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Tag Archives: Sightseeing

Pretend Tourists

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Pretend Tourists

On Saturday, I finally managed to talk Emily into going to the beach. We only had seven dollars, so we made taking in the sights our main focus.

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As we were walking into Waikiki, we stumbled upon a parade billed as Family Day. The first float we saw featured a scene reenacting Jesus on the crossed being whipped by a Roman soldier. Um… Hooray for family? The whole thing made me uncomfortable to say the least.

The first thing we had to do was swim in the ocean, but there’s only so much salt my face can handle. Soon enough, it was time for five dollar lunch and some photography and exploration.

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You can get an almost 13 year old to walk pretty far if you put a camera in her hand. She had a great time looking for the perfect shot. I think she took about half a million photos of everything from mirrors to trees. Some of them came out pretty great. She’s a talented and intelligent child.

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I’m glad I finally found someone who likes to wander the streets just looking at stuff and sometimes taking random photos. There’s plenty of magic to be found if you bother to open your eyes and look for it.

We also watched Lilo & Stitch, which Emily claims is her favorite. Now Geoff knows what I’m talking about when I say, “We need desserts!”

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I like being a family.

Kayak Attack!

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Yesterday, Geoff had a surprise day off, so we went with some friends to Kailua to rent kayaks. Kailua is a sweet little town on the windward side. You get both Kailua beach park and the beautiful Lanikai all in one place. There are also a couple of offshore islands which are bird sanctuaries. Make a stop here, especially on a calm day.

It was fifty dollars for a two person kayak with back rests. The weather was absolutely perfect for kayaking, which was lucky since I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and, had the sea been rough, I probably would have dumped us in the water a hundred times because I suck at sports. We set out for Mokulua North , the bird sanctuary island off of Lanikai. Being a Sunday and such nice weather, there were plenty of other people about. The beach was a little too MTV spring break for me on this particular day, but I was glad to have been there nonetheless. We were able to spot some of the nesting birds up close, though at a safe and respectful distance. I managed to bust my toe on a lava rock, no surprise, and bleed everywhere, so that was awesome, too. While at sea, we also managed to spot a sea turtle that swam within a few feet of our kayak. Can’t get enough of nature.

After two hours of paddling in the sun, we were starving, so we hit up Mexico Lindo in Kailua before heading home. The chicken tamale was delicious and the pomegranate margarita was ample. I got my money’s worth and ate more than I have ever consumed at a  Mexican restaurant before.

By the time I got home, I was sunburned, bruised, and very sore. It was a great day.

What Else

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Sadly, Geoff’s parents set off for home yesterday. The house seems strangely empty after having guests for three weeks. As always, time passes much too quickly. Let me tell you about a few more things we did during their visit.

We paid a visit to one of my favorite places on the island, the Byodo-In Temple. There’s an air of real tranquility around this place. I absolutely adore it. And Geoff was once again happy doing one of his favorite activities…

This time the birds were literally eating out of his hand. I joined in too, but only because I knew I had antibacterial lotion in my bag. I suppose if you’re a bird or a fish, there’s no better place to live than at a Buddhist temple. It’s one of the few places where this past time is not frowned upon.

Being early risers, we also had time to hit up the Honolulu Zoo that afternoon. I go here probably at least once a month, and I never get tired of watching the animals. The guidebooks never quite seem to give an entirely favorable review of the zoo, but I find it rather beautiful. Even for the gardens alone, it’s worth seeing. Why would you ever want to pass up a beautiful garden with tigers?

We also managed a day downtown visiting some of the historic sights, including a venture up to the top of the Aloha Tower, which I’d never done before. It’s a pretty cool view, and free,so why skip it?

The final highlight was Turtle Beach on the north shore. We were lucky to get a close up, and entirely legal look at one of these gorgeous sea turtles right on the sand. The were plenty of others others tumbling about in the waves as well. We stopped off for lunch on our cruise around the island at Ted’s Bakery. I enjoyed a pretty good cheeseburger and an eclair the size of my head. I would love to have a place like that someday. One can dream.

I love having visitors, and all the better when it’s people that make my husband so terribly happy. It was a much less bitter parting this time, since we know we will be seeing them again in March for the wedding. Provided I manage to get the silly thing planned. But that’s for tomorrow’s agenda. Want to help?

All Around the Town

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In the last three weeks we’ve been everywhere, including many visits to Kapiolani park, since it’s within walking distance. But we’ve managed to have a couple of other adventures as well.

We visited the Dole plantation, where Geoff got to feed the fish with all the other little kids.  These ones were particularly greedy. We also ate pineapple ice cream and a surprisingly good lunch, as well as taking a train tour around the plantation. There was some interesting info and some nice views, but this place is definitely geared towards tourists. The gift shop is probably the biggest part of the whole attraction. Hang on to your wallets if you go here. They’re looking for any way they can to suck some money out of you. Emily wants to go to the maze for her birthday, so we’ll be seeing another part of this place soon.

Later that day, we visited Mokuleia beach and spotted some sea turtles. I can’t stop myself from giggling every time one of them pokes their head out of the water to breathe. They’re fascinating creatures to watch. I’m amazed at how they get tumbled about by the waves but never seem to lose their bearings. They’re just beautiful.

Of course, the pineapples and the sea turtles were just a pretense. Our real reason for being on this side of the island was to get Ken to Dillingham airfield for his surprise glider flight. It was a clear beautiful day, perfect for taking in expansive views of the whole island. It must have been truly astonishing, and I think Ken really enjoyed it. My husband is pretty awesome at buying gifts. Alas, my birthday is a week before Christmas, so I only get spoiled by his lavishness once a year.

We’ve had so many more adventures. That was only one day. More to come

Halfaversary

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We came upon the six month mark of our adventures in Honolulu a few days ago. Half a year gone, just like that. I feel like it’s still brand new. Days disappear before I feel they’ve even begun. Time’s a tough gig. I can never keep up.

Things have settled down a bit since last we spoke. The scandalous behavior of one of Geoff’s co-workers appears to be only a figment of this one person’s imagination. The other people he tried to drag in to his own nonsense had no idea what he was talking about. One irrational person I can deal with. Just hope I’ll never have to see him again. I doubt I could be nice.

I had a long, six day stretch of work while my manager was on vacation. It was fairly exhausting. I was pleased that we were able to keep things running so well without the boss. I just wish I had more responsibilities. I get bored when there’s nothing to do, and there’s nothing quite as irritating as standing around with nothing to do when you could be doing something better.

We had a few adventures during my two days off. Some planned, some not. The first one was a walk around Diamond Head. I had walked down to the library and then the zoo in order to walk back home again with my husband then make dinner and dessert. Geoff, however, had other plans. We had dinner at Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, then Geoff proposed a five mile walk around Diamond Head. Lucky for him, there’s a beautiful view the whole way around. We stopped and sat for a few minutes along the wall just past the lighthouse. As you can see, the view was beautiful, but it was made even more amazing by the continual whale spouts we spotted. We also saw a whale breach. The splash was amazing.

On Saturday, I was finally able to give Geoff his Christmas present, a whale-watching cruise. We saw quite a few whales. Some even got close enough for us to get the spray from their exhalations on our faces, which was a little gross. We were able to see a few whales breaching in the distance. One kept breaching and pounding his tail against the surface repeatedly. It was truly spectacular.

After a short nap, we headed out to the Punahou carnival. And what a surprise, we were on foot. I was a bit overwhelmed by the crowds. The food was just okay. The malasadas were hot and delicious. The very best part, by far, was the used book sale. It was the most fun I’ve had shopping in ages. I walked home with eight books for which I paid five dollars. So very happy.

Moving to Honolulu has been stressful. Money has been a bit tight, and it’s sometimes a bit lonely. I wouldn’t change it for anything. I live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I’m not going anywhere if I can help it. Come visit me.

 

Mele Kalikimaka

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Our first Christmas in Hawaii began before the sunlight was even discernible through the drapes.  I slept restlessly, stressing about the ugly cake I had made and the timing of dinner tomorrow.  A little after 6:00 am, I got up to use the bathroom, hoping to get another hour’s sleep, but my movements were quickly detected by the eager 11-year-old in the next room, and there was simply no going back to bed.  I went to lay down and chat with her in her room while we waited for Geoff to wake up.  Again, I hoped I could sneak in a bit of rest, but about five minutes later, Geoff came in looking for us, and said we could open presents.

Emily ended up with quite an impressive haul of pink stuff, including a pig ear-warmer knitted by Geoff’s mom, and those rad sunglasses.  She also got some makeup, a board game, some drawing supplies, a Kindle card, and a new video game.  Geoff got a soccer ball, a grill, some new flip flops, and the promise of whale watching when the season is at its height.  I got a Banana Republic gift card.  I’ve never ever been able to buy something from that store, and it’s been a favorite of mine for ages.  I can’t believe I’ll finally be able to walk out of there with actual clothes.  I also got a Nook.  Just the basic touch model, but still pretty awesome.  I couldn’t wait to buy a book.  As soon as I get a case for it, I can start taking it with me wherever I go.  My family rocks.

After presents and a breakfast of biscuits and gravy made by Lindsey, we decided to go for a little nature walk to the lighthouse at Makapu’u point.  Emily started coughing and got tired (bored?) halfway up, so I didn’t get to see the lighthouse, but there were still some gorgeous views on the way up.

Our next stop was the beach at Waimanalo.  The water was gorgeous and blue and crisply cold.  It’s also a bit rough in this area, so it doesn’t really lend itself to casual swimming.  But the sand is soft, and the view is spectacular.  We took advantage of what sun we could find.  Who ever thought I’d get a sunburn on Christmas day?

I had to sneak in a little nap before making dinner.  I would have become very cranky myself if I wasn’t able to get in a bit of sleep before three hours of solid cooking.  The crescent-wrapped brie was a hit with the waiting crowd.  Everything came out tasting pretty nice.  I was ridiculously full and exhausted by the end of the day.  We all laughed a lot, and I think everybody felt loved.  I think that’s the goal of the day.

I hope that your Christmas day was filled with love as well.

No Pain No Gain

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Remember how I was looking for something to kick my ass and make my body all floppy with muscle-building pain?  I found it.  It’s called attempting to walk to the top of a dormant volcano.  In this case, the Wiliwilinui Trail.

Geoff carefully checked the map, and we determined that we should take the car, because the scooters probably wouldn’t make it to the trail head.  It’s pretty steep up there, and our scooters here aren’t that powerful.  However, when I went to start the car, I discovered we had a dead battery.  Not sure what caused it.  Perhaps the open glove box?  Regardless, the car couldn’t be driven, so we hopped on our scooters and headed out of Honolulu.

When we reached the guard hut outside the gated community you have to drive through to get to the trail head, the guard told us that the neighborhood doesn’t allow mopeds and motorcycles.  Are you kidding me?  Gah!  Rich people!  So we had to park our scooters at the tennis courts right at the entrance, and walk an additional two miles UPHILL, like on your toes the whole way, through this neighborhood that is nothing but an excuse for conspicuous consumption.  I was irritated.

But once we actually got into the trail, past the guy with about ten angry-looking, shock-collared dogs in the back of his truck, it was absolutely beautiful.  I got to take in wide sweeping views of Honolulu.  The wind sounded like a jet engine up there.  It was truly extraordinary.

This trail also featured a lot of creepy narrow passages in the style of a scary movie.  Every time we’d go into one of these tunnels of trees and the leaves would start to blow across our path, I was certain we were going to be attacked by wolves of ghosts of something spooky.

See that antennae way up there?  That’s the end of the trail.  My feeble legs definitely didn’t make it all the way out there.  Maybe next time.  My hips are still like jello right now.  I probably would have had to be airlifted out if we had gone all the way to the end.

It was an absolutely gorgeous hike, and I can’t wait to go on another one.  I definitely needed a nap when we got home.  The weather wasn’t conducive to going to the beach, so instead we did a little bit of shopping.  Geoff made me try on jeans.  It was dismal.  We later made tacos, Geoff’s with habaneros, and he pretty much set his mouth on fire.  It was a wonderful day.