Sunday, December 23, 2007

Supporting Hawaii's Tourism Industry
- Saturday Recap

Friday, my SIL and her husband (a.k.a. L & A) safely arrived after an unplanned night's stay in Houston. Unfortunately, they missed YS's Christmas pageant. That's okay, they didn't miss much. YS refused the participate and hid behind the first pew in the chapel and only periodically peeked over the top at us. I can't imagine where he learned that from (he takes after his brother).
Aside: In the past, I kept trying to explain to ES when he went to these school performances that he draws MORE attention to himself and sticks out like a sore thumb when he's the ONLY kid not wearing the costume and not singing along with all the other kids. If he'd just wear the costume and sing and do the cute little hand gestures like all the other kids, then he'd blend right in and nobody would be staring at him.

Saturday: We had quite the successful touristy day on the island and accomplished two out of the three excursions we had planned for the day, plus added one to the end.

#1: A Swing and Miss: First L & A tried to go to the USS ARIZONA memorial, but by the time they got there, they were handing out passes for the 11:30 boat, and that was too late for us to make it to our next event. We'll get the ARIZONA done at some point, but not today.

#2: A big hit! We picked up tickets at ITT (Information Tickets and Tours - where military members can buy discounted tickets to local attractions) for the Atlantis submarine tour this afternoon. That was pretty cool. They take you on a sort of ferry boat out to rendezvous with the submarine. They offload the people who were on the submarine and onload the people who rode out on the boat. The submerged portion of the ride lasted about 45 minutes and went down as deep as 112 feet. We saw one black-tipped reef shark, two white-tipped reef sharks, three green sea turtles, and TONS of fish of all sizes, shapes, and colors.

All Aboard!

Green Sea Turtle
It was a little weird watching the crew of this tourist submarine closing the hatch without a greenie and a bucket, and with no rig-for-dive procedure in their hand. I was a little nervous about it, knowing what I know about the extensive Quality Assurance (QA) that goes into the U.S. Navy's submarine force, and not having a CLUE what level of QA they put into building those tourist submarines. It didn't look like they were at all concerned or drafting an OPREP-3 Navy Blue after we "bounced" off the bottom, either. This company now operates 14 submarines in resort locations all over the world, so I guess they're doing something right.

#3: Another big hit! Next, we headed over to Diamond Head to hike to the top. We got there just before 5 p.m., and they told us at the gate that it took 30 minutes to hike to the top and they closed the gates at 6 p.m. We decided to take a chance and give it a go.

L & YS at the beginning of the trail.

LW and I weren't sure if we & the boys would make it all the way to the top in time, so we told L & A to go on ahead and make it to the top. I was very impressed with both boys. Both ES and YS made it to the summit under their own propulsion. ES stuck with me, and we made it to the top in about 27 minutes. LW stayed back with YS, and they made it to the top about 5 minutes after ES and I got there. The view from the top was spectacular, and it was a good workout - neither LW nor I did our PT this morning in anticipation of this hike. It was 1.75 miles round trip, with 525 feet of elevation gain and lots of steps.

Picture of me from L & A's vantage point a few minutes ahead of us on the trail. About the first 2/3 of the trail to the top is switch-backs like this.

After all the switchbacks, you go through a tunnel...

And then a bunch of steps up into what used to be an observation tower for the U.S. Army coastal defense artillery back in the first half of the 20th century.
Family portrait on the steps into the observation tower.


ES at the top of the steps.
Note the elevation inscribed in the step 733 feet.

Me and ES at the top, overlooking Waikiki.
(Yes, there's a geocache there, hence the GPS receiver in the picture).

For the most part, it was easier going down than it was going up. However, YS was pretty tired (justifiably so I'd say) and started asking us to carry him when we were on the steps coming down out of the observation tower. When we were only like a third of the way back with 10 minutes left until the gates closed, I finally gave in and put ES up on my shoulders and let him ride down. That way I could use the advantage of my long legs to take bigger strides and get us down the hill faster. We made it out just as they were closing the gates for the night.
ES riding on my shoulders as we headed back down to the parking lot.

So who could ask for a better way to end the day than to stop at Ala Moana Center and go to Islands for dinner? Man, I LOVE Islands. I always have a hard time deciding what to get when we go there because it's ALL SO GOOD!!! This time I steered clear of the burgers and tried to get something a little bit better for me - the baja chicken tacos. ...but we did share some onion rings and fries though.

Quick Tangent
: Between that and the raspberry fudge LW made, I'm not expecting very good results on the bathroom scale on Monday. The chocolate peanut butter fudge was okay, but this raspberry fudge LW made is just AWESOME. It takes me active and strenuous self-restraint to not eat all of it at once.

When we were in the parking lot at the Ala Moana Center, we happened upon this odd statue of a golden monkey. We thought it was pretty funny, so YS, me, and A (left to right) posed with the golden monkey for a picture...
Standby for more stories of adventure with visiting relatives...

1 comment:

Sam said...

Love the photos and very glad to hear the fam got in safe and sound, if after a bit of run around. Sounds like a packed, but fun time!

Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones!