Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Paradise Cove Luau

This weekend, Matt and I went to a luau at Paradise Cove to celebrate our anniversary and his birthday early (he'll be deployed on the actual days). It was our first date night in about 6 months, and it was a really nice time out. Matt went all out and bought the deluxe package, so everything was included: we got beautiful leis on arrival, free drinks throughout, and table service at dinner (everyone else has to walk to the buffet, poor slobs!).

On the way, we saw this complete rainbow:
Enjoying before dinner drinks:

I got a sea turtle "tattoo":
There are many shows before dinner. There are demonstrations of how to open a coconut, canoe rides, and the Shower of Flowers. A man scaled this palm tree in seconds and scattered beautiful flowers down upon us:

Sunset was gorgeous:

Then there was a ceremony celebrating the pig they roasted underground all day for the meal, and they raised the pig. It was paraded around for all to see (uggh).
Dinner was pretty good, and it was a great opportunity to try some local dishes which I didn't want to pay for in case they were awful, but I did want to taste... For instance, there were tiny samples of 'lomi lomi' which is a fish based chopped salad (not bad); poi, which is a ground up root (not good); and haupia, which is a coconut custard sort of thing (pretty good).
Then the show began, and it was very entertaining. The dancers dressed in costume and performed dances traditional to many Pacific islands. The costumes were fantastic:

This is the "sitting hula" which was 'invented' in the 60's. Really, she sat in a chair and did the hula...

The fire eater was phenomenal:

I'm not usually a fan of things like this - they feel like such a tourist trap, and you know there are no Hawaiians who go to luaus. But it was really nice to be out with Matt, it was a beautiful night, and they do put on a good show! You just have to accept it for what it is, sort of like Vegas!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Waikiki Aquarium

Crumpet's dad was sick over the weekend, so we left him to sleep and headed off to the Waikiki Aquarium. The aquarium is right on the beach in a very pretty spot. It's teeny tiny but very well done. They focus on coral and sea creatures that are found in this area. The different types of coral and fish were incredibly beautiful. And often very weird!

Crumpet was extremely enthusiastic about this trip. When I told him where we were going, he announced "Oh, I've ALWAYS wanted to go there!" He ran from exhibit to exhibit, telling me all about what we were looking at. I was amazed by how many of the critters he could identify! In the picture below, he's listening to the audio tour to see what else he could teach me.
This tank was full of clown fish and gorgeous anemones:
Here's Crumpet with a giant clam shell:
This looks like Crumpet is standing in front of a painting, but it's really a beautiful outdoor tank:
This is hard to see, but the tank below is filled with large clams. I don't think I've ever seen a live clam in the sea. They come in an amazing array of colors:
The aquarium also has 2 rescued Hawaiian monk seals. These are very rare seals - only about 1400 left in the world. One of my major goals/dreams while living here is to find one basking on a beach...
Sleepy, cozy monk seal:

I wouldn't really recommend this aquarium to anyone coming to Oahu for a short visit, because there are much more exciting things to see, but it was a really nice way to spend an afternoon with Crumpet. For more field trip posts, visit Live the Adventure.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Weird and Wonderful Plants of Hawaii

Just lots of pictures today. I love the plants here! I don't know the names of most of them, but I'll label the ones I know.
Cannonball tree:
A flower on a lily pad, before it opens:

Lollipop flower:
Banana, with strange attachment:

Banyan tree:

Gum tree:

Bird of Paradise:



Friday, September 10, 2010

Byodo-In Temple

We went to the Byodo-In Temple. It is located in the Valley of the Temples at the base of the Ko'olau mountains. The temple was built in the 1960's to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. They were brought here to work at the sugar plantations. The temple itself is a replica of the Byodoin Temple in Uji, Japan. This is a truly beautiful, peaceful spot to visit. It is also an exciting destination if you were a Lost follower because some of the filming for the show was done at this location. The Temple was used as the home of Sun's father in Korea.
This bridge was the site of Jin's proposal to Sun:
Back of the temple:
Koi pond:
This is the Peace Bell. Ringing the bell is meant to purify the mind of evil spirits and temptation, and you are supposed to ring it before entering the temple.
The Buddha statue inside the temple is the largest wooden Buddha carved in over 900 years:
The grounds of the temple are gorgeous. This the Meditation Pavilion peaking out of the trees:
There is a little gift shop that sells food for the koi fish. One of Crumpet's favorite activities is feeding koi and watching them go crazy.
There are many black swans on the property:
There is also a bamboo forest:
We had a lovely afternoon exploring this spot.
For more Field Trip adventures, visit Live the Adventure!