Friday, February 26, 2010

Hawaii - Here we come BIG island.

In 2007, Oscar and I really wanted to go somewhere good for vacation. In February we'd learned some bad news that the government was paying for considerably less of his education than we were expecting, and we spent much of the year paying off his ridiculous tuition costs for only 8 credits from a terrible school. After paying that much money for something completely useless, we wanted to go somewhere good and enjoy spending our money. So one day I turned to him and said "let's go to Hawaii!"

Fortunately, my family has a time share that includes certain hotels on the Hawaiian islands. I'd been to Oahu twice already, but I'd never been to the Big Island. The hotel we were staying yet has only 2 bedroom units, so we invited my mom and her twin sister Kathy to come along with us. We spent 6 days on the Big Island, and figured since we had to stopover in Oahu anyway, we'd spend a few days there.

Oscar and I are completely in agreement on one huge travel issue - WE DO NOT RELAX! Traveling isn't for relaxing. We can relax at home. When we travel, we get out and do stuff. Other people can relax. We're busy having fun. The only time Oscar and I relax on vacation is after we're already exhausted from everything we've been doing. But especially if we're vacationing somewhere we've never been before, we like to get out and have tons of fun!

On our first full day, we drove over to the Hilo side of the island and went to the World Botanical Gardens. They were gorgeous! We were most impressed with the enormous leaves. Oscar decided to pretend it was the Garden of Eden and cover himself with a large leaf. We did the same.

I loved this enormous flower bud in the middle of the enormous leaves.

After getting sunburned the next day, I was really wanting an aloe plant this size.

They also had a great hedge maze that we wandered through.

As we came over to the waterfall in the gardens, they had leaves that we were encouraged to write on. Here's ours.

And the beautiful waterfall

Here's Oscar in the middle of a ton of large plants.

And me surrounded by the enormous roots of this tropical tree.

Oscar took this close up of me next to these pretty purple flowers. Mom gave us the blue things around our necks to help keep us cool. You just throw them in the freezer and then throw them around your neck.

Here's a picture of me with a Banyan tree.

Here I am with a banana tree.

After the Gardens, we headed down to Akaka Falls. Stunning!

And then on into Hilo to see Rainbow Falls and Boiling pots.

Oscar climbed up a big banyan tree that was near the Falls.

And we finished off our day on Coconut Island wandering around Queen Liliokalani Gardens.

Mom and Kathy were exhausted after an event filled day with us. After that they let us take the car while they relaxed. And we exhausted the Big Island. We made the most of everyday we were there.

On our 2nd day, Oscar and I decided to hike Mauna Kea, Hawaii's sacred dormant volcanoe. It's 8 miles, but we'd only planned for about 3. So I drove up on VERY scary roads (Oscar couldn't drive the rental car since he wasn't 25 yet) and we drove about 3 miles away from the summit. It's a good thing we didn't do the whole thing because Oscar was getting some serious sunburn and altitude sickness.

After our hike, we went to Jameson's By the Sea restaurant for dinner and a fabulous sunset. The dinner was okay, but the sunset was marvelous.

The next day we drove over to the Eastern side of the island again to climb through a lava tube and go to Volcanoes National Park.

On our last full day, we headed up north to the city of Hawi. We had a fabulous dinner at the Bamboo Restaurant (yummy guava/mango/passionfruit slushes and smoothies), and we saw the stunning Pololu valley lookout.

Even on our last day we made our final hours count. We had to catch a plane at noon, but we still went and did sealings at the Kona Temple.

We had a few days on Oahu before we had to head back. We spent the first in Waikiki swimming at the beach, walking the Waikiki strip, and hiking diamond head.

And we spent our last two days visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center and the Laie Hawaii temple. I know we took tons of pictures, but I have no idea where they are. They must be on a different computer.

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