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Hawaii – Day 7

Aloha bloggies! I’ve been away for a while with a nasty post-Hawaii ear & sinus infection, but now let’s get back to the story!

Days 5 & 6 weren’t too interesting, it was me at work while the fiancee hung out near the hotel – nothing too exciting. We did have an awesome dinner at Duke’s (the salad bar is plenty to eat here!). We flew into Kona on Wednesday night to begin the official vacation portion of the trip 🙂

Our hotel was pretty close to the airport, and we didn’t see too much of the island at night time – arriving at the hotel was a treat, it was like a hidden futuristic tropical resort if that makes sense. We stayed at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay, and I would love to go back here in the future.

Thursday morning we woke up and went for a walk around the property – soooo beautiful! There were plenty of quiet reflection spots with chairs underneath trees, lava rocks all over, and tons of flowers.  

Hello lava

This looks like Medusa’s hair!

 

Hello ferret

Island kitteh

We walked over to the wedding chapel – I’d definitely get married here! 🙂 And  in case you’re wondering, no – we didn’t get married yet 😛 But it was fun playing around in the chapel with the fiancee!

This hotel is officially the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever stayed in:)

 

The breakfast buffet in the lobby was really good (and not too expensive). I had oatmeal + raisins + brown sugar, brown rice & scrambled eggs, papaya slices, pineapple chunks, a pancake with strawberry preserves & mac nuts, skim milk and coffee (biggest meal of the day to give me energy to be active).

Overlooking the beautiful grounds in the hotel makes me think of the future, and how i want to bring my family here one day so they can see how majestic the big island is.

We hopped in the car to do some exploring, drove down Ali’i Drive and saw the quaint town by the beach (I think it’s technically called Kailua?) – a major difference from Waikiki Beach! It’s very apparent that Kona has a lot of locals living here and that they also hang out here, whereas in Waikiki it was virtually all tourists.

We actually ended up at Walmart of all places to pick up some beer. I also got the fiancee a Hawaiian shirt and a necklace for me. Being in Walmart reminds us even more that people actually live here, and takes away the “island fever” we were both getting in Waikiki (it felt like a totally different planet there).

Finally we headed down to the pool and got the party started! Since we were the last people to check in last night, we got hooked up with 4 free drink passes for the pool bar. We were sippin’ on “manta ray punch” (rum, pineapple juice, dark rum) and playing on the 3-story water slide, and wading in the sand-bottom pool – it was SOOO fun! Lunch was a hummus & pita platter by the pool, super garlicky.

Glug glug glug

It feels like we’re on a honeymoon already!

We went to Kahalu’u Beach Park for snorkeling (took the free trolley) – saw tons of tropical fish just a few feet from the shore! There was a big coral reef right there! The sand was black and coarse on the shore. We had to share a snorkel mask because one of them got busted on the flight from Honolulu – confirmation: never check luggage ever again unless absolutely no other option.

Seriously, how hard do you have to hurl a suitcase to shatter a snorkel mask?!? and we PAY baggage check fees and that’s how they handle our bags?!?

The fog at the top of the mountains reminds us of San Francisco 🙂

We walked back to the hotel 2 miles through the hills of Kona – felt amazing to get some exercise since I’ve skipped all of my half-marathon training runs on this vacation (eek! it is soooo hard and I’m trying not to beat myself up over it).

I’ve been wearing flowers in my hair the whole time – just picking them up off the ground and putting them behind my left ear (the “taken” ear, right is the single ear). Plumeria looks really really pretty!

We went to front desk to change our room (since it smells like a wet dog), so they moved us down the hallway & gave us free breakfast buffet passes for the inconvenience! Booyashaka 🙂 The concierge also gave us a great recommendation for a Thai restaurant in the shopping center up the hill. We had seen 2 Thai places down by the water (near the Bubba Gump) but she said they aren’t that good, and the one in the mini-mall is authentic.

We took her recommendation and ate at Royal Thai Cafe. It was great b/c the parking was free and the prices were reasonable, and everyone else in the restaurant was a Kona local. We ordered a fried tofu appetizer, with tofu fried rice and tofu veggie red curry. As soon as the waiter went back to the kitchen, we heard the tofu hit the fryer – talk about fast service! After hiking the Kona hills in my flip flops & bikini I was starving, so it was much appreciated how quickly they got our food to us! It was aaaaaaaaaaaaaamazing 🙂 My veggie tofu curry had cabbage, bamboo shoots, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, red & green bell peppers, basil leaves, coconut milk… perfectly flavored and totally hit the spot. The fiancee scarfed down the fried rice covered in spicy chili sauce (he loved it!) This was an excellent restaurant and we loved the homey feel of a local restaurant.

We walked over to the movie theater just for kicks to see how much the movie tickets cost in Kona – an adult movie is only $10 here – it’s $10.50 in Orlando!Holy cow we found something that’s cheaper in Hawaii than on the mainland!!!

It’s great to see how the locals live and get an idea of their cost of living – some stuff is more pricey (gas is about $3.90 here, and about $2.70 in Orlando right now) but overall, it’s not as expensive as we thought… especially since we’ve been staying away from a lot of the touristy stuff. We’ve both seen luaus before so we skipped those, and most of the expensive restaurants don’t have decent vegetarian options, so we end up at more modest places that are just as good and a lot cheaper 🙂 I think when we come back, I’d like to rent a condo or beach house for a while and just get groceries – no reason to spend $50 on a breakfast buffet in the hotel lobby (we did today :-/) when raisin bran & bananas will do!

Going to bed early tonight to get up before sunrise and head over to the volcano park!

First day on big island was paradise, and we know we won’t be able to do everything in one trip (especially since it’s only 3 days), so we’ve already picked out activities to do on our next trip! (snow parka volcano tour, snorkel cruise boat) – I wish we would have had more time on this island because we saw all we needed to see on Oahu in one day (we’re not much for tourist traps and nightclubs).

They have the acai bowls here too! Can’t wait to bring this recipe back to Orlando 🙂

I still haven’t had the shave ice but it’s on my list! I wanna try it with the adzuki beans, mmm!

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