On our second full day on O'ahu, we spent a lot of time in the car! The route for the day was to visit the North Shore, with a stop along the way at the Dole Plantation. While it is perhaps one of the more touristy things to do on the island, it was still interesting to learn about how pineapple is grown and to sample a bit of pineapple ice cream (something I may be attempting to make at home some day, to reminisce about Hawaii). What blows my mind is that, in what seems like prime pineapple country, you pay $6 for a can of pineapple juice, while it costs $2.99 back home in Virginia, almost 5,000 miles away. Island pricing and the global food system...but I digress.
After we left Dole, we tried driving directly to the North Shore, but were turned around by a policeman forming a road block. Turns out there was a brush fire going on (we think set off by a routine burning of a sugar cane field) and we had to take an alternate route. The North Shore, though only on the other side of the small island, was world apart from where we were staying in Waikiki. The towns were small and beachy and the vibe was wonderful. We admired a few beaches while driving, and stopped at what the locals call Turtle Beach. This is a spot where the turtles hang out in the surf and on the shore, eating seaweed and paying no mind to the tourists squealing about them and snapping photos. I was so excited to see so many large turtles up close--before that, my only experience with a turtle "in the wild" was seeing one for about two minutes while snorkeling in St. Thomas. On this beach, there was a volunteer woman standing guard, making sure the tourists didn't get too close to the turtles (which are protected), and it's a good thing she was there, because some people have little respect for wild animals! I snapped a bunch of photos from afar with my zoom lens and we were on our way. We passed beaches that see those famous 40-foot waves (or higher) in the winter months, but the surf was calm when we were there. For lunch, we stopped in a parking lot and ordered shrimp from a food truck, which was delicious. The parking lot also happened to feature an antique glass shop, which you know I had to check out! The small building was full of glass floats, old glass jars, milk bottles, and all the things that test my self-control when I see them for sale. Evin bought me a few bracelets (coral and freshwater pearl) which I love and have been wearing often ever since! We continued around the island, and I gaped out the window at the mountains some more, snapping lots of photos. After stopping to check out Chinaman's Hat (a small island off the shore) and waiting in a bit of traffic caused by a water-main break, we were back in Honolulu for happy hour at a little French restaurant in Chinatown (amusing, isn't it?). Seamus and Tina showed us their condo, on the 22nd floor of one of Honolulu's tall buildings, and we admired the illuminated skyline before getting some sleep (imagine all of this happening before 8pm or so. We got tired early!!).
One more full day on O'ahu and then it's on to the Maui photos!