Thursday, November 19, 2015

The rest of the trip

The last part of our time in Hawaii were a bit less fast paced, but we still did a few things of note. My mom took Harriet to the Honolulu Zoo so that Steve, our friend Zac and I could go hike up Diamond Head. The day was a really hot and humid, but we toughed it out and enjoyed the beautiful views from the top. Since it is the very beginning of the tourist season it wasn't very packed on the trails, which was great.  It took about 45 mins to get up. It was very amusing to see some of the attire "hikers" wore on the trail. One Asian tourist was wearing high heels. Parts of the trails had very uneven rocks under foot, she was clearly not prepared.

A view of Waikiki.

A partial view of the crater at the top.

This picture cracks me up. It looks like Steve and I are traveling with our shirtless Australian cabin boy or something.

Later we spent some more time at the beach and we even got a rainbow sighting.

One night, my mom stayed back with Harriet and we met at large group of people from the wedding at the Elk's lounge because someone in the group was a member. Probably the more picturesque elk's lounge in the country! No windows and right on the water.

One day Steve and I went to Rainbow Drive In for lunch on the recommendation of our Hawaiian-native neighbor Esara who said this is where all the locals eat. Grease-a-ific, but there were a ton of locals there.

We saw some street art on our way over and back.
We came upon this vintage Hawaiian shirt store. They had shirts for as much as $60,000.

Phone booths seemed to be everywhere.

On our last day there I decided to take surfing lessons. I have always wanted to do it and this seemed like the perfect place. First you practice your form on the beach and then you had out in the ocean and the instructors yell at you (nicely) and tell you to paddle and then when to get up on the board at the perfect time to catch the wave. I really enjoyed it even though it was truly exhausting and my body hurt for an entire week afterwards. I, shockingly, had pretty good luck getting up and staying up on the board.

Harriet wrote this note the last night we were there (with some help on spelling). "Harriet Hawaii. We had the best time." That pretty much sums up the trip. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Matt and Amber's wedding

Wedding time! There were 50 of us who all came for the wedding from all over. The night before everyone gathered for the welcome dinner at the Shorebird and it was fun to see a lot of people for the first time in Hawaii. It was a fun place and a bit different because you order and then they bring out raw meat and you have to go cook it yourself on these huge grills. So I guess if the meat isn't cooked right, it's your own fault!
On to the wedding... Amber and Matt hired a coach bus to take all of us to the other side of the island to Kualoa Ranch where there is this private "island" for the wedding ceremonies. Island is in quotes because it is actually a peninsula when you look at a map, but you take a boat (below) over there. Pretty fun. As it happened, it was pouring rain leading up to the wedding and things weren't looking good. There really wasn't anywhere else to have the wedding so, as luck would have it, the rain stopped about 20 mins before the ceremony. Perfect timing.
We entered the island and walked through this beautiful forest of strangely-shaped trees that canopied the winding path and then come out at the beach.

Our friends Deb and her son Zac came from Australia for the wedding we had a great time hanging out with them during the week.
Flower girl inspecting her bouquet before the ceremony. Harriet walked down the aisle muttering to herself about how she was not sure what she should be doing or where she should be sitting. It was pretty funny.
Jonny, Becky, Matt, Amber and Raymond after the wedding.

Professional pic at the reception.

Every Friday night there are fireworks (not actually pictured here) after the sunset at Waikiki and so we were able to watch them while we were having dinner since we all sat out on a balcony with this view. Harriet had never seen big fireworks before so it was a big thrill for her. The reception was a lot of fun and enjoyed the cool breeze high up on the balcony. We loved being a part of this wedding and we are so happy for Matt and Amber.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Polynesian Cultural Center

Day 4 we first went to a Swap Meet at the Aloha Stadium, pretty fun, but it was hot out on the asphalt! Next we drove to the Polynesian Cultural Center, which is kind of like an EPCOT, but just for the Polynesian islands. The Polnesian islands are made up of: Tonga, Tahiti, Fiji, Hawaii, Samoa and New Zealand. We spent the day there and did tons of activities that related to the different islands. It opened at noon and we appeared to be one of the first groups of people there and the place was eerrily deserted. We were the first in line for the IMAX theatre and there were only about 10 people in the theater. The cultural center quickly filled up though.  The place is broken up into different polynesian islands and in each section you can/see different things pertaining to that island.
 We got 'tattoos' from Samoa. Harriet's meant princess, mine was queen and Steve's was warrior.

At Tonga we made little fish toys out of palm leaves.

We also watched a performance and then Steve and Harriet played this traditional stick throwing game at Tahiti.

Harriet got a crown made out of palms at one of the islands. 

There was a canoe pageant of all the islands twice a day on the water where they did traditional dances and played music from each of the islands. The people who worked at the island areas were actually native to that island and most of them were students at the BYU- Hawaii campus next door to the cultural center. BYU owns and runs the cultural center. 

 Traditional straw huts were all around.

At New Zealand (referred to as the islands of Aotearoa) there were guys carving things like this in one of the buildings. They said that they had carved items that were given as presents when leaders from New Zealand have visited the center.

We played yet another stick game with this Kiwi. It started out with about 10 of us and then I was the last one standing.

Another traditional stick game.

We really enjoyed the day and learned a lot about the different island cultures. We had heard that this place had the best luau, but basically after experiencing everything that was in the luau performance it seemed like overkill.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Day 3- The North Shore

 This day was super packed. We rented a car and did a loop around the North Shore of Oahu, stopping at a number of places we had talked to our next door neighbor about who is from the island.

 First stop was the Dole pineapple plantation. It was touristy, but we still enjoyed it and learned a few things about pineapple while we were there. We took a ride on a train that showed us the fields and gave us the history of pineapple production at the plantation.

Pineapple plants. 

We walked around the gardens, which were interestingly landscaped. 

I took a picture of Steve in front of this same type of tree when we were in Australia. Harriet loved the crazy roots. We learned that the thing below, when dried, is peeled apart and each of those nubs have little brushes on the end. They used by indigenous people as toothbrushes. 

Anyone who asks Harriet what her favorite part of the trip, her answer is this -- finding an enormous snail.

 We also went through world's most enormous hedge maze and found little stations and stamped a card we had.

Next up, the famous north shore shrimp trucks. Very popular and quite good.

 We all ate a LOT of shrimp on this trip.

We had talked to someone who recommended going to Laniakea beach to see turtles. There were a lot people there who also wanted to get a glimpse of the turtles, but there weren't many to see. It was overcast and they didn't feel like sunning themselves. We did see a few out in the water, but no good pics of them.

We kept moving and went to my favorite site of the trip– Waimea Valley and Falls.  It was absolutely beautiful and Steve and I hiked up to the falls, while my mom and Harriet could a little trolley up there.
Along the way there are little gardens to walk through and people who are demonstrating different cultural things. Harriet and I made this lei bracelet at one of them as well as learning about instruments made from nature.

Waimea Falls at the end of the hike. I use the term hike loosely since it was, for the most part, paved.

A few days into being in Hawaii, Harriet asked what all those sticks were that everyone was carrying around. They were everywhere!!

  One of the little extra gardens to explore on your way up (or down, I guess)

We were given a brochure with all the different kinds of birds to look for, but this cool bird wasn't in it.

After that we went to another beach and hung out for a while and made sandcastles.

A fruit stand along the side of the road.

A rainy drive home with beautiful scenery along the way back to Waikiki. We had a fabulous day!