Friday, August 04, 2006

Hawaii Day 11 - Pali, Makapuu Lighthouse

Today we were going to go to the tide pools that the kids love so much again. So after a pretty leisurely morning, we packed up and headed out at about 10am. On the way up the Pali I noticed it was pretty windy, so we decided to stop. Yes, it was the VERY BEST time to go. The wind was fierce but steady, there was no rain to pelt us (as usually happens when the wind is really strong) and the kids LOOVED it. In the photo you can see some idiot young adults trying to climb the fence but no worries, they could have jumped and the wind would have pushed them back (it happens). They weren't brave enough to try.

After the fence it is just a DROP; sources disagree but the standard measure is between 985 feet (counting only the vertical drop itself) and 1400 feet (counting the vertical drop and the steep slope to the valley floor that comes afterwards). Legend has it that King Kamehameha I, the monarch who unified the islands under his control (before this each isle was under the control of its own chief), forced his opponents up to the cliffs here and decided his victory by pushing them over. The photo shows the area we lived in before we moved from the islands (not the area my parents live in). This is a favorite view because the panorama continues on either side. And, oh yeah, there's a parking lot 100 feet behind where I took the photo. It is probably the most effortless mountain view on the island.

We headed out to hike the trail to the Makapuu lighthouse, which clings halfway down a slender and very tall strip of mountain that thrusts itself into the sea. The hike was HOT. The CACTI were withering and dying. But the views were incredible:

After all that...when we got to the beach the tide pools were entirely submerged and waves were actually breaking on the shore, something that none of us had ever seen before. We headed a couple miles down the road to watch people boogie board in some REALLY big waves, then when the kids fell asleep in the car decided that what the heck, it was already 4pm...we just went on back to swim in the pool and eat shave ice at the neighborhood store.

Hawaii Day 10 - Honolulu Zoo

Yeah, I'm breaking form and writing this the next morning.

We went to the zoo yesterday. It is STILL under construction. OMG this is the project that never ends! They had some cool new kid stuff though, including an exhibit where you crawl in a tube through an aquarium and can then pop up to the surface right in the middle of the tank. It was supposed to have Koi in it, but being was just a tank of water. The kids thought it was pretty neat anyway, but I think they'd have loved being in there with the fish :(. The new keiki zoo has a thing where you roll a barrel and it turns a massive water-works, too, but it didn't have water in it yet (WTF?) and they have a goat enclosure that you get into by jumping up a series of logs, walking around a lookout-type wall, and then rock-climbing down (or for the weak of heart, there's a door).

The zoo was hot and miserable, but would have been bearable of boyness hadn't decided to WHINE INCESSANTLY about how hot and miserable it was. He forgot whenever he saw something cool, but in between, it was near-constant. UGH.

Toddlerness refused to walk, at ALL. STROLLERS ROCK. She sat there and ate her raisins for most of the trip. She was enchanted with the cows and the chickens...she really loved the keiki (children) zoo. It was the only place we could get her to move on her own power. I'd say she was sick or something but the second we get near water, OFF SHE GOES. So I guess she's just conserving energy for when the "real fun" rolls around.

I purchased a membership at the Honolulu Zoo because it is cheap and offers reciprocity with both Woodland Park and Point Defiance back home. Saved me about a hundred bucks all told.

We went back to my parents' and had a pretty average afternoon. I made the kids nap because they were the biggest fucking crank-asses EVER. Tony woke up much more reasonable.

We stayed up late playing Trivial Pursuit. My dad won. We are such a dorky family. It was fun anyway.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hawaii Day 9 - Kailua, Aiea Loop Trail

It was a nicer day today so we managed our trip to Kailua beach finally. We set up a tent and brought the boogie boards, and the kids had a grand time. Becca and Tony both caught a bunch of waves, and Naomi really enjoyed puttering around with her swim-wings on out past the break, where she could just float around. The sun was out, the water was warm, the breeze was mild. But after several hours we were beat, and headed back in time to get lunch, pick up Paul's girlfriend, and head out in our very-packed van for some hiking.

The Aiea Loop Trail (it has a different name, after the heiau - temple - that it begins at, but I can't remember it and neither can anyone else...) is 4.5 miles long but very, very hilly and, after that initial clear patch, tangled in roots and rocks. In other words, it was a TON of fun for the big kids at first but quickly became tiring. And I didn't have a backpack carrier for Naomi, so we had to carry her, even after she fell asleep.

About 3 miles in Becca declared a need to go to the bathroom and an absolute unwillingness to stop, so my dad rushed her on ahead. He says it took them only about 15 minutes to complete the trail (whohoo, good pace...she ran!) but I lugged an unhappy (and not too silent about it) toddler and a worn-out 4yo the same distance in about an hour. The last quarter mile or so, Paul even carried Boyness on his back. But we eventually DID get to the end (there's an END?) of the trail. Every time I hike this I say "NEVER AGAIN" but then look at the pictures and say "oh yeah." The trail follows the ridge-rim along a valley, then dips down to the valley floor and back up to return you to your starting point. At your peak elevation, you are perhaps 100 vertical feet below the highest point on the island (which we hiked to LAST year on the Stairway to Heaven) and at your lowest point you are slogging around in stream beds and oppressive humidity. About at the point where you've gone 4 miles and are slogging up the hill in very humid and completely breeze-less air, tripping on roots because you're just sick of looking at the damned things, you decide never to do it again.

At least the views were nice! And I'll be damned if it isn't working; you remember the pretty and you forget how fucking miserable the trail is while you're actually ON it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hawaii Day 8 - Ala Moana

We had intended to spend all of today at Kailua beach, but those plans fell through when the forecast was unfavorable (overcast, showers, chance of thunderstorms). We headed out instead to Ala Moana, which of all the beaches on the island, was one of the more likely to be clear even if it was storming everywhere else.

Clear, no, but hot and humid and not-raining, yes. The kids had a great, if shorter than it would have been in the sun, time. Naomi looks ridiculous pedalling herself around in her waterwings. She got upset at me for keeping her close to shore. I don't know if she wanted to check out the waves or the turtles or the distance swimmers further out there, but I was just, well, STUBBORN about her staying within 30 feet of shore or so.

Once we'd done that we went home, washed, went grocery shopping (we had invited FIL and his wife over for dinner), caught a dollar movie, came home, swam in the pool, made dinner...

We had a great time with FIL and sMIL, the food came out well, they'd brought some wines back from Italy, and it was just...a good evening. After they'd left we played a few hokey games Paul had used in camp (he was the rec coordinator), bypassing his personal favorite (anarchy ball) in favor of the bus-bound ones. My mom was, after all, more than a little happy about the amount of wine she'd taken in. Ah, nothing like a round robin game of name-that-country...DRUNK. We then had a pool tournament of sorts (yes, the game with the balls and cues, not the swimming pool) afterwards. Good fun.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Hawaii Day 7

Peter and Elizabeth took Tony and Becca out today for some one-on-one time. Peter bought Tony some Spiderman shoes and a light saber, Elizabeth got for Becca a bunch of clothing. They bought lunch at Jack in the Box. The kids came home very happy if a bit hyped.

Meanwhile, my dad and I took the opportunity to run a bunch of errands.

We were all tired by the time everyone was together again at 1pm, so we had a pretty easy afternoon, swimming in the pool, walking to the same neighborhood store I'd gone to a thousand times as a kid, swimming some more. We set up the kiddie tent in the middle of the living room and the big kids are in there watching a movie through the tent door.

I feel simply beyond BEAT, I think all the nights cut short and interrupted sleep is totally catching up to me.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hawaii Day 6 - Hale Koa, Baby Makapuu

This morning we went to meet Fran's dad and stepmom for brunch. They'd known we would be in town, of course, and we'd called them as soon as we were arrived, but they'd been battling bronchitis. They called on Friday letting us know they were able to breathe again, and would we like to go to brunch at, oh, the best place to go to brunch on the island? Er, yeah.

Paul recognized the upright bass that one of the live musicians was playing, so they had a nice extended conversation about just how it came to be in his position. Paul also ate very fast and then took off with Naomi to go look around the courtyard, which scored Naomi points and ME points, since I got to sit there and eat in peace. Not that she wasn't cute. But she ate a couple bites and then just wanted to hide from the unfamiliar people and lap-hop between those she knew. And she was BEYOND livid with me for not just nursing her as she lap-hopped. So, Paul to the rescue, thanks kid.

After the totally wonderful food (ah, thank you FIL, that was my yearly fix of sashimi and chocolate haupia, not at the same time) we headed home to lie around and digest things for a while.

Then Paul and I went and picked up his gilfriend V, and we headed out snorkelling, yes...COMPLETELY CHILDLESS. Whohoooo! The sun had dropped behind the mountain, casting a long shadow on the area we were swimming, by the time we were halfway out, but the day was beyond hot and we enjoyed the swim anyway. We followed a turtle, saw some octupi and FAR too many wana (errr, sea urchins, those big black spikey ones), and generally had a decent time in a very familiar snorkelling spot. We were happy to see that in the year or so since we'd all last gone, the reef had regrown in several places and the fish population was flourishing (for a while pollution had driven off a lot of fish and poisoned portions of the reef). I was happy that I didn't have to work hard to keep up with my hyperathletic brother and his hyperathletic girlfriend.

I like V. She seems like a cool girl, and very practical, just the kind of person not to take advantage of how helpful and polite Paul can be :)

The kids had fun with my parents, although Toddlerness tried twice to jump into the pool without her arm floaties (ok, she succeeded twice, but decided it was all in fun since my mom fished her out right away, and was happily puttering around the pool, floaties on, when I got back). Toddlerness, of course, burst into a wail-fest the moment she saw me, but I'd seen the fun...little FAKER.