is the heart of the tourist
scene in Honolulu
. The Waikiki skyline,
situated 5 miles east from downtown Honolulu,
is a forest of boxy hotel
towers hugging the coastline.
The narrow beaches
are usually packed with people tanning
and playing in the sand
, and the Waikiki streets host
scores of restaurants, clubs, clothing shops, and the ubiquitous
"ABC" convenience stores.
Just as Las Vegas has lost the luster of the glory days
of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin,
Waikiki isn't the hottest
vacation spot in Hawai'i anymore, having passing on her crown to
the resorts in Maui. Still, the beaches,
streets, and restaurants are filled with ordinary folk here
on vacation, which is fine by me.
Facing south and west, the sunsets in Waikiki can be
breathtaking and are best enjoyed from an extravagent, elegant
restaurant on the beach. Even as the sunlight slips away, swimmers
and kayakers glide across the ocean water.
Oahu is not a big island and highways allow easy transport
by rental car or public bus to the
other coasts to the north, east, and west. My favorite escape
from touristy Waikiki was the Lanikai Beach and Kailua
area on the windward (east) side of Oahu.