hawaii

2016 Oahu, Hawaii

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO Lens for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

  • 7-14mm (14-28mm 35mm equivalent) lens with Splash and dustproof construction
  • closest focusing distance at just under 7.5cm, Maximum image magnification : 0.12x, Focal Length : 7-14 mm
  • Manual focus clutch mechanism and L-Fn button for assignable functions
  • 3 Super ED lens elements, 1 ED lens element, and 2 ELD elements to diminish aberrations
  • 60%of the weight of 35mm full frame lens (with same angle of view and max. aperture)

Purchased mine from t-dimension. I paid $978.89 for a brand new lens which is $200+ cheaper than amazon.

This is pretty awesome for landscape photos. A lot of these photos would’ve been impossible to capture based on where I was standing. I brought my Olympus M Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro on the trip as well but it’s a hassle switching back and forth.

For portrait shots with the 7-14mm, I have to stand really close to the subject and tilt a certain way to avoid distortion. It’s tricky giving the camera with this lens to other people: inc big head tiny feet photos.

Hawaiian Itinerary

Hawaiian Airlines – This airline surprisingly has a lot of male flight attendants. My returning flights have 0 female stewards. Service is nice, the restroom is filthy though. Food is mediocre. I think I prefer Alaska Airline if I have to fly domestic again, at least the fruit and cheese plate you can purchase separately was delicious. Fred bought me beef jerky for $12 and it wasn’t good at all (I was hungry because we had a 1.5hr delay on top of Fred making me go to the airport 1 hr+ early)

Friday – Took shuttle from airport to car rental place. We didn’t have to rent a car because our hotel is on Waikiki Beach Walk which is basically Hawaii’s version of Las Vegas Strip but neither of us researched ahead of time. Car rental came out to be $400 with insurance $_$. Fred and I had Korean BBQ at Yakiniku Kuhio after checking in.  We stayed at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. Hotels in Waikiki calling themselves “resorts” are kind of stretching it. All we had was a pool and a hot tub and 2 overpriced onsite restaurants and a bunch of link to shopping stores. I wanted more… Overall, I like our stay there but wouldn’t come back, price is pretty steep for what we’re actually getting. Average is $250 + $30 “resort fee” + $35 parking/valet fee = $315/night.

Saturday – Fred took me to Cinnamon’s Restaurant. We ordered Guava Chiffon Pancakes which they are famous for. I’m not impressed, it tasted like undercooked pancake batter. Afterward we went to Byodo-in temple because we missed Japan ^^ Admission is $3 per person. We went to Chinatown on the way back to look for tropical fruits. I bought Hawaiian lychee for $5/lbs. but it was delicious. We ate dinner at Marukame Udon. I prefer ramen over udon but I love this place, even when it’s 90 degree out! We ate here 3x during the course of our stay.

Sunday – we went to Haleiwa for Macky’s Sweet Shrimp Truck. Their garlic butter shrimp is good but the rice is mushy, not my thing. We stopped by some nearby beach for some quick photos. Then we went to Waimea Valley. Admission is $16 per person to hike up to the waterfall. The waterfall itself is underwhelming but the way up is very beautiful. We had Doraku Sushi for dinner. Food is good, service is prompt. I don’t like misleading pricing/description though. I ordered 5pc scallop sashimi and it’s really 2 scallop sliced up >.>

Monday – Ha & Jeff’s wedding at Kualoa Ranch Zipline ATV Horseback & Movie Site Tours.

Tuesday – ate at Marukame Udon again before leaving.

Maui, Hawaii 2014

Painterly sunset

Painterly sunset

The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort

We stayed at The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort. It’s located near a bunch of other resorts. I did not like my experience here. The room is small and dinky. It’s not very well lit. The bathroom is far from extravagant. The flat screen TV is also small, not that I watch TV. They have enough amenities to get by but they shouldn’t label themselves as a luxury hotel. It’s a tiny step up from normal 3 star hotels in Cali, that’s it.

The room they initially gave us has terrible view. It’s not even garden view. It’s basically the side of the hotel. Direct view outside balcony is overlooking another hotel. The view looking straight down is rooftop and parking lot of the Ka’anapali shopping center.

View from first room

View from first room

If Fred didn’t pay extra during booking for an ocean view room I wouldn’t have minded. But he did and I’m not happy when they don’t deliver. If I look out my windows and I don’t see water, then it’s not ocean view. I nerd rage and finally got Fred to reluctantly switch room. Which was slightly better, still not true ocean view but at least I can see the interior of the resort. Overall, the only things I liked are the bed and maid service.

2014 Hawaii_Vi 009

View from second room

dad @ our balcony

Dad @ our balcony

Every day we were charged a $30 resort fee per room. This covers parking, in room Wi-Fi, 1 tote bag, 2 water bottle restocked daily, and 4 reusable towel cards. If we want cushioned lounge chair, beach umbrella, or pool side canopies, they would need to be rented. I’m used to being offered all these for free from my trip to Puerto Vallarta last year.

Food & Activities

Day 1 Wednesday 09/24/14

It’s mom birthday. We arrived at noon-ish, picked up our car from Enterprise, went to Da Kitchen Cafe for lunch, and checked-in. Parents went for a dive in the pool.  All parts of the pools are 4 feet deep. The water is pretty chilly.

After swimming, we headed to the Wharf Cinema Center for dinner at Pho Saigon 808. The Wharf has small buildings that look like the sets at Disneyland. Mom got a cake courtesy of the hotel when she came back.

Mom's birthday cake

Mom’s birthday cake

Da Kitchen Cafe
We ate here the moment we got off the airport and it was then that I decided that I hated Hawaiian food. Their spam musubi has very little spam and the kalua pork wrapped in taro leaf were just dry and flavorless. Thuan ordered coconut water and it tasted like sugared water.

Pho Saigon 808
The lady there is really nice. She also sells custard apples and dragon fruits.

Custard apples from Pho Saigon 808 and various tropical fruits from Down to Earth

Custard apples from Pho Saigon 808 and various tropical fruits from Down to Earth

Shaka Vibe
This is supposedly the only pearl tea place on the island. Their drinks are decent enough for me to return, if ever. Their small cup is very expensive. The large cup is about same price as Cali.

Day 2 Thursday 09/25/14

Parents and Thuan frolicked on the beach without me.

Mom & Thuan

Mom & Thuan

We got lunch and juice multiple times and then headed to Twin Falls. Fred, Thuan, and Dad all got bit by mosquitoes but only Fred’s scars looked really bad over the next few days.

waterfall at Twins Fall

Waterfall at Twins Fall

Olowalu Juice Stand
They sell fruits as well but the fruits don’t look too fresh not to mention super expensive. I see flies around too. Thuan and I ordered sugarcane juice. It’s $7 for a tiny cup. It doesn’t taste much different from sugarcane juice in Cali.

Olowalu Juice Stand

Olowalu Juice Stand

Paia Fish Market
Not a fan of fish and chips. Dad hated this place haha.

Paia Fish Market

Paia Fish Market: fish & chips, fish & chicken tacos, and more fish?

Twin Falls Fruit Stand
Spent $20 on coconut and pressed sugarcane juice. Coconut juice was not good.

Down to Earth
Mom weren’t too happy with the tropical fruits selection so we stopped by this place. It’s supposedly Hawaii’s version of Whole Foods. They have pre-cut sugarcane, dragon fruits, star fruits, guava, and ginormous avocado. Guava did not taste good.

Down to Earth: varieties of bananas and avocado

Down to Earth: varieties of bananas and avocado

Miso Phat
They have really good but also really expensive sushi. Fatty tuna was $25 and uni was $15 for 2 pieces. Sashimi is really fresh, even my parents who don’t usually eat raw fish like this place.

Day 3 Friday 09/26/14

// I have no clue which day is shaved ice…

Mom stopped by Pho Saigon 808 for more custard apples while Thuan and I meander around the wharf and picked up some plumeria hairclips and sarong (pareos). Then we got some shaved ice because I feel bad making Fred stay in the car since no parking.

We went swimming and everyone excluding mom tried out snorkeling.  We wasted $60 on snorkeling gear since only Fred enjoyed it. Good thing we took parents out for trial instead of booking an excursion. This part of the beach we went to is Black Rock. It is approximately 10 minute walk from our hotel and is super crowded.

beach area at Black Rock

Beach area at Black Rock

Black Rock, Maui

Black Rock, Maui

Breakwall Shaved Ice Co
Not my thing, Hawaiian style shaved ice is too sweet for my taste. The macadamia ice cream that came with it was nice though.

Breakwall Shaved Ice

Breakwall Shaved Ice

Relish Burger Bistro
This place is inside the Westin and it is horrid. Thuan had Pacific Clam Chowder. I ordered Hawaiian style pizza/flatbread for mom, it’s nasty. How can Hawaiian screw up Hawaiian pizza? Dad got steak; it’s edible, not exactly soft but better than mom’s pizza and my pastrami burger. Fred had Seared Ahi Tuna, he didn’t complain so it must be good.

Relish Burger Bistro - Pastrami Burger, Steak, and Seared Ahi Tuna burger

Relish Burger Bistro – Pastrami Burger, Steak, and Seared Ahi Tuna burger

Koa’s Seaside Grill
I didn’t go but Fred togo steak for me and it tasted delicious the next morning.

Day 4 Saturday 09/27/14

Saturday is chill day. We only have luau planned but that’s at night. We had banh mi for lunch, dad got pho; Fred got something from the Hawaiian shop next door. Then parents and Fred bought souvenirs at some store in that same plaza. Thuan bought mom a beach ball and floatie. I bought a hat which I wore for longer than 20 minutes!

We went swimming at the hotel’s beach and pool afterward. It’s not as packed as Black Rock. Thuan rented a paddle board for an hour and does most of the paddling to make up for her money. Fred bobbled in water with his snorkeling gear while parents play with their new toys.

Parents and their new toys

Parents and their new toys

Thuan and her paddle board

Thuan and her paddle board

Ba-Le Sandwiches & Bakery

Way pricier than San Jose of course but still cheaper than eating bad food at all the sit-in restaurants here. I had pate sandwiches and lychee drink with pearl. The bread is good and the pearl is perfect. Dad has pho which he did not like.

Old Lahaina Luau
This is Thuan’s birthday present for mom. They gave us leis and a drink at the entrance. I finally feel like I’m in Hawaii with a string of flowers around my neck haha. Buffet food there is actually pretty good. I ate a ton of ahi poke. We enjoyed the food and experience. The actual luau show is only alright. I got bored quick, so was my dad. But after watching Cirque du Soliel in Las Vegas, everything else will have a hard time measuring up.

Leis & Pareos at Old Lahaina Luau

Leis & Pareos at Old Lahaina Luau

Old Lahaina Luau

Old Lahaina Luau

Day 5 Sunday 09/28/14

Fred and I did some frolicking of our own before checking out. We also stopped by an overlook point to take more photos on the drive back to the airport.

didn't plan on getting wet

didn’t plan on getting wet

Tiffany’s Bar & Grill

We went here for lunch before hitting the airport. This place looks sketchy outside but the food are decently priced and tasted better than majority of the stuff I had throughout the trip.

Pho 90 Degree

Dad misses his San Jose pho so we went here.