Thursday, September 06, 2007

Aloha Mahalo

Hawaii was a big mystery before I went. I could never, never, ever, seem to remember that Honolulu is not on the Big Island but is on O'ahu. Confusing O'ahu and Hawaii the Big Island really kept me from moving forward with learning anything more about our lovely 50th state (or is it 49? I'm too lazy to look it up). And for a while it was sort of my job (the one where I get paid) to know it, but I couldn't keep it straight.

So when I planned the trip I just got some hotels, a car rental, airline tickets and packed my bags. It turned out to be a bit of a mistake to do it that way. There are some far flung corners of Hawaii that I would have preferred to have spent time in, but I wound up in big (though definitely very very nice) hotels where the tourists congregate for sunburning and cocktails.

A rundown in photos, hope you enjoy.

Waikiki - the name evokes tourism at its most rampant. We ate Korean chicken that was DEFINITELY NOT chicken. But we never did identify what it was.
Swinging from banyan trees results in bloody hands. Not worth the effort.

I'm guessing that it's unpatriotic to say that visiting Pearl Harbor was boring... sorry... I feel bad about it though.
Surfing was everywhere... We caught them practicing their moves the night before the big tandem surfing contest.

The boys went parasailing in Maui - thank you timeshare company... oh that's another story

Sunrise til sunset at the beach
Oh... and did I mention the car?
Fields of lavender and smokestacks of sugarcane

And it wouldn't be a real vacation without at least one round of overpriced mini-golf
Colorful eucalyptus
And bamboo forests
ICY cold waterfalls. Icy. Cold. Very very cold.
And endless natural beauty
Volcanic black beaches...with a hint of danger

Biking down Haleakala at sunrise

Oops - no guardrails for 28 miles downhill

The obligatory luau

Vistas vistas everywhere

And then on the day we arrived in Kauai they were getting the first SuperFerry. So we protested along with the people. And within a couple of days the SuperFerry was indefinitely cancelled because the Coast Guard said they couldn't guarantee the safety of the passengers. And a couple weeks later they will resume, but it was a great protest with an immediate impact. And yes, those are surfers and swimmers in the water blocking this gigantic boat from coming into a tiny harbor that is fun to say -- Nawiliwili.

And this was the downside - arrests and macings...

Oh... and this time the car is silver.

And there are chickens everywhere, who said Hawaii is expensive when it is so easy to get free dinner.

A beautiful hike straight straight up up up
(After this photo Max was banned from all photos because of his face making)

To the top of the world.
(But then by dinnertime I couldn't resist and if you're still looking at this I bet this is how you feel)

A Hindu monestary, one of the most peaceful and picturesque spots on earth.

More hiking with mother nature... it just doesn't stop

But even in this unbelievably beautiful mountain top, we came up0n 3 kids on dirt bikes just moments later.

And even more strangely, a picnic table at the top, about 1 1/4 miles up.

We had no lunch, but we did watch this toad eat a bee.The real highlight... Max surfing. He got up pretty quickly, but in the end had a major arm rash. Lesson learned: wear long sleeves when you surf.

Playing in the red dirt.

And more vistas. They don't even look real.

And then the best thing we found the whole trip. An entire beach made completely out of seaglass. Yes, what was once someone's garbage has now come ashore to become a most astonishing shoreline.

And then, on the way back from the glass beach we came upon a complete arched rainbow that turned into a double rainbow. It was so close I couldn't get the entire arch in the frame :(

A blow hole

And monk seals who so nicely come out of the water and sit right next to their signs.

And last but not least (it's almost over)... the coffee plantation, the biggest in the US. Larry Craig happened to be walking by just then.

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