The plan was to drive around Oahu, stopping at all the yummy places to eat and maybe burn off some calories at a few of the beaches along the way. We had already gorged ourselves on malasadas from Leonard's the day before - original sugar as well as the pineapple custard-filled, haupia-filled, chocolate-filled, and sugar and cinnamon malasadas. I don't remember what we did after that.
Jim's first malasada
Jim and I waited outside the Waikiki Banyan for my brother Angel and Cousin Angel. I was surprised to see my mom sitting in the minivan as it pulled up. She wanted to go on the culinary tour of the island as well. I guess we had to watch our language and couldn't get too raunchy. Then Cousin Angel pointed out "The Semen Tree" where he lost his virginity, a bush where he made out with a cute Portuguese guy and other familiar-looking flora. I looked back at my mom - no reaction. She might be used to tuning us out by now.
It was a little cloudy when we left Waikiki and headed for Hawaii Kai for our first stop - Zippy's, "Hawaii's favorite foods". By the time we pulled into the parking lot, it was raining steadily. No worries, this is Hawaii after all - it rains, but it will soon pass.
I felt a little twinge when I ordered the same thing I always get - Loco Moco. It was really good, but I was eyeing Angel's Chili Moco - Zippy's has good chili and rice, what was I thinking? The skies cleared and I posited, "Every time we stop to eat, the rain stops. We should stop more." I pledged to get something new at the next culinary stop to make up for my early mistake. We drove up Kamehameha Highway towards Hanauma Bay.
We noticed the traffic cones blocking the entrance before we saw the sign, "Hanauma Bay closed on Tuesdays." Oh well, on to Sandy Beach. It was raining pretty steadily now. It didn't look like we'd be burning off any calories today. We drove past Sea Life Park and up the windward coast.
"Hey, didn't Cousin Minnie work at Sea Life Park when she was in college?"
"Yeah, she was a dolphin trainer."
"Didn't she quit because a dolphin went crazy and attacked her?"
"I thought it tried to have sex with her."
Then Angel, Cousin Angel, and I tried to outdo each other for the next few miles of amazing scenery with gross jokes about "Flipper del Banco", our cousin's half-dolphin love-child. I snuck a look at my mom sitting behind us in the mini-van. Still no reaction.
We passed by the Polynesian Cultural Center and had exhausted all dolphin jokes and tired of dolphin impressions. The beaches were rained out and we were almost to our next culinary stop, the shrimp trucks on the northwest side of the island. I could almost taste the garlic butter shrimp. We would have forged ahead, but my mom finally spoke up, "I need the restroom." Cousin Angel spotted the Mormon Temple on the opposite side of the road and suggested we turn around, use their facilities, and check out their Visitor's Center. I felt Angel resisting. He had to turn the van around on this two-lane stretch of Kamehameha Highway to go back. To the Mormon Temple. I should've heeded his instincts.
We got out of the mini-van and walked around the fountains, towering fan palms and lush gardens surrounding the Temple.
I looked around, then behind me at Cousin Angel, Jim and my mom. Someone was missing. "Where's Angel?"
Jim volunteered, "He's still back at the car."
"He said he didn't need to use the restrooms," added Cousin Angel.
"I need the restroom," my mom reminded me.
We made our way to the Visitor's Center. It was bright outside and I couldn't see inside. Cousin Angel opened the door for me and I led everyone inside. It took a split-second for me to realize, but I froze in my tracks the second I saw the ginormous statue of Jesus in the lobby. I tried to back up, but everyone else piled in behind me. Too late, we were sighted. A cute/creepy Asian girl in a blue muumuu approached us, "Aloha. Welcome to the Visitor's Center. Would you like to watch a short presentation on Jesus Christ? I love him so much."
I stammered and looked to my mom for help. The tour guide saw our hesitation, "It's very short, just a few minutes." Then my mom spoke up again, "I need the restroom."
Hallelujah! "I need to go too," I added and we all broke for the restrooms. Except for Angel, who was still at the car. There was no one in the ladies' room except for me and my mom, but we still didn't dare to speak freely. I wanted to ask her how we could get the hell out of there, but then another tour guide in a blue muumuu followed us into the restroom. We made it out to the Jesus statue and saw that Jim was on his feet, ready to bolt, but Cousin Angel was holding literature and sitting with creepy Asian chick. She got up, motioned for us to sit, and hit a button behind the Jesus statue. The lights dimmed slightly and Jesus spoke, "Hello, I am Jesus... "
Have you ever been to the Hall of Presidents on Main Street at Disneyland? The one where an animatronic Abraham Lincoln sits and talks with the audience? It was kind of like that except creepier and Jesus didn't move and he was something like 20 feet tall. Mercifully, the creepy Asian chick didn't lie about the length of time. As soon as Jesus stopped talking, we lept to our feet. Creepy Asian chick asked if we wanted to take the rest of the tour. Cousin Angel, quick thinker that he is, offered, "We have to hurry up and catch up with the rest of our group."
Just then, Angel walks into the Visitor's Center. I almost laughed out loud when I saw he had the same reaction I did, that recognizable "Oh shit," look and a small backward step towards the door to escape. I hoped he didn't need to use the restroom and added, "Oh there's our driver. Sorry, we have to go."
We all walked out rather quickly and I waited until what I thought was a safe distance before I asked Cousin Angel, "How creepy was that?" Cousin Angel stiffened and whispered, "She's right behind us."
I turned to see the creepy Asian chick had followed us out and was walking with us across the grounds to our car. I stopped and she thrust a piece of paper and pen in my hand, asking for my contact information. I shook my head, "No, thank you," and walked away. She stood there, waving goodbye to us as I we piled into the car. If Angel had been in there with us, I suspect the mini-van would've pealed out of the parking lot.
We tried to laugh the creepiness off of us, so we made all sorts of bad religion jokes as we sped away. It was raining slightly, but we saw it in the distance, the first shrimp truck. We weren't that hungry, but we figured we'd split a few plates and Angel could use the facilities. Warily, he asked, "Do I have to listen to Jesus to use this restroom?"
I joked, "No, it's a Buddhist bathroom."
Two garlic butter shrimp plates later, the rain subsided and we were on our way to the North shore and shave ice at Matsumoto's. Or was it Ted's Pies? I forget which came first, just that we were on an insane sugar high. We ended things with a late visit to the Dole Plantation on the way back. We planned on hitting that Chinese-style shave ice place in Aeia, but we were late for dinner at my aunt's house.
On our way back to Waikiki, we noticed a sign at all the bus stops along Kuhio, "Hanauma Bay is closed on Tuesdays." The signs were there all along, we just had to notice them.