I have to apologize for the long post. Since I consider this our photo journal it can get a little long when I want to document stuff...
To start out with little did I know that the highlight of our Hawaii trip (at least in the kid's eyes) would happen before we even left.
Jeff was walking through LAX and noticed a couple of guys looking at him who appeared to look familiar.
Jeff came up to me and pointed in the distance and said "Hey aren't those those guys?"
"What guys?" I asked
"You know those band guys."
We walked closer. Yep. They were two of the Jonas brothers. "Yes that's them" I whispered.
I thought we were just going to walk by them and say we saw them, but no Jeff walks right up and introduces himself, tells them his daughter is a fan and asks them if we could take a picture with them.
So as I'm jogging back down to the gate where are kids are sitting with the luggage I am thinking it was so funny to me because on the drive down to the airport I was just thinking how it would be to meet someone like the Jonas brothers at the airport. How random to think of meeting them and then there they were.
I told the kids and they all hopped up only half believing me and ran back to Jeff to get this pictures just before their handler whisked them away. (Maybe that's why Joe is looking to the side ;)
The kids couldn't stop talking about it the whole way out.
5 1/2 hours later in a plane, and more time after getting the rental car and driving to our hotel in downtown Waikiki we are here.
It was just like we remembered it only with more clouds than two summers ago. They were even having hula dancing in the downtown grass area across from our hotel again. We had to go check it out.
Looks like they start the hula dancers young. They did a great job.
The next morning we woke up and got the next big highlight of the trip. A call that the chinchillas had babies (Ashley just had said 15 minutes before "what if Chimi has her babies while we're gone?)
Now all the kids were thinking about was getting home to see the babies. So we tried to distract them by going out to the swapmeet. The absolute best place to buy all your Hawaii stuff. We got T-shirts for 2.50 and necklaces, bracelets, shells and a bunch of other stuff that we probably didn't need but was fun to bring back to people. Jeff got a fresh coconut that they cut open and put a straw in so you could drink the juice.
I tried it too. Didn't taste that great but at least we tried it.
Here's a guy whose making his carvings as we watch. He said he learned it from his grandfather. We know his stuff wasn't made in China. It was neat to watch him.
My good find was a dress, thats not a mumu that I can wear to church without having another shirt under it. It was a little pricey. I learned that most of the cheep stuff was made in China, if it's made in Hawaii it's pricey.
After loading our cars with stuff we headed up to the North shore to escape the city crowds. On the way we got a call that the baby chinchillas had escaped from the cage and were awol. The girls watching them were frantically trying to find them before they had to go to cheer. Jeff got out to get directions as I had a prayer in the car with the kids.
Right before we got to our destination I called again to find out they had found both of the babies and they were safe and sound. Whew! Now the kids could relax.
We stopped at a beach that was known for turtle feeding. There were tons of tourists there watching the ocean and a few snorkelers (even though you aren't supposed to bother the turtles) I hung out with Ashley on the beach and picked up shells and the boys all climbed out on the rocks to get a closer look.
They saw lots of turtles but all the pictures of the turtles turned out like this.
I guess it's hard to get a pictures of a turtle under the water when you are ouside of the water.
That's OK Ashley and I saw their heads popping up as they would come up for air.
As soon as we were done we drove over to turtle bay and went swimming. We swam in a lagoon kind of place where there was a resort but the beach was open to the public (I think all the beaches were supposed to be open to the public)
It was cloudy but the air was still warm so we enjoyed swimming. The water took a little more to get used to than it does in the summer. Maybe because it's not as hot outside.
I figured out how to let Ashley snorkle. I get in this green floaty, put her in a life jacket and then propel her around the deeper water and let her put her head down and see the fish. She did better than the last trip because she would actually put her eyes in the water this time. As long as I was holding on to her she was fine. The only problem was the floaty was so far out of the water I don't know what pushed us more my kicking or the wind.
We did some snorkeling until it started sprinkling and then we headed back. Taylor was saying he was tired anyway. I don't think the kids had gotten over their jetlag yet.
On the drive back we saw all these Shrimp Shacks. There were clusters of them. We had heard about them and how good the shrimp was but we weren't hungry enough to stop before.
So after we passed them we saw one more and stopped.
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We saw these ponds next to the shrimp carts and realized this part of the island had a bunch of shrimp farms. So they grew them and we were eating them.
I'm not a huge shrimp person but I have to say that these were very good. Probably the best, most fresh shrimp I've ever tasted.
Jacob agreed though Taylor and Ashley held on to their negative opinions about shrimp even after they tried them.
As we started driving towards Waikiki it started raining a lot.
Even with the clouds and the rain the drive was still beautiful.
It amazed me how some of the houses that were right next to the water don't get didn't get flooded in bad weather!
Here is Ashley modeling some of her swap meet finds. Our little Hula girl.
The next morning dawned beautiful
Here's the view from our hotel of the boardwalk...
and the water. OK it's only a glimpse but we were able to see boats and surfers and hear the waves even though it was a block away.
On Thursday we went to see punchbowl. (One of the things we missed last time)
Here's the view of Honolulu from punchbowl. Great view.
In the center of the memorial they had a nondenomenational chapel.
Lots of stairs but worth the climb.
There were hardly any clouds above us but raindrops blew into us the whole time we were there. It was the strangest thing to be pelted with raindrops but not have any clouds above us!
After punchbowl we went over to visit the Ioloni palace which is the only palace of a moncharcy on US soil.
It was fascinating to take a tour of Queen Liluokalani's palace and more fascinating to learn about the history of how we acquired Hawaii.
I never learned in the history books that a small group of businessmen took power from the monarchy (the queen at the time) and created their own "provisional government" kicked her out of her palace and made it their headquarters.
She stepped down gracefully because she didn't want bloodshed and knew that when all was figured out it would be found that her power was taken from her illegally.
The Hawaiian took hope when the president of the United States at the time told the businessmen to give her back her power.
They ignored the president and waited until a new president was elected. In the meantime a group of Hawaiians fought to gain power back and the provisional government tried and convicted the Queen for rebellion even though she had not taken part in it. For 9 months we was held prisoner in her own palace under constant guard.
While she was there she wrote a song about forgiving her captors.
She never got her power back, but the US adopted Hawaii as a state 50 years ago.
Now I understand why we some some signs on the back roads of Maui that said "Free Hawaii" last time we were there.
As we were walking back we visited the capital building. The capital used to be the palace but they have since had to build a bigger facility.
A really nice guard showed us the room where the legislature sits. This was the "volcano room" he told us. The carpet was red and the wall hanging was supposed to represent lava coming out of a volcano. The light fixture is supposed to look like the sun.
We asked him how the politics are in Hawaii. I guess the legislature is split 46 democrats and 4 republicans. Interesting.
Back at the hotel the kids are enjoying the balcony. Ashley is serenading us with her new "real" ukele and Jacob is playing video games.
Whenever we could we would come back to the hotel and eat lunch. Having breakfast and lunch at home saved a lot in fast food expense and it gave the kids time to unwind a little.
In the afternoon we headed over to Waikiki to relax on the beach. (Like the sun in all our eyes!)
Here's a view of the other side.
We were looking forward to enjoying the sand...
and the water.
Jacob liked floating around. Nice not having to worry about huge waves crashing on you!
Ashley enjoyed playing in the sand and right on the edge of the water...fine by me.
Taylor swam a little and then just hung out on the chair. He said he's still feeling tired. He complained about his legs hurting the whole time at the palace even though we were barely walking around and were probably there about an hour. I kept hearing "I'm not getting anything out of this." It was unlike Taylor.
After the beach we all came back to take showers and clean up to go to dinner. The kids always wanted to jump in the pool before they went back up to the room. Since they had to wait for the shower anyway it was perfect to get off some of that sand :)
That night we went to Outback. Bloomin Onion is a family favorite. The only bad thing is that it makes the kids not want to eat their dinner. I think we ran them too hard because they were all floppy at the table and too tired to eat once the food came. I think the jetlag is still not quite done.
The next morning Jeff and I let the kids watch a movie while we went and listened to a time share speal to help pay for our parking bill. It actually wasn't too bad. Under an hour, no hard sales and something to think about for the future.
Then we were off for our full day at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Here's another beautiful drive which I was able to take pictures of because we were stuck behind a really slow tour bus.
When the tour bus pulled into a macademia nut farm we actually decided to pull over too because friends had told us it was a must see.
We didn't have time to do the tour but we did have time to taste some samples and buy a bag of nuts.
We decided to eat lunch before we went into the Polynesian Cultural Center. The only option within 14 miles was McDonalds.
It was the most interesting McDonalds I've ever eaten at. It had a lava rock waterfall, a boat hanging from the ceiling and covered artifacts with name plates like at a museum.
We were excited to be back at the Polynesian Cultural center because last time we came to the PCC we missed a lot because we got out there late and the luau starts early. This time we decided to splurge on the "Ambassador tickets". They were $20.00 over the regular ticket price and in the end I think it was well worth it.
We had our own personal tour guides the whole time to help us get to all the shows, explain things to us, get us the best seats. Our guides even took our pictures for us as a family and helped with the stroller. After that we got special seating at the luau, and dinner show and free desserts (worth 5 dollars themselves) and a souvenier DVD. Nice.
They started the tour with going behind the scenes of the night show stage. It's the largest (3 story) stage complete with all live plants.
Here's Jacob checking out the tea leaves which is the only protection the dancers have between their skin and the fire they are dancing with, playing with and sitting on!
Here's our cute BYU student tour guide holding hands with Ashley. We found out that a lot of the BYU students have their school paid for by working at the PCC.
The PCC was beatiful with water and plants everywhere.
This was the island of Samoa where the men hunt the food and cook the food.
We got a demonstration on how to start a fire, husk a coconut and get the milk out of it...
and also how to climb a tree to get the coconuts.
This was all mixed in with the funniest comedy routine. This guy was hilarious.
In the middle of the park they had a display representing Easter Island. There weren't any volunteers representing them though because all the natives were killed.
It all started when the people that were considered the "slave class" who lived in these kind of huts got tired of being slaves and rose up to kill...
...all the ruling class who lived in caves. All they left behind was their art.
Checking out the coconut husking.
Our guide whisked us away to see the river show. (With front row seats :)
There were musicians and singers who sang as boats representing all the different islands came out and performed their own unique style of dancing.
Just a little preview of something to look forward to later in the night show.
Then it was off to Aeroterra (New Zealand) which means land of the long white cloud. They did an elaborate ceremony to "welcome" us as all their guests and we came into their meeting hall which was really carved in New Zealand and brought piece by piece and assembled in Hawaii. You know they press forheads and noses together as a greeting!
Afterwards the kids tried their hands at the poy balls...not as easy at it looks.
Neither were the stick games!
Unless you were lucky enough to be partnered with our guide. I think Taylor was the only one to get it good.
Here is a giant ceremonial boat that was carved from one tree. Amazing.
Here was the hut of the chief in Fiji.
His was the ginormous bed in the corner that nobody but him was allowed on. Don't enter his hut in the wrong door...or you will be clubbed to death. Don't touch the fro (the biggest hair wins) or you will be clubbed to death.
And, if you are his favorite wife you will be burned along with his house when he dies...or burried alive...your choice.
This is the hut in Fiji that you never want to enter. Only 3 people enter it the chief, the head holy man and the human sacrifice. So if you aren't the chief or the holy man your never coming out. The chief actually ate the brains of the human sacrifice thinking that he would inherit the victims smarts.
We were very glad to hear that once missionaries come to Fiji all the canabalistic traditions stopped.
Next we escaped Fiji to go to the island of Hawaii to learn some hula.
Everyone tried to learn it...some with more success than others.
After this the guide got us on the boat to travel through the park and be dropped off at our luau.
Here is the most unusual palm tree. It grows from one shore to the other and then back to the middle with the palm fronds still growing in the center. I guess Elvis Prestly filmed some song on this tree.
Hungry for dinner and ready for some good food!
Loving the orchid leys too. Beautiful.
Here is the procession introducing the Hawaiian "king" and "queen" and the court because we were feasting at a royal luau.
Presenting the pig that had been roasting underground all day.
What would a fun night be without exotic, big overpriced drinks. This was actually a strawberry smoothie. The kids loved it.
They had all the people who were having birthdays stand up. Stand up Taylor!
The food was great that night. I even tried the raw salmon, the purple taro root rolls and the see through chicken noodles. It was all great.
Next we were ready for the night show.
They changed it from the last time we were there. They added more of a story line.
I thought they did a great job! We got to know the main characters much better as they took us through a journey through all the islands.
Intermission brought us the much anticipated promised free ice cream.
We were all so full from dinner most of us couldn't even finish them!
Then on with the show.
I say the fire dancers alone were worth the price of admission.
It's hard to believe that only tea leaves were protecting them.
Crazy. It was a great day. We got home late that night after another long drive to the other side of the island.
The next day we understood why Taylor had been so tired and a little cranky when he woke up with a fever. We let him lay in bed all morning to see if he would feel any better later.
After lunch he still wasn't feeling up to going anywhere so with his blessing we left him at the hotel room and went to snorkle at Hanauma bay. Sweet boy didn't want us missing out on our last day to go places.
I don't know how we missed Hanauma bay last time! It was the best place to snorkle!
Basically swimming in a fish tank. A must see. Jeff was even able to swim with 6 or 7turtles!
We'll promise to take you back someday Taylor!
That night since Taylor still wasn't feeling the best (He said he had wanted to have a day of his spring break to just lay around but he wan't so happy he missed a day in Hawaii doing it) we let them stay in eat pizza and watch a rented movie while Jeff and I went across the street to celebrate and early Anniversary at Ruth Chris. They had excellent food there! Even if it was pricey. (Glad we didn't bring the kids though they would'nt have appreciated it)
I guess if you are celbrating something special they cover your table with rose petals and bring you out chocolate covered strawberries for dessert.
Of course they don't tell you that until you've already ordered dessert...oh well more to bring home for the kids.
The last day in Hawaii was Sunday. We started it off by attending the local ward in the Tabernacle. It's the most interesting building that you'll go to church at, and beautiful with a mosaic of Christ on the front of it. We planned on going to more than just sacrament meeting but Taylor still wasn't feeling good so we left after the first hour.
Before we left we had to get a picture in front of the banyan tree to match...
the one we took 2 years ago.
After we came back and ate lunch we hung out at the room for awhile. Ashley had fun playing with our assorted leys we got over the course of the trip.
It was hard to just throw away the flower ones they were so beatiful...and made great art projects :)
Since we didn't want to stay inside all day we brought the rest of our bread out to the jetty to feed the fish with it.
We cracked up at the crabs who would grab pieces of bread out of the water and then go on top of the rocks to keep it away from the fish.
Then we thought we'd check out the bird man and get some pictures with diamond head in the background.
Taylor making a new friend with an ear nibbler.
Ashley loved the birds.
And the birds loved Jacob judging from the snuggling going on.
Next we thought explore the beach some. We walked down as far as we could go to the right since we hadn't gone down that way before. It was a gorgeous day!
It was the only day that we got a little sunburned since we didn't load us up with sunblock.
That night we visited Jeff's clients John and Tina that live in Hawaii to see their renovated studio and eat dinner. The kids loved their dogs...
and Jeff and I loved the view from their balcony...
Before we left them they took us out to walk out to the water. Our last night enjoying Waikiki.
The next morning we got up and ate and Denny's and packed up to go home. Luckily Taylor was feeling better. Good thing because we had a long trip home and he had testing at school the next day! We were very happy to make a smooth trip home and have enough energy to jump back into real life when we got back home.