Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hawaii, Day 15 (and 16) ~ Dole Plantation and Punchbowl (and Travel Day)

On our final day, we attempted to complete a couple last items on our list.  First, we tried swimming to make up for the disappointing beach day earlier in the week.  The weather didn't cooperate.  It rained sporadically most of the morning, which gave me a chance to prepare and mail postcards and a package.  The rain kept coming, and we gave up on swimming.

My boys changed out of their swim clothes, and we ate brunch at Waialua Bakery.  They grow many of their own ingredients, and everything is homemade.

Next, we went to the Dole Plantation.  This is one of those tourist traps you're not supposed to miss.  They have a large gift shop, train ride, maze, and of course Dole Whip.  We skipped the maze.

I don't know if they changed their ingredients, but I remember us liking Dole Whip years ago at Disneyland.  Here it tasted fake.  Kylen and I threw most of ours away.

It was awesome seeing how pineapples grow!

We headed to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, otherwise known as the Punchbowl.  This was another destination that was difficult to find.

But find it, we did!  This "cemetery of heroes" is the resting place of more than 25,000 victims of three American wars: World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam War.  The punchbowl was formed thousands of years ago during volcanic activity.  It is a crater formed from the ejection of hot lava through cracks in old coral reefs.

We practically had the place to ourselves, which made it feel almost sacred.

Walls of names.

Kylen really enjoyed this memorial.  I'm glad we persisted in locating it!

We had dinner at Cinnamon's, their Waikiki location this time.

We weren't as impressed with their dinner as we were with their breakfast, but Greg absolutely loved his teriyaki chicken.  In fact, his love for teriyaki chicken was cemented in Hawaii.  And . . . they had a fantastic view next to the eating area where we captured some of my favorite pictures of the trip.

This is where we took the pictures from, sort of like a huge balcony area.

That overlooked a harbor.

The sun was setting . . .

That was our last full day.  We went home and finished packing for our flight.  One last drive through the wonderful nighttime streets of Waikiki and Honolulu.

The next morning, we scrambled to leave the house extra early so we could have one last meal in Oahu before our long day of travel.  We ate at Ted's Bakery.  Their pies are supposed to be the bomb, so we shared a slice of haupia cream.

This place is for people with huge appetites!  We should have ordered one or two plates and shared.

Would we do it again?  Greg would like to return someday and visit the other islands, perhaps even revisit the Big Island.  Despite my struggles with humidity, I am open to the idea.  As long as it isn't during summer!  :)  I have tried to understand why we had so many challenges, especially on Oahu, and I may never know the full answer.  But I realize that despite the trials, we made tons of fantastic memories - on both islands.  I am truly grateful for that.  And the educational value?  Staggering . . . I couldn't even begin to put a price on it.  So I'm glad we went, but if there is a next time, we'll be making some changes!

Hawaii, Day 14 ~ Waimea Valley and Family

On our sixth day on Oahu, we went to Waimea Valley.  Greg and Kylen took a 20 minute walk on a paved trail to a small waterfall while I had lunch and shopped.

I ordered the teriyaki hot dog with fried onions and sweet potato fries.

There were all sorts of birds wandering around, looking for scraps.  One was wandering around on my table.  I should have realized it was a bad omen.

As I was reaching for my drink with one hand and holding my hot dog in the other, a peacock suddenly lunged in with lightning speed and snatched half of my dog.  It startled me terribly!  I didn't scream, but once I got past the trauma and realized what happened, I was pretty irate.  It had been walking around the whole time I was waiting for my order, but the moment it got my food, it disappeared without a trace.  I couldn't even get a picture of the thief.  Grrrrr!

They had a nice gift shop.

Once Greg and Kylen returned, they ordered their lunch: kalua pork and a burger.  The pulled pork is on a purple taro bun.

I had a cookies and cream ice cream sandwich for dessert.  Oh my!  It was SO good!!!!  Kylen had the North Shore coffee ice cream sandwich, and Greg had one of their homemade popsicles.  We liked the sandwiches a lot better.

Greg took lots of pictures on their walk.  :)  He got so many good ones, I had a hard time deciding which to post!

Can you believe these gigantic lily pads???  At least two feet across, Greg said.

He got some shots with bugs!  Sweet!!!

The pool looked muddy, but plenty of people were swimming in it.  I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't its natural state.  Beaches, pools, rivers . . . they all change drastically when a storm comes through.  On the Big Island, there was a beach across from our condo called Magic Sands.  Occasionally, the sand gets swept out to sea.  And we were told to avoid one side of the island, because they'd just had a hurricane.  They call it brown water.  A bunch of runoff from the hills carries debris into the ocean, and it needs a little time to recover.

Hawaii is a botanist's dream.

This was a skinny tree - less than 2 inches in diameter - with a tuft of green at the end.  It stood out from its surroundings.  I'm sure we could come up with a metaphor here.

We met my extended family at a restaurant for dinner, Shore Bird.

It was a bit unusual.  You cook your own meat.

Definitely a memorable meal!

An hour later, we were to meet on the beach of a nearby hotel to see fireworks.  It was an ordeal getting there, but we finally made it!  Very, very cool.  I'd never been that close to big fireworks shooting off.

Saturation cranked!

Last, we went home and had ice cream.  :)  Thank you, Ben and Holly, for buying!