Thursday, October 21, 2010

Driving the North Shore (Part 2), Now With Flowers!

I still haven't located a cord to hook up my camera to the computer so I can post a progress picture of my cross stitch, but that's mostly because I keep forgetting to ask my parental units if they have one that's compatible with my camera. You'll just have to trust me for now that I've done a lot of work on it :)

So here I am back with more Hawaii pictures. Not long after we left the turtles, I saw a sign for a botanical garden so we figured oh sure why not. You know how I like to take pictures of flowers, so Lee just handed the camera over pretty much as soon as we got in the garden.

Pretty, huh? I still have to get Lee's help to get the camera settings right, although I am trying to learn. I don't want to be stuck in "auto" mode forever with that big expensive camera.

I think this was called a yellow lollipop tree or something like that. Kinda cool though, huh?

This was way up in a tree, but we thought it was just so cool to look at. Did a pretty good job of zooming in on it. I haven't a clue what a lot of the plants are that we looked at, I just like to take pictures of the pretty ones. I could go the Cake Wrecks route and say that all flowers are daisies :)

You know how palm fronds turn yellow and then fall off the tree? Lee was trying to help this one along, but it wasn't ready to go yet.

Look, red daisies! I actually think I know what this one is, I saw it at the botanical gardens on's Chinese ixora.

And this one is pink ginger. I liked the lighting in this photo, although I think I got an even better one in the gardens at our hotel.

And there was a little waterfall at the end of the path in the gardens (this is Lee's photo). Usually they'll let people go swimming but they said the water was too dirty that day to let people swim in it...yeah, I wouldn't want to take a dip in that.

Here's my photo of the waterfall. I have to say though, I think Hiji Falls on Okinawa has this one beat :)

There's a funky-looking daisy for ya :)

I saw a sign about this type of bird, I think it was endangered or something and the garden was a habitat for it. But I forget what kind of bird it was...maybe it's a daisy bird. Hehe.

Lee pulled a branch down closer to us so I could get this picture. It's...another red daisy!

We were almost back to the entrance when we saw this peacock, who was apparently tired of papparazzi trying to take his picture because he was singularly uncooperative. My brother and I used to chase peacocks around a park in California when we went to visit our great grandmother, so I know that peacocks are really fast when it suits them, so I didn't attempt to chase it down for a better photo. We used to chase them for feathers when we were younger.

After we left the garden, we continued our drive around the north side of the island and just stopped whenever we saw a really good photo opportunity, although I suppose we could have stopped just about anywhere and gotten some really good pictures (except for that stupid but of SCHMUTZ on the camera lens! Gah!)

The Blue Angels were in town for an airshow, flying around this end of the island although I don't think they're in any of the pictures I picked to post here.

One place we stopped was near this place that does horseback rides, and this mountain was just behind the ranch. We got to see a lot more of the mountains a little bit later in our stay.

One last picture of the clouds touching the tops of the mountains. I actually took this picture from the car as we were zipping down the highway. It got overcast a couple of times while we were in Hawaii, but the only time it really rained was the morning we went to Pearl Harbor. Other than that, totally gorgeous!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Driving the North Shore (Part 1)

I haven't located a cord to hook my camera up to the computer so I can upload a picture of my stitching project, so I suppose it's more Hawaii pictures :) I'll find that cord sometime this week.

Lee and I rented a car for the duration of our stay on Hawaii, which turned out to be really nice because we were able to take a meandering drive along the North Shore and just stop whenever we thought we could get some good pictures.

Yep, Hawaii really does look like the postcards :) My only problem with these pictures? We got some kind of schmutz on the camera lens and didn't notice it until we'd taken a bajillion pictures, so now we (read: Lee) will have to edit out the stupid check mark on a lot of our photos from this day. See?

Grumble. Well, it doesn't show up hardly at all on some of the pictures, it's mainly a problem on the ones with a lot of sky.

There's my sweetie pie! We found a little town when we were driving around, so we got off the main road to drive around a bit and found this park, so we got out to take a bunch of pictures down by the beach.

I think that picture is really cool, how Lee snapped it right as the spray was coming up. We got back in the car and drove along a bit further until I saw this and wanted to take pictures here:

Isn't it gorgeous? After we got out of the car, we saw a bunch of people standing on the beach down there, so we walked over to see what everyone was looking at. Imagine our glee when we saw this:

There were two huge sea turtles up on the beach. One looked like she'd been there for a while, just soaking up the warmth on the sand, while the other one was still making its way over the rocks to find a comfy place to drowse in the sun.

There were two people from some kind of conservation society or something that had set up a red rope around the turtles and wouldn't let people get any closer than about 5 feet away, but that was still plenty close up to get some really good photos. Lee took a bunch, and then I took a bunch, and he says I have to go through them all and decide which ones we want to keep :p

That shadow in the wave is another turtle...this one didn't end up coming ashore, though.

I think this one might be my favorite of the pictures I took; I waited for the water to come up around the turtle just right before I took it.

Here's a wider view of the beach; one of the "rocks" in the front is actually the turtle. Pretty good camouflage.

Lee and I were both really happy that I'd asked to stop at this place since this was the only time we saw the sea turtles. It was a beautiful day for a leisurely drive around the island! I've got quite a few more pictures from this drive, but I figured I'd break them up into two posts since there are so many. And I still need to find that camera cord so I can upload some photos of my orange crate label project.
Seven years ago today, the happiest day of my life, Lee and I got married in a beautiful wedding ceremony. Happy anniversary, sweetie pie! Love you to pieces!! And not just 'cause you took me to Hawaii ;)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Polynesian Cultural Center

Here's the halo picture Lee was talking about from the USS Arizona memorial, look at the sky right above the flagpole at the memorial:

Kinda neat, huh? I thought it was. Here's another cool picture Lee took when I was still sleeping off jetlag that first day:

So, after going to Pearl Harbor in the morning, we spent the late afternoon and evening at this place:

It was really interesting...they've got 8 different areas kind of like the "lands" at Disneyland but each of these corresponds to a real Polynesian culture, like Samoa, New Zealand, Hawaii, and, um, whatever the other five were 'cause I don't remember and I don't have the brochure handy. We did a thing where we got there at 4 in the afternoon so we only had a little bit of time to explore the place, but then we did a luau dinner and a neat show. So scroll on!

The park was totally beautiful, lots of flowers everywhere but what else would you expect in Hawaii. Oops, I forgot to get the photo *without* the person on the bridge...oh well.

Some plumeria just because I thought they were beautiful :)

Speaking of good-lookin', hey, it's my hubby! My hubba-hubba hubby! :D The first thing we did, on the advice of the nice people at the ticket booth, was take a little canoe ride around the park. Perhaps unfortunately, Lee let me have the camera for the canoe ride, so a bunch of the photos came out kinda blurry. Grr. One day I really will learn how to use all the settings on that fantabulous camera.

K, so I suppose this is the same bridge from up above, but this time from canoe-level and without the person on it. So score one for me, right? I'm skipping the rest of the photos from the canoe ride because this is pretty much as good as it got. Anyway, after that, we headed over to the Samoa pavilion and caught the tail end of a performance.

This lady's back-up dancers were totally hilarious. Check this out:

I SO wish that this photo didn't have the extra arm in it, both the lady in front of him and the dude on the steps behind him just because it looks weird. We took like 20 pictures of this dude and this one totally cracks me up. That look of total concentration....ha!
After the dance ended, this announcer dude started talking about how the Samoans climb the palm trees to get coconuts, and then they had this guy scale this tree in about 20 seconds:

He was probably at least a good 50 feet off the ground I think. Then the announcer told him he'd climbed the wrong tree since this one didn't have any coconuts on it, so he suggested the dude jump to the adjacent tree.

So here's how it went:
Tree climber: Are you ready?
Crowd: Yeah!
Tree climber: Are you ready?!
Crowd: Yeah!!
Tree climber: Are you CRAZY?!
Then we all laughed and he climbed back down. The announcer said that he was all buff and stuff because he does the Tree 90X workout program. Heh. Aheh. Heh.
Then we headed on over to the luau. It was really hard to get good pictures there and I already had like 18 pictures on this post, so I'm not going to post any of the performers or anything. I will, however, show you what we had to drink (the picture of me and Lee together really didn't turn out all that well, so just me):
Strawberry smoothies in hollowed-out pineapples. Fabulous. We also had kahlua pig and lots of pineapple. I must say, I've developed quite the taste for pineapple the last couple of years. I got one here in Texas that was fabulous--sweet rather than tart. Mmmmm. I have another one I need to cut up but I digress.

It was starting to get dark when we got done with the luau; I just thought this silhouette-y picture was kind of cool.

This one even more so. Anyway, we made our way over to the theater to see a show called Ha: Breath of Life. It was pretty good; lots of dancing and music and stuff.

Lee tried for a while to get pictures of the performers just because he likes a challenge. We couldn't use a flash, and we were sitting kind of high up, so it did make picture-taking difficult.

This is the background; they lit up the cliffs different colors and they had a couple of flat areas part of the way up that they used for parts of the performance.

There it is lit up blue, kinda cool, huh? Want to see Lee's favorite part of the show? Here it is:

Fire! Fire pretty, we like fire. After a while Lee gave up on the camera so he could just sit back and enjoy the show. It ended around 9:00 p.m. I think, and then we had to drive over an hour to get back to our hotel room and man, was I a pooped puppy at that point. But it was fun!
We've had some *fabulous* weather in Texas lately, I mean seriously beautiful. I've been really enjoying my daily walks with Sadie and Vader; we usually go down towards the elementary and middle schools I attended, and since most of the streets down that way have sidewalks, we ramble through the neighborhoods. I don't think we've done exactly the same walk twice. It's been fun for me to just enjoy the beautiful weather and look at the houses--people have their Halloween decorations up, and it won't be long till the Christmas stuff goes up. We don't get all that much fall color here in Texas, although I did see a tree today that is all red and orange on one side and the rest of it is still totally green--it looks like the leaves were just spraypainted on one side or something. At any rate, it's been a blessing to take time to enjoy the little things.
If I can figure out how to upload pictures from my camera onto my parents' computer, then I am seriously overdue for a progress report on my cross stitch project. So next time it will either be that or more Hawaii pictures.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hawaiian Sunset and Pearl Harbor

As promised, here we go with some Hawaii pictures. After a very long day/night/whatever of flying, we arrived in Honolulu on a Tuesday morning, and then we had to figure out a way to amuse ourselves until we could check into our room at 3 p.m. So we ate lunch and drove around a bit. We both took a nap after we finally got into our hotel room, but Lee woke up early enough to go take some sunset pictures while I was still comatose.

Our hotel was right on Waikiki and had its own private beach, which was awesome.

Unfortunately we didn't get out there to take sunset pictures any of the subsequent days we spent on the island. Lee did take quite a few pictures that first day but I figured I'd just share a couple :)
Our first full day in Hawaii, we woke up kinda early and drove out to Pearl Harbor, which was the main thing I wanted to see. We watched a video about the attack on Pearl Harbor (and if I'm not mistaken, it was narrated by Stockard Channing or else someone that sounds just like her) and then we took a boat ride out to the USS Arizona Memorial:

The white building is the memorial; it straddles the sunken ship so you can look off either side and see it right below the surface.

It still leaks about 2 gallons of oil a day, so I was kind of surprised how many fish we saw (although of course we didn't really get any photos of the fish, so you'll have to take my word for it).

This wall is engraved with all the names of those who died who were serving on the Arizona the day Pearl Harbor was attacked, most of whom are still in the ship. They do a neat thing for the Arizona survivors though; if the person wishes to be entombed on the Arizona after death, they'll send a diver down to deposit the ashes on the ship.

View from the other side of the memorial, and you can still see the rainbow from the oil in the water.

Lee took this when we got on the boat to go back to shore. Next up, we toured the USS Bowfin, a submarine.

We only took a few pictures from the top deck of the submarine, none on the inside. Just trust me when I say that it was so cramped in there, I'm glad I never served on one!

More Hawaii pictures to come in the next few days. :)