Turtles and Volcanos

The forecast was Thursday looked to be one of the hottest days of the trip.  We decided to start the morning at the famous black sand beach, Punaluu.  The black sand is caused by the lava from the volcano and is really black and really rocky.  The big attraction here (besides the black sand) are the sea turtles.  The sea turtles nest on the beach and come up to rest and sun.  They have a large circle of the beach marked off to protect the turtles (in addition, there is a state law that you cannot get closer than 15 feet to the turtles).  There is a big area with signs and marked off with rocks for the turtles to hang out.  When I arrived there were a few curious turtle watchers and all were standing outstanding the circle.  Shortly after I arrived a tour bus came and dropped of its riders for short stop at the beach.  And, of course, the first couple off the bus went tramping right through the middle of the circle.  Lucky there were no turtles at the time.  It was interesting that all of the turtle watchers present started yelling at said rude tourist couple about getting out of the turtle circle.    Buses came and went while I hung out on the beach.  Since they are turtles (and not under the control of any sea park, etc.) you kind of have to hang out and wait for them to do their thing.  Tour buses came and went during the time I spent.  In the end, there were about 7 turtles trying to find space on the rocks and I was watching with two other couples who were also from various spots in Ohio.  

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I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the legends I heard before heading over.  I was talking about my upcoming trip with my knitting group and one of my friends had been to Hawaii, and particularly to the Big Island.  She implored me, a number of times that night, to not bring back any of the lava rocks back home with me because it was bad luck.  She was quite serious about this.  I was telling my Dad this story the next day and he said I had told him and I said no, I heard it last night and then he remembered his co-workers had told him the exact same thing.  I did read in Fodor’s that no one has been able to trace the legend but some believe it was started by park rangers to stop the loss of black sand since it can only be created by lava flow.  Either way, wasn’t willing to chance it!  Pictures only for me!

We then stopped at the Punalu’u Bake Shop.  It is the southernmost bake shop in the US!  They have free samples of sweet bread and also have full lunches available.  They have a beautiful gazebo where you can sit and eat the delicious malasadas and have a cool drink after a hot morning on the beach.

After lunch it was back to the volcano.  We made a stop at the steam vents and I hiked over to the sulphur rocks.

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After all the morning activity it was time for a drive.  We started down the Chain of Craters road.  With the park map and signs there are a number of stops as you head down the mountain and eventually end up at the ocean.  There was also about a 15 degree temperature change from top to bottom.  The funny thing about the drive is you get in a groove so the people you meet at the first stop will follow and lead you down the whole drive.  We were heading down with a German couple who spoke little English so we would just nod and wave from stop to stop.  We did not stop at every stop and did not keep track of how long the 19 mile (one way) drive took.  The payoff at the end is a rough parking lot with limited facilities.  There are some very primitive toilet facilities, a ranger’s station and a small shack that sells cold drinks (and could really charge much more for them) and some souvenirs from the end of the road.  There is also a small, but rocky, hike to the Holi Sea Arch which on a sunny afternoon is stunning.

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You can also take a longer hike (from what people told me about 20 minutes one way) to see the end of the road.  The road has been closed by lava flow that hardened across the road.  Given the heat I passed on that – the people coming back looked really, really hot and I’ve heard mixed reviews on how interesting it actually is to see.

We headed back up the road and stopped for dinner at the Lava Rock Cafe – cute name and good food, and one of the few places in Volcano to eat.  Then it was time to get packed up as it was our last night in Hawaii.

 

Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

I was singing this song all day today but before that a little bit of catch up.  On Tuesday we spent most of the day with my Dad’s cousin.  He took us on a tour of resort area his house is in and then we went to Waimea to eat lunch at Village Burger (it was delicious!!).  We finally made it back and I went to the Mauna Kea Beach for the remainder of the afternoon.  It was a little overcast and there was a high surf.  They have great beach chairs and towel service.  It also has a beach side bar (no alcoholic drinks on the beach but they do make a killer smoothie you can take back to your chair).

Wednesday came it was time to head to the other side of the island.  We took the scenic route (19) through Waimea where we caught our first look of Mauna Kea – the snow capped mountain on the island.  We had breakfast at the Waimea Coffee Company in the Parker Shops.  It was delicious!  Our first stop was at a little Catholic Church (Our Lady of Lourdes).  It was Ash Wednesday so we thought maybe they would be having a service.  There was a man walking across the parking lot and we asked if he worked there, which he did and he told us the service was at 7:00.  We decided to peek in the church and it was so interesting.  All the walls were painted white with royal blue trim, honoring Mary.  I really liked it.  It turned out the man we talked to was the parish priest and he offered us ashes when he learned we were traveling.  After that we stopped at all the scenic outlooks and our first official stop was at the Waipio Scenic Overlook, just past the church.  You can’t see the famous Waipio Falls from the overlook.  You can see the valley and steep cliffs that form the valley and the river running into the ocean.  There is plenty to be seen from the parking lot but the real view is located down a number of stairs (also the bathrooms are down the stairs) and they are a little steep for anyone with walking problems.

We hopped back in the car and headed to Akaka Falls.  The falls are located in a state park and there is a small fee to enter.  There is a beautiful view of the falls (and facilities) from the parking lot.  There is also a 1/4 mile loop walk that takes you past a second (Kahuna) falls and gets you much closer to Akaka Falls.  It is has a lot of up and down all on paved steps with railings.  I was surprised to read that Akaka Falls is twice the height of Niagara Falls, a place I have been a number of times.  Interesting fact!

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We left Akaka and turned off the main road for the “scenic route”.  Around one of the bends was a little place I think was called Shake it Up.  It served lunch and fresh made smoothies using fruit grown on their own farm.  It was a perfect lunch stop!  Just down the road was the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden where we stopped briefly but continued on due to time constraints.  It should be noted that you might think the “scenic route” was to see the ocean but it was really to drive through this beautiful forest.  Back on the main road and we were almost in Hilo.

In Hilo our first stop was Rainbow Falls.  This is a great stop because the falls are totally  accessible from the parking lot so everyone can see them.   Just down the road are the Boiling Pot falls.  I would not go out of my way to catch them (unless there was a heavy rain and they could live up to their name)  Otherwise, they were kind of blah compared to the other waterfalls we had stopped at.

Finally it was time to head to our final destination – Volcano!  First we found our lodging – the Aloha Crater Lodge.  This is an old house that has been divided into a number of rooms.  It is on a tiny side road and the driveway is a little scary but it is well marked.  Our key was waiting in the door for us.  The room is a good size and has a small kitchen area with basic supplies such as a coffeemaker, microwave and mini fridge.  The owners have stocked the room with fresh fruit and pastries.  There are also a number of other staples.  It’s a bit rustic but a charming room.

After dropping our bags we went straight to the National Park.  A quick stop at the visitor’s center sent us in the right direction.  It was about 5:00 and the visitor center was about to close but they sent us down to the Jaggar Museum where you can view the active volcano.  We joined the ranger talk and got up to speed on the area volcanic activity.  My favorite part was when she was talking about seeing fresh lava flow, she called it the “lava lottery”  Currently there is no fresh lava flow so we did not win the lava lottery.  The ranger herself was very interesting and let us know that being a park ranger had been on her bucket list.  Wonder what else was on her list???  What is going is gases being released in one of the craters and when the sun goes down the gases reflect the hot rocks in the bottom of the crater and the  gases turn red as it get dark so it looks like a giant bubbling pot.  I  loved watching it as the sun set because you could watch the red start near  the bottom of the gas cloud and work its way up as it gets dark.  We learned later that this was the first night this week it was clear enough to see the gas plume so we got lucky with that.

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It was freezing so after the sun set we headed to dinner.  We stopped at Volcano House which is the only hotel (and restaurant) actually in the park.  The restaurant  is a little pricy but the view is totally worth it.  The windows  overlook the crater so  we were able to watch the red gas cloud  as we ate.  The food was good and the views were better!

Kona – Take 2

When traveling I have learned that some days you just need to reset and start over the next day.  That is what happened on Sunday – the pouring rain took it’s toll and as much as I hate to waste a day it was best to just pack it in.  On the upside, our hotel had an “art museum” which was basically an installation of one native’s paintings depicting the history of the area.

We woke up Monday morning and there was a slight glimmer of sun in the sky and we were ready to set out.  The plan was to head to the southern most place we wanted to see and work out way back north, ending up at our cousin’s house near Mauna Kea Beach.  Our first stop was Puuhonua O Honaunau National Park.  This was an area of refuge which was used by the Hawaiian people.  What remains is a giant wall that was built on the sea and many other ruins.  It is on the shores of lava rocks and is quite scenic.  We started with the ranger talk.  The ranger was very fun and had lots of good information.  We then headed out to explore the ruins.  I did some hiking on the lava rocks until I ran into some bugs and the rocks got slippery where they were getting wet.   It was a perfect day for this because it was still slightly overcast so we were not fried in the sun.

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Next stop was St. Benedict Church or the Painted Church.  Oddly this was one of the best marked stops we have made.  The inside church walls were painted with various Bible stories by the Belgian priest who was bringing Catholicism to the islands.  It was a little, old church and I was delighted to find a statute of St. Bernadette out front.  The paintings were very cool.  I had visited another painted church in Germany a number of years ago and I was very pleasantly surprised to find this one was nothing like the church in Germany which was definitely different.  The church had a table set up and was selling Christmas ornaments and other religious souvenirs on a honor system.  It also had some really nice gardens.

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Then we tried to the find the Captain Cook monument look out and were not at all successful.  From what I read it is an obelisk and I’ve seen one or two of those so I was not overly concerned.  By this time I was starving and we pulled into a McD’s for an iced tea and I had to try the taro pie.  Taro is a very popular crop here.  It had a kind of purple tint to it and I’m not exactly sure what it tasted it like but it was fun to try!

I then stopped at a yarn store (see separate post) and our last stop was at the King’s Shops.  My Dad had seen a watch made of koa wood in one of the tourist magazines and loved it.  Only one store sells them so we found that store and he got his watch.  We also grabbed a bite to eat at a fish and chips place.  And then we headed to our cousin’s house for the night.

Kona, take 2 was much better than day 1 and it is all much different than Oahu.  Heading to the other side of the island next!

We Have Yarn!

I had the names and addresses of two yarn stores in Honolulu but never had a chance to check them out.  Today we were driving around Kona checking out some of the tourist spots before heading north to the place we are staying.  I also had the names and addresses of two yarn stores here on the Big Island and one of them happened to be between us and the house we were headed to.  Bonus, it was raining again so it was the perfect time to check it out!

Island Yarn and Art Supplies is located in a rather industrial looking complex (in fact it is next to a auto body shop).

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The first floor is full of art supplies of all kind and then upstairs is the knitting area and what a pleasant surprise!  It was full of yarn, mostly organized by color and included 3 tables to knit at (or in my case study Ravelry to determine what I could make with the yarn I was finding!)

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There was an entire wall of Malabrigo and an adorable old bookshelf filled with more Habu than one could ask for!

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I loved the display on top which included a large mason jar filled with old spools of thread.

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Plus the colors of the Habu up there are amazing!!!

On one of the tables was a basket of hand dyed yarns, all of which were done in Hawaiian colors with Hawaiian names – they were gorgeous!

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This basket was all sock weight.  I later found a basket of bulky and bought a skein in “Lava Flow” which I thought was great for the area since were in the middle of nothing but lava fields.  She also had some hand made buttons from a crafter who uses local wood to make them.  They were very cool!

I was chatting with the owner while checking out and she is the one who dyes the yarns and all of her yarns have Hawaiian themed names.  She calls the yarn Pu’olo Yarn.  On the label it says the definition of pu’olo is a bundle of wonderful things – I couldn’t agree more!

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Weather Curse

I confirmed it today – I am a weather curse!  If you want weather that your area has not had in years or ever, invite me.  A weather system has moved over Hawaii and it has been raining for almost 24 hours.  It was raining on the North Shore this morning and we did witness the famous North Shore waves.  The surf was 20-30 feet and truly showed the power of the ocean.  It rained all the way to Honolulu.

We had an interesting experience at the airport.  We checked in okay and headed to security.  The first TSA agent to look at our boarding passes told us we were TSA pre-check (even though there was no indication on our boarding passes) and we had to go to a security line two doors down.  We went to that line and were told we had to go to a third line and then that person told us to go back to the line we started at.  At this point my Dad was getting a bit frustrated so I talked to yet another TSA agent who told us to go the line we were first told to go to.  When we got in line we were behind a young Japanese man and the TSA agent asked him how much English he spoke and he replied not much so he got sent to the TSA pre-check line, despite not being pre checked.  When we got up there we mentioned the lines not making much sense and he went on to tell us  he does not even travel in the US any longer because it was too hard and then he continued to tell us all the problems with the US TSA while we stood in line.  Once our line  was filled  he shut  it down and went across the aisle to check id’s.  It was the strangest process I’ve seen.  As we were in line we heard him talking to a lady and telling her these were just  crazy  rules that made no sense.  Pretty sure he was trying to get fired!  As it turned out we were not pre checked so none of it made any sense and by the time were through it was time to the board our flight to Kona.  I think the flight was shorter than the TSA fiasco!

Not much to see out the window due to the rain all the way there.  The airport in Kona looks like a village of thatched roof huts.  You have to walk outside to get off the plane.  And to get your bags because the Kona airport is an outdoor airport! 

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I suppose on that is usually the dry coast of the Big Island it works out fine but in a torrential downpour not so great.  By the time we got on the rental car shuttle bus we were soaked.

Our plan was to drive around the southern Kona coast before heading up north to our cousin’s house here on the Big Island.  We set out and I quickly realized my maps were not working great and it was pouring so we decided to try the Kona Brewing Company for lunch and my Google maps tooks us right there.  By now there was some roads which were flooding and we saw a waterfall (not in the tourist book).  There was about 6 inches of water in the parking lot but we made it in only to find it was 30-40 minute wait for an outdoor restaurant.  We passed.  It was also at this point that we decided to find a hotel with a room and finish driving tomorrow.  The weather was not passing anytime soon.  We did finally make it down to the main road on the ocean and found plenty of hotels and a room for the night.  We parked the car and have not moved it since.

There were restaurants across the street and in the resort.  We were finally able to walk around the resort (King Kamehameha Courtyard) and checked out the pool (which was overflowing) and the small beach which has a lot of history.  This is not a typical Courtyard but has worked out great for our purposes.  Some of the locals we have talked to (including our cousin) have indicated it never rains this much here.  They clearly did not know I was coming and I have a super power.

It is apparently supposed to start clearing tomorrow so fingers crossed!  And now I will finish watching the Oscars which are being shown via tape delay down here.

My Day

While I enjoy traveling with others I also really like exploring on my own.  So, if I’m with other people and I can sneak a couple of hours out on my own I get very excited.  That is exactly what happened today.  My Dad and his cousin were headed to play golf.  I was going to do something my Dad’s cousin’s wife but knew we would not be leaving until lunch time which left me a free morning to explore!

I started the day with a massage at the famous Turtle Bay Resort.  Many movies have been filmed there including Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  The spa was lovely  and had a cool entryway which included some Hawaiian history.  The waiting area a/k/a the “relaxing area” overlooked the ocean as did the treatment room I was in.  There was a slight mishap with my reservation and they comped me part of the treatment without being asked.  It was a lovely way to start the day.

From there I started heading back to the house but I had planned a few stops along the way.  This was the same route we took yesterday on our tour and I was taking notes.  First, breakfast at Ted’s Bakery.  A friend had mentioned it when she heard I was in Hawaii and I also read about it in one of the books I read.  It was very crowded with a mix of tourist and surfers.  Not only does Ted’s have a wide variety of delicious pastry, it also serves breakfast and lunch.  I got a breakfast sandwich and some donuts for tomorrow (although I tested one this morning).  It was all good and fresh cooked.  Fun little place to check out.

Next I stopped at Waimea Valley.  There is a waterfall somewhere in this park but I did not have time for the 3/4 mile hike it required to see it.  I did have time to peruse the visitor center and check out the scenery.  They had a display of all the movies and tv shows that had been filmed there.  Most notable – Joe vs. The Volcano but also included Catching Fire again so I was having a Hunger Games kind of morning.  The park does look like something very prehistoric and is right between two mountains (hence the valley).  It was very green and lush.

It was then time to head back to the house to start the rest of my day.  When I got back I went to check out what was going on with the surf and to my huge delight saw a giant sea turtle sitting on one of the rocks.  I dropped my bags and practically ran down to the beach.  Luckily I had been warned that the moss covered rocks were super slippery and the only sad thing was he was way out on the moss rocks so I could only get so close.  But it was pretty darn cool!

I met up with cousin’s wife and our first stop was the Dole Plantation.  It’s right up the road and if there was every a place that screams tacky tourist destination this is it.  But we all love those every now and then.  I have to hand it to Dole they have you walk in the store first, and last.  It is a huge store and they make pretty much everything in pineapple flavor, shape or color.  I can only resist so long and ended up falling under the spell and may have a few pineapple souveniers in my bag now.  In the store there were also some individual stalls and one was selling koa wood items.  Koa wood is very popular here in Hawaii and they make a variety of items.  This vendor had a Nativity set that was contained in a real coconut shell.  It is really unique and will be lovely addition to my collection.  I was able to catch a “pineapple demostration” where a Dole worker teaches you everything you wanted to know about peeling, slicing and serving pineapple.  It did include a free sample.  We ate lunch at the cafeteria and lunch included the famous Dole Pineapple Whip.  It’s basically soft serve ice cream with pineapple juice and it quite tasty.   After lunch we took the train which  rides through the actual plantation where the pineapple is grown.  They also have several other crops on the land but the tour did not mention any of those.  It was cool to see the pineapple growing in the field.  We then explored the world’s largest maze for a short time.  There were lots of fun activities for kids but each had a ticket price and it can add up quick.  If you are looking for crazy, touristy fun don’t miss the Dole Plantation!

Our last stop was at Kukaniloko Birthing Stones.  This was about 1 mile from Dole and made sense after taking the train tour and learning that had all been Hawaiian royalty land.  The birthing stones were used by royalty to given birth in hopes of producing royal children.  They are arranged in a circle and some believe it was it a Hawaiian Stonehenge.  It’s just off the main highway and on a dirt road.  Again, signage is always lacking over here so I trusted my maps and found the stones.  There is a plaque reminding people that the area is considered a sacred area by the native Hawaiians.  It does have a certain reverant feel about it. 

After all that is was timem to come home and while we were out the surf had swelled due to an incoming storm and as I type I can hear it roaring loudly.  The waves were huge and the sunset was beautiful.  It was a perfect last night in Oahu.  As  a side note, the sports here crack me up.  I just watched the Univ of Hawaii men’s volleyball team play on live tv in front of a packed arena and with cheerleaders.  Off to Kona in the morning!  The turtle says good night to all!

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The Other Oahu

Yesterday was our day in the big city.  Today we were planning on being taken on a tour of the North Shore (where we are staying) and the Eastern Shore.  Basically making a loop around the entire island.  The plan was to leave around 9:30 this morning but I know my family and knew that was not even going to be close to our departure time.  My money was on 3:00 pm.

With that knowledge I decided to take a walk along the beach and check out the surf and sand.  The beach where Lost was filmed is just a short (although, with the thick sand it seems much farther) walk down from where we are staying.  On my way back I was lucky enough to spot some sea turtles swimming in the surf.  I was hoping they would come on the beach (always looking for that Christmas card picture!) but they somehow managed to stay in the water despite the waves.  I did not find many shells but but did find a small, dead crab.  The sand was so thick it was really hard to walk and I’m guessing I will feel it in the morning.

I came back to the house and sat with my Dad on the porch when started spotting whales so we spent some time watching the whales.  Turtles and whales all in the one morning!

Time was ticking away and we were no closer to leaving but I was much closer to needing lunch.  We went to Kua ‘Aina which is a popular burger joint in Haliewa.  It was delicious!!  I don’t know if it was just my hunger level or not but I think it was a darn good burger!  They serve all the burgers with a giant grilled onion on top and I’m not usually an onion person but it tasted great!  We also got some fries which were hot and fresh and skinny which are my favorite kind.  The other interesting thing about it was the giant carrot that was served as a side with the burgers.  Delicious but unexcpected.

Next we headed to the Aloha General Store which is in a small collection of shops that sell everything from jewels and clothes to super tacky souveniers.  We had the shaved ice talk comparing between the General Store and the famous Matsumoto.  I was not in the mood for a line so we went General Store.  I got the chocolate cherry bowl which was a scoop (very generous) scoope of fresh made chocolate ice cream covered by cherry ice and whipped cream.  Yum, yum!  My Dad got the a coconut and mango shaved ice and enjoyed his as well.  Be careful for freeze headaches!  We did a little shopping and then headed back to the house.

Around 4:15 we finally piled into the car for the big tour.  If you’re keeping track I was only off by an hour…  Anyway, we drove by Sunset Beach and Turtle Bay before heading to the eastern coast.  We stopped at the Chinaman’s hat for some pictures.  It’s pretty cool.  It’s a big rock formation just off the coast that is shaped like a chinaman’s hat or the Prudential rock if you ask my Dad.  There is a nice park that you can pull into that gives you great views of it and excellent picture ops.  We ended our tour in Kailua which is actually a good size city.  My Dad’s family has this thing about driving by houses they used to live in, or in this case, thought about living in.  The cool thing about it is that it was on the same street where the Obamas stay when the vacation here.  By this time it was dark and time to head back.

The eastern coast is so different from any other part of the island.  You are right up in the mountains and they all look so prehistoric.  All covered in green growth.  The bad thing about that side of the island is you miss the beautiful sunsets but I bet the sunrises are amazing!   The surf is definitely more gentle than what is here on the North Shore and Honolulu is entirely different from both of these areas.  I was happy to have the chance to check out the scenery.

Tomorrow I have some free time to get out and explore a little so I’m looking forward to that.  I have a few ideas so we’ll see which way I head!

Big City, Big Traffic

My dad and I left yesterday and flew the 11 hours it takes to get to Honolulu.  Suffice it to say my dad has no burning desire to see Australia now…  We got in around 6:00 pm and I was feeling okay even with the flying and the time change (5 hours).  We came to visit my dad’s cousin who spends quite a bit of time over here and owns a house on the North Shore (when I saw on, I mean on – more on that later).  He was very concerned with what time were coming in and what the traffice situation was.  I thought – “it’s Hononlulu, how bad could it be?”  Answer – bad, really bad.  I mean, Los Angeles bad.  I could never live here, even with everything else going for it.  By the time we got to house it was dark, pitch dark so while I could hear the roar of the ocean I had no idea how close it was.  There is nothing like falling asleep  to the sound of the surf.

I woke up this morning refreshed and ready to go.  I looked out the bedroom window and saw the ocean – right there, along with the mountains and tropical trees, just beautiful.  Turns out they have beach access right in their backyard.  Just a few steps down the path and beach!  It’s pretty sweet!  For all you Lost fans, I can see the beach where they filmed the series from where I’m sitting right now if that gives you any idea.

We decided to head in to Honolulu today.  Dad and I set out with the tour books and the first stop was going to be Pearl Harbor, until we missed the exit.  Signage is a little lacking down here, speed bumps  they have plenty which is ironic because you can rarely speed given all the traffic.  So, we kept driving and  our new first stop was the Punchbowl National Cemetary.  Very beautiful and active cemetary.  Also, great view of Honolulu and Diamond Head.  After that we had to find food.  Our plan was to stop on our way to the highway but unlike home, there are not fast food  joints on every corner.  We grabbed a quick bite and decided given  the traffic and lack of signs we would drive to mall where you could buy  tickets for a hop on/hop  off trolley.  And, if you’ve read this blog before you know I have a hard time passing up trolley tours!  Sadly, when we  arrived at the ticket booth it was closed for lunch 😦 

So we wandered around and were very near the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.  This building had been used by Hawaiian royalty and is now an upscale resort.  However, since they don’t use many doors or walls here we walked right in.  The  first thing we saw was the hotel workers setting up for a wedding which would overlook Wakiki beach.  It was fantastic!  I was then convinced we could  access  the beach through the hotel and we did!  I got to pop my toes in the Pacific and marvel  at the sun, sand and surf!  Quite  a different  scene from things up  at the North  Shore where the waves come fast and furious.

After that we headed back and got our trolley tickets.  We bought the historical Hawaii tour which took up by some of the older hotels on Wakiki Beach and then went up  to the Iolani Palace.  We hopped off there and checked the Hawaii state  building,  the palace, the statue of King Kamehameha

(which happens to be in front of the Hawaii Supreme Court – quite different from other Supreme Courts I’ve seen).  It’s also near the oldest Christian church on Oahu which is made from coral stone,  probably not the best use of coral but what did they know back then?

Hopped back on the trolley (by the way, we used Wakiki Trolley and they were pretty good, our one driver was much better than the first driver but it worked out well and they were fairly timely).  The last two stops were shopping malls which clearly help  subsidize the cost of the tour but that’s okay.  We got in the car and went back to tackle the Honolulu traffic.

We stopped for a snack on the way back to the house and I had heard about the masalas so tried those – two big thumbs up!  I had chocoloate and my dad had custard so we each tried some of both.  We may made it back to the house and now I’m sitting on the beach watching the sunset as I type.  I’ve never seen it drop so fast – I could barely get a picture before it disappeared.  Here’s a little taste of what I watch!  What a beautiful world!!

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