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I love the islands

A recap of my two weeks in Hawaii

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I knew going into this trip that my stay in Oahu would be anything but the traditional Hawaiian vacation, since Honolulu is such a big city, but I didn’t know it would be this much of a good time.

Sure, there’s the hustle and bustle of pimps, thugs, hookers and way too many tourists, but when you’re with someone who knows how to navigate the scene, it’s awesome.

The restaurants are so incredible. The most noteworthy was this spot called Town, an organic Hawaiian house that changes its menu every single day. Everything bought from the kitchen was perfect, right down to the mahi and the baby carrots with this sauce that was so tasty I almost licked my plate.

Ninja J also took me on a road trip to the North Shore. Along the way we stopped at a shrimp shack where they took the live shrimp from the farm and cooked them up on site. It was the tastiest spicy garlic shrimp I think I’ll ever have.

Farther down the road, we picked up succulent mango and chomped on fresh sugar cane. My mouth is still watering from that.

Along the way I got to hear stories about the legendary Eddie Aikau. If you don’t know about him, you should really look it up. Eddie would go!

Another story that Ninja J shared was how she once graced the cover of newspapers when she was the high school mascot, and she beat up all of the cheerleaders. Hilarious.

Our final destination before the car ride home was Sunset Beach. The sand between my toes felt like therapy, and the entire landscape was so very relaxing and tranquil.

But my favorite beach was Waianae’s Pray for Sex (yes, that’s actually the name).

This town is one that rental car companies urge their drivers to never ever go to because it’s truly locals only. Once I learned about that aspect of it, I couldn’t wait to go. When we arrived, there wasn’t a single howlie in sight, and there were lots of hang-loose fingers flying. Luckily, Ninja J drives a monster old-school Bronco with a rusted bumper, and we were both so bronzed that we fit in quite nicely.

The Pray for Sex beach (even the locals call it that) had a population of three: Me, Ninja J and her dog Yarra. Naturally, there’s a photo of me at this beach praying intently.

On my final evening, Ninja J took me out with some of her girlfriends for hipster night in this emerging area between Chinatown and downtown. We went to this beautiful Eurasian restaurant called Indigo that serves up $3.50 martinis such as sangria and cosmopolitans. The atmosphere and the people-watching were outstanding.

We made another bar stop in this part of town, but I can’t mention the name of it because I wouldn’t want them to get into trouble, since they unlawfully allow indoor smoking. Rebel yell!

We ended the night at Moose McGillycuddy’s in Waikiki. Ninja J and I caused all kinds of trouble, and everyone bought us drinks for it, and we danced like rock stars.

Bottom line: Ninja J sent me off in style.

The next day was greeted with such great anticipation because I was heading to Maui to meet up with her royal nastiness, Natasha, and 20 of our other friends who were flying in for Tate and Mia’s wedding.

I waited around for Natasha at the airport, and once reunited, we made one of the smartest decisions of the whole trip: We upgraded our rental car to a convertible. That’s hot.

There was nothing like rolling into Kihei with the top down listening to island music.

Right when we got in, we went to a Mexican restaurant called Fred’s. We fell so in love with it that we ate there every night, especially since Fred’s won the handsome bartender award each evening.

Following, we joined the rest of our friends at a sushi karaoke bar called Sensai for their late night happy hour. After that, we hopped over to Tiki Lounge, which is located in the Triangle. That’s where all of the nightlife action is. We were holding an unspoken dance competition, and I think our friend Timmy won, just based on sheer grinding ability.

Most of our days on Maui were spent at the beach and the pool. Natasha gets so very brown with just an ounce of sun, and it cracks me up because people always think she’s a local. Even better, the guys here approach her like crazy. I always tell Natasha that she should move to Hawaii, and every time, she just smiles and says, “I’m thinkin’ about it.”

The wedding itself was as wonderful as all of the rest of the trip. It was a small collection of very close friends with a traditional Hawaiian minister at the Wailea Gold Golf Course. Tate and Mia are two of the most important people in the world to me, and witnessing the love between them on this day and so many others made me cry. My eyes are actually welling with tears again as I write this.

The reception was fun, too. Natasha sat with our friends from high school: Brett, Rachel, Tony Two Times and Erica, and our other pals that Tate went to Seattle University with: Jason, Holly and James.

I landed a lucky spot with the jokester table with Kurt, Mary, Flan, Tommy, Panger, Houck and my impromptu date, Teen Wolf. Our table got into trouble because we drank too many mai tais.

At the conclusion of the reception, we did what every party animal would do, we went to Lu Lu’s in the Triangle and danced the rest of the night away.

The next afternoon, Natasha and I decided to head to Lahaina, the adorable town about 40 minutes away from where we were staying. On the way, the radio station was playing such great music. When the Foo Fighter’s “My Hero,” came on, Natasha and I immediately looked at one another and she read my mind and cranked it up. We decided the song was the best accompaniment for that switchback highway that rolls along the ocean with water so blue that I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it.

Lahaina was adorable with great shops and a few tourist traps. We got shaved ice and watched the people and the day go by.

On the way back, we had to stop by the Maui Ocean Center to catch a glimpse of the fish that you really can’t see anywhere else in the world. The coral reefs with BIG fish were outta this world.

During our very last night on the island, we went to an Irish bar called Mulligan’s in Wailea, where the house band was playing every song I know. Then we went back to Tiki Lounge, where we were surrounded and adored by locals and tourists alike.

Following, we tucked ourselves into bed for the long haul home.

In our very last convertible ride on the way to the airport, the Oasis song “Champagne Supernova” eased in over the radio. That was such a perfect ending to one of the most amazing trips I’ve ever had.

So now that Natasha and I are on an airplane way up in the sky, we wanted to ask you one really good question:

Where were you while we were getting high?

I’m Carmen, your new chameleon.  Drop me your favorite parties here.

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