Saturday, July 29, 2006

Hawaii Day 4 - July 14th

On the fourth day we were scheduled to take a two hour lunch cruise. On board the cruise ship there were all kinds of activities: hulu lessons, ukelele lessons, lei making, bamboo fish craft, and a buffet lunch. Before the cruise left at 11:30am, we had some time to walk around the Aloha Tower market place where the ship was docked. The girls fed the fish (and the birds) by the pier. The two hours went by pretty quick and it was time to "disembark".

After a short rest period, it was off to the beach for some more fun in the sun. After a long and tiring day, we decided to stay in for the evening and order pizza for supper. We needed a little down time to get caught up after being on the go for four days. Fortunately, the hotel room tv got the Disney channel.

Click here for the day four pictures.
Click here for the hula video.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Hawaii Day 3 - July 13th

Today is the Sea Life Park outing. (Click here for today's pictures.) The girls started the day off with breakfast on the hotel room balcony. We packed up and made the 30 minute drive to Sea Life Park. There were lots of neat things to see and do at the park, but the highlight of the day was "swimming with dolphins". McKinsey was old enough to go in by herself, but Kerstin needed an adult to go in with her. Kerstin's mom drew the short straw and got to stay out of the dolphin pool and take pictures. After about three safety briefings, we finally got to get in to the water. There were two other groups in the pool. Each group had its own dolphin to interact with. Ours was Nani (pronounced 'non-ee'). The trainer would have Nani swim back and forth in front of us so we could pet her back and stomach. We played fetch, gave the hand signals for jump and speak, and kissed and shook fins with her. We spent about 30 minutes in the water with Nani. (Here is a link to a video of Kerstin kissing and shaking fins with Nani.) After spending 5-6 hours at the park, we were all pretty worn out. We made the drive back to the hotel and took a nap.

After our nap we walked down to the Seaside Bar and Grill for supper. They served up some good food, and that explained why they had plenty of business there.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hawaii Day 2 - July 12th

After sleeping in, we strolled down to the boulevard that runs along in front of the beach. Our goal for the morning was to get acclimated to our surrounding (and find some breakfast). Not wanting to get too adventurous our first time out, we found a Burger King for breakfast. After breakfast (which was really brunch), we stopped by an ABC Store (which is a convenience/souvenir shop) for some supplies. (The ABC Stores are kind of an island joke because there is at least one of them on every block in the Waikiki Beach area.) We grabbed a map, got our bearings, fired up the rental car, and headed for the Dole Pineapple Plantation.

Today was one of our free days (a day that did not have any activities planned for us by the Make-A-Wish people.) Even though Hawaii is a US state, navigating is not that easy because every street name has several "k's", "a's", and "o's" in it. (Or so it seemed to us main-landers.) But we made it, and the Dole Plantation was a great way to fill the afternoon. We were amazed at how many people were there, and how many of them arrived in limo's. The giant maze was fun (and hot). There are six stands in the maze with templates in them. The objective is to find all the stands and mark the templates on your maze card. The fastest all six have been found is four minutes. We spent 15 minutes going in circles without finding anything except heat exhaustion. We finally gave up and got a map from the entrance booth. Even with the map it still took some effort to find the stands.

After the maze we cooled off with a "cool" treat: pineapple sherbert and a pineapple smoothie. Next we were off to ride the Pineapple Express. This was a little train the went through the plantation with audio narration. We were very interested to learn that pineapples take 18-24 months to grow, and they are grown on a plant close to the ground.

We still had a little time before supper so we decided to drive around the north side of the island on the way home. Looking at the map it was only about 40-50 miles to take this alternate route back to the hotel. Of course, the speed limit varied from 25 to 40 mph the whole way so it took a little longer than expected. That was ok though, because we were able to stop at Waimea Bay Beach Park along the way and the girls donned their swim suits and played in the sand/surf.

While searching for somewhere to eat supper, we stumbled on a little out of the way restaurant called the Island Shack. It was basically an old mettle storage shed with no doors and used mixed and matched restaurant furniture. The kitchen was an old utility van backed up the back door of the place. The restaurant was surrounded by tents and shacks. Every thing on the menu was either grilled, steamed, or boiled. The whole place had a hippie-ish feel to it. When we walked in the place Jeff recognized the music that was playing as Jack Johnson (currently of the Curious George movie soundtrack fame). He asked one of the employees about it, and it turns out that Jack Johnson is one of the neighbors. Pretty cool! The place looked a little shady at first, but the food was delicious and the people were great. It turns out that all the people that work there are surfers that follow the surf circuit, and work at the restaurant for room and board. Livin' the dream! Click here to enjoy the pictures.

It was dark by the time we got back to the hotel and we were wiped out. Time to get some sleep and get ready for Sea Life Park tomorrow.

Hawaii Pictures

We have finally sorted out the almost 900 digital photos we took in Hawaii and are ready to start posting them. We decided to post just one day's photos at a time, and a brief synopsis of the day's activities. So, without further adieu, here are the first day's pictures. Click here

Day 1 - July 11th
Travel Day
The limo picked us up at the house at 11:30am. The girls had their stuff packed and ready to go by 11:00am, so they sat on the front porch for about 30 minutes watching with great anticipation for the limo. During the hour ride to the airport in Omaha, the girls watched a DVD while Jeff and Annie went over the game plan for the next seven days.

Lori H and her two sons met us at the airport and gave us a nice send off. Both of our planes (Omaha to Phoenix and Phoenix to Honolulu) were both on time, and all of our luggage made to the island as well. It was 8pm local time in Honolulu when we arrived, which means it was 1am Lincoln time. We were met in the Honolulu airport by Bev our lei greeter. She helped us find our luggage and rental car. Hunger set in and we happened to find a McDonald's on the way to the hotel. By the time we ate and checked in to our hotel, it was about 3:30am Lincoln time. It didn't take long to fall asleep :)