Monday, March 14, 2016

Hawaii Sisters' Trip: O'ahu Attractions

One Week in Oahu
Two Generations of Sisters
Pure Paradise

Here are some of our excursions on our trip to Oahu

Dole Plantation

I thought pineapples grew on trees!  This is a pineapple plant. There are dozens of varieties.  The fruit grows up through the center of the plant.  Each plants produces one pineapple every 15 months, three times in total. New plants are created by hand planting the crown (top) of a mature fruit.

Pineapple fields 

The fruits had already been harvested, but it's impressive to see the rows of plants.
Driving on the highway we could see miles of pineapple fields.
We took a train ride around the plantation

This is a reservoir on the plantation, used for irrigation.   The main crop is pineapples but Dole also grows mangoes, bananas, papayas, coconuts, sugar cane and even cacao to make their own products.  In Honolulu see saw a Dole cannery.  The Dole operation on two islands in Hawaii provides 80% of the world's pineapples.


We spent two amazing days in the town of La'ie.  Back in the '50s our church purchased over 6000 acres of land in Laie.  It is the home of BYU-Hawaii campus, the Hawaii temple and the Polynesian Cultural Center.  It is a beautiful Oahu town with mountains inland and beautiful beaches along the coast. 

Polynesian Cultural Center

The PCC was set up over 50 years ago to provide employment for students at BYU-Hawaii.  It started with one evening show a week of music and dancing.  It has grown to be the biggest paid attraction in Hawaii (Pearl Harbor gets the most visitors but it's free).  There are Island villages to visit that depict the cultures of six Polynesian countries with shows, exhibits, and demonstrations.   

Samoan Island show - fire throwing and coconut tree climbing!

Wall carving from Aotearoa-Maori (Islands of New Zealand)

Music sticks from Fiji.  Fiji has over 300 islands with over 30 dialects!

This man demonstrates making coconut oil.  He's holding a coconut with the husk still on.

Tahiti Wedding Ceremony

Canoe Pageant

Every day at 2:30, several different Polynesian cultures are represented with music and dancing

We learned that the hula originated in Tahiti.  Some interesting things I learned about Hawaii... They didn't have a written language until 1850 when Christian missionaries came.  They told their history through stories and dance.  The missionaries learned their language and sounded it out - only thirteen letters.

Two pairs of sisters in front of the PCC falls.

Luau Dinner

We received these beautiful leis, ate a delicious buffet and watched hula dancers that evening at a luau.  The conclusion of the day was a large, live production in a big amphitheater called "Ha: Breath of Life" that told the story of the circle of life of early Hawaiians.  The acting, dancing, music and other feats (fire throwing) were spectacular.

BYU-Hawaii campus

We took a walk through campus and the bookstore - it's changed a lot since Gail's days at Church College of Hawaii.  They have several interesting area of study relating to the culture and history of the islands.

Hawaii Temple

It's next to the campus.  This was the first LDS temple built outside of the continental U.S. (1919).
We enjoyed a session at the temple. Along the top are depictions of Old Testament people. Inside is an upward progression through several rooms. Very symbolic and spiritual. My mom and I had a heart-to-heart talk about Carl in the Celestial room.  And of course the landscaping on the grounds is amazing.

PCC part 2

Our tickets allowed us to return a second time to the PCC.  After watching the canoe parade from a different vantage point, we visited the the villages again to try some hands-on activities.  We tasted poi and I tried the basket weaving craft.  We also watched the IMAX-type film about Hawaii again.

We went on a canoe ride

The view from the canoe

Iosepa is the name of this large canoe.  

It's a replica of canoes used hundreds of years ago to travel between the islands.  A class of BYU-Hawaii students takes it out every summer for two weeks.  The original islanders were masters of navigation.  There is debate over whether the Hawaiian people came from Asia or North America.  Hawaii is 2000 miles from any other country/landmass.

Church in Wailua

We attended the local LDS church in Waialua on Sunday (saved our leis from PCC)

U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

After watching a sobering film about the attach on Dec 7, 1941, we took a 15 minute boat ride out this memorial which straddles the sunken battleship U.S.S. Arizona.  This wall shows the names of over one thousand people who died on this ship.

Inside center of memorial

Pearl Harbor grounds,  USS Arizona memorial in background

Gail and mom at the museum

I told Jonathan that Hawaii wasn't just beautiful to see.  It sounded wonderful (waves on the beach, birds in the trees), smelled wonderful and tasted wonderful.  Here's sample of what we ate (I didn't photograph it like Gail).  We stopped at a Costco, Walmart and local market throughout the week for groceries to eat at the condo.  We BBQed pork one night on the patio and baked fish another. Most days we also packed a cooler for lunch and snacks.  Special treats were the locally-made granola with yummy coconut, nuts, and dried fruit.  Mom bought a bag of chocolate covered macadamia/coconut candy that we enjoyed while it lasted. (We finished another on the plane ride home!!!) We also ate local pineapple, papaya and apple-bananas--very sweet!  We stopped twice for authentic shaved ice--with ice cream in the bottom and sweet cream on top (snow cap).  The lines were long at Dole plantation, so we had Dole whip at PCC--it's like pineapple sorbet.  One day for lunch we stopped at a cluster of food trucks and tried shrimp--only a few miles from the shrimp fields.  Right before our flight home we stopped at an L&L (Jason's recommendation) to have fast food Hawaiian style.

It was hard coming back to real life.  After a short night at a hotel with Gail and mom, I took an early morning (AKA all day) flight back to NH.  After a week of post-Hawaii depression and being overwhelmed with getting caught up, I'm happy to be home and reflect on this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Farewell to paradise...

Hawaii Sisters' Trip: Beauty in Nature

Brenda and I decided to take our mom on a trip to Hawaii.  It's more like she took us because she paid for the condo.  Brenda has been to Hawaii several times with her family.  My mom and I have always wanted to go but our spouses didn't.  We decided to invite my mom's sister Gail.  She attended BYU-Hawaii 50 years ago and was thrilled visit it again after all this time.  She was a delightful addition.  

Brenda found a condo to rent on the North Shore of Oahu in the small town of Waialua.  She also planned the outings and drove the rental car while I tried to navigate.

View from condo lanai (deck).  We were on the fourth floor and loved hearing and seeing the ocean.

Our condo was right on this beach.  We had a gorgeous view of the big waves.  Brenda and I went on several morning and evening walks.  The last morning there we found a safe place to snorkel and watched the fish swim among the coral.

Morning walk on our first full day in Oahu.

The first footprints of the day

Gail and Janeil
We were so enthralled with the lush vegetation of the island from the moment we landed.  So our first excursion was to Waimea Botanical garden.  This shows some replicas of early islanders buildings.

So many varieties of flowers in bloom.  A whole garden of hibiscus....  

I thought my mom and Gail would need more down time, but they didn't want to miss anything and came on every excursion, although sometimes waited on benches and beach chairs for Brenda and I to finish having fun.  They are 30 years older than us, but still have so much energy!

Waimea Valley and Falls

Waimea Falls at the far end of the botanical garden
People were swimming but we didn't have our suits.  The first part of our week there the weather was mild and dry.  By the end of the week it was warmer and nice enough to swim.

There were too many flowers to photograph.  See Brenda's collage on Facebook!

Ancient religious site at Waimea

Janeil and Gail
Sunset at Waialua Beach

Just a few yards from the condo

It was fun to try to catch the sunset every night.  I only caught the sunrise once because I was trying to get enough sleep (5 hour time difference from East Coast).  Every evening except the night at PCC, we cooked dinner at the condo, shared photos from the day, enjoyed the view and watched BBC version of Emma, Miracle of Cookeville, and played cards.

Sunrise from our lanai (deck)
I only saw the 6AM sunrise once.  I was usually trying to sleep longer (5 hour time change) so I could make it through the day.

Hukilau Beach (like the song) in Laie.  We stopped here between outings in Laie.  The warm, blue water...

We hiked out to Ka'ena Point--the farthest you can go to the West on the North Shore.  The mountains on the South of us, the rocky coastline on the North.

 We saw a fisherman on a outcropping and crabs in tide pools.

Sunset Beach.  We found a safe place to swim and boogie board.  Most places on North Shore the waves are too big this time of year.  It was also fun to watch the surfers.  Mom and Gail were too far away to get good pictures.

Another botanical garden on our way "home" the last full day

Beautiful trails, views, flowers, and bird song!

Kailua Beach
We did a scenic drive before heading to the airport and stopped here.  Brenda's family stayed here a few years ago.  The ocean is the most amazing color of blue.  The water is warm.  This is the Southeast side of Oahu where there waves are calm this time of year.

The highway takes you through some long tunnels to get through the mountains.  The geology changes is such a such distance.  It is truly breathtaking.  Even the drives through and between towns are beautiful.

Nu'uanu Pali lookout
The mountains, valleys and coastlines are spectacular

That's a military base in the far center.  There are five military bases on this island!