Monday, September 29, 2008

Paradise, Day Ten

The sad day arrived. It was time to check out and head for home. We had to be out of our condo by 10 a.m., but our flight didn't leave until 10 p.m. There was still time for fun.

We walked down to Ala Moana Park which was the site of these family photos from 1970.

Mamma and I met Daddy in Honolulu for a little R & R while he was serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. I was almost two years old in these pictures, so I obviously don't remember this trip. I've seen them in photo albums and home movies all of these years, so it was an extra-special part of this vacation for me to visit the actual places. We stayed very close to this area, so I was able to see this park, the Ala Wai Canal, Ala Moana Shopping Center, and Fort DeRussy.

Isn't my daddy handsome? Look at my gorgeous mamma! You should see the pictures of me in a bikini on the beach. ;) That won't happen again in this lifetime!

It seemed fitting to make a few family photos here.

Then we set out to find Manoa Falls. For these waterfall junkies, it is a requirement to find at least one waterfall to enjoy. It was about a mile hike through very humid, rain forest terrain up to the falls. The trail was a gradually sloping incline, but it was very muddy and slippery.

*Note: While white shirts might look nice for photos, they are not the best choice of attire for this type of activity.*

The falls were beautiful, and we rested there for a while before heading back down the trail to our car.

It was almost game time, so we headed back to Giovanni Pastrami's to have lunch and watch the game on one of their big-screen TVs. Everyone knows how that whole deal went down, but the food was excellent.

We walked back down to the beach at Fort DeRussy for one last sunset and then headed on over to the airport as the day was ending for most folks in Honolulu. Not so for this crew! We boarded the plane around 10 p.m. and spent the night flying over the Pacific Ocean. We landed in L.A. about 6:00 in the morning and caught our final flight home.

It was 2:30 p.m. when we finally landed, but it seemed much later to us. We were all ready to get home and into our beds for a long, long sleep.

What a wonderful vacation! We had so much fun and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Regardless, one of the nicest things about going away is coming home. There's no place like it, we've heard.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paradise, Day Nine

We packed as much fun into this day as we possibly could. First stop was Hanauma Bay for what is reported to be the best snorkeling in Hawaii. We saw beautiful fish and tons of coral. Kevin and Perry even had a close encounter with a moray eel. However, we all agreed that this spot did not compare to Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii. Still it was a great experience and one we're so glad we had.

Our next spot was one we'd read about in our trusty guidebook. We followed the very detailed but sometimes odd directions to find the Spitting Cave. Taking many turns through a residential area, we followed the street until it ended and found an almost hidden public access trail which led to cliffs overhanging the ocean. The view was incredible, and as described we could hear the rumble of the cave spitting. Surf fills the cave until it is eventually spewed out in a shower of spray and foam.

As we took a few minutes to enjoy the beautiful scenery, we happened to see a pod of dolphins coming into view. They were really moving, but we were able to watch them for several minutes as they swam in front of us. There was a baby dolphin that delighted us all with playful leaps as he swam among the larger ones.

We also got to see three seals as they floated in the water below us. It was truly an amazing place, one of those unknown gems we happened to find. There was a lot for sale at the top of the cliffs. We jokingly studied the realty sign. What a bargain at only $3,475,000.00 for the lot. What are we waiting for?

After a quick lunch and another stop at Kailua Beach, we headed out to Goat Island. Mara had been wanting to visit this beach the entire time we've been here. The draw is the island just 720 feet offshore. The guidebook said it was possible to swim/walk out to the island, and our adventurers could not wait to try.

This beach is on the North Shore, so the surf was pretty strong here . Our brave ones pushed on through and explored the island, which is mostly a bird sanctuary, for a while. When they returned it was time to head back to Honolulu and start packing up our belongings.

We will be checking out in the morning and spending the day doing anything we've missed before our flight out tomorrow night. I have a feeling we'll be in some restaurant around 1:45 p.m. trying to catch a bit of some college football game. Go Dawgs!

Friday, September 26, 2008

He Loves Me

True love is what makes a husband map out the route to the fabric store in a strange city, then willingly walk the 1.35 miles there with his wife to look at bolt after bolt of Hawaiian fabric and make her feel like he is enjoying every moment. The fact that he buys what she chooses is a bonus!


Paradise, Day Eight

It's not all fun and games, but if you have to do chemistry, you might as well do it in Hawaii. We will have to return to the real world in a few days, and I need to be ready.

Let's not rush things, however. Let's go to the beach!

It was another gorgeous afternoon at Fort DeRussy Beach. The water was pleasantly cool, and the beach was sparsely populated. We stayed for another glorious sunset because we just couldn't resist. Could you?

The view in the opposite direction was almost as striking. The sun was hitting Diamond Head as though to illuminate its majestic features.

God's in his Heaven, -- All's right with the world. Robert Browning

Oh, but beware the giant chicken which is reported to be roaming around on Waikiki Beach.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Paradise, Day Seven

We were on the trail at Diamond Head by 7 a.m. this morning. The weather was absolutely perfect for a hike, and we were ready for more exploring.

We headed on up the coast, stopping at several scenic spots along the way. Our travel guides had it all under control, and we were happy to follow wherever they led.

The first stop was this scenic lookout near Hanauma Bay. The water was that gorgeous aquamarine, and there is much talk of returning to this spot for what is considered to be the best snorkeling in the state of Hawaii.

Next, we stopped at the Halewana Blowhole to see if we might be lucky enough to catch it spouting. The surf was just right, and we saw several eruptions here.

Back in La'ie, we headed for the point to see this fascinating arch formation which was made in one day when a tsunami hit the island.

Maybe it doesn't take millions of years, eh?

After our stop at La'ie Point, we headed back to the Polynesian Cultural Center to finish exploring all of the exhibits that we missed on Monday. It was another enjoyable afternoon, and we headed back home.

Amazingly, we ended up at Matsumoto's again. How convenient is that?

Diamond Head Crater

The trail begins with a nicely paved, gently sloping path.

Pavement disappears, but the path is still very smooth and easy to walk.

Hmm...a series of switchbacks makes things a little more interesting. We're pulling up this incline pretty well.

A series of 74 steps, a little challenging but no big deal.

Cool, a tunnel.

More steps? Are you kidding me? There are 99 in this set. A little bit of jumpy legs going on here.

Okay, this is a little bit ridiculous. Fifty-two more steps in the spiral staircase.

Climb up the ladder out of the garrison. No, I'm really serious.

Now, wasn't that worth all of the effort?

Oh, yeah. Here's where we've been, the inside of the crater.

Here's the reward. Wow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Paradise, Day Six

Now, this is the real thing. We stopped into Matsumoto's in Hala'iwa for authentic Hawaiian Shave Ice yesterday afternoon. Yum, yum, yum!

Everybody loved it, and we had fun just sitting outside on the benches, savoring our afternoon treat, and sampling everyone else's. They all chose one flavor selections, pineapple, cherry, root beer, tangerine, strawberry cream, and lime. I ordered the Matsumoto (why not?) which said it was coconut, lemon, and pineapple. I had no idea it would be so pretty! It was a great way to top off an already fabulous day. I wonder where my Snoopy Snow Cone Maker is. Hmm...

We started out the day at the Dole Plantation where we saw a neat demonstration on how to properly cut and serve a pineapple. We saw many different varieties of pineapple growing, and no it's not on a tree.

They plant over 28,000 pineapple plants in an acre. Nobody tell Granddaddy about that or we'll be plowing up an acre of Rockmore Farm to give it a try. They are planted and picked by hand, and yes, they are delicious. Most of the group decided to plunge into the pineapple garden maze, the world's largest in 2001. They had a great time searching for the eight checkpoints for a little over an hour.

Our young travel agent had also planned stops at Shark's Cove and Turtle Beach, so we got a little snorkeling in as well. Those figures in the water are our fearless explorers. They saw some huge fish and one sea turtle.

The stop at Turtle Beach was a good plan as we saw six or more Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. They are truly wonderful creatures.

On the way home, we saw this beautiful rainbow, our first for this trip.

All in all, another delightful day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Paradise, Day Five

Field trip day again! This one was not my fault. It was just such a wonderfully informative place, it turned into an educational day completely by accident.

We ventured out to La'ie to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center. It was a jam-packed afternoon of visiting with Polynesian islanders from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Hawai'i, and Tahiti. We watched them perform native dances and participated in some of their traditional crafts.

Our children were volunteered to learn the Samoan version of the Electric Slide. It involves coconut shells.

Brian was chosen to train for a new career as a Samoan chef. It seems that the men in Samoa are responsible for hunting, preparing, and serving the food. Accordingly, they need to know how to make fire.

I think he was relieved that they allowed the real-live Samoan to climb the coconut tree. Amazing!

There was a Pageant of Canoes which featured dancers from each island in their native dress. It was fascinating to see the similiarities and yet the differences in their music and movements. These dancers from Tahiti are known for their hippy movements. How do they do that?

There was just so much to do; it was difficult to get it all in. Before we knew it, the time had come for the luau. The menu featured many traditional Hawaiian dishes including poi, poke, lomilomi salmon, pipi kaula, kalua pua'a, chicken, fish, chicken long rice, Hawaiian sweet potatoes, pineapple, salads, beautifully purple taro rolls, and desserts like chocolate macadamia nut cake and coconut cake. Woo hoo! We were all a bunch of stuffed pigs.

The entertainment continued throughout dinner, with more Hawaiian music and dance.

After the meal, we headed over to see the evening show, Horizons, which featured more Polynesian song and dance. We especially enjoyed the fire walkers. The highlight of the evening was the Samoan fire dancer who delighted us with his phenomenal display.

Exhausted, we collapsed into bed at the latest time yet, 10:30 p.m. Zzz...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Two Things I Know For Sure

  1. Certain parts of one's body should never be pierced.
  2. Thong swimsuits are never a good idea.

Paradise, Day Four

Yesterday we had lunch at the Likelike Diner before our momentous Wal-Mart trip. Apparently what our boys ate didn't likey-likey them too much because they were stricken with the yucky stomach blues. As a result, today was a quiet and restful day for the most part.

After our devotional time this morning, we spent some time enjoying the beautiful water and warm sunshine. There is an excellent view of Diamond Head crater from the beach here. We plan to be making that hike at some point this week, and we are all anxiously anticipating that adventure.

We took a walk this afternoon down Ala Moana Boulevard and saw the Marina. There was one boat there which was so huge it even had a helicopter on deck. Do you think that is really necessary? Wow.

On our way back to the room, we stopped off at the Fort DeRussy Recreational Area to wait for the sunset.

Like so many things in life, it was definitely worth the wait. Ahh...