Thursday, April 27, 2006

Polynesian Cultural Center

On another day in Hawaii, all six of us decided to take an excursion to the North Shore of O'ahu and enjoy the Polynesian Cultural Center. The drive there was an experience in and of itself. We were planning on stopping at all kinds of places that we had learned about through our Hawaii books or other people. One of the places someone told us to go was a place where they have the best shaved ice. Apparently we found the place in one of the books and we decided to try to stop there on the way up. Well, we must have turned the wrong way or something, because we never found it.

Next on the agenda was a burger place for "The Big Kahuna." Again, we never found that place and so we let it slide. Our lunch would have to be eaten elsewhere. The navigator, David, told us the map was terrible. Third on the list was to stop at "Giovanni's Shrimp Shack"... well, I'm not sure if what I saw was what it was supposed to be, but I had seen a truck on the side of the road with Giovanni's name on it, and it was in the area where there were all kinds of little roadside stands for shrimp, but we didn't even try it because the truck didn't look like it had a side open to sell shrimp. Additionally, we figured the little ponds all along the sides of road were where they "farm-raised" the shrimp and it just didn't look too good. We ended up getting a burger at the snack stand at the Cultural Center. No one's going hungry here. :)

At the cultural center, we were part of a group with a tour guide, who led us around and got us into the different shows for the different islands. We saw a guy climb a coconut tree and another guy break open a coconut in under 30 seconds, I think. That was the place where they were telling us the men do all the cooking! The guy speaking said that's why he moved to Hawaii. :) The tour guide had us see the boat dances, a drum show, and we even made music ourselves in the land of Fiji. It was all very interesting and fun, but my favorite part of the whole day was the show in the evening. We had great seats - we were about 8 rows back from the front! I have some pictures from the show, but they didn't turn out very well.

Before the show we had dinner - a traditional Luau. I had never been to a Luau. It was fun, the food was good and the entertainment during the show was fun. We even watched them uncover the poor pig we were going to eat. I have a picture, but I'll spare you. :)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Hiking in Hawaii

On one of the Hawaiian days David and I decided to go for a hike through a rainforest. We had to drive in to Waikiki to meet the tour bus. First we stopped at a lookout point where we could see the valley that we would be hiking in. If you look at a larger image of the picture you might be able to see the light green leaves in the middle of the valley. This is actually only one tree! We walked right by it on our hike and the sheer magnitude of it was amazing. Our tour guide also told us about the cliff edge that we're standing on. Hawaiians jumped to their death because they did not want to get taken into slavery. Apparently at the bottom of that cliff they are still finding bones.

The trail was beautiful. We learned about all kinds of things, trees that had been brought in as opposed to trees that were native to Hawaii. A lot of the foreign trees were killing the soil around them so the indigenous trees were unable to grow. Our tour guide here is pointing out what looks like a coconut from this tree, but it is actually not a coconut. Unfortunately, I don't remember what he said about it!

Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the rooster that followed us for a little while. There were some interesting tropical birds and animals along the way. One of the places we stopped to look at was a maze of roots that grow above the ground. The tour guide was telling us that this is where pigs like to hide out because it is almost impossible to get to them. However, we didn't see a pig because a wild pig wouldn't be that close to a trail. When Hawaiins go in search of a wild pig they will take dogs to sniff them out because the dog would be able to get through those roots much easier.

My favorite part of the trail was the waterfall. We had to wade through the river to get the picture of the two of us, but it was a beautiful view. I was all proud at first that David and I were the only ones who really followed the rules because we wore running shoes as the pamphlet had instructed us to. But, when we had to wade through the water, I was sure wishing had worn open-toed hiking sandals as most everyone else was wearing!

Waterfalls hold special significance for the two of us. David had proposed to me at a waterfall. :) The rest of our little day trip was fun. After the van dropped us off we walked around a huge shopping mall and bought some gifts for friends. Then we went out to dinner together at California Pizza. We didn't got anywhere too fancy since we were still in our hiking gear and since we had been getting plenty of fancy meals all week long at the resort. We had a great day together!

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Our trip to Hawaii was wonderful! It was beautiful and sunny pretty much every day. We enjoyed the relaxation! David had to do some work while on vacation, so he didn't get too much sun, but hey, what's better - working at the office, or working on the beach in Hawaii, soaking up the sun and sipping a Mai Tai?! I think I'd take the latter!

The resort we stayed at was absolutely beautiful. David's parents had purchased a condo there a few years ago when we had stayed at a hotel just down the walkway after the week long cruise they had taken us on. They thought they'd go to the information meeting about the new condos with the idea that they 'might' buy one.... well, you're already hooked if you go with that mindset, so they came back with a 3 bedroom condo. All three rooms looked out toward the water. The beach is beautiful and not too wavey or dangerous because they have these large man-made lagoons for people to swim in. The pools were also gorgeous. On the one end they had fake sand for kids to play in. I think there were 3 hot tubs and 2 different pools. The pools had large rocks around the edges so it made it look nicer than just a regular pool.

There's a full kitchen in the unit, so we made our breakfasts and most lunches there, and then enjoyed dining out for dinners. My parents had joined us on the cruise two years ago, and were invited to join us again. Hawaii isn't normally a place people in Ontario go to - it's easier, cheaper and just makes more sense to go to Florida, but it's oh so wonderful!! The third bedroom in the place was actually a full separate unit, but attached to ours. My parents got that unit. David and I had the "kids" room with 2 twin beds, but we just pushed them together. My parent's room had a small kitchenette with a little fridge and an extra pull-out couch. They liked having their privacy at times. Actually, we all had privacy. There was also three bathrooms, which made it nice so we didn't have to wait for the shower. It was quite luxurious! I'd like to send a BIG THANK YOU out to Dan and Joen, who so lovingly allowed us to share this vacation with them.