We spent the first week of our vacation on the island of Hawai'i, commonly called The Big Island. Our condo was situated perfectly (with incredible views of the ocean-- you could see a hint of Maui in the distance) near snorkeling, beaches, cool shops, and within a short driving distance of all of our destinations. It was so relaxing! Some of our favorite highlights from the Big Island:
- Eating delicious Japanese food at Kenichi, local beef at Tante's at Parker Ranch, Melona popsicles at Puako (and anywhere else we could find them!), yummy fresh sandwiches and pizza from the Coffee Shack, and tasty Hawaiian fare at our own luau
- Snorkeling with some really cool fish (the humuhumunukunukuapua'a, cornetfish, and yellow tang, just to name a few) and sea turtles at Puako, even more cool fish plus DOLPHINS!!! at Honaunau (and Chris liked snorkeling at Beach 69, but since I stayed on the beach, I can't count that in my snorkel adventures)
- Roaming through amazingly beautiful plants at the Botanical Gardens
- Visiting some very fun shops and buying lots of great souveniers (again, special thanks to my generous and thoughtful in-laws!)
- Enjoying two luau performances (one okay, the other great), plus a fantastic hula show at the Mauna Lani shopping center
- Laughing hysterically on the way home from the "okay" luau mentioned above
- Watching South Pacific, particularly the guy with the orange shorts
... Well, you can tell we had an amazing time! The Big Island is beautiful, and we had a wonderful, relaxing time!
On Friday night, we flew over to O'ahu and stayed for two more days. We had a fantastic time at the Polynesian Cultural Center where we were guided by a great Australian kid named Nik and treated to several incredible performances. We all agreed that our day was very well spent! On Sunday, we visited Pearl Harbor where we toured the USS Missouri and went to the USS Arizona Memorial. It was very special to visit this part of US History. After a nice dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and some harried last-minute shopping in Waikiki, it was time to head home.
I went to Hawaii for the first time ten years ago, but hope that it will be much less than ten years before I go again! Aloha!