Day 7: Waikiki by Foot

Without a car we had little choice but to explore the beach at Waikiki and surrounding areas by foot. But we had planned it that way. That’s what we wanted to do. And, do it we did.

After a breakfast of yogurt and a muffin purchased from the ABC store last night, I went out with my tracker and walked down the beach and back again for three miles. It was lovely. The sun was shinning and a few spotty showers moistened the area, but it was altogether “magical,” as the kids would say. I enjoyed the sights, the sounds, the flora and the fauna.

I started out by turning right out of the lobby and right again into the grounds of old Fort DeRussy, which is now a city park. For almost 100 years it was an Army recreation center and served as a major place of R&R for soldiers from Vietnam.

By the time I got back from my walk, my walking partner was ready to emerge and walk with me. While out, I had passed Battery Randolph, now an Army museum in the park. Unfortunately, it didn’t open until 10:00, so I walked on. Now, deciding where to go and what to do, I suggested we might start our day with a visit there.

It was a lovely museum and by the time we had finished going through the history of the U.S. Army presence in this area through six wars, we were long over due for some substantial lunch. My walking partner had scoped out The Steak Shack while I was in the museum bookstore, so we set out trying to follow our tracker to this lunch destination. The only problem was, we simply couldn’t find it. We would walk one way and then another. Back the way we came and back again. The Steak Shack was illusive. But we did not give up. Stumbling on a Starbucks, I went in to ask how to get to The Steak Shack. The directions reminded us of directions in D.C. – where there are no straight roads or 90 degree turns. But, eventually we found the Waikiki Steak Shack and were glad we did. It was fantastic. Just a little shack, they served only one thing: steak, rice, and salad. Your only option was how much steak you wanted – 6 oz.; 10 oz.; 12 oz.; or 14 ounces – and what kind of dressing you wanted on your spinach. When our boxes were filled, they called our name and we followed the line before us to get a little picnic table and sit by the beach to eat. While enjoying our steak we met a couple from Illinois enjoying their steak, too. We commiserated about the price of food here and its mediocre quality; but both of us agreed The Steak Shack was a priceless find.

After lunch we walked on through the winding trails of hotel lobbies and street shops that wove their way along the beach route. The sun came out. Then it would rain and the sun would come out again. At the International Market, an outdoor market on the street, we felt like we were running a gauntlet to get past all the hawkers vying for our attentions. But we did stop and buy a few trinkets. One thing we learned about ourselves is we are poor hagglers. When the expected thing to do is haggle, we sadly come up short. So, I’m sure we paid much more for small things than we should have, but I think this entire state survives on a tourist economy. At least we felt we did a little to help support that.

We sat along the beach for a while and enjoyed the sun as the surf rolled in and the people strolled by. Then we walked back to our hotel to get off of our feet. We watched the national news for the first time in days, then went out in search of a light dinner. We wanted not only lighter fare, but a lighter fare. We actually found neither, but we did have an interesting walk trying to find the place. We did our usual – walk this way and back again; no, this way and back again, before a kind pedestrian overheard us and asked what we were looking for. “Roundtable Pizza,” we answered. She informed us it was located in the Royal Hawaiian Village, and even then we couldn’t find it by a direct route.

I’m convinced everything here is difficult to find so that you lose your concentration and give up, settling for something else along the way. But, we did eventually find the Roundtable and got a salad and small pizza to share. It still totaled over $50!

But the walk back to the hotel along the beach at night was worth the price. No one else was about and the birds were singing; the waves lapping; the stars shinning and a periodic gentle rain falling. What a wonderful way to end a day of exploring Waikiki by foot. Having seen and explored everything we could in a day, now we’ll put our feet upĀ for the rest of the night.