Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hawaii Day 2-- Polynesian Cultural Center

Right next to the temple is the Polynesian Cultural Center. This was the expensive part of the day. It's around $150 each for this place, and I must admit, it wasn't high on my list of things to do in Hawaii. It is now, though. I really enjoyed seeing the presentations on the different countries. For those of you who haven't been to the center, it's sort of like Disneyland for the cultures of the Pacific. Every half hour is a show put on by the cultures and you skip around and try to catch each of the 25 minute shows. I liked the Samoa show best. The presenter showed how to open a coconut, get the meat out, and separate the milk. It was amazing how much milk a coconut actually contains. Finally, he showed how to climb a coconut tree (Spoiler: Tie a cloth between your feet and use it to shimmy up.). Hawaii showcased Hula dancers and history, New Zealand had dancing and singing in an ornate Maori building. Tonga had drumming contests. Fiji had you play an instrument while giving an oral history and information about Fiji's geography. I found it to be a great educational experience, as well as a lot of fun. There are some other things going on, too. There is a "Canoe Parade" in which you sit alongside the faux-river and watch barges go by with dancers from each culture. And later you can be poled down this river as well. Arrive early if you want to see every show, take the river ride, watch the parade, and take the tour of Laie on the bus that includes a trip to the Temple Visitor's Center. After the show, there is a luau. This is the part of the PCC I'd skip next time. The food and entertainment were mediocre (and expensive). In addition, I was sort of Polynesian-cultured out. There is yet another show later that night. This show is more full-length play with fire-dancing and a story. I was tired (it was 8pm there, but 1 am at home), ready to get home, and had a difficult time following the story. As a skeptic of the PCC before I went, I'd definitely go again, but next time without the Luau or the evening performance.

He had lots of different poses once he climbed the tree, but this was my favorite.

The Maori building was beautiful inside and out.

From the Canoe Parade--these are Tahiti dancers with their fast shaking hips.

Randy on a canoe ride.

These girls are doing the hula!

That's the pig we are going to eat at the luau.

Our friends at our table loaned us their pineapple drink for the picture that they took of us.

I took a picture of my plate so Mark could see all the things I tried.
The purple roll--pretty good.  The purple poi--horrible.

Anyone celebrating an anniversary got to come up front and dance.  Once again, our friends snapped a picture and they even caught the emcee grinning in the background.  I am going to watch for him on TV someday hosting a game show.

Hawaii Day 2-- Laie Temple

After Diamond Head, we changed quickly and drove across the island to the Laie Temple. It's an interesting drive. You fight the traffic on the "freeway," swearing and swerving like an LA cabbie until you come to a tunnel. You pass through the tunnel and you are now on the east side of the island. Suddenly, you've left the city behind and entered the laid back Hawaii of ukeleles and grass skirts. We liked this side of the island much better! We took the time to do a session at the temple, and were very surprised at how small it was. We had only about 40 people in our session, and if there'd been 42, Natalie would likely have had to sit on someone's lap. Surprisingly, the final portion of the ceremony can only be performed 4 at a time! The grounds were beautiful, though, with exotic flowers that you can't see at any other temple, and the session was great (Although I do disagree with shouting "Aloha!" in the temple chapel and expecting a resounding reply.)

Cattle Egrets hanging out on the temple grounds.

Natalie in front of the Laie temple right after our morning session.

A sister missionary snapped this photo of us when we took the tram ride from the Polynesian Cultural Center.  That's why we are wearing leis now and it's sunset time!

Hibiscus flowers--they are everywhere and gorgeous.

Hawaii Day 2-- Diamond Head

Our second day in Hawaii was much better-- and much more expensive! We started by hiking Diamond Head for the sunrise. Having never been to Hawaii, I thought this might be a romantic, quiet way to start a Tuesday morning. Apparently, so did 2 tour buses of Japanese tourists and a van load of Germans. In fact the hike was pretty crowded with probably over 200 people making the journey. It's a short hike, but quite steep. It includes a stairway and several tunnels. I would classify the hike as "very doable" for anyone in reasonably good condition. In fact, I like the hike much more than the view of the sunrise through a sea of other people's heads. We did make a nice friend on this hike. She shared some Japanese candy with us, and was excited that we could converse in broken English about the geography of Japan. (Apparently naming a city like Niigata is worth 2 handfuls of sweet candy). She also shared another "treat" with us that tasted roughly like a mouthful of the cat's litter box, and I still don't know if it was fruit, meat, candy, or a bite of lint from the laundry filter. Of course, she wanted to watch me eat it, which tipped me off to its impending taste. (It seems this is a common pasttime-- Australians want you to try Vegemite and several Hawaiians wanted to watch us taste poi. I don't invite people to America and then grin stupidly at them as they take a mouthful of Tuna Casserole!) Anyway, the hike climbs several stairways, passes through a tunnel or two, and comes out on top of an extinct volcano rim. Actually, you are climbing up out of the volcano's rim from the inside. You can see Honolulu and a wide expanse of ocean, including the sunrise. For any bird nerds, we saw several kinds of birds on the hike, including cardinals, doves, and finchy looking things.
About 1/2 way up, we stopped to catch the sunrise.

The sun from the top of Diamond Head--
we missed the actual sunrise since we had to fight through those 200 tourists.

Our first picture together in Hawaii--it was really windy on the top.

Randy in one of the tunnels we hiked through.


The sign at the bottom--there was even a line to take a picture here.

Hawaii Day 1-- Waikiki Beach

We recently had an awesome 5 day trip to Hawaii! It wasn't awesome because we left Mark and Dax home with Grandma Daniels-- though that certainly helped, it was awesome because it was a celebration of our ten year anniversary! Yup, 10 years! Okay, well, technically we were married a little over 8 years ago, but we got an early start on the 10 year anniversary. Next year, we plan on having a baby in the summer. So when our real 10 year anniversary rolls around in October of 2012, we'll (hopefully) have a 4 month old (not to mention the Mayans recommended that we get our vacation in before 2012). So, we planned our vacation for October '11, but, I have time off in the summer, so we moved it up to June or July of '11. Then, we realized that was peak tourist season, so we moved it up to April 2011 over Spring Break. Anyway, Happy 10 Year Anniversary to us!

We left on Monday and arrived Monday around 2pm. It is a pretty long flight-- about 6 hours. After sitting in traffic in Honolulu for about an hour to get the 5 miles to our hotel on Waikiki, I'd decided this may not be the vacation I'd hoped. We really wanted to go to Pearl Harbor that first day, but it, and every other attraction in Hawaii closes at 5 o'clock, so we spent the first day walking around on Waikiki Beach with a sneer on our faces. Amazingly, you couldn't even hike Diamond Head after 5:30 pm! It was a pretty bleak start for an anniversary vacation.

Randy at Waikiki Beach--see his sneer?!

That's Diamond Head.  We hike to the top of that tomorrow.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What the crap?!

Last night, Mark flashed by stark naked, yelling over his shoulder, "I just need to go and get some new clothes." That is never a good sign, so Randy and I looked up to see him covered in poop toddling up the stairs. We stopped him and asked what happened. Here was his story: "I had to go pee, but as I was standing there some poop came out. It is everywhere in the bathroom. And now I need some new clothes." Well I walked Mark back to the bathroom, so I could clean him up and he was not exaggerating about poop EVERYWHERE. He had tried to clean it up (which is very nice, but only made things worse). It was on the walls, the shower curtain, the cabinets, the towels (he used them to wipe up), both rugs, in the sink (he had put his pants in there), and of course, all over the floor. So guess what I got to do last night? It wasn't exactly what I had planned on doing, but I guess it is one of the jobs you find yourself doing once you become a mom. Don't worry, I still love Mark and I didn't even get mad. How could I when he had tried to clean it up? I just laughed as I wiped poop off of every surface in the bathroom. But now that bathroom is really clean! I considered taking pictures, but didn't think you would want to see. Instead here is a picture of Mark from a few days ago--when he was poop free!

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