Wandering Waris: Hawaii

Two years ago, somewhere in Colorado, was when the group of my current closest friends formed. Since then, our families made it a sort of tradition to spend our longer breaks travelling and they have honestly been the best trips I’ve been on, the most recent being Hawaii.

The planning for this winter break trip was all basically last minute. We did not know whether we were going to stay within the country or not and if we should prepare for a warm or cold climate until the night before. Nonetheless, we all showed up to the airport prepared – anxious about the eight-hour flight, but excited to be together.

I don’t have much to say about the day we arrived since it was mainly a rest/“testing the waters” day, but this is how the rest of the trip panned out:


Day 2- Waikiki Beach/Downtown Waikiki


My friends and I hold up the matching flower bracelets we bought at the flea market.

This day was one of the few days of my life when I voluntarily woke up early. Our first destination of interest was the well-known Waikiki beach, a 30-40 minute bus ride from the stop nearest to our hotel. Upon our arrival, my friends and I took off on our own (I’m still surprised our families were OK with that) in search of a more shaded patch on the beach to relax and take pictures. About 45 minutes in, our stomachs were in a chatty mood, so we walked back to our families hoping there was a plan to eat soon. When we checked in, our younger siblings weren’t ready to leave; in the meantime, we indulged ourselves in a tropical smoothie/pineapple combination which I LOVED.

Soon enough, our siblings, soaked and sanded, emerged from the sea of beachgoers, ready to eat back the calories they lost. In search for the restaurant we would all be happy with, we passed through a flea market and decided to buy some souvenirs first. If we didn’t look like tourists before, we certainly left the market looking like them: adorned with flower crowns, bracelets engraved with “HAWAII” and dainty flower anklets. Though my materialistic need was satisfied, my hunger roared and I was ready to occupy the table of the first restaurant we stopped at. That restaurant happened to be Paia Fish Market. The food was great, but what I loved most about the restaurant was how clean and modern its bathroom was, the first one I saw since my arrival, and the aesthetic of its balcony.

The rest of the day was spent exploring Downtown Waikiki before retreating to our hotel for dinner.


Day 3- Manoa Falls


One of my best friends and I pose at the top of the hike at the waterfall.

We underestimated the amount of rain we’d encounter during our hike in Hawaii, so my friend and I were the only ones in the group with umbrellas. The rain didn’t start off too bad, so we weren’t uneasy about the journey, but as we slowly advanced along the trail, the weather intensified and I began to lose my footing more often. To make our adventure more exciting, the route was steep, narrow and accompanied with steep cliffs – a perfect concoction for my end. So, I spent about 30 percent of the climb falling, followed by multiple prayers, and the rest of the time trying to distract myself from the possibility of me slipping to my death. However, the cloudy/rainy climate in relation to the scenery enhanced a Jurassic Park look, making me feel I was in the movie itself. The waterfall at the top was worth living out my fear but it was a short-lived moment because we needed to catch our bus back to the city.

By the time we came back to our hotel, it was only late afternoon, so we all agreed to cleanse ourselves from the rain, mud and God knows what else we scraped our hands on and tried to catch a sunset on the beach closest to us. We checked in with each other about 15 minutes before sunset, so we all quickly power-walked to a beach, took some group pictures and decided to revisit downtown Waikiki to find some dinner.


Day 4- North Shore beach


My friends and I pose together on the beach moments before we left for the airport.

On our last day, we decided to travel up north to North Shore – a part of Oahu well-known for its perfect surfing waves and delicious shrimp. The transit to North Shore was lengthy, probably because of the holiday rush, but I enjoyed utilizing that time to pull up pictures at the North Shore beaches from when I first visited Hawaii. We got a couple stops before the beach for some lunch and, of course, I indulged with some of the best array of shrimp I’ve ever had, along with a refreshing pina colada (yes, non-alcoholic).

The shrimp-rice combination I had for lunch. Though the portion of the bland rice was too much, the shrimps’ flavor and texture made up for it.

When we got to the beach, I had a flashback moment because everything was the exact same as how I’d left it: the same vintage chicken farm, two perfectly bent palm trees, and the same cloudy weather. In comparison to Waikiki Beach, the beaches at North Shore were wrongly overlooked and less popular, which is probably why I enjoyed them so much. I actually felt I was in paradise, away from the people and connected to the sea foam that bubbled to my ankles – except for when my friend and I, waiting for the foam to reach our ankles, were devoured thigh deep into the water – and the sand I didn’t get to properly wash off until after I got back home (we had to catch a flight right after).

Though this was one of my more wordy blog entries, I didn’t capture the fun my best friends and I had on this trip. Hawaii is a gorgeous place, but I feel the presence of my closest friends magnified the beauty of this island.