the first absolute NO WORK vacation I've taken in I don't know how long. it was a wonderful wonderful trip. it was worth it solely for the colors of the ocean alone. but there were other amazing things. a couple of friends definitely steered us in great directions [thanks to maybelle, rori, and kelly]!
the smell of the plumeria really is like no other [i got a cutting approved for import at the airport and am crossing my fingers it will thrive in my greenhouse like 1/2 bathroom]
diamond head is a steep, but not not unmanageable hike .... the view is pretty stunning. [go earlier in the day so it's not so hot].
some of the steep stairs at diamond head
found this perfect nest at diamond head too.
there are "wild" chickens EVERYWHERE. and a lot of stray cats around too. where we were staying you could hear roosters crowing all day/night.
these brazillian cardinals were everywhere too.
definitely definitely definitely book a tour to shangri-la if you are going to oahu. Doris Duke amassed the largest collection of islamic art outside of the middle east/asia - and allowed her home to be open to the public upon her death. it's an amazing estate. so beautiful.
the tours leave from the honolulu museum of art - which while isn't particularly large, has some good pieces. the grounds are the most impressive though. several "themed" courtyards, one of which had the biggest lotus flower i've ever seen.
another fairly easy hike - just a bit muddy and bug infested was manoa falls. this hike is shady the whole way. the entire time we were there we stayed on the winward side [which is the wetter side]. these amazing lush hills/mountains surround us and i kept wondering what it was like ON those mountains. this hike gave me a clue.
the trail is really well maintained and you get to see a lot of vegetation. banyan trees are particularly cool.
it's amazing to be surround by tropical fruits. the little and my mom got into this game where they'd scream out MAGOS every time they saw a mango tree. this happened a lot.
tried dragon fruit. very light. beautiful color.
also near where we were staying was byodo-in temple a replica of a japanese temple.
complete with a big buddah. there were also a TON of koi, some black swans and doves that would eat out of your hand. so pretty.
the ho omaluhia botanical garden is gigantic. we only made through one part. but the little fished for the first time [they give out bamboo rods and bread on the weekends for people to catch and release fish] and caught TWO fish [almost 3. one got away]. no one else in our party caught a single thing. the fisherman juju from my papa sidney must be strong with her.
we went to hanauma bay and it IS impressive, but for snorkeling with younger children or not super experienced swimmers i'd have to recommend sharks cove over the bay. with pools that are still and warm like bath water, crystal clear, and basically standing height for a 7 year old - it couldn't be beat.
and across the street are a bunch of good food trucks [and a foodland - which has the cutest graphics on reusable bags] it kind of can't be beat. we even got a pineapple drink !
the drive up to the north shore is really beautiful as well. and if you want to get sucked into tiki/polyneasean heaven you can stop at the polynesean cultural center [yes it's touristy, but it's actually fun].
this is the state fish - Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa. we spied many. and a giant sea cucumber and so many butterfly fish and just all around neat looking sea creatures.
the beaches are also just fun to comb for treasures.
ok yeah. pretty darn great.