Day 11

The bad thing about this day was that the streak of seven straight days at the beach came to an end. The good thing was that we took a hike on the Judd Trail, which according to this site, was a filming location for Lost. The trail was a fairly easy loop trail with a few climbs over rooted pathways. We were all impressed by the immense forest of Norfolk pines–the closest thing Hawaii has to a Christmas tree. Near the end of our journey we came to a pool complete with waterfall, natural rock slide, and rope swing. Since the rope swing didn’t appear like it was long enough to clear the rocks, I avoided that one. The water was cold and fresh. Definitely brought me back to my days in Micronesia. On the down side, I couldn’t find Jacob’s shack, secret hatches, or anything Evangeline Lily- related.

After that we headed into Chinatown to eat at Legend Restaurant. This is a Buddhist restaurant that waves the vegetarian wand over all meat dishes. We feasted on their dim sum appetizers as well as the look fun noodles, satay skewers, and truly legendary lemon chicken.

Feast over, we ambled around Chinatown to take in the colorful sights, bustling sounds, and highly distinctive smells that all Chinatowns contain. Our finds included melon candy, cheap bean curd, and some deliciously fruity papaya and mango smoothies.

Day 12

We headed back into Honolulu to explore Iolani Palace. This palace was built by King David Kalakaua as a residence for the Hawaiian monarchy. Since the floors are made out of a beautiful koa wood, visitors have to cover their feet in slip over booties. We took an audio tour that told the story of the palace–of the many royals that visited, the innovations that included electric lights, and the imprisonment of Hawaii’s last queen Lili’uokalani. It was an experience of varied emotions. This was the first time I had been to Iolani Palace and I was glad we went.

The rest of the day is completely fuzzy to me. I’m not sure why we didn’t go to the beach. Maybe we were subconsciously protesting the annexation of Hawaii . . . or just sunburned.

Day 13

Another lovely Sabbath program at Aiea. This time the kids were featured as Vacation Bible School came to a close. The only strong memory I have of VBS growing up was when my friend invited me to come and I quit after one day. There were lots of kids I didn’t know there and there was just too much social interaction going on. Since those days though, I’ve helped out with a couple VBS weeks and have come to really appreciate them. The programs are well-organized and do their darndest to make it fun for the kiddies. Anyhow, there was just tons of shiny happiness flowing through the church that day and those Aiea kids are some of the cutest around. I had both my inner and outer grin on throughout the service.

Following yet another delicious potluck, we headed over to Auntie Alice’s house to change and talk story. We also convinced them to sing some Okinawan songs that they never got to sing the previous Sunday due to time constraints. I know I’m overusing the word, but cute is the only word to describe the performance. They were totally into the songs and even threw in some motions. From little children to senior citizens, the circle of cute was on display that day.

Random fact: My nearly ninety year old auntie knows who J-Lo is.

Although it was an overcast and rainy day, a large group of cousins was gung-ho about taking a hike. After much discussion, our group decided that we wanted an easy, rain-free hike where we could find wild fruit and see animals. Since there were no hikes like this, we decided to hike around the Moanalua Valley. This was a very rainy hike, but it was well worth it. My cousin even found a whole bunch of mountain apples on the way back. Good clean fun except for the fact that everyone’s shoes and legs were completely filthy by the end. Let it be noted that mud does not part easily with hairy Okinawan legs. We also saw some guys smoking some pakalolo–you can probably figure out what that word means.

Day 14

Sunday we headed to the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Why Sunday? Because this particular Sunday, admission was free. The exhibit on local artists was actually rather disappointing, though there was some beautiful photography. An upstairs gallery showing Hawaiian landscapes, volcanoes, and early Hawaiian inhabitants was much more satisfying. Another highlight was an exhibit on Islamic art and a video about heiress Doris Duke, who lived in Hawaii in a pimped out house called Shangri la. Before leaving, we were also treated to a performance by some local break dancers.

After grabbing lunch, we headed west to catch a sugar cane train. Unfortunately, we were running a little later than expected and didn’t know exactly where we were supposed to go. All through this trip, we had been traveling in two separate cars with my dad driving one while I drove the other. However on this occasion, we ended up getting separated, resulting in my dad asking a very impatient train worker to hold the train. Guess you’re supposed to be there 15 minutes early and we were there nearly 10 minutes late. I’m sure everyone else on the train loved us.

Since we were in such a rush there was no time to stop before taking the 90 minute ride. This proved unfortunate, as at least one person in the party was experiencing a full bladder before getting on the shaky train.

Said train took us on an old sugar cane route. For those who don’t know, there are actually some rather unsightly parts of Hawaii and this is where the route started. The southwestern part of Hawaii is actually very dry and drab. As we rode along, we heard about the history of the Hawaiian railroad and the sights around us. Eventually things became more scenic as we passed right through a resort and golf course near Ko’olina. Shortly after that, our tour guide had us close our eyes and we opened them to see the beautiful Pacific Ocean. It was a nice way to end the ride. I give props to all the volunteers who work to staff, maintain, and preserve this bit of history.

Day 15

Finally…we returned to the beach. It had been a disgraceful four day hiatus. Our return destination was Hanauma, since Amanda and Kevin wanted to go there again before they left. We got there early again and avoided payment, video, etc.

There were a few more problems this time though as Sara and I ventured out a little farther. We got out past some of the large rocks and saw some beautiful coral along with some different kinds of fish. Unfortunately, the current was quite strong so we turned around and came back toward the small channel we had exited out of. As we neared this point, I got some water in my snorkel and attempted to clear it out. But Sara took this as the sign to turn in and ended up getting caught on some coral. Upon realizing this she tried to come back out but her fin got caught, sending her into a bit of a panic. So there she was, stuck on some coral, trying to get off of it as waves crashed on top of her. I was right there, but couldn’t be much help as I treaded water and talked to her. Fortunately, she was able to push off the coral in between wave breaks and we swam through the channel together.

As we came in, there was a lifeguard on a board telling people not to go through this channel due to the strong current. We were both shaken up by this and headed back in. Sara, to her credit, eventually snorkeled back out, but we were a little less adventurous for the rest of the day.

In the afternoon, we headed out to the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Sara and I had been there once before when we were dating, taking on the hibiscus bush lined pineapple maze. The goal of the maze is to find all the hidden stations and return to the entrance as quickly as possible. That was about 8 years ago and we were really slow back then. I figured with four people and with some experience we’d be a little faster. I was wrong. It was a very hot day and we were not very quick at finding any of the stations. After wandering around aimlessly in search of station number 8, we consulted a cheater map, but the cheater map only showed 6 stations. So we asked a guy who was finishing and he gave us a helpful tip. Over an hour or so after entering the maze we emerged pathetically triumphant. I believe the winning time for the day was under 20 minutes. However, I did deduce that station number 8 was one of the two new stations they had added since our first try. So my previous knowledge may have actually slowed us up.

Although we had less than a maze of glory experience, we did receive a wonderful consolation prize–that is, the Dole pineapple whip. This is glory in a bowl. Hallelujah.

With only one out of the last five, the days at the beach count was a lackluster nine.


One Response to “The Aloha State: Days 11-15”

  1. […] Want to read more?  Then let’s get ready to ramble!  Posted by teachiro Filed in […]

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