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 #10 (North Shore)

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Update: 12/2017

Day ten was all about our adventure along the north part of Windward Coast and the North Shore. Last time in Hawaii I only got as far as Laie (Polynesian Cultural Center) so naturally I wanted to see the other small surfing towns along the Kamehameha highway.

Our first stop was at the Tropical Farms where they grow some of the famous macadamia nuts. Inside their store, there are tons of macadamia nut products. Any possible flavor roasted with the macadamia nuts can be sampled. The ones I liked were the garlic (theses are very garlicky and if you want to kiss someone, make sure they to had some too.), cinnamon sugar (very sugary), plain roasted, coffee roasted, and jalapeno spiced nuts. Also for the first time I tried the macadamia flavored Kona coffee which is the bomb with macadamia milk! Starbucks cannot compete! I wonder where I can find this coffee in Seattle? I will have to check this out. Tropical Farms is also one of those touristy stops, so I still recommend coming early to have the chance of seeing the farm without the crowds. To bad we did not have the chance to go on the farm tour since we did get there an hour after they opened. But I still had the chance to cracks some nuts! Apparently to crack a macadamia nut the native Hawaiian way you pry open the hard woody nut casing to reveal a lighter colored nut shell. Then using an old tree stump and a good size heavy rock you whack the nut with the rock until the casing splits open to reveal a white fleshy inside-the macadamia nut. The process is close to un-shelling peanuts. I did open my nut with only one whack of the rock, but I did mash the inside a bit.

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Nut + rock = macadamia nut!
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Hard outer shell
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Macedonian nut
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Cracking my nut

A mile down the road we stopped at the Kualoa Beach Park in Kualoa to see the small island off the island called Chinaman’s Hat (Mokolii Island). This park affords a great view of the Pacific ocean, Kaneoha Bay, Chinaman’s Hat and the Ko’olau Mountain Range ( setting for lots of movies and TV show back drops). Across the road from the park is the famous Kualoa Ranch where Jurassic Park was filmed.

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We stopped for lunch in Kahuka for the famous garlic shrimp plates that are famous in this part of the island. Two years ago while driving up to the North Shore, there was a little shrimp stand that sold plated lunches called Titia’s Grill (CORRECTION: This place is permanently closed.). Outside this town there are huge shrimp farms where they harvest shrimp for the whole Oahu Island. And really there is no difference between farm grown or wild grown shrimp. I recommend  this place for lunch or dinner and try any of their shrimp plates especially their garlic shrimp!

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As we continued along Kamehameha highway towards Haleiwa we stopped at Sunset Beach. This beach has a little secret. This beach is said to have Sea Turtles coming up on the shore and lay to the beach. To bad this time when we went there were no sea turtles lying on the beach. I would love to say the turtles knew when the tour buses came and so scurried back to the water, but the life guard said most of the time the turtles were either on the beach at sunrise or sunset.  When we pulled into this beach’s parking lot there was not a bus insight. Come out of the bathroom two minutes later, the parking lot looked like chaos! Goes to show how anything in Hawaii can change in a blink of an eye 🙂 .

An hour later we pulled into the town of Haleiwa, the surf capital of the world. The beaches were packed with surfers, snorkelers and paddlers enjoying the surf. The waves were not as much monsters yet because it was still summer, and winter is when the huge waves usually came into play for surfers. Since I was in the North Shore area, I had to try the famous local shaved ice treat. So where did I go? To the famous Matsumoto Grocery Store for the rainbow shaved ice. The picture looks like the shaved ice must be a large, but this is the smallest they had. At this point I figured all things in Hawaii are done big, and never small. This motto suited me just fine. At $2.50 a pop, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Having it run down my legs trying to eat it, and having the stick sweet mess all over my hands brought the child out of me again. Matsumoto is not the only place in town that sells shaved ice, but this place is the most famous and popular spot to try one. As you see from the picture below, there are many different flavors you can order. All those flavor combinations, and do I want ice cream or azuki beans on top of the ice? I will have to come back to find out next time I’m there.

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Rainbow Cone
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What’s your Flavor?

At this point I still was not done with ice anything. Just up the road from Matsumoto is a little ice cream parlor called Scoop of Paradise. Oh man, sorry Dave’s Ice cream, this place has the best ice cream so far on the island. Ice cream here is made from real cream like the Italian ice cream which makes this ice cream creamy and rich. Chocolate Macadamia nut and Pineapple Cheese cake were the flavors I tried together.

A few hours later we all head out-of-town towards Bellows AFS. On our way back I wanted to stop at the Fine Ass Chocolates and Coffee place right off the highway (CORRECTION: the shop is now permanently closed as of 2017 at all locations). The famous “Donkey” balls chocolates are sold. Just the name of the place sounded bad ass! I bought some chocolates called “Dirty” balls and “Flaky” balls in dark chocolate. I did try the “Fire” balls which has pepper flakes it the middle. The major hit for the family is the Flaky balls with coconut in the middle.

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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 | Day 7 (Valley of The Temple), Day 8 & Day 9

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Update: 12/2017

Confused? Looks as if I made a short trip to Japan when really this temple is in Hawaii. I came across this little known tourist attraction when researching for things to do. The temple is called Byod O-In Temple and it’s a replica of a 10th century Buddhist temple in Uij Japan. This temple is in a Memorial Park/ cemetery where all religions are represented.  For six dollars per a person (CORECTION: The Byodo-In- Temple charges $3.00 per a person now.), you can tour the grounds and take pictures. The settle is very peaceful and looks as if you are up in the mountains in Asia.

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Me ringing for good luck
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Iron Bell of good luck

Ringing the large iron bell at the temple is something to do for Buddhist believe  ring the bell is to cleanses the body, mind, heart and soul of negativity. By one gong of the bell, negativity is swept away for a long a prosperous life ahead. Buddhist use it as a way to bring good luck. Well I wanted some good luck for myself, and so I rang the bell. Black swans are supposed to be keepers of surprises and keep the negativity of spiritual world in check. Plus I have never seen Koi fish as huge as the ones living at the temple. My goodness they are huge!

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Koi and a black swan

Inside the temple is a Buddha shrine where offerings, and incense are burned. The massive Buddha statue in gold leaf dominates the room. This picture doesn’t even begin to describe how ornate the inside of the temple is. Even going bare foot out of respect was not so un natural as it would seem if this place was in a colder environment.

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Buddha shrine

Before lunch we all head back to the Marine Base to pick up some more supplies for the coming week at the Commissary. This time the place was not as much busy as the first time we came. A few months back I came across an article on how civilians are upset at how the military families have lower food prices for groceries. They called it the Ketchup-Gate. Honestly people, I don’t understand the uproar?! Meat prices are maybe dollar cheaper than civilian grocery stores, and that is for select cuts of meat. Just think of it this way, most commissaries are on military bases outside the US is places where there is no standard grocery store, or local food prices are much higher of worse rationed! Most military personnel do not get paid nearly as much as they would in the civilian world. Lower your rank, the less money you make. Also there is a 3% surcharge tacked on to the bill to keep the commissary going. So think of Safeway tacked on a 3-5% surcharge on your bill along with any food tax you had to pay. You would no like that would you?

Nana has this little saying, why not have dessert first. For most of the vacation the justification was to have dessert first, then have whatever else last. On our way back from shopping at the Marine Base, we all stopped in for an ice cream at the famous ice cream shop Dave’s. Dave’s is famous for their had made ice creams, and is ranked one of the best ice cream shops on the island of Oahu. Unfortunately they do not make the passion fruit or pineapple ice cream. But their Coconut Macadamia Nut ice cream was delicious  as ever. As you can see, there is a theme going here. I have found to like coconut and macadamia nuts mixed together in a form of a desert. How this came about is still unknown to me. After a shop for pure sugar, it was time for some surf and sand at Bellows.

IMG_0311Day eight was just relaxing on the beach and resting from a wild night with my cousin the previous night. Later after going to the Valley of the temples, I was taken to Waikiki for a night out on the town. I partied at Rum Fire Bar and danced into the wee hours of the morning at Moose’s Bar. I had to spend some a day recovering from a hang over and realizing even in my mid twenties, I just cannot go too wild anymore.

Day nine we all headed in the afternoon back into Waikiki again for our last chance at anything we wanted to do there. We walked through the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center to beat the heat. I will tell you this, the beaches in Waikiki are a lot hotter in temperature than the beaches around the island. As soon as I stepped onto the sand, I thought my feet were going to burn through my sandals after walking on a path for a few minutes, I just wanted to find some shade or a cool spot to be in. I do believe with all the concrete and buildings all around, there is more heat being generated, and while the rest of the island is cloudy, Waikiki/ Honolulu is sunny.There is no wind blowing either unless at night.

I did tour through the famous International Village Market Place before it is shut down for good. Apparently by the end of October, all the shops have to move out so developers can tear it down and build a hotel on the spot. Sad to see one of Hawaii’s old attractions being destroyed just so more profitable venture can take its place. I’m very glad to visit this iconic spot while I was here! Just sad (CORRECTION:The old International Village Market Place is no longer after the summer of 2013. As of 2016 a newer version of the International Village Market Place has been completed and the stores are more up scale then what was there before.). I wished I had bought something there just for the novelty, but after going from one store sell Hawaiian wear to another with the same stuff, I just could not being myself to do it. Nana did find something humorous among all the touristy nick nacks.

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Obama License Plate

Then back to Bellows to cool off and relax on the beach again.

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 | Day 5 (Hanauma Bay) & Day 6 (Mini Golf & Pali Lookout))

Updated: 12/2017

One thing about waking up early in Hawaii is the sunrises. The reason why I can roll out of bed so early for Hanauma Bay. Waking up before 7am to arrive at this very popular touristy spot is almost a must if you want to avoid the crowds and the tour buses/groups. Arrive well before 9:30 am or right as the park opens at 6:30am. So here I am awake and ready to go snorkeling!

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Hanauma Bay from the top
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Hanuama Bay

I rented my gear from an off site vender (Bellows AFS $10.00 for the whole set), other than that, you either bring your own or rent from the site itself. The parking was so cheap! A dollar cheap! But what really dings you, the admission price of $7.50 for an adult.  I can understand why change a price for entrance, the park is a conservation site.  After we all paid we all waited with other people for the video they show every one who enters the park outlining what the whole coral reef is and what you cannot do while snorkeling, swimming or scuba diving in the reef. The worst part of the video, knowing people are going to do it anyway because as Nana pointed out, people who do not have a grasp of the English language and watching the demonstrations of what NOT to do, will not understand. Believe me, I saw it happening!

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Ready to snorkel

After a walk down the steep hill to the beach, we staked out a claim under a shady coconut tree to put our stuff. At this time there was not may people down on the beach, so I decided I need to get in the water and start snorkeling before it’s too late. I went out with both parents around a section of the coral reef. I am amazed at how you can just enter the water, lay on your belly, put your head in the water and see underwater! Now you can probably guess, this was my first time snorkeling. I saw huge fish swimming past me, huge coral, some creature stuck to the coral looking like a human brain, lots of species of coral, and yes you guessed it, sea turtles. On my first try my mask kept fogging up to the point I had to un-fog  it multiple times with my own spit. Then I was having  a hard time breathing through my snorkel tube since water kept going in, and swimming with the flippers was a challenge. Eventually I figured out how to snorkel. I would do this again next time somewhere else in the Hawaiian Islands. Around 11:00am we decided it was time to go and have some lunch. At this point the beach and water had become very crowed. We all forked over $1.25 to ride the trolley back up the steep hill. At this point I was tired and did not want to pack all my stuff back up the hill.

We had lunch at the park’s picnic area that overlooked the beach and water. As soon as the food was unpacked, all the park’s feral chickens made a B-line toward us. As you see, no shame for a chicken.

_DSC0130_edited-1After a picnic lunch, we parked up and left to drive along winding coast highway back to Bellows AFS. Along the way we stopped at the Makapuu Point Lookout. Oh my goodness this is a postcard perfect look out! The lookout towards the windward coast line, and the tropical blue water. This is a breath-taking view to see. There is a lighthouse by the same name on the side of the cliff. I would love to come back and hike up to see the place (every night at Bellows, I could see it off in the distance). The rest of the afternoon was spent getting ready for our dinner date with my cousin.

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Makapuu Lookout
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Makapuu Lookout

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Family

My cousin is stationed on Oahu at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay. Earlier that week my cousin’s “gunny” gave him permission to give us a tour of the place where he works  (a rare thing in this day an age). The whole family had the opportunity to meet his team, and see what his everyday job on base in logistics. Seeing him in action was very cool. It is amazing the last time I saw him was eight years ago when he was just a little skinny kid his older brother use to beat up, and now he is all grown up in a military uniform. I feel old just typing that! Also seeing more of the base then just the MCX (post exchange) and the Commissary. I will have to say, it is hard to pick out some of the guys when all of them are in uniform because they all look the same. Also like most active base, the base had the semi-desert feel to it.

Buzze’s Steakhouse in Lanikia . This place is where Nana, and my cousin had gone to the last time Nana was there for vacation. The place has a beach theme to it, with seating inside and outside. The menu is very limited to steaks, seafood and salad.  At first I could not find anything appealing except Teriyaki Chicken with rice. All meals come with the salad and fruit bar option. The favorite item at the salad bar was the mint cucumbers. My cousin raved about trying them and I have to say, they are pretty darn good! For desert my cousin and I split an Almond Joy cheese cake. OMGoodness! It tasted just like an Almond Joy bar! I would give the place an eight out of ten because even with the cool atmosphere, I think there needed to be a little more options on the menu for the steaks and seafood (I think this time the menu did not have any seafood on it).

IMG_0291The next day we all just relaxed and stayed on the beach and surrounding areas of Bellows. One major event was mini golf or as I call it put-put-golf on the Bellows mini golf course. For an hour all of us played a fourteen hole mini golf. Now I would like to say the game became competitive and there was throwing golf clubs around, but my family is pretty tame when it comes to these kinds of things (except Pit, oh boy this game gets very competitive!). For $6.00 for a mid morning game of golf (how do people find golf relaxing? I find it stressful) we went around the course hitting brightly painted golf balls through, under and even over obstacles that represents each of the Hawaiian Islands. Oh dear….I’m bad at golf and not much better at mini golf either. There was no score being kept, but Nana had all of us beat. Overall I had quit a good time laughing at myself trying to hit the ball into the hole. I know I will never be playing golf in the near future, and hope who ever I end up marrying will understand I should not be allowed on the “green” at all. I’m dangerous with a golf ball apparently.

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Family
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Us girls
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Me put-putting

After lunch Mom, Nana and I took a little trip up to Nu’uanu Pali Lookput in the Ko’olau Mountain range over tunnels of the Pali Highway. The lookout has a panoramic view of the Windward Coast, the Marine Base, Nu’uanu valley, and the spectacular view of the tropical blue water.

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As you can see from the pictures, it is very windy up there with strong trade winds. At one point when taking a picture of where the old Pali highway use to be, there was a huge wind tunnel effect.

After the little trip to Pali Lookout, I needed to have a few things washed at the laundry. Right by the small Post Exchange store is an outdoor laundry room. All I have to say is, the washer and dryers here work a whole lot better than the piece of crap of a stacker laundry machine I have in my apartment! While there sipping on my soda, an Airman (Air Force guy) drove up and bought a six-pack of beer at the Exchange. Then thirty minutes later, he was back for a pack of cigs. Then an hour later back again for another twelve pack of beer and two cartons of cigs. It must have been one of those hard duty shifts at the guard gate to need to buy 18 cans of beer and three packs of cigs! Then again, there are days where I need three cans of coke-a-cola to get through the day. After fresh laundry folded, I headed back to the cabin to relax from all the snorkeling I did the day before.

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 | 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.*