This is the longest post I’ve written in a while but I couldn’t think of a logical way to split it up. We were lucky enough to find incredibly cheap tickets to Honolulu and M has family in a nearby town so we were able to make this trip happen on short (for me) notice. And I have to say, Delta might have converted from my love of United. Just saying. M even got an instagram account for this trip, you can see all of our posts here. Wednesday, we left Columbus at 0-Dark-Thirty and hung out at M’s uncle’s house once we arrived in Hawai’i. It was a long day of traveling so we took it incredibly easy!
Thursday, we were up early (still on Eastern time!) and went to Kona Brewery for lunch and a sampler of there beers. We each got a taster with four beers so we were able to try a total of 8. We opted not to get Longboard since we are lucky enough to get that here on the mainland. Everything as really good but I really fell for the Lavaman Red Ale. After lunch we headed over to Kailua Beach Park to swim and hang out. And of course, we went for shave ice at Island Snow.
Friday brought another early wake up call! This time we headed over to Pearl Harbor. We got there at 7:30 (they open at 7AM) and got rock star parking because M’s uncle has a hybrid. Because we were so early, we got on the next tour out and toured the two free museums. They were really well done and included several bronze models of the exhibits for blind patrons to touch and explore. Visiting the USS Arizona is a very somber experience but I thought the National Park Service and Pacific Historical Parks did a great job interpreting this site and situating this event in the greater social and political history of Oceania and the world. In the afternoon we headed over to Lanikai Beach which was so beautiful but very crowed. And you guessed it, we got more shave ice at Island Snow on the way home!
Saturday was a super lazy day – we went to the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. It so much fun to see all the tropical plants and learn more about the local environment. We also went into Kaneohe to hit up a few local shops, namely the fabric and book stores.
We were lucky enough to be in town for the annual I Love Kailua Town Party. Our cousin takes hulu lessons and she and her halua hulu (hulu school) were performing. It was so awesome to get to see her dance with her hula sisters. There was also a performance by a more traditional halua hulu which was really cool to see. Earlier that day, M and his uncle went for a run while I went back to the beach. Sunday night we had an inside picnic with our cousin, uncle and their AirBNB guests because it was raining (and cold! it got down to 70!)
Monday we set out to hike Mount Olomana. We didn’t set out as early as I’d hoped so we ended racing down the mountain to ‘meet the train’. On the way up, it was very steep but pretty easy going until about 900 ft. When we hit the first prominence on the three peaks, I hung out while M and his uncle hiked/climbed up to the top two. The section between the second and final peak is extremely technical and there have been accidents in that section as recently as Jan ’14 and April ’11. While it was incredibly disappointing to not summit with the boys, I made the right choice for myself. It isn’t worth peak bagging just because its the cool thing to do. As it was our last afternoon in Hawai’i (HOW? ALREADY?!) we went back to Kailua Beach and then got sushi for dinner.
All in all, it was an incredible trip. It was the right balance of doing stuff on as individuals, as a couple and as a family. I was struck by how ecologically focused everyone is – most of the houses have solar panels on the roofs, use solar powered fans (the more the sun beats down, the faster the fan turns) and drive hybrid or electric cars. When you live on an island, the effects of modern life are more evident, more quickly. We’ve already got designed on going back soon.