HI Life Highlights

A couple days away from the fast-paced mainland life and we’ve settled in from our trip. Spocom is now in the books, handshakes have been shaken, coverage photos have been shot; all of our responsibilities have been met. Now it’s for some R&R and get into this Hawaii lifestyle.

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Most of us were a little drained from Spocom, which was an evening event (5PM to 11PM Hawaii Time, add the 3 hour time difference and it’s an 8PM to 1AM show for us Cali residents!). But this Hawaii air is just intoxicating and pushed us to get out and explore the rest of what O’ahu has to offer. First thing on our menu was to visit the famous Boots & Kimo’s Homestyle Kitchen for breakfast in Kailua. The drive was long, about 30 minutes to be exact, but the scenery was so nice and green; an aspect really taken for granted when living in the concrete streets.

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Upon arriving at the spot, we quickly saw that the hype was real; we put our name down for our large group and had about a 2 hours wait ahead of us. The DaYUUMfam was blessed (or cursed, depending on how you look at it, haha!) to have Big Mike and Antonio Sureshot with us sharing some random, but interesting stories to help pass the time. But no matter what we tried to keep ourselves occupied, a 2 hour wait on empty stomachs was getting some of us antsy. We should have had Snickers bars handy, because some of us get loopy when we’re hungry. We started hearing our table called when it actually wasn’t.

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Eventually our table was ready and we were finally able to get seated, a quick skim of the menu and most of us were still keen on the Banana Macadamia Nut Onolicious Pancakes we have been eyeing since learning about this place. Orders were placed, the pancakes arrived, and we took one bite…

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…that whole 2 hour wait was forgotten. Their pancakes are nice and fluffy, the bananas are sweet and soft, but the Macadamia Nut Syrup was the best fucking thing I’ve ever ate (I rarely swear but I couldn’t think of any other word to describe its epicness. I’m salivating as I type this…I want, I NEED to go back. So this is what being hooked on crack feels like).

Ok let me see if I can get back on track after that, what was next? Oh yea, we set out to go snorkeling! We drove along the coastline admiring the landscape and the ocean as we arrived at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.

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It was a touristy spot, but hey we wanted to be tourist and we were determined to go snorkeling, plus this place is just gorgeous! It’s amazing to believe that this was once a volcano that erupted, became extinct, and formed a crater. Eventually it got flooded and created the tuff rings it is today. The beach is beautiful and the marine embayment it contains is so majestic. Throughout the years the bay would get tens of thousands of tourist per day, which really hurt the environment, but now it is a Nature Preserve run by awesome volunteers to preserve the natural life as best as possible. As soon as we got through our mandatory video lesson about the bay, we got in the tram and were ready to roll!

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Once we got to the lower level, the first thing you noticed is that the sand is really soft and the water is such a rich dark blue; something we don’t experience at our beaches back home. We quickly got our snorkel gear, cleaned them up, sunblocked up, and we were set. It was a little awkward using those flippers at first, but after a while we got comfortable and were literally swimming with the fishes.

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We had to swim out a bit to get to the healthiest living coral and the marine life it posses; being able to take a peek at the undersea world within our world was truly an experience. There are so many mysteries in the ocean that we don’t even think about on a regular basis, so anytime we saw anything we just went nuts and tried to call as much of the DaYUUMfam over to take a look as well. Since the coral is pretty high, the fish were swimming so close by as we were just floating over the water.

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Luckily for you all, Scott brought his GoPro3 with him and took some awesome shots underwater. He got a little bit of everything; short fish, long fish, shiny fish, dark fish, colorful fish, and even a sea turtle!

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After that adventure it was time for something we all do very well, a foodventure. Marshall and his two lovely kids met up with us at the bay and we headed off, following him to a local spot, Home Bar & Grill. It’s kind of hard to figure this place; the main parking lot is tiny, but there is an empty lot next to it with some real cool wall art. Of course we had to take some pictures of it no matter how hungry we were.

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Check out Denny posing in front of his self portrait haha!

Once we entered, it looked like any other bar but the atmosphere was surprisingly very welcoming; but then again most of Hawaii always feels welcoming. It was really laid back and the food was DaYUUM good! The best I could describe the menu would be something like “Hawaiian style bar food with a local touch.” From truffle fries, tater tot nachos, kalbi noodle, loco moco, apple beers, there’s too much to name, but it was all very very good.

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When we had some downtime, some of us did a little shopping. There was the International Marketplace directly across from our hotel, Ala Moana Mall was only a short trolley ride away, and ABC Stores wherever you turn. Everywhere had a variety of neat items that we rarely see on the mainland, or at least what we have is not as authentic as the real deal.

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With so much to see and do and food to eat, but our vacation days running down, we set out for the country and drove around North Shore. As if we thought Waikiki was already laid back and relaxed compared to back home, North Shore is even slower! Its a very refreshing and tranquil lifestyle. And when in North Shore, we had to go to do the most touristy thing you could think of: M. Matsumoto Grocery Store for some Matsumoto Shave Ice!

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After having out fill, we continued our cruise. It’s so easy to just pull over and admire the scenery. One stop we checked out a small beach and to our surprise some sea turtles were coming up to the shore at the same time. Another stop appeared to be an easy to miss fruit stand, but had some of the freshest tasting fruits ever. It was just a trip how different life is in North Shore; high mountains, tall trees, cool coastlines, heck even their McDonald’s has some cool Hawaiian tribal deco painted on it.

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Our last day was quickly coming to an end. We were back in Waikiki, back at the hotel where our luggage, waiting to be packed, haunts us. But alas, there was still one more thing on our agenda we were able to do. Something we (mainly Denny) eyed since our driver taxied us to the hotel after we landed so many days ago. Something that involved eating, Marukame Udon! And it’s even within walking distance. Most of our adventures were suggestions from friends and family familiar with the island (either visited before or lived there), but this spot attracted us just because there was always a line waiting to get in.

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We patiently waited in line, every so often trying, on our tiptoes, to see over people and get a peek of what’s going on inside. As soon as we got close enough to read the simple menu enlarged on signs by the doorway we began pondering what we were going to order. Marukame Udon made their udon noodles fresh and the ordering process was cafeteria style. When you enter you can see chefs making noodles and then measuring them out to the precise amounts. Next they ask what size and what type of udon (mainly the broth), from there your dish is prepared in front of you and then passed to the next chef to add any toppings. Before checking out at the register, you can also pick from an assortment of tempuras and musubis. The weather might have been hot and humid, but this “bowl of soup” was too good to resist. The flavors in the broth were strong and delicious; the noodles were nice and soft. If we had to save a meal as one of our last meals before flying back to the mainland, this was definitely a good choice.

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The last day, we spent all together at the airport patiently waiting for our flight. Flying back home was a struggle, for multiple reasons, but what mattered most was that the DaYUUMfam was together, had a fun time and a safe travel home. Hawaii treated us right and it was a vacation with an awesome family that I will always remember! I can’t wait for all of us to do it again; we are all addicted to the HI life!

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-Justin (@JustDaYUUM)

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