A long day yesterday didn’t stop us from finding the wee hours of the morning to come faster than normal. Eight hours of sleep and we were off again for another full day of adventure. Today was exciting since my Japanese sister and her family was finally coming to Oahu, Hawaii from Japan. It’s been a bit hectic the last few years so we haven’t seen each other for about 7 years (actually since my wedding). I haven’t seen her family even longer so it was much overdue to see everyone, I miss them greatly.

We did have a few hours to explore before they came so we decided to stick around the Central part of the island more near our hotel in Waikiki. We went to the historical landmark called “Kukaniloko Birthing Stones”. According to historians, this sacred land was the exact location where all of Hawai’i royalty came to give birth. It is a sacred piece of land that still today “true” island families come on a pilgrimage. We weren’t sure what to expect but were pleasantly surprised when we were welcomed by a wild chicken as we arrived. I instantly claimed his as a soul from a former member of the royal family; my husband wasn’t so into this concept as he was being followed around. I wish I could describe this area but one must really walk down the red earth path to the breathtaking mountain views and unique rocks.

After thanking the royal chicken for his generosity in watching over us and sharing his sacred land, we were off to Chinatown. I’ve been to many around the world such as those in San Francisco, Chicago and Yokohama, Japan so to impress me is a great task. We found a parking garage that cost only around $5.00 for less than an hour and were off to adventure. Ten minutes later we were finished and thankful to be leaving. Mainly there was just a few travel agencies, a few medical shops and a few stores. It wasn’t really anything that exciting, even to the husband. I’m not sure I would recommend the area to anyone seeing that it isn’t in the best part of town. In fact, there are signs all over stating not to leave anything in your vehicle as it will not be there when you come back. There is a large of homeless people in the area which can make some people a little uncomfortable. One plus for vegans though, there is a small indoor farmers’ market that sells some fresh vegetables and fruits. We managed to get our hands on some small candy bananas which are so sweet and delicious.

Near Chinatown was an adorable little park that contained one of Oahu’s only waterfall, not sure if it was natural or manmade. It’s called Lili’uokalani Botanical Garden and is free to the public. Unfortunately we could not find any off street parking nor any parking garages in the area. My husband actually stopped and I jumped out to take some photos, we truly wished there was even a few parking spots to enjoy the gorgeous park. It would be really nice to have a picnic there and listen to the birds and waterfall. If you can walk there, go for it, it’s worth it.

By this time we were starving and in desperate need for a good vegetable filled lunch. We managed to find the Loving Hut at 1614 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96826. The husband had the Lunch Two Entrée Plate ($8.95) which came with Lemon Grass Hawaiiana (soy protein w/ lemongrass & spices) and Sweet & Sour Hapa (Organic tofu, soy protein, bell peppers, pineapple, onions, sweet & sour sauce). For me I chose the Heavenly Salad (shredded cabbage, carrots, tofu, onions, fresh herbs, special dressing and some peanuts). Both were totally fresh, organic and simply mouth watering. We wanted to go back for each meal after the first bite it was that good. Highly suggested!

A short break after lunch and we were out again to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. http://www.aloha-hawaii.com/oahu/national-memorial-cemetery-of-the-pacific/ This was something we found not in a book but on google maps. If you pay attention to Google maps, test out this area. Instead of the normal cursor you will be surprised to find a new Hawaiian dressed orange guy to see the street view. So cute! This memorial is placed right in a volcano crater and is amazing to not only see the history of the men/women who are laid to rest but also because of the views. This was one of the best views on the island in our opinion, ironically it was free of tourists too.

We wanted to get into more but I was also eager to get back to the hotel to see my Japanese family. Thankfully as we were about to ask the desk receptionist if they had checked in, the engaged couple came strolling in from the elevators. So nice to see them and as always we were long lost family members, with of course the addition of the grooms’ family who turned out to be equally terrific.
We got acquainted again and we went our separate ways – them to eat lunch and us to the beach. Hubby and I went to the Waikiki Beach for a little sunshine and relaxation before the night’s event with the entire family. One word of warning – rocks! I learned my lesson and have a large scar to remember it.

Tonight we had the chance to go out to dinner with the entire wedding party at Courthouse. Everything was pre-planned and ready when we got there. Our chef and server were a true blessing since they were more than generous in prepared an entire vegan meal for two. They served us steamed artichoke, roasted tomato, asparagus, and so on. Totally delicious and if you have a chance dine here. Remember to ask for a vegan dinner, calling ahead may be helpful, but not undoable. Unfortunately there was no desert but we were so full we couldn’t think about anything more.  (sorry, forgot to take photos since we were talking too much)

As part of our preplanned night out, we were booked on a Japanese Tour to see Tantalus Night on a bus with BWT. This tour follows along a famous road that goes into the mountains and opens up with a full view of Honolulu in all of it’s lit up glory. It’s like driving around at Christmas with all the twinkle lights glimmering in celebration. One can’t go to Oahu and miss this drive in the day or night. We had planned this drive in the daytime but thankful that we went on this tour too. It was the perfect tour after a very full day of fun.