Monday, May 6th --
We enjoyed another leisurely breakfast today before packing up for our day at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on the southeast shore past Diamond Head. The drive took us through the Kahala neighbourhood, giving us another chance to admire the beautiful homes we saw last night. The Nature Preserve parking lot was already full, according to the sign, but when I asked if I could drop Mom off, the parking attendant let me park in the lot (a little perk of being handicapped). After a short video to explain the mission of the Preserve and the rules for preserving the underwater habitat, we boarded the tram for the 1/4 mile ride down the hill to the beach below. The tram was not mandatory but Mom was happy to not have to walk down and back up again. Once we were at the bottom of the 'pali' it was easy to see the walls of the crater that now formed this protected bay.
We found a grassy spot under palm trees to spread out our bamboo mat. The Park docents told us the water was unusually clear today. I was hoping that would allow Mom to see fish without snorkeling. With the outer coral reef blocking almost all wave action in the bay at this low tide level and with only a light breeze we ventured down to wade in the water. The warm sand felt good on our bare feet. Mom was surprised that the water was so cold but she gradually waded in until the water was up to our waists. The water here was too sandy to see fish but Mom didn't want to try floating out further. She was not too steady standing in the shifting sand. Once the tide was high enough that the wave action was more pronounced we retreated back to our mat on the grass.
By the time I had found some water to rinse the sand off of Mom's feet she had already made friends with a Chinese grandmother, there with her daughter and grandaughter. They were somehow able to communicate even though the grandmother could not speak English. Mom, with her glamorous bathing suit and cover-up and her fancy mani/pedi was possibly the closest the women had come to meeting a western-style celebrity. We took some pictures together then gathered ourselves up to ride the tram up the hill.
Our next stop driving east was the Halona Blow Hole Overlook but the tide was too low to see the full effect of this phenomenon. We watched the lava rocks being pounded by the waves below us. We thought the small protected beach down there was where scenes of "From Here to Eternity" were filmed but we weren't sure. We were too hungry to continue on to Koko Crater. Without a bag lunch we headed back to Waikiki to see what might catch our interest, not even stopping at Diamond Head on the way back.
It was already 14:00 by the time we discovered Tiki Town near the Food Court inside the International Marketplace. What a relaxing haven from the sun and Waikiki traffic. The little outdoor enclosure was ringed with various wooden tiki statues. We ordered the Polynesian burger to split. Mom had a cool raspberry tea. While we waited for our lunch we took pictures of our faces through the cutout of a hula girl's body. Fun!
The burger seemed to be taking a very long time. When we asked the owner he told us that the new chef had burned the first one and had to grill a second one. Was this such a strange admission that it might just be true? It didn't matter to us, sitting in the cool shade with all the iced drinks we wanted. When the burger finally did arrive it included a slice of grilled pineapple. Yum!
On the way home we shopped for flower hair clips and perfume, finally getting back to the apartment at 17:30. We were ready to shower off the sand, salt and sweat and then sit down to a relaxing dinner -- papaya and yogurt -- while we watched a movie. Before climbing into bed we practiced the Hukilau hula dance. Mom wants to show it to her singing group back home. Maybe they will consider a whole performance with a Hawai'ian theme.
On the Big Island --> The fellows occupied their time with cooking, reading and sing-alongs.