On Valentine's Day morning, after the Housemate had made me breakfast and presented me with a bunch of red roses and a huge box of Godivas (cliché, perhaps, but still sweet), we discussed what we wanted to do for the rest of the day until our dinner reservations. We decided we'd go snorkeling at Hanauma. Of course, by the time we got out of the house it was about 11:00, and I was concerned that we wouldn't be able to find parking at Hanauma Bay since it is such a popular and busy spot. Sure enough, as we reached the bay on the southeastern corner of the island, there was a sign saying the lot was full.
We agreed: let's keep going. There were more beaches up the East Shore past Hanauma. Not as good for snorkeling, but we could still go swimming. However, by the time we passed the third crowded beach not five minutes later, we reached a new decision: let's drive all the way around the island. Well, at least up to the North Shore and then back down the H2 (we had just driven all along the West Shore the previous weekend, so we could take the short cut inside of that coastline). Both of us had been up the East Shore as far as Kailua, and we had been to Kaneohe by cutting across the island from Honolulu, but neither of us had seen the part of the coast between Kailua and Kaneohe or between Kaneohe and Turtle Bay at the northern point on the island. It wouldn't be hard to navigate--just keep the ocean to our right. And it would be an adventure.
And so we spent the whole afternoon cruising around the island. We stopped for some fancy tropical smoothies in Kailua. Just outside downtown Kailua I saw a stand on the side of the road--much like you'd see a stand for fresh papayas or malasadas, or pickled mango or kalua pig--with a sign saying "Fresh Ukuleles". Mmm. I pointed out the funny stand to the Housemate, and he immediately turned around. He plays guitar and has been in the market for an ukulele since arriving here. The trouble is that the cheap ones are crappy and the good ones are expensive. These "fresh" ukulele were great--they were hand made on the island out of koa wood, sounded great, and weren't too expensive. He bought one. And so we got back on the road with ukulele and chord sheet in hand.
Of course, the Housemate was driving, so I was the one who got to sit in the passenger seat strumming on the ukulele as we continued around the island. The weather was beautiful. We stopped at two beaches along the way, but we didn't go swimming. It wasn't the most environmentally friendly adventure (took under half a tank of gas, though), but it was lovely.
Dinner at Roy's was delicious, and it was the Housemate's first experience in "fine dining" (i.e., when they give you a huge plate with a little pile of food in the middle that looks, especially with the colorful dashes of sauce, like artwork and tastes unique and exciting and delicious). Still, the car ride was the best part of the day. The Housemate driving with me strumming on the ukulele as we pass palm trees and picturesque coastline, windows down to let in the warm ocean breeze. A perfectly Hawaii Valentine's Day, and a moment worth remembering.