Oahu, Hawaii...part 2 (alternate title: liberation)

After our food tour on Sunday, the days ran together in a liberating detachment from reality of jobs and responsibility. 

We lounged on the beach and we lounged at the pool. We drove up North and saw the North Shore. We explored Halei'wa. We ate lunch at the Beach House and it was so good we drove back to eat there again. We ate Shaved Ice and I'm going to say that I ate 80% of our group's consumption. We walked on the beaches. I ate more shaved ice. 

We visited and paid our respects at Pearl Harbor. Please pardon the interruption while I stand on my soapbox: I was appalled at the behavior of some visitors. Do you go to a cemetery and take selfies with headstones or allow children to climb on headstones? (Most likely not.) The USS Arizona Memorial should be treated with the same reverence. This is the final resting place for men who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country. I understand that children have short attention spans and are active, inquisitive, etc. I also understand that some younger generations feel it necessary to document every passing moment of their lives with selfies. I also understand that in an age where almost anything is acceptable, some things should remain sacred. [Steps down.]

If you are going to Pearl Harbor, get there early. You'll stand in line, but you'll be guaranteed a ticket. We tried reserving them weeks in advance, but there were none available. Daily tickets are released each morning (and they are FREE). 

We hiked the pillboxes (Kaiwa Ridge Trail) after going to the Pearl Harbor memorial.  It was humbling to see what these young men endured to defend our stronghold in the Pacific: carrying that much gear up spiral staircases that seem to never end under enemy fire. You can still see the bullet holes. The views from the pillbox lookouts were worth the hike. Our resident geologist, Richard, pointed out that from the top of the hike you can see a full crater from one of the smaller volcanoes that created the island. The two primary craters are no longer full circles as parts have broken off into the ocean. There are so many things in that make you put your life in perspective...for me, seeing a full crater and Pearl Harbor, were two.  

After our morning adventures, we headed into Honolulu for more eating. Lunch was at Allen Wong's Pineapple Room which came highly recommended to us. However, we were extremely underwhelmed with the food and the service. To recoup from the disappointment, we headed back to relax at the pool. For dinner,  we meandered over to Monkey Pod Kitchen near our condo. We were blown away by the food and the service. (Their drinks were good too.) GET THE POKE TACOS. I could seriously eat them every meal for the rest of my life. We ended up at Monkey Pod several times during our trip all because I wanted these poke tacos with wasabi. (No, there isn't a photo of these tasties, because I might throw a tantrum, two-year-old-style, if you came between me and those poke tacos.)

We drove around the western side of the island to the North Shore. Chickens ran wild everywhere; some with chicks in tow. I'm not talking one or two. I'm talking hundreds of chickens that bring a new meaning to the phrase "free range". We visited the Waimea Valley Park and toured their botanical gardens and historic dioramas of indigenous dwellings. At the end of the paved path through the gardens, there is a waterfall with a swimming hole. They provide life jackets if you want to jump in, but there were too many children in diapers for my swimming comfort. (I know, its some irrational fear.) After our adventures of Kaena Point State Park and Waimea Valley Park, we ate at The Beach House in Haleiwa and it was amazing, so much so that went back again (more on that in a bit).