There is one thing that Mama, Doc, Lil Bro, and I have in common – our love to shop! We spent majority of the morning at the Swap Meet Marketplace at Aloha Stadium. We found a ton of goodies!! I bought everything I wanted, a ton of stuff I did not need but bought anyway, and then bought some more stuff!
The best part of the shopping experience was meeting the sweetest Persian jeweler Masoud! As we were walking around the marketplace we saw his jewelry and decided to check it out. He had some great stuff! They way it works he has different gold, silver, and white gold chains and you choose which one you like and he can make a necklace, bracelet, or earrings for you. Being the Persians that we are – when we shop we talk Farsi when giving our opinion about an item. All Persians do this and it is one of the perks of growing up bilingual. We asked him how much a certain necklace was and he completely surprised us by responding in Farsi. I really liked this particular gold chain and thought it would be perfect as a bracelet for my mom, sister, and I to get [when the 3 of us travel we buy the same piece of jewelry as a souvenir/memorabilia of our trip]. Masoud – ended up being from a town near where my mom grew up – sells jewelry at the Swap Meet as a side job. We chatted with him for a little bit and gathered that he has been to MI before – it was too cold for his liking – and before moving to Hawaii he lived in California. He made three beautiful custom bracelets for Mama, Doc, and I. He was extremely sweet and went completely Persian on us and “taarof” with us!! He refused to charge us for the bracelets! We kept on insisting and he would not give us the price of the bracelets! The awful thing was that there was no price tag so we had no idea/concept of how much they cost. He insisted on us accepting the bracelets as gifts and would not charge us for them. He was extremely kind and generous!! I love Persians.
After we shopped till be dropped we headed to Hanauma Bay for snorkeling. Lil Bro was not excited to go to the beach [remember he has a fear of sun and water] but he ended up being the one who snorkeled the entire time and wouldn’t get out of the water!! Doc did a lot of snorkeling as well and really enjoyed it the second time around!
We went all out for our last dinner in Oahu and went to Chai’s Island Bistro. It was voted in the Top 5 best restaurant in Oahu for 2012 by Honolulu Magazine. The food was divine!!! I ordered the Grilled Atlantic King Salmon with Truffle Madeira Sauce, Doc ordered the Pan Seared Fresh Local Snapper with Lobster Cream Sauce, Lil Bro ordered the Pacific Rim Ciopino & Crostinis, and Mama got the Crispy Whole Snapper. Mama loved her fish because it reminded her of fish she would eat as a kid in the motherland. She loved it!! All of our dishes were amazing!
We spent majority of today in Waikiki & downtown Honolulu. First thing in the morning we dropped off Lil Bro at Koko Crater Trail. Doc & I dared him to do the hike – however we did not accompany him because we were not about to subject ourselves to that torture again. Surprisingly he finished the hike in an hour – he claims to be an athlete. We made him take pictures once he reached the top to prove that he made it all the way.
While Lil Bro was hiking the ladies did some shopping in Waikiki. Doc & I got some pretty jewels and we bought some yummy chocolate.
Doc arranged for Mama to go on the Shangri La tour. She absolutely loved it! Ended up that the tour guide for my mom’s tour group was an Iranian professor of Political Science at a university in Oahu. Mama said she was very knowledgeable and raved about her!
While Mama was at Shangri La the siblings did some shopping at Ala Moana Center. We got Lil Bro some pineapple soft serve to congratulate him on finishing the death hike.
For dinner we went Roy’s in Waikiki. The food was excellent!!! I had my heart set on getting sushi this time. Both the rolls were AMAZING! I got the Frying Dragon & Spicy Rainbow. Doc got shrimp, Bro got salmon, and Mama got Mahi Mahi. All our dishes were incredible!
After dinner we walked over to the beach to catch the fireworks that were on display by the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Bach Resort.
Day 2 of playing tour guide with my Mama & Bro! Today was North Shore Day!
We started off with a visit to the Dole Plantation. Mama was able to see the pineapple cutting demonstration – which prompted her to buy the “special” pineapple cutting knife. After much debate we gave in and tried the pineapple ice-cream at the plantation. IT WAS DELICIOUS! The four of us couldn’t stop eating it!! However we settled for sharing just one bowl of ice-cream so that we could save room for the shrimp trucks!
Afterward we went to Waimea Valley – courtesy of our special discounted tickets! It was a 30 minute walk from the entrance to the falls. Along the way there was various plants & fruits. You are constantly reminded not to touch any of the plants or eat any of the fruit because some are poisonous. There were chickens, roosters, peacocks, and various other wild animals running around. As my bro said “you are one with nature” on the walk to the falls.
Once we reached the falls we took some pictures and dipped our toes in the water. There was water – unlike Manoa Falls – but not the usual amount because there hasn’t been a lot of rain.
For lunch we went to the famous Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck – I can’t get enough of this place! Mama & Lil Bro loved the shrimp! They settled for the scampi and lemon butter shrimp. They were not interested in trying out the hot & spicy one at all!
After lunch we went to the beach for some relaxation time. My mom attempted to swim but the waves were rather rough. Doc zonked out [she had every right to because she worked the night shift], my Bro hid in the shade because he has a fear of getting sunburned, and I enjoyed the view and listened to some music.
Around sunset we went to Turtle Beach to catch a glimpse of the sea turtles. Luckily there were two sea turtles resting on the beach!
Before heading home we went to Aoki’s Shave Ice in downtown Haleiwa to get some Shave Ice for Mama & Bro. They loved it! My brother got this sour trio of flavors that was absolutely delicious!
Today Doc & I played tour guide and took Mama & Bro around Kailua!
We started the day with Breakfast at Boots & Kimo’s in Kailua! The crack pancakes were amazing as usual! Mama & Bro loved the pancakes to the point that my bro wanted to buy the sauce and take it back home with him!
Next we went to the Byodo-In Temple. It was rather busy compared to the last time Doc & I went.
Later we headed to Diamond Head. Mama kept asking if it was a difficult hike or not. Doc & I may have downplayed it because we kept comparing it to Koko Crater. We neglected to tell her about the portion of the hike that involved stairs and tunnels but regardless she was a champ and made it all the way to the top!
After the hike we rewarded them with a trip to the Crack Seed Store for some icees and crack seed! We may have cleared the store out and bought tons of crack seed. The level of addiction my family has to dried fruit is not normal.
Last stop of the day was Punchbowl. They were taking down the ceremonial stuff that was up for the memorial service for Senator Daniel Inouye that took place on Sunday.
We raced back to the airport to catch our fight back to Honolulu. As we pulled up to the airport I was staring at the window and saw a plane with “United States of America” on the tarmac. It didn’t dawn upon me what I was seeing but quickly I realized that it was Air Force One! To be positive that I wasn’t delusional my brother google searched an image of Air Force One and confirmed that in fact I was not crazy. I got excited and thought that the President was at the airport or on the Big Island! Mama asked the car rental agent if he was on the island and she informed us that he wasn’t – boo. Apparently while the President is in Hawaii they fly Air Force One to various islands as a security measure to throw people off as to what island he is on. Sadly I didn’t get to see the President but I did get an up close view of Air Force One – couldn’t have asked for anything else on Christmas Day!