Hawai’i should be explored from the outskirts in.
The best moments were those not on the well-maintained beaches of Waikiki or down the extensive shopping strips in Lahaina and K??anapali. It was in the eerie, rundown Chinatown in Honolulu. We (my boyfriend and I) decided to go into a random bar, which turned out to be entirely excellent– full of happy karaoke singers with angelic voices and $2.50 margaritas. It was walking miles along the highway in the middle of nowhere and finding a pristine beach, with a makeshift staircase leading us into its cool waters. We were further rewarded by ending our walk at this local grind, Keneke’s. We gorged on pounds of meat– pork adobo, pork guisantes, mahi mahi, shoyu chicken that were the most flavorful I have ever tasted. It was in Makawao on Maui, the most lovable small town I’ve ever stayed in, with its endless rolling green hills and narrow windy roads. Up the road we went on a hike at an old experimental forest. The government actually did tree growing experiments here. We stayed too long and the night and fog started to descend and the perfect rows of trees made it that much creepier. Driving down the road to Hana, enjoying the breeze and the radio playing reggae and disco house. Taking stops to hike to a waterfall or walking in an arboretum, taking with us a pomelo too large to stay on the tree. Eating yet again another amazing meal in Hawai’i, this time being pad thai from a food hut on the side of the road.
But some good times were had on the main strips as well. Eating the most incredible 50 cent hot wings and drinking $2.25 Mai Tais at the Red Lion in Waikiki. In the bar was a man yelling drunkenly about football with a parrot hanging out on each shoulder. Awesome. In Maui we went to the famous Mama’s Fish House and I was transported into a new level of existence. I am now a fan of cooked fish. That red snapper brushed liberally with a garlic/white wine/lemon/caper sauce. And oh! The beef polynesian appetizer with sirloin, maui onion, cooked with all my favorite spices, served in a papaya.
It treated me well the short week I was there. Now I’m back in thick coats and tall boots.