the Louis Vitton and Prada store, but the way how my bank account is set up, I thought I'd spare myself the rejection!) I thought I'd see a lot of Mom and Pop restaurants to eat at, however I was greeted with a lot of high end restaurants. At the end of the day, I really shouldn't be shocked because Hawaii is in the USA. But trust me, it is very easy to forget that you're not in a tropical island somewhere in the Caribbean.
I really had no game plan on this trip. So I googled things to do in Waikiki and found a few gems. The first: Water Yoga! I've always wanted to be one of those people that wake up at the crack of dawn every morning and starts the day with yoga. Two problems with that. I am not a morning person and I hate yoga! Ok hate might be a strong word. I sometimes enjoy hot yoga which I have done on occasion. But I've never become that person who's learned to love it (also, as a person with a larger chest, they never quite tell you what you're supposed to do with your chest when they have you all wrinkled up like a pretzel!) I found a company named Yoga Floats that offered water yoga on the beach in Ala Moana about 25 minutes away from Waikiki. So I booked online, and the following morning I tried it.
Because I booked last minute, the instructor didn't see my reservation and assumed that only one person had booked. So she called that person and scheduled them in at another time. After she did that, she realized that I had booked as well. Which means, I was the only one in the class. On a regular basis, this might have seemed like good news because you get all of your instructors attention. However, my master plan was to hide behind everyone so they all don't see how awkward I am doing yoga.
I met up with the instructor/owner Kelsey Barden at Yoga Floats and it turns out that she is a fellow Canadian!! Woot woot! Because I was by myself, Kelsey let me try paddle boarding. It's pretty much when you stand on a paddleboard and use a paddle to navigate the direction that you are going. If you have a strong core, try this. I'm sure it's fun. Now if you don't necessarily have a strong core, you will be fighting for your balance like you're in a war (I'm gonna go ahead and add myself to this group!) Ha! To be honest, I spent most of my time sitting on the paddleboard before I worked up the nerve to stand.
The yoga however wasn't as bad as I thought. It was actually fun. Imagine meditating with your hands and feet in the ocean. After awhile you forget that you're in water. However, when you try a move, lose your balance and fall head first into the ocean you kinda then remember that you are in fact on water! I would highly recommend it for anyone who's looking for some fun and relaxation.
As for food in Oahu, everywhere you went Spam was on the menu. I didn't gain the courage to try it. And plus I gave up red meat (only selectively...this time I selectively chose to pass on the spam!) I did try some local cooking which was delish, but in Waikiki there were so many "American" favourites like Cheesecake Factory and iHop that I just couldn't resist! (Bows head in shame.)
Waikiki also offered double decker tour buses that takes you around the island to sightsee. This is tres tres touristy..but who cares, I was a tourist! You could hop on and off and explore the island at your own leisure. If you'd like to just relax you can definitely check out Waikiki Beach. They offer surf lessons there as well. I was actually quite tempted to try it, but the waves at the shore were killer. I opted not to die on my first trip to Hawaii!!!
I tried to fit in as much as I could in the four days that I was there. I couldn't leave Oahu without trying a Luau which Hawaii is famous for. The luau was on Friday evening, and I was scheduled to fly to Maui on Sunday morning. I was able to book my Maui hotel in advance since I purchased my ticket to Maui and wasn't flying standby. While I was waiting for the bus to take me to the luau, I received an email from my shuttle service in Maui asking me what my new arrival time was since my airline went under. Excuse me? Airline went under??? When I investigated further, it turns out that Island Air, the airline that I booked my ticket with to fly to Maui went bankrupt and seized all operations effective immediately!! Whyyyyy won't these airlines let me be great? Who worked voodoo on my flights this trip??? I frantically had to find another flight to get me to Maui. Hawaiian Air was offering to still honour my ticket however I would be standby... Hahahahaha NOPE! I'll pay for my ticket thanks!
As much as the Luau was built for tourists, I loved every second of it. I love Hawaiian dancing. Again, look out for my vlog in a few weeks. I may or may not have video footage of me doing a traditional Hawaiian dance!!! (I'm using the word 'traditional' very loosely here!)
I had an amazing time in Oahu. I was awestruck with its beauty. The landscape alone would get me to return. The people are friendly. Just walk with a good amount of cash if you really want to have fun.
Things You Should Know:
-I found a Sephora in Waikiki and thought for sure I'd find Fenty foundation, but nope..It's sold out there too!!! What does a girl have to do to get some RiRi makeup???
-Waikiki is 100% safe to walk alone at night. The roads were packed with people. I felt totally safe.
-Yes I did buy that grass skirt just so I could take a picture. I'm a tourist, I'm allowed to do cheesy things like that damn it! Don't judge me!
-To get to Oahu, I was in the air for approximately 10.5 hours. If you can't stomach such a long plane ride, you might be out of luck. (I flew from Toronto).