Thursday, June 21, 2012

Time to unwind

Very short post: We made it home from Hawaii without any problems. The flights were good. Tired and resting up. Will post again soon. Now it is time to get back to the real world. Thanks everyone for the lovely comments on the posts covering the trip. I am so glad that I made myself get up every day and record my thoughts about our activities while on vacation. It was wonderful. Have a great day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Winding down...

It is our last day in Hawaii. We don't take off till late afternoon so we have time this morning to make one last trip out to the flea market to pick up some more gifts for folks at home. I have so thoroughly enjoyed this trip and all the amazing things we got to do while here but now am eager to get back home. I miss all my friends and am itching to get to some home improvement projects that this trip has inspired. I also want to do some quilting that has been brewing in my head from my trip to the museum.

Our plans yesterday were to visit another beach that is highly recommended, swim and get some sun but the weather did not co-operate. First of all, the entire way to the North Shore we could see lots of gray clouds in the direction we were going, second, the beach we wanted to visit was packed and no parking to be had. So we headed on up the road to find another beach. We stopped at The Pipeline, where the big surfing competitions occur, and we did try to enjoy that beach but the wind was pretty strong due to the storm blowing in over the water which cold and the waves too strong to spend much time in the water. After 10 minutes or so laying on the beach we got rained on. Jeff was ready to get out of there. So we headed on up the road to find Giovanni's Shrimp truck. Kate claims they have the best shrimp on the beach so we had to try them out. They were delicious. I also had a coconut/pineapple smoothie, the perfect compliment to the shrimp. After we ate and visited the tourist souvenir booths we headed on up the coast to try to find another spot that was enjoying better weather. We stopped at the same beach were Kate and I tried the SUP and managed to enjoy it for about 15 minutes before the rain made its way there. So we packed up again and headed to the grocery store that we passed to pick up some Li Hing Muy spice. It is used in lots of different ways, sprinkled on fresh pineapple, mango or other fruit and on dried fruit as well, I even saw gummy bears that were dusted with the spice as well. My favorite way that I experienced the spice was in a traditional lime margarita, very yummy. I think it would be good in lemonade too. It is made from dried plums that are crushed into a powder. I had to have some. (We stopped at LuiBeuno's so I could have another margarita made with the Li Hing. Yummy.)

We finally just headed back to Kate's and if the weather co-operated we could lay out in the sun in her courtyard. Kate arrived home shortly after we did. We also got rained on there. It was a gentle rain each time but those drops feel like tiny needles piercing your skin yet cooling and refreshing at the same time. We headed in after a short while and decided to eat in for dinner. Kate got to preparing Shepard's Pie for us and we helped with peeling potatoes, sharing stories and laughing. Jeff did a few small home repairs for Kate as we were waiting for dinner to bake. After dinner and everything was cleaned up we watched a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory and laughed at the silliness of this group of intellects and their inability to socialize successfully. It was an enjoyable evening.

I am sorry that there aren't any photos today. I didn't get anything different yesterday and I reviewed my other photos and I think I have already shared the best ones. Soon we will be back to our normal everyday lives and our days here will be memories to share and laugh over for years to come. It has been a really awesome and amazing trip, one I hope to make again. Kate is the perfect hostess too. Thank you Kate for this wonderful time shared with you and for letting us take over your entire house and turn it upside down with all our stuff. We love you and can't wait to do this all over again whether here in Hawaii or where ever else your life takes you to.

Have a great day and remember to be thankful for all life's experiences that await you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hike to Manoa Falls

We got a rather late start yesterday in getting out of the house. I did up a couple loads of laundry after finishing my post here, so we didn't leave for our hike until around noon. Fortunately the hike was through the rain forest to Manoa Falls. It was a good 10 degrees cooler there even though the humidity was higher. It is a beautiful hike surrounded by lush green foliage topped with exoctic flowers here and there. We could here birds singing but other than that it was pretty quiet. I think I will let the photos tell the rest of the story as they do a much better job than I can.

This hike and these photos as inspiration have given me a desire and the idea to put together a beautiful lush green island oasis flower bed in the side yard when I get home with a stacked stone statuary to top it all off. I can't wait to get started. "Hey honey can you haul me in a couple truck loads of top soil? I have some work I need help with." We will see just how far I get with this.

I hope and pray that you have a wonderful and lusciously full day. Remember to be thankful for your homes and all God has placed in your life.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Each day gets better and better...

Yesterday was one of the best days so far of our trip, in my opinion. We started off the day by getting up early and heading out to Hanauma Bay to do some snorkeling. The bay itself is gorgeous and the coral reef makes it one of the best places in the world to go snorkeling.

As we don't have a waterproof camera we didn't get any pictures while snorkeling, although Jeff did get these of Kate and me snorkeling as he was coming back down from the car with the camera. I am the one in the back.
and Kate.

This was one of the hightlights of the trip so far for me. It is amazing the beauty that lies beneath the water. I can't even begin to describe how beautiful it is. The fish are so colorful and graceful. They had no fear of us, they would swim right by us at times so close you could reach out and touch them. I would highly recommend this adventure to anyone. It was truly amazing. As we were leaving, after 3 1/2 hours, we got some more photos of us and the park. Jeff and me.

This cool sculpture.

And another awesome sculpture.

After we had our fill of the beach and snorkeling, and that was only hindered by the tide coming in, we headed back to Kate's so we could get cleaned up and rested up for the evening activities. We got ourselves gussied up and went to the luau at Paradise Cove. The activities started at 5:00, dinner at 7:00 so we had plenty of time to participate in the island activities. Once we got a brief overview of what and where different activities were we set out to enjoy them. We took advantage of the great photo ops available. This is my favorite picture of her and me so far this trip.

All 3 of us got tatoos, don't worry, no needles or permanent bodily injury were involved.

Kate and I made crowns out of palm fronds.

We watched a performance of a tree climber. At the top of the tree he showered us with plumeria blossoms.

Some activities that I don't have photos of were a demonstration on how to tie a sarong. A sarong is a large rectangle of fabric that is tied in a number of different ways to be worn as clothing. It can be used as a simple coverup at the beach over your suit, or as an entire outfit for an evening at a luau. They can be tied in a hundred different ways to give you a different look everyday. We also enjoyed volunteers from the crowd, all men, dressed in grass skirts, perform on the beach, mixed in with some "casting of the fishing nets" into the lagoon. Some women performers did a hula dance, along with hula lesson. There was always music. One man blew the conch shell to call us to dinner. They also had the unveiling of the pig from the fire pit. That was done with much ceremony a hula dance.

We witnessed a couple getting their wedding photos taken on the beach.

Once dinner was over the show began. Here are some of the highlights. Check out the different costumes and headpieces. The performers really seemed to enjoy what they were doing and put lots of energy into it.

As the evening came to a close, we received our souviner mugs and photos that were taken on our way through the main gate. All in all it was a very enjoyable evening spent immersed in the Hawaiian culture.

Once again I am amazed at God's creative and varied outlook. He doesn't make just one kind of tree, one kind of fish, or one kind of people. We are all His masterpiece and he likes variety as much as we do. Have a wonderful day and try learning about someone else's culture and perhaps you will be able to understand them a little better.

This trip has been an amazing adventure for me.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What we did Saturday...

We started out yesterday by going to the flea market held at the stadium. We didn't get any photos there but as you can imagine it was booth after booth of everything Hawaiian that you can imagine. Kate and I both got a wrap skirt that can be worn a zillion different ways. Lots of fun. We wore them after we went SUP (stand up paddle boarding) to the Mexican restaurant. We still have to spend some time playing with the different ways of tying them. Kate also bought a sarong. Jeff bought 2 Hawaiian shirts, one for day time and one for night time. I should have gotten a picture of him in his day time shirt yesterday. I will get it eventually. We also got some pineapple at one of the booths. Very refreshing when hot. Kate introduced me to a spice made from dried plums here called Li hing muy that they use on pineapple and other fruits. It is very good, I want to find some before we leave. It was pretty hot so once we had our fill of shopping we headed out to the North Shore. We stopped at Wendy's for lunch and then enjoyed the scenery on our drive.
We saw Chinaman's Hat.

This was the first time we saw this since being here. Hang-gliding.

Scenery along the waters edge.

A green sea turtle.
While Kate and I were SUP I saw a mother and baby sea turtle swimming past my board. That was awesome, we 3 also saw one swimming while we were on the beach.

On to the photos of Kate and I while SUP. We got our boards out into the water and proceeded to get on them.

To get accustomed to being upright we got our balance first on our knees.

And now standing. I didn't have any trouble standing and balancing, although we had to go under a bridge where we had to duck and that required additional balancing skills but again not a big deal.

Heading back to the starting point we ran into pretty choppy water and even though we could remain standing without problems we ended up sitting down on the boards because with the head wind and choppy water we couldn't make any progress getting back to shore. It is a good whole body work out as you have to use your core muscles to maintain your balance and arms to paddle. It was also a lot of fun. One more thing marked off my bucket list. Well actually more than one. 1. SUP 2. Saw sea turtles in their natural habitat 3. We also saw a rainbow on our way home.

Today we are planning on going snorkling and this evening we are attending a luau. Another full day and lots of fun ahead.

Have a great day.