Saturday, August 11, 2007

We're Going to the Hukilau

Kieran channeling Elvis as "Stitch"

We’ve been home from Hawaii for a little over a week, although it feels like much longer. None of us wanted to return home, but we’ve all settled back easily into our Oregon routine. The day we got back it was 95 degrees, hotter than in Hawaii, but now it’s reverted to the generally gray, cooler days typical of Oregon.

The second part of our Hawaii trip was very relaxing. The last night we were in Honolulu, Chris got to participate in the “King’s Jubilee” celebration at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. He paraded with several other children behind the “king” and the hula dancers. Kieran was bereft that he was too young to participate. The rest of us paid an exorbitant fee to watch the parade and show from the poolside and drink bad cocktails (and a virgin pina colada for Kieran). The fireworks at the end were wonderful, and I was surprised to see that Nicholas didn’t flinch at all at the noise since they were nearly overhead (and spectacular!).

The next day we left for the north shore, but first we stopped in Chinatown to revisit a wonderful vegetarian Chinese restaurant we’d been to before, for dim sum. Having eaten dim sum in a variety of locales, I’m always suspicious of what I’m eating…so it’s a relief to eat vegetarian! Honolulu’s Chinatown is bustling and the center of the lei-making craft and trade.

We took our time driving up to the north shore and when we arrived at the condo (Pat's at Punalu'u), we were a bit dismayed to see the condition of the building. It looked a bit down and out, to say the least! We pored over the complicated instructions for retrieving our keys and using the elevator to go up the 4th floor unit. Walking into our oceanview corner unit, we were delighted to see that it was nicely decorated and spacious, and had magnificent views. Typical of island condos, there was no air conditioning but nice windward breezes from the ocean. The lanai was fabulous and wrapped around the unit.

The next four days were spent exploring beaches, revisiting old haunts (such as Romy’s Shrimp Shack, where we have shrimp every time we go to Oahu), and eating lots of shave ice! Kieran has become quite the shave ice fanatic. In fact, our one solitary preschooler tantrum of the trip occurred one day in Honolulu, when the rest of us were going to have ice cream at Haagen Dazs, and Kieran was determined to have shave ice. He pitched a fit, of course eliminating his possibility for shave ice! What a difference in shave ice between Honolulu and the North Shore, though…there was no comparison. In Waikiki, it’s $3.75 without ice cream, and in Halei’wa, it’s $2.50 for the same size with better selection and flavor of syrup, with ice cream on the bottom. Ice cream on the bottom vastly improves shave ice.

Our condo had a kitchen, so we ate most of our meals in and had one meal out each day. Mike and Chris discovered that going to the movies is cheap in Hawaii, and they saw the Simpsons’ movie one day for $3 apiece. Our condo was near La’ie, which is owned by the Latter Day Saints and the home of the Polynesian Cultural Center. Everything in the town, including the beach but except for McDonalds, closes on Sunday. The local supermarket doesn’t sell alcohol but does sell caffeine. (We laughed to note that the store in the neighboring town had alcohol prominently displayed in the front of the store—they probably get a lot of their business that way!) We also chuckled when we saw that the two movies playing in the La’ie movie theater were the Simpson’s movie and “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”! What’s up with that? Maybe the movie theater is owned by the 5% non-LDS family and just can’t resist the irony.

At any rate, our time on the North Shore was immensely relaxing and enjoyed by all. Nicholas loved to sit in the sand, Kieran very bravely ventured out into the ocean (last year he was frightened by the waves), and Chris tried snorkeling for the first time.

Kieran began a new ritual while we were in Hawaii: every evening before going to bed, he would put on a “play,” and we were recruited to act in it. Most evenings in Hawaii it was “Lilo and Stitch,” with him playing the part of Stitch, Elvis impression and all, and Nicholas being Lilo. Nicholas was quite amused by the whole thing and actually seemed to take part, in his own way. No doubt Kieran has picked up this new ritual from years of watching Chris create his own little plays. Our boys do love theatrics.

One of the highlights of the week was going to our “Turtle Beach” and seeing lots of giant sea turtles. Nicholas was bemused. One of his favorite past times was standing on the lanai, pointing out to the beach, and saying “Eee! Eee!” At first we thought he was saying “tree,” but then we concluded it must have been “beach.” Who knows?!

Lovely La’ie beach was one of our favorites…on one side, it’s called “Pounders,” because the waves pound you into the sand. If you walk a ways down the beach, you discover a wonderful little protected stretch called “Bathtub Beach,” which was perfect for the little ones.

The day before we left, as I was floating around on a boogie board, I realized that I felt truly relaxed. I do not find it easy to relax, so this was luxury for me. Next time I am determined to stay an additional week after I’m done with work. Four days was not long enough.

We flew out of Honolulu on the red eye, at 10:50 p.m., so we left the north shore in the afternoon and experienced culture shock when we hit Honolulu traffic again. We had our final Hawaiian meal at a Japanese buffet restaurant—not gourmet food but our kids do love buffets! Right before the plane took off around 11 p.m. to return to PDX, Chris finally finished Harry Potter.

Dinner at Halei'wa Joe's on the North Shore

One of our many shave ice tastings, at Aoki's in Halei'wa

Nicholas' favorite viewpoint, on the lanai

Trying out the swimming pool--colder than the ocean!

Boogie boarding at Pounders

More shave ice! This time, Nicholas slept through and missed out!

View from our lanai

Our last night, having our Ahi dinner on the lanai

Nicholas loves broccoli!

Last day, on our Punalu'u Beach, making friends

Our little hula girl! (Doesn't he make an adorable girl?)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Marie,
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blog posts about Punaluu to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, drop me a line at Jane (at) Dwellable (.com)
    Hope to hear from you :)