Friday, July 20, 2012


There is very little left of today, Roger's 35th birthday, but I've had a lot of the previous hours to consider my life, my current state of being, and of course the sweet man of the day.

Particularly over the last year and half, a specific friend of mine and I have joked that I must have some level of psychic ability, even if it exists at the lowest level. Most of the time I'm joking; there are the rare occasions when I'm not.

I am an optimistic pessimist. As far back as I can remember, I have prepared for the worst so that I could handle the worst in the best possible way, or be incredibly grateful when the worst did not come to pass. Example in point: as a young child, my parents would leave my sister and I with my grandparents every year on their anniversary trip to McDonalds. I was always so afraid, even as a little kid, that they would be in a car accident on the way back. I spent the couple of hours they were gone considering how I would need to handle the situation should they die, be crippled, or awaken from a coma with no memory of their children like in a soap opera, all while my grandma dealt the next hand of Gin Rummy. Dark for a 7 year old... I know. Of course, my parents returned safely each year, and my mental over-preparedness for the worst allowed me to be overjoyed when the worst was not.

Years ago, I was recently out of college, working hard, living alone in a small apartment plenty big for just me, miles away from my version of "civilization", feeling very isolated in this world and life in general. I felt very out of place with the rest of the people in my community. Dating any of them was out of the question. Had I wrongly assumed I'd have the white bread, all-American husband and family? And so my optimistic pessimism kicked in. By the age of 23, I had literally begun playing out in my head the future in which I was 40-something spinster (old maid), spending my money selfishly on just myself (since I wasn't married), with two beautiful dogs (mini-schnauzers in that imagination that were replacing the children I didn't have), a shabby chic house (I was so young...) and a career like Betty Pierce. I figured if I told myself this reality long enough, when it came to pass I'd be okay with it, and if it didn't, well, awesome! All kidding aside, I imagined this future for myself a lot. I'd even say it loud to friends or family. I'd talk to my mom about her future grand-dogs, laugh, and then seriously look through those little shops and trades day shows in Fredericksburg for kitschy ways to decorate the house I'd be sharing with those two dog children.

About a week ago it occurred to me that I'm not far off.

Granted, I haven't won Honor Band (yet), and I don't have croquet mallets holding up curtains (like I once thought would be cool), but here I am... Sharing my house with two dogs, thankfully dachshunds. Telling them they are going to see Grandma. Taking vacations to Hawaii because I can afford to lavish myself with travel.


Last year at this time I had my hand in a box of ashes. I was certain that was the worst. 
A year later, I wouldn't call this the worst, but I certainly don't feel prepared. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Madame Pele, I presume --- Hawaii, the Final Act

It's interesting to remember that the news of Hawaii came to me on my anniversary as a widow. It was while spending the evening with the Williams Clan at Chez Zee that Kim first mentioned that she had accepted this job and the invitation extended to spend some time down there over the summer. It was never a question of if I could make it happen but when. I have a great extended family, and I am thankful for them.


From the moment I bought my plane ticket, I was interested primarily in planning a side trip to the Big Island to play volcanologist. There are only a handful of places in the world that one can witness the churnings of an active volcano, and I simply had to do see it for myself. For my last few days in tropical paradise, we planned a side trip to the island of Hawaii for some real adventure!

We flew into Hilo, Hawaii my last Friday at 7:30pm. One of the ladies at the airport had recommended a diner called Ken's for supper. O  M   G.... Ken's was amazing!!! It was one of those places that had 40,000 items on the menu, a little bit of everything and a whole lot of breakfast, and you knew just by looking at the place that every one of those items would come out amazing. I had a really boring but super delicious bacon, eggs, and pancake dinner with some POG (passion fruit-orange-guava juice). Yum yum! Perfect dinner for exploration. After eating we checked into our hotel and headed out for some star gazing and volcano hunting!

Yes, star gazing. Hawaii is home to the Mauna Kea Observatory - a collection of several observatories and telescopes controlled by a number of countries atop the Mauna Kea (Ma-una Key-a) shield volcano. It hasn't erupted in 4000+ years, and, because of its altitude, there is virtually no man-made light up there. By the time we had unloaded the car with our bags, bundled up for the 40* temperatures you find at 9000 feet above sea level, and found our way down the poorly lit Hawaiian roads, it was 10:00 when we reached the visitors center. You're only allowed to drive up to the actual observatory a) during daylight and b) with a 4x4 vehicle. The kids had conked out the back, so it was just the adults taking in the beauty. We were the only folks up there, and it was so quiet. Looking down and to the north, over the "edge" of the volcano was a silvery sea.... of clouds! It looked just like water; my eyes told me it was water, my brain struggled with the idea it was not, but it was definitely the 5 minutes worth of clouds we had driven through on our way up the volcano. I wish my pictures did better justice, but it was simply beautiful on top of the world that night.

By the time I was done playing with my shutter-speed, trying to get "the shot", it was nearly 11. The plan was to go looking for glowing lava, but Kim and the kids were done. We drove back to the hotel and dropped them off, and at 11:30pm we started our lava hunt. Dave and I had found our soundtrack on Lava Rock 101... how splendidly cheesy. :) There were two different sources for glowing lava I had mapped. We started with Kilauea in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Kilauea has been erupting constantly since 1983 and is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, right here in our no-passport-needed-USA people!!! There are two main sources for lava within this one volcano: the Halemaumau crater (of which we visited) and the Pu'u'O'o vent (the later of which has been the source of much of Hawaii's "devastation" as recently as March of this year). It took us about 30 minutes to reach the National Park. I was running on fumes at this point. It truly was everything I could do to even stay awake for lava. We drove maybe a quarter of a mile into the park, and as we reached a clearing, to our left were the first plumes of orange smoke in the distance. Any hint of exhaustion was instantly gone!

Let's take a moment to think about that: orange smoke... in the dark... We've all seen smoke at night, if you can see it at all. A grey mist with no definition, no form. This was definitely glowing orange, which meant it was illuminated by something orange... LAVA!!! I seriously cannot tell you how much I wanted to wet my pants! We drove a little further, constantly checking to make sure it was still there, until we reached the sign reading "Kilauea Lookout". We turned in. Turning off the car we were instantly aware that we were again cloaked in silence and darkness, the only illumination coming from a full moon and the erie, fiery glow coming from just down the way.

Following the paved path, we walked maybe 100 yards. In the moonlight, the landscape was devoid of color aside from the brilliantly colored smoke bellowing from a still unseen opening in the earth. The Hawaiians believed that the Halemaumau crater was the home of the goddess Pele, who showed her presence in a number of ways including Pele's Hair. When we finally reached the fenced lookout, it was pure majesty. A foot away was the edge of the summit, dropping 165 meters into the dark Kilauea caldera. Another x# of meters a way (it seemed very close in the night) we could see the very defined, very clear interior of the Halemaumau crater, the actual lava pit sending up its plumes of orange smoke.

I enhanced this a bit so you could see everything clearer.
the original
What do you say as you bear witness to the birth of our world? What does one say standing before one of the most primordial forces of our Earth? You say, "that is coolest f***ing thing I've ever seen in my life!" and you say it over and over again. :) I wish I could say that as I watched Madame Pele making her presence known, as she proved to me why the ancient peoples worshiped her, I wish I could say I had something of value, something poignant to say. But I didn't. Good thing my mom wasn't with me. There would have been soap involved. :)
another angle, this time with a tree! also enhanced

Damn the luggage weight restrictions!!! Damn them! In order to fly as cheaply as possible, not having to pay for an overweight suitcase, what did I purge from the depths of my vacuum-packed clothes??? My tripod... Damn you, American Airlines.

What a moment for a tripod...

I took probably 100 pictures of the crater from Kilauea Lookout. I was truly in awe of just how cool our world is. What an amazing window into... life! If all "nature" was this cool, Mom, I would be more into it. ;) On the way back to the car we noticed another paved path veering to the left, climbing higher up the summit. Assuming a better angle would follow, we hiked through the monochromatic darkness, through the barren, martian fields of what looked like giant cauliflower (in the daylight, it looked nothing like cauliflower) toward the Jaggar Museum. At one point we detoured off the path to the edge of the caldera (no fence here) so I could use a rock as my tripod and take another 100+ pictures, trying to the point of silliness to get capture a moment in time I may never recreate.

After exhausting every possible angle we could reach, Dave and I headed back to the Jeep, at loss for words to describe just how incredible our midnight excursion proved to be. Looking over our shoulder, one might assume we were looking at a forest fire in the night. It's truly amazing to think instead we were looking at liquid rock. I don't know how to describe that hour of my life in the length of a blog entry.

Simply humbling.

notice the offering to Pele hanging on the fence. there were several.

in a lava tube
at the end of our rainforest hike we found a lava field. notice the steam vents
this used to be a subdivision
oops! it was melted into the ground
lava twizzlers!
a double complete rainbow! you have to squint but i swear it's there!

sea turtle! on a black sand beach!!!

check out that 80s hair i've got going! :) 


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Island Adventure --- Part 3 --- Fish are the Devil, Bobby!

Let me start by saying that I sincerely hope you catch the reference made in my post's title. If not, I am providing you with a link to educate you so that can A) start making your own devil references and B) pretend you got it the first time.

WEDNESDAY, July 4th, I declined the invitation to anchor on a sandbar on a pontoon boat in the ocean with Kim, Dave, and some of their island friends and instead choose to shop and relax. :) Yes, I know, I know... I am quite positive 97% of you are questioning why the heck I would choose shopping over a day on the boat, and you are entitled to that opinion. I offer you 3 words: vomit, sunburn, toilet. Two of these things I prefer to avoid, and the other I refuse to bypass.

I instead walked to the Ala Moana Center, Waikiki's mall which is like nothing I've ever been to. It's set up like a normal 3 story mall, but it's outside... Not a strip mall. Think Barton Creek ala aire libre. Anyhow, virtually all the stores were too expensive for me shop (Chanel, Diane von Furstenberg, Gucci, etc...), but I did find a Crocs store. :) I bought a black and a brown pair of "Sexi Flops". That's right; of all the things I could buy in Hawaii, I bought Crocs. :) I then ate at Subway (yeah Island Adventure!!!!), came back the condo to nap, and then read the 2nd Janet Evanovich book downstairs in the breezeway commons where I could hear the surf and bad Hawaiian music. It was a lovely way to spend the day. :) When the family came back, we walked over to another friend's condo who had the most amazing view of the big fireworks show, which was the biggest I've maybe ever seen.

THURDAY, today, Dave and I went back to Shark's Cove to snorkel for real this time. Just as we found a parking spot it began to rain, cold rain. I stripped down, coated myself in sunscreen, and headed down the muddy path to the water. The tide was much lower than it was the last time we were there, and there were now isolated tide pools between the two main coves. One step into the water and my desire to snorkel waned just a bit. Actually a lot. Dave got out in the cove pretty quickly, but I chose to wander around the tide pools for a bit and give my barely-clad body a chance to acclimate just to the cold air first.

I saw a couple of neat black, volcanic rocks I wanted to take home, made a mental note of their whereabouts, and started for the pools. A few still had access to the waves rolling into Shark's Cove, but most had become separate little ecosystems early this morning. Separating this shallow area from the main body of water are big, tall rocks. I maneuvered my way through the tide pools, the slippery volcanic rock, the little kids who had also chosen the shallows over the cove, and found this neat cave in the big rock. Water from the crashing waves on the other side was spewing forth from the cave, washing smaller fish into the connected pools as well. Right next to the cave was a fissure in the rock that allowed water to rush in and then suck back out sounding exactly like a toilet flush in the process. :) Hiding in the fissure was a HUGE crab! He was not sure what to make of my presence and pulled himself deeper into the crack, just in case. On the way back to the deeper water, I saw several different kinds of smaller crabs, including a couple hermit crabs, skittering across the sand.

Dave met me as I started to very... slowly... wade into the crazy cold water. I wasn't in a big rush to freeze. The currents were pretty strong he said, and just beyond one of the rocks jutting out from the water was a seemingly endless school of fish. It took me probably 5 minutes to just suck it up and get wet. Once I suctioned the mask to my face and committed to getting in the water, the temperature was actually pretty tolerable, especially compared the the cold rain that was again falling.

All of these pictures are ones I jacked off in the internet but are examples of specific fish I saw. 

The first time I snorkeled a few days ago, I couldn't keep my breathing relaxed. In fact, I was so nervously sucking in the air, that my chest actually kind of hurt from taking in such large amounts of air through the snorkel tube. Eventually that subsided, and from the moment I put my face in the water today I was fine...


I came upon the school of fish Dave was talking about. There were just so many of them! Silvery fish darting through the water in mob mentality. I lifted my head and noticed I had drifted a bit further away from the cove "walls" than I had intended. Putting my face back into the water I could see now that it was actually pretty deep there. I was in the open section of the cove. Trying to calm my breathing back down, I turned to float away from the fish school. That's when I first saw The Fish.

Not the cute orange one. The silver monster behind it.

It looked me square in the eye; unnervingly deteremined was its gaze. It didn't seem to be swimming. It just floated there, staring at me. I freaked out. I would rather pit myself against that whole school of fish than with the one. I turned around to swim back toward the rockier area. I kid you not, upon turning my body a complete 180, I was met face to face with ANOTHER evil fish! I literally screamed through my snorkel. I tried to wave my hands to scare it off (that works with other fish... the colorful kind that don't eat people), and it just floated there!!! Deep within me, animal instinct took over, and I tried to kick both at and away from the devil fish. 

I flipped my body in the direction of the shore, trying to swim to safety. I was breathing really hard. That same tightness was returning. I could hear myself breathing as I realized I was closing off my windpipe. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of light. That damn fish was following me!!! I WAS FREAKING OUT! 

As I tried to calmly continue on to shore, (Dave later told me that he could see me flailing in the water and briefly thought about going in but decided I was a big girl) I shifted again in the opposite direction, to the right, and was met face to goggle by the second devil fish! I squealed again as it stared at me, vicious hatred for mankind behind that solid gaze. THE FIRST FISH SWAM INTO MY LEG! You can call it the current, but I call it tactical maneuvering by two very sinister fish! 

I swam so crazy fast back to the shore, removed my goggles, threw them on my towel, and turned back to look at all the helpless snorkelers, unknowing swimming perhaps to their deaths at the hand/fin of devil fish. Even now, typing this makes me nervous and squirmy. I have quite possibly snorkeled my last snorkel. As I was recounting the events of today's attack to Dave, he laughed and made the dangerous decision to go back into the water. I, however, was DONE! I dried off and relegated myself to looking for shells and cool rocks. I found several.

Devil Fish can be easily spotted and differentiated from normal fish by looking for these key features:
  1. Devil Fish prefer to live in water.
  2. They generally have scales and 2 eyes, most often with a solid stare. A sure sign of a Devil Fish is one that does not blink.
  3. Devil Fish have fins that they use to swim.
  4. More often than not, they will have gills with which they deviously filter oxygen out of the water.
  5. If you see a fish NOT floating to the surface, it is probably a Devil Fish. 

There were some other really neat things that I saw and did today, but I feel those stories will take away from the serious nature of the snorkeling "incident". Please take some time to familiarize yourself and your loved ones with how to spot a Devil Fish to best keep you safe in the event you make the unwise choice to put yourself in watery peril. 

Stay safe (and dry), my friends. Stay safe.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hawaiian Days --- Part 2

From my other travels, I have learned that trying to take pictures of landscapes almost never works out. So much of what makes Hawaii fabulous is the actual environment, and I refuse to bore you (or myself) with bad pictures...

FRIDAY we woke up semi-early. After a Kona coffee and a delicious muffin, we headed up to Manoa Falls for a nice little hike. It was AMAZING! I have never seen individual leaves quite as big as I did in the jungle-like undergrowth in the tropical forest. It was super muddy, super slippery (I watched a little old Asian woman totally bite it down a muddy hill), and super awesome. :) I really enjoyed the hike.

After some lunch at Fresh Cafe in the business district (famous for their parking lot murals... including a fairly inappropriate one of Mark Twain and a pineapple... I'll let your imagination figure that one out), we headed back to Waikiki for some beach time. I spent most of that building a sand cake, not castle, as I was in need of water shoes before actually playing in the ocean. Dinner on our condo's boardwalk gave us a great view of the Friday night fireworks and a super cliche hula show. :)

SATURDAY we headed down to Chinatown and explored their markets. I question whether they pass US health inspections, but we did see some interesting produce and.... "meats". :) Following Adventures in Grocery Shopping, we had a lunch at a really great French restaurant called Du Vin. We made a Target run for snorkel gear. Much needed nap time and salt water pool time filled most of the afternoon, and we ended the day with spaghetti at home.

SUNDAY I had my first snorkel session! :) We got up crazy early (I would say before the sun came up, but there is quite a lot of light at 5:30am), downed some cereal, and made the short drive to Hanauma Bay - touted as one of the island's best places to snorkel (more on that later). We arrived well before the visitor center even opened, hoping to avoid the throws of tour buses that would assuredly arrive later. One of the center's guides met us (with a booger in his nose that I could not help but look at...) and told us that unfortunately we would have to get in for free since no one was there to take our money. :) It was GORGEOUS! Unfortunately, I didn't bring my good camera since there wasn't safe storage for it, so this picture is a random one I found online. When we got to the beach I suited up in my snorkel gear and borrowed some fins from Kim and Dave. I realize that you are supposed to put the fins on IN the water, but that seemed more difficult that waddling out to the surf. I was sooooo wrong. I also discovered that I have absolutely no control of my body in fins and kept them on for probably 5 minutes before I gave up and just used swim shoes. The first moment I put my snorkeled face in the water was FANTASTIC!

For those of you who don't know, let me take a moment to describe my personal history and opinion on fish. They are evil, disgusting, meat-eaters that are simply waiting for the opportunity to attack and devour. When I was 8 or 10 I had a run in with one of these (below), a rope, and a sail boat on Canyon Lake.
nasty needle nose gar
Or how about these, that my sister and I found spawning in the shallows at our lake place growing up on Lake Buchanon.
more gar
Or perhaps even worse, because they are seemingly mild-mannered and "non-threatening", tasty even:

the evil that is bass

Anyhow, the fact that I am voluntarily getting in the water with fish is a feat in and of itself. It really is incredible to see these fish though. Perhaps the bright colors make them seem less vicious or the fact that I can see for my own eyes that they are not particularly interested in dining on my flesh in the clear, blue waters. You'll just have to take my word for how beautiful these fish were as my T2i is not waterproof.

By 8am we were all shivering and ready for food. We came back into Waikiki for some breakfast and a LONG nap.... like 3 hours of nap. :) At 4:00 we headed over to a local theater to watch a production of Jane Austen's Zombie Apocalypse that Kim took part in and finished off the day with dinner and drinks at Side Steet Inn, another Anthony Bourdain approved diner.

MONDAY, the kids started a week of YMCA splash camp, so Dave and I went off to explore on our own (Kim is having to actively work while she's in Hawaii). First thing's first: breakfast at Leonard's. As you can see from the sign, they are known for their Malasadas, a Portuguese donut-like object that is spherical, fried, super rich, and topped with sugar. We got cinnamon sugar on ours. One was MORE than enough and ridiculously delicious.

We started our trek around the island, this time making our way counter-clockwise to the North Shore. The Oahu North Shore is famous for amazing surf and is frequented by the likes of Laird Hamilton. I'm sure the waves were cool, but the scenery was amazing.

First stop was the Nuuanu Pali Lookout. Every guide book and website warns about the strong winds up there, but I've been to the Cliffs of Moher on a day when the wind swept a tourist off their feet to their death... I KNOW strong winds.

This was crazy strong.

Oh my goodness, it's beautiful! I'm not even sure what we were looking at, but who cares! My hair looked absolutely disgusting by the time we left. My eyes were watering like mad from the wind, and all I could think about was getting a couple of shots to prove I was there. :) At one point, there was a couple that asked if I could take a picture of them, and Dave had to stand behind me pushing on my shoulders to keep the wind from tossing me around! It was crazy but, again, breathtaking.

As I promised before, I won't bore you with pictures of landscapes that don't photograph well with my basic of basic lenses, but we stopped several times on our way to the North Shore. Sunset Beach looked like a nice spot to spend a couple of hours working on your skin cancer. I found a lovely, sand-smoothed shell that I jacked. The Banzai Pipeline, home to some of the biggest surfing waves, wasn't overly cooperative when it came to trying to catch one of those big ones on film, but the sand was hot enough to make you not want to stay out there too awfully long.

some random park with a random island

The highlight of our stops was Shark's Cove. Someone had told me that was a fabulous place to snorkel and scuba dive, so now having discovered that snorkeling is kinda fun, I wanted to check it out.

Whoever says that Hanauma Bay is the ultimate snorkel spot on Oahu is a pyscho hose beast. By the time we made it to Shark's Cove it was already pretty hot for Hawaii standards, and the sweat on my back really made me want to hop in the water, even if just for a few minutes. Dave and I literally took a 30 minute snorkel (in shifts as we had not planned on where to put the car keys while we took said snorkel) which was long enough to know that this place far exceeded the awesomeness that was Hanauma Bay. The water was deeper. You weren't maneuvering reefs. The were plenty of huge rocks that both created crevices for a plethora of new types of fish and gave swimmers places to regain their bearings. We decided that we'd return with Kim and the kids on the 4th, and with that headed out again.

JJ's Irish Pub pizza (strange, I know) and some wine rounded out a great day. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Aloha, Hawaii! --- Part 1

As I will probably be the only one awake for a while (my body still isn't used to the time change), I'll use this time to cover the 1st chunk of my Hawaiian adventure!

Being a fairly lucky duck when it comes to travel, this is my second time to come to Hawaii. My first trip (1986) ended with very fuzzy memories, the most prominent one looking something like this:
I stepped on a thorn on the the beach, and that is what I took away from all that Hawaii had to offer.

Twenty-six years later and fully aware of the dangers of pointy objects, I feel I am more qualified to appreciate island paradise. My trip began with 9 collective hours on a plane with multiple children looking much like the kid above. The Dallas-Honolulu leg had a toddler that screamed continuously for the entirety of the 8 hour flight... I played through many imagined scenarios, most of which included me telling the mom and dad what horrible parents they were for 1) having birthed that child, 2) thinking the constant screaming was funny, and 3) for taking a child of that age and that level of behavior on a plane with people that did not pay an incredible amount of money to listen to a child scream to the point of hoarseness. The other passengers would then cheer that I had said what they were all thinking, in my imagination of course... Instead, I gritted my teeth and watched an episode of Around the World in 80 Plates I had downloaded to my iMac.

I was met at baggage by my brother-in-law and his two kiddos with the most delicious smelling leis! Truly, is there any other way to be met at an Hawaiian airport?

Even before heading to the condo, we stopped at Shokudo's for an early dinner (I was starving) of seriously weird sushi (spicy tuna on top of a rice tater-tot with pickled jalepeno), DELICIOUS ramen, some other strange rice-based dish with yummy beef pieces mashed against the walls of a super hot bowl, and, the crowning glory of the meal, honey toast. :) That stuff is delicious!

A few minutes drive and we were at our condo on Waikiki Beach - home for the next 2 weeks. After surviving the toddler from hell I figured I earned an adult beverage and satisfied that need with a Lava Flow, basically a pina colada with some strawberry stuff. No paper umbrella... We watched the sun go down, made some attempts at capturing the light, and headed back upstairs where I managed to stay awake until 9:30 before crashing.

Hawaii has daylight from about 6am-7:45ish. I woke up Thursday morning to pre-daylight, while the clouds still had some color to them. The clouds, which lingered all day, were high and dark with some wind behind them. It was, in fact, chilly all day, at least to my Texas-acclimated body. Kim and I walked to Cream Pot, a fru-fru brunch restaurant that is entirely out of place but heavenly in Waikiki. I indulged both my tastebuds and my wallet for amazing strawberry soufflé pancakes and Kona coffee.

me & a bombax tree

For my first day in Hawaii, we spent a good deal of time just scoping out a good bit of the island while I got my bearings. First on the agenda: Queen's Medical Center. Odd place to visit without knowing a patient? Only if you know nothing of the history behind the place. In a nutshell, the Hawaiian Queen Emma insisted on making the grounds of her namesake hospital as beautiful as the gardens she loved tending. The resident physician was also a noted botanist who was interested in rare trees. Together they obtained and planted a number of truly exceptional trees on the property. I can't tell you how cool these trees were! We also got in trouble for taking the pictures.... something about patient confidentiality... whoops!

There were also baobab trees on-site, but as they are incredibly slow growing/long living trees, they were still pretty small and less impressive.

me & a banyan tree
Nawa canopy

Following my botany excursion, we drove up to Kailua on the East coast. Lunch at Bob's Pizzaria, shave ice at Island Snow (an Obama favorite), and then it was off to a powder sand beach that really was super awesome under your feet. :) We didn't swim; it was just a sight-seeing day. A bit on the beach and then we started the drive back to Waikiki following the coast line. The weather was atypical but created some great pictures.

Anthony Bourdain approved Hula Dog for dinner!
 And thus ended my first 36 hours on Aloha Time. Unfortunately, no paper umbrellas yet...