October 20, 2012 - Waikiki

After leaving the Ala Moana Shopping Center, we drove into Waikiki.  It was super busy, but we managed to find a parking place close to the famous International Market Place.

Honestly, its not my favorite place as it is geared toward tourists.  Although, I do love the Bayan Trees up front..

Anyway, we ended up walking on to Kalakaua Avenue, the main street going through Waikiki, and walked to the Moana Surfrider.

While it is now a Westin Resort & Spa, the Moana Surfrider is one of the most historic hotels in Waikiki.  Once known as the Moana Hotel, it was the first hotel to open in Waikiki.  Built in the late 19th Century, it is also known as the First Lady of Waikiki.  The hotel is also the location for one of the country's still unresolved murder mysteries.  Jane Stanford, a co-founder of Stanford University and wife of then California Governor Leland Stanford, was found dead from poisoning in her room here.  Who did it is still a mystery!

Of course, guess what I wanted to see?  The Banyan Tree in the middle of the outside courtyard.  It has actually been listed on Hawaii's Rare and Exceptional Tree List.

We then walked along the beach so that my cousin could see Waikiki Beach as well as get a view of Diamond Head.

The beach was super crowded and made me appreciate the fact that Disney did not build its resort in Waikiki, but on the other side of O'ahu.  Ko Olina being an oasis and harder to get to, you feel like you're truly in paradise.

When we returned to Kalakaua Avenue, we passed by the Stones of Life (Na Pōhaku Ola Kapaemahu A Kapuni) which are said to be the living legacies of four wizards from Tahiti who settled in Waikiki and used their powers to help people.

And, then, before we had to turn back, we paid our respects to the statue of Duke Kahanamoku, one of Waikiki's most famous historical figures.  A five-time Olympic medal winner in swimming, Duke Kahanamoku also helped popularized the sport of surfing which, until that time, was little known outside of Hawaii.

After that, we walked back to the car and picked up some more malasadas at Leonard's Bakery which was not too far away and, thankfully, right along our route back to the freeway.  LOL!


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