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Nords... Oahu then and soon!
Old 03-24-2007, 11:39 AM   #1
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Nords... Oahu then and soon!

My uncle was stationed in Pearl. commander in CINPAC fleet. He invited me over for 3 months during the summer of 1967, I was 16. Parents made stipulation that I would have to pay for 1/2 the flight cost. They loaned me the money and I flew student standby for $250 round trip. When I got to Hawaii I worked for the first 2 weeks, made $250. Paid back $125 to parents and had $125 spending money for the rest of the summer. $125 was a lot of money back then. Uncle loaned me his 1962 three cylinder Renault. I put a roof rack on it and would strap my long board to it. Surfed at Barbers Point and the North shore all summer. That was the trip of a lifetime for a 16 year old.
Forward some 40 years until now. When I pull the plug in 1-2 years, I want to take the wife back with me. Now living in NY. Plan is to winter someplace warm and in a different place each winter for 2 months. Hawaii will be the first winters retreat spot. I've been checking sites on the internet and it looks like I can rent a small bungalow in Kailua for about $2500-3000 a month. Never got to Kailua when I was there in '67. What do you think? Are there anyother locations I should checkout that you would recommend on Oahu. Thanks.
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Re: Nords... Oahu then and soon!
Old 03-24-2007, 05:22 PM   #2
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Re: Nords... Oahu then and soon!

Judging from the torrent of e-mails & PMs I've received these last couple weeks on this subject, you guys must all be freezing your butts off!

Feel free to use this thread as your place to ask "But what should I DO in Hawaii?" We'll all share our collective experience and then we'll ask the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau to send a donation to Dory's FIRECalc fund.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hogtied
My uncle was stationed in Pearl. commander in CINPAC fleet.
It'd be interesting to take him through the PACFLT building these days-- I doubt much has changed since WWII. Maybe the carpet is new(er) but I bet the interior paint is the same!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hogtied
Surfed at Barbers Point and the North shore all summer. That was the trip of a lifetime for a 16 year old.
No kidding-- Trombone Al, my daughter, & I will be surfing there Sunday morning.

It'd be interesting to see what's changed at White Plains Beach over the last 40 years. I suspect "not much". Of course the drive down there has changed a bit-- all the sugar cane has been replaced by houses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hogtied
Forward some 40 years until now. When I pull the plug in 1-2 years, I want to take the wife back with me. Now living in NY. Plan is to winter someplace warm and in a different place each winter for 2 months. Hawaii will be the first winters retreat spot. I've been checking sites on the internet and it looks like I can rent a small bungalow in Kailua for about $2500-3000 a month. Never got to Kailua when I was there in '67. What do you think? Are there anyother locations I should checkout that you would recommend on Oahu. Thanks.
(Some of you may recognize chunks of boilerplate from earlier e-mails & PMs.)

Kailua is a nice place to visit for its windsurfing/kitesurfing beach, and there are some nice surf breaks off Kaneohe Marine Corps Base. It's a short drive to Waimanalo ("the country") and Bellows Air Force Station's public beach. Kailua has nice golf courses, restaurants, & bars, too. But if you're looking for Waikiki-style action, your first chore every morning will be driving up over the Pali/Likelike/H-3 to get to Honolulu. The bungalow price doesn't sound too detached from reality, although it may nearly double during Nov-Feb high season.

Another issue to watch out for in Kailua is the extremely high number of unlicensed B&Bs. Many homeowners have been illegally renting out their homes for years and your neighbors may not be very happy to see you. I don't think there's any way to tell who's legit or not, but if a price stands out as too good to be true then it probably is.

I'd stay away from North Shore rentals in winter. The surfing competitions (and the surfers) drive prices into the stratosphere-- as much as $1500/week for a 10x10 concrete-block room with a shared bathroom. Even if a buddy loans you a house, the Haleiwa traffic and the restaurant/bar crowds in that limited-capacity infrastructure will make the experience less than wonderful.

"What to do" can be a tough question to answer because everyone's tastes are so different and there's so many choices. It's not very helpful for me to give you my "tropical jungle Survivor adventure" list if you're more of a "museums & bus tours" type. I've also learned that I seem to be the only guy on the board who thinks the Atlantis submarine rides are really cool.

My default recommendation is to go to the "101 Things To Do" website and pick out your top 10. (http://www.101thingstodo.com/hawaii/oahu/index.php) We've probably done over half the list by now and can answer questions you have about best time of day/year, time to allow, & expenses. I can pick up on a theme, too, and help you find the "best" beach or luau or shopping.

If it's been 40 years then maybe you'd want to start with a week in Waikiki. There are plenty of choices and, if time is short and there are different preferences, then it's easy for one person to do their favorite activity while the other participates or lazes on the beach. You can also drive to anywhere on Oahu in under 90 minutes (except during rush hours). If you're a typical visitor, you'll buzz around for about three days and then spend the next day collapsed on the beach. If you're bringing young kids then you may only achieve a few hours a day away from the pool.

Another reason to avoid a month-long rental would be holoholo-- some visitors add a side trip to a neighbor island. You could rent a Waikiki condotel for a week and easily repeat that on Kauai, the Big Island, or Maui. Or you could day trip-- for example a travel company can pick you up at your Waikiki hotel at 5 AM, deliver you to the airport, fly you to the Big Island, bus you around Volcano National Park and Hilo or Kailua/Kona, and fly you home that night to return to your hotel at 11 PM. (Some might think it's too much to cram into one day.) Another option would be to spend a total of 10-14 days here, with 5-7 days in Waikiki and the rest of the trip in Kailua followed by a neighbor island. But I think it's hard to do two islands in less than 10 days.

There's no particular "best" time of year. September/October can get warmer than the rest of the year because the tradewinds occasionally die down and the highs rise to the low 90s instead of the mid-80s. January and February can rain for 5-7 days in a row and are less beach-friendly than the rest of the year. (We Hawaii residents are weather wimps.) High-priced snowbird season is roughly Nov-Feb. Otherwise the rest of the year's weather is mid-80s highs and mid-70s lows and the prices are roughly the same.

The activities that pop up most often are:
- Surfing Waikiki or other beaches (or canoes or kayaks or boats)
- Hiking the Diamond Head lookout
- Snorkeling Hanauma Bay (Clif volunteers here and can give you the details)
- Luau
- Polynesian Cultural Center
- Visiting the USS ARIZONA Memorial, the USS MISSOURI Memorial, and/or the USS BOWFIN Submarine Museum (easily 1-2 days for veterans)
- Bishop Museum (I could spend two days here)
- Shopping Waikiki ($$$$$), Ala Moana Shopping Center ($$$), Aloha Tower Marketplace ($$), or the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet (bargain souvenirs & t-shirts).

If you have a military ID card (or someone traveling with you has one) then I have an additional list of hotels/bases you'll want to check out.

You might want to PM other board members for their "slept there did that" advice:
- Trombone Al and his wife are here now (we're surfing our butts off) and their hotel, the Waikiki Circle, is a nice low-key $150/night beach shack nestled among $500/night high-end resorts.
- Laurence has spent a lot of time in Hawaii and actually attended college on the Big Island a while back, so he knows places there I've never heard of. But I'm sure the statute of limitations has expired on him by now.
- Deserat was here last summer and met me at White Plains Beach (an hour away from Waikiki) for a surfing lesson on a "real locals" beach. I think they stayed on military bases.
- Dreamer stayed at a military lodge in Kaneohe.
- Saver has been through here, renting a Waikiki apartment and trying to live like an ER local. He learned that he prefers a more metropolitan lifestyle like NYC.

I've probably forgotten to mention other board members who've visited here. Share your experiences & your own top-ten list!
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Re: Nords... Oahu then and soon!
Old 03-24-2007, 07:32 PM   #3
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Re: Nords... Oahu then and soon!

We were in Honolulu earlier this month. I only have two recommendations. For authentic Hawaiian food (tell me if we have been duped) we ate at Ono's. Found the staff to be very gracious to us mainlanders who were clueless as to what anything was on the menu. We enjoyed the food immensely, however it is the type of place you only need to order 1 dish between two people.

I also found shopping for swimwear, shorts, flip flops etc. to be so much better in Hononlulu than in San Diego. A much wider range and surprisingly competitive prices. I went on a smash and grab shopping raid before we went but ended up returning it all when we got back. Next time we go I am going to take minimal clothing with me and buy in Hawaii.

Anyone have any suggestions of where to stay in Mauii as I think that will be our next trip.
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Re: Nords... Oahu then and soon!
Old 03-24-2007, 10:06 PM   #4
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Re: Nords... Oahu then and soon!

I highly recommend this place.

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/259171

Boots and Kimo's

They had a lot of pro football posters on the wall; somebody likes the Denver Broncos. Even OJ was there, staring over my shoulder. Alas, No Dallas Cowboys. But the Macadamia Nut pancakes and the Portugese sausage were to die for. You will have to wait, I suspect. It's over by the marine base at Kaneohe.
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Re: Nords... Oahu then and soon!
Old 03-24-2007, 10:21 PM   #5
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Re: Nords... Oahu then and soon!



Quote:
The activities that pop up most often are:
- Surfing Waikiki or other beaches (or canoes or kayaks or boats)
- Hiking the Diamond Head lookout
- Snorkeling Hanauma Bay (Clif volunteers here and can give you the details)
- Luau
- Polynesian Cultural Center
- Visiting the USS ARIZONA Memorial, the USS MISSOURI Memorial, and/or the USS BOWFIN Submarine Museum (easily 1-2 days for veterans)
- Bishop Museum (I could spend two days here)
- Shopping Waikiki ($$$$$), Ala Moana Shopping Center ($$$), Aloha Tower Marketplace ($$), or the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet (bargain souvenirs & t-shirts).
Nords what "do to in Oahu is a excellent starting point." Several of my friend have stayed at Kailua B&B in the last year or so. They were generally very happy, although the one with a teenage son had some regrets not staying in Waikiki for some of the time. I'm with Nord while Kailua is a great place and the beaches near there are the best in Oahu, I wouldn't stay there for a month if you haven't been here in 40 years. The major downside of Kailua is that most of the good restaurants and the the very important Costcos are on the other side of the islands. A month is long enough time that you really should go to one or two other islands, and no reason to pay for expensive accomodations you aren't using. If you plan on wintering in Hawaii occassionally in retirement use this trip as way of scouting out future month long rentals. The best ones often are booked a year in an advance!

Like Nord, I have done about 1/2 of the 101 things to do in Oahu. Although, actually standing on a surf board while riding a wave has alluded me.

I am not a veteran, but a WWII buff so for me anybody who has served in the military should plan on spending one or two days out in Pearl Harbor seeing the Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri, the Bowfin submarine, and the latest exhibit the Pacific Aviation museum (where I volunteer). They have some good package deals now. Also if you aren't a Scuba diver the Atlantis submarine ride is definitely worth doing.


Also one option open to those over 55 (which leaves out Nords and I) but not you if my math is correct, is elder hostels. http://www.elderhostel.org.
My mom has been on a couple in Hawaii, and a couple of friends have been leaders of them. There is a wide variety of activities from learning about Hawaiian arts and crafts, to work on the USS Missouri, to hiking on the big island, to a home and garden tour of homes on all of the islands. Accomodations range from modest to very nice.


P.S. Yup Ono's is Ono (good or delicious in Hawaii) for Hawaiian food
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Re: Nords... Oahu then and soon!
Old 03-28-2007, 04:23 PM   #6
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Re: Nords... Oahu then and soon!

Quote:
Trombone Al and his wife are here now (we're surfing our butts off)
Got back today. We had a fantastic time, and I'll post a full report with photos, tips, and financial reports as soon as we adjust to the time and temp change.

Here's a teaser photo:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg NordsAndAlWithBoards.jpg (62.8 KB, 55 views)
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File Type: jpg_thumb NordsAndAlWithBoards.jpg_thumb (30.9 KB, 0 views)
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Re: Nords... Oahu then and soon!
Old 03-29-2007, 04:32 PM   #7
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Re: Nords... Oahu then and soon!

I recently spent about a week at Kailua Beach at a very nice vacation rental. Probably not licensed but in business for a number of years. Anyway, it was great. Kailua is spectacular, clean, sparkling water,not much wave action so great for swimming. Lots of locals walking their dogs in the mornings and evenings. You really get a feel for the community,especially on Sat at Kailua Beach Park. I really had a wonderful time there.

Great place for sea kayaking too.

But what was really dismaying was the traffic on Oahu. To get from Kailua to Waikiki, you need to drive on several highways. Be sure to avoid any driving at or near rush hour!

Vacationing on the other islands is really more of a vacation experience, IMHO.
Try www.VRBO.com for vacation rentals.
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