Friday, December 28, 2007

More Hawaii Sight-Seeing

Sorry, I have some catching up to do, so this post is a little long...

, we did the Swap Meet thing and did some shopping at the NEX and Commissary. I had a new Hawaii experience at the Swap Meet. This was the first time I've had a malasada. I'd heard other people rave about how good malasadas were, but all since we moved here to Hawaii, so I just assumed it was a Hawaiian thing. Much to my surprise, reading Wikipedia, I see they are a Portuguese variant of the donut and originated in the Azores. Just a few miles away from us here in Hawaii, eh? Wonder how they became such a popular confection in Hawaii.

ES (Orange Shirt), Uncle J, and Uncle D
Walking Through the Swap Meet

Wednesday night,
we went to Moe's to show the family our old Wednesday-night tradition. We've slacked off and haven't been going EVERY Wednesday like we used to, but it's still fun to go on occasion and get some balloon animals for the boys. What did the boys ask for this week from the balloon animal guy? ES asked for a brown dog with a blue leash, and YS asked for a light-saber. (I know, I know, BIG surprise).

, we took our visiting family members on a long drive around the island. After driving through Waikiki, we stopped in Hawaii Kai for some lunch. Both my GPS and my Blackberry said there was a Panda Express there, but we couldn't find it. So we tried a place called "The Shack" that looked okay from the outside and claimed to have good burgers (FYI - here's their website). For anyone else headed that way, I wouldn't recommend it. The food wasn't very good, the service was horribly slow, and the place was just dirty in general. The men's restroom reminded me of a roadside pitstop gas station bathroom - it was pretty bad.
Aside: We're not having very good luck with dining over on that side of the island. The only previous time we've eaten out there was at Roy's (website here). Normally we've absolutely loved Roy's in every other duty station. I wouldn't go back to the one here in Hawaii Kai for the simple reason that it was deafeningly noisy. LW took me there for Father's Day, and every other word of our conversation was, "WHAT?" It went something like:
...So we basically didn't talk for the rest of the meal until we could get outside and hear again.
We continued our drive around the island past Hanauma Bay and up past Koko Head to the blowhole. It was a really nice, scenic drive. We had scattered showers throughout the day, and the stop-and-go driving worked out well. We would stop at some scenic spot to look around, we'd admire the scenery for a few minutes until it started raining, then we'd get back in the car and keep going.

We drove through the Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens, and they were nice (and free). Our guide book and my GPS led me to believe that you could drive all the way through and come back out on the other side, but that was not the case. We got waaaaaaay deep into the gardens and the road was blocked off, so we had to turn around and drive all the way back out again.

Mahalo for Removing your Shoes

Then we went to the Valley of the Temples to see the Byodo-In Temple. That was actually really cool. I think it cost $2 per person to go into the big Japanese temple. It was very peaceful and beautiful scenery. I was surprised that the boys actually seemed to enjoy it, too.

Self-portrait of me and LW
at the Byodo-In Temple.

YS and ES watch a black swan and the koi fish.

YS has taken an interest in taking pictures. We didn't have a problem with it since this is about the age that ES started using the camera, too, and hey, electrons are free. (I might have a problem with it if he was burning through real film). LW was using her expensive fancy SLR camera, so we let YS take off with the Cannon Powershot we just got (see previous post on this topic). He got some good shots in, mostly of the koi fish and black swan and the temple, but he also got this great shot of LW:

Then, he took this great picture of his feet in the parking lot...

Unfortunately, soon after he took that picture of his feet, he dropped the camera on the pavement with a CRASH. Yes, we told him a hundred times to put the strap around his wrist so he wouldn't drop it, and he had the strap around his wrist most of the time, but not this time. It left a dent on the lens, and the motor no longer works to extend or retract the lens when you turn the camera on or off. It is, in a word, KAPUT.

So I'm sorry to report, you won't be seeing any more snorkeling pictures from us anytime soon. Keep your fingers crossed that Cannon will repair it under warranty for us!

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Friday, I took my visiting family members out on the COMPACFLT Remembrance Tour. This tour is offered by the Commander Pacific Fleet boat house. You have to be sponsored by someone in the military, and the sponsor has to go on the tour wearing summer whites (or equivalent for other branches of the military). One military sponsor can bring up to four guests with him or her on the tour.

Let me tell you, if you are in the military and have family or friends coming to visit, THIS is THE way you want to take them to see the ARIZONA Memorial. The lines for the ARIZONA Memorial are always long and you typically have to wait two hours before you can take the boat ride out to the memorial. Indeed, this morning on our way to the Remembrance Tour, we drove past the ARIZONA Memorial museum and the line of people waiting for the boat ride was like 3 blocks long.
On the Remembrance Tour, you don't have to wait in any lines. You have a reservation to show up for either the 0900 or the 1300 tour on a designated day (they normally do the tours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but they did another one today because of the holidays).

After being greeted by the staff from the Admiral's boat house and a quick introduction, they take you through a model room and explain how the ARIZONA looked before the attack, and how the ARIZONA and the Memorial resting on top of it look today. There are also a lot of maps and photos from the attack and the aftermath.

Next, you go into a small theater and watch the same National Park Service video that they show the general public over at the ARIZONA Memorial museum.
When you take the Remembrance Tour, it takes you all the way around Ford Island, so you get to see the USS UTAH Memorial, the spot where the USS NEVADA ran aground, and a lot of other little odds and ends around the harbor. Then you go to the ARIZONA Memorial, then by the USS BOWFIN, then back to the Admiral's boat house. All those members of the general public who stood in line for hours only got to ride from the ARIZONA Memorial museum, out to the memorial, and back again.
Blunoz' Family at the ARIZONA Memorial

The only drawback is there is a minimum age limit, so you can't take young children with you (LW stayed home with the boys this morning).

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GREEN STUUUUUUFF! (see previous post for background) Oh, BTW, HALLELUJAH for the magical powers invested in Uncles and Aunts. Why is it our kids don't trust us? LW or I could tell one of the boys to try some new food or to try some new way to eat the food to make it taste better or go down easier, and they'd NEVER listen to us in a BAJILLION years. But Aunts and Uncles are somehow more cool and certainly more trustworthy than us tricky parental units.

Why do I bring this up, you ask? Uncle Dave tonight got YS to eat PEAS. Not just the 3 peas we tell him he has to eat because he's 3 years old, but like three heaping tablespoons full of peas. Then, when ES saw that (a) Uncle Dave thought it was cool and (b) YS was actually eating it, he decided to give it a go, too! Now, if LW or I had suggested putting peas in the bread and making a pea-sandwich, the boys would have said we were absolutely nuts and REFUSED to let such a cockamamie concoction pass their lips.

Hooray for Uncle Dave! (Oh, and he got YS to drink all his MILK before he left the dinner table, too!)

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