Hawaii 2007:
Day 9 - Honolulu, Oahu


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Hawaii 2007: [Day 1 - Honolulu, Oahu] [Day 2 - Hilo, Big Island] [Day 3 - Kahului, Maui] [Day 4 - Kahului, Maui] [Day 5 - Kona, Big Island] [Day 6 - Nawiliwili, Kauai] [Day 7 - Nawiliwili, Kauai] [Day 8 - Honolulu] [Day 9 - Honolulu]

Sunday, August 5: We awoke at dawn because we had a date with a surfboard.
At 6:00 AM, there was already activity on the beach as the activities staffs prepared for the day.
On the horizon, the Pride of Aloha was returning from her seven-day circle tour of the islands, just as the Pride of America had done the morning before.
Here's Jill with her surfboard already attached to her ankle ...
... and here's Tom surveying the morning surf ...
... and here's Debbie standing near the site where she spent many hours reviewing her old Calculus I book so she could pass Calculus II her senior year of college and get her Computer Science degree. Yes, the summer of 1983 was a glamorous time in her life. Now, it's 24 years later, and she's about to get on a surfboard for the second time since first learning to surf in this very location.
Despite several initial successful runs, and a downright fantastic final ride, the photographer on the beach we didn't know about never got a photo of Debbie standing up.
Ditto for Tom. But he sure looks like he knows what he's doing here, doesn't he?
Jill and our surfing lesson partner, Jeremy, waited patiently for their turn.
Here's Jeremy with our instructor, who was truly the gruffest, scariest man ever. By the end of the lesson, Jeremy was getting up on the board and looking like a real surfer.
It was Jill, though, who looked like she'd been surfing her entire life, getting up on the board successfully on every try. Let's let her show us how it is done. First, you paddle really fast, ...
... then you quickly slide your knees up under you and bring up one leg and then the other, ...
... stand up, ...
... then ride what's left of the wave all the way in, looking like you've been doing this all your life. When our lesson was over, we purchased our surfing photos so we could share them with you, gentle reader. Then, we spent a few more hours lounging in the water until it was time to leave.
Once we checked out and retrieved our rental car from the valet, we headed back to Leonard's Bakery to stock up on more malasadas. This time, we tried some with custard filling. Just when we thought it wasn't possible to improve on perfection, that custard filling made those malasadas even more delicious.
We drove into the Diamond Head crater for a minute so Jill could see what it looked like on the inside.
Then we stopped to view Koko Head from the slopes of Diamond Head.
We took a look at Hanauma Bay and got a photo of Jill in one of her dresses from her Waikiki shopping spree the night before.
It's a gorgeous place and the shallow reef provides excellent snorkeling opportunities, but we had unanimously agreed that we had enjoyed our fill of snorkeling for the week.
Here's the view of the bay looking out to sea.
We drove to the Blowhole next, but the tide did not cooperate with us so we didn't get to see it perform for us.
It's a beautiful location, though, and that's always a good excuse to get out of the car.
Further down, we stopped at an overlook from which you can view Molokai and Lanai on a clear day -- and we could!
The view of Oahu from the overlook was also pretty.
This outcropping sheltered a tiny beach that held a few visitors.
One of the great things about circling the island of Oahu by car is that nearly every beach is a state park, and state parks have restrooms. We stopped for that very reason and got to check out Chinaman's Hat jutting out of the water.
We had read that some scenes in the television show "Lost" were shot near Ahupua'a 'O Kahana State Park, so we stopped by the road to take a photo looking back toward it.
It wasn't until we heard the excited chatter of other visitors that we noticed a family of sea turtles in the water right in front of us. The parents didn't come up for air nearly as much as this youngster, who spent a lot of time frolicking in the water just a few feet offshore.
Just after we passed the Polynesian Cultural Center, we saw this McDonald's decorated to look as native as possible.
It doesn't get much more native than Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, but with bellies full of malasadas and Kentucky Fried Chicken, we didn't stop.
We drove through the grounds of Turtle Bay Resort, which has always looked so tempting online.
We were now on the north shore, but parking was not available anywhere along the long stretches of highway that border the beach.
So, we just drove on by and looked.
We were making great time when we arrived at the town of Haleiwa, where the highway heads back inland to return to Honolulu.
As we drove through coffee and pineapple fields, we encountered another random stand of Norfolk Pines.
Our plan was to spend our remaining time before our dinner reservation at the Dole Plantation.
You can easily spend a whole afternoon here touring the gardens and large maze, but we just had time for a quick ride on the Pineapple Express train through the plantation.
The 20-minute ride winds past farm machinery, ...
... fields of tropical flowers, ...
... banana groves, ...
... and fields of mature pineapples ...
... and brand new plants.
There were glimpses of amazing scenery along the way.
The tour featured a recorded narration by a local singing group called "Na Leo." It wasn't until the recording launched into the opening strains of "I Miss You, My Hawaii" that we realized that we'd heard that song on all four of our helicopter tours. It's a very pleasant song that is absolutely impossible to get out of your head once it's there.
When the tour was over, we spent a few minutes inspecting the garden of different types of pineapples, ranging from this pink and yellow beauty ...
... to this adorable pineapple-on-a-stick. We lingered briefly in the gift shop then drove back into Honolulu for dinner.
We had reservations at the Top of Waikiki Restaurant, another of the experiences Debbie wanted to have but hadn't done on previous visits. This restaurant has 60s-era decor ...
... and terrific views of Waikiki and Honolulu as it revolves in its circular tower. Here are the Outrigger Waikiki and the Royal Hawaiian's tower -- our room was in the center of the photo to the left of the palm trees.
And here are the main Royal Hawaiian hotel buildings and the horrid Brady Bunch hotel. We could see that the hBBh had a very cool external elevator that rode directly to the top floor, but we decided that it was still horrid anyway.
The restaurant photographer took our photo shortly after we arrived.
Since it was our last night in paradise, we ordered foofy drinks to celebrate. The greenish-blue concoction in the front is a Blue Hawaiian, which seemed only fitting.
As our table moved, our view changed to the downtown area and the mountains.
Our entrees were works of art to behold, and just as tasty. Jill tackled the Steak and Shrimp Napoleon -- a stack of shrimp, beef, risotto cake and portobello mushroom.
Tom ordered the Hawaiian snapper with udon noodles.
Debbie's entree was a stunning variety of individual taste treats, including grilled onions, garlic, mushrooms, potatoes au gratin, and a bleu cheese crostini. It was as good to eat as it was fun to choose which item to eat next.
As we finished our meal and prepared to go, the sun was setting.
Heading down the escalator to the elevators as we left to head to the airport, we passed this wall relief of the six islands we had visited on our trip.

** THE END **


Hawaii 2007: [Day 1 - Honolulu, Oahu] [Day 2 - Hilo, Big Island] [Day 3 - Kahului, Maui] [Day 4 - Kahului, Maui] [Day 5 - Kona, Big Island] [Day 6 - Nawiliwili, Kauai] [Day 7 - Nawiliwili, Kauai] [Day 8 - Honolulu] [Day 9 - Honolulu]

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