Thursday, October 7, 2010

Manoa Falls and Acai Bowls

The adventures continued on Sunday when I went to Manoa Falls.  Manoa Falls is a spectacular site near the University of Hawaii that falls down a near vertical cliff for approximately 150-feet into a small pool.  The hike to the falls is classified as "easy" and travels through a bamboo forest, rainforest, and base of the Ko'oaus Mountains. The trail is approximately a 1 ½ mile hike, but it’s more of a “walk” than anything else.  The toughest thing about getting there is that it is fairly muddy and slippery.  But for the most part it’s flat and easy to get to.

When you walk up on the falls, it just opens up and in front of you stands a 150-ft waterfall with a pool at the bottom (see: left).  They have the pool roped off to keep people from swimming, but everyone seems to ignore the sign.  It’s hard not to want to swim just for the sake of being able to say you did.  However, the pool is filled with boulders from some rock slide that happened a few years ago and the bottom of the pool cannot be seen making it unsafe for swimming or diving.

I found out about it from a friend I met a couple weeks ago who lives around the corner.  So we decided to go after the Sunday football games were over.  I recommend going a little earlier though so you don’t have to fight the encroaching dark like we did. It can be tough to navigate your way around in the dark and the dense trees of the rainforest don’t let much light in as it is.

Following the hike I was introduced to another Hawaii staple: Acai Bowls.  The way people described them to me sounded a lot like frozen yogurt or Jamba Juice smoothies.  For the most part that is an accurate way to think about them.  However, they are more of a meal than anything else.  They’re huge.  Acai juice is everywhere nowadays, anyway.  Celebrities are drinking and eating the berries, doctors recommend it and of course tons of companies are in business to capitalize off the acai berry juice.  Talking to people in Hawaii you’d think they found the cure to cancer or something.  Everyone here will tell you how healthy acai bowls are, which is particularly humorous when you went and drank your face off with them the night before.  It’s like those people who shoot up heroin but don’t eat red meat because of the dangerous side effects. 

Anyway, acai is said to have between 10 and 30 times more antioxidants than grapes, pomegranates, and even blueberries. Because of the extensive vitamins, amino acids, minerals, Omega acids, and other properties, the acai berry is also supposed to be one of the most nutritionally dense berries on the planet.  (According to whom, you may be wondering? Well, I have no idea, but here’s a blog that talks about the health benefits: Whatever.  After the hike I was hungry and everyone keeps talking about them, so we went and got a bowl.  There are a lot of places you can find them, but we went to Lanikai Juice, which is over by the Kahala Mall about 15 minutes from Manoa Falls.  

The bowl is basically jamba juice with toppings.  It is not a smoothie, though.  You definitely need a spoon to eat it.  They put toppings on like strawberry, banana (for people who don’t despise banana like the shit-tasting fruit it is), coconut, and honey.  Overall, I’d say the bowl was very good.  I would definitely have another one, but it’s not the holy grail of foods, though.  I didn’t eat a bowl and suddenly think I was some High Priest of Health, or anything.  They are also expensive.  For one bowl, it’s like $9 (now, that’s Hawaii pricing, so in civilization it’d probably be like $4-5).  Nonetheless, if you’re in Hawaii for a visit, it might be worth giving an acai bowl a try before going out for ice cream or frozen yogurt after dinner.

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