How does Hawaii sound for an escape? When I heard Left Coast Crime was going to be in Honolulu for 2017, I knew I had to be there for two reasons. First, that’s where my Trouble in Paradise McKenna Mysteries are set. Second, I was suffering from Hawaii withdrawal.
For this trip, Kathy and I had a little friend tagging along. Her name is Ariel Afuera, and she wanted to go everywhere with us. That was actually easy to accomplish because Ariel stands about two inches tall and fits in a pocket. Oh yeah, my kind of traveling companion.
We were staying in Waikīkī for nine days. Four of those were dedicated to Left Coast Crime, the rest were either travel or sightseeing days. We only rented a car once for our driving trip. If you’re going to Honolulu and staying in Waikīkī, consider options other than a rental car. It costs about $25 to park a car overnight and between the public transportation, the taxis, and Uber, you can get anywhere for less cost and with no hassle.
We began our driving tour with a stop for breakfast at the Koko Head Cafe. The only problem with this stop was we couldn’t find it! We easily found the address on 12th Ave., but the cafe was nowhere to be seen. It was time for a phone call. One of the staff was kind enough to stand in front of the cafe and wave his hands in the air as I walked around the block. It turns out their address is on 12th, but the front door is on a tiny street one block over. I wasn’t particularly surprised. This was, after all, Hawai’i. By the way, breakfast was worth the hassle. They had great food.
Our first stop on the actual tour was Halona Blowhole. If you’re not familiar with the term, a blowhole is a place where the ocean rushes through a lava rock tube and shoots vertically into the air. One of the best is Spouting Horn on Kaua’i, so we were disappointed when the blowhole was a bust. We visited during low tide so the tidal action was weak and the results far from impressive.
Although the Halona Blowhole was disappointing, the stop was still worthwhile. To the northeast, lava rock gives way to soft sand and the kind of beach Hawai’i is famous for. This is rightfully called Sandy Beach and whether you’re a shell seeker, a surfer, or just a virtual visitor, beaches like this are what everyone visualizes when they think of Hawai‘i. The really nice thing was Sandy Beach Park is only about a 15-minute drive and it has decent restrooms. Plus, the Halona Blowhole is easily visible, so we had a double bonus.
Our next stop was supposed to be Makapu‘u Lookout. Unfortunately, we got a little overzealous and though we might visit the Makapu‘u Lighthouse itself. The problem there was parking. Lots of spaces, but they were all filled. The second problem was the lighthouse is at the end of a long uphill hike. We took a vote and Ariel lost. She wanted to go to the lighthouse, the big people said no way, we’re moving on to the next stop on our travel guide, Makapu‘u Lookout.
Ariel was very pleased at the lookout. She still got to see the lighthouse and was able to have her photo taken with it in the background. We told her our next stop was my one “must see” on the trip, the Byodo-In Temple. She was strapped in and ready to go in no time.
The Byodo-In Temple is one of those incredible places where serenity seems to hang in the air. This is a privately owned temple, but is open to the public. The entrance fee is modest and helps to support the maintenance of the grounds. We were surprised to learn that they were in the middle of a major renovation while we were there. The workers had scaffolding all along the front of the building.
We spent a long time walking around the outside, then went inside to enjoy the quiet. This is a magnificent place and I’d recommend a visit if you even get to O’ahu. The grounds are perfectly manicured and despite all of the other visitors, remains on my must-see list of recommendations.
Even if you can’t make it to Hawai’i, you can enjoy its beauty. I post one of my Hawaii photos every Friday at terryambrose.com. I hope you’ll stop by to enjoy the view!
Terry, thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. I have always wanted to travel to Hawaii and this just makes me wish harder for the actual experience.
Whatever happened to easy? McKenna had the perfect cover for his plan to propose marriage. He and his girlfriend Benni would help his elderly tenant, Mrs. Nakamura, fly to Maui for a visit with her pregnant granddaughter. Then, he’d take Benni for a walk on the beach. He had a ring, but did he have the courage to pop the question?
The minute they land, McKenna’s perfect plan hits a snag. Mrs. Nakamura’s grandson-in-law is being accused of murder—and she wants her amateur sleuth landlord to investigate. Reluctantly, McKenna agrees to take the case with his friend Chance. They dive into an investigation that starts in a seedy hospitality club and goes straight downhill. Before they know it, the battle for Maui’s water is raging around the amateur sleuths and they have too many questions to answer.
Why was the murder victim living under a fake identity? Why is their client claiming he committed the crime? And, who is the mystery man stalking them?
About The Author
Once upon a time, in a life he’d rather forget, Terry Ambrose tracked down deadbeats for a living. He also hired big guys with tow trucks to steal cars—but only when negotiations failed. Those years of chasing deadbeats taught him many valuable life lessons such as—always keep your car in the garage.
Today, Terry likes fast, funny mysteries and cool photography. He writes the Trouble in Paradise McKenna Mysteries and organized an anthology to benefit Read Aloud America. He fondly likens his efforts to those of a blind man herding cats. Find him at terryambrose.com.
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