Oahu – Day 15

Today is a travel day so we had to get up early. Diane packed all our suitcases and other carry on bags yesterday so all we had to add anything dirty that we may have worn after the packing was done. That worked really well and I especially liked the part where Diane told me to “to go away and leave me alone.” I was just hanging around in case there was something I could do to help. Obviously, there wasn’t, so I finally left her alone. She only had to tell me about three times. I didn’t believe her the first two times.

Oddly, we both had a very comfortable night even though we each woke up about every hour or so to make sure we didn’t oversleep. Kind of ironic, huh? I’m not sure what times Diane woke up but we had a 9am departure from the hotel scheduled but I was cognizant of time at 5, 5:30, 6, 6:30, 6:45 am and finally got up at 7am. I was quiet like a mouse until Diane woke up. Don’t remember when that happened. I was more concerned about having the coffee ready when she woke up. That’s my job. Every day.

We hurked all our luggage to the lobby then I went to get the car. The last thing I did before leaving the room was put the car keys in my pocket. We got all loaded up on my return then headed for the Pearl Harbor Naval Base gas station to fill up before returning the car. It cost us $32.

The tram ride back to the departure gates was uneventful but, like it was planned, we were dropped about as far away from the check in counters as you can get.

The first line we were put in was to just weigh our luggage to make sure it wasn’t over weight. I already knew one of them was. I found a handy scale in that line and put them at 51.5 lbs and 56 lbs. The 56 was too much. Diane kept our place in that line while I went to talk with a nice lady working the crowd at the kiosks. I’d tried them once to get baggage tags but they wanted $30 each which I didn’t understand. We didn’t have to pay for bags coming over. It was like a trick, to get you here for free, then charge you to go home. I was more concerned about the over weight because because that would be $50 extra for each of them that qualified.

After talking with the agent, getting the tags after paying $60 for the two bags, she took us to another line where we could check the bags then head for gate C-1 which was about 1.5 mile walk. She said she’d take care of us in that line, and she did. There ware already 2 agents working the line but there was another station closed. She fiddled around doing “stuff” as we progressed up the line. When we were next in line she opened the closed station and waved us over. Just amazing. She ignored the overweight fee and sent us on our way. That one act of kindness sold me totally on Hawaiian Airlines.

Another thing I like about Hawaiian Airlines is how they deliver their safety lecture before take off. It’s a video that uses Hawaiian employees giving all the information in a suburban setting, and even some young children for some events, like always wear your seat belt when you’re in your seat. Pretty cool.

This guy took off just in front of us to protect us on the way back to PDX

We got off the island on time and headed for PDX.

Arrived before 7:30 pm and checked in to our hotel as planned. Needed supper so bought a couple of noodle cups.

Got up and ate breakfast then Jeff and Baylee arrived to pick us up at 11 am.

On the way home we stopped at Ichabod’s for lunch in Scappoose.

Once home we were greeted with a double rainbow.

Oahu – Day 14

I was right. Yesterday was Monday so this must be Tuesday.

We actually did some sightseeing today and Diane were able to get in some extra miles driving around the island. Me? I got some extra steps in getting the car back to the hotel.

First, let’s talk about my extra steps. As I’ve reported previously, to avoid compromising Diane’s iffy knees and hips, whenever we are ready to call it a day, she drives back to the hotel and goes to the room then I drive the car to the parking garage. You’ve heard this before. It’s not a complaint, it’s just information. Me driving a rental car on vacation has never happened previously because it used to cost more money to add an additional driver. This trip is different for some reason. Maybe the rules have changed. Whatever changed, I get to drive this time without paying more. So, Diane goes to the room and I take the car to the parking structure and walk back to the hotel. For the next trip I walk over, bring the car back, let Diane in the driver’s seat, climb in the passenger side, set the GPS and away we go.

It’s been working just great until this morning. I walked over to get the car, was almost there, and couldn’t find the car key anywhere on my body. That meant one of two things. 1). We both forgot the key in the room; 2). Diane had the key and intentionally kept it, letting me walk 2 miles to punish me for some reason; or 3). Diane had the key and just forgot to give it to me. OK. That’s 3. I realized right away and could have corrected it up front, but didn’t want to.

So, which was it? Of the three choices I’m only complicit in one of them, but bottom line is I should have made sure that key was stuffed in my pocket before I left the room. I take full responsibility.

I got my keyless self back to the hotel and Diane was shocked that I was carless. She dug around in her purse and saved the day.

With the key in my pocket I went back, got the car, drove back and got Diane. Then we drove to Pali Lookout on Highway 61.

The final destination was actually Kailua Beach Park, but Pali was on the way so we stopped. I was disappointed that the wind didn’t seem to be blowing as hard as I remembered. It was actually very nice up there staring down at Kailua and Kaneohe. While we were up there a large group of army men and women showed up and assembled on the lower section of the lookout. We wondered what it was all about so stuck around for a bit and discovered that a staff sgt. was reenlisting. He must have been an important soldier because in attendance were at least 3 bird colonels and a Brig. General. We left before the ceremony but applaud his decision to re-up.

Back at the car I set the GPS for a place to eat in Kailua but uncharacteristically made a mistake and chose a place in Honolulu. I have no idea how that happened, but Diane followed the GPS until I admitted my mistake and reset it to take us to Kailua.

The atmosphere was tense for a little while as we made our way back up past Pali Lookout and down the other side. On the trip we decided that we didn’t need to stop anyplace to eat because Diane had packed a bunch of snacks that we could eat while sitting on, or near the beach in Kailua Beach Park. So, that’s what we did.

The parking lot at the beach was pretty small and there were a lot of vehicles circling like vultures waiting for a spot to show up. We got lucky when someone pulled out just before we got to them and got parked having gone only halfway around the lot. We viewed that as serendipity. We were supposed to be there. Karma works.

Diane was prepared for the beach visit wearing pants with legs that easily rolled up. I was supposed to have shorts but they were left behind. I should have changed to them before we left. So, I was left with skinny jeans with no rollable pant legs. I did it anyway, to my knees. They weren’t really skinny jeans. I don’ have any of those.

All of the above and a pretty bird to boot.

… and, or course, chickens. They are pretty much everywhere away from Honolulu. I think the reason for that is because they taste good.

From Kailua we decided to continue on around the island, through Waimanalo to the east, instead of returning the way we came. We’d done that a couple of times already this day. It was a pleasant drive with a few stops.

The first stop was at Makapu’u Lookout that looks back to the way we came. A stunning view.

When we drove into the lot there was a paraglider sailing around the area.

He was fun to watch but the sea grabbed our attention and we lost track of him until he did this …

I noticed a minor commotion behind me and turned to see this …

He came in for a landing on a narrow walk of the lookout. Pretty skillful guy as there were a number of people around us but no one had to move as he landed.

Having seen that happen we decided the events of this day couldn’t get any better so we decided to leave.

Walking down toward our car there was some more commotion outside the guard rail toward the sea so we went to look and here was this guy getting his lines all untangled for another launch. I speculated that the only reason he landed was so he could use the restroom, but that wasn’t possible because there weren’t any at the lookout. Having discovered that, he rose gracefully into the air and sailed away to look for another one.

The next stop was to see the Halona Blowhole along the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline.

From there it was a surprisingly short trip back to the hotel.

Then we settled down for the night.

Oahu – Day 13

I’m pretty sure it’s Monday. That means we only have a few days remaining on this trip but that’s OK. It’s time to go home. The last challenge we’ll have is to stuff everything back into the suitcases. Diane did the packing for the trip over so I’m betting she’ll do it again. She’s good at it, and I’m not.

We drove back to the Navy exchange one more time, mainly to get lunch. We kinda like the food court there. This day Diane got a quesadilla and I had one of those crunch wrap things again. They are pretty good.

After lunch we wandered around in the exchange picking out things for the trip home, then we went to the commissary, next door, to get some food to last us until departure. Diane thought fish would be good as we haven’t had any yet on this trip. Got the fish, but neither we nor anyone who worked in the commissary could find tartar sauce. We had people looking everywhere until we said, “that’s good enough,” and relieved them of their need to search but they wouldn’t quit. It became like a challenge for them to find it because, they all said, “it used to be right there,” as they pointed at a specific shelf in the condiment aisle. But it wasn’t. Long after we’d moved on to get the items needed to make our own there were people wandering around searching for tartar sauce. I’m pretty sure that one of the people I asked for help had been on his way for a break, but the search kept him engaged for a long time. I’m not sure if he ever gave up.

From the exchange we returned to the hotel where Diane released me to be on my own while she went back out in search of a Goodwill store she’d seen earlier. She’s visited every Goodwill store in every city or village we’ve travelled to or through. It’s kind of like Jennie, when she was little, and could spot a McDonald’s from miles away. She was tuned to those golden arches. Diane can find Goodwill stores that way and, once found, she never forgets where they are.

When she left me off in front of the lobby, I carried all the things we’d purchased in the exchange and commissary to our room. I didn’t think it was lot until I got about halfway to the elevators. For our tower, those are about 1/4 mile away. It’s a pretty long walk. Thankfully, there were lots of kind people along the way who helped me up when I fell, and some even offered to carry some of my bags to our room. But, I sucked it up, and kept going. I had to because some of the items I was carrying had to make it to the refrigerator before they melted, or thawed out.

Gasping, I made it to our room and placed the bags on the counter. I had to go to the bathroom real bad, but put that aside while I emptied the bags and got all the items put away in the proper places. Some I left on the counter, but I aligned them, with the labels out, in such a manner that it was easy see what they were. There’s nothing more annoying to Diane than to find cans on a shelf with the label aligned to the back so you have to spin it to see what it was. I actually find that annoying, too.

Then, I sat down on my couch. It is mine because Diane sits in a chair. It’s her chair so I don’t sit there. I like the couch. It’s mine for the duration of our stay. Sitting there, I took the TV remote, turned the TV on, then diligently went through all the channels, one at a time. The guide is annoying because when you push that button you get the list starting with #1 every time. Not the channel you were watching, but #1. I was entertained nicely just scrolling through the channels one at a time, pausing for a while on a one if there wasn’t a commercial on, continuing on if there was. I didn’t keep track of how long it took to got through them all because it didn’t matter.

When I called it quits, I checked my Life 360 app on my iPhone to see where Diane was. She was moving along not far from the hotel so I watched her progress until she made it to the street we’re on. Then I went down to the lobby to meet her. I beat her there by about 7 seconds.

She handed me the car keys then she headed for the elevators with just a small bag. I was amazed. She’d been gone for hours and only had a small bag of stuff to show for it. Putting that thought aside, knowing I’d get the story on my return, I got in the car and drove it to the Hale Koa parking garage to put it up for the night. Then I slowly walked the 1.5 miles back to the hotel. I know, I said previously that it’s only about 1/4 of a mile. but it gets farther away every time I do it. Good exercise I’m told.

For supper I made egg salad sandwiches using 4-5 of the eggs I’d boiled for that purpose. The sandwiches were a bit sloppy because I used too much relish, but I didn’t get anything on my shirt. That’s a win for me. Made Diane proud.

On the news we learned that most of the islands around Oahu were flooding from the storm passing by, but all we see is damp streets. I suppose along the mountains it might be causing problems, but just not where we are. There are a lot of homeless people in Ala Moana Park getting pretty wet from the rain because the police had a round up and made them take the tents down. They are still there with their shopping carts filled, but no tents. It’s a sad state of affairs but one thing that gave me hope was there were no children in the groups. Just adults of varying ages.

Enough of that. I obviously have nothing else of value to share. Except maybe some photos that belong in previous posts.

This one is a shot of the GPS so you could see how fun the freeways connect …

Everything is well marked and the rule seems to be that if you missed an exit it’s OK to cross all the lanes to take it anyway. What fun.

Here’s a rainy day shot …

Here’s our living room …

An interesting point, that I discovered a couple of days ago, is that the DVD player below the TV is a PS3. We don’t watch DVDs on vacation so that little detail escaped us.

And, our bedroom …

Mahalo for your time.

Oahu – Day 12

It rained off and on throughout the day so we remained inside again. We really didn’t mind as we’re very comfortable and have lots of things to look at out our windows. Hopefully, the weather will clear at least once before we leave here on Thursday because we still want to visit Pali Lookout and Diamond Head Crater. Actually, what the weather does isn’t really an issue. We’ll go anyway.

About that Crater … the last time we visited Oahu I thought I was still young enough to climb it. I’d done it previously when I was wearing a younger man’s clothes so figured I could do it again. However, half way up, on the really really steep stairs, I discovered that I was wrong. I had to stop because my wee little legs were giving out to the point where I couldn’t go up, or down. My legs would fold up either direction. After resting a while, however, I was able to trudge on to the top without falling down. You’ll have to trust me that it’s a magnificent view but I really do have photos from long ago to prove it. They’re around somewhere. Try this LINK for a comprehensive view of the hike made by someone else.

For lunch we had some sort of beef in juice. I asked Diane what it was and she said it was beef with Au Jus. we discussed it for a while, but neither of us couldn’t remember, for sure, what it was called. So, I retired to the kitchen to dig around in all the cardboard we’ve been saving and found the package it came in.

I did remember that it wasn’t frozen, just refrigerated and found the box. It was “Italian seasoned Roast Beef Au Jus and Savory Sauce”. Four minutes in a microwave and you got a really good meal. With it we had mashed potatoes that came in a box, and some canned string beans. Real classy dining for Hawaii. Made us happy so it was just fine.

In case you missed the post about our visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center, or read it and just didn’t believe we actually went there, I’ve got this for you:

The photo was taken first thing when we entered the gates. The photographer handed us a business card with a QR code on it that was magically tied to the photo. All we had to do was use the code and get the photo online. Pretty nifty. You just have to wonder what these kids will think of next.

That’s it for today.

Aloha

Oahu – Day 11

Today we did domestic things that require us to stay in our room all day. Mainly, it gave Diane ample opportunity to do our laundry while watched a couple of NFL playoff games. I offered to help but she’s very adamant that I have absolutely nothing to with laundry unless it’s to fetch a basket for her. I may have touched on this subject previously, but it bears repeating.

Oh, OK, I’ll tell you why …

Once upon a long time ago, during the early years of my training to be a proper husband, there was a time when I was trusted to help with laundry. Typically, I was never alone so any difficulties I might encounter were quickly rectified by my Diane. Things were good.

One day, however, when Diane was off cavorting with her friends I was left alone with nothing to do. She didn’t leave me a list. I looked everywhere but it just could not be found. So, I ventured in a direction less traveled in our marriage. I made a decision on my own. I decided I was going to do wash the clothes.

I’d seen her do this task many times and felt sure I could manage OK. The main rule, I quickly remembered, was to never mix dark and white clothes so I began by sorting. It was an easy task because we never had much laundry to do in our early months. But, a quick search of our home turned up enough items to make the effort worth while.

Darks and Whites. Two piles. No where in my memory banks did I detect a need to further sort by clothing type. Just by color. I had two piles and chose to wash the whites first. It was mostly underwear and a few pairs of socks and I figured if I made a mistake, not a lot would be lost.

I started the washer, knowing she like to use hot water to ensure all the bugs and germs were properly dealt with, then gently introduced each item separately into the rising water. When done I closed the lid, noted the time, and retired to our drawing room which was really our living room that had about six books laying about in a haphazard manner, and ash trays by each of them. We smoked then and it was OK because not enough people had perished to make it a problem.

As the washer washed, I selected one of our six books and began reading but the rhythmic sound of the washer swishing water around quickly lulled my senses, causing me to drift into a pleasant slumber. There was no dreaming that I can recall, just serene quiet which was ended abruptly when the washer signaled the end of it’s process with a profoundly annoying BUZZ!.

I jumped to my feet and rushed to see what was the matter but had, on the short trip to the laundry room, discerned that there really was no problem. It was just finished.

Removing the freshly washed clothing, I took one piece at a time, shook out the wrinkles as best I could, and placed it into the dryer. It was done quickly. This was a point in time where dryer sheets were unheard of so I didn’t have to do that. Fabric softener was included in the washing process. So, I didn’t have to find the dryer sheets because there were none.

I set the dryer to run for 30 minutes. There were no other buttons to complicate the drying process. Just set the timer and push the button to make it run. Pretty simple.

I used the same process to load the dark clothes into the washer that I used for the whites. I checked each item for pockets, removing forgotten treasures (gum, kleenex, q-tips, and sometimes loose change). This step was omitted with the whites because none of our underwear had pockets and I’m pretty sure any of the white clothes that did were empty. As this reality crossed my mind my eyes automatically searched out the dryer that was busily tumbling those white clothes in an atmosphere that could easily melt a stick of gum. Figuring it was already too late to fix it, I continued with the dark clothes with much greater care.

Once the washer was properly full, the water was filling, the dryer tumbling, and everything in order, I went back to the drawing room to was for the next signal that something needed to be done.

The dryer won the race, sounding its alarm for attention. I responded, gathering the warm dry clothing into my arms and carried them to my chair in the drawing room. I like hugging warm clothing to my bodice. It’s very comforting. I held them until the heat dissipated then began the folding process.

Just as I joined and folded the last pair of socks, the washer signaled its plea for attention. Great timing, right?

I took all the newly folded whites to the bedroom and placed them tenderly on Diane’s bed because the majority of the white were hers. She changes her underwear way more often than I do. We’ve discussed this over the years and I still don’t know why she can’t observe the 4-day rule for underwear like I do. It’s something to do with proper hygiene, I think.

Once the folded clothes were delivered to their proper place for inspection, I returned to the washer just as it was spinning to a stop to complete the cycle.

Pulling each piece out and shaking it out before delivering it to the dryer is required (by me), same as the white clothing. The dark clothes include jeans, socks, some special underwear, shirts, and sweaters. I’d seen Diane lay some of her sweaters out on a towel, on the table, but all the table was full of stuff so there was no room. So, I figured it would be OK as long as I kept the heat down A little. So that’s what I did. Low temp, long time.

Back in the drawing room I made myself comfortable and closed my eyes for a bit and was startled when I heard the door slam when Diane returned home. Apparently I had snoozed right through the dryer’s buzzer, or it had failed for some reason. It didn’t matter because the damage was done. My goal was to have the laundry done before Diane got home. She noticed that I’d done it and told me to just stay away and she’d finish it. It wasn’t a directive delivered in a mean way, just an honest order to help me.

So I remained in my chair and let her finish. It was OK for a while then I heard the dreaded “JEROLDBRADLEYCATE! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!”

Startled as I was hearing my entire name delivered in all capital letters as only she an do, my immediate response was, “The laundry?” I readily admit that I should have taken at least a few seconds to THINK before engaging my mouth, but that’s not one of my strong suits.

I was startled once again when she entered the drawing room holding a fishing net for some reason. I was pretty sure that I hadn’t seen it in the laundry I washed or dried, so presumed it must have been something she’d purchased. That caused me to pause and wonder what in the world she was going to do with a fishing net.

She held it up, dangling it from her right hand forefinger. I was still confused so asked, “What did you buy that for?” Looking back on this moment made me realize it was another point in time where I should have paused for a few seconds to compose an answer.

“Well,” she replied, “when I bought it last year it was a very nice sweater.”

“What happened to it?”

“You happened to it!”

Still not understanding what was going on I picked up my theoretical shovel and said, “I don’t know what you mean. What did I do?”

It was at this point in time where I learned what chenille is and the danger, in many ways, associated with drying anything made with this new (to me) material, in a dryer. “So,” I thought, “that was the sweater I remember her laying on a towel,” and the fishing net hanging from her finger was the obvious reason why.

At this point she continued my education by pulling the dryer lint screen from behind her back to show me where her sweater had gone. It was now a thick layer of colorful former sweater clinging to the screen.

So, now I know what happens to chenille sweaters when you dry them in a dryer. Perhaps you’ll be happy to know that this is one lesson I’ve never forgotten, and why I’m NOT allowed to do our laundry.

That’s about it.

To properly end this I’m compelled to share one more photo I took at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

This bug resides inside Goo’s Plantation in the market place. It’s not for sale.

Oahu – day 10

Life has been pretty relaxed for us causing me to get a little behind my daily reporting. I need to catch up, so here’s what we did yesterday …

Uhhhh … gotta think about this for a little bit because it’s all fuzzy. I remember that our main attraction for the day was to find a place to watch the Hilton Village Friday Night Fireworks, or HVFNF, if you are in to abbreviations. That’s not a real thing, but it’s fun to do and easier to refer back to it later on without having to type it all out.

The fireworks are ignited every Friday night promptly at the stroke of 6:45 pm, or 7:15 pm, or even 7:45 pm. What’s advertised isn’t necessarily accurate. Everyone here is on “Hawaii Time” which is code for ‘we start when we want.’ No one is in a hurry except some people on the freeway. There are always people in a hurry out there. Driving around at 35-45 mph all the time in, say, a Dodge 392 Hemi, or a Ford F-150 Raptor, can be frustrating. I get it. There should be places reserved on the island for people who buy such vehicles to let off a little steam. They could, for instance, open up the run way at Wheeler Army Airfield to let them go crazy once a week, spending the remaining ration of fuel on frivolous actions. Or, have a road rally from downtown Honolulu, up H-1 to H-2, go right to the North Shore, turn right on Highway 99 to Haleiwa, where Hwy 99 transitions into Hwy 83. Follow this around past the Polynesian Cultural Center and all the way to Kaneohe where you turn right to join H-3 which goes through the mountains via two tunnels, one of which is very long and the walls, of which, are completely covered with 4″ ceramic tiles. This is true. I think. At least it looks like 4″ tiles as you cruise through at 45 mph. Keep going until you encounter a stunning maze of on and off ramps for H-201 and H-1. From there back to Honolulu on H-1 is simple. The finish line should be in front of Ross Dress for Less in the Kahala Mall near where H-1 becomes Hwy 72. I have no idea how far that is but just consider the chaos if those roads were cleared so people could race their over powered cars and trucks. What fun!

Ok, got that off my mind so I can move on.

To reel off a little time while waiting for 6:45 pm, or whatevah, we decided to drive toward Diamond Head crater. It’s only 4.5 miles away and only takes 45 minutes to get there, according to the GPS. The roads took us through the high priced district that looked a lot like Hawaii’s version of Rodeo Drive. Pretty plush stuff. We made it to the crater entrance just after it closed for the day, but there was a parking area nearby. So, we parked.

In the distance, on a very clear day, you can see Maui. I thought I could see it but Diane said I was dreaming. Maybe I was. But, I saw something out there in the distance.

Here’s where we parked. You can see the tunnel that goes through the crater.

Then, it started getting a little darker which meant we should head for ‘Home’ to prepare for our walk out to the lagoon for the fireworks.

Here’s what we saw during that trek.

If you look all the way left you can see an aqua colored light. That Gilligan’s food cart in the parking lot that goes all the way out there. Our Granddaughter Gilligan thought that was pretty cool to have her very own food cart out there.

I just spent the last couple of hours trying to get the video I took last night to play on here. But it just doesn’t work. So, here’s a LINK to the hotel you can see a bit of it.

Now for some random photos that I CAN include …

Gilligan’s Food Cart, again …

Hilton Rainbow Tower

My lovely Bride …

We were surrounded by people that surrounded the Lagoon. We suspect that this is weekly entertainment for some families on a regular basis. Kids were everywhere having a great time.

OK – that’s it for #10.

Aloha

Oahu – Day 9

Yesterday was a quiet day because we knew today was going to be busy. Visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center is an all day affair that entails a lot of walking. The complex is very large. To do it properly one should make a plan on how to visit each area that highlights one Polynesian culture, so you can see them all – Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, and one called Aotearoa. Until now I’ve never heard of that one. According to wikipedia Aotearoa is the current Māori-language name for New Zealand. What a surprise. If any of you out there can tell me they knew this, please let us all know when this happened.

The drive to the Center was stunning as the road follows the water most of the way along the North Shore.

I showed you the rocks first, but in reality most of the drive looks like the following. Lots of sand.

We didn’t do any of that planning I mentioned. We just entered the area, turned right and started walking. It’s hard to focus on just one aspect because there are demonstrations, and events going on all around you as you walk and with everything already in progress it’s difficult to join in and figure out what’s going on. So we simply took it all in as we encountered it and enjoyed all of it. Turn a corner and you see a group of people with guitars and ukuleles singing beautiful songs. Another corner is an ancient Tahitian wedding ceremony. There are canoe rides sailing through the water that flows around the entire complex, and young people in bright shirts everywhere ready to answer any question you may have. All of them are either students of adjacent Brigham Young University, or volunteers. Here’s one of them. Her name (we think) is Becky …

She’s a BYU Alum who was a Special Ed teacher for 30 years. She plays the ukulele too. Gives lesson, even. Nice Lady.

The student guides are representatives of the area you’re currently visiting at the time and they’re incredibly friendly. Also, as you might expect, they all speak the language of the area they’re in and they do their best to teach everyone simple phrases. It’s pretty special.

Our visit began around 12:30 pm and lasted until about 9:45 pm. That’s over 6 hours of wandering around all the venues, shops and demonstrations, 1 hour to eat a pretty inclusive buffet dinner with treats from each culture, and a 1.5 hours dynamite show about life. It’s named “Ha’ The Breath of Life”. Diane and I agree that the show is more than equal to any show we’ve ever seen in Las Vegas. It’s worth every penny.

Almost all of the entertainers who put on the show are BYU students and alumni, many of which we saw on our journey through the various countries. We talked with many as we wandered throughout the day, and seeing them in this highly professional production was special.

The auditorium is enormous and we were fortunate enough to be located only 6 rows from the main stage. I want you to visualize a very wide bowl-shaped venue with the flat bottom probably 150 feet in diameter. About half of the inside is a beach side village, the remainder of the bowl’s innards are where people sit. The slope of the seating area is gentle with very wide stairs in the aisles. I suspect the auditorium can hold a few thousand people in very comfortable, uncrowded seats. Everyone has a good view of the entire venue.

Sadly, photos of the show are prohibited so I have none. I can, however, offer THIS LINK that pretty much covers everything.

I got a tribal tattoo in Tahiti. Didn’t hurt even one little bit.

And it washed right off with just a washcloth.

We got back to our condo long after our normal curfew but it was a day well spent. If you ever get to Oahu, put this on your must do list. It’s pretty incredible

Oahu – Day 8

On this day we didn’t do much in the way of playing tourist. Our main goal was to get gas for the rental so we wouldn’t run out on the way to or from the Polynesian Cultural Center which is waaaay over on the other side of the island. I think it’s something like 34 miles away. Sounds close, but with speed limits normally 35-45 mph, and unpredictable traffic, it takes about 1.5 hours to get there. There are, however, always drivers who think it’s necessary to get places faster than anyone else. It’s them who make traffic unpredictable. Diane dismisses them easily. In general, drivers here are pretty nice.

Getting to the base gas station was a journey worth mentioning. First, our GPS took us to an AMR Gas station located next to a small NEX in a military housing area, but the station was closed forever. It was interesting because the GPS took us to the small exchange on a previous trip so it was deja’vu all over again.

I asked a young Marine, who was headed for the store, where the station really was and he gave us good information. Turns out it’s hidden away behind the main NEX and Commissary that we’ve visited a few times already. Diane got us next to an empty pump right away but I caused a bit of delay to our line because I couldn’t figure out how to get the fuel door open. There was no inside release, so I went back to it and smacked it with my hand and it popped right open. That didn’t work the first time. When it opened I was surprised to discover that there wasn’t a cap for tank behind the door. Turns out that the door seals against the filler spout making a cap unnecessary. Never had one of those before. The guy on the motorcycle behind us wasn’t impressed.

Anyway, we got the tank full, then drove back to the parking lot that takes up a lot of space around the yacht club and what I call the Hilton Lagoon. That’s the one that’s in front of the Rainbow Tower.

Diane drove to the very edge of the parking area and was waved into a spot next to a group of local surfers. The view directly ahead of us was Diamondhead, to the left Waikiki Beach.  Couldn’t have hoped for a better spot.

We broke out our brand new folding chairs and parked them between a couple of large canoes that we stranded on beach and just sat there taking in the view.

It wasn’t long before a lady named Faith struck up a conversation with Diane. They talked for a while until we had to move because the middle canoe was returning to the next, where we were sitting.

Faith’s husband, Saul, who grew up in NYC, his wife is from the Philippines. We have no idea where they currently reside, but that doesn’t matter. We had a nice visit.

Eventually, the sun went down. I could tell because it got darker so I took another photo of a sunset. I’ve got hundreds of these, but they never get old.

Then we left, making one of the drivers circling the parking lot very happy, and drove back to the hotel. Diane got out and headed back to the room while I assumed driver duties and drove to the Hale Koa parking lot that I’m sure I mentioned in previous posts. It’s a pleasant walk back to our hotel.

That’s our routine.

See you on Day 9. I should have information about the Polynesian Cultural Center for you.

Oahu – Day 7

Today we did something simple — we drove up H-1 on the west coast of Oahu, almost to the very end of the road. Actually, H-1 doesn’t go that far. It turns in to Highway 93 at Kapolei. All that means is we go from 4 lanes to 2 and the villages get smaller. But, it’s a nice drive up the coast.

One detracting aspect of the drive is all of the homeless camps along the west side of the road. That means all the homeless camps are pretty much on the beach. There are a lot of tents along Highway 93 but they avoid the villages and resort grounds. One of the resorts in the area is Aulani Disneyland Resort a little north of Kapolei. We drove in toward the property and the landscaping rapidly changed from homeless camps to incredibly elegant surroundings.

From this…

To this …

… and the Disney Resort …

Our purpose for taking this trip was to visit Wai’anae. There’s an Army recreational center there that consists of about 40 cabins, right on the beach. In the early 80’s Diane met me here when my ship, the USS Cleveland, was on the way home from a WESTPAC Cruise. I was granted leave to spend some time on the island with Diane while the ship made the 7 day transit to San Diego without me. We flew home together, to San Diego, which is a much better was to end a 6-month cruise.

If you look close at the above photo you can see about 20 people surfing.

We were happy to discover that the center is still in operation and the cabins have been upgraded considerably. They’ve all been raised about 4 feet off the ground to apparently avoid high surf. We didn’t get to go inside a unit to reminisce but that’s OK. We got to see the place, and walk along the beach where we spent a very memorable week. The only thing missing was my casette of Air Supply songs. We may go back there one day.

We took our time on the trip back to Honolulu, right lane all the way. It’s getting to be a familiar drive and we’re learning shortcuts.

The bellmen here at the Grand Waikikian are getting to know us and are giving us more leeway for leaving our car at the front entrance. Normally people can’t leave their vehicles out front for more than a few minutes, but we’ve graduated to 30 minutes. That gives us time to haul our treasures up to our room. The alternative is for Diane to ‘hire’ a bellman to carry our bags to the room, or I just go park the car and hurk them back myself. It’s only about 1/4 of a mile, and not a bad workout for this old man. But we both prefer the easy way of just taking stuff to our room then I can walk back empty handed after parking the car.

Our daughter, Jennifer, shared a photo of an injury she sustained when she was attacked by BB8 while working in one of her children’s rooms. She said it fell off a chest of drawers, but I think it jumped. I have permission to share the result. She really got thumped.

The reason BB8 was on a dresser was because she’s been super busy fixing up the bedrooms, vacated by their adult children, for the two small guys she and Daniel are adopting. The are Jasper 2, and Siah 1. Quite an adventure they have tackled, but they both love their new babies, as do the grown up kids, Cedric, Lydia, and Jeran. We’re pretty proud of them all and enjoy our new grand babies. They are pretty special.

OK. that’s it for #7.

Aloha.

Oahu – Day 6

Another lazy start to another beautiful day. Every time I check the temperature, it’s 82. Makes me wonder if my temperature taker is faulty. Doesn’t really matter. Whatever the temperature may really be, it was a beautiful day.

Our primary destination was the MWR (Military Welfare and Recreation) office at the NEX (Navy Exchange). We got there around noonish and decided before we did anything else, we’d eat something. So, we went upstairs to the food court and visited Taco Bell. “Really,” you may say, “Taco Bell?” Makes one wonder, doesn’t it? Well, we go where our stomach tells us to go. No reason to go elsewhere. I had a Crunchwap and Diane had two Chicken Chalupas. When we opened the bag we discovered that each of those orders included one crunchy taco. I, of course, had to eat the unexpected extras.

Then we went shopping for shirts and stuff for all the people we left behind to make this trip.

Diane is the expert shopper and does way better when I’m in a different part of the store because she thinks I’m hovering, trying to speed things up. That’s not true. I just want to be near the love of my life. But, to make her more comfortable by spending my time in the electronics section looking at TV’s, and laptops.

When Diane was finished it was after 4:00 pm and we hadn’t located the MWR office yet. So, I took my tired feet around the corner from the NEX main entrance and found the office. The door was open so I went in and was promptly told they were closed. They close at 4pm. I thanked the young lady behind the desk and said, “Thanks, I’ll see you tomorrow.” As I exited I heard her say, “We’re closed tomorrow” which drew me back inside. She said they are only open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Great! I thought. Then she said there was an annex office on the main Navy Base that will be open tomorrow, 9am-4pm. She even gave me direction which was very confusing to me. In her effort to clarify, she asked if I knew where Willamette Street was. When I heard that name I perked up because it’s a NW name we know well. She mispronounced it, however, like a visitor. You know what I mean – she said it like Will-uh-mette with emphasis on all the wrong syllables. Like a foreigner. Being who I am, I had to explain that I’m very familiar with that name and told her how to pronounce it properly. She took it well.

So now we must go back to the Pearl Harbor Naval Base tomorrow on our way to Waianae. We’re actually finally going to the beach. Been here six days and haven’t even got our feet wet.

But, we’ve been busy.

Now for some random stuff …

First, here’s a photo of the front of our hotel. Our room is up there somewhere.

A sign Diane wants after we get the new floor in the Cricket House.

Here’s a fun sign we’ve seen a few times while traveling the freeways.

Simple advice, right? Well, let me tell you that drivers here pretty scary. It’s pretty much guaranteed that after a light turns red, at least one car is going to run it. Sometimes more. Not joking.

Where we currently live.

Now it’s time to quit.