Each year doing the holiday season, we try to take a vacation to escape the cold weather. This year we returned to our favorite vacation spot. Hawaii, the Island of Oahu. The weather was beautiful, the sun warming up the beach, and blue water the view; what more could you ask for to relax on a sunny December’s day. We have been to Hawaii a number of times, so we did not do a ton of tourist type things, we went to eat, lol.  There is good food in Japan, but there are some restaurants or food styles we sometimes miss. I’ll also write a separate blog post/review of the places we did visit doing this trip.  For us, we normally spend about a week in Hawaii.

We time traveled from Tokyo on a Sunday night and arrived in Hawaii Sunday morning.  We flew Korean Air and it was the worst flight ever! I always get air sick, but majority of the passengers were air sick on this flight.  It deserves it own post, just on Korean Air. We arrived in Hawaii and hour earlier than expected, breezed through customs, grabbed our luggage to wait for our friend who was picking us up at the airport.  I couldn’t get my Stateside phone to finish the activation process, so I couldn’t call our friend to let her know we were earlier. Oh, to top it off it was raining! Not just a normally Hawaii rain shower, it was a storm! We grab a taxi to take us to our hotel, Hale Koa. It is 9:00 AM, we are tried and both B and I are still feeling the effects of the airsickness. When arrive at our hotel, it is decorated beautifully for Christmas.

Hawaii, the Island of Oahu. The weather was beautiful, the sun warming up the beach, and blue water the view; what more could you ask for to relax on a sunny December’s day.We see if are able to check-in early and lucky us we are.  We do not think we would be able to make it until 3:00PM check-in time.  We all three needed to lay down for a bit. After a nice little nap, we were off to get a late lunch at P.F. Chang’s.  It had been two years since we have eaten at P.F. Chang’s and it was yummy.  Dinner was Yard House, another favorite of ours when visiting Hawaii. Both these restaurants do Happy Hour specials on certain food and drink items.  We were in bed early on Sunday, even after a nap because that flight just took all the energy out of us.

Monday morning, we were up and ready to vacation and enjoy the beach.  We ate at Denny’s for breakfast and actually went there again on Wednesday morning. Monday was a relaxation day. Hanging on the beach.

Tuesday, same routine hang on the beach enjoying the warm weather.  For eating we went to Red Lobster.  There is Red Lobster in Japan, but the menus are very different from the U.S. Red Lobster.

Wednesday, we ate breakfast at Denny’s. Our plan for the day was to rent a car. We wanted to drive to the Naval Base, check out the NEX to get a few souvenir’s for family and friends.  We use the rental booth at the hotel and than a shuttle picked me up to go get the rental car a few minutes away. What were we thinking, was our first thought when getting to the NEX? It was pack with shoppers, getting the last few items on their list for Christmas. It was a mad house! We quickly did our shopping and we headed to grab lunch at Hooter’s. We eat Hooter’s often in Japan, but the favorite is a little different compared to the U.S. Hooter’s.  Next stop, hanging on the beach for a while before dinner at Outback Steak House.  We eat here, simply because we like Outback! The U.S. and Japan Outback’s are pretty much the same when it comes to menu choices. All the top favorites are on both menus. We always rent from the hotel, the huge umbrella and two chairs. That way we can get some shade to help protect our skin.  Toddler girl, gets to build her sand castles in the shade too!

Thursday, we ate at the hotel, so that we could get an early start on the day. We wanted to head to North Shore and grab lunch at one of the shrimp trucks.  We tried a new one call Giovanni’s that we saw advertise as the best.  Bad choice, it was too spicy for two Louisianan’s to eat. We should have gone to the one we know and like.

We end up not being able to eat it and left to get fish tacos. We went to a place that our friend said was the best fish taco. Well, you guessed it! It was not the best, they were ok.  Lunch did not turn out like we wanted it to.  Next stop was to get in some more beach time to relax, build sand castles with toddler girl, and play in the ocean more. After our fun in the sun we were off to Ala Mona Shopping Center to do a little shopping and grab an easy dinner. We ate at California Pizza Kitchen. The one we use to go to in Kawasaki, Japan closed earlier last year and we have not been to another once since then. We went to a few stores that toddler girl likes and a couple for me.  Both toddler girl and I were in search of shoes.  We both successfully left we a pair of shoes. She wanted high heels and lucky found kid heels at the Disney Store. Some mermaid shoes with a very short heel to go with her mermaid custom from Tokyo Disney.  She was very happy! I also found  the prefect ballet flats at Neiman Marcus. Living in Japan, I do not wear high heels as much, because I ride the train a lot and do a lot of walking.  Plus driving in heels… well I did it two weeks ago and it was not as easy as it use to be. But I found some very comfortable Christian Louboutin tan color ballet flats that will go with everything.  After a long day of fun, we were all ready for bed.

Friday, morning we returned the rental car and then walked from the rental car company to go have breakfast on the beach.  We had our beach gear, so that we would not have to run up to the hotel room to get it. After breakfast, we plan to spend the day on beach before flying the next day. Toddler girl and I shared a shave ice, we only had two shave ice our entire trip. It should have been an every day thing.

Toddler girl wanted to ride a trolley bus. So after the beach, we got ready for more shopping and dinner. We rode the free Hilo Hattie trolley to the Hilo Hattie store to get a few more souvenir’s for ourselves and for stocking stuffers for family and friends.  We rode the trolley back to Honolulu beach front to Outback to meet up with a friend for dinner.  We had a great dinner and then headed back to the beachfront for the 7:30PM firework show that is done every Friday night.  Toddler girl enjoys the fireworks and could not wait for the show to start. After the show, we said our good nights to our friend and were head up to the hotel to pack.

We had a Saturday, 10:50 AM flight and were dreading the 9-hour flight back home on Korean Air, hoping it was nothing like the flight coming to Hawaii.  There was line of people waiting at the ticket counter when we arrived at the airport, but surprising the flight was half empty. The flight attendants offer people to spread out to the empty rows, to be able to lie down in the seats for some rest. We had the middle row so toddler girl was able to get two seats between B and I, to stretch out and get her a good nap in.  This flight was way better! We arrived at Narita International Airport, to cold weather, but happy to be Home Sweet Home.

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