This is a somewhat brief recap of our Hawai'i trip.
I apologize if its a bit hurried. Lately I just don't have the time or attention for making these posts more pretty and such. Anyway.
My mother, who is a very generous woman, tries to organize and help fund family trips every year or two. This year, she'd setup a trip to Hawai'i for herself, Krissi and Piper and I, as well as my brother and his wife.
We left folks in charge of all of the stuff at home, and at 5AM on Saturday morning, we were standing in the Memphis airport, ready to get on a plane.
We discovered, later in the morning, that my brother and his wife, who are party animals, had stayed up till almost 2 the previous night/morning at some party or show. Stupid awesome partying people with no kids. Would you believe those jerks even slept on the airplane some? /teasing
We had a plane ride from Memphis to Chicago, a three hour layover, and then a flight from Chicago to Honolulu. After boarding the plane up sitting in the aircraft for an entire hour waiting for a de-icing truck. Geez. Fortunately, Piper was in a good humor. During our time in the sky on Saturday, we had a couple of minor meltdowns, but nothing that was not quickly corrected with a bottle or food or some kind of entertainment or distraction. We arrived in Chicago only somewhat late, and walked seemingly a mile through the airport to reach our next gate. When we arrived there, we discovered the TVs blaring news about the earthquake in Chile, and the tsunami warnings for the entire Pacific. We all stood there, transfixed and dumbstruck. So.... are we really going to get on this plane and fly to Hawai'i.. just in time for a Big Wave?
We did indeed get on the plane, and we were told that we'd fly out and if the wave hit and was bad, we'd turn around and go back to San Francisco. But it turned out to be almost nothing in Hawai'i, so we landed in Honolulu in the mid afternoon.
We ate, walked out onto the beach, which was just across the street from our hotel, and spent about five minutes playing in the shallow water. Then we called it a day. I believe that the three of us were all asleep by 9. (With the time difference, that was actually 1AM)
The days blur together, so I'm not going to give you a chronologically accurate rundown, instead, I'm just going to tell you the things that we did, and in some cases, did not do.
We hiked to, and then up (and then back from) Diamond Head. It was a fun walk to it, across Waikiki, through the little local neighborhoods and such. The trail itself was awesome. I carried Piper in the Kelty backpack. At the end of the week, I told Krissi that I would totally do the entire Diamond Head trek again, if I could. We all went to the top and enjoyed the stunning views.
We walked, a lot. We also had bus passes, and used them, but we got a great deal of walking done, which was cool. We rented a car for one day, and James, Keshia, Krissi, Piper and I all drove out to the North Shore, while my mom was doing an all-day volcano tour. North Shore was gorgeous, and the driving was scenic and fun. Everyone had a great time, and we saw some amazing beaches and mountains, and some cool waves.
We ate some good food, but for a few days, we lamented that there weren't more yummy and reasonably priced food places where we were. Sadly, we had simply not done enough exploring. One street north of us were a number of excellent food places, including Ono's Cheese Steaks, and a bunch of others. I ate at a Golden Palace chinese restaurant that had THE BEST chinese take-out I have ever eaten. Instead of leaving me with an oily, MSG taste in my mouth afterward, this was fresh and flavorful and SO delicious.
We went snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, which was gorgeous. It was lots of fun swimming through the reef, looking at all the coral and fish, and we saw a sea turtle, which was just icing on the cake.
Simple people watching was lots of fun. Many of the people there were simply of the "beautiful people" category. Bronze skin, gorgeous tattoos... I got a couple of runs in, but I remember commenting at least once that there'd be NO excuse for being out of shape while living in Hawai'i. You couldn't turn around without seeing a few people out running.
Piper loved the sand and water. The very first time we stuck her feet in the surf, she made upset noises and did not want her feet in it. But the next day, she was all about it. She loved playing in the sand, and though that eating it was great fun, as was picking through the sand looking for rocks and shells. She loved the water, and we let her walk in the shallow bit, and carried her out deeper and swooshed her around and she had a blast. Lots of big toothy smiles.
We hiked the Ma'ona falls, which was beautiful. This was another outing that we got to do a lot of walking on, due to a misunderstanding about bus routes. Again, we had a great time, and enjoyed the hike.
We went to the Botanical Gardens, which were lots of fun, and very very pretty. This is a great transition into picture taking. I took GOBS of photos. Around two thousand. Of course, I will not be insisting that you view all two thousand. I've already begun to go through and delete blurry or bad photos, and will try to trim down on duplicates and such. I'm slowly going through them uploading the highlights, and hope to have maybe a hundred or two hundred photos online later this week.
Although I was somewhat ambivalent about getting lots of time lying around in the sun on the beach - I'm a pretty pale dude, and I burn in no time - the others were very keen on beach time, so at least once, Piper and I took a well deserved nap while the others laid out like beach bums.
James and Keshia went on a couple of hash runs, which sounded like terrific fun, and we'd thought seriously about going along on, but the timing just didn't work out. They also did some surfing lessons which sounded like a lot of fun.
We went to the Ioani Palace, but discovered that the wouldn't admit anyone under 4 years old into the main building. So Krissi and Piper and I toured the gallery, and then hung outside enjoying the fantastic weather.
We attended a Luau, which was neat.
While out hunting for free WiFi, I discovered one of the most popular gay bars in Honolulu, which was also the only free WiFi bar within walking distance of our hotel. This is a funny story, because I did not realize that it was a gay bar until after I'd ordered my jack and coke and setup the laptop. Not that I would have necessarily avoided it - one of our guide books, as we discovered, listed it as a 'must visit' nightclub - but it certainly made me chuckle, and got a round of chuckles out of my friends. (Unnamed friend: "So you found it via an app on your iPhone, huh?", me: "Its a free WiFi locator app, I was not cruising for gay bars!")
There were a number of things that we wanted to do, that we did not get to do, mostly due to time constraints and travel. I'd loved to have visited the Dole Plantation, the Bishop Museum, and perhaps the Polynesian museum and even gone to the North Shore again. Traveling with a baby though is a whole different experience, and we had to juggle nap times, and baby supplies, and so forth.
The trip back was pretty good as well. It was overnight, and Piper had a few meltdowns when she got tired, but ended up sleeping for most of the flight - thankfully. Krissi and I did not fare as well though, and had about two hours of sleep each, so we were(are) kinda beat.
And in the end, I know we are glad to be back home. Hawai'i was absolutely beautiful, and we had a great great time. Its always nice though, to get back home to your own house and stuff and animals.
What a great trip.