Friday, August 22, 2008

Our Hawaii Vacation


Aloha Friends & Family,


I had not planned to take this long to get an email of our Hawaii trip out to you. In any case, here it is. It is long, so if you plan on reading it, brace yourself in a comfy chair with a beverage of your choice.


Our trip was fantastic. We flew out early Tuesday morning with no glitches. All four of us were in good moods and excited. The drive to the airport, finding a parking spot, and getting through security and to our gate all worked like clockwork. Our connection flight went through Salt Lake City, Utah landing us in Honolulu, Hawaii at 2:30pm (which was 6:30pm in Colorado). Upon our arrival we picked up our rental car and set out to find our hotel, which was quite an adventure, but after many u-turns and some choice words from our driver, we made it. Our hotel was pretty nice just off the beach. Our room was located on the 7th floor with a balcony view of more hotels. I was amazed that there are no doors into the lobby. Not even anything that can be temporarily closed. The lobby is open and exposed to the public and the elements always.


After settling in our room, we went out to get groceries, which were incredibly expensive, and then we went back to the room. I lay down and took a little nap. Jimi and the kids went to the beach. When they returned I was awake and we tried to go to the pool, but it closed at 6pm, so we hung out in the room until bed.


Wednesday – We set out for some sight seeing and beach hoping. We went from beach to beach along the coast trying out the sand and waves at each. We climbed off the path of a rocky area and experienced the waves crashing against the rocks daring them to try to get us. We saw a sea turtle nibbling some goodness from rocks and coral. Later in the day, we hunted for a Wal-Mart and it was a hunt. We asked about five different people for directions. They all directed us in the same general area, but otherwise everyone's directions were different. Finally after driving around the city for several hours we accidentally found Wal-Mart. The problem was it did not look like the typical Wal-Mart. It was a four story building. Wal-Mart was on the first floor and parking was on the fourth floor. The second and third floors were Sams Club and Sams Club parking. That evening we ate at a locally well known chain called "Zippys". After it got dark, we went back to the rocky area we went to earlier that morning and sat watching the moonlight on the water. Jimi and I were drinking Bud Light. We decided to leave when we started noticing the rocks moving, which turned out to be some type of very large bug about two inches long and resembling a cockroach.


Thursday – We got up and went to Starbucks, and then headed for Hanauma Bay. Hanaunma Bay is a snorkeling area made of live coral reefs with many different kinds of fish and other living sea life. Snorkeling was scary at first. Submerging our faces in the water and trying to breath is not a natural thing to do, but once past that, it was incredible and became my favorite part of our vacation. Jennifer was too scared to try snorkeling, so she laid on the beach soaking up the sun. We were there for four hours before heading back to the hotel where Jennifer and I did a load of laundry. Jimi and Daniel rented surf boards and went to the beach. It turns out that Jimi's back was still bothering him from the week before, so he didn't surf long. That evening we ate dinner in the hotel restaurant. The restaurant was located on the third floor and the upper part of the walls consisted of garden lattice. I am still intrigued by the openness of the hotel.


Friday – Daniel and I went to the beach so I could watch him surf, but the waves were not big enough. We set out to rent some Kayaks with intention of going out to several smaller islands, but not before stopping at Starbucks for espressos. On the drive up the coast we noticed that it was considerably windy and rough seas, so we decided against the idea. We instead drove to Northshore. The drive took a couple of hours, but the scenery was beautiful. We stopped at a roadside souvenir stand and an authentic road side stand (van) for dinner. It was expensive, but the shrimp and Mahi Mahi was incredibly tasty. We stopped at Sandy Beach again where I took pictures; Jennifer sat with me, as Jimi and Daniel played on the boogie boards. The area is known to cause frequent dislocations and broken bones due to the rough waters/waves. Thank goodness the boys conquered leaving safely and in tact. Jennifer and I fell asleep back at the room. Daniel and Jimi spied on neighboring hotel rooms with the binoculars and later went down to the beach for a bit.


Saturday – Jimi and I got up early. We took a walk on the beach with out Starbucks coffees. After preparing for the day we set out again to rent Kayaks. When we arrived at our destination, we discovered that they were more money than we were willing to pay. Actually, we didn't mind paying the money, but there was a short time limit on them and it wasn't long enough for us to linger and enjoy our time. So the idea was abandoned all together and it was back to the hotel. We made reservations for a sailboat ride on Sunday and headed off to Manoa Falls in the rain forest. Jennifer stayed behind. The three of us climbed through the lush mass of trees, brush, vines, and rock for several hours. The water fall was pretty, but not what I expected. It seemed to be lacking water with just a small stream running down the 100 foot vertical rock; we did some exploring off the trail as well. On our way home, we stopped at a tattoo place to inquire about my next tattoo. I really wanted to get in done while in Hawaii, but Jimi wanted me to wait and have it done by people we know back home. We picked up Papa John's Pizza for supper. After eating, the four of us walked to the beach where we watched the sunset. After dark, Jimi and Daniel stayed in the hotel room, while Jennifer and I walked the strip along the beach front.


Sunday – We had to be out of the hotel by 7am to catch the 8am boat. Stopping by Starbucks on the way we headed for the sailboat. We were on the catamaran for 2 ½ hours; stopping to snorkel for about an hour of it. We were swimming with several very large sea turtles. They didn't care that we were there and made no attempt to flee from us or cared that we were next to them. The sail portion of our trip was great as well. The captain said the wind was blowing 15 – 20 mph. I'm not sure how fast the boat was going, but it felt fast. I liked it and could very easily get used to life on a boat. Our boating adventure was over at 10:30am. Next adventure was to climb Diamond Head Mountain. The kids didn't want to go, so they stayed in the room. Diamond Head is an old volcano. The tip of the mountain is gone leaving an open mountain with a crater in the middle. The climb was nice although was nothing compared what we are used to in Colorado. It begins on the middle of the volcano crater and winds up the side of the mountain to the top. The trail is mostly man made consisting of concrete steps and pathways. The view of Honolulu fro the top was breath taking. After returning to the hotel, the four of us took advantage of our last chance to play in the ocean. We stayed for a few hours and had a blast. It was the first time all four of us were in the water together, goofing around and sticking together. We had so much fun dodging the waves, playing on the boogie board, and bodysurfing. We all cleaned up with showers before heading out for a nice dinner at Dukes. This restaurant/bar was right on the beach. It was awesome, just as you see on TV. There was a 40 minute wait for our table. We waited in the bar: I drank Mai Tais and Jimi drank Budweiser. The food was expensive, but out of this world yummy!!! Our evening came to an abrupt end when Jimi remembered that we forgot to pay the parking meter. We quickly sobered up, finished our dinner and high tailed it to the car to find a $35 parking ticket. We went back to the room to sulk and ended up goofing around in the room until bedtime.


Monday – We ate breakfast at the hotel's restaurant, packed our suitcases and checked out. We went to Pearl Harbor. Touring the USS Arizona Memorial was very emotional. To think of all those men who lost their lives still & in the sub under water made it real by being there. We also toured the submarine the USS Bowfin; we saw the only captured "Japanese one man suicide sub", as well as other interesting things from WWII. And we toured the Aviation Museum on Ford Island containing both Japanese and American aircraft from WWII. After Pearl Harbor, we walked around China Town for a couple of hours. A person would never know that this place was located right in the middle of a modern US City. It was like walking through a port hole from one place to another. Many of the Asians spoke no or very little English. The streets were dirty and smelly. There were fresh fish markets on every corner; however, on the edge of China Town looking across the street was a three story modern high class building. I found it captivating. After China Town we still had almost three hours before we had to go to the airport. We simply drove around stopping occasionally to explore, swing on vines hanging from trees, or investigating a scenic viewpoint. We ended up going to the airport early. Our flight from Hawaii to Salt Lake City, Utah left at 9:45pm and arrived at 7:40am Tuesday morning.


Tuesday - We left Salt Lake City at 9am and arrived in Denver at 11:30am. We got to my house about 1pm. The kids and I slept overnight on the plane (mostly), but Jimi did not, so he was tired. We lay down and took a nap before he headed home to Longmont. Rest of the day I unpacked, did laundry, cleaned Cencorp, and cleaned my car really well.


All in all, there are no complaints from any of us regarding this family vacation. I am putting together a scrapbook of our week. Next time I see you, you can see all the pictures.


Love Everybody,


Lorie & Jimi

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