Sunday, March 23, 2008

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed my trip, I was a little nervous about traveling by myself and to a new place but it was awesome, I would do it again. I would love to go back and have more time to visit other islands. I also enjoy having more days to relax and do more hiking, as well as scuba diving. I wanted to go to the ABC Store one more time for more souvenirs but they are only located in Waikiki and not in the airport (like someone told me). I realize that Hawaii is really close and that I could go more often. It was the best birthday present to myself (it might be a yearly trip)!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Flying Home

I called ATA to see if I can take an earlier direct flight to LAX instead of my scheduled flight to Oakland than LAX. I didn't get on the earlier flight, the stand by list was too long. I took my regular flight to Oakland than got on an earlier flight to LAX. After we took off from Oakland we started to smell sulfur from something burning. The passenger on my left and I looked at each other to see if we were both smelling the same thing. The steward announced that we are going to turn back to Oakland to find out the source of the smell. The lady in front of me paged the steward and told her that it was her. She had matches in her purse and they ignited when we took off. I was shocked, after spending all the time to be searched (I was patted down and everything was taken out of my bag earlier) and they didn't take her matches that could ignite. You would think that items that could ignite on their own would be band instead of our small water bottles (If drink the water, I can take the bottle with me because a water bottle with water in it is dangerous but when it is empty it is just a bottle to put water into).

I was glad that I landed without incident but would of loved to stay in Hawaii for a lot longer. I'm tired and I need to pack for girls camp starting tomorrow morning. I'm tired.....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Waimea Falls and Polynesian Cultural Center

I woke early again (the theme of my trip early to rise, late to bed). I can sleep when I get home after girls camp. I went to Waimiea Valley and hiked to the Waimeia Falls which didn't open until 9am and it was before 7am. The janitor was cruising around emptying the trash cans in his golf cart and didn't seem to mind, so I started hiking. The janitor and I raced up to the falls and I enjoyed the beauty around me. At the falls you are able to go swimming but since I have other plans for the the day I didn't go swimming. When I got back down to the parking lot a family was waiting
until 9am to go hiking and swimming. I was glad that the workers didn't care that I was there and there was no one to collect the park entrance fee. I left and headed over to BYU Hawaii.

I went to the devotional with Duane, new friend met the night before, the topic was riding the waves of life with lots of surfing stories. The speaker, a BYU professor, commented about Jesus walking on water to surfing, how else do you walk on water?! We met up with his friend, Dave from Brazil and we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center to purchase my ticket. I was so excited!!

Duane ended up changing his plane ticket and going to PCC, without any encouragement from me. We went back purchased his ticket, went to the Visitor Center to get my camcorder that I left to be charged and we went to PCC. The ticket package I purchased included a group guided tour. I really enjoyed the PCC and could of spent another day doing the activities that we didn't have time to do as a group. The PCC showcases the differences between seven different Polynesian islands, which includes presentations and activities. It was very well organized and it had the feeling of a little Disneyland. After the tour we went to the Luau and enjoyed the food and entertainment. After the Luau we went to the Horizons show at the ampitheater and enjoyed the dancing from each of the islands.

I started to head back to Waikiki to catch my plane the next morning. I was getting more tired as I was driving along the coast that I eventually pulled over to a nice neighborhood and I slept in my rental car. I slept really well because I was so exhausted and I didn't want to wake up in the morning.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Scuba Diving & Snorkeling

Today was my big water day. I met my scuba diving divemaster at the harbor by the Ward Center. We went dove a wreck and a coral reef. The wreck dive was a sunk vessel called the Sea Tiger. It was my first dive in about two years and I was a little nervous. My divemaster, Mark, instructed me on how to connect my equipment and reviewed safety precautions. It was an amazing dive and I felt comfortable the entire time. I went as deep as 120 feet and the water was still warm!! I saw my first frog fish and lots fish that are only in Hawaii or Tropical Waters. I wish I was more brave on my first dive and I went in to the holes of the sunken vessel.

My second dive was at the Horseshoe Reef. I was able to dive with my first turtle. I am so excited to get my pictures developed, Mark was really good about taking pictures with me and the turtle. It was amazing to watch the turtle swim around so gracefully and even go all the way to the surface. I enjoyed the reef and Mark found a purple sea urchin shell that was empty for me (I put it on the seat of the van, to keep it safe and then later sat on it, crushing it too small pieces. I was so mad at myself and now I have to buy one and pretend it is from Hawaii.)

After scuba diving I went to the Ala Moana Mall to get some Yami Yogurt (a Japanese company), recommend by my friend Sommer. They have great yogurt and I got strawberries and macadamia nuts as toppings. Yami Yougurt is yummy!! I also tried chicken long rice (clear noodles) and chicken lao lao (chicken wrapped and cooked in seaweed) which were okay.

I went to Hanauma Bay to go snorkeling and to the Halona Blow Hole. When you visit the bay you are required to watch a movie that explains safety precautions for snorkelers and the environment. It is a steep walk down to the bay and then I went snorkeling. The reef covered the majority of the bay and it was fun snorkeling back and forth. I was a little disappointed after going scuba diving the same day. Next time I'll make sure that I do them on separate days.

I went to the Halona Blow Holes, which were a lot of fun. There is a hole in the lava rocks that when the waves crashed against the rocks water sprays out of the top. It was so fun and relaxing to watch the water and see it spray up.

I headed up to the North Shore stopping at the Dole Pineapple Farm and enjoying and pineapple ice cream float. I then went to Matsumoto for the best shaved ice ever!! I ordered mine with ice cream in the center and rainbow flavoring (strawberry, lemon, & pineapple flavors). They are really good, simply amazing. I had a sugar high that night but it was worth it. Matsumoto's serve huge servings of shaved ice with ice cream in the center. It is sold out of this little store on the side of the highway and there is always a line going out the door.

I checked into the North Shore Hostel, showered and went to Laie on my quest to find a Polynesian Cultural Center Employee that can get me 50% off a ticket to the PCC for Tuesday. The North Shore is gorgeous!! It rained a lot more in that area but rain is not a big deal in Hawaii. The weather changes frequently and if you do get drenched, you'll be dry a little while later. Along the side of the highway are a bunch of shrimp trucks, I went by too late the first night and too early the next morning to try them, but I hear they are really good.

I drove around town and visited BYU - Hawaii, which is a beautiful campus. I went to the Laie Hawaii Temple to take pictures and relax. I was leaving and asked a guy, he was visiting as well, what one statue represented. He didn't know either until we found the plaque hid in the bushes. We started talking and he had a friend that could get me a ticket at the discount rate. He was planning on leaving around 11am the next morning (which he later changed) but he was willing to hook me up with a ticket!! I was so exicted and glad that I listened to a friend that recommended waiting until I got there to buy my ticket.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pearl Harbor and Hiking

I arranged for transportation on Saturday to go back to the airport and get my rental car. I called and confirmed this morning and then they didn't pick me up. Another guy from my Hostel was going to the airport so I caught a ride with him and I got my car. I'm so glad that I rented a car, I love having the freedom to go anywhere I want!!!

After I got my car I went to Pearl Harbor to visit the USS Arizona Memorial. I got there in time to get a ticket for the ferry out to the memorial. I purchased the additional audio tour for $5 and it was well worth it. My ticket was for group 13. I asked the ranger since I was just one person if there was an extra seat if I can go with the earlier group, he said no problem. Going with the early group saved me at least an additional hour of wait time, it's a great benefit of traveling by myself!! I really enjoyed the exhibit and it was well worth the visit.

I went to church at the University of Hawaii student ward, which was held at the Institute Building. Afterwards I stopped at Leonard's Bakery to try their famous Malasadas (which is a Portuguese pastry). They are really good and are best fresh ( I purchased some to enjoy on different days but they aren't as good.)

I went to Diamond Head Crater National Park and hiked to the top of the crater. The top had some spectacular views of Waikiki Beach and downtown.

I then went and did my favorite hike Maona Falls. Diamond Head is hiking a dry mountain, while the Maona Falls is a lush rainforest. The rocks were slippery and on the way to the falls I could feel only a little rain while it sounded loud on the canopy. When I started to hike back down it started to pour. It rained so much that I got drenched. It was so much fun hiking in the rain, it wasn't cold and it sounded awesome!!

I got drenched even more later in the day when I went to the Pali Lookout, which is gorgeous and has a lot of wind. I was there for only about five minutes when it started to pour. I got complete drenched this time and the wind made it cold. I got back to my car and I had to change my clothes.

I'll be going scuba diving tomorrow!!

Travel Tip: Arrive at the USS Arizona in the morning to get a ticket, since my trip someone recommended getting there at 7am and watch the flag raising at the memorial.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

First Day - Arrived at the Honolulu Airport

Leaving LAX took a long time. I found out when I checked my bag that the flight was delayed by 2 1/2 hours, I wish I knew that when I was at home!! I had to change my car rental to starting on Sunday and find a new way to my hotel. Enterprise closed at 10pm and our flight didn't land until 10:35pm. While I was waiting in line to check in I became friends with the couple in front of me, from Missouri. We were laughing at this group of people that packed everything, including a coffee pot as a carry on item (my mom is even a better packer than they were)!! While we were waiting for our luggage in Honolulu the lady, Marsha, gave me her business card because she was concerned that I was traveling by myself and she wanted me to have someone to call if I need anything.

ATA, my airline, gave me a $7 food voucher for airport food and I decided to upgrade my seat to business class. I was very glad that I upgraded and I enjoyed the additional space for sleeping. I slept for over half the flight, even though it was not the most comfortable position. I checked into the Waikiki Beachside Hostel without any problem. The late flight didn't cause too many problems except for my car rental and having to pay transportation to take me back to the airport to get my rental car. (I tried having my car reservation changed to the local Waikiki location but they said it was too low of a price for them to honor and I could pay $20 more a night if I wanted to go with them.)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Things to Do

I want to visit:
  • Dole Plantation - Pineapple Ice Cream - tuesday
  • PCC - tuesday
  • HI Temple - tuesday
  • white sand beach - Kailua Beach
  • Nu'uanu Pali Lookout - windy - sunday or tuesday
  • Lamai Cliff Jumping - North Shore - tuesday
  • Scuba Diving - monday
  • Pearl Harbor - sunday
  • North Shore - tuesday
    • Sunset Beach
  • Allamona Mall - Food Court - mon or tuesday
  • Swap Meet - Wed Morning
  • Hanauma Bay - Snorkeling after scuba
  • Blow Holes - near diamond head - tuesday

Food - Places to Eat

Things to try:


Swap Meet
Go Home.


Pali Lookout. 6 miles NE of downtown Honolulu on Hawaii 61 (Pali Highway), right at the Pali Lookout exit. Everyday, 7AM-7:45PM Apr. 1 - Labor Day; 7AM-6:45PM Labor Day-Apr. 1. One of the more popular scenic vistas on Oahu and the site of one of the bloodiest battles in Hawaiian history, the Pali Lookout provides a panoramic view of Windward Oahu. Also interesting at this site is the Old Pali Road, formerly the highway connecting Windward Oahu to downtown Honolulu. A note of caution: due to its location between two high cliffs, the Pali Lookout is often buffeted by high winds. Admission Free.
  • Dole Plantation
    • Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.
  • PCC

Prime Rib
Ali'i Luau

Select Package Select Package Select Package Select Package
Admission to 7 Villages
Reserved Seats at Island Demonstrations

Special Canoe Tour

Long Canoe Pageant
Tram Tour of La'ie
IMAX Movie
w/Reserved Seats


Lei Greeting
Guided Tour

w/ Personal Tour Guide

Fine Dining Choice of Four Entrees

Ali'i Luau Buffet

Ambassador Buffet

"Horizons" Night Show:
w/ V.I.P. Seating

Premium Seating

Preferred Seating

Pre-Show Backstage Tour

Deelite Dessert during Intermission

Souvenir Video & Program

2008 PRICES (Adults 12 and up)
$215 $118 $118 $83
2008 PRICES (Children 3-11 years)
$165 $83 $83 $59

Go Sight Seeing and Shopping