Hawaiian Adventures Days 3-5

Saturday, October 29th

Morning came just a little too bright and a little too early. There was a slight awkwardness after the previous night quickly ushered away by a swift kiss and an “I love you.”

The farmer’s market at Kapiolanni Community College begins very early and closes shop by eleven. We quickly showered and dressed and made our way to the front desk to figure out the bus schedules. After waiting and waiting for the bus and it getting ever closer to eleven, we decided to cab it to the college.

Spectacular. Dozens of vendors with tropical fruits I had never even heard of, local honeys, butters, meats, fresh coconuts, it was an incredible array of flavors and smells of sausage, pineapple, foreign spices and flavors. My lunch consisted of the following:

kaffir miso pad thai, fresh coconut water, dragon fruit, and papaya
kelp noodles, carrots, cashews, bell peppers, red cabbage, red onion, cilantro, sesame oil

I ended up saving the dragon fruit and papaya for a snack later. The miso pad thai was amazing! Fresh and crispy and super satisfying. I could have spent hours there. The fruits were incredible. I would have loved to try more, but I could barely carry everything I had. Kyle enjoyed some seasoned french fries with sea salt and thyme as well as a spicy sausage.

After dodging some random rain spurt, we headed across the street to Diamond Head. This is the best place for views of Waikiki Beach. It was once used for military and some old bunkers still exist here. The trail was fun! It twisted along the side of the mountain winding its way along the narrow face stopping at various lookout points. It also included an immense amount of stairs and frequent warnings for falling rocks. Overall the climb was fairly short and invigorating. The fresh air felt wonderful and the views were spectacular. Once at the top, we paused for some time taking in the beautiful beaches and gorgeous city of Honolulu.

Making our way down the incline, we shared a well deserved Pina Colada before making our way back to the hotel for a quick clean up and change. We ended up taking a cabbie back who dropped us off a ways away from our hotel. After a quick visit into the International Market we took to the beach and strolled back along the coast. This was my first time at the waters edge and it was stunning. The sea glistened from sun and the sand was soft and warm. It was a very relaxing and romantic stroll back to the room.

It was time for Fight Night.

Fight Night, for my boyfriend, means hours at Buffalo Wild Wings with lots of beer and spicy wings. Tonight was Hawaii native B.J. Penn versus Nick Diaz. Being in Hawaii for this fight turned out quite a local crowd. There were a bunch of fights leading up to this. All of which left my adrenaline pumping and me oooing and ahhing with the crowd. I really get into Fight Night.

It was at this point where I lost my veganism. There was literally nothing but chicken on the menu and my boyfriend managed to convince me that Fight Night does not count and it basically all went downhill from here in regards to my eating habits.

However, back to the fight. Penn ended up losing to Diaz after a very intense and very bloody fight. Both contenders looked awful by the end of it. Penn even went so far as to announce his potential retirement which stunned the crowd. He is an incredible fighter and it would be a sham to lose him from the UFC. His reasoning: he did not want to come home to his kids looking the way he did. From a woman’s perspective, I can completely understand. Most of the people in the bar found that to be a little weak.

We headed back to the hotel full of chicken wings, blood pumping with adrenaline from the fight, talking amicably about the day and plans for tomorrow.

Sunday, October 30th

Sunday consisted of one thing and one thing only, the hotel’s Champagne brunch. Basically an all you can drink buffet of champagne and some local foods as well as the usual breakfast and lunch buffet.

As it was not cheap, Kyle and I basically drank our weight in champagne and piled our plates high with delicious fruits and tasty treats. We met two great couples seated next to us both residing in Hawaii, the men military and the women school teachers. We chatted for a while as we consumed more and more champagne. They invited us out for drinks after but by the time we were finished with the champagne we stumbled up to the room and passed out for the rest of the day.

Literally the entire day.

I did not wake until evening. Kyle was soon to follow. We munched on some leftover wings and dragon fruit before going right back to sleep.

It was very nice to just curl up next to each other and simply sleep.

Monday, October 31st 

The day began with a walk in the sunshine down to the Enterprise to rent a sexy black Mustang convertible. We were initially going to go with the economy sedan until the sexy beast was offered to us as a steal of a price. Snagging the gorgeous car, we headed out to Hickam Field, a Navy base near Pearl Harbor. They have some office where the military can buy discounted tickets to local attractions. We booked a kayak and snorkel tour for the following day as well as an all day pass to the Polynesian Cultural Center for that day.

After picking up a bunch of snacks for the drive, we exited the base and headed up highway 63 to highway 83. Two gorgeous routes cutting up through the island and driving up the eastern coast. This was an incredible drive made glorious by the Mustang convertible. On one side was the bright blue and turquoise waters of the Pacific contrasted by tall, lush green mountains on the other side. The views were spectacular.

We made it to the Polynesian Culture Center around 3pm and wandered around the grounds exploring the various island exhibits, tasting Tahitian coconut bread and watching pretty girls hula and burly men beat drums. We popped into one performance close to the end. A performer brought three men from the crowd to the stage to learn how to drum. One was from Colorado, one Puerto Rico and the other China. They made a hilarious combination. Some of the actions were a bit awkward and the men did a wonderful job of making them fun and exciting. The man from China could barely understand the performer’s commands. Lost in translation provided for some hilarious entertainment.

The luau began at five with a presentation of the royalty followed by hula dancing done by men, women and children, each having their own role to play. The food was tasty and unique.

Not the prettiest of presentations, but it was tasty

It consisted of the famous Kalua pig, a staple in the luau ever since pig became predominant on the islands, even to the point of being overpopulated. Taro is also very common on the islands. The purple is taro bread and taro salad. The sweet potato is a fair yellow rather than our deep orange. There is also raw salmon with onions, rice, long rice, local fish and chicken. Not exactly a vegan meal…

After the luau we strolled around the area, looking through the gift shops, Kyle trying to get me to look at the pearls and the black coral. Black coral is the jewel of Hawaii. Our all day pass included the evening show, “Ha- Breath of Life.”

Polynesian Culture Center (www.polynesia.com)

The show was spectacular. It is a story of birth, life, death, love, family, triumph and tragedy. It was beautifully done with a gorgeous and talented cast of dancers, singers, and fire tossers. You could feel their joy and their pain. A must see.

Today is Halloween. We rushed back to the hotel after the show to change into costume and head out to some bars on Waikiki. Kyle surprised me with a belly dancing costume from Kabul. As authentic as they come. The embroidery is beautiful and it jingled as I walked. We followed the crowds of people, popping into a few bars to enjoy a drink and check out the costumes. It was mainly lots of women wandering around in lingerie. Definitely a fun night filled with fruity cocktails and pouring rain.

Hawaiian Adventures Days 1-2

Thursday, October 27th

Touchdown.

A ten hour flight passed with no internet, migraines, and the company of a DC native living locally in Oahu for the past 13 years. I arrived at the airport early with the best intentions of completing vast amounts of homework and essays while on the aircraft. However, unbeknownst to me, Continental does not have WiFi, one of the few airlines that doesn’t. Instead I spent the time trying to sleep, watching Captain America (provided entertainment) and an episode of the Big Bang Theory. This was working out wonderfully until a mild headache set in.

I decided to drink some water and try and sleep it off. Soon it turned into an intense headache. I popped a few aspirin provided by the flight attendant and reverted back to my earlier attempt of sleeping. This failed and I soon found myself with a full on migraine, nausea included. I spent the rest of the flight throwing up in the airplane bathroom and trying to manage a splitting headache.

I did steal a few good words with my neighbor on the local hot spots and various things to do while on Oahu. He was super friendly and helpful. I tend to get lucky on airplanes with the people I sit next to.

After grabbing my bag from the baggage claim, I took a shuttle to the Hale Koa on Waikiki Beach. This is an all military, veteran or military family hotel right on the beach. It’s gorgeous. Waiting for me was my handsome boyfriend with a huge bouquet of tropical flowers (birds of paradise, red and white ginger).

After a long embrace, me attempting to hold back tears of joy, we made it upstairs to the room for a romantic evening of red wine and beautiful ocean views.

Friday, October 28th

The day began slowly (island speed) as neither of us wished to get out of bed or pull away from each other’s embrace. Eventually we unwound our limbs and made it down to the hotel’s breakfast cafe for a special treat: The Pineapple Boat and a glass of guava juice.

While I dined in fruity decadence, my boyfriend feasted on a pound of bacon, macadamia coconut waffles and hash browns. I believe he included one or two pieces of melon in his meal for my sake. He found it amusing to tempt the “then vegan” with crispy strips of bacon. I did not succumb, yet (will explain later).

Breakfast was followed with a relaxing stroll around the hotel grounds and to the beach. Planning ahead, he surprised me with a couples massage that afternoon. To pass the time in between we shared drinks at the Barefoot Bar on the beach. I had a sweet concoction of almond liquor, coconut rum, banana, something pink, and some other rum. A Pink Dimple.

We made our way along the grounds to a beautiful set up of outdoor tents enclosed in a private area by thick tropical greenery. The hour long rub down was incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating after a long flight and jet lag. So much in fact that my boyfriend was being massaged by a cute little blonde and I did not mind in the slightest. It was divine.

An hour later, practically asleep, the masseuse roused me and my man and we slowly made our way back to the room. That evening we walked along the Ala Moana Blvd, stopping to glimpse the fish in the channel and headed to the outdoor mall. Our first stop: The Pineapple Room.

This restaurant popped up in my search for good Hawaiian food and it is a bit expensive and definitely meant for tourists, but the food was good and the atmosphere relaxing. We were both still in a daze from the massage but shared a lovely meal at the bar with a very friendly bartender. I enjoyed a fresh garden salad and he, ahi with an Asian slaw. I snuck a few bites of the slaw and it was very good.

Now it was time for some shopping. Coming from Kabul, Kyle had little to no clothing with him. Only a pair of jeans and a few shirts all of which had been crumpled in the bottom of his bag for the past 6 months. We headed to Macy’s where I left him be for a bit to pick out some things and  wandered off to Sephora to grab some essentials. I tried out Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Shampoo and Conditioner which I just loved! Did wonders for my hair. Also grabbed some Burt’s Bees sun screen and lotion at the CVS before meeting up with him at Macy’s.

The next two hours were tension filled. I do not know exactly what happened but somehow we became annoyed at each other. I initially was a little upset that he asked me to leave so he could look around. I had been under the impression that he wanted my help. Then when I had returned he asked me for my opinion then got annoyed when it was not what he wanted to hear. Mainly had to do with jean fit. I liked them a bit more tailored, he did not like the ones I liked. I do not remember all the details in full, but at multiple occasions he told me to go back to the hotel and he would see me later. I was uncomfortable walking back alone at night in a neighborhood I was not familiar with and I did not even fully know the way.

I ended up wandering around Macy’s for most of this time, trying not to cry as I simply did not understand how he could be so annoyed at me after only 24 hours together. We had not seen each other in 6 months and we can’t even be together for 24 hours? I was getting very upset. When we reunited, I tried to be friendly, acted as if I was totally okay and did my best not to negatively critique anything. I thought I was doing a good job until we exited the mall and began the trek back to the hotel. He yelled at me and cursed quite a bit. All out of annoyance, but It cut me deeply. He even went so far as to say we should spend the next day apart. I simply shut down. Walked back in silence. I returned to the room, he went down to the post exchange to pick up some things.

Once in the room and alone, I poured myself a large glass of wine and sat out on the balcony. I played the evening over in my mind trying to figure out where all the tension came from. I just didn’t get it. I was not annoying, nor was I being negative. Just offering a simple opinion by saying which things I preferred.

It felt like an hour had gone by before he returned. At this point I was fairly drunk, on the balcony, and doing very well at holding back tears. He had enjoyed a beer to himself before returning upstairs. He began to talk to me. I don’t even remember what about but I broke down. I started to cry and not normal crying, but intense, wine assisted tears. He tried to explain that its because of the deployment and him not being used to normal things… I really did not care. I was just upset and I did not even want him to touch me when he tried to give me a hug. I couldn’t believe he didn’t even want to spend the next morning with me (I had been excited about going to the farmer’s market together).

Eventually I calmed down a bit and we managed to talk. It took me a bit to open up but I managed to explain why I was so upset- him being so annoyed after only 24 hours, me not understanding what I did wrong, and him not wanting to share the next day with me. We came to the conclusion that we just shouldn’t go shopping together and intended on doing tomorrows things as initially planned.

Overall, we both overreacted, but as the day drew to a close, things seemed like they would be okay.

Mono meals

I just got back from Hawaii (I’ll post a synopsis of my adventures soon) and I am feeling truly down in the dumps.

The trip was incredible, sheer perfect, sun shiny bliss. But the flight home brought me to a cold, dreary and lifeless place with responsibilities and work and away from the man I love who is currently on his way back to Kabul, 6728 miles away from me. As cliche as it is, I feel this longing, an ache, in my chest and body.

After arriving home yesterday I felt so awful I did not even think of food. However, today, while that feeling still exists, I have been trying to fill it with food. I started the day well with a big mug of tea and a healthy salad made from chopped beet, cucumber, carrot, spinach, raisin, sunflower seeds, with some lemon juice and salt as a dressing. This soon went downhill as I reached for the KFC my parents brought home. Very unusual for my household. This made me think of him even more as the first time I ever had KFC was with him. Lame I know, but I am pretty caught up.

It did not take me long to realize that this is emotional eating and I need to stop. I tried to distract myself by going for a walk with my dog, doing some yoga, working on a paper for Chemistry, and scanning through all the pictures from Hawaii (this last one did not help much).

A YouTube video by DaraDubinet came to mind. She is a great person to check out. Very sweet and positive individual with an amazing amount of knowledge about the subjects of raw food. She mentioned the concept of mono meals. Basically taking one core food and making that your meal. Her example was a cucumber- chop it up really small and serve it with some lemon juice, salt and fresh dill. Super simple, very tasty and nothing to intense that you feel overwhelmed in the process.

When I am preparing meals, the longer the meal takes the more I linger in the kitchen and nibble at various things that are not in line with my goals. Mono meals keep things simple and quick getting you in and out of the kitchen without allowing yourself the opportunity to pick and everything in sight.

I am planning a trip to Whole Foods tomorrow to pick up some simple things to start this week off. I will probably not be doing green juices this week as it is just too expensive to keep up after spending so much money in Hawaii, but I’ll start them up again soon.

A note about Hawaii: I did not last vegan. In fast I only made it about 3 of the 14 days. My boyfriend is a very bad influence. I will be going back to the way I wish to eat as I happened to gain quite a bit of weight from my cheating and wish to lose all of it and then some.