Sunday, July 3, 2016

Let Hawaii Happen: It's Not All Rainbows and Butterflies

It's safe to say we were exhausted after our day on the Big Island. It was time for a relaxing day; one spent on the beach. Waikiki was calling our name.

That relaxing day, however didn't last too long. I tend to get a little restless laying on the beach and decided I wanted to give paddleboarding a try. The Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon sounded like the perfect place to give it a go. I rented the paddleboard for 2 hours that included a lesson. Turns out the lesson was, "Stand on this spot". My "instructor" pushed me into the water and that was that.

Lucky for me, I was a natural! I even paddled Jeremy around as he sat along for the ride.

It wasn't until I got out of the water that I noticed what looked like a mosquito bite on my leg. I brushed it off thinking that's all that it was.

The rest of the afternoon was spent shopping, exploring, eating and drinking! My ankle started itching a lot. A little odd since I got that bug bite on the lower part of my leg but once again, I didn't think anything of it.

Hawaii loves them some Obama

Drinking a Mai Tai, of course!

Hawaii-themed Peanuts characters?! Love!
Looks like J and I can open up shop in Hawaii
That night we walked along the Waikiki shoreline and watched the sunset.

Day 5 of our Hawaiian adventure was spent exploring Pearl Harbor, Dole Plantation and the Polynesian Cultural Center with our local tour guide, Hana.

Pearl Harbor gave us solemn moments as we walked through museums, watched a documentary and visited the USS Arizona Memorial which honors those who sacrificed their lives during the surprise attack on December 7, 1941. I couldn't help but think of my Grandad who fought in World War II because of this attack.

Oil still leaks from the sunken ship

Pineapples were calling our names as we made a stop at the Dole Pineapple Plantation. We walked through the pineapple garden and refreshed ourselves with THE BEST pineapple whipped ice cream topped with fresh pineapples. I'm still drooling over it.

The cutest little pineapple I ever did see

On our way to the Polynesian Cultural Center, we stopped at Sunset Beach (Jeremy's favorite) for a look at the famous North Shore spot.


The Polynesian Cultural Center welcomed us with Pacific Islander villages that included Fiji, Tonga, Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, Aotearoa, the Marques and more. We started with a delicious BBQ lunch and soon after headed to the village of Tonga where we were introduced to Tongan drumming. It was fun and entertaining to say the least.

Samoa had us intrigued from the beginning. They made fire by rubbing two sticks together look like the easiest thing in the world. They made cracking open a coconut using a small pebble look like nothing! They also climbed a 40-foot coconut tree in their BARE FEET like it was normal. Crazy!

Dude has some MEAN calf muscles 

It was when we were waiting for the Canoe Pageant to start that I felt a rain drop on my shoulder. Jeremy felt a little splatter too. We looked up only to see clear skies. And then we saw it. A bird. We looked at my shoulder and sure enough, I had been pooped on!

I honestly thought it was hilarious as we scrambled to find a paper towel after unsuccessfully wiping it off with a leaf. We weren't really feeling the Canoe Pageant after that. With not much time left at the center, we decided to hop inside the Ukulele Experience Gallery. With Jeremy being a guitar-loving guru, I had a feeling we would walk away from Hawaii with a ukulele.

As we walked through the making of a ukulele, I turned around to Jeremy playing "You are my Sunshine" with a ukulele he had picked up. While I enjoyed the song, a guide came up and gave Jeremy a private lesson teaching him 3 songs, one of them being a new fave, Lava, from the pixar short film, Lava. Jeremy couldn't have been happier in his element.

We thought our tour was over but nope, we had one more stop at Byodo-In Temple, a replica of the 950 year-old Buddhist place of worship in Uji, Kyoto, Japan. Even with rain coming in, we couldn't help but take in the serene and relaxing temple tucked against the beautiful Ko'olau mountains.

We had the privilege of ringing the Bon-Sho (sacred bell) weighing in at three tons! The bell is customarily rung before one enters the temple. It is said that the ringing of the bell will bring you happiness, blessings and a long life. Naturally, we rung the bell.

In respect for the Amida Buddha, we took off our shoes and entered the temple to see the golden Buddha over 9 feet tall.

We continued our walk through the garden of black swans, koi fish, turtles and frogs.

Leave it to Jeremy to find a burger place in Hawaii. There was no turning down a restaurant with the name of "Cheeseburger in Paradise." They had some goooooood burgers!

With all that walking, the itching in my ankle turned into swelling. Over the next three days, my foot got SWOLE. But ya know what? Hawaii was still totally worth it.

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