Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Aloha oukou! (Hello to all of you!)

So, yes, 10 days on Oahu was apparently just what the doctor ordered. I read almost all of my books (started the fifth--Year of the Griffin--on the plane home), got a little bit of sun, ate some Spam and took a bunch of pictures with the new camera I got for my birthday in April.

Here are some (okay, lots of) highlights --

We stayed at the gorgeous Moana Surfrider hotel on Waikiki Beach. It was the first hotel built on the beach, with the main building dating to 1901. We walked through the front entrance as much as possible because it made us feel like we are much posher than we really are!

If you ever get a chance to stay there, ask for a high-floor, Diamondhead-facing Tower room. This was the view. I'll be dreaming about it for years to come.

Due to jetlag, I caught the sunrise on the first morning I was there. No such luck any other morning. :)

There were so many gorgeous flowers there. These were at the Honolulu Zoo which doubles as a botanical garden.

Z was most excited about the banana trees though. It's the one thing he told me he wanted to see while he was there. As you can guess, we don't have any of these in Washington.

There was a small garden there too with herbs and all sorts of things but also these ceramic/porcelain? figures all over. These two just creeped me out to no end and I thought some of you would appreciate them in some way as well. I mean, foxes dressed for a fox hunt -- that's weird, right?

I could do a whole post of the animals we saw there but, as they aren't really natives and you can find them at most zoos, I'm not including them here except for this guy who let me walk right up to him and snap a few piccies. He seemed as interested about us as we were about him.

Z got a surfing lesson from a friend of a friend at this gorgeous beach -- Kahana Beach Park at Kahana Bay in Ka'a'awa (pronounced caw-ah-ah-va). Our friends actually have property on the bay and can walk right out here any time they want. The water stays shallow for quite a long way out. If you ever take a trip with little kids, this quiet beach on the Windward coast is a great starter beach with soft sand and small waves.

And here's Z doing his thing. I was so proud of him for trying surfing!

We had another great day trip to the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. It was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop after his wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, last descendant of the Kamehameha family, died. It's a cultural, historical and scientific museum of Polynesia and Hawaii.

Hawaiian Hall
Royal feather capes
Cultural artifacts
There was so much to see at the museum. I didn't take half as many pictures as I wanted to. We even got to see rocks remelted into searing hot lava!

Our next excursion was to Kualoa Ranch, a very large location where they film a lot of tv and movies like LOST, Hawaii 5-0 and 50 First Dates. That's the reason we went and took the tours but, at least for me, it turned out to be the scenery and the Hawaiian history that stole the show.

These are the remains of an old sugar mill on the property. They were only able to successfully grow sugar for a couple of years and then they switched to cattle farming. (I think that Al will appreciate this piccie!)

There were these tropical evergreens on the property that looked really strange to us. But we spent a lot of time looking right past them to the gorgeous ocean view. If you follow this road down a few more miles, you get to where I lived when I was little, in a house on the left side, just across the road from the shore.

I took a LOT of pictures of trees on this trip. I love the palms and the banyans.

Of course, the mountains here are just as dramatic and gorgeous. I have lots of pics of them too.

These were some ancient Hawaiian fish ponds. The shore used to be the inner edge of these ponds but they built a rock wall on the outside and blocked off this portion of the ocean. It's an area about the size of a shopping mall -- quite large. They stopped fishing in it a few years ago and now they just film things like the LOST submarine scenes there.

And this is a well-known island called Mokoli'i, or more commonly Chinaman's Hat. Passing this island always meant I was almost home so it's one of my favorite sights in the area.

Well, I think I will stop there. I tried to convince the husband that we should consider moving but he didn't seem to take the bait. So I'll just have to look forward to our next trip back!

Aloha 'oe,


  1. You're not alone in finding the fox figurines extremely creepy :P

    Lovely pictures, Kristen! Sounds like a fabulous holiday :)

  2. This is all so beautiful! I have to convince Jason to go to Hawaii at some point. He's afraid he'll hate it because of all the tourism there. :/ I think it would be wonderful just to see all of this!

    I'm glad you had a great time and I hope you're not too bummed on coming back.

  3. Everything looks so green and lush and gorgeous! I'm so very happy your family got to experience this. One of my friends here at work is on his first trip to Hawaii right now and it makes me want to get away.

    I actually really like the two fox statues. They are a lot of fun. Makes me think of that Fantastic Mr. Fox movie.

  4. What beautiful photos! Looks like you had a wonderful vacation!

  5. Ana - I'm glad that I'm not the only one who thinks there's something wrong with those foxes! And it was totally fabulous. I'm in a letdown phase now where regular life seems so drab.

    Amanda - There are definitely areas that are 100% tourist areas (Waikiki, for one) but then there are other areas where it's a complete escape/tropical paradise. Some islands are better than others in that way too. We did about half our time in each type of place. Luckily I grew up in the quiet, out-of-the-way part of the island so we know our way around there. I'm having a tough time adjusting to regular life again. :P

    Carl - I was glad to take Z for the first time. It's a place that I love a lot and I wanted him to know it as well. And, as for the foxes, it's not the fact that they're dressed up that bothers me but the fact that they're dressed up to go hunt foxes. :)

    Robin - So wonderful!

  6. Possibly...although in their world perhaps that what they are really dressed up for is to hunt humans! :)

  7. Carl, my dear ... I don't think that makes them less creepy. :)

  8. I know...ha...it is part of what makes them fun.

  9. I have to say I love all your piccies, not just the ruin!
    The bananas and plumeria take me back to my younger days. The South where I am these days is too cold in winter for either. We always use the common name "frangipani" for plumeria down this way.
    Well done Z on having a go at surfing. That takes me back too!

  10. Gorgeous!! I want to go!!!! Thanks for the info on the hotel and the beach. Both look amazing -- except for the creepy statues!

    But eating SPAM? That threw me off , I admit.

    Sounds like an amazing time!

  11. Al - I knew you would like all of them but that you might be the only one to appreciate the ruin. :) And I'm glad to have stirred up some warm memories for you!

    Jenners - I know, SPAM isn't a very culinary food choice but it's what I grew up with and so I like it. :) I really do hope you get to go sometime. I love it there.

  12. Sounds absolutely wonderful! If I may ask, did you see any dolphins? My sister lived in Hawaii for a little while and used to see them all the time. Made me v. jealous.

  13. Seeing these pictures makes me excited for my trip in a few weeks! (Though we'll be heading to Maui). We went to Oahu a few years back but had rain most of the time.

    Your shots are gorgeous! I'm curious about what kind of camera you got for your birthday and if you did something special to get the blue blue water and sky.

    Yay for Z and the surfing! :)

  14. Jenny - Sadly, no dolphins. I don't think I've ever seen any in Hawaii honestly. I must have been in the wrong places. We did have a sea turtle swim by us when we were swimming at Waikiki and then later that evening we saw a few more out there from our hotel balcony. I love them too. :)

    Trish - You will have so much fun! I totally want to go back to Maui now too. And we had little bits of rain off and on but nothing too bad -- nothing we couldn't drive past or wait 5 minutes until it ended!

  15. I went in 2010 and it was only four days, much too short -- my husband had a convention and I was his plus one. He had to work but I got some sightseeing and shopping in -- I also took a LOST tour, but I think the best day was when we rented a car and just drove around the perimeter of the island. When we got up to the north shore there had been a surfing competition and we didn't see any surfing but we saw some massive waves.

    I wish I could go back, I'd love to see more of the other islands.

  16. Karen - Oh, that's definitely too short! We took the first three days to just lay around and wander. :) And the drive is amazing, if only to see the diversity of the island. I'll always head back to Oahu because it's "home" but I would like to visit some of the other islands too. I haven't been to the Big Island since I was little and it's been 10 years since I went to Maui and 20 since I went to Lanai.