Author Topic: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)  (Read 998 times)

Offline PBaruch

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Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« on: September 03, 2017, 04:09:25 AM »
Instead of sending the kids to summer camp, we decided take five weeks off this summer.  As soon as our older kids were done with school, we took a two week motorhome trip to Washington State (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=81754.0).  We were home for the next three weeks, left a day for laundry (after Tishabov), and then headed off to Hawaii, with a planned five nights on Kauai, nine nights on the Big Island, and five nights on Oahu.

Flight from EWR-SFO-LIH:

EWR-SFO-LIH.map by P Bryan, on Flickr

UA Polaris EWR-LIH by P Bryan, on Flickr

Although the plane made a stop in SFO and then continued on to LIH (we had some of the same seats for both legs), we were still forced to deplane and reboard 30 minutes later.  We flew in UA J - Polaris and received amenity kits and J/F class kosher meals on both flights.

Part 1 - Five Idyllic Nights On Kauai

Although I had wanted to return to the GHK where we stayed in January (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=72973.0), I was unable to find any availability, even when searching through a Hyatt Globalist account (in all fairness we didn't seek to book that far in advance).  Instead, we decided to stay at the St. Regis.  I was hesitant to use 30k SPG per night (including the 5th night free), but it turned out to be well worth it.  The St. Regis Princeville is now one of our favorite hotels.  We were treated extremely well throughout the course of our stay and the staff did not hesitate to store our food in their freezer.  We arrived on a Thursday evening and spent Friday relaxing at the hotel and preparing for Shabbos.

Swimming at the St. Regis, Kauai by P Bryan, on Flickr

We usually prefer rooms on lower floors, especially when at a hotel for Shabbos.  So when they gave us a room on the 8th floor, DW was less than thrilled, until we discovered that the lobby was on the 9th floor, and the 8th floor was  ground level.  The view from our room was stunning.

St. Regis, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

We made lots of new friends.  Apparently, the nene (Hawaiian Goose) knows that it is listed as endangered and does not hesitate to visit.  One morning I opened the lanai doors and was greeted by five nene honking loudly and flying straight towards me.  It was quite a sight.  A little bread was all it took to have them waiting on our lanai each morning.  It took a few days, and eventually they were comfortable enough to come inside.

Meeting the neighbors at the St. Regis, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Visitors at the St. Regis, Kauai, Hawaii - DSC_3629 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Nene at the St. Regis, Kauai by P Bryan, on Flickr

The St. Regis Pool:

St Regis, Kauai, Hawaii - DSC_3689 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Although the Na Pali coast is not too far from the St. Regis, the only company willing to take our little one was Capt. Andy's, out of Port Allen.  DW wasn't too keen on doing yet another snorkel boat tour, so we decided to take the afternoon/sunset cruise on Sunday.  Since we had to head down south anyway, and had some spare time, we revisited the Waimea Canyon Lookout:

Waimea Canyon Lookout, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Waimea Canyon Lookout, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

When we were at the overlook in the winter of 2017 there were lots of clouds in the area.  This time, however, there were no clouds at all.

Waimea Canyon Overlook, Kauai, Hawaii, USA by P Bryan, on Flickr

We then headed over to Capt. Andy's, information about which can be found here:

https://www.napali.com/

Although we motored along the coast to our destination, they did shut down the motor and put up the sail for 15-20 minutes before heading back.  Here are some photographs taken during the cruise:

Cruising with Capt. Andy's on the Napali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Napali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Napali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Napali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Napali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii by P Bryan, on Flickr

Sunset near the Napali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii - DSC_3624 by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Monday, we went swimming at Tunnels Beach, which is a real gem.  I had neglected, however, to bring proper beach footwear and had to run across scorching hot sand to reach the water.  The water was cool and refreshing.  We very much enjoyed swimming at Tunnels.  After Tunnels, DW and I took turns hiking the Kalalau Trail.  We each hiked .5 miles to the first nice viewpoint.  First I hiked with my oldest and then DW hiked by herself.

Photographs at Kalalau:

Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii - DSC_3632 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii - DSC_3631 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii - DSC_3636 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii - DSC_3637 by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Tuesday, we visited Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.  Originally I wasn't all too interested to visit but once I arrived it was fascinating.  We saw White-tailed Tropic Birds, Great Frigatebirds, and many other types of exotic birds.  Information about Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge can be found here:

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/kilauea_point/

Photographs taken at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge:

Kīlauea Lighthouse, Kauai by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, Kauai, Hawaii, USA - DSC_3797 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, Kauai, Hawaii, US - DSC_3696 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Great Frigatebird - DSC_3744 by P Bryan, on Flickr

We then packed out for our flight to KOA on the Big Island.

lih-koa.map by P Bryan, on Flickr

Part 2 - Adventures on The Big Island

On most of our previous trips to Kona, we stayed at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay.  This time, however, we decided to try out the Hilton Waikoloa.  Although we had never stayed there before, we visited the Hilton for a dolphin encounter with Dolphin Quest a few years back, and it looked awesome (looks can be very deceiving).  We booked the Hilton for 50k HH per night with the fifth night free (signup bonus from two  Hilton credit cards).  The kids were excited to stay at the Hilton because of the saltwater lagoon where they could go snorkeling/swimming and rent water toys.  DW and I, however, disliked this hotel very much and we will not return.  For starters, the hotel room came with a a free amenity kit - a used  pair of underwear hanging in the bathroom.  Also, the crowds!  Oh my  goodness, we've never seen anything quite like it.  We were also unhappy that Hilton apparently cares nothing for status and we were not upgraded.  Other minor peeves - there were no umbrellas by the pool area.  If you want shade, you have to pay for it.  In addition, you either have to walk-walk-walk, take a tram, or take a boat to get anywhere because the Hilton has apartment block style buildings.  Further, although they stored our food in their freezer, I literally had to beg for them to do it.  Finally, the hotel was not conveniently located (for us) and was a 45 minute drive to Kona.  I'm not sure why Mr. Doughty (Hawaii Revealed Books) liked the Hilton so much but we were unimpressed.

On Wednesday, DW and my little one did the Wee Tots Program with Dolphin Quest (as mentioned earlier, we had previously all participated in a dolphin experience before my little one was born, now it was his turn).  Information about Dolphin Quest can be found here:

https://dolphinquest.com/hawaii-big-island/

Dolphin Quest, Hawaii Island, USA - DSC_3862 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Dolphin Quest, Hawaii Island - DSC_3858 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Afterwards, DW rented a kayak and took my little one kayaking while my two older kids went Stand Up Paddle Boarding.  (The kids took SUP lessons on a prior trip to Maui.)

On Thursday, I took my two older kids snorkeling with Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures (WHOA).  I was told about WHOA by a friend and she badgered me (basically forced me) until I finally called to make a reservation.  I was really happy that I listened to my friend and my kids loved the experience.  Initially, I was told they weren't going out that day because they needed a minimum of four people and we were only three (I didn't want to take my little one because it would have been a totally different type of trip).  The solution to the problem was to book a fourth empty seat and have a private tour!  Information about WHOA can be found here:

http://www.wild-hawaii.com/index.php

WHOA uses a commando style boat and it is the Ferrari of the seas.  The boat is very nimble and is able to make sharp turns and stops very quickly.  On the way back to the dock, the captain made a series of sharp maneuvers and stops.  It felt almost like riding a roller coaster and the kids were all smiles.

Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures, Kona, Hawaii, USA by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kona Blue...

Kona Blue - DSC_3951 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Sharks, Whales, and Turtles...

Snorkeling with Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures near Kona, Hawaii, USA by P Bryan, on Flickr

Oceanic Whitetip Shark, Kona, Hawaii, USA by P Bryan, on Flickr

Oceanic Whitetip Shark, Kona, Hawaii, USA by P Bryan, on Flickr

Pilot Whales near Kona, Hawaii, USA by P Bryan, on Flickr

Pilot Whales, Kona Area - DSC_4061 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Pilot Whales, Kona Area - DSC_4030 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Snorkeling with Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures near Kona, Hawaii Island by P Bryan, on Flickr

Surprisingly, the kids were not afraid to snorkel with sharks.  (I didn't tell DW that we might be snorkeling with sharks in advance or I'm sure she wouldn't have let us go, well at least not the kids  😊).  We did receive some instructions before the trip including: (i) stay behind our guide, Jason, as he would always be between the sharks and us; (ii) do not flail your arms and splash as this is viewed as a sign of distress; and (iii) do not to swim away from a shark (as it will follow you and sense weakness) since you must assert dominance in the ocean.  I figured we were pretty safe with Jason in front of us -  if the shark would eat anyone, it would probably be him.  😊  Besides, sharks don't eat lawyers - professional courtesy thing.

After our snorkeling adventure we went to the Lava Lava Club in Waikoloa, where we enjoyed cold drinks while watching the sunset and listening to live music:

Lava Lava Club, Hawaii Island by P Bryan, on Flickr

Sunset at Anaeho’omalu Bay, Hawaii Island -DSC_4119 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Sunset at Anaeho’omalu Bay, Hawaii Island - DSC_4068 by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Friday we visited Greenwell Coffee Farms, one of our favorite stops on the Big Island.  Information about Greenwell Farms can be found here:

http://www.greenwellfarms.com/

Enjoying Kona Coffee at Greenwell Coffee Farm, Hawaii Island by P Bryan, on Flickr

Since we (almost) always visit Greenwell Coffee Farms whenever we find ourselves on the Big Island, we became friendly with several employees, including Chai.  Whenever she sees us, Chai greets us very warmly and thanks us for visiting.  On this particular visit, we asked about Chai and were told that she was in the roasting room, as she was now the roaster (she had previously worked in retail sales).  We asked if we could visit Chai and were permitted to visit the building where she works.  Chai saw us walking up to the door and immediately came running out.  She was genuinely happy to see us and invited us into the roasting room to show us how she roasts the coffee beans.

Our friend Chai roasting the coffee...

Greenwell Coffee Farm - DSC_4172 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Roasting Room, Greenwell Farm, Hawaii Island by P Bryan, on Flickr

We then headed back to the Hilton to prepare for Shabbos.  DW made chicken in a crockpot which was swapped out for chollent right before Shabbos.  She also made challah in a toaster oven (purchased on the Big Island) and birthday cake for my 10 year old (who celebrated her 10th birthday on her 10th trip to Hawaii).  I made a fried potato kugel in a pot on an electric burner.  The challah doesn't come out looking quite the same on vacation, but everyone was thrilled to have fresh hot challah, and it disappeared down to the last bite.  We spent Shabbos relaxing and exploring the hotel.  We came across a lone forlorn nene inside a glass enclosure and three flamingos inside a second enclosure.  Compare that to the numerous nene, chickens, and other birds roaming free at the St. Regis.

Cooking for the Sabbath at the Hilton Waikoloa, Hawaii Island by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Sunday, we took a free Ukelele Class and a Lei Making Class at the Hilton.  We failed miserably at playing the Ukelele (it was comical) but the kids had a lot of fun at the Lei Making Class:

Learning to play the Ukelele by P Bryan, on Flickr

Lei Making Class - DSC_4204 by P Bryan, on Flickr

We then met our friends at a beach park for a late afternoon/evening BBQ and the kids had lots of fun exploring the tide pools:

Exploring Tidepools - DSC_4255 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After our BBQ, we transferred to Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo - a DoubleTree by Hilton.  We decided to book this hotel with cash since it was only $118 per night (including all taxes and fees).  Once again, we learned that status means absolutely nothing to Hilton (I had Hilton Diamond) and we were given a very small room overlooking the parking lot, with a partial view of the ocean.  We were told that the hotel was fully booked but that we could ask for an upgrade later in our stay.  We decided, however, that it wasn't worth the bother to pack and unpack in another room so we stuck with the room we were given.  Despite the foregoing, we actually liked the hotel, and for the first time, the refrigerator had a freezer just large enough for what needed to remain frozen: chicken for our last Shabbos, and two ice packs.  Also, the hotel is situated on a calm bay where you can snorkel and it is conveniently located.

The pool:

Hilton in Hilo, Hawaii Island by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Monday we visited Kapoho Tide Pools where we went snorkeling.  We saw a large amount and variety of fish.  However, the pools are relatively shallow and we found it difficult to snorkel in the particular area we visited.

Kapoho Tide Pools, Hawaii Island by P Bryan, on Flickr

Snorkeling at Kapoho Tide Pools, Hawaii Island by P Bryan, on Flickr

Snorkeling at Kapoho Tide Pools, Hawaii Island by P Bryan, on Flickr

On the way back from Kapoho, we stopped off at Lava Tree State Park.  Information about Lava Tree State Park can be found here:

https://hawaiistateparks.org/parks/hawaii/lava-tree-state-monument/

Lava Tree State Park - Hawaii Island - DSC_4285 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Lava Tree State Park - Hawaii Island - DSC_4292 by P Bryan, on Flickr

We then stopped by WalMart to pick up supplies for DW and our two older kids for their hike to the lava surface flow early the next morning.  They bought jeans (to wear under their skirts) and gardening gloves.  (Lava is razor sharp,  hence the long pants and gloves that are recommended.  DW stumbled and would have had her hands and legs/knees shredded without them.)  We were  supposed to check in with Kalapana Cultural Tours at 4:00 a.m. for the 4:30 a.m. tour, so we left the hotel at about 3:00 a.m.  At 4:22 a.m., some random dude showed up asking if there was space on the tour.  I'm not sure what he was thinking but he was clearly under dressed in shorts and sneakers, carrying nothing but his cell phone and GoPro camera.  He lucked out but ruined the private tour for DW and the kids.  DW and the kids hiked 4-7 miles round trip to the surface flow while my little guy and I slept in the car for a few hours.  It took them 5.5 hours to complete the hike.  Our guide Herbie (same one who guided us to ocean entry last summer), regaled DW and the girls with dumb tourists tales.  For instance, there was one woman who wanted to get close to the  lava and backed up towards it to avoid feeling the intense heat in her face.  She ended up falling backwards into the lava.

Information about Kalapana Cultural Tours can be found here:

http://www.kalapanaculturaltours.com/

Surface Flow, Hawaii Island - DSC02972 by P Bryan, on Flickr

My daughter walking over lava flowing beneath her:

Foot over lava flow by P Bryan, on Flickr

Video of the surface lava flow:



After they returned from the hike, we went for ice cream and cold drinks at the local grocery store:

Kalapana Village, Hawaii Island by P Bryan, on Flickr

Too bad we would miss the Cannabis Festival:

Kalapana Village, Hawaii Island by P Bryan, on Flickr

We then decided to drive to Ahalanui County Beach Park (also commonly referred to as "Hot Ponds") to swim in the volcanically heated water.  Along the way, we stopped off to take photographs:

Pahoa, Hawaii Island - DSC_4312 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Pahoa, Hawaii Island - DSC_4305 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Pahoa, Hawaii Island - DSC_4319 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Our oldest was reading a draft of this TR, and asked, "when did we go to Ahalanui?"  After the lava hike, she slept straight through our visit to Ahalanui, while I went with my little guy and 10 year old.

That evening, we drove to Jagger Museum Overlook, to view Halemaumau Crater, one of our favorite stops on the Big Island:

Halemaumau Crater - DSC_4359 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Halemaumau Crater - DSC_4343 by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Wednesday, we visited a  friend in Volcano, who we met on our first visit to Hawaii (she was our host then, and many times since). We then hiked the Kaʻū Desert Trail.  DW wanted to see the two hundred year old fossilized footprints but we were very disappointed by what we saw.  There are some footprints in a glass enclosure (in a structure along the trail) but they were very worn and barely visible.  (We later read that they were not properly preserved.)  Although there are other footprints in the surrounding area, we couldn't find them.

Kaʻū Desert Trail, Hawaii Island - DSC_4413 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kaʻū Desert Trail, Hawaii Island - DSC_4412 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Ohia Lehua Blossom on the Kaʻū Desert Trail, Hawaii Island - DSC_4392 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kaʻū Desert Trail, Hawaii Island - DSC_4419 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kaʻū Desert Trail, Hawaii Island - DSC_4415 by P Bryan, on Flickr

We used our 4th Grade NPS Pass one final time (total savings 9/1/2016-8/31/2017: $150) to hike the Kilauea Iki Trail.  To shorten our hike, we planned to park at the Thurston Lava Tube parking area, but all spots are now restricted to 30 minutes. I dropped everyone off, drove back to the Kilauea Iki parking lot, and then walked to meet them.  On the way back, we had to do  this in reverse.  Of course my little one had to "go" three times while we were on the trail.  Since we were too far along to turn back, I simply held him over the edge of the crater rim in the rain forest.  Suffice it to say but the rain forest is now well watered and fertilized following our visit.

Kīlauea Iki, Hawaii Island - DSC_4421 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kīlauea Iki, Hawaii Island - DSC_4424 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kīlauea Iki, Hawaii Island - DSC_4461 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kīlauea Iki, Hawaii Island - DSC_4451 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kīlauea Iki, Hawaii Island - DSC_4460 by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Thursday morning my older kids went swimming in the hotel pool while I gazed at turtles and a multitude of fish in the crystal clear waters of the bay.  We then checked out of the hotel and stopped by our friends' gallery in Hilo, Extreme Exposure.  Information about Extreme Exposure Gallery can be found here:

http://www.extremeexposure.com/

Afterwards, we headed to Hilo Airport for our flight to Honolulu.

ito-hnl.map by P Bryan, on Flickr

Part 3 - Culture and History on Oahu

This part is (and always has been) for DW, who craves intellectual stimulation (her own words) that she does not get from beaches and hikes.

We decided to stay at the Royal Hawaiian.  Previously, we had always stayed at the Ala Moana to be next door to Chabad.  However, since we were staying five nights in Honolulu, we didn't want to stay in the dumpy Ala Moana for so long.  Also, we figured that my little guy was now old enough to walk to Chabad on Shabbos.  Upon check in, we were told that the hotel was nearly fully booked and very limited upgrades were available.  We chose convenience over view and were given a room on the first floor that was a short flight of stairs up from the main lobby (no elevator access available or required).  However, we didn't find the Royal Hawaiian all that enticing.  It took a very long time for the valet to fetch our car (even though I tipped pretty well) and the concierge never responded to one of my requests despite speaking to them twice in person and sending an email.  Also, this was the first time that I was hassled by hotel security for taking photographs of a hotel.  Here is the photograph which caused hotel security to approach and warn me not to take any more pictures before I spoke to the hotel manager.  The pretext used by the security guard was that people take unauthorized photographs of the hotel and then sell them on post cards.  Anyone interested in buying a post card?

Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Honolulu, Oahu - DSC_4709 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Our room was one of the few with a lanai:

Enjoying Lavaman Beer at the Royal Hawaiian by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Friday we went to Hawaii Plantation Village.  Once again, I was less than thrilled to go but it turned out to be very interesting.  Our guide Ken, third generation Japanese American, told us fascinating stories about his family history (his grandfather worked the sugar plantations) and the history of Hawaii's sugar plantations.  For history buffs, we highly recommend a visit to Hawaii Plantation Village.  The kids, however, were quite bored.

Hawaii Plantation Village, Oahu - DSC_4464 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Hawaii Plantation Village - DSC_4511 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Hawaii Plantation Village - DSC_4508 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Hawaii Plantation Village - DSC_4473 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Hawaii Plantation Village - DSC_4477 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Hawaii Plantation Village - DSC_4489 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Hawaii Plantation Village - DSC_4474 by P Bryan, on Flickr

One thing that my little one was interested in was an old, rusted out, steam locomotive that at one time was used to haul sugarcane:

Locomotive at Hawaii Plantation Village, Oahu by P Bryan, on Flickr

For Friday evening, we ordered food from Oahu Kosher and DW cooked the last of the chicken that we had brought from home.  We davened and ate with Chabad on Shabbos day.  I saw Yudi from Oahu Kosher and once again asked him if he was providing meals to the airlines.  Unfortunately, he only provides meals when airlines run out of kosher food from their regular suppliers.  As we walked from the Royal Hawaiian to Chabad, we were greeted by several individuals wishing us Shabbat Shalom.  One dude even ran out of the store that he was working at to wish us Shabbat Shalom and to speak to us.  My little guy was fine on the walk over to Chabad, but the way back was a lot harder.  He wanted to stop  every few steps, complaining that his legs hurt.

On Sunday, we did the premium tour with Atlantis Submarines.  Mr. Doughty claims that the Oahu based submarine tour is better than those offered on the other islands, and it even includes an airplane deliberately sunk by Atlantis to create an artificial reef.  The airplane was the draw for DW, who had previously done a submarine tour on the BI.  Conveniently,  Atlantis provided free shuttle bus pickup from the Sheraton, which was right next door to the Royal Hawaiian.  We saw a large variety of fish, including the pennant butterflyfish, Lau-Hau Pyramid Butterflyfish, and Humuhumu'ele'ele (aka Black Durgon Triggerfish).  Unfortunately, taking photos through a window, where you can't swim as close as you'd like, makes it hard to get good shots.

Atlantis Submarine, Honolulu, Oahu - DSC_4573 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Atlantis Submarine, Honolulu, Oahu - DSC_4535 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Atlantis Submarine, Honolulu, Oahu - DSC_4557 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Diamond Head - DSC_4568 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DW was not impressed by the  tour.  The reef in Kona is natural, while everything we saw on the Oahu tour was deliberately placed at the bottom of the ocean to form artificial reefs.  Yes, it brought fish, but it felt fake.

After the submarine tour, we stopped by Lappert's for danishes, cookies, and ice cream.  (I called the Chabad Rabbi and was told that everything sold by Lappert's, including baked goods, is kosher.)  Information about Lappert's can be found here:

https://www.lappertshawaii.com/

Lapperts in Honolulu, Oahu by P Bryan, on Flickr

Lappert's in Honolulu, Oahu - DSC_4584 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Enjoying ice cream at Lapperts, Honolulu, Oahu by P Bryan, on Flickr

After Lappert's, we returned to the hotel, passing the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii (http://www.hiarmymuseumsoc.org/visit.html) along the way.  Since the museum was closed, we stopped to check out some tanks and other items displayed outside.  We then went swimming on Waikiki Beach.  Although the beach was crowded by Hawaii standards, we still had lots of fun rolling around in the waves.

That evening, we were invited to dinner by one of the local residents.  They live in a magnificent house in the mountains above Honolulu surrounded by rain forest.  Here is a view from an overlook that we stopped off at on the way to their house:

Honolulu and Diamond Head, Oahu - DSC_4615 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Interestingly, our hosts hike about five miles each way from home to the Chabad shul on Shabbos.  They hike through mountain paths and have to hide/stow water along the trail so they could drink while walking to shul.

On Monday, we visited the Polynesian Cultural Center.  Information about the Polynesian Cultural Center can be found here:

http://www.polynesia.com/

Although I wasn't thrilled to go, I had a great time chatting with a bunch of guys and girls from the Cook Islands.  (The Cook Islands was a temporary exhibit.)  I spoke with a few guys from Rarotonga (it's on my bucket list to visit the Cook Islands) and some women from Penrhyn.  Penrhyn is famous for the coconut leaf hats woven by the local women.  The hats take many days to make:

Penrhyn Island Coconut Leaf Hats and Fans - DSC_4638 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Penrhyn Island Coconut Leaf Hat - DSC_4639 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Penrhyn Island Coconut Leaf Hat - DSC_4642 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Penrhyn Island Coconut Leaf Hat - DSC_4643 by P Bryan, on Flickr

The kids had fun making Kukui nut bracelets:

Kukui Nut Bracelets - DSC_4661 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DW and the kids did enjoy it significantly more than me.  Each exhibit is a different Polynesian country displaying their culture through song and dance.  They repeat the performances a few times throughout the day.  Most of the countries have additional displays, with Hawaii being the largest.  Our first stop was Tonga, possibly our favorite.  The audience participation was hilarious, and included a guy from North Korea  (which was strange because he referred to himself as being from North Korea but I heard that North Koreans refer to their country as the "DPRK").

Playing a nose flute:

Playing a nose flute, Polynesian Cultural Center, Oahu by P Bryan, on Flickr

Samoa was another interesting one, and included fire dancing.



At the end of the performance, one of the Samoan men climbed a 30-foot coconut tree in about 10 seconds.

The Hawaii exhibit area was the most comprehensive, with different houses displaying artifacts.  A taro to poi display had some poi to taste, with not much gone, unsurprisingly.

Iosepa, a voyaging canoe built to ancient specs, was also on display.  Every so often, the canoe is taken into the water to practice, and teach the younger generations.

Canoe, Polynesian Cultural Center, Oahu by P Bryan, on Flickr

After the exhibits closed at 6:00 p.m., DW and the kids watched the IMAX video with motion, which takes you by air through the fascinating Hawaiian  landscape.  They highly recommend it.

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped off to take photographs of Chinaman's Hat:

Chinaman's Hat, Oahu- DSC_4676 by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Tuesday, the final day of our trip, we stopped off again at Lappert's for ice cream, bought souvenir key chains and t-shirts for friends, and packed out for our trip home.

hnk-ewr.map by P Bryan, on Flickr

UA J - HNL-EWR by P Bryan, on Flickr

For our flight home, we were provided economy class kosher meals from Regal instead of F/J class kosher meals.  Also, instead of providing dinner and breakfast, we were provided with dinner meals for both dinner and breakfast.  We have found UA to be very unpredictable with providing kosher meals.  I suppose they simply don't care that much about kosher travelers.

In sum, we had a wonderful time exploring Hawaii and we didn't want to come home.

Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoyed this trip report.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 04:21:57 AM by PBaruch »
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Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2017, 05:18:56 AM »
Your family vacations are the best
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Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2017, 06:28:10 AM »
Amazing as always. Have you done the sugar plantation lazy river tube tour on Kauai before?

And from what I gather you are at a point where you want to show you have outgrown the revealed books ;)
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Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2017, 08:56:49 AM »
I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the Hilton waikoloa village. I had great memories from there 20 years ago.

Great trip report!

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Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2017, 09:14:29 AM »
Awesome as usual. It's pretty cool how you make friends with the locals.
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Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2017, 10:32:16 AM »
And..... Yet again!! Amazing TR with Amazing pics!!! Thanks for sharing!

Also very cool of you to post all at once!

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Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 11:19:01 AM »
Amazing as always. Have you done the sugar plantation lazy river tube tour on Kauai before?

And from what I gather you are at a point where you want to show you have outgrown the revealed books ;)


We never did the tubing tour because we read that the view isn't that great and Doughty calls it "semi-lame" so we decided to skip it.  Overall, it didn't really interest us.
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Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2017, 11:20:30 AM »
And..... Yet again!! Amazing TR with Amazing pics!!! Thanks for sharing!

Also very cool of you to post all at once!

Thanks for noticing.  I understand why some people post in segments but my preference is to post only when a TR is complete.

I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it.
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Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2017, 12:42:43 PM »
Great TR with great pics!

Wish I would have known that the baked goods at Lapperts  were also under the hasgacha, some of those cookies looked good!

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Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2017, 12:46:26 PM »
Great TR with great pics!

Wish I would have known that the baked goods at Lapperts  were also under the hasgacha, some of those cookies looked good!

Funny thing was that the locals we spoke with didn't even know the baked goods were kosher. You definitely can have a nice sweet breakfast there. I'll post some pics of the baked goods later today.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 12:50:15 PM by PBaruch »
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Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2017, 03:41:45 PM »
wow no words amazing pictures and TR . u make me just wont to go to Hawaii even faster .

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Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2017, 04:57:13 PM »
Photos of baked goods at Lappert's - not the greatest photos since I had to take through glass with lots of glare/reflections:

Lappert's in Honolulu, Oahu by P Bryan, on Flickr

Lappert's in Honolulu, Oahu by P Bryan, on Flickr

We had sticky buns, lilikoi muffins and lemon scones. 

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Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2017, 11:21:19 AM »
awesome write up

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Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2017, 11:26:26 AM »

We never did the tubing tour because we read that the view isn't that great and Doughty calls it "semi-lame" so we decided to skip it.  Overall, it didn't really interest us.
If Doughty calls it lame I'd imagine you would do it and find it AMAZING :P

Kids would love it. We had wild raspberries on the ride that were the best I've ever had. And it was a nice time.
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Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2017, 04:40:11 PM »
Another great report by the Hawaiian Legend!