Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hawaii - Week 3 (in Oahu)

These guys liked to try to sneak in
This week has been spent checking out the fun and sights of Oahu.  We are all staying (all ten of us) in a lovely house on the north shore - surfing capital of the world.   The place was large and had a backyard pool which was a favourite with the kids.  There are many shops that offer stand-up paddle boarding and surfing lessons but the favourite seemed to be Tsue's farm - strange name for ocean sports. 

Tsue's farm not only offers the various water sports, they are also a farm with ducks, chickens, turtles and a fair number of mango trees which seemed to be very productive.  This week the kids all took surf lessons (notice - only kids) with the exception of the six year old - she had to stay back and keep an eye out on us.  While the dryland training was short and sweet, it was very effective as everyone was able to stand up and ride a wave - even the seven year old.  I would say that was pretty darn good.

The Kualoa ranch is a working ranch which offers a variety of activities.  We took the jungle tour which took us up a mountain through rain forest and streams to overlook the ocean and the valley.  We also saw a couple of movie sites such as the building from Jurassic world and the downed helicopter from an upcoming movie - Kong.
Painted eucalyptus - natural
Very near to us was the Dole plantation which is amazing.  The gardens are lush and a great variety of plants and trees and shrubs.  Although the pineapple at that spot had been harvested, there were a number of fields with pineapple of various stages which we were able to see on our train ride.  We also went through the largest maze in the world and everyone had the delicious dole whip.

One day was set aside to hike - some of us did more than others.  Kyla and her family got up very early to hike Diamond Head to see the sunrise.  Sadly, it was very overcast, they were joined on the trail with three busloads of tourists and others.  This meant the trail was very busy, and you couldn't see the sunrise.  Besides hiking another trail we all joined together to go up the Makapu'u trail which is two miles long and goes up past the lighthouse which was built in 1909.  From one of the lookouts, some of us saw humpback whales playing out in the waves.  Not only was it windy, a quick rain shower came over so you know want happened.  As with most of the rain we received, it came quick, dumped, and then was over as quickly as it came. 

The week was coming to a close so we decided that we should experience some fine dining.  For this event we went to The Pearl at Leeward College, University of Hawaii.  Here we had a delicious meal which was prepared by second year culinary students.  Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of the menu as it had a number of items that I could neither pronounce, or remember, or knew what they were.  While unique, the food was terrific.

And no visit is complete without a visit to Pearl Harbor which commemorates the attack on Hawaii and the United States and to remember the fallen.  You can still see the holes in the glass in one of the display buildings that fateful day.  We visited the Missouri - a battleship, the Bowfin - a submarine, and the aviation museum.  As one sees the conflict in the world today, we must remember the tragedy of past conflicts and the destruction and suffering that results.  It certainly is a stark reminder of what can and does happen in a world without peace.

This means out family Hawaiian get-together is over and we must return to our busy lives (well, some of us anyway).  It's been a great trip with many memories.  We are now back on the desert at the Fountain of Youth with one last attempt at returned youth.

I hope you everyone has a great week!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hawaii - Week 2

A couple of old goats?
volcano crater
Here it is Sunday evening and I am finally sitting down to write about our weekly activities.  This past week has been one full of new adventures.

Our week started in Maui as we finished our little stay on that particular island.  We started off by visiting Haleakawa National Park which is actually a dormant volcano.  The peak is 10,023 feet and we drove to the top.  While the road is paved, it is rather narrow and very twisted and it winds it way to the top. The view is incredible and the temps are cold, especially with the wind.

Our next stop was to travel the Road to Hana which is a great drive through a beautiful part of Maui.  This road is a curvy coastal road with views of cliffs, beaches, waterfalls and miles
of rain forest.  While the entire road is 64 miles long which takes all day to do the round trip.  That is, however, with a stop at Aunty Sandy's Banana Bread.   Her banana bread is very popular, and freshly baked as it is still warm when you get it.  We were able to get the last loaf and it was before lunch.

Whale watching was the plan.  The wind was blowing the their were significant swells on the ocean but off we went.  Since I can be prone to sea sickness I purchases a pressure band and I think it worked wonders.  The humpback whales were fairly active as we saw a fair number of them.  You could often see their backs, occasionally you could see their tail above the water but there were a couple of times we saw them come right out of the water - almost as they do in the sea world shows.

Well, our time in Maui has come to an end so off we go to Oahu.  It is here that Kyla and her family meet up with us.  We have decided to stay on the North Shore which noted as the surfing  capital of the world.  Just to get to know the area a little better we decided to scout out the area to see what is around.  The nearby town of Haleiwa is a quaint little town full of shops and galleries and places to eat.

Nearby is Waimea Bay and Waimea Falls.  The falls are a one mile hike through botanical gardens on a paved path.  At the end of the path are the falls with a swimming hole - a very beautiful spot.  As some of the kids went swimming in the pond and played in the falls, they said they were never going to wash their hair again because they were in the falls.  At the  
end of the hike was a wonderful farmers market with many of the local fresh fruit - even ice cream bananas - who knew?

climbing a coconut tree
Now it is off to the Polynesian Cultural Centre.  What an experience!!  The centre is made up of six villages - Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, Hawaii, Tonga, and Tahiti.  Each of these countries have a little village with a display of song and dance and customs unique to their particular locale.  They also have wonderful interactive displays where the attendants can take part in activities that are specifically unique to each of these countries.  The costumes were colourful, the entertainment terrific, and it was a marvellous experience.  Later in the day we attended a Luau followed by a spectacular show.  What a day - so much to see and so much to do!
paddle boarding lessons

Off to see the sands of Waikiki - we had to go visit Waikiki.  Yes the beaches were nice and people watching was at an all time high.  To sum it up it would be as Maddie (7 year old grand daughter) said "Mom, I think that lady has her bathing suit on backwards" (to describe 
someone wearing a thong).   But coming home we decided to take a scenic route and that it definitely was.  We drove along the coastline, and then travelled inland across the mountain region - what a view.

And that brings that week to an end.  And that is my excuse for being late this week - it's been tough to break away from that excitement.  Thanks for joining and I will try to be a little more prompt next week.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Oops - I thought I had posted this but I  hadn't - my apologies!

We started the week by catching a plane to Hawaii.  We left from San Diego on Hawaiian Airlines.  This airlines still serves complimentary meals plus a complimentary wine for all adults which was very much appreciated.  In return, if you want to watch a movie during the long six and one-half hour flight, it will cost $7.99.  We  had to change planes in Honolulu but due to some bad weather on Maui, we were delayed almost an hour.  But finally we made it but when we stepped out of the airport, we walked into one heck of a rainstorm.  Fortunately, it subsided rather quickly and we were off. 

We arrived at our condo in Kihei  and were definitely ready for a good nights sleep.

We spent a couple of days walking the beach and getting to know the area.  We came across a number of areas of a combinations of little shops and restaurants.  Here we found a rooster wandering around - he best be careful or he could become supper.  Then one of our daughters, Taryn and family, arrived so time to do some more exploring.  The kids had a great time playing in the sand, and riding the waves.

We went to Lahaina to take a trip in a glass-bottomed boat - a great alternative to snorkelling.  So we could spend some time exploring the town, we went early and visited several of the little shops.  Here there is an banyan tree planted in 1873 and is the largest in the United States covering 1.94 acres.  Then it was time for our little excursion so off we go to check in but the darn wind came up and the trip was cancelled - Boo Hoo!.  On the way home we stopped at the Maui Ocean Center and thoroughly enjoyed their wonderful displays.

Well, the end of the week is here. The sky is overcast and the wind is really strong so it's a great day to visit a nature preserve along the beach.  Later in the day we had quite a bit of rain.  And when it rains, it RAINS.  The good thing is that the downpours are relatively short-lived.  On our way home we stopped at a farmer's Market to pick up some fresh vegetables.  We definitely enjoyed this produce. It was a tad pricey but that is the name of the game here.

The trees and foliage are marvellous - lush and green and varied.  Here is a photo of a Peacock Fan Palm - they are such a lovely tree and only a sample of how beautiful it is here.

The temps seem to remain very warm, regardless of whether it is raining or not, day or night.  I love how the staff at the stores all wear clothing with the Hawaiian print, and many of the ladies wear a flower, or two,  in their hair.

I hope you have a great week.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Oops - a Day Late!

What a week - it's been so busy that here I am - a day late.  We left Quartzsite last Sunday after a great breakfast with some friends.  As we headed into Palm Springs, it was quite surprising to see the snow level so low.  I guess that explains why it's been so cold the week before.  We spent the night at the casino so of course we had to see how our luck was going to run.  Between the two of us we came out with an extra 16.65 - time to call it a night while we were ahead.

The next day we went over to the Fountain of Youth for the week.  This is where things got really busy - mostly trying to get that "Fountain" to work.  A typical day would be - go for a walk, go for a swim, lay in the sun, have supper, call it a day.  Sometimes we didn't even get that done so had to finish up the next day. 

The weather this past week has been wonderful - sunny, warm, no wind.  It was hard to leave but today, that is what we had to do.  We put our motorhome into storage and off to San Diego.  As we crossed the mountains, the temperature dropped - left 25C and came to 16C - what are we thinking.  And it is overcast and the odd drizzle.  We toured Old Town San Diego.  There are many little shops that we went through and admired some of the art, and there were many restaurants.

Next week will be another interesting week.  I hope you all have a great week and I hope you will be back.