Monday, December 12, 2011

Aloha II

We continue to have a grand time in Hawaii. The scenery and weather are fantastic with the clouds and sometime even the rain adding to the beauty. When it has rained it has only lasted for a short time and has created beautiful rainbows. We have been trying to strike a balance between sightseeing and just relaxing and enjoying ourselves. It is hard when you are in a place with so much to see and may never get back to. By the way, here is a link to the YouTube interview I did when we were at Pearl Harbor that I talked about in the last entry.

Here is a look at Diamond Head and Waikiki from the air. I think the clouds add to the variety of colors of the water. It is a spectacular sight.
We walked from our hotel to the top of Diamond Head and the view was great. The trail was built by the army when the crater was used as a natural fort for coastal defense. Because of the high crater walls it is very dry and hot, but the view makes the climb worth it. Unfortunately, the day we visited there were thousands of kids from bands all over the US who were here for the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor activities. They were not bad, but it was very crowded. We even met someone from Burgettstown at the top, small world.

The one tour we did while on Oahu was to the Polynesian Cultural Center on the north side of the island. The center has presentations on the cultures of Samoa, Fiji, Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga and Aotearoa (New Zealand). Above were demonstrations with drums, climbing for coconuts, cooking and of course hula, which was originally only performed by men. They were all very well done and informative.

They had several audience participation activities. We got to try poi :( and Hoa, our guide, taught the basic moves of hula.

There was a parade of canoes with each culture doing their traditional dances. For dinner we had a luau with many performers and the evening was topped off with a lively play telling a story of a Polynesian king. It was a great day and a fun way to learn the cultures of the Pacific island people.

Another day we rented a car and drove around the island. (Less than 100 miles.) We started with a few sites in Honolulu. Above is Iolani Palace, the only royal palace on US soil and a statue of King Kamehameha I, who unified the Hawaiian Islands under one rule. In Hawaii even Santa Claus knows how to "hang loose". All these pictures were taken within ten minutes of each other including the background shot with the pouring rain.

We did a short Obama tour. This is the street where he lived as a child after he WAS BORN IN THE USA. The buildings on the right are where he went to school and the picture was when he visited after being elected president. There is talk of having the high rise where he lived declared a national historical landmark.

One of the beautiful beaches we stopped at on our drive.

On the windward side of the island the scene changes dramatically with dense jungle and more clouds. There are great views around every turn.

It was windy the day we took the drive so the waves where up on the North Shore. This is the famous Bonsai Pipeline. There is a surfing championship going on all month. There is one event that they only hold when the waves are over 20 feet. It has not been held for several years because the waves have not been big enough. I can't image as these 10 to 12 footers looked scary enough to me.

Top in the pic is someone wiping out and on the bottom you can see the front of a board of a surfer who is in the pipeline. This is another of those places I have always wanted to visit and I was not disappointed. Maybe if I had been here fifty years ago I would have given it a try.

The islands are the location of many movies and TV shows. On our way out to Ka'ena Point we came across several police cars and emergency vehicles, but instead of being a crime scene it was the shooting of Hawaii 50. Here a truck comes around the corner as part of the show.

More movie and TV locales. Top is the truck we saw and the house used as McGarrett's in the show. Middle is the valley where Jurassic Park was filmed, they say you can still see the dinosaur footprints. Bottom left is the church from Karate Kid and right is where Lost was filmed. It was neat seeing these spots even if we did not get to hear McGarrett say "Book 'em Danno."

Another great thing has been the food, especially the fresh fruit. We stopped at this little roadside stand for some Hawaiian grown bananas, mangoes and papayas. A must do on our list was eating at Giovanni's Shrimp Truck. There are many shrimp trucks along the North Shore today, but this is the original and we were not disappointed. They only offer four items, three shrimp plates and a hot dog. Nanc had the garlic shrimp and I opted for the hot and spicy, which came with the warning "NO REFUNDS". They were both fantastic. If you get to the North Shore make sure you stop at Giovanni's.

1 comment:

Sherry and Charley Dilworth said...

Looks like you are having a great time!! We loved it when we were there many years ago....