Our AM hike along the northwestern coast of Oahu was amazing. Let’s just say that it was TOO short. We got going really early but we should have been up at sunrise. If you are ever in Oahu I would highly recommend this hike. It is not at all strenuous but you walk the edge of the coastline and in morning you are in the shade with the ocean breeze in your face. Can’t think of a better way to spend a morning. Well, if we had brought our bathing suits we would have really enjoyed soaking in this lovely pool (below).
If you are on Oahu driving to the airport and running late and Yelp most helpfully recommends that Mike’s Drive In is a) right on the way and b) highly rated for great Chinese food… just remember that you are on Oahu and you have probably already had way better Chinese in New York City. Keep your expectations low. In fact, I would take all of Yelp’s highly rated ideas for Oahu with a healthy grain of salt. Dan’s, while very salty, was better than mine… he went for the oyster sauce chicken. I got the “famous” sweet & sour – kung pao which was as you would expect: typical, greasy Chinese food.
Observation of the day: there is no greater contrast that I can think of than the international departures terminal at the Honolulu Airport and the international departures terminal at JFK. Since we had stopped for lunch at Mike’s we were running very late for our flight to South Korea pushing right up to the limit for getting through security. However, if you are in an airport where everyone is on “island time” that is small and friendly, you are the only white people going to South Korea and the airport staff realizes how dumb you are getting there late they don’t yell at you and roll their eyes and make you wait like they would at JFK… nope, they take you by the hand, walk you to the front of the security line and tell you nicely that you will need to run after security since the gate is the last one at the end of the terminal in order to make your flight. Very. Helpful.
When we got to Seoul we took the train into Seoul Station and walked to the Hilton. I had booked it with points because I knew we would be arriving late and would want to be at a hotel that was easy to find and close to the station. The Hilton was “right across the street” from Seoul station but we didn’t realize that South Korea is topographically extremely mountainous. Our entire trip we would be constantly amazed how often we were hiking up hills. So getting to the Hilton was a trek with our packs on and after the time change and no sleep. The fellow checking us in was very excited to hear that we were visiting Korea for a full two weeks and wanted to know where we would be going. When we mentioned Ulleung-do he asked again to be sure that we were serious that we were going to the remote island. He seemed VERY surprised about this fact likely for reasons that would become more clear to us later on.