I was sad to be taking the kids from Youth Conference but excited to be going on a trip together as a family. Life changes and with Taylor graduating high school I don't know how many more family trips we'll be able to take together.
After 6 hours of flying on our bare bones airline that we got a great deal on (seriously the seats don't even recline) we arrived in Hawaii.
When we got there it's evening so all we do is go to Walmart to stock up on food for the week and then come home to go to bed. The next morning we check out our room/condo better. We did a vacation rental by owner. It was a 2 bedroom condo with 2 bathrooms,
so nice because everyone had their own bed, we had a kitchen and two bathrooms for all of us to take showers after swimming. The down side was the master bed was rock hard (maybe the owner has back problems and likes it extra firm) and the place smelled like "old lady". Jacob declared this and wanted me to buy air freshener, but I just aired it out instead ha ha.
View of our hotel from the beach looking up.
And the view from our room looking down at the beach...
We went down to the beach to check it out. Seriously if we could have warm water like this in California we would have it perfect! We only stayed here for an hour or so because Jeff's clients/friends called us down to go with them to try and book a snorkel trip.
By the time we got there the trip was full for the day so we booked it for the next day. Jacob was happy because he was still feeling jet lag.
We came back and checked out the hotel pool.
Nice to swim and feel like we were dropped in the middle of summer.
Sampling some food from a shrimp truck. Wasn't too bad but we never ended up eating from the shrimp trucks at the north shore which are the best.
When it started raining at the pool we headed back up to the room.
During our trip there were times that it would rain here or there but mostly it didn't stop us from anything. If you can see it there is a rainbow in the middle of the picture. They don't call it the rainbow state for nothing.
That night we got tickets to a local show of the Beatles (impersonators). A friend of ours who is working on the house told us his buddy was producing this show and he thought it was in Oahu. Sure enough it was and he offered us 1/2 price tickets so we thought we'd check it out. We saw something similar with New York Life and the kids liked it.
The venue was small (a hotel room ballroom) and not a lot of people in the audience but the guys did great and we still had fun. Here we are dancing to one of the songs.
Ashley's favorite part???
When Jeff was called up on stage and invited to help them sing "Yellow Submarine"
I could see him saying in his mind "What have I got myself in to?!"
The next day...
Every morning we would eat breakfast out on this balcony. Even if it was early there would always be surfers out in the waves and people swimming laps at the pool.
Today was our snorkel trip. Before we went Jeff and Ashley and I ran to the Aloha Bowl swap meet to buy our souvenirs including some beach towels (one of the things our condo didn't have). Seriously its the best place to buy stuff...the boys weren't interested so we let them sleep in.
Our boat was a catamaran called the Island Magic.
We all had fun but Taylor said it was his favorite part of the trip!
The view of Waikiki from the water. It's been described as a little LA or Las Vegas on the water. I don't think its that bad but it is a city right up against a beach. For some reason I don't mind it. There is everything to do, buy and people to watch right there. It's busy day and night and maybe it reminds me a bit of our beach at home (with addition to high rises) or just our first trip here. I like the quiet beaches we visit elsewhere but I like the vibrancy of Waikiki too.
So I think this is why this was Taylor's favorite part. He is quite the snorkeler. He's holding an octopus...
and swimming with turtles. He dived down here with our friend's underwater camera and got these pictures for us. We were snorkeling right on top of a turtle cleaning station.
We couldn't touch or harass them but they didn't mind us being there and would even get pretty close.
Ashley didn't last more than 5 minutes in the water. The current and wind was strong and she was struggling to get out past the boat let alone to where the snorkel spot was so she wanted to turn around and come back. (The boat didn't provide us flippers so swimming was more difficult)
Here she is enjoying lunch and holding a cushion starfish.
Even though she didn't go under much she saw the turtles when they came up to the surface.
After our snorkeling we ate lunch and they put up the sails and we sailed to diamond head.
Tina and her sister Bobby and Bobby's husband Larry were with us. Here they are with flowers that they spread on the water as we sailed as they remember their mom who passed away.
Cool Dude Jacob...
and the family.
On the trip back to the beach the water was really rough and choppy and it would splash through the net pretty good. Ashley was the only one brave enough out of our family to sit down there by herself.
Taylor laid out next to her and I noticed a worker hanging out near her too (maybe in case she got into any trouble). The funniest was Bobby. Her side was much more rough than Ashley's and she was pummeled with water and it was out of control. We didn't have the camera out but if we would've the video would've gone straight to America's funniest videos.
For our meals we pretty much ate in or packed sandwiches and usually ate out once in a day. That night we went to a steakhouse that is similar to Ooka back home (or Benihanas).
Our chef was great (here is his onion volcano) and the food was better than at the place we normally go to. The only problem was there was so much of it I felt bad that so much was left over.
The next day we got up and went to the north part of the island. We were heading to the macadamia nut farm but since we had a few minutes we stopped by the Valley of the Temples.
The highlight there is the Byodo-In temple. (It's replica 1/6th the size of the original)
Jacob wasn't impressed and said he'd already seen it (like 8 years ago) and stayed in the car.
Ringing the bell.
The grounds were beautiful and peaceful.
With ponds and streams filled with black swans and coy fish. Paths that wandered and gazebos that invited you to slow down...
Since we were short on time we walked through quickly and then moved on.
Next stop was the Macadamia nut farm. We discovered that they had a big bin of nuts right off the tree. You could bring them over to these stumps and hit them with a rock to shell them and then eat them raw.
This was probably their favorite part! The bad thing was Taylor wasn't really hungry for lunch because he ate so many nuts. Ha ha.
We decided to take the tour because it was recommended by our friends. We got on an old bus...
and were taken around the farm and showed all the plants they grew and told how they were used anciently and today.
It was beautiful there. I guess lots of things have been filmed there and we got to see the movie posters of some of them.
Here was our guide/comedian/native demonstrator. He showed how to husk a coconut, and build a fire all while making us laugh.
Hey then passed off his fire to this guy who impressed us with his fire dancing.
Ashley was brave enough to go up and try the coconut water....
we all tried it. I still don't like it. Blah
I did like the fresh, shaved coconut that Ashley went up and got for us to try. That was good.
Hear we are with our free souvenir headbands.
Then they took us on a boat ride and pointed out some of the movie and show sets that were there.
They filmed Lost, 50 first dates, Hunger Games and Fantasy Island here to name a few.
After our tour we headed on and hit a lunch place. We found a local yelp favorite called the Hukilau Café. The food was good and inexpensive. I laughed when we went back to the car and found the giant bag of spam cans. I guess they serve a lot of spam.
Our next stop was Waimea falls. The falls are at the end of a trail in Waimea Valley botanical garden. We did the hike to see the falls on our first trip to Hawaii but it was one of the rare times the falls was dried up so we thought we would try again.
Since we were going to one of Jeff's client's for dinner right after I didn't get in the water but after watching the family I wish I had!
It was a little cold getting in but they said once they got used to it, it was fine.
Taylor at the falls. You weren't allowed to climb up it or jump from rocks but you could jump into the current and let it push you out. Here is Taylor,
It was worth the hike!
The view was beautiful all along the way back to the cars.
There was even a native site where ancient Hawaiians used to live.
After our hike we went to our friend/client's house for dinner. We visited Ongo and Cara the first time we came to Hawaii and they had one toddler. Cara lived in Riverside and we knew her and her family when she was young. She came out to Hawaii for school, married a Tongan and stayed. They now have 3 cute kids and a life in Oahu.
My kids had fun with their, running them around the house and getting them wild and then settling down and showing them their ipod games.
Jeff got to meet with them while I hung out with the kids and then we were back to the hotel for some sleep.