Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Aloha from beautiful Hawaii!

No, not even a vacation can keep me from blogging away!  The truth is, with Hawaii being 6 hours behind Georgia, I haven't been able to sleep past 5 am for a couple of days.  Jet lag is a challenge when you travel this far, so I'm strategizing a nap and forcing myself to stay awake tonight to combat it.

As I write, it is December 7th, the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, that day that will live in infamy.    I actually flew into Hawaii with a WWII veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor; he was given a First Class seat and traveled all the way from Minnesota for the reunion/celebration.  I also flew in with a high school marching band from Georgia participating in the festivities, which included a lot of nervous teenage first-time flyers. I actually had two long flights with them; the first one most of them screamed (roller coaster style) every time the plane moved!  It's always surprising to me when people haven't flown before, or even left their home state… I was such a nomadic child, I can't even fathom such a thing!

My aunt and uncle live in Oahu, so I've been here half a dozen times and stay with them when I visit.  They always make me feel at home on the island!

My very first day on the island, my longtime friend CF came to pick me up for a day of fun!  I hadn't seen her in years (we ran together in middle school and against each other in high school) so I was super excited!  First we did a hike up Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail, near my aunt/uncle's house.  It's a paved climb up the little mountain (I did it in my flip-flops!) that gave us a beautiful vista.  Definitely worth the walk!
CF and me!
Then we headed to Kailua, to pick up some standup paddles & surfboards.  It took me a while to get used to standing upright on the board; you have to keep your knees bent, and turning was a bit challenging at first!  But we finally got it, and spent a good amount of time on a nearby river; it was too windy to head into the surf that day.  It was even hard paddling back into the wind; you could push all you wanted without budging an inch!  Definitely a fun, full-body workout.  I can see why people love Hawaii; it's so beautiful outside you can have fun and get a workout without even noticing.

After exerting ourselves all morning, we had to grab some good eats!  We got some delicious shave ice at Island Snow, and I got a Spam & egg taco at Maui Tacos!  Definitely a Hawaiian-style lunch… shave ice here is NOTHING like any sno-cone you've ever had (especially if you get all the bells and whistles) and Spam is a local favorite.  I loved that taco!  We also checked out an awesome used bookstore before parting ways and heading to the airport so I could meet my Mom.

My aunt works in downtown Honolulu, steps from the HUGE Ala Moana Shopping Center.  They have a two-story Louis Vuitton, but they also have Old Navy and other typical mall stores.  It's just a massive indoor-outdoor mall; my Mom and I wandered around for a bit before we went out with my aunt for some dinner at Ireh Korean Restaurant.    Growing up as a half-Korean kid in the Midwest, there were times I definitely felt like I stuck out…  but in Hawaiian, where there are so many Polynesian and Asian people, all part of this tropical melting pot, I actually feel like I totally fit in!  When I get to Hawaii, I'm so comfortable.  Maybe it's because I've been so many times, I don't feel rushed to go do/see things… I can just take my time and enjoy the experience.

Today I'm relaxing with my Mom/aunt, probably going to get a manicure and maybe shop a little bit.  I'm flying to Maui tomorrow for a jam-packed wedding weekend for LC & PD!  There so much fun in store…  food, luau, wedding, food, beach, and did I mention food?  :)

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