We found the trail and it was like we had entered Jumanji. Clearly none of us had been in a rainforest before, we didn't realize that everything would be so BIG! The trees were gigantic and the leaves on the ferns were as big as me! It was a fantastic hike. Nothing too strenuous, but the scenery was awesome. The falls were very pretty and very cold, ask Chad and Taylor. Chad dove in and Taylor fell in, he has the same grace and balance that I do. The bamboo was great and provided a lot of entertainment. Once we made our way back we wandered around the arboreum, which was gorgeous. Lots of beautiful and different plants and flowers.
After lunch we went snorkeling again. We tried going down the beach further, following our little map we got from the rental place. We went down the street pretty far though and had a hard time finding a place to cut through to the beach. Finally we just decided to jump over the cement wall and walk down the skinny stretch of sand until we found the beach we wanted. We threw all our stuff over the wall and Chad lept over while I slowly lowered myself down :) After a small stretch though we reached impassible parts. Back over the fence we went, ok, we just went through a gate this time. Finally we were able to sneak down into the beach we wanted only to see the public entrance smack in the middle of the beach. Geesh. We were better at what we were doing this time so it was a lot of fun. I've decided that all our vacations will now need to have snorkeling involved!
Wednesday morning was my favorite, hands down. We went to Hanauma Bay with everyone to snorkel. It was everything I wanted it to be and more! Everyone told us to go here so expectations were very high, and they were surpassed for sure! After playing with the pigeons again we hoped in the water. The water was crystal clear and there were fish everywhere! Seriously though, we put on our gear and as soon as we dunked our faces there were fish! Best part, we saw 4 sea turtles! That was my mission, to see a turtle. Chad had seen one yesterday when we were snorkling and it scared him. Cloudy water with a large shadowy dark thing swimming around? Yeah, would have freaked me out too. The turtles were really cool. They just swam along and let us swim with them. We had way too much fun and ended up leaving late. Sorry family! Chad and I learned the hard way that floating around in water in the crazy hot sun for 3 hours requires at least more than 2 applications of sunscreen. We were really careful all week but our luck ran out that morning.
We rinsed off, got dressed super fast and piled back into the van to drive up to the Polynesian Center. We didn't have a lot of time to do much (sorry!) but we were able to see the Samoa "town". The guy was hillarious! Chad and I laughed through the whole thing. We learned how to make fire, Chad was able to get the wood to smoke! And we learned about "tree"90X. Chad and I got tattoos, we were overly excited about them. The girl helping us out was very nice and thought it was funny how seriously we were taking our temporary tattoos. It took us a while to pick them out and then we had to pick a spot, which took us forever.
The dinner was great, we got to try lots of different foods, Elder Taylor tried sneaking in to hang out and was promptly kicked out, and we got a classic sunburned in Hawaii picture! We loved our crazy enthusiastic announcer and all the hula dancers. We sang Happy Birthday to Taylor, and Ashley and Patrick almost went on stage to dance for their anniversary but got scared! Chad and I were on our way up to learn a hula at the end but on our way up we realized they wanted kids, we quickly turned out butts around and sat down! Afterwards we went to see Ha!, the musical production that was going on there. It was great. We loved the show with all the dancing. We met up with Elder Taylor after the show and were able to visit with him. On the way back to the hotel we all crashed in the van, except for Patrick, our driver, he was a champ and managed to (barely) stay awake to get us back!
Thursday was another hiking morning. We had sufficiently wore Tay out so he kept Mom company while the rest of us hiked up Daimond Head. Surprise, surprise, it was hot and sunny! Very different from our last hike in the forest but the views at the top were great. Lots of stairs and crazy little asian women hiking up in heels, tights with shorts over top, and jackets. I was wearing as little clothing as possible and sweating the whole way. Best part of all the hikes we did? Compared to doing any sort of running/hiking in Utah I was a superstar in Hawaii. Woot Woot for sea level! And of course, there were more pictures of birds taken ;)
By the afternoon I was pooped. Chad and I were planning on going out that night so I took it easy that afternoon. I laid on the beach with Ashley while the boys surfed! None of us were sure how it would go, they decided to rent surfboards without a lesson and just give it a go! We watched some YouTube videos and figured that was good enough! And it was! Both Chad and Patrick were able to get up and ride some waves. Ashley and I tried to take some pictures, we zoomed in and stalked people out on the water hoping the pictures we were taking were of our husbands. Most were, some were not. We were convinced this one guy was Patrick, definitely wasn't. Then we though we finally found Pat but it was that same random guy. We've got some nice pictures of this random stranger! Chad got some nice board burns? I don't know what else to call it. It looks like a rug burn from the surf board, all over his thighs and part of his chest. It was pretty bad looking. We quickly learned why people wear what they do when they surf. Next time we'll know better!
That night Chad and I went out and explored the city more. We tried to get something to eat but were very indicisive and ended up just being snacky. So... we each got a cupcake from a bakery that won cupcake wars, got our own Jamba Juice, and split a pretzel. We stopped back at the hotel for a while to get cookies with the rest of the family to celebrate Tay's birthday and sing to him! After we went back out and wandered around.
We were in one store looking for a t-shirt for Chad and after folding it back up and putting it back the lady working walked right in front of me, where I put the shirt, and proceeded to fold it up correctly and then organize the rest of the shirts. She was literally right in front of me. It was super awkward and I just stood there to see what would happen. She just kept folding shirts. There was just enough room for us both to be standing up. Very weird. So we left there real quick and I made sure to unfold a few more shirts on the way out. The shop owners were a little different. Earlier that week Chad, Ash, Pat and I all got kicked out of a Christmas store because they were closing. We had to leave but the Asians that were there shopping could stay. We were also kicked out of a jewelry store in the mall earlier that week. We did manage to find some great shopping areas though and the Hawaiian cookie store with tons of samples, and a great garden with tons of twinkle lights. It was a fun night.
Friday was our last day. We were all beat. It was a crazy busy week. We stocked up on our breakfast munchies and headed out to the beach, where we just ate and hung out all morning. We had to check out by noon so after that we headed up to the mall so we could eat and keep cool and clean until our flights :)
It was a fantastic vacation and we can't wait to see where our parents take us next! :)