Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hawaii Day 9 (Saturday)

Saturday morning found us sleeping in, yet again. We like to get our sleep in on. We left our hotel around noon and headed straight to Xtreme Parasailing. We went out on a boat with 8 other people who were also going to parasail and two awesome drivers. We were the last to go, which was fun to build the anticipation. We went up to 700 feet off the ground and were even lowered down into the water at one point. We were on the boat for a total of about an hour. We paid about $10-$15 for our drivers to take a roll of film for us. We were really glad we did because we got some amazing pictures that we wouldn't have been able to get otherwise. It was an amazing experience! So peaceful and calm up in the air.

After our parasailing adventure, we actually had to sit in the parking lot for about 15 minutes to eat some food and feel less like we were still on a boat. Afterward, we drove back to our hotel and changed into swimsuits and headed down to Waikiki Beach. It was a little cloudy, but fabulous to sit out and read and enjoy the beach.

For dinner that night, we finally decided to check out the hotel restaurant we had seen signs about. Turns out we were the only people who had the same thought because we were completely alone. The food was pretty good, but not great. Fun experience though. We also got a free virgin strawberry daiquiri, which are always yummy.

After dinner, we headed straight back out to layout on Waikiki Beach again as the sun set. That night had the most gorgeous sunset we had seen, which we enjoyed but wished we had brought our camera to capture. After the sun went down, we went out into the ocean and swam around until it got too dark. We threw a tennis back back and forth, practicing catching and diving. We then swam out to the wall that divides the ocean from the little swimming area and watched the waves come in and splash over the wall.

Once it was too dark to see, we got out of the water and walked down Waikiki Beach towards a Waikiki block party they had set up. There were lots of stalls of food and other excitement, where we enjoyed a nutella/banana/strawberry crepe. We also watched Hawaiian dancers and listened to several different bands. One guy was actually really talented and I wish I could get a copy of his song "strawberry love" but I think he was just a local guy. We also listened to a big band who had the entire crowd singing and dancing with them. At one point, we were all dancing and singing along to Danny's Song (I think that's what it's called, I just had to google it), where it goes...

"Even though we ain't got money,
I'm so in love with you honey.
And everything will bring a chain of love
And in the morning when I rise
You bring a tear of joy to my eyes
And tell me, everything is gonna be alright"

Now, I didn't know all the words like some people in the crowd, but I knew enough to sing along. Turns out Mark had never heard the song before ever. How did he not ever hear this song? It was pretty funny because every single person in the crowd was singing along except him.

We walked around the block party for awhile and then headed back to our hotel, where we sat out on the balcony and enjoyed our last night in that beautiful place.

Hawaii Day 8 (Friday)

Friday morningwe slept in and had a chill morning hanging in our hotel room before heading out for the day. We first stopped for a small detour at the Pali Lookout, which is an area of historical significance in the Hawaii history. It was here that King Kamehameha fought with the natives in order to combine the Hawaiian Islands under one rule. It's a very steep hill and apparently people were falling off the hill like crazy during the fight. Of course, this is all the information I can remember after several months of actually being there and reading about Pali Lookout, so I could be leaving some things out. Either way, this area is always really super crazy windy, as you can tell from my hair below.

We continued our drive up the east side of the island and stopped at Kualoa Ranch. I had passed this ranch many times when I lived in Hawaii years ago, but had never gone there. We took the movie and ranch tour first, where we rode around in these open window buses...

and saw some amazing sites! Kualoa Ranch is a large area of land that is really best known for being a film location. Many movies have been filmed there and continue to be filmed there. I guess the week before we were there, they were taping part of Pirates 4 with Johnny Depp. We were able to see some of the well-known sites from movies. Do you remember the movie Jurassic Park? There's a part where the people see these dinosaurs coming and they run down a hill and hide behind a pile of wood while the dinosaurs run and jump over them. That hill and that pile of wood was at Kualoa Ranch! No more dinosaurs around here though...

Several scenes from Lost, one of our most favorite shows, were filmed here. We were able to see the house that served as the inside of Jacob's hut, the lush forest area where the final scenes of Lost were filmed, and Hurley's golf course! If you don't know what I'm talking about at all, you should watch the show starting from the first season. Seriously awesome.

Godzilla was also filmed here and they left the big footsteps...

After that tour, we came back and immediately started the Jungle Expedition tour given on Kualoa Ranch. This tour was in an army type open vehicle and we drove around the very primitive areas to see the place where monarchy used to live. This tour was neat because our tour guide asked us at some point if we were Mormon. I don't know exactly why he would have thought so, except for the fact that we were young and married and we were dressed modestly. He happened to be a member too and worked in the temple and we were able to chat with him. I love finding random members all over the place. We also hiked up to a certain part to see the amazing view,

and ate some guavas that our tour guide picked off the trails for us.

After our Kualoa Ranch expedition, we drove up to the PCC again. It was fun to go a second time because we were in such a rush to see everything on our first visit. This time we were able to play games at some of the islands, and we weaved little fishes out of leaves, watched an IMAX movie, just walked around to see the sites, got some weaved leaf crowns, and sat on a bench chatting as everyone else was eating dinner and the sun was going down.

After our peaceful outing at the PCC, we drove back to Waikiki and decided to check out the Hard Rock Cafe. I've only been to a Hard Rock a few times, and that's always been on vacations. Mark had never gone before, so we had a lot of fun eating the delicious burgers and checking out the cool rock paraphernalia (is that really how you spell that word) all over the restaurant. Mark was most excited about seeing the Guns 'N Roses guitar and the Pearl Jam guitar (shown below).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hawaii Day 7 (Thurday)

Thursday morning we woke up still pretty tired and without any specific plans for the day. That was the best part of taking a long trip to Hawaii. We had times to do some things twice and have more mellow days. We had plenty of things on our list of things to do, so we were never bored. As we were getting ready for the day, Mark couldn't find his toothbrush and realized that he must have misplaced it. After searching around out hotel room, I finally found his brush...

Needless to say, we actually just left the toothbrush in the garbage and just shared mine for the rest of the trip. We decided that we wanted to go on a hike and looked through our list of potential hikes and decided on Manoa Falls. And we were so glad that we went! It was a really fun hike, very different from the other hike we had taken before. There were some people on this trail, but not very many. The hike went through the jungle and undergrowth. It was just beautiful. The only downfall was the fact that the trail was a bit muddy, so our shoes got pretty dirty, but it was so worth it. Also, it did get pretty warm while we were hiking, but that's just Hawaii for you.

Can you see how muddy the trail got?

Mark wanted to find the biggest leaf on the trail and I think we found a good candidate here:

After our hike, we went back to our apartment, but not before picking up some rubbing alcohol and more bandaids for Mark's foot. We cleaned out his wound and reapplied bandaids, followed by our lunch of rice and eggs. We were still feeling low-key so we hung out, watched some tv, and read until about 3 pm when housekeeping called to see if they could clean our room. We decided to go check out the Foster Botanical Gardens. We got to the gardens at 3:30 and turns out it closed at 4:30. That was the perfect amount of time for this though. We took a self-tour and saw plants from all over the world.

Yep, there's a cannonball tree, which you can see below. You can also see the sausage tree. Such craziness.

We then drove up to Punchbowl, which is a military cemetery near Honolulu. We walked around and saw some of the more famous graves.

We then headed back home and had to stop by Rainbow Drive-in for some BBQ steak. Mark watches the show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the Food Network and had seen this place, which just happened to be by our hotel. We would pass it every day and Mark thought he had recognized it. The food was really yummy.

We also picked up some pastry desserts from Zippy's, a store we kept seeing all over the place. We ran home and quickly changed into our swimming suits, grabbed our towels and books, and headed down to the beach. We sat on the beach and read as the sun set and it got darker outside. Eventually we were just reading by the light of street lights. After it got too dark to read, we laid out and chatted and listened to the band who was playing cool cheesy music at the restaurant nearby. We then walked down the beach to the International Marketplace, where they have lots of stalls with souvenirs to purchase, before heading home for the evening.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hawaii Day 6 (Wednesday)

Polynesian Cultural Center Day! We were super excited to visit the center that day. So excited in fact that Mark was a little distracted while getting ready, so his belt didn't turn out quite as he had expected...

We ate at the coolest McDonalds ever that happens to be right next to the PCC. So lush.

We arrived at the PCC right when it opened and spent every single minute running from thing to thing and probably saw on the bare minimum of things. Thank goodness their one-day village pass actually lets you come back and visit again for free within a few days.

Our day included visiting all the different villages, where you get to see a presentation and learn about the cultures. We also watched a canoe pageant that spotlighted all the villages. We visited the villages of Fiji (pictured below),

Tonga (with amazing drums), Samoa (the funniest man who taught us about fire and then the guy who climbed the tallest palm tree), Tahiti, Hawaii, and Aotearoa (i.e. New Zealand), where Mark participated in the royal guard and dancing ceremony (see below).

We did have to sit out in the heat at times, but it was fun to be outside.

Mark and I went back to Aotearoa village where we played the stick game and practiced with poi balls. Some of us were a little better than others (something I honestly can attribute to girls camp growing up)...

The PCC has beautiful grounds that we really enjoyed, especially as the evening started setting in.

We attended am awesome luau where dancers performed and they dug up a pig and we ate lots of yummy food... oh, and got laies.

After dinner we walked around the park until the night time show started, which had awesome dancing from all the villages. After such a long day, we were pretty tuckered out on the drive home, but Mark did a great job driving us back safe. He also had to deal with walking around on his hurt foot all day long. His foot ended up hurting pretty bad that evening. Such a stud!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hawaii Day 5 (Tuesday)

  • Headed up to the North Shore, stopping by Dole Plantation to get some pineapple ice cream and to buy some warm cinnamon roasted macadamia nuts
  • Driving around Hawaii was one of my most favorite things. It was always nice enough weather to drive with the windows down, which we enjoy. During the day the wind felt nice and cool and during the evenings it never got cold enough to make the drive uncomfortable. I am a huge fan of wind, most especially in Hawaii. Which is a good thing because it is really windy in Hawaii. I absolutely loved driving around with the wind blowing in my hair. This is definitely the best picture I got of the craziness of my hair.

  • Sharks Cove for snorkeling, where we rented lockers and one snorkel (I had bought one the first time I was in Hawaii and we continued to use it) and bought an underwater camera of very cheap quality. We snorkeled around and saw great fish. Near the end though, I did end up getting a small cut on my foot. Here's Mark, the most amazing snorkeler ever!

  • We stopped by Ted's Bakery for some lunch and my much loved chocolate haupia (coconut) pie. I used to get this all the time and it is so good.

  • Sunset Beach, where we sat out and read in the warm sun for awhile, only to have the shortest and warmest rain ever (you can see the raindrops coming down in this picture of Mark).

  • After a few minutes the rain went away and the sun came out again, so Mark headed out to swim in the waves. However, he apparently got too close to some rocks, so when he tried to kick his foot to swim, he hit his foot and cut his foot pretty badly. I quickly gathered everything and we headed to where our car was parked, across the street. At our car we tried to clean out the cut with water. I know this picture doesn't show it too well, but he did have at least five pretty serious cuts/gouges.

  • Mark was a stud though and didn't let that finish our day (he's amazing) so we tried to carefully push his flip flop over the cut and headed over to Hale'iwa where we walked around and bought some souvenirs. Now that I'm thinking back on this, I think I should have insisted that we went home immediately. I can't believe we just kept going on his hurt foot! We did have to stop by Matsumoto's for our most favorite shaved ice.

  • This was the only day that I drove the rental car, because we only put Mark's name on the rental. But with the right foot being pretty hurt, I ended up driving home to our apartment.

  • Once back at our apartment I thoroughly cleaned out Mark's cuts and we were able to use some antiseptic from the front desk. We then covered it up with, oh, I don't know, how many bandaids do you think that is, 5 or 6 different bandaids?? Poor guy.