Near the end of our trip I went on a garden tour at the Hale Koa and the view from the balcony that morning indicated it would be the perfect day for a bit of flower gazing in the shade.
Although the plumeria was out of season and the birds of paradise that were blooming weren’t well positioned for photos, we did see Hawaii’s calling card – the hibiscus. There were several varieties of them around the grounds. This one was called Hula Girl.
We also spotted bright red and yellow hibiscus in full bloom. There were also a dwarf variety of white hibiscus, which I never would have thought was related if it weren’t for the guide pointing it out. This one had a sign below the shrub describing it.
I had seen several ladies around the hotel wearing these spider lilies tucked behind their ear just like many do with the hibiscus, but the gardener warned that the stem should be washed before doing so because they put off a type of sticky fluid that can be toxic.
Another common flower around the hotel was ginger. While not the edible type of ginger there were several colors of it including these red and pink types.
I believe the gardener said that this was another variety of ginger.
I really loved the look of the coatan plants used in several of the pathway boarders but know full well they would never survive Alaska’s winters.
The guide also pointed out this banana tree that we had walked by countless times and never noticed.
There was a massive variegated Hala tree that has been named Harry the Hala and is almost as famous as Gus the banyan in the courtyard.
These lobster claw haliconias were extremely unique and positively tropical.
We also spotted flower varieties I was familiar with like these purple morning glories.
The hubs and I had spotted these trees on the big island and loved their large size and interesting branches. During the tour I learned they are called Monkeypod trees, which seems very fitting.
The gardener also pointed out this noni tree, which bears fruit that has been used for medicinal purposes by natives for centuries. While you don’t eat the fruit, which I thought looked a bit like a caterpillar it’s extracts are used to make tea. Today they also use the extracts to make pill supplements, which we purchased at local retailers to ease the hub’s arthritis.
I’m not sure which type of palm this base was from but I loved the strange formation of scales created along the stalk. It looked almost alien to me.
The final stop of the tour was the luau garden where we’d been earlier in the week. It was nice to get an unobstructed view of the area and the roasting pit which was already going for the luau scheduled that evening.
After the tour we headed out to do some shopping and stopped at a local chain restaurant called Fatboyz. We both enjoyed our menu choices and the Aloha brand drinks available. Another of our favorite local chains was Teddy’s Bigger Burger which had a plethora of burger options that all sounded delicious.
While out shopping we stopped by the joint base PX or military Exchange. It was massive – as in the size of a mid-sized mall, complete with a beautiful mural ceiling! They also had the best priced souvenirs, which meant we bought a bit more than we expected.
That evening we walked a few blocks from the hotel to the trendier area of Waikiki, where we found this crazy crosswalk. All of the traffic lights would turn red and the pedestrians would all cross at the same time in every direction! We think it was based on Japanese cities where there are large crowds.
Once we navigated the odd crosswalk intersection we located the Mexican restaurant we’d come in search of on the rooftop of one of the shopping plazas. It was a beautiful view of the city and had a great vibe. We heard that the corner we were sitting in had been used earlier in the day for a photo shoot for the chef, which I could totally envision.
On our last day in Hawaii we made plans to meet up with a friend for dinner and arrived a bit early. Luckily the restaurant was directly across from the Island Princess warehouse, where we sampled several items and I got to pose as a Hula girl.
After we bought several taste test approved treats for the flight home we enjoyed a final chance to catch up with our friend over sushi. Located in the industrial park near the airport, Mitch’s didn’t look like much from the outside, but we quickly learned why this was the local’s favorite sushi spot. Everything was super fresh because Mitch’s is also a fish market! It made perfect sense that they would expand into the sushi business since they have the best stock already. It was the perfect way to end our trip.
We said our final goodbyes and headed over to the airport to make it through customs and security. By the time our flight took off evening had arrived and Oahu gave us a glowing aloha.
I’ll share some tips for planning a trip to Hawaii in my next post so if I’ve inspired you to visit the Aloha state check back for the inside scoop before you make those reservations.