Oahu’s Windward Coast Vacation | Days 12-15 (Last Days)

Updated: 12/2017

Day 12: Zip lining & Beach

Zipping through the palm tree tops! Three rides 1,200 ft! At first when I saw how far off the ground I was going to be, I started freaking out. I’m not afraid of heights, but it looked to be very scary. Now that I tried it, I will be doing it again. The morning started off with a down pour for five minutes, then cleared up long enough to take three rides down. The first two rides were with Mom , and then the last one was just me by myself. Once I got through the first one, I was fine to take the last two rides down. It was very short ride, and so I recommend getting at least more than one ride to really experience the zip line. I now can add this to my life experience list and hope to try out the one near home called Wild Life Trex near Seattle. The rest of the day was spent at the beach again just relaxing.

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zipping along

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me zipping along

Day 13: Marine Base Crazy & Last minute stuff

Another relaxing day getting last-minute stuff done before we leave for home. Took on last trip to the Marine base to do some last-minute shopping at the Exchange. When I stepped outside the store I saw a new sign that appeared in front of the doors. Apparently the new base commander is trying to keep the unmentionable people from “polluting” the base and disrespecting the military environment. So just imagine the pictures you see on People of Wal-Mart website and you have a good picture of what was posted on this sign. These were the things that are not allowed to be worn when on base. I really could see why the commander is doing this and why he doesn’t like half-naked people walking around base when not in uniform. The whole time I was on base (even Bellows had a dress code in their commons areas) I never say anyone out of uniform looking like a bum.  I just go some Hawaiian theme stuff to take back to Seattle at the Exchange.

Relaxed on base for a bit and started to see Man of Wars washed up on the beach. Remembering there was a full moon when we got to Hawaii and five days later the jelly fishes started to appear, every time we walked the beach we had to make sure to watch where we stepped or else get stung by the blue tentacles. Later that evening we all went out with my cousin one last time to a small local pizza place in Kilua.  The place was busy with locals stopping in to grab a slice of pizza or a whole pizza for dinner. The pizzas are huge at Bob’s Pizzeria, and so a whole pizza can easy be shared with five people. I had two big slices which amounted to four small slices.

Now here is a funny story in a way to share….When we went to drop off my cousin at the Marine base, we did not go through the main gate as we have in the past, but he back gate where the housing is. A huge mistake because when we pulled up and my cousin showed his ID, the guard at the gate wanted everyone’s ID. Apparently there is a huge crack down at night due to a Marine sneaking a prostitute on base a few weeks back and getting caught. Also the guard in a moment of putting his boot in his mouth made it almost clear that he thought Nana, Mom and I were prostitutes! Nana and Mom felt offended, but for me I just though “oh thanks for letting me know I look like one.” As I was stating in above paragraph, the commander of the base is really on a crack down. We did drop my cousin off at his barrack without anymore trouble from the Marine Security Force.

Day 14: Sea Turtles

Our last full day in Hawaii. We did some last-minute shopping again and packed up our bags for our afternoon flight back to Seattle. Walked the beach one last time (ok a few times). While on one of our walks we saw a group of sea turtles swimming along the beach. A half a mile down there is a little cove where the waves are strong and the turtles get stuck in. All three turtles tried their hardest to swim back out to sea, but kept getting swept back into the rocks. At one point one came very close to some kids in the water and freaked them out along with the poor turtle. I believe the three turtles did get out when the waves calmed down a bit.

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While packing for the trip home, I realized I had bought a lot of Hawaiian food. Hmm…I think I will need it when friends come over for tea and a Hawaiian short bread macadamia nut cookies.

Day 15: Going Home

Going to the airport was crazy stressful adventure. Why? Because 1) my suitcase all of sudden put on weight, 2) security check point was a mad house and I thought for sure I was going to throw my shoe at TSA (Sea-Tac has it down to a science), 3) USDA inspection line was crazy! Poor Nana had to be patted down because she set off the metal detector and her sleep machine had residue of liquid in it. Really just wanted to get on the plane and get to Seattle without anymore stuff happening. The flight was six hours as usual. The only crazy part was landing in Seattle after a huge windstorm came through. Overall, the six-hour flight went off without much stuff happening. When I left Seattle for Hawaii the temperature was 70 degrees F, when I came back it was 50 degrees F and a storm blowing through. Just shows how much the weather changes within two weeks of being gone. I still look at my phone’s weather app for Bellows to see what the weather is at the moment. I miss the warmth, but Seattle did have a wonderful summer with all the sunny hot weather we had. I can’t complain.

I really enjoyed my two-week adventure on Oahu Hawaii. I will of course return to the islands again in the near future. I think the next island to visit is Kauai or Big Island. I am glad I had the chance to see my cousin while he is stationed at K-Bay, and hope he has a great time while there.  I loved not having to do all the touristy things this time. I really got to see the island from a different perspective. I know now all the main freeways, and know which major highways lead to where. Great to stay somewhere other than Waikiki for a change. I really got to see the beauty of the island without the sky scrapers in the way. I still would love to hike up Diamond Head since I did not get the chance this time. I guess I will be making a return visit again.

Mahalo for reading about my adventure in Hawaii! Hope you enjoy Hawaii really soon.

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Ohau’s Windward Coast Vacation| Day# 11 (Punch Bowel & Hawaiian Plantation Village)

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Updated: 12/2017

Now at this point you may have figured out I have some connection to the military. I grew up with its presence in my life, and it has shaped a part of me. I have great respect for the military and those who sacrificed for this country. A few years ago I had the chance to visit the USS Arizona Memorial and USS Missouri with a choir group I was in high school with. This time I wanted to visit one last dedication to the Pacific Fleet.

Eight years ago I visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, “Punch Bowl” with the choir group I was with. I never had the chance to step off the bus and take a closer look at the memorial part, but looked out a tour bus window as it hurried through the cemetery. Now on a stormy gray day in Hawaii, I had the chance to see it without the tinted glass. When we were there, it had a very quiet peaceful stillness that made the whole experience worth while.

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Tiled battle Map
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Lookout over the Cemetery
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Angle of Freedom
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Chapel Dedication Wall
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Memorial Wall

From one end to the other, the tile maps detailed all the important campaigns from WWII to Desert Storm. Each representing all branches of the military involved in these key battles. Chapel was filled with flowers dedicated to all those whose grave is only known to God, and a dedication to took place a few hours before we arrived. On the outside walls are the names of those who’s remains were never found, buried overseas, and those who remain missing in action or prisoners of war. Each name represents the cost of freedom and cost of sacrifice one makes for country.

Later that day we headed to the Hawaiian Plantation Village Museum. I will admit this, I like anything historical since every car trip with my Granddad resulted in stopping at least one historical marker or attraction along the way. But for some reason I found this place a little boring. I don’t know if it was just the tour guide or I was getting tired of the slow pace of things. This don’t mean I would not recommend it to anyone because I believe it is still a place to visit. To fill you in Hawaii is multicultural identification has its roots in sugar plantations of the early 1800s. Up until the 1960s the sugar plantations of Hawaii thrived (think back to Dole Pineapple Plantations). In the 1800s to the 1960s plantation owners recruited Chinese, Filipinos, Europeans, Puerto Ricans , Native Hawaiians, Japanese, and Koreans into working for the plantations. The museum tour showed the many different distinctive houses each generation of plantation workers and their heritage had. Also showed how each plantation was run depending on what its main crop was. Most of the volunteer tour guides has some background in the sugar plantations. Ours had parents who worked in the fields, and he too had worked for the same sugar plantation as his parents did. He said many generations of plantation workers worked until the closing of sugar plantations in the 1960s. Some had six generations all worked for the same plantation.

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Disclaimer: All links are for reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive or am paid for promotion on products mentioned in this post.

 

Oahu’s Windward Coast Vacation | Day #4 (Dole Pineapple Plantation & Hawaiian Birth Stones)

Update: 12/2017

The day  started out with a tropical storm blowing in off the Pacific Ocean. Just by looking at how the rain and wind was blowing, you may have thought a hurricane was hitting land. Seeing how stormy the waves looked as they came crashing on the shore was a sight you only read about. Breakfast was Hawaiian sweet bread with passion fruit jam and Dragon fruit sliced. You really get spoiled here in Hawaii with all the fresh fruit. Pineapples in the continental US are not as good as fresh Hawaiian pineapple right off the tree.

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Stormy weather

Originally we had planned to go to the North Shore, but looking at the weather we decided to switch days with another activity. Instead we all went to the Dole Pineapple Plantation in Wahiawa. Getting there was an adventure in itself. I believe the GPS had us going in the direction of the Waikiki instead of Wahiawa. Eventually we arrived at the plantation just as the tour buses were unloading all the tourists for the day. The store was crowed with people going nuts over anything Dole pineapple related. As always when anyone of us from my work group goes somewhere for vacation we bring back something for the group. I bought two small bags of Milk Chocolate Pineapple Crunch ($4.95) for everyone to try ( my group loved it!). I also got two beautiful hair clips (one is for Mom for Christmas), and a lovely picture of Spam Macadamia Nuts. There you have it, Spam is now a flavoring for nuts! Now for those who never had a real Dole pineapple, you need to try one when you are in Hawaii. Reason why is the pineapple is not like the ones you buy in the stores in mainland US. They are a lot sweeter and juicy.

Only in Hawaii can you get pineapple ice cream, and only at the Dole Pineapple Plantation (CORRECTION: Dole Pineapple Whip is now at Disneyland parks and at select Munchies stores. Still try it at the plantation since it is fresh from the plantation fields. Even better have it anytime you are in Hawaii!). So naturally I wanted to try what pineapple ice cream would taste like. Oh my goodness, you have to try it! There are two ways you can have it, one just the soft serve without the pineapple chunks on the side, or the second way with pineapple chucks (Dole Whip). Either way, they are both really good. I ordered the regular without the pineapple chunks ($4.50) and tried my Mom’s which had the pineapple chucks ($4.95).

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Pineapple ice cream

After an ice cream comatose, we toured the garden with all the various pineapple plants from around the world. I never realized there are many different varieties of pineapples, and each have their own destructed characteristics. I guess we are all use to the pineapples that were cultivated by Dole which is the most recognized species of pineapple around the world. While touring the garden there was several geckos (looked like the Geico Gecko, but does not talk with a Australian accent) sitting on some of the leaves enjoying himself. Geckos are all over Hawaii and there was even one sitting in the bushes at Bellows one day.

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Gecko
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Pineapple (Dole)
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Mom and I in a pineapple
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Pink Pineapple

According to the Guinness World Record book, Dole Pineapple Plantation has the largest corn maze in the world back in 2009. This the reason I had to get lost in a corn maze in Hawaii, and live to tell the tale. Plus saying you survived the maze in a tropical rain storm is even better! So Mom, Dad and I decided to do the maze as a family building exercise. The maze costs around $6.00 a person, but I had a coupon for buy one admission get one free. I was the one free since I though up this idea in the first place. Half way through the maze we all three got soaked with rain dumping from the sky. But hey, we are all from Seattle, and the rain was like taking a shower compare to back home. As people were scurrying along to get out of the rain, we all three made our way around the maze looking for the hidden symbols we had to find. The secret to the maze is, going around the outside from one end of the maze to the end, and only sweep inward when you are close to the target. With this strategy we did the maze within forty-five minutes instead of hours.

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My maze scavenger hunt card

Later we jumped back into the car and head a little bit down the road to Kukaniloko (Hawaiian Birth Stones). The site sits back off the road in a farmer’s field on North Wahiuwa Hwy 80 and Whitmore Ave where a small odd road goes off towards a field. If you are not looking for it you will miss the entrance. This place is one of a few sacrate place to the Hawaiians, and the story is when a women gave birth on the stones, her child will have high or royal status in the kingdom. The place is very peaceful place and calmness. There is a little bit of an energy coming off the stone and having sit on one, would make you think maybe my future kid will reach high status. After we viewed the site, I realized the red clay stuck to my sandals are like glue hard glue! Took a lot of elbow grease to scrub off the mud/clay off the sandals.

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Birth stones
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Nana and I sitting on birth stones

On our way to the Dole Plantation we passed through the famous Waiahae Mountain Range on the Kolekole Pass. The area around the pass looks like a scene out of the TV shows Lost, Jurassic Park, and other tropical island shows.

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Pass of no return (j/k)!

That night the full moon made spectacular appearance over the ocean. Looks like the postcard scenes you see with the full moon over Diamond Head.

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Full moon

Disclaimer: All links mentioned in this post are for further reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive nor am paid for promotion of any products mentioned in this post.

Oahu’s Windward Coast Vacation | Days 1,2 & 3

Updated: 12/2017

Waimanalo O’ahu Hawaii was an amazing small beach town. The family and I packed a whole bunch of relaxing and outdoor adventure stuff (well I did) in two weeks. Let me tell you….I’m relaxed and sun burned from being outdoors all day.

Our home “base” for all our adventures was the lovely Bellow Air Force Station in Waimanalo. Now you are probably scratching your head asking what is so cool about staying at a military resort or base? Well this place really has a best kept secret. The beach! This beach is a private beach  except for Friday afternoons to Monday mornings when the public is allowed to use it ( during the week it is used by the Marines for training) (CORRECTION: there are two beaches at Bellows. The first beach as you drive in is the public beach which is open to the public from Noon Friday to midnight Sunday. The the rest of the week is closed for the Marines to use as training ground. The second beach where we stayed is past the second military guard station. This is the private beach.). This place has the best beach in all of Oahu (has real white sand, unlike Waikiki!) and no one fighting over space! Plus cute military guys in uniforms (if you are into that sort of thing). But the best part was being able to walk out the door of the bungalow  right on to the beach and you can even see sea turtles.

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View out the back door
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Me with the sign

Waking up at 2:45am to catch a flight to Honolulu at 8:45am made for a long day. Going through security this time was a no hassle which is amazing at times with most of the lines being backed up. A secret I would share with all of you is to pack your bags as a carry on. Why? Because when you check your luggage at the gate you do not pay a baggage fee due to volunteering to check. Handy right? I still would check with the airline to make sure this is possible on international flights.Lucky for us our flight left on time and arrived five hours and eight minutes later at Honolulu International Airport. When we landed it was the Hawaiian sunny weather and a warm breeze blowing.

Since we got to Bellows AFS early before check in, we all decided to have some lunch at the little cafe and explore the park area until it was time to check in. Our beach cabin was right on the beach. All you had to do was open up the back door and you were practically on the beach!  An hour later my cousin who is stationed on Oahu came by with a friend to hang out for a little bit.

Day #2

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Sun rise day 3

Next morning I got up at around 6am to see the sunrise over the ocean. Sunrises on the Pacific are very beautiful and stunning! Then after breakfast we all headed for the Marine Base up the road for some weekly supplies we needed to get for our cabin.  I headed for the Post Exchange or more like it the MCX (Marine Corps Exchange) to see what they had for summer clothing. I found a very nice Aloha dress I thought would make not only a great evening dinner dress, but a dress I can wear anytime. Then off to the Commissary for groceries. Oh boy! What a mad house that experience was! Seemed like the whole base was at the commissary trying to get groceries on a Sunday. Later we found out Friday was their pay-day and so they all much stock up on their monthly supplies around that time. The rest of the afternoon was spent with my cousin and some of his friends came over to hang out on the beach.

Day 3:

The real fun began when we all headed over the other side of the island to Waikiki and Honolulu for the day. First stop was a small farmer’s market where we picked up some fresh fruit and Hawaiian baked goods. After two weeks in Hawaii, I have been spoiled by how fresh the fruit is here. Mango, pineapples, dragon fruit, and passion fruit are much better tasting in Hawaii than in the stores back home. I may never eat another store-bought pineapple after this trip.

After a stop at the farmer’s market we all headed into Waikiki to spend some money. The Hilton Hawaiian Village is where I picked up some things I just had to have. At the Honolulu Cookie Company I picked up dark chocolate swirl short bread cookies ($7.95), and mini bites short bread cookies ($6.95). I was thinking of have them on hand for when friends come over for tea I have something nice to serve. Then on to the famous store in the Waikiki area, the ABC store! Now I went a little crazy in this store, and who doesn’t? I bought three pairs of earring ( I seem to lose mine at times and was running low), and a shirt with Hawaii printed on the front.

You cannot go to Hawaii and not have ice cream right? Well there is a place where they serve the only ice cream flavored passion fruit. The only place in the Hawaiian islands is Lapperts (the one we went to was in the Hilton Hawaiian Village). I had a little bit of passion fruit, but what I tried was the camel coconut macadamia nut ice cream ($4.70). Oh my goodness it was so good! I recommend this flavor to try.

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Carmel Coconut Macadamia Nut

After an ice cream treat we all walked around the Hilton Hawaiian’s gardens and pool. Waikiki beaches are a lot hotter in temperature than the other beaches around Oahu. The Hotel has penguins and turtles in the garden.

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Panguin
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Turtles hanging out

We walked through Fort DeRussy Park and Recreational Center to cool off from the heat of the sun. Then I came across this tank outside the Army Museum. I tried to make it look like I was running away from the tank, but failed at it.

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Run like a tank is behind you.

Three days down in paradise was just the beginning of an adventure.

Mahalo for reading!

Disclaimer: All links are provided for further reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive or are paid for promotion of products listed in the post. *Also in order to enter Bellows past the guard station you or a family member traveling with you either be active, reserve, or retired military. The first beach you do not have to be Same goes for Marine base.*