Calcite crystals on the soles of her shoes

I’m pretty sure flip-flops and a handbag aren’t part of the recommended outfit for hiking Diamond Head crater, but hey-ho. I was in Hawaii with 4 hours to spend before my flight back to LA, so it seemed a delightful idea. Outfit schmoutfit.

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Top of photo: appropriate footwear (model unknown). Bottom of photo: inappropriate footwear (author's own).

Besides, my left little toe had a blister from an overly-ambitious 20-minute stroll in high heels the night before, so I was glad of the open footwear. I was in Hawaii for work, you see, so I wasn’t prepared for much other than office and plane attire. Packing had been a hasty affair, to say the least, having flown into LA from London the day before on our way back from a family trip to the UK. But who was I to turn down the opportunity for a 2-day work trip to the Aloha state (a place I hadn’t visited until this point), even if it meant being back at LAX airport within 14 hours of leaving it? And what were my years of master packing training for if not this moment?

So here I am in Hawaii, super comfortable flip-flops (an Australian brand called Slappa’s Thongs (paid link) - seriously the most comfortable flip-flops ever) and handbag (a DKNY tote bag, similar in size and style to this Bryant Signature tote (paid link), for the curious among you) all ready to go. The guide suggests it’s a 45-minute hike to the top, so I was rather pleased with myself when I got up there in just over half an hour. Granted, I was a party of one so I could set my own merry pace (both in terms of steps and frequency of photo stops), plus I started just before 9am when the trail wasn’t too crowded. Change either one of these variables and I’m sure 45 minutes would have been right on the money.

diamond head trail

diamond head trail

The views on the way up were pretty, but the view from the top was definitely worth making the final climb up to the lookout point.

view from the top of diamond head

view from the top of diamond head

I even experimented with panorama mode as it’s rather impressive that you can see the width of Oahu (the main island) from the top.

view from the top of diamond head

The lookout point above sits atop a bunker which affords a pretty cool view too.

view from lookout bunker

It’s not a terribly strenuous hike, but I’m not sure how well very young children would manage it, and those with health concerns would do well to heed the warnings: there was a teenage girl clearly struggling with asthma who was being helped back down by her encouraging family to a waiting ambulance. I almost stopped to offer up my inhaler, only to realise I wasn’t carrying it in my (hiking) handbag. I’m in slight denial about my own asthma so I’d left my inhaler in my suitcase back at the hotel. I was frustrated that I couldn’t help, but even more grateful that I’d checked before offering up false hope. I won’t hike without it again.

diamond head steps

Anyway, once back at the base I declined to visit the undeniably appealing pineapple sorbet truck and instead legged it down the main road (through a fabulous crater tunnel) to meet my colleague for brunch.

tunnel entrance

We visited Mud Hen Water, a truly lovely cafe that had been recommended by one of our (also lovely) clients the day before, where we shared a most interesting fish-based equivalent of a charcuterie with quite possibly the best ricotta I’ve ever tasted, and topped it off with a shared serving of banana pancakes. Yum!


Getting a Lyft back to the airport proved to take a bit longer than anticipated - traffic in Hawaii can be pretty bad, second only to LA I’m told - and then the security line at the airport took a full fifteen minutes (though the staff were the nicest airport security people I’ve met yet - friendly, helpful, and they even SMILED!). But the island gods were clearly smiling on me as my flight was delayed by an acceptable 30 minutes, which gave me just enough time to nip into the gift shop for souvenirs. Phew!

souvenirs - jewellery, toy car and honey

Well, dear reader, I’m writing this from the flight back and they’ve just announced that we’re about to start our descent. There must have been something in the water in Hawaii today because the Alaska Air cabin crew on this plane have been in a fabulous mood. I particularly liked it when the safety demo crew member nearest me made a slow inflating “puff” through his cheeks as he pretended to inflate the life jacket. It was on a par with the birthday jig I witnessed one client do for another yesterday (and the up-until-that-moment seemingly shy IT chap even knew my colleague and I were watching!). It’s the little moments people, the little moments. :)

Here’s to hiking in flip-flops, and Hawaiian water. Mahalo Hawaii!


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