Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hawaii---Last Days

All good things must come to an end.  Though I think Jeremy was glad.  He worked 10 hour days while I played. (Though isn't that how it should be??)  Our airplane wasn't leaving until Saturday evening so we had planned to rent a car and go to the other side of the island and just drive around and see what we could see.  We wanted to see North Shore, look at some falls, see the temple, and just look at the scenery of Oahu.   
 Before we left for Hawaii, we thought on that last day we might attend a session at the temple.  There just wasn't enough time, but we did go visit, walk around the grounds, and check out the visitor center.  We chatted with the sister missionaries for a bit and learned some neat things about this temple. I love this statue of Lehi and Joseph.  I pretty much love all these kinds of statues, but I really liked this one.   A few days before, Jeremy had to do some work on the big island and he was right near the temple there so he walked around it as well, took some pictures of it and some of the water shores.  (He said, because of the still active volcano, the shore is mostly lava rock.  Not suitable beach like, but still pretty.  He took pics of that to.  They are down below.)
 Waimea Falls is more like a park with many different trails to hike.  If we would have had more time, I would have liked to hike more of the trails, but the falls were very nice.  I also would have liked to hike other falls that were farther away, but that will have to be saved for another time.  (I might be putting my hopes up on that one.)  We saw all the people swimming around them and thought that our kids would really have liked to do that.
 So many people, including the lady that Jeremy was working with for the week, had told us to go to the Dole Plantation.  We couldn't figure out what the big deal of that would be.  Well, we had a little time before we had to go to the airport and it was on the way, so we decided to stop.  You can ride the pineapple express and go through the largest maze, but all those things like everything else cost and we just didn't feel like spending the money on it.  You could look around the grounds though and drive by all the pineapples and purchase the most yummiest pineapple ice cream.  It tasted it a little like sherbet, but very creamy. 
I never thought I would be able to go to Hawaii.  I always wanted to.  I remember when I was little, my parents went with my brother and sister-in-law.  I begged to go and when they got back, I begged for us all to go again.  My dad had brought back this coconut bank and said we shall save money for us to go.  Well.  I am 38 and I think if he found that bank it would still be empty.  Funny though, Megan begged just like me and those pineapples that you eat ice cream out of, they are banks as well.  Guess what??  I told her the same thing.  LOL!  I don't know if we will ever be able to go back.  I would really like to see some of the other islands.  I have heard such wonderful things about them.  Maybe someday.  In the meantime, I will be grateful for this trip and glad I enjoyed it like I did.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Palaces, Luaus, and volcanos

 I love to take tours with anything to do with history.  This was one of my favorite days in Hawaii.  Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. where you can find a palace.  Before Hawaii became a state, it was controlled by kings and queens.  The "Summer Palace" was more like a home, but the Iolani Palace was very beautiful.  I loved the woodwork in the palace and it was just a neat tour to take. 
How can you go to Hawaii and not attend a Luau?  They had lots of activities before dinner.  You could get tattoos, make leis and headbands, learn to hula dance, and even watch a Samoan climb a coconut tree.  The food wasn't bad and I did enjoy the seaweed more then I thought I would.  The show was great and like the Polynesian Cultural Center, I really enjoyed the fire dancers. 
Ahh, Diamond Head!  This was a beautiful day.  Diamond Head had been closed all week and finally opened the day before we had to fly home.  It was crowded, but it was a great hike.  Nothing too bad, but very enjoyable until you got to the cave.  Normally I guess it only takes a few minutes to get through the cave, but because there were so many people, we were stuck in the cave for about 30 minutes.  Now I have never felt clausterphobic, but I did in this cave.  It was so small for the amount of people that were in it, it felt like a sauna, and I had serious doubts about going on.  I decided I had gone this far, I needed to go the rest.  I stuck it out and it was way worth it.  The view was amazing.  Definitely a great experience. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Polynesian Cultural Center --Laie Hawaii

This was the day I was waiting for.  I was so excited.  I had heard so many good things about the cultural center and couldn't wait to go.  Well, it started raining hard the night before and the next day it was pouring.  How unfair!  I wasn't going to let some rain ruin my day, so I bought an umbrella, took my rain jacket, and waited for my bus.  The rain was off and on through out the day, but I had a great tour guide that did his best to keep us out of the rain and helped us to have a great experience.  I loved the shows, I loved the hands on activities, the food was fantastic, and I thought our Samoa guide was excellent. 

The evening ended with a show called, "The Breath of Life".  This went through all the Polynesian islands and showed us the things which made each island unique but similar as well.  It ended with fire dancers from Samoa and it left me speechless.  Well, as I said before it had rained off and on through out the day.  When the show was over and I left the covered theater, I had seen how much it had been raining.  As I made my way to the bus, I had to walk through water up past my ankles.  The bus was suppose to bring us back to the hotel by 11 pm.  Well, we were stuck before the bridge back.  We couldn't go forward or backward and the rain was raining even harder.  Water was up to the knees of the firemen as they helped cars get off the bridge.  Finally after a few hours, we were able to pass.  I finally got to the hotel about 1:30 am.  It was a long exhausting day, but even with all the drama of the rain, it was well worth it.   

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The beach and more......

Below is where we stayed at.  We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  Now, you may have seen this hotel on TV if you ever watch shows that are set in Honolulu or Waikiki.  You usually notice it as the big tower with the very large rainbow on it.  The Hilton probably has about 5 towers.  We actually stayed in the Rainbow tower.  It was a very nice hotel, except the bed was not so good.  I woke up every morning between 3 - 4 am.  I thought at first that maybe it was the time change that was affecting me so much, though that might have been some of it, the bed was just not comfortable.  Besides that, I was very happy with our hotel.  The people were nice, it was right on the beach, and there was lots to see from it.  We had a very nice view of the beach which you can see from the pictures that I have added.
Before Jeremy had to work, he was able to get a few activities in.  One evening we decided to go on a Sunset Cruise.  Now we have been on these kind of cruises before, but each one we go on is very different.  This one was a buffet and it had some entertainment on it.  Kind of like a mini luau.  We were hoping to spot some whales before it got too dark, but not a single one did we see.(This time of year is suppose to be big to see whales, but we never saw one.)
The first day Jeremy went to work, it was kind of a rainy, windy, gloomy day.  I was hoping to hang out at the beach a bit, (which I did the day before)but it just wasn't a beach day.  I decided to go to downtown Waikiki and hang out at the shops.  I did go on the beach for a bit, but just to look around.  It was not a day for sun.  I liked all the shops down there.  They were fun to look at.  The rain held out for most of the day, but on my way back to the hotel, I got caught in it.  By the time I got back though, Jeremy got back just in time to go to dinner.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hawaii--Island of Oahu

Jeremy has to travel a lot for work.  Most of the time, he travels around the southern states such as, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi.  He often volunteers for places that nobody wants to go, like St. Louis, Missouri in the winter.  Other times he has to go to places like Texas, Philadelphia, Virginia, and once he even had to go to LA for a bit.  I sometimes go with him.  Not too often, but every once in awhile I do.  Well, this time it was Hawaii.  Wow!  Now isn't that something??  Well, I just couldn't let him suffer in the tropics by himself.  I had to go with him.  We went ahead and went a few days earlier so Jeremy could see some sights before he had to work.  Then I was off by myself, enjoying the warmth of the island.  So, while everyone in Alabama was shoveling the snow, I was reading a book on the beach. 

I had a good time.  And even though Jeremy had to work most of the time, I think he had some fun as well.  So the next few posts, I thought I would put in some things that I got to see and do.  I even learned a few things and that is always good when you go on vacation. 

Jeremy loves to go to swap meets or flea markets.  I hate them, but I figured since Jeremy only had a few days, I wouldn't fight him too much on this and we would go to Oahu's largest swap meet.  Great right.  I go all the way to Hawaii to attend a swap meet.  Well, it wasn't the kind of swap meet that Jeremy likes.  It was all the souvenir things that you can buy in Waikiki but tons cheaper.  So, I had a good time, but Jeremy was a little disappointed.  What was cool though about where this swap meet was is that it was very close to Pearl Harbor, so we got to go.  We learned some things about why the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and we also were able to see the USS Arizona underneath the water.  It was a time to pander and to contimplate.  As I listened to the movie before we went to the memorial, I thought how we are still fighting the same fight just with someone else.  It was a very humbling experience.
I am not always one to take pictures of too many landscapes and such.  I often like to have people in my pictures, but I found myself in awe of all the different forms of nature to be seen.  I couldn't help myself, but snap pictures of all the interesting plants and animals.  Here are some of the things that I took pictures of.  Through the next few posts I will put more of the beautiful forms of nature that I saw.