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The Lagoons of Ko Olina

Lagoon 1  (open to the public)
There are four inviting lagoons in Ko Olina, on the western shores of Oahu, about 30 minutes from Honolulu International Airport.  If you prefer to be far away from the madding crowd, the Ko Olina resorts are an option. Each resort has its own private lagoon, which, even on the weekends is uncrowded.  While first time visitors flock to Waikiki and locals congregate at Ala Moana Beach, Ko Olina remains off the radar screen except to those who belong to the Marriott Vacation Club. The Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina Resort and Spa and the Ko Olina Beach Club are open to non members.
Lagoon 3
As of this writing, there is construction going on for more units which will surely impact the peace and quiet of this area. For now it is a great place for lazy days on the water, for energizing walks through all four lagoons, for rejuvenating mind and body, for watching the sunset, and for being grateful for yet another beautiful day in paradise.
Secret Lagoon
Among other att…

Oahu Aloha Gallery

One of the many things I look forward to when visiting Oahu is indulging in island favorites like saimin (noodles in hot broth topped with vegetables and strips of meat), a bento lunch, and malasadas. I had the opportunity to travel to Honolulu recently with two of my best friends. Amidst sand, sea and chow, we relaxed and fortified our friendship.

On our first day in Honolulu we decided get our shopping out of the way so we took the free shuttle to Hilo Hattie. Instead, we each found floral printed dresses, perfect for a night out on Waikiki Beach. Shopping over, we crossed the street for lunch at Sam Choi’s. While the menu had many appetizing dishes listed, I had my heart set on the bento lunch. In the old days when I used to live in Honolulu, bento orders were served in a black lacquer box with compartments for salad, rice, fish or meat entrée and the quintessential Hawaiian sliced meat, Spam. My plate arrived with generous servings of steamed rice, chicken and beef teriyaki, mahima…

Mmmm, Malasadas

Leonard’s Bakery on Kapahulu Avenue in Honolulu has been serving their famous Portuguese malasada from this site since 1957. It’s practically an institution. Malasadas are ball shaped doughnuts served warm from the fryer. There are plain and filled malasadas. Pick from a variety of fillings like haupia (coconut), pineapple, chocolate and custard. Try one of each.

If you can’t go to the bakery at 933 Kapahulu Avenue, there are Malasadamobiles™ around Oahu.

If you would like to make your own malasada, check out Emeril Lagasse’s malasada recipe at www.emerils.com/recipes/by_name/malasadas.html
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Image by Rosario Charie Albar

Reaching New Heights in Waikiki

I barely remember my first climb up Diamond Head. It was that long ago and far away. But it must have been good which is why I got my cousin and a best girlfriend to hike to the top with me. It was a cool morning when we started so the first few minutes went by quickly as we chatted along but as we began the ascent through clearly marked trail, I soon fell behind the others. The challenges were still waiting ahead. After the first flight of steep stairs I thought I would not dare take the next set of 99 steps. But after a few minutes of rest and breathing normally again, I ventured up the stairs only to find there was another spiral staircase inside the dimly lit tunnel. Thankfully this was a short climb and soon we were out on the terrace where the winds promptly claimed my visor and I was hatless. The jungle of Waikiki Beach highrises were at our feet and the ocean stretched into the horizon bursting in rich hues of aqua closer to shore and all shades of blue in the distance.

Favorite Eats in Oahu

I arrived in Honolulu late in the evening on Friday and all I could think of was saimin. From the airport my sister and a friend drove me to Zippy's where I satisfied my craving. It was as I remembered it. Slices of char siu, fish cake and green onions added a bit of flavor to plain noodles. After dinner I bought apple fritters from Zippy's own bakery.

I was in Honolulu for the weekend to close a chapter in my life. Famished after two and a half hours of hard work emptying my storage space of 20 years (!), sweating as if we've been soaking in a sauna, my sister, her friend and I found ourselves in a dive in Kalihi for some heavy duty lunch on Saturday afternoon. The crab wonton was a revelation. Inside the crisp wonton was crabmeat dipped in cream sauce.

After lunch we drove around the island, stopping to ring the bell for good luck and happiness at the Byodo-In Temple in Kaneohe. Continuing along Highway 83, we got out of the car to view Chinaman's Hat rising from Pacif…