Sofia and the magical fish pond she loves so much.
Each day I am waking up earlier and earlier. Today? 5:30! I was much happier seeing 7 or 8. The kids slept until after 7 this morning. After breakfast I let them have iPad game time for a while while I showered and booked tickets for Kualoa Ranch, a 4000 acre ranch and tourist park on the Windward side of the Island. Kualoa Ranch
Sofia has been in charge of the fish pond since we have been at the house. The fish need to be fed twice a day. She also keeps tabs on the frogs and snails. She is truly in her element. There are also crabs living on the edge of the property that she checks on all the time. We haven’t had any luck with fish in the ocean in front of the property but I think the water may be a bit too rough.
We took the 15 minute drive up to the ranch and collected our tickets. By now the rain was coming down and I wondered how this was going to go in the rain. It turned out to be ok. It rained for only part of the tour and then picked up again once we were done.
The guides loaded about 24 or so of us into three Swiss Pinzgauers for our tour.
Our guide took us all around the ranch on dirt roads, up and down hills stopping every now and again to explain Hawaiian Gods, taro plants, the islands, ancient fishing pond, etc. there were two amazing viewpoints over Mokoli’i Island and Kāne’ohe Bay. During our stops Sofia and I made sure to check out vegetation and ask questions about animals we saw or other things along the way. The guides were very knowledgable and were very happy to answer questions.
Because of the rain we didn’t spend much time exploring the area. An obligatory stop was the petting zoo to see the turtles, pig, goats, horses, etc. From here it was a grand tour around the gift shop to pick up a few things. I got a dress, Sofia a shirt and Alex a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. The kids also got gummy bears for their classrooms and a few more miscellaneous items.
We left the ranch and headed toward The Shrimp Shack. My kids don’t like shrimp, prawns, seafood in general unless it is fish so I didn’t have high hopes that they would eat anything. I ordered coconut shrimp and we all ordered floats with ice cream and fruit juice. I had a scrumptious guava and strawberry float, Alex ordered orange passion fruit and Sofia pineapple orange. They weren’t too fond of theirs at all. Happy they are trying new things though. I did manage to get Sofia to have one bite of coconut shrimp but she didn’t like that either…
Tomorrow we need to drive down to pick up Tom at the airport in Honolulu after his jaunt over to Los Angeles to see U2 for two nights with a friend. Tonight I read a book and the kids worked on their school journals. Only a few more days to home….
After a quick breakfast the kids asked to play Monopoly again. It took us a couple of hours before we called Alex the winner and put everything away. Today our mission is to find a beach on the North Shore to explore and then drive back to the famous Shrimp Shack for some dinner. We got ourselves ready for the day and did some laundry and then got in the car for an explore.
The guidebook made Sunset Beach sound like a nice place for us to stop for a while. It wasn’t too far away and there were very few people there. The kids hadn’t quite committed to swimming or getting wet yet. They ran around and played for a while and got everything wet! Time to put on the cozzies and get in the water. One problem. The waves were a big too much for the little ones. They did love waiting for them to come in the then running. I went up to the car and changed into mine so I could get in the water with them. It was good fun but difficult as an adult not to be knocked down by waves or swept back in. I went in a bit further past the break and sort of bobbed along with the waves but they were too strong and kept pushing me back in. No wonder the North Shore is famous for surfing the big waves.
We bundled up and got back in the car. Speed limits are notoriously slow here. It took us a while to get back over by our house and down to The Shrimp Shack. We got there at 5:07…seven minutes after they shut for the day! Oh well, back to the house. The kids had a bath while I prepared something to eat. After dinner they watched some shows on the iPad before we got ready for bed. Wednesday I have planned to take the kids up to Kualoa Ranch for a jungle expedition in a Pinzgauer. Should be a good time.
Lazy morning. Tom started teaching the kids to play Monopoly which took some time! Around lunchtime we took the trek back down to the airport in Honolulu for Tom to fly to Los Angeles until Thursday. Traffic wasn’t too bad for Memorial Day until we neared a large cemetery which had police directing traffic in and out. We said our goodbyes to Tom and went on our way. It took about an hour to get back up to the house. After a late lunch the kids wanted to go to the local beach only a few doors down from us. It turned out to be a good time. A dog kept us entertained for a good hour, Sofia especially. The dog loved us throwing the ball over and over and over again. Because it was late afternoon, breezy and cloudy it felt a bit cool out in the air. That meant the after felt toasty warm. It was hard to get out.
After spending a couple of hours at the beach we came home and rinsed off. I didn’t feel like cooking so the kids wanted tacos from North Shore tacos again. Happy to oblige. This time Sofia had two tacos with beans and rice herself and Alex only managed half a taco. From here we popped into Longs Drugs next door to pick up a few things like motion sickness tablets, nasal spray to stop nosebleeds, etc.
Another relaxing evening before playing musical beds again. Both kids ended up in the spare bed together because they didn’t want to sleep in different rooms. Sleeping is getting better. We should be well adjusted about the time we need to go home and start over again!
There are so many things to do with the kids on Oahu but I know much of it is touristy stuff and not quite authentic. I struggle with booking these things and spending the money or do we just do everyday things we all love like going to the beach?
We have direct access to the water out front but no beach per se. After we dropped Tom at the airport today I took the kids to the beach a few doors down from us. We all spent a good hour with this lovely dog throwing a ball and stick. The sun was behind the clouds coupled with a cool breeze…made for a chilly beach experience. It made the water feel warm.
Another night of messed up sleeping. Kids didn’t roll out of bed until 10 again. I think they had a better night of sleeping though. While they were still asleep I went through the room and got most of our things packed up into bags. For the next week we are staying at Hau’ula up on the Windward coast (NE of island) in a beach house. The kids had their heart set on swimming in the pool one last time before departing the hotel but there was no time since we had to be out before noon.
We packed up the car and set off. Another glorious day with a million people everywhere. After a drive past Diamond Head crater we planned to stop at Hanauma Bay for the incredible snorkelling. Nope. You couldn’t even get in there because it was too full! We continued up the coast and arrived at the house 2ish. After checking out the fish pond, hammock, and views and getting our bags up it was time for food. Only a couple of miles up the road is the famous North Shore Tacos. The kids actually ate something different. Yay. After eating we popped into the market next door for some necessities for the week. The market turned out to be a very interesting adventure. There is unbelievable diversity in types of food here. There may not be a huge selection but I know I can get kimchi, chicken feet, octopus, pigs ears, and so on. Back to the house to settle in.
I finished washing and drying all of our dirty and new clothes. Tom needed to work on packing a few things since Monday he is flying to Los Angeles to meet a friend for two nights of U2 shows.much of the evening was spent relaxing and hanging out and getting the kids much needed showers. Alex played musical beds again. He was meant to sleep in the top bunk bed but got out probably six times. Then he went to sleep in between us but then Tom couldn’t turn over because Alex was snuggled up. I ended up putting him in the spare bed by himself. Kids!
Tomorrow we will drive Tom down to the Honolulu airport for an afternoon flight and pick him up again on Thursday.
Tom and I aren’t adjusting to jet lag very well, both keeping strange hours. And the kids are going to bed late. We do better going around the world for some reason.
Three of us were up at a decent time this day. Alex slept and slept and slept. He needed it! We were all eating when he finally came rolling out of bed. He was so out of it and didn’t want to eat or even talk to anyone.
As Americans living in Australia we are sometimes out of touch with American holidays. Tom booked this trip and neither of us realised it was Memorial Day weekend. Fail. It is busy everywhere.
We went into Honolulu to have a walk and see a few of the sights. We walked around the ‘Iolani Palace but found it to be quite expensive to go in and not very interesting for the kids so we didn’t go inside.
From Wikipedia: “The ʻIolani Palace was the royal residence of the Kalākaua Dynasty, which included King David Kalākaua and Queen Liliʻuokalani. It is located in the capitol district of downtown Honolulu in the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi. It is now a National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Kamehameha III, IV, V, and Lunalilo had their official royal residences in this location as well. After the monarchy was overthrown in 1893, the building was used as the capitol building for the Provisional Government, Republic, Territory, and State of Hawaiʻi until 1969. The palace was restored and opened to the public as a museum in 1978.”
We also wandered around the grounds of the Kawaiaha’o Church, also known as The Stone Church. It is referred to as the Westminster Abbey of Hawai’i as it was the site of royal coronations, funerals and christenings. The churches an interesting story. It was built between 1936 and 1942. Some 14,000 thousand-pound slabs of coral reef were hand-chiseled down 3-6 meters and brought up to build the church.
These landmarks are in the Capitol district of Honolulu which also has the State Capitol as well as senate and house buildings. Banyan trees, prevalent on the islands, dot this district as well. I would also like to note the abundance of homeless people in the area. The state library and archives building was lined with homeless people lying all around it.
By now our tummies were growling so we made a quick stop at Subway and then returned to Waikiki. Because of the Memorial Day holiday, Waikiki was heaving with people and cars. The kids asked to go to the aquarium but there wasn’t a parking space anywhere. We returned to our hotel room for a break after all of that walking with hopes of visiting the aquarium another day. The kids had been asking about the hotel pool so we took them up for an hour swim and soak in the hot tub. It was dead quiet up there and we had it to ourselves for most of the time. Back to the room again for a rest since we still had several things to accomplish.
Kuhlo Beach, just in front of our hotel, was our next stop. Tom and I opted out of another swim but the kids had about 40 minutes of running around and wave jumping before we got changed for dinner. Tom and I had both read reviews about Eggs n Things restaurant which is just in front of our hotel so we went for it. Bad idea. Tom ordered Eggs Benedict, I had a Portuguese sausage omelet with a pancake, Sofia had banana pancakes with whipped cream bigger than her head and Alex ate waffles. The kids seemed to enjoy their food alright. Tom and I were sorely disappointed. I have nothing nice to say about the omelet. The pancake was ok only because I got the chance to try Guava syrup and coconut syrup along side the usual maple. Back upstairs. We had planned to go to a hula show on the beach at sundown but the kids were worn out. But, we had a crazy idea for later: Target. I won’t even discuss what we ended up spending. I miss having a proper Target so much. It was 11:30 by the time the kids got to bed.
Tomorrow morning we check out and head north to the Windward side and visits to the north shore. Goodnight.
Because we crossed the International Date Line on the way over we got to have another 22 May (Left Sydney at 9pm on the 22nd and arrived in Hawaii at 11am on the 22nd).
Tom travelled here last year so he was familiar with the airport, car rental, etc. Instead of waiting ages for the Avis shuttle to pick us up we spent five minutes walking down to the end of the terminal and crossing the street to get to the rental area. We got a behemoth of a vehicle, a Ford Explorer. Off to find our hotel for the first two nights, the Aston Waikiki Beach Tower. Because our room wasn’t going to be ready for a couple of hours we upgraded to a room on the 29th floor instead of our 7th floor room. Worth it!
Everyone felt tired, out of sorts and hungry. We got ourselves settled in and then went to find some late lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise. None of us had a cheeseburger. Tom and I shared fish tacos and coconut prawns. The kids had macaroni and cheese. I also had a piña colada and we shared a mojito. Yum.
Back at the room Alex fell asleep on the sofa so we went and had a nap. Sofia said she wasn’t tired and watched iPad shows while Tom snoozed off and on. After our siesta we needed to go out for food again. Our hotel has a McDonalds right outside the front so we took,the easy option with the kids since they were still quite out of sorts (or completely foul, something like that). Next stop was the local ABC shop for yogurt, juice, smoothies and apples for breakfast.
Thinking back to last night it is all a haze. No idea where all the time went. Sofia went to bed ok at 10pm but Alex didn’t fall asleep until closer to midnight. (Naps aren’t always a good thing).
It is Memorial Day weekend in a very touristy area and it shows! Excited to be heading up the Windward (East) coast on Sunday for a week in a beach house. Photos and more later!