As yesterday was a full day, and tomorrow’s adventure requires a 5:45AM departure from the hotel, we opted to have a relaxation day today. We returned one rental car, picked up another, walked a bit of the Waikiki strip, ate lunch at Duke’s, then sat on the beach and poolside for a few hours.  We’re going to explore the other end of the strip tonight, grab a bite to eat, and call it an early night. Yes, it truly was relaxing even if it doesn’t sound like it!

International Marketplace is very different than it was 43 years ago, even than 3 years ago.  What used to be stalls selling inexpensive souvenirs and chatzky, is now an upscale shopping mall anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue. Trendy chain restuarants are on the third floor. The only thing that remains of the original International Marketplace is the banyon tree. They have incorporated the history and stories of the original Marketplace throughout, and you even have the opportunity to share your own memory.  

There were seating areas throughout the shopping center…great idea to give those who don’t like shopping a place to relax!

And, of course, Dad had to “make an appearance” today…as I took the first photo of the banyan tree the song “Hawaiian Superman” started to play. It wasn’t Iz’s version, fortunately, I might have had to sit in one of the rocking chairs to compose myself. (My father passed away in 2008. Hawaiian Superman was the song playing as he took his last breath. So the song can still transport me back to that day in an instant.)

We had walked down an alley on Saturday night lined with surfboard lockers. I wanted to find it again for a picture…fortunately it was right across the street from the Marketplace!  The different sizes, shapes and colors of the surfboards, lined up next to each other, making a wonderful collage.

It was then back to the room to change into our bathing suits, grab some lunch, and claim our spots in the sand and in the ocean. We’ve been in Hawaii for 3 days, and we’d yet to spend any significant time on the beach. We opted for lunch at Duke’s. Fish tacos and Korean steak street tacos. Both delicious! We will be back to try the Hula pie – the beach was calling and the rain had stopped!

The honu statue at the entrance to the hotel lobby

View from Duke’s

I was too busy swimming and napping to take pictures while we were on the beach. While we were eating lunch I kept hearing a noise that sounded like thunder.  Turns out it was the waves hitting the sea wall just in front of our hotel as the tide came in.  It was fun being in the water and watching the wave crash and roll along the wall. I will bring the waterproof case next beach visit and see if I can’t capture it. I did take some photos of Diamond Head from the pool area.  After all, a trip to Hawaii isn’t complete without photos of Diamond Head, is it?

We took a walk down the other end of the Waikiki strip to the Hawaii Convention Center and around the area a bit.  We got to see some crew practice by what seemed to be a club rather than a local school as the rowers were different ages, stages and genders. 

The backside of the Convention Center. There are beautiful waterfalls running down the outside which you can’t see in the photo.

We had Vietnamese phô for dinner, and are now back ready to say good night.  Tomorrow we off extra early to explore the island of Kuai for the day.