Friday, February 27, 2009

Aloha continued...

After lunch, we continued around the island, looking at beaches. Some were rugged and kind of deserted,

but we finally came to some of the famous North Shore beaches. Although there weren’t any of the HUGE waves that we’ve seen on TV, there were some very nice breakers, and lots of surfers. It was lots of fun to watch!

These were some cute local boys who were leaving....

After watching the surfers for awhile, we found some more rocky beaches again

before we finally headed inland to the Dole Pineapple Plantation.

We took the 20 minute “train” ride to look at the fields of pineapples, had a pineapple smoothie, and bought a few things in the store.

After that, we got caught in evening traffic—it was a mess, even in Honolulu! We were pretty tired by the time we got back to the hotel, and hungry, so we started walking down the street in front of our hotel.

We walked about a block to a place called “Cheeseburger in Paradise” for dinner. I had a salad, and Tom had a cheeseburger.

Walking down the street, there are stores like this.

Another block or two down the street, on the beach side, there was a platform where a free program was in progress. We sat there and watched some hula dancers while a really good group sang Hawaiian music. It was really fun to watch.

When we got back to the hotel, we went to the 3rd floor, where they have a cafĂ© and bar, which has a stage. We sat there and listened to a performer for awhile, and I even requested that he sing Iz’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which he did. After that we headed upstairs.

Wednesday morning we got up, had McDonald’s breakfast on our balcony, and then headed out to find Pearl Harbor. When you get there, they give you a ticket, which tells you when your group can enter the theater, and then go to the Memorial. We had to wait 1 ¼ hours for our turn, during which time we went through the museum and store. The museum was very interesting with many incredible pictures and stories. On account written by a survivor of the attack told of how he and 2 buddies headed up the stairs when they heard the bombing, only to be knocked back by a wall of water. He never saw his buddies after that—they didn’t know how to swim. How could you enlist to be a sailor if you didn’t know how to swim?

There were three men there who were actual survivors of Pearl Harbor.

You can see the Memorial out in the harbor, and just a little way to the left is the USS Missouri where they signed the peace treaty with the Japanese. To the far left was a ship that just happened to be in the harbor

Anyway, when it was our turn, we went into the theater and saw an excellent documentary about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Then we took a short boat ride out to the Memorial,

which has been built over the sunken remains of the Arizona, where many of the 1,177 men who died are still buried.

The names of all those who died on the Arizona cover the wall at one end of the Memorial. It was a very solemn experience.

We spotted a sting ray swimming close to the Memorial, and there was a group of divers there who we were told were filming a documentary.

After that, I twisted Tom’s arm to drive up the coast to Makaha beach. It was pouring rain for awhile, but it moved on after about 20 minutes. My favorite Hawaiian singer, Iz Kamakawiwo’ole, sings a song titled “Take Me Home Country Road,” and the song starts out: “Almost heaven, West Makaha, high-ridge mountains, crystal-clear blue water,” and I really wanted to see it. Unfortunately, that side of the island is very poor, and there were many squatters and shacks on the beaches, so it wasn’t a very pleasant drive, but we did make it to Makaha, and I got my picture, and it was a beautiful little beach.

When we got back to the hotel, we got on our swim suits, and headed out to Waikiki Beach. Tom even rented a boogie-board, which he played with for a while, and then turned it over to me. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a boogie-board before, and it was much harder than I thought it would be to lie on. After awhile I decided to catch a wave and get out. As soon as I turned the board around, I knew I was too late, and the wave crashed over me. It was so funny! I finally made it back to shore, ready to just sit there in the chairs we rented and enjoy watching other people, when it started raining! It really shouldn’t have mattered, because we were wet anyway, but we had our cameras in our bag, so we decided to walk back to the hotel.

By then it started pouring—liquid sunshine! So we showered, and went to find some place to eat. We really didn’t want to walk around any more in the rain, so decided to eat there in the hotel at an Italian place. It was excellent! Tom had spaghetti and meatballs, and I had a thinly sliced steak on a bed of arugula, a kind of lettuce. It was delicious. And if that wasn’t enough, afterwards we went to Cold Stone and shared a waffle cone full of chocolate ice cream. There was a beautiful sunset, and someone had done a sand sculpture on the beach.

The end of another very full, very tiring, and very wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Well, I'm finally going to post pictures from our trip to Oahu and Maui! But we have so many that I'm going to post them over the next few days, so as to not overwhelm anyone reading this.

We left for Hawaii on Monday, February 9, 2009. It was snowing, and we were concerned about getting to the airport at all. We had gotten away almost an hour later than I had planned because we were trying to get our flight changed, and it took much longer than anticipated, but we were successful in getting transferred to a non-stop flight to Honolulu, instead of having a 2 hour lay-over in Los Angeles. When we got to the worst part of the freeway, we "just happened" to get behind a snow plow (I call it a blessing), and that helped. We made it in time. Because we got our tickets at the last minute, we weren’t sitting together, but we were able to find someone sweet enough to trade with Tom, and we were able to sit together for the 6 hour flight.

When we got to the airport in Honolulu, it was beautiful, even at the airport!

We rented a car, got out our trusted GPS, and found the hotel, the Marriott Waikiki. When we checked in, we discovered that they had given us a free upgrade worth about $400. Our room was wonderful! We were on the 21st floor.

We had a balcony where we could sit and look at

the ocean. It was gorgeous!

We decided to have dinner in the hotel, at a buffet. It was really good, with prime rib, fish, all kinds of fruit and salads and deserts. After dinner, we watched the sun set,

and then we went for a walk out on the pier, and took a picture looking back at Waikiki.

After that we went for a walk on the main street, Kalakaua Ave. There are all kinds of stores and restaurants side by side, and we walked around a place call the International Marketplace, which had what seemed like a hundred stands selling jewelry. There were also several street performers. This picture didn't turn out, but they were playing what Tom thought sounded like Peruvian music. If they'd had a CD for sale, I would have bought one--it was so beautiful.

It was great fun, but we were tired from a very long day, so we went back to the hotel.

Tuesday morning sunrise over Waikiki city.

Tom walked a couple of blocks to McDonald's and got our breakfast, which we ate while sitting on our balcony, looking at the ocean. Wow, we could get so used to this!

After breakfast, we took the car and drove up the coast. As we were driving by a kind of wooded area, I saw a little pig running along side the road. It was the funniest thing. I wish I could have gotten a picture! As we drove up the coast, we stopped at several beaches along the way. They were all so beautiful!

One had a famous blowhole.

A lot of the beaches were very rugged.

One thing we found out—all the beaches in Hawaii are open to the public—there are no private beaches. It’s just hard to get to some of them. It is also almost impossible to find a place to park. And there are very few signs telling you the name of the beach. So we just kind of guessed where we were. There are also very few street signs anywhere in Hawaii. We got into a little road construction, and had to take a detour through a residential area, and took a picture of this cool gate.

Then we came upon an incredible house.

Across the street was this mailbox. I don't know if you can see it very well, but it was painted with flowers.

Where we parked the car, there was a path to the beach.

At the end of the path we found a beautiful, secluded beach!

Around noon we ended up at BYU Hawaii and drove around and took pictures. There were beautiful birds, that we think are egrets, all around.

Tom found a coconut on the grass there at BYU.

This is where it came from....

We then went over to the Temple, which is closed for the entire year for extensive restoration. It looks pretty sad with the windows boarded up.

This was a very interesting palm tree at the Temple.

We asked one of the senior missionaries where she would recommend that we eat, and she said, “Giovanni’s shrimp truck. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss!” So we headed down the road and soon found Giovanni’s. It was delicious!

I'm getting a pina colada smoothie and cookies at the 2nd truck.

There were rows of picnic tables.

And wonderful food!

Just peel and eat!