Thursday, June 16, 2016

Anniversary 5: A & J Get Lei'd

When our 4th anniversary trip to San Francisco came to end, we asked each other where the next year would lead. San Fran ended up being a little on the cold side so Jeremy mentioned heading to a place that was warm, had beaches and was tropical. The idea he was getting at was Hawaii and well, it didn't take long to twist my arm. When the word Hawaii left his lips, I said, "I think we can manage that." So, for the next year we saved.

And saved. 

And saved.

One year and a 9.5 hour flight later....

Comfy on the plane

Leaving Phoenix, AZ

First sight of land after 6 hours


After hours of sitting on the plane, glancing down at what seemed like the endless Pacific Ocean, I finally spotted land! After a smooth landing in Honolulu, we were immediately greeted and lei'd with fresh Hawaiian flowers by our Hawaiian friend. We were so excited to finally be in the Aloha state!

Although exhausted by the flight and still on East Coast time, we dropped our bags and went straight to the beach, welcoming our new home for the week on Waikiki. We caught the sunset just in time and were happy to get a selfie with the famous Diamond Head Crater in the background.



Did I mention we were happy?
Sleep came easy that night as we were OUT once our heads hit the pillow. We decided to take it easy on day one, laying out by the pool, drinking fresh pineapple drinks that may or may not have contained alcohol, and headed to our very first Luau!

View of the pool from our hotel room
We traveled about 45 minutes West of Waikiki with our new cousins and Ohana (everyone is a cousin and family in Hawaii) to Germain's backyard-style Luau at Barber's Point Beach. We were welcomed with an Aloha(!) and traditional shell lei in true Hawaiian fashion by kane (men) and wahine (women).

We had a Mai Tai in our hands within minutes as the sound of the conch shell announced the beginning of the evening's festivities. The imu (underground oven) was uncovered and we watched the process of the Kalua Pua'a (roasted pig) where two men tossed off the hot coals with their bare hands to reveal our savory entree. Soon after, dinner was served buffet style where we tasted traditional island favorites consisting of fresh pineapple (duh), pineapple cole slaw (interesting),  kalua pua'a we saw uncovered earlier, poi (a Hawaiian staple sauce made from taro potato), lomilomi salmon, island fish, teriyaki beef (Asha's favorite), pulehu chicken (Jeremy's favorite), chicken long rice (couldn't deal with the texture), haupia (coconut pudding), and believe it or not, a lot more food. WE. WERE. STUFFED. (and very happy)

The rest of the evening was full of beauty, color and excitement as the talented men and women took us through the Polynesian journey throughout the islands of Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, and of course, Hawaii. We were mesmerized by the hip shaking and rhythmic dancing of the beautiful dances presented. All done in colorful costumes that seemed to defy gravity.

The ladies weren't the only ones who caught our eyes. The men had our attention during the Samoan fire-knife dance and slap dance, a traditional display of male dominance.

Fire on his feet!

The professionals weren't the only ones who shined that night. That's right. Jeremy and I both had our moments on stage learning how to shake it, swaying our hips and learning the graceful hand motions of the famous Hula.

It was an unforgettable night with a perfect start to our Hawaiian adventure. Aloha!

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