Friday, January 21, 2011

Hawaii - Day Eight

Our final day in Hawaii was nice and sunny so we headed to the beach one last time. After checking out of our hotel we hopped on a trolly for a ride around Waikiki.
We got out at the mall and walked back to the hotel where we were being picked up by a shuttle bus to the airport.
So long, Paradise. We'll be back.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hawaii - Day Seven

It was not the warmest day on our final full day in paradise so we decided to walk along the Ala Wai canal from one end to the other and then along the main strip back to our hotel. That may not sound like much it's a LONG walk! We stopped for lunch along the way to help break up the trip. It didn't help that Darcy was wearing shoes that hurt his feet! Silly boy. I think the whole trip took over three hours.
It tried to clear up a bit in the afternoon so we sat on the beach and read some before going to the Top of Waikiki revolving restaraunt.
It was 20 stories up
and had a great view.

Hawaii - Day Six

Another cloudy but warm day in Hawaii when we woke up Wednesday morning. But we had planned a drive to the North Shore, anyway, so the clouds didn't matter. Our first stop along the way was the Dole plantation. We learned how to pick out the perfect pineapple. (It should have no smell, the "eyes" should all be the same size, it shouldn't be soft, and color doesn't matter.) We also learned how to take the top of the pineapple and start your own pineapple plant at home. Somehow, I just don't think it would taste the same as a Hawaiian grown one.
This is what pineapple plants look like.
In the Dole Plant there was a guy making picture-letter names, so we got some for each of the kids.
After the pineapples we went on to the North Shore. We stopped at Hale'iwa Beach and watched some surfers.
It was very windy that day, but still not cold.
(I could get used that that not-cold part, real fast!)
The waves along the North Shore only got to be about 10-12 feet high. Sometimes they can get as high as 30 feet!!!
A local told us to hunt down Giovanni's Shrimp Truck because they made the best shrimp ever! We found it and had some. It was fine, but not the best ever, sorry.
We drove past the Polynesian Cultural Centre on our way back to where we were the day before. Being so windy out we decided to stop at the Blowhole one more time to see if we could see anything, and we weren't disappointed!
Then we went on to Hanauma Bay.
The waves were pretty big until they crashed on the coral reef, then the whole bay was very calm.
Calm, but the wind stirred up the water so it wasn't very clear. They said it was the worst day for snorkeling there in 5 years! But you come that far, you gotta go, anyway.
So we did, but not for very long.
We'll have to go back again on a nice calm sunny day and do it again.
(Oh, if you insist! :-)
For supper that night we went to the Cheesecake Factory.
We had a very unique salad called a Luau Salad that had all kinds of fun stuff in it.

Hawaii - Day Five

Bright and early Tuesday morning we got picked up to rent a car. Road signs in Hawaii are terrible! There were lots of signs to get on the highway going west, but were than any for going east? No. I guess the locals don't want to share their glorious beaches with the tourists. Having a map that was somewhat less than complete didn't help, either. But eventually we found the highway and headed eastward. The nice thing about travelling with no kids along was we could stop wherever looked interesting.
We saw lots of coconuts washed up on shore. We thought about using our newly-aquired knowledge of how to open them from the Polynesians, but didn't.
It would have been the perfect day to go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, but they were closed on Tuesdays. We stopped at the Blowhole, but the waves weren't big enough to blow anything. There was an amazing little bay there. No place to change, though, so we kept going.
We were told that the "first" beach was no good and we should keep going to the "second" beach, also known as Makapu'u Beach. The water was aqua blue, the sand was golden (and not at all hot to step on) and the waves there that day were amazing!
The life guard on duty there said there was a bit of an undertow and we shouldn't use our boogie board, but body surfing was still fun. The waves were about 6ft high. So much fun, but it definitely wasn't kid friendly. Good thing they weren't along!
After body surfing we dried out on the beach and finished reading our books. (If you look closely at this picture you can see a light house and some parachutes. There were about 6 of them and they would just float around in circles without ever coming down! Ok, I suppose eventually they came down, but they would stay up there for a long time!)
From there we went and found lunch and another glorious beach, Kalama beach. That beach just streched on and on for miles! We walked from one end almost to the other and back again.
Along the way we saw a sand chicken! If you know Darcy at all, you'll know that he's always joking with the kids about chickens, so if we told them we saw a chicken on the beach they wouldn't believe him without a picture to prove it.
After Kalama beach we went to Manoa falls and saw lots of unique plants. This is Darcy's hand against this leaf.
I can't imagine how old some of those trees must be.
The hike up got a little slippery but where else do you see steps like this?
We made it to the falls just in time to get back down before it got dark, then headed of for seafood at Red Lobster. Yummy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hawaii - Day Four

After another yummy pineapple breakfast on the beach
we were off to the Polynesian Cultural Centre for the day.
A bus picked us up at 10:30 and "Cousin Boyd" gave us a tour on the way to the other side of the island. Once we got there, we upgraded our tickets to have a guided tour that included lunch. The price of the upgrade wasn't much more than what lunch would have cost us, anyway. In one of the "villages" we stopped at they showed us some of the instruments they played including the conch shell, a nose flute and drums. Darcy volunteered to help in the drum presentation and I got the whole thing on video. When we got home Jaden had to watch it 5 times in a row - he loved it! As a thanks-for-participating they gave Darcy a hat woven out of leaves that had a fish on top. From the drums we went to the "river" where they showed us some of the traditional dances of the different nations. Unfortunately for us, the clouds decided that would be a good time to unleash a torrential downpour! Thank goodness we had those attractive ponchos. At least the kept us dry, and even though it was wet, it still wasn't cold out. "Cousin Rudy" showed us the canoes they used to travel in,
we saw how they opened coconuts
and how they made fire. At supper time we had a luau complete with fresh flower lei's, a king and queen, and a pig roasted in a hole in the ground. The meal included "poi" which is anything mashed (like potatoes) and even a purple poi bun! The evening show as amazing! (Unfortunately no cameras were allowed) "Cousin Boyd" who was our tour guide on the bus was the main "fire guy". It's amazing what they can do.