We got up early to go swimming, since it would be the last time on Ka’anapali Beach. (SIGH.) The best part was watching the happiest dog on earth, swimming and chasing a frisbee in the ocean.
We got to the front desk right at check-out, and arrived on time for the lei ceremony. They lined us up and gave us all kukui nut leis, explaining their tradition: all the employees get a lighter-colored nut for each year of service. Each time we return, we should bring the lei and they’ll do the same for us. Then they sang a song, and we were on our way. Yep, we’ll for sure be returning to the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel!
We drove to Hilo Hattie in Lahaina to stock up on a ton of souvenirs, and Matt found this prize:
We then headed down to Kihei to have lunch at Jawz Tacos. It was totally worth the drive, because of my teriyaki tofu burrito. And coconut porter, of course. We stopped at ABC Store for a couple more things, then tore our suitcases apart in the parking lot to cram all the new stuff in. It was tricky!
Since we had a couple hours before we had to be at the airport, we drove back to Paia to see the surfers at Ho’okipa Beach.
matt hangs out with future rum
In Kahului, we stopped at Down to Earth market for Jungle Balls, a snack I’d been obsessed with since the last time I was in Maui 5 years ago. They’re SO GOOD. We then headed to the airport, dropped off the car, and shuttled to the terminal. Since we didn’t want to break our streak of hanging out in airport bars, we went to Sammy Hagar’s place (seriously!) for a beer. The Vikings game was even on TV there.
We flew to Honolulu at 5:00, which meant we arrived there by 5:45. We picked up our car and promptly named it Duke (in honor of Duke Aiona), then headed into Waikiki to find our hotel. The Outrigger Reef on the Beach was way nicer than I’d expected, and our room opened onto a lanai overlooking Waikiki Beach!
After the most basic of unpacking jobs, we picked the car back up from the valet and headed to La Mariana Sailing Club. We had good directions and a warning that it was extremely hard to find, but we still managed to get lost. After a U-turn in a scary-looking pier area, I caught a glimpse of neon and signs of life. (It makes sense it’d be hidden, since it is, in fact, on a boat harbor.)
The place was incredible. It’s one of the most oldschool tiki bars, serving all the classics, and it’s just a giant old room full of bamboo furniture and round booths. We had a couple appetizers are some delicious drinks, and we sad we couldn’t stay there longer. Unfortunately, we had a drive a good distance back into Waikiki.
We dropped the car off again and walked down the street in the general direction of the beach resorts. We found our way into the Sheraton (where they had a spectacular infinity pool I swore I was going to pool-crash the next day), and made a beeline for the bar called Rumfire, mostly because of the name. It was pretty fancy and the drinks were good, but the crowd and service weren’t great. There were a bunch of Australians trying to order drinks, and the bartender was annoyed at their unwillingness to open a tab or pay as a large group. I didn’t realize that was our first exposure to the Australians in Waikiki!
We crossed over to the Royal Hawaiian, the big resort everyone knows by its pink color on the beach (it’s gorgeous inside, too). Out back, we found the Mai Tai bar, as in the real thing. We grabbed seats and checked out the menu, which had four different kinds of mai tais. The bartender was excited we asked about the ‘secret’ mai tai (Trader Vic’s), and started to explain about falernum; we knew all about that, of course.
We sat there by the beach watching the other patrons, who were all very much wealthier and mostly non-American. The place was fascinating.
Since we had one important item on our to-do list for that evening, we headed out and wandered over to the nearby mall to find Senor Frog’s. The mall itself was closed, but we could hear that familiar pounding music upstairs and knew the bar was still open. We spent far too long puzzling over how to make the turned-off elevator work, considered scaling the walls, and then finally realized there was an escalator. Our problems were solved.
The place was nearly empty. There was a large family having dinner (it was 11:30pm), and a couple people at the bar. A dj was spinning, but nobody was dancing. We went to the bar, looked at the happy hour shot menu, ordered a couple of them, and I went to use the bathroom. After doing our shots (a lemon drop and ‘El Sexo’ in Colleen and Wendy’s honor) and collecting our souvenir shotglass, we were out the door. I’ve never seen a non-insane Senor Frogs!
At the bottom of the escalator, we encountered a giant group of drunk Australians. They demanded to know if Senor Frogs was up there and still open. We told them it was, but that going there might be a mistake, because it was empty and also really expensive. They asked us the same questions a few more times, and then asked where we were going. We told them the Yard House (our bartender had recommended it). They said they’d been there, and didn’t want a beer bar. We advised them that if they went to Senor Frogs they would be the party there, and they were fine with that. And now I will forever love me some drunk Australians.
We headed to the Yard House, which was indeed an amazing beer bar. They had hundreds of taps, and also beer cocktails. DELICIOUS. Needless to stay, we were probably there a little bit longer than intended, but it was worth it. Plus we’d finally managed to stay out close to closing time in Hawaii!