About This Blog
This blog is to share with you some of the highlights of my visits to Hawaii and miscellaneous Hawaiiana. Hawai'i has had a great impact on my life. To see more on why I keep this blog, see: The Impact of Hawai'i in My Life.
First Trip (Oahu and Maui) July - August 1981
My friend Kelly Parker and I left St. George yesterday morning and drove down to L.A. for a few days before we fly out to Honolulu. I can’t believe I’m finally on my way to Hawaii. I’m so excited! I’ve always wanted to go there. My whole life I’ve dreamt about going to Hawaii and it’s hard to imagine that I’m actually going now.
A friend of the family (Errol) found out about the availability of a BYU-Hawaii faculty member’s home for a month and a cheap air flight and invited my family to go. Mom got a second job to make some money for the family’s tickets, but ended up not being able to afford it anyway. So, I’m the only one in the family going. I asked all my friends if they wanted to go, but nobody could afford it, except Kelly Parker. We will be sharing the house with 6 others, and we’ll split the rent to make it about $40-45 each for 2 weeks. The air flight on World Airways is only $298, so this is going to be quite a cheap trip to Hawaii.
I’m on the plane now nearing Honolulu. It’s really exciting to be traveling again. I love it. The flight is about 5 hours. We left LAX on World Airways at 10:15 am and will be arriving at Honolulu at 1:00 pm their time (which is 4:00 pm California time – 5:00 Utah time). I’ve been reading some stuff about Hawaii, and I’m really excited! We’re preparing now for landing – ALOHA!
It’s about 7:30 am and I’m on our back porch enjoying the cool breeze. Some strange birds woke us up this morning at 7:00 – sounded weird. Hawaii is really neat and pretty – a little more built up and commercialized than I had expected – not too many remote areas that I have seen yet. But still it’s really neat and pretty.
Errol met us at the airport and then we drove home to Laie. That’s pronounced lah-ee-ay. It’s a pretty little community about 75% to 90% Mormons, built around the temple, BYU-Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center. First thing we did was go to the beach, a nice beach near here. Then at night, Kelly and I went to the temple and visitors center. Then we planned out our activities while here.
The house we live in isn’t big, although it has 4 bedrooms. Most houses around here aren’t really big and ritzy. They say the houses are expensive here. But most are comfortable.
Yesterday, Kelly and I started the day out by running. We went out past the northern end of Laie. It was quite a run. Then we went over to BYU-HC to check the school out and go to the bookstore. It’s a nice school of about 1,700, about the same as Dixie College. After lunch, we took the bus by 2 transfers down to Kailua beach park and stayed and burned for about 3 hours. Then we tried to hurry back to make the last session at the temple and just barely made it in time, only to find there weren’t enough people there to have a session.
I’m back on the porch enjoying the morning air. Yesterday was quite a day. We left here after 8:00 am and drove down to Honolulu. On the way, we stopped to take some pictures and looked around at little souvenir shops on the roadside. It’s a real pretty drive between here and there. When we got into town, we went to the Kodak Hula Show which was a good show that was free – pretty colors and beautiful mahanas!
Then Errol dropped me and Kelly off in Waikiki to shop and go to the beach while he went to the airport to pick up the other 3 guys. I couldn’t believe it! Three times on the street I was asked if I wanted to buy some pot! And once I was stopped by a Hare Krishna who I talked with. Honolulu’s got them all! While waiting on the beach for Errol to pick us up in the car, an island girl came and put a real lei on 3 of us and then asked for donations to help handicapped children to go to Hawaii. She wanted $2.00, but none of us had that much in change. I was glad to get a real lei. That evening we went out to eat at a real nice restaurant called the Willows. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was great! It was an open air tropical gardens restaurant. I loved it!
Here I am again on the back porch in the morning. It’s weird – I haven’t been able to sleep in lately – I just wake up! After a small sleep in yesterday and then piddling around here a while, the 6 of us took a bus down to Sea Life Park and Makapu’u Point Beach. It was really a bum deal because of a 2½ hour bus ride down there, and then paying $5.50 at Sea Life Park to see a few dolphins jump in the air. I mean it was a neat place – but surely not worth $5.50. The food prices at Sea life Park were outrageous! 80 cents for a single cone, $1.50 for a normal cheeseburger, 75 cents for fries and 90 cents for a large lemonade. That place was such a rip-off. (Today's perspective: If only things were that cheap!)
Then we went swimming at the beach there. Wow! Those waves were really wicked and wild! They were really good for body surfing, but once you were out there it was hard to get back in – the waves just kept pulling you out. One little kid got stuck way out there, and the lifeguard had to come to the rescue. It was a nice beach, but it was a real bummer having to ride so far on the bus. If the bus didn’t stop at all these residential areas, it would get there a lot faster. I think we all decided to not take the bus so much anymore.
It’s been a week now since we left home. I really am enjoying this vacation in Hawaii – it’s great!
Back on the porch again, but this time its evening – Sunday that is. Yesterday was really a great day. One of the guys, Chuck, called some relatives and they invited us to come and go sailing with them. So we re-arranged our plans to do so. When we left in the morning it was raining, which felt neat. It adds to the tropical atmosphere. We were going to stop at the Byodo-In temple first, but the rain hadn’t stopped yet, so we went on to Paradise Park, hoping the rain would quit before we got there. It did, and the park was fantastic. Wow, talk about a tropical paradise! I loved it. It had beautiful plants, trees, jungles, forests, birds, water and fish. Oh, I wish I could live there! The low clouds and scattered sprinkles only added to the atmosphere. I have a fantasy of making a tropical backyard like that someday. I thoroughly enjoyed being there.
By the time we left 3 hours later, the sun was coming out, getting nice for sailing. We drove to Kaneohe, north of Honolulu, and met with Chuck’s relatives and ate lunch with them. Then we went out to the bay, got on the boat and sailed up the eastern coast, pretty close to Chinaman’s Hat before we turned around. It was heaven, and it was all free! While we were all soaking up the sun and enjoying the sailing, Chuck’s relative said “I wonder what the poor are doing.” The timing was so great that it cracked us all up. It was funny, there we were, a bunch of poor guys, sailing in Hawaii and wondering what the poor were doing. It was great feeling rich.
That evening, we drove back into Honolulu and ate dinner at Perry’s Smorgasbord on Waikiki Beach. We sat out on the balcony under flaming torches, enjoying the beach and ocean view and thought again how nice it was to at least feel rich. A walk up the beach and shopping at the International Marketplace ended this wonderful day.
Today we attended Church at a BYU-Hawaii student ward. At the end of Sacrament meeting they sang “Aloha Oe” to the Bishop, and at the beginning of the testimonies given the person would greet everyone with an enthusiastic “aloha” or one of several other Polynesian island greetings, which all got the same response from the congregation. In Hawaii, “aloha” always gets a response. Later, Kelly and I walked to the end of Laie Point and up the beach. It was a nice time to relax and think.
Tomorrow, we are leaving early for a morning flight to Maui. So now that saying “Here today, gone to Maui” really applies. Hey – wow!
What a trip! They said that Maui hadn’t had any real rain in almost 6 months, and then the very day we decide to go there, it really let loose. We took an early morning flight got to Maui before 8 am, so we had the whole day, and rented a car for 2 days to see the island. We started by trying to get a camping permit, but couldn’t because we would need to have a tent. We thought we could just sleep on the beach! So we weren’t sure where we were going to sleep that night. We drove to Iao Valley which had some pretty gardens and the impressive Iao Needle. We met a couple from Boston who just came from the top of Haleakala volcano crater to see the sunrise. That sounded neat, so we decided to do that the next morning. Then we went on the beautiful, winding road to Hana. That was a trip! The road was so narrow and winding that at times you couldn’t go more than 5 to 10 miles an hour. But it was nice going so slow. It was so lush, green and pretty. We stopped a lot to take pictures and see the waterfalls.
Oh man, I found my paradise spot. It’s called Puohokamoa Falls. It was the perfect place to stand in the falls, climb up it, and jump off the top into a big nice pool of water. Oh, I loved it! It was heaven. There was even a Hawaiian girl there in a bikini, which made it very nice. We later went on to other falls, but soon it started to rain, so they weren’t near as fun. The second one, though, you could walk behind the falls and a nice jungle-bamboo path back up the to the road.
It took us a while to get to Hana because of the winding road, but it’s not really that far in distance. I was expecting to see more in Hana, but it was just a small community, with one store named Hasegawa’s that was supposed to be famous. It was just a little place, but it was amazing how much merchandise they were able to cram in there. We decided not to go on to the 7 sacred pools because they were a ways past Hana, and the weather promised nothing more than rain. So we whizzed back (Kelly took those curves a little fast on the way back), and went to eat at Pizza Hut. Because of the rain, we decided sleeping out was not a good idea, so we checked into a motel in Kahului which had a large room for 6 for $47.
We decided to wake up early (4:30 am) to drive to the top of Haleakala crater to watch the sunrise. As we got closer to the top, it started raining, and by the time we got up there, it was a thick, foggy rainstorm. We couldn’t see a thing – not even down in the crater. So we waited (slept in the car for a while in hopes that it would clear up, but it didn’t and we gave up and drove back down. What a waste! We later saw postcards of what we could have seen, and it looked neat. Stupid rain!
After sleeping a while and doing our own thing (I went swimming in the motel pool), we drove up the northwestern coast to Lahaina, a nice little town of the fisherman’s wharf type. Of course, it had tourist trap shops all over, but still, the atmosphere was neat. The rain wouldn’t leave us alone, but we tried to ignore it. We went to the old Carthaginian ship, which was used for many years in Sweden (!), and then went to a Buddhist mission on our way to Ka’anapali, a luxury resort area. We stopped at the Hyatt Regency resort, and I was totally amazed at the place. It had everything and was a paradise in itself. There were beautiful, large gardens with ponds, waterfalls and all kinds of birds, and a fantastic, huge swimming pool with waterfalls, caves, bridges and a big rock water slide. The buildings were big and extravagant, and all this was on the beach. Man, it would be the perfect honeymoon spot. The cheapest room in the summer was $85, and the prices went all the way up to $850. Amazing.
We later went back down to Lahaina and ate dinner at the Ocean House, a nice restaurant right on the water’s edge in the open air. Excellent food, service and atmosphere. Then we drove back to Kahului and flew back to Oahu. It felt good to come home – this family home we’re renting in Laie feels like home.
Yesterday’s weather wasn’t the best so we decided to go and see all the tourist sights in Honolulu. We started off with the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, which took along time, but it was relaxing and interesting. It made me think a lot about what WWII must have been like. Then we went to Queen Emma’s Summer Palace and the Punchbowl, a WWII memorial cemetery which also caused me to think. On one of the murals of the war and its battles in the Pacific was this interesting and profound statement: “The problem basically is theological and involves a recrudescence of spirit and improvement of human nature.” I thought, “How true.” Then we saw the King Kamehameha statue, the Aloha Tower, and ended up eating dinner in town.
The weather forecast for today wasn’t very promising, and we originally planned on going snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, but we decided that maybe we should wait till Saturday. So we went up to Waimea Falls Park and beach and down through the middle of the island and to the Leeward side instead. The weather turned out gorgeous after all, which made our stay at the park, falls and beach really nice. The park was very pretty and interesting. We saw ancient hula dances there, and Kelly and I took a hike up the canyon to find this panoramic view. The further we went, the narrower got the path, until we were really swimming our way through such tall, thick plants that you could barely tell there was a path. We finally gave up and headed back because of time and an unpromising path ahead of us. We were both wearing just swimming suits and a shirt, so our legs really got beat up. I had fun cliff-diving into the pool at the falls, and then we went down to the beach – which was a nice one. There was a big rock there that we jumped off of into the water.
After a while we took off and drove down the island past sugar cane and pineapple fields, and then to Makaha on the Leeward side for a sunset picture. Of course, the clouds always have to be right where the sun is and not on either side, so we only got a half decent shot. Then we came home. It was a fun and enjoyable day.
This was our day at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie. Kelly, Lee and I decided to take in a session at the temple first in the morning. The Laie Temple is much smaller than the others, but does the job. One thing that was weird was having to walk through the baptismal room to get to the ordinance room. When we got back, we all went to the PCC for a very interesting and enjoyable day. A village representing each of the Polynesian island groups, with shows, exhibits and lessons kept us real busy. It really taught you a lot about the old Polynesian way of life. At 12:30, there was a ½ hour show called “Music Polynesia”, at 3:30 there was a canoe parade, and then after dinner (in the big Gateway Restaurant) we saw “Invitation to Paradise”, a two-hour dance and music extravaganza. It was excellent. All the dancers were very good, and the staging and special effects were neat. One guy did a fire knife dance that was unbelievable. He lit one end of the torch with his tongue and really twirled that thing around. It was exciting!
After the show, we went to a dance at BYU. The did a good job dressing it up like a disco. There I met and danced a lot with a girl from Tonga, who danced at the PCC, named Verna Tonga. She was a cute tonkinese mahana.
Today we went to Hanauma Bay and went snorkeling and got burnt. It was a real nice day to be on the beach. I laid out with my suit rolled up and pulled down, and got an uncomfortable burn around my legs and waist about 1 inch wide. My nose sure has got burned lots, too. Some of the other guys got bad burns. The snorkeling was great. Right out in shallow waters you could swim with the fish and watch them. It was so neat – there were a lot of pretty colored fish. They didn’t seem scared of you at all unless you chased them. At night we ate at a hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurant called Irifune, or something like that, that had excellent food for a cheap price. I enjoyed and ate the whole meal – all very good, except for the pickled radishes.
Today was Sunday, and we went to church at Verna’s Sacrament meeting at 12:00, and I went to her Sunday School class. She taught the lesson and did a good job of it. After church, Kelly, Lee, Chuck and I went on a drive to the Buddhist Byodo-In temple, the Pali Lookout, and the Table Top Drive. When we got back, we went to a fireside in Verna’s ward.
Well, the time has finally come to leave paradise and head on home. Shoot! This vacation has been NO KA OI (Hawaiian for “the best”) I’ve ever had. The whole stay was fantastic! We accomplished a lot in the short time we were here. This morning, we got up, packed, cleaned the house and went to the airport. Since we checked in early we had time before our flight. Kelly and I went to the Ala Moana beach, while the others shopped. It was our last chance to enjoy the warm waters of Oahu.
We flew out of Honolulu about an hour ago. World Airlines offers fantastic prices, but you pay for what you get. This plane is having audio problems – so there’s no music or movie. But still it’s a good deal. Shoot, I really hate leaving and going back home. Hawaii is where it’s at. Hawaii is NO KA OI.
Posted by The Youngs at 2:54 PM