Playtime in the Pacific [pt 1]

As one with a hopscotched past of self-, under-, un- and just plain crappy employment, I have a hearty appreciation for group health insurance rates and paid vacation days. When I realized my present-day hoarding of the latter for “something special” and “the right time” could put me on the wrong end of a use/lose policy, though, I let my inner hedonist out FAST.

After a quick mental health inventory (assessment: fried, dyed, and laid to the side) the choice was obvious, if clichéd: Hawaii.

My last trip to the Aloha State was 4 years ago, and I swear just thinking about taking my archetypal stressed-out mainlander caboose back to one of the islands caused my shoulders to drop a smidge farther away from my ears.

Seeing cheap direct flights worked a little magic, too—as did investigating the plethora of places that would work with my “vacationing like the other half lives” philosophy. Knowing I could race away from responsibility and land somewhere relatively budget-friendly, private, and beautiful after 6 hours on a plane was insanely comforting.

But it was MORE comforting to actually spend a week immersing my senses in settings like this:

L, Toward Oahu's Lanikai Beach; R, scene from a watersports rental shop

And this:

Outrigger canoes await their owners as Kailua Beach beckons

Admittedly, it’s giving me cognitive dissonance to be dodging puddles when just a few short days ago I had the luscious, lightly trampled sand of windward Oahu between my bare toes.

But of course I’m grateful to have had a chance to absorb so much natural beauty. And also grateful my trip’s forecast of 80s and extremely stormy switched at the last minute to (mostly) 80s and sunny.

[Because let’s face it: I get more than enough rain in Oregon. Way, way, more than enough.]

Having packed for wet + wild and gamely steeled myself to enjoy a beach holiday of museums and cultural centers, I happily abandoned all plans of enlightenment and instead spent my time under sunny skies and straw hats.

There’s a difference between being ignorant and being a fool, after all, and I wasn’t going to pass up a chance to maximize my time in and on transparent, aquamarine water backed by a stunning view of the Ko’olau Mountains!

A paddler's view of Oahu's gorgeous Kailua Beach and Ko'olau Mountains...and taking a break from the paddling

Even Mr Vix, who lived on Oahu as a kid and decided to accompany me back there, couldn’t believe the overt gorgeousness around us.

While we had to buy drugstore snorkeling gear and rent a kayak to explore the bays of Kailua and Kaneohe, the studio we rented came with all the trappings for great beach trips—chairs, mats, towels, umbrellas, boogie boards, and a cooler. Plus constant fresh air, lots of light, and the sound of the ocean. Plus-plus a welcome basket of pineapple, papaya, macadamia nuts, and Kona coffee.

[Which is more or less what we kept ingesting and replacing during our trip, and brought home for later.]

Our $125/night all-in studio came with tropical treats, beautiful light, beach paraphernalia, and fresh air that carried the sound of surf and birdsong (and the occasional power tool)

Helping to set the tropical mood even more was the small cottage’s use of lush landscaping. The geckos, birds, and I approved of how we were tucked away from the main residence and close neighbors…

The path to our studio came with lush landscaping and loads of geckos

…and both Mr Vix and I loved Kailua itself. Because it sits roughly halfway between Honolulu’s sights and the North Shore’s legendary beaches and towns, we knew we had a great base from which to explore both areas.

In theory, anyway.

In actuality, we couldn’t seem to stop assessing North Shore snorkeling spots for tropical fish and giant Hawaiian green sea turtles. And searching that same laid-back locale for fish tacos, shave ice, locally grown coffee, and intriguing items.

L, Outside a North Shore residence, Elvis lives; R, I packed a few things that would blend in with Oahu's tropical colors and felt right at home

Good thing we made sure to revisit a few of Mr Vix’s old stomping grounds in the city so we could round out our report back to family….

Checking out stalls at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet

* See my shots of Kailua Bay—taken from abandoned military bunkers—here

Next: Part 2 of Playtime in the Pacific, in which I tromp hill and dale and eyeball some tempting local wares

2 Responses

  1. Heavenly retreat Vix…tropicaly heavenly! Glad you get to re-live. Stunning pics too!

    Linda@Lime in the….

  2. Ms Lime in the Coconut Linda—

    Thanks for the enthusiasm—I know these views are the West Coast siblings to yours but they are definitely foreign to me. I’ll be hoping my Reader will have lots of updates from you this winter!

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