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Our first stop this morning was the Diamond Head Grill and Market. This is a hidden gem just outside the Waikiki strip on Monsarrat Street. They make cream cheese scones that are sinful – moist, flavorful and with a dollop of cream cheese in the center that you don’t find until you bite into it. D. had banana, I chose pineapple. They rotate three flavors each day of the week. In addition to the bakery, they have a take out window for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a little market with pre-made salads, sandwiches and fresh fruit. From there we wound through neighborhoods to get to the freeway.

Second stop was the Pali Lookout. The last time I was here was June 1973, a few days before we moved back to New England. My dad took me and my best friend to the Pali Lookout to see the sunrise. He probably just wanted an excuse to take more photos of a sunrise, and I likely wanted a special last day with my best friend. I remember drinking hot chocolate, and it being very cool (as in cold). Today was windy and a bit misty, but such stunning views!

We arrived in Kailua not too long after, and the only thing I remembered was the beach. Kailua town has grown and changed so much. We didn’t go by our old house as it is no longer there…at some point after we moved it was torn down and two houses were built on the lot. I will keep my memories of what it looked like from 1968 – 1973.

Kailua Beach has suffered extensive beach erosion, or they have dug up a significant amount of sand for the construction that was being done. The beach used to be so much larger than it is currently. But the sand remains powdery soft. I haven’t found a beach yet that can top this side of the island.

Feet back in the ocean at Kailua Beach after 43 years. It was good to be back!

It was misting and windy, so we opted to drive a few miles further south to Lanikai where we found a spot to park and walked to the beach.  We pulled out the tatami mat, and sat in the sand for about an hour. I did get my legs wet, and managed to avoid the temptation of going all the way in. The last thing I wanted to do was ride to Waiamea in wet bathing suit, and the rental car did not need a wet seat, either. We watched a dog play fetch in the water, and lots of little kids learning to swim and playing in the surf. 

It was getting a bit warm, and I could tell I had had enough sun for the day, so we loaded up and headed back to the car. As we neared the car, I noticed hikers on the top of the mountain ridge. Not sure I’d make that hike, but I know others who would love it.

An easy drive to Waiamea, and we recognized much of the area as we’ve spent a good deal of time on the north shore. We pulled into the park, and there were signs for “Base Camp parking” and what appeared to be movie set trailers. There were detours along the way to the falls, and at one point we heard “OK. Quiet on the set. We’re rolling. Action.” (Or something to that effect.) Not long after we heard some blood curdling screams. I’m glad we knew they were filming! We did find out on our way out they were filming Jumanji II at the park. Several movies have been filmed here over the years, including the Jurasic Park movies. 

The walk to the falls is through the Waiamea Botanical Garden. It was fun to recall the different plants we had in our yard, and a special treat to see two poinsettia bushes in bloom!


We had to take cover just before we reached the falls as we had a bit of a downpour. It is a rainforest, so not altogether unexpected, but neither of us wanted to be drenched for the walk back, let alone the drive back to Waikiki.

Those long “lines” are the raindrops falling.

The falls were spectacular. Despite having our bathing suits on, neither of us wanted to go in for a swim. May have been the whole wet suit home thing, or the warning sign of potential bacterial infection! We listened and watched the brave souls who did venture in to swim up the falls.

An easy walk back down, and we were treated to a peacock sighting.  There were signs posted that they are aggresive and should not be fed when we entered, so I cautiously followed him down a trail to get a photo.  

We decided to do a quick stop at the coffee factory we visited earlier in the trip for an afternoon pick-me-up before hitting traffic into Waikiki.  I had to take a picture of the tip jar sign. Clever way to get people to leave their change behind! And, no, I will not say which jar I chose.  As we were leaving we were blessed with a rainbow. A wonderful reminder that the sun always comes out, no matter how long or hard the rain.

As we arrived in Honolulu we spotted our second rainbow of the day. Doubly blessed!

We stopped at the Ward Warehouse Shopping Center, just on the edge of Honolulu and Waikiki, near the Ala Moana Shopping Center as I was on the hunt for a Christmas present.  I was successful in finding what I was after, and we grabbed a late lunch/early dinner at the Korean BBQ Express.  It was quite good, and the portion size was sufficient without being overwhelming.

A shower to de-sand from the day, a bit of a rest, and we were off to explore a few items we’d seen in shop windows earlier.  We wandered into Coco Cove, a store we’d not been in yet, probably because it looked a lot like the ABC Stores that are on every corner. Probably a good thing we’d not been in sooner, as we discovered a poke bar, and all sorts of goodies…including the Hawaiian reminder that it is fall and summer can’t last forever.

We stopped for Hawaiian shave ice, but they were out of ice cream.  We decided that would wait until tomorrow, and we will have poke from Coco Cove and shave ice on our last night in Hawaii.  

Tomorrow we plan to hit the historical sites – Iolani Palace, Queen Emma’s Summer Palace and The Bishop’s Museum. 

It is going to be hard to leave on Friday…I miss my other half terribly, but I am an island girl at heart, especially if that island is Oahu.