"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Vacation: Part II




















                   JB photobombing the Tongan Choir concert.

Our accommodations in Laie, Oahu were....oh, lets just say they were not exactly what we had pictured in our minds, and leave it at that. We bunked a stone's throw from the LDS Temple and walked there to wander the grounds on Sunday. This group of Banyan trees grows behind the temple. These trees send roots down from the branches to root into the earth and then extra trunks grow from those new connections. Here is a picture of the front of the temple with its beautiful water features. 
   
      Sunday evening we attended a choral concert by the Tongan Choir. The director was a man of beautiful, peaceful spirit who has lead this choir for the past thirty years. The music was lovely, with tight harmony. It had been a long day and a stressful one for me. Monday would be better.
 





      Monday we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center. This is made up of villages made to represent several of the islands in the Pacific. The performers demonstrated the music, dances and arts of that particular island. We walked from one to the next all afternoon and then sat and viewed a barge parade of all of them.  There were shops outside the main area, but inside, guess what I found...A QUILT SHOP. I thought of you, Randa. Students from all over the world can go to BYU Hawaii for free if they work in the cultural center while they are there. What a great idea: they don't have to pay for staffing the center and the students get a free education. Barter at its best.



     Ann and I attended the Luau in the evening (yes, there was a pig and Tahitian dancers. Wow. ) After the Luau we would have been happy to go home and fall into our beds, sleeping the sleep of the dead, but no, there was more to come.  We had tickets to a theatrical/musical show about the legend of the Ha, The Breath of Life.  I liked it and probably would have liked it more if we hadn't been so beat.
      
      Notice I did not include a picture of myself here, at the end of the day after spending a long, sweaty afternoon wandering through the tropical islands. When they placed the leis on our necks at the luau, I was so hoping they would be the fragrant ones made of Plumeria blossoms because I was one stinking girl by that time. It was hot, guys! But, alas, no scent on the flowers, but thankfully the place smelled of slow-roasted pork and pineapple smoothie drinks, so I was okay. My thanks to Ann for not saying what she certainly could have said: My gosh, Deb, you smell like a harvest hand.  Right.



    

      Wednesday we hitched a ride with our neighbors, Ann and ....I never really caught the other lady's name. It might have been something like Cloa, but I wouldn't bet the farm on that. Both of these ladies were wonderful to us and drove us and our baggage to Honolulu, made sure we were checked into our hotel, and then took us out to lunch at a Korean cafe and on to Pearl Harbor where we met up with Laura again. There are saints among us.
    The Arizona Memorial was very moving and peaceful, looking down into the harbor and seeing the ship not far beneath the surface, with all hands still aboard.  There were some survivors of the bombing on the Arizona and so far 41 of those have asked to be cremated after they died, and to have their ashes lowered into the sunken ship so they could rest with their fallen brothers below.  (The Arizona burned for three days after she was hit because the ammunition she had on-board exploded after she was bombed. The only survivors were blown off the ship and rescued from the sea.) Below: Some mementos from the USS Oklahoma which, along with the USS Missouri and the USS Arizona, was sunk and was not able to be repaired. Many of the other battleships were able to be put back into service after repairs.

    The following morning we climbed aboard a plane and flew to Big Island (Hawaii) to spend three days with some friends of Ann. This couple is originally from India and were wonderful hosts, driving us all over the island, explaining everything about the history of the place and letting us relax in their beautiful home.  The houses in the islands are always open to the air and everything seems a little musty. Moss grows everywhere and anything painted soon loses its color, rusting away in the sea air.
   This is Sheila, our hostess, sitting beside the sea at our afternoon picnic.  Sadly, not too long after this, Sheila became ill and was sick the rest of the time, poor thing. I absolutely loved getting to know this woman who is a writer and an illustrator.  She was amazing.
 We saw fields of lava, a black sand beach, and the magnificent botanical gardens on this lovely island.  Jingle Boy was a trouper and gladly posed with everyone all over the place. This lovely red-with-white blossom is flower of the red ginger plant. Oh my.


 The second day we went to this black beach and saw two black sea turtles lounging on the sand. We also got to watch a local man teaching his grandson how to fish in the waves with a thrown, weighted circle net.
And lest I forget: Palm trees. I admit that I have grown used to seeing them everywhere and find myself wondering where they are, now that I'm home. Nowhere, Deb, that's where they are. I love the way they move with the breezes, staying flexible and beautiful, with their hearts open to the sun and the sea.  (A moment of honesty, folks: I am weary of the prairie.)


     This is Kataka waterfall, the first one we saw on Hawaii. We hiked down through a tropical rainforest to finally reach a spot where we could see the entire thing. In this case the journey was as wondrous as the destination. There is a small fish that matures in the ocean near this point. When it is an adult it swims back upstream to this waterfall and climbs (yes! with little suction cups on its belly and its tail fin) the rocks behind the waterfall and then swims up over the top and lays its eggs behind the rocks up there. When the babies hatch, they are washed to the sea; survival of the strongest.


By Saturday morning Ann was sick too. We decided to get on the plane anyway (sure, why not spread the germs around) and fly back to our hotel on Waikiki beach. She rested all day and Laura and I donned our swim capris and took on the ocean waves. I was not going to let it be said that I went to Hawaii and never got into the ocean. We dove into and through waves, were washed up onto the beach, floated over some waves, scraped our knees on the rocks and finally stumbled out onto the sand, our legs so weak we could barely stand up. Old ladies! The people on the beach must have laughed themselves silly watching our antics.  I loved it.
     Ann got better. We all flew home and parted ways in San Fran again.
That was a great game.

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