Check it. With this post I am caught up on my years' vacations (which is, in a way, also depressing because it means I didn't go on very many this past year).
Our friends Dave and Colleen were on a mission in Hawaii (Dave was teaching photography at BYU-H), so Dad planned to visit them before they left. About two weeks before he was to go, I realized I had enough sky miles for a plane ticket and decided to join him. We didn't sit by each other, which I think was the key to vacation harmony. The problem came in that the morning we were to leave, there was snow. A lot of snow. I ended up driving to my parents' house (instead of having them pick me up) since I have four-wheel drive. It took forever and I had to go on back roads because of a downed power line (my parents did not have power. My roommates didn't have power for awhile. Perfect weekend to fly away). It's always a little unsettling to have to de-ice the plane before taking off, what with me not entirely trusting the mechanics of flight.
After a layover at LAX we arrived late, to us, in Honolulu. Dave and Colleen picked us up, gave us leis, and took us to dinner then to their friends' house where we'd be staying. I picked a plumeria/frangipani (I cannot for anything remember which name is the one we use in the US and which is the one they use in Australia) in the yard because it smelled divine.
The next morning we were all getting pictures of snow from people in Salt Lake. Mom sent me a snow text, and I responded with this. It felt so poetically delicious since two years ago they went to Hawaii, it snowed, I sent a picture and she sent me back a picture of the beach view from their hotel.
Steve and Earline, who we were staying with, kept getting pictures of picnic tables covered in snow from their kids, so they wanted a picture of them with their snow-free table to send back.
Dave used the white patio foot rest as a reflector. Even iPhone photos are done professionally with him around.
For breakfast we had papaya (which I've never eaten) with lime.
Dave then drove us to all his favorite beaches. I think this one is Crushers Beach....
And we ended at the beach behind their apartment. This is how Dad is handling the jet lag. I handled the jet lag by being generally zoned out after sitting for short amounts of time. I bet we were really fun guests!
The thing I was most excited for (well, along with seeing Colleen, who I've missed!) was being able to see my Sydney companion Mei Mei! She invited me over for dinner (and it was just late enough that I started off strong but ended up a zoned-out, exhausted blob on her couch) and taught me to make some delicious stir fries. She is a VERY good cook. I often remember fondly her making us all kinds of amazing food.
The bacon and green bean dish that I made when I got home.Her was a little better, but having done it before will do that for you (o:
For breakfast the next morning, Colleen and I shared a guava (I adore guava!) pastry. It was so, so divine.
Here Dad and I are in front of the wall at the place we ate breakfast.
Dave wanted a picture with a garbage can to be anti-tourist. He wins!
We stopped off at a beach and Dave kept trying to write Colleen's name in the sand, but the waves would wash it away too quickly.
He was finally successful when he gave up with Colleen and started writing my dad's name in the sand....
Here are Dave and Colleen at the beach.
And Colleen and me at the beach.
Before dinner we drove through some park thing with all kinds of great views and beautiful plants.
Dad picked a fruit off a tree to eat it and see what it was. It didn't kill him, so I tried it. It was really, really starchy and woody. It was not delicious. We had to get Portuguese doughnuts after to get rid of the taste. We then had dinner at a gorgeous restaurant with open windows and views of the mountains and a lake. It was very breathtaking.
When I got up the next morning, this is how I found Dad. He went straight from waking up for the day to napping. Dave and Collen collected us and we went to the BYU-H devotional.
We then visited the Polynesian Cultural Center. I beyond love this picture Dad took of Colleen and me. It's hilarious! It reminds me of the Bravo Broadway picture he took of me that made me upset at the time, but now is just funny.
I was a little wary of visiting the PCC. I mean, I've done Church history sites and I know the PCC is Church-run. All the other sites I've been to are overly cheesy, which is so not me. Also they ask for referrals of non-members like every 10 minutes, which drives me crazy.
The PCC was a million percent NOT LIKE THAT! I was so pleasantly surprised! I absolutely loved all of it!
We started in Tonga where they made fire, opened coconuts and climbed trees.
There is a little guy in that tree!
Then Hailey, our guide, collected us and we went to a hut to make little fish. Here Dave, Colleen and Hailey are making fish.
We were told to name our fish to make them more special. I named mine Reno (from Anything Goes -- it was the only non-Little Mermaid water-related (because they are on a boat) musical I could think of at the time). This one is Dave's. He named it Hailey and gave it to me for safe-keeping. Somehow I lost Reno, but Hailey survived!
Colleen wore her fish as a hair decoration.
We then saw the boat show in a downpour. The actors seemed to handle it well! I'm glad Colleen thought to bring umbrellas!
At this point, it's not even possible to get any more wet.
Dad and Colleen sat on the second row with their umbrella. Dave and I were on the front row so we could take pictures, but then I ended up holding the umbrella so Dave could take pictures because his always turn out better than mine (o:
Dave and Hailey leading us to our next location.
In Samoa they had a Japanese guy come help with the drum demonstration. He was the best! Occasionally he had to look to his translator before answering and would still just answer "yes" to everything anyway. He was a good sport and it was a really fun presentation.
We made a quick swing to Fiji -- I asked this boy to confirm the meaning of what Sister Roko used to say when I'd sneeze (it's like mata yani, but I can't spell it) -- and, yes, it does mean "Die forever" in a "I hope you die" sort of way. Awesome.
At least the boy laughed when I told him I had a friend who used to say that to me.
In Aotearoa (or New Zealand), Hailey's darling cousin, Tui, played games with us and then lead us on a traditional...thing...where we greet other tribes? Or something.... Tui had Dad lead us with the peace symbol.
I had Dad take a picture of me with Hailey as the sun was setting because I knew it would be too dark for a good one after this. Then we went off to dinner -- where Dave and Colleen met us after they'd finished their missionary assignment. Also at dinner I had a pineapple drink in a pineapple because it's impossible to ever have too much pineapple.
Dad ended up buying another ukelele and he and Dave serenaded us with it. Hailey took us to the Ha - Breath of Life show and then had to leave.
This boy has been a model for Dave's photography classes, so Dave wanted a picture with him. The show was actually really amazing. Like Cirque du Soliel with Polynesian kids who happen to take great delight in playing with knives and fire. Again, I expected cheesy and instead it was an amazing production. I can absolutely see why the PCC gets so many tourists! I would, and hope to, go back!
For our last day we ate breakfast at the Hukilau Cafe. It was...an experience. The place is just tiny!
I got a drive-by picture of the temple with the Royal Palm Trees.
Drew a heart in the sand to show my love for Suzanne.
Watched a guy do some sort of water sport. He was very good at it. Earlier I'd tried boogie boarding (because why not, right?). It lasted all about 20 minutes and I hated it. Also the Island kids were laughing at my technique. And the ocean ate my sun glasses (I'd planned on just lying on the board and gently bobbing in the ocean. That is not at all how getting past the breakers works). So props to anyone who can do water things well!
We got Matsumoto shave ice then Dave took us to lunch at a restaurant he really likes. The stupid peacock steals food. It stole some of Dave's sandwich right out of his hand. Dave reprimanded it, but clearly the peacock didn't care.
Dave had to do a photography judging thing in Honolulu, so Mei Mei came with us (which is good! It was in Chinatown and she knew how to get to Chinatown!). Mei Mei and I left the group, went shopping, had dinner (and baozi!), and just enjoyed walking and chatting until it got dark and all the dodgy people came out.
Here I am also in Chinatown! Mei Mei sent me home with all kinds of Chinese candies, cookies and hot peppers.
Did I mention the area was dodgy? This was right outside the window of where the photography competition was happening. I took great delight in sending that to Mom and saying, "This is where Dad has taken me!" We made it home at like midnight. It was so late.
The next morning we had to leave for the airport REALLY early (at like 4!). Clearly Dad does mornings about as well as I do, except I can't sleep sitting up -- always a life regret. Luckily the plane was mostly empty and we each had our own row. I laid down and was OUT. All-in-all, the trip was way too short but I'd love to go again! Though I am glad to have Dave and Colleen home now. I haven't seen them since they got back, but knowing they're here is all I need (o:
3 days ago