72 hours in Oahu: Day 1

My sister, who is also a civil engineer, has been working on this project in Hawaii for the past year. She visited over the summer and had to go back again for the final inspection this month and I tagged along. I used my United points, so in the end my flight only cost $80, which was awesome. It's the first time I've taken advantage of a bunch of points I've collected over the years, and I think this was the most appropriate and worthwhile use.

We flew out last Thursday morning and landed in Honolulu in the afternoon. Sure, it was a lot of travel time compared to the actual amount of time we had on the island, but it was a welcome distraction from some work-related hideousness and my hatred of the cold winter we've been dealing with.
It was a quick trip and v. eventful (because we were there when the false missile alarm went out) but it was really relaxing and just what I needed.

Here's what I packed:
And here's my map:

After we landed, we grabbed our rental car and headed to the hotel to check in.
Because my sister's job site was on Sand Island, we stayed in Waikiki. We got a decent deal on the Hyatt. The rooms were clean and comfortable and the staff were really nice. We especially enjoyed the ukelele player entertaining people waiting for the elevator.
We were pretty hungry after our long flight so we went and got some musubi for a snack to tide us over until dinner time.
We enjoyed our musubi by the pool and then napped in the sunshine for a few hours.
For dinner, we went to Marukame Udon. It was pretty busy so we ended up taking ours to go so that we wouldn't have to wait around for a seat.
I would fly back to Honolulu just for this udon. It was so delicious. We shared the spicy chicken udon (which was a limited time special) and the niku udon. The broth was rich and flavorful without feeling overly heavy and the noodles were sublime.
We sat out on our lanai and watched the sky turning pink as we slurped our noodles. (This imagery is somewhat inaccurate as my sister and I both hate slurping sounds. We gingerly and politely ate our noodles.)
Jetlag hit us pretty hard that night so we fell asleep before 8PM.
The next morning, M got up really early to go to work. I woke up shortly after she left and watched the sunrise and headed to breakfast.
A quick yelp search sold me on Heavenly.
I went for the açai french toast special with big island honey (they use a lot of locally sourced ingredients). I fell in love with this breakfast. The french toast itself was made with delicious, fluffy Japanese milk bread. There were so many berries and they were perfectly sweet. And the cloud-like pile of açai whipped cream was the perfect light accompaniment to this dessert-for-breakfast.
After breakfast, I went to hang out on the beach. I walked about two or three miles from one end of Waikiki to the other, enjoying the sand between my toes and the way the sky slowly lit up. At one point, I was on Instagram and a dog ran up and stole one of my sandals so I had to chase after her; it was great exercise.
When my sister got back from work, we used the local bike share to head to lunch. It's $3.50 per 30 minute ride or you can sign up online for either a 300 minute pass that you can use at your leisure for $20 or a monthly pass with unlimited 30 minute rides for $15. We opted for the individual rides because we knew we'd only use the bikes three times.
For lunch, we wanted ramen so we went to Wagaya after reading the great reviews. We were especially intrigued by the fact that we could customize both the spice levels and saltiness.
There was a special deal where you could order a couple of appetizers for just $3 so we went for the option that gave us karaage (fried chicken) and gyoza (dumplings). Both were delectable.
M got the spare rib tan tan men, which was fantastic. The broth had a delicate balance of savory and spice and the pork was so tender. The noodles were perfectly chewy too.
I went for the garlic tsukemen. The broth was almost sweet, thanks to the garlic, and I loved how meaty it was. The soft-boiled egg was executed flawlessly and the little accompaniments sprinkled on top, including yu choi and seaweed, were so delicious as well.
For dessert, we got some shave ice. We were pretty stuffed with ramen so we shared a cup of mango and matcha shave ice. I wasn't sure about the combination I chose but it ended up being really delicious. I love shave ice so much; the texture is what makes this perfect and it puts Italian ice to shame.
After our snack, we hopped back onto bikes and headed to Foodland. I wanted some more reusable shopping bags because they sell the cutest designs. While we were there, we picked up a couple of bags of chips to enjoy as snacks on the beach and thinking forward to our flight back home.
On our way back to the bike share location, we stopped at this little pet supply store. They had some really adorable items for sale, including Hawaiian shirts for dogs, but everything was just a bit too pricey to justify. I think I might DIY a Hawaiian shirt for George Michael to wear on spring break this April.
Even though we'd already stuffed our faces with so much food, I couldn't resist dragging M to Leonard's for their famous malasadas. If you've never had a malasada, you must find somewhere (good) to try some. They're just piping hot donuts tossed in sugar and they are great. The dough is really chewy and light and it just hits the spot.
After our afternoon full of food, we headed back to the hotel, grabbed some beach chairs, and lounged by the water for a few hours. It was so relaxing and the sun felt amazing. As we were making our way back through the hotel, we caught a bit of the Friday afternoon performance of hula dancers. It was so much fun.
For dinner, we decided to get tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet).
This place was kind of extra; there was just a lot of flair. However, the food was so great, it was worth the fanfare and theatrics.
I got the gin-katsu, which was a generously thick cutlet with spicy, crunchy panko breading. It game with a generous pile of shredded cabbage which I dressed with their delicious sesame dressing. The accompanying pickles were just so-so. But the steamed rice served in the weird little pot was cooked just to my liking, on the drier side.
M went for the katsu curry, which was great. I forgot to snap a photo of her dish after she'd poured on the curry. But, I'm sharing a video diary soon and you can catch some footage there.
Every Friday evening, the Hilton does fireworks so that's where we decided to end our evening. It was quite enjoyable.
After the fireworks, we headed back to our hotel to settle in. Again, thanks to jetlag, we fell sound asleep immediately.