During our second week in Hawaii, Obama had already left nearly a week before, but we still felt like we were following him around the island. This feeling was even more intense as we stopped by the Macadamia Nut Farm as recommended by our hosts Suzanne and Bob. Chief Sielu, a real Samoan chief and native Hawaiian, leads regular tours around the property, pointing out the interesting botanical features and showing tourists where several TV shows and movies have been filmed. They highly recommended this tour, so we thought we'd check it out.
The store had loads of different kinds of macadamia nut samples, as well as macadamia nut coffee. The boys were very concerned about me sampling the macadamia nuts, because it is one of the few allergies I have. (I actually sampled a few of them to no adverse effects...so maybe my allergy has gone away!)
He cracked open a coconut and let us sample the coconut water, and then presented each of us with a headband made of palm fronds:
Then he took us out on a canoe across a bay to see "Coconut Island" and showed us spots where several TV shows (Lost, ER, Fantasy Island, Gilligan's Island) and movies (Joe Vs. the Volcano, Fifty First Dates) were filmed.
As I mentioned previously, I felt like we were trailing Obama. Just the week before, he had visited the Macadamia Nut Farm and had photos taken with the chief. I asked the chief about his visit, and he told me that it was a complete surprise. The place was crawling with secret service agents, he said. So...do you know what that means? I touched someone who touched Barack Obama!!! ;)
One of my favorite things about the tour--which probably would have been more memorable if we hadn't been to the Samoa performance at the Polynesian Cultural Center--was that the chief went to a starfruit tree and picked a bunch of starfruit for us. I hadn't tasted fresh starfruit since I was in Thailand in 1987! Delicious!! He gave us a bunch of fruit, but we ended up throwing them away at the airport because we weren't allowed to take them to the mainland.
After leaving the tour, we drove back into Honolulu and had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Waikiki, the Shore Bird. It's right on the beach in an Outrigger hotel, and for a very reasonable price, you get the salad bar and a piece of meat or fish to grill yourself. It's an experience!