Hawaiian Adventures

A few months ago, I was discussing traveling with a friend. Both of us were like, "It would be great to visit Hawaii." Then we were like, "Well then why don't we plan and go since we both want to." The plans just took off from there, and last week we spent 7 days on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. It was kind of amazing how it all came together and we were both able to make it work despite a few bumps along the road and in the planning. So here is a rundwon of our adventures!

Day 1 - We actually decided to fly out of Vegas because it was much cheaper for both of us. So we headed out on Saturday afternoon to drive to St. George to stay overnight before driving to Vegas the next morning to catch our flight. The weather was a little iffy and we encountered a couple of snowstorms but nothing to bad. We did however see TWO semis jackknifed with one of them torn in half on the other side of the road....made us a little nervous.

Day 2 - Up EARLY, well not TOO early for the two of us since we often get up at 4:30 to go to the gym. We made it easily to Vegas, parked the car, got a ride to the airport and waited for our flight. The flight was super smooth, though who likes sitting for 6 hours after having just driven 2? If you are on your way to Hawaii though I guess you like it a little :P We arrived, caught a shuttle to the rental car place, had a duel with the car rental agent (they really try to scare you into getting their insurance), and then the fun began! We had decided beforehand that I would be the driver and Mindy would be the navigator. We got a baptism by fire as soon as we got in the car. Driving anywhere new, especially in a place where there is ALOT of traffic is like putting on a blindfold and wandering around a firing range. You are taking your life into your hands.

We had decided we were hungry as we hadn't had lunch, so after driving and trying to find a Subway, we found one that was closed at 2pm on a Sunday and one we couldn't even find. Finally we just decided to drive to the condo. With a few minor difficulties we made it. Our condo was great - spacious enough for the 2 of us and it included a kitchen!
We were tired so we just chilled for the rest of the first day, which was good given what we did the next day!
Day 3 - Today we walked over 16,000 steps, which is equivalent on average to 8 miles!! We did alot of walking. We visisted Diamond Head Crater and hiked to the top. We experienced our first Hawaiian rain and got to see several rainbows. When it rains in Hawaii for the most part, it rains very lightly for less than a minute and then stops but will turn around a half hour later and do the same thing. Repeat throughout the day. We then headed to the Koko Crater Botanical Gardens. The most beautiful thing was the plumeria groves - those flowers are so beautiful!

We visited the Valley of the Temples after that. They had several different temples but the main focus was the Byodo-In Temple. Mindy has been to Japan and she said it looked exactly like many temples you would see there. We then drove out to the North Shore, which took a bit of time. Let me tell you something about getting around Oahu - although the island is only 112 miles ALL the way around - it takes forever to get from one place to another. One of the reasons? The speed limit on the freeway is only 35mph - yes that isn't a typo, only 35 mph. After finally arriving we walked around and looked at all these cute little shops though most were too expensive for our tastes or a little too corny. But it was fun!
Day 4 - I was especially excited about today because we visisted Pearl Harbor, which holds a special place in my heart. The only problem with Pearl Harbor was there were SO many people there. And also any time I visit exhibits, which require reading I always run into a dilemma - I read quite fast, which means I'm always done before whomever I'm with - so I have to decide - TRY to read slow or just read and be done and waiting for awhile. Regardless, it was great to visit that historical site and we were able to go out to the USS Arizone and participate in the little memorial they do.

Day 5- One of Mindy's coworkers had suggested to us that we visit the swap meet they hold in the Aloha Stadium. So Wednesday morning we headed there early to take a look at what they had. Let me tell you - if you visit Hawaii the swap meet is the place to get your souveniers. Great prices and some great items. I think for the two of us, we got the majority of what we bought in Hawaii at the swap meet. We then headed to our day at the Polynesian Cultural Center. It was a fun and informative day. I loved that they have activities you participate in as well as things you watch. I however was not impressed but the luau dinner. I didn't think it was that great and would not do the luau again. And it was a little scary as we were driving home tonight at some point a light came on saying we had low tire pressure. Thankfully we made it back to the condo without any issue.
Day 6 - Because of the tire issue we had to head back to the car rental place this morning to swap cars. Given that we had had to come back they gave us the option of upgrading - I could have driven THIS -

But after some discussion we decided that wouldn't be great on gas mileage so we went with a smaller, more fuel efficient car.Then we hiked up to the Makapu'u Lighthouse, which was a great hike with a spectacular view at the end. It is a little strange hiking at sea level though - you feel exertion and your muscles tell you that you've worked them but you don't get out of breath - kind of a strange feeling! But it was WINDY - we got to the top and were trying to take pictures but it was hard to hold the camera steady enough to do so. Some of my favorite pictures are from this hike though!

We then went and stopped at Sandy Beach. The weather was rainy and windy so we didn't sit much on the beach. So we decided to actually play in the water a little. I don't have pictures yet from here because we just used Mindy's camera. But I had a bit of a scare while were were in the water. I had set my Chacos back on the sand and had gone out a ways into the water. All of a sudden, Mindy, who was behind me a bit yelled that the water had caught my sandals. Sure enough as I turn around here comes one of my sandals floating by me out to the ocean. It was a mad scramble to try and catch it before it went out further than I dared go! I'm sure it was quite a comedy show for Mindy as she watched me try to frantically grab my sandal - LOLOL! After that we were exhausted after several full days so we rented a movie and just chilled at the condo.

Day 6 - Today we headed to the Laie Temple and did a session there. It was beautiful and probably the most relaxed I had been all trip. The temple is beautiful and I love that no matter where you go, you can feel the spirit.
We visited Laie Lookout point after that - Mindy said it was her favorite place but sadly I only had my skirt on still and it wasn't the kind of skirt you could be out in windy weather without showing a bit more than you wanted to. So I got to sit in the car while Mindy did a little exploring. Here are a couple pictures I managed to get while frantically grasping at my skirt!

We then went and sat on the beach but of course the one day we had to sit for several hours on the beach they came and CLOSED the beach. We then decided to chase the sunset and I got some pictures that I love.

Day 7 - Today was a tough one because we had to checkout so we couldn't exactly go to something that would require us to get cleaned up. So after a bit of reading we headed to the swap meet again for some last minute items, got some shaved ice and headed to the airport.
Everything had gone so smoothly on our trip down we should have expected some issues going back. And sure enough we got them - they had to maintanence the plane and then cool it off so we didn't start boarding until the time we were supposed to be taking off!! We didn't love this because we were scheduled already to get back late and now it was going to be even later! And to top it off, there was a child on the plane that screamed - no crying, but screaming for at least the first 45 min to hour of the flight. Thankfully they weren't seated right by us! We then arrived in Vegas just after midnight. We had planned to just drive to St. George and stay there but given we were later already, when we hit St. George about 3 am we just decided to drive the rest of the way. I got to hear Mindy talk more in that ride that probably most of the rest of the trip, but she did a great job helping me stay awake!
Overall the trip was an EXPERIENCE with the only real downside being that I have yet to be able to adjust since getting back and my body doesn't seem to like me right now. But it was worth it to get to visit Hawaii!

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