Well, I do have a Capital One card in my wallet. I thought of this little gem of an idea a long time ago. It stems from the normal conversations you might have with a spouse, a family member or for me, my bestie Shannon (Shay). It goes something like this;
ME: Where do you what to go for lunch?
Shay: I don’t know. Where do you want to go?
ME: I don’t care. What are you hungry for?
Shay: I don’t care, what do you feel like eating?
And so forth and so on….then one day I decided to put all of our favorite restaurants on paper and put them in a jar. Lunches after that were no-brainers….except on days where we didn’t like the choice we pulled, so we’d just pull another one. I did the same thing when my godson Raiden came to stay with me this past summer. I’d write different places and activities for us to keep him entertained (except ping pong was really the only choice for that 12 year old!) Then I decided to use this idea for a great goal in 2022. Many of you are aware that I have been at my mom’s side since her 1st major stroke back in 2012. I’m the only child; therefore the responsibility lies solely on me to take care of her. We ended up in a very unique situation this year with her moving back to Hawaii after me and finding a place to live, right across the street from me. It couldn’t be a more perfect arrangement. Then we started having that conversation Shay and I had years ago, except it was about where did we want to go this week? Hence…What’s in your Jar was born. I created 52 unique-to-Hawaii destinations so we could have a place to visit a week and PERFECT timing considering I started it the 1st week of January.
We are closing out week #4 of 2022 and we have been on 4 trips… great odds so far! Below is a summation of those first 4 trips (pics for imagery included) and every week I will post the new adventure my mom and I take! Stay tuned….
Week #1: Wahiawa Botanical Garden
Located in the heart of Wahiawa, this 27 acre garden sits on a high plateau in central Oahu between the Wai’anae and Ko’olau mountain ranges. Its emphasis is on native Hawaiian plants, the area stays relatively cool and it was a neat place to go for our first “jar visit”. The admission is free! It has paved paths that run throughout the garden as well as some off-beaten paths that are temporarily closed. Could be from maintenance issues or just closed due to covid. The trees were some of the most amazing things I have seen (Redwood forest included) and most pictures did them no justice! I will try and add their species name to the pictures.
Week #2: Waimea Falls
Waimea Valley is also known as Valley of the Priests, which is also known to be a deeply sacred site within Native Hawaiian history. They valley includes several historical structures including stone terraces and walls that were constructed during the time of Hawaiian Monarchy. This amazing place can be found across from the infamous Waimea Bay (big wave surfing in the winter) and located at 59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa HI 96712. Admission is $20 per person (local rates are $10 per person) and worth every penny! They have audio tours, shuttles and even wagon rentals for larger groups. It was just my mom and I, so it was a backpack with camera supplies and some extra water for us.
We started where everyone else did (it was a busy day) and ventured off where no one was going. If the masses turned right, we turned left. It made for better pictures without so many people in them. Below are groups of photos by genre…Trees, Huts and Species, Flowers and the falls. But, our trip wouldn’t have been complete if it wasn’t for a nice visit with this fine young man pictured below. He stopped us as he was passing, and in true Hawaiian fashion, talked story with us for about 30 minutes. I secretly think he was sweet on my mom….which in my book is a HELL NO!! LOL…. Turns out this nice man is a little famous for creating Koa and Resin Hawaiian War clubs as well as maintaining the grounds in the valley. He was a delight and if you run across him while visiting, please stop and say Aloha!
Huts and Species:
And Finally....The Falls:
Week #3: Puka Dogs
Back before International Marketplace (IMP) turned into a ritzy shopping mall, there was a little spot in the back of it called Puka Dogs. They originated from Kauai and made these wonderful hot dogs surrounded in soft bread with various condiments inside to create the ultimate party in your mouth. We would travel to it from time to time, never knowing that one day it would vanish….like all of IMP did a few years ago (they did keep the Banyan tree though). When we returned back to Hawaii last year, we knew there had to be an alternative on Oahu to get these treats again. If not, then a trip to Kauai (the only place with Puka Dogs now) was going to have to get in the jar! But alas…every time I searched for Puka dogs, Hula Dogs kept showing up. After reading the menu I noticed they offered the exact same condiments and the pictures showed a similar product, so off we went to Waikiki to find them.
After walking about 1.5 miles towards Kapi’olani Park on Kuhio Ave we stumbled upon this cute little treasure nestled within tall buildings. This little spot had a coffee stand, a Poke Bowl place and Hula Dogs. Fake grass adorned with park-style picnic tables and large umbrellas added to the charm of this corner. After ordering our dogs and lemonade, we sat down to take in the sites (busy big city life) and sounds (honking cars and people yelling) and waited for our food.
My mom and I have this thing where timing is everything. We usually make out pretty well when it comes to beating the crowds, finding good parking and getting to places without too much fuss. Today started out this way, but sort of derailed after finding this spot. We got our dogs in time as the masses followed and the only guy manning the food truck found himself in deep dogs. I stopped counting people at 10. Poor guy… I’m pretty sure that 10th order is still being made….JK. After we evaluated the meal we decided that while it was great to try a different version and the trek to the spot was adventurous, we weren’t in love and the original Puka dog will be sorely missed. (Kauai might end up in the jar after all)…Side note***in the editing room, I like to gather all of the information I have and make sure it’s all relative. I found out that this is the original Puka Dogs, just under a new name. With that said, it still wasn’t the same as we remembered.
We escaped the doggie madness and made our way back to where we were parked. By now we have walked for 3 miles and my mom was getting tired so we jumped in the car and went on home. We had to navigate around all of the visitors in Waikiki (it seemed like a busy day and literally took almost an hour to get out) and then get onto the freeway before traffic started to pick up. You see, if you’re on the H1 anytime after 2:30-3 pm….you’ve missed the sweet spot window of traffic heaven and will find yourself fully immersed in a traffic hell so bad, it rivals Los Angeles freeway rush hours. Well, we made it just in time and had easy breezy travels home. I’m thankful we got this draw from the jar and now that I know about Hula dogs….I’ll just suffer until the next time I go to Kauai. :)
Week #4: Pali Lookout
So I’ll be the first to admit that as long as I have lived in Hawaii, I have never been to the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout. Shame on me… I know. I even bought Gene the famous painting -Battle at Nu’uanu Pali by Herb Kawainui Kane several years ago. This place is spectacular in scale, history and sheer beauty. A little history lesson below…
It was the site of the pivotal battle for unification of the Hawaiian Islands by the greatest leader in their history, King Kamehameha. In a battle made famous by countless singers, storytellers, and artists, the great king defeated his Oahu adversaries by driving them off these very cliffs. In May of 1795 between 400 and 700 warriors are rumored to have been driven off these cliffs after they were cornered by the invading army from the Big Island of Hawaii. This was the crucial and final battle in Kamehameha's quest to unite the island chain under one ruler for the first time. Hundreds of skulls were found while building the old Pali road, corroborating the legend, and locals believe there are still bones resting beneath the vegetation below.
This is a short (5 minute) drive out of Downtown Honolulu on H1 heading northeast. I HIGHLY recommend this as a destination site. It’s a quick trip around once you arrive. There are a few things to consider though before arriving… Do NOT wear a hat, visor, scarf or dress. The winds up there are fierce and will remove any article of clothing that’s not tied down. Also, it may be 80 degrees in Honolulu, but up there…it’s at least 10-15 degrees cooler, so pack a hoodie. Upon leaving, plan your exit accordingly. We wanted to continue on H1 into Kaneohe and make it a semi-circle island tour but ended up taking the road right back to the way we came and before we knew the error….we were on the freeway headed back to Honolulu. Oh well….next time! I hope you enjoyed these little tales and the pix for imagery. I can’t wait to see where our Oahu Jar takes us next week! Stay tuned….