Sunday, December 29, 2013

Oahu Redux

Ko Olina Lagoon

It's always a treat to getaway to Oahu. Much as I like to walk around Ala Moana Park as I did in the old days, I've traded this to walking at Ko Olina where the beaches are less crowded, especially on a weekday, and the scenery is enhanced by five peaceful lagoons.  It's also a good place to enjoy the sunset. 

Shaved Ice from Matsumoto

On my travel bucket list for Oahu is to try new restaurants. Honolulu Magazine annually weighs in on the Best Restaurants in Hawaii by category and I use their list as my guide. Last November we tried Assaggio Ristorante Italiano at the Ala Moana Shopping Center. I ordered their Fresh Eggplant Milanese over a bed of linguine and it was very good. The diced eggplant was soft to the bite. For local flavor, we went to Matsumoto in Haleiwa for their famous shaved ice. I chose the mango flavor and we sat on the bench outside the grocery store to enjoy this delicious flavored ice and were rewarded with a view of the picturesque Liliuokalani Protestant Church across the street.

Liliuokalani Protestant Church

Farther up the road from Matsumoto's is the world renowned Banzai Pipeline, the big draw for all earnest surfers. We watched as some of them were coming back to shore as it was getting late. But we also saw a handful of them who were paddling out to meet the waves.  

North Shore

Our souvenir shopping discovery was Don Quijote in Waikele where we found boxes of chocolate covered macadamia nuts and Kauai cookies at bargain prices. These goodies are always appreciated by friends and family on the mainland.

Aloha Oahu for the moment. Looking forward to more visits in 2014.

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Images by TravelswithCharie



Saturday, December 28, 2013

Boracay


It's a three hour drive to Caticlan from Roxas City, another beach town on the island of Panay. Then a short 15 minute hop by pump boat to the white sand beaches of Boracay. We stayed at White Beach where most of the action takes place. Our hotel was right on the beach, convenient for the many walks we took during our brief stay. We arrived in Boracay just about lunch time and we found a buffet restaurant close by. For two hundred pesos, we had our fill or more. While eating our lunch at this crowded beachfront resto, I watched how the pigs were prepared and slowly roasted for that evening's dinner.


Soon the pigs were turning a golden hue with the patient manual rotation by these two men.


A couple more hours and the "lechon" will be on the buffet table. We ate dinner at another restaurant, Mesa, where we savored their specialty - tinapa rolls along with what else, tinapa rice and fried tilapia. Tinapa is a tiny smoked fish. My friends and I thought the food at Mesa was quite good and reasonably priced. It also has a nice ambiance and is steps above the seashore. 


We didn't tire of walking along the beach during the two days we spent in Boracay. There were many tourists although October is typically low season. We had fun people watching while resting our feet and sipping our ice cold juices. We also bought souvenirs at the stalls in Talipapa (just behind our hotel) where we found hats and wraps to wear on the beach. 


Can you believe they have a bar named Obama? Cheers!

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Images by Travels with Charie




Merry Christmas 2013


"And the Word was made flesh
And dwelt among us
Full of grace and truth." 
John 1:14