Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Babbit the Aloha Rabbit: Day Three

Day three in Hawaii began again before sunrise. In all honesty, I think we're misplaced Hawaiians. We keep a much better schedule here! After an early breakfast of Kona coffee and blueberry muffins, we spent the entire morning at the beach.

Mr. Sandman

Breaking Free

After a morning at the lagoons, we headed out for an afternoon in Honolulu. Per your request, here I am in front of the lens.

Babbit felt left out

I left the snacks and drinks behind (again), so we stopped at the 7-11. Though I love the Asian influence here, for some reason I was really grossed out to find sushi offered on the 7-11 value menu.

I looked over the selection of sushi rolls and bento boxes, and even took a picture of the sushi cooler (as you can see).

But as I planned to tell James how gross I thought it was, I remembered our local 7-11 sells enormous burritos filled with who knows what and calls them "Da Bomb." At that moment, a spicy tuna roll didn't sound so bad.

Moving on.

Once in Honolulu, Babbit checked out Chinatown...

... and the Capitol Building of Hawaii.

He admired the state seal...

... as well as a statue of Queen Liliʻuokalani,
the last monarch in the Kingdom of Hawai'i.

After that, we visited 'Iolani Palace,
the only royal palace used as an official residence
by a reigning monarch in the United States.

The kids were particularly amazed by the huge banyan trees out back.

After learning about the political history of Hawaii,
we spent some time exploring a very tiny bit
of Hawaii's religious history by visiting Kawaiaha'o Church,
once the National Church of Hawaii and chapel for the royal family.
Kawaiaha'o Church has been called
the Westminister Abbey of Hawaii.

Kawaiaha'o Church is also called The Stone Church,
as it is built from tons of hand-chiseled coral.

The interior of the church where parts of the services
are still preached in the native Hawaiian tongue.

The Tomb of King William Lunalilo,
the shortest reigning monarch in Hawaiian history,
and the only Hawaiian monarch to be buried among his people.

We finished our day at the Mission House museum learning about the introduction of Christianity to the islands.

Hawaii has such a rich and interesting history, and it's remarkable just how closely the religious and political aspects intertwine. Here is my very limited understanding:

Hawaii was a nation of "savages," as early Americans would say. The Hawaiian people had a set of religious beliefs that particular members of the Hawaiian monarchy eventually became tired of. For example, men and women could not eat together -- a small, but very important, bit of information. One of the wives of a great king (can't remember who) decided there was something wrong with not being able to share a meal with her husband, so she began pressing to have those "old ways" overthrown. Later, when he became King, her son effectively did as she wanted.

About the time the religious beliefs of the Hawaiian people were called into question, Christianity arrived on the scene. Missionaries were embraced by the government and were given land on which to build. The missionaries preached to and taught the native Hawaiians, making Honolulu the homebase for operations throughout the islands. Missionaries brought tools, supplies, and education.

Christianity filled the religious void in many ways, however, years later when the mission board decided the job here was done, some of the missionaries (and many of their grown children) stayed behind to become wealthy land owners. Some of the missionaries made a practice of tricking farmers out of their land, and later, they part of the group who overthrew Queen Liliʻuokalani. The solution became the problem.

I wonder where Hawaii would be if even one of those steps did not happen. Interesting to consider...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Babbit the Aloha Rabbit: Day Two

On day two, we all woke before daybreak.
(Darned time change!)
Babbit joined the Barbie family and Gracie on the lanai
to watch the sun break over the mountains...

... then he made his way down to the lagoon
for a whole-lotta lounging while the family swam...

... played Frisbee...

... and tried to dig their way to northern Europe.

Later, we made our way to the lobby
where the children admired the koi...

... and tempted them with a tasty blue treat.

We loaded up to go the North Shore in hopes of spotting some surfers.
James "worked" for a while in the car
(and is now trying to figure out a way to office in Hawaii).

We didn't find any surfers,
but we did find the famous Romy's shrimp shack.
James had garlic shrimp, while Babbit and I shared the sweet & spicy.
Everything was so delicious
(that is, until I found a spider in my special sauce -- yuck!)

Then, we stopped at Ted's Bakery in Haleiwa...

... where Babbit enjoyed some chocolate-haupia pie for dessert.
(Haupia is a traditional coconut milk-based Hawaiian dessert.)

Still searching for those elusive surfers,
we went to at a more secluded spot just north of Sunset Beach.

We arrived just in time to be overtaken by the fire department
and a group of lifeguards on some sort of ocean rescue mission.

The Coast Guard even showed up and circled the scene
(though we later heard no lives were actually at stake)

All the excitement warranted a trip to Aoki's
for coconut shaved ice served on top of homemade ice cream

As we headed south back towards Ko Olina,
we stopped at the Dole Plantation to explore.

Gracie added to her penny collection...

... while Bub and Babbit shared a pineapple whip.

Babbit finds himself in a pineapple predicament

We felt adventurous, so we tried our hand (feet? brain?)
at the Pineapple Garden Maze,
voted World's Largest in the 2001 Guinness Book of World Records.

One station was easy to find.
Seven others? Not so much.
Babbit accepts no responsibility for the poor navigation.

Completely worn out by the maze,
we felt that a bit of lounging and lazing about was in order,
so we headed back to the hotel.

Scenes from the Road: Beautiful Beaches,

Majestic Mountains,

and Conked-out Kiddos.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Babbit the Aloha Rabbit: Day One

After a lifetime of waiting, the day finally arrived for Babbit and the rest of the family to head out to Hawaii. Our flight was scheduled around lunchtime, so we took our time loading up and heading to the airport. Check-in was fast and easy, as was our journey through security. We ate lunch in the airport, and strolled to the gate.

When we settled in to wait for boarding, the attendant made an announcement on the overhead that the flight was long, all the food was for purchase, and even that was limited in quantity. She suggested that everyone bring food and drinks with them as they boarded. James nonchalantly made a comment about our snacks and it was then that I realized the bag of snacks I so carefully prepared had been sent through with the checked luggage. I spent the next 15 minutes racing through the airport purchasing overpriced packages of trail mix and Happy Meals from the terminal McDonald's.

Snack-free Babbit waiting to board

The snack emergency didn't cause us to miss the plane and the flight we thought was overbooked actually had seats to spare. That allowed us to stretch out and get comfortable and avoid most of the "Mom, he's touching me!" stuff I was most concerned about.

We made it eight of the nine hours without any serious behavioral issues by entertaining the children with the aforementioned overpriced trail mix, various portable video game systems, movies on the laptop, and copious trips to the teeny-tiny bathroom. The first eight hours were so good, in fact, that I dumbly thought the kids could sit side-by-side and enjoy the descent and landing together. Boy, was I wrong! That last hour was more than a descent into Honolulu. All of the bickering made it more like a descent into Hades, what with all the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth (though I got myself back together just as soon as I could).


Pearl Harbor from the Air

Aloha, Babbit!

Welcome to Honolulu

The Honolulu Home Depot
(...and a note for my mom: TRANSFER HERE!)

Babbit arrives at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa at Ko Olina

A man admiring the fruits of his labor...

... and a little boy who has no idea just how blessed he is.

The hotel is built over man-made lagoons on the south side of O'ahu. A reef out by the rocks acts as a breaker for the big waves, and we're left with a calm ocean pool, excellent for swimming and snorkeling. Our room is a tenth-floor ocean view. We're on the very top floor in a corner section. In our room, a sliding wall of windows opens onto the lanai and we sleep with it open, lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves.

The View, Unobstructed.

Our first Hawaiian sunset

After settling in, we decided to get some dinner and go to the grocery store for a few staples that I couldn't pack in the luggage. We were just going to grab something from Burger King when we happened upon this restaurant.

Since his Filipino mom is no longer living, James and his family have graciously tolerated my attempts at making pancit and lumpia. Despite his patience with me, we could not see a Filipino restaurant and not stop. Gracie ordered pancit, I ordered lumpia, James ordered chicken adobo, and Bub had two grilled cheese sandwiches. Gracie fell asleep at the table before the food ever arrived, Bub ate half my lumpia, and the chicken adobo just wasn't what mom used to make. (Actually, neither was the lumpia -- James said mine tastes better!)

After a somewhat disappointing dinner, we went to the grocery store. We were a little afraid to go shopping as a couple of people told us to anticipate very high prices. I don't know if it's the area we're in, or the fact that we did our shopping at a chain store, but the grocery prices we encountered were not that much different than the ones back home. There's a slight premium on some things, but overall, the prices are comparable.

The major discrepancy I noticed was in the cereal aisle where bags and boxes were priced $2-5 each, just as we're used to. Right in the middle of the reasonably priced breakfast cereal was this box, on sale for $7.09. Sheesh! Where's a coupon when you need one?

In Hawaii, the cereal is fortified with real gold!

All content © Mandigirl, 2007-2013.