Monday, March 09, 2009

The Drive Around...

One of the things that we always do as a family when we are in Hawaii is a drive around the island.  This time, our friend Cathy Collison of Glass Garden Beads joined us for the ride.  

Our first stop heading out of the Waikiki beach area was at Jack's Restaurant.  It's an  amazing breakfast place frequented by many locals.  One of my favorite things on the menu is their "special biscuits" served with honey butter and of course spam

When we're driving around the island, we like to have the windows down.  Unfortunately this doesn't always mesh well with all of the passengers, like little Miss Azalea.  She kept complaining that her hair was blowing in her face and her eyes were drying out.  So Cynthia improvised this head-wrap and sunglasses  combination to keep that sassy baby comfortable and in style.

While we were at our secret tide-pool location, the weather took a turn for the worse.  The winds started picking up and we watched the storm creep over the mountains and down the valley.  Heavy raindrops started falling and we took shelter in our luxury ride - a big, black Ford Expedition.

After the tide-pools, we made our way through a drive thru botanical garden.  We saw a few mongoose darting through the rain-slicked grasses and marveled at the many different kinds of flora.  The weather was still pretty nasty, so we stayed safely and dryly tucked in our SUV.

Even though it was raining, we braved the weather to explore the Byodo-In Temple in the Valley of the Temples.  The mist was so heavy and thick behind the temple that the mountains, jutting up right behind it were completely obscured in a blanket of whiteness.  Somehow it added to the quality that the temple was floating through some sort of spirit world, neither in this world or the next.

Azalea got soaking wet!  But she didn't seem to mind too much.  In fact, she was hamming it up for the camera extra.

When we finished looking around the sodden temple grounds, we stopped in the Coral Kingdom for a quick bite to eat.  All of the ladies working there, dressed in pink moo-moos with puffy sleeves, kept praising Azalea for her cuteness and tried to pinch her cheeks.

After our lunch, we stopped at the Tropical Farms Hawaii - The Macadamia Nut Farm Outlet to pick up some treats.  We love the free Kona coffee samples, vanilla sodas, and of course the macadamia nuts.  They come in a wide variety of flavors from sweet caramel, butter, and kona coffee, to savory garlic and onion.  The rain  finally stopped, but it was still misty and slightly chilly.  At least the rain had ceased.

As we continued our journey around Oahu, we made a quick stop at the old Sugar Mill Ruins.  The story behind it and its closing is actually pretty sad.  If you like, you can read more about it by CLICKING HERE.

Our next stop around the island was Kahana Bay.  Cynthia and I had read on a website that it was a beach comber's dream come true.  Yes, there was much flotsam and jetsam to pick through, but much of it consisted of various seeds, leaves, small bits of driftwood, and plastic.  Hidden in the beach debris were a few lucky sea beans and the most vibrant purple little shells.

Also hidden in the tumble of rotting fruit and leaves washed ashore were dangerous Portuguese man o' wars.  Beautiful and etherial with their electric blue trailing tendrils, they pack quite a stinging punch!  Luckily none of us stumbled upon them.

Although we didn't find any spectacular beach glass or big seashells, we did find a rope swing.  HA!  It was a particular challenge (and quite a funny sight) to try and mount the swing, but was a lot of fun once you were swinging through the air.  Above is a short video clip of Cynthia swinging on it.  You can hear Azalea in the background screaming at her mama to remember to cross her legs.

Another treat we enjoy is fresh coconut milk.  They hack off the top with a machete and insert a straw.  To the left is Cathy in front of a roadside fruit stand, picking out an assortment of finger bananas, papayas, pineapples, and of course the coconuts.

The waves on the North Shore are INTENSE!  Some of them are easily 20 to 30 feet high.  Perhaps it's a surfer's paradise, but I can hardly swim and look at the giant waves with a mixture of awe and fear.

For the sunset, we stopped at Sunset Beach.  Unfortunately, it was still pretty misty out  and not much of a sunset could be seen.  Above is a video of the surf and rough waters.  (I wouldn't necessarily suggest this beach as it's kind of sketchy.  They might do well to rename it, Bottle Cap Beach.  The homeless there drink a lot out of brown paper bags, and from the evidence left behind are... quite randy.)

It was getting dark by the time we got to Haleiwa.  It's a cute little town, with lots of surfers, boutiques and restaurants.  We stopped in at a Thai food restaurant called, Haleiwa Eats.  The food was pretty good – a little salty, but still very tasty.  Azalea was having fun playing with the fan that Cathy Collison got for her at the Temple earlier in the day.

We snaked our way through the dark night, heading back to our hotels.  It was a great day for keeping up traditions and continuing to explore new places.  We were happy to share the day with Cathy and to do the drive around.


Lorelei Eurto said...

Looks like a fun day! Thanks for giving us such a great glimpse into your trip! It's always fascinating to see what you guys are up to!

Andrew Thornton said...

It was an awesome day! I'm happy to share it with everyone.

I did have to edit out some of the pictures. Some of them had my feet in them. And although I think they're not bad and actually are decent looking feet, I made a promise long ago never to post pictures of my feet on my blog. Some people do it. But I'm just not into it. So, I had to leave out some pictures and videos of me swinging on the rope swing for example.