Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Kualoa Ranch

Hawai'i Continued:
On Monday Morning after waking up we walked to the Shorebird Restaurant and Beach Bar in the Outrigger Reef Hotel. It is one of our favorite places for breakfast in O'ahu. It is right on the Waikiki beach. The wall facing the beach is only about 3 feet tall with shutters above that that are always open, so it is like eating right on the beach. It is called the Shorebird for a reason too. Last year we managed to get a prime table right next to the ocean for breakfast. After I sat down I realized I forgot my OJ, so I went back to get and when I came back there were 8 pigeons ON my breakfast plate eating MY food! I was soooo annoyed! I had managed to get a table with an amazing view only to have my food strewn all over the table, chairs, the floor, everywhere by those stupid birds! We ended up eating at the bar, which, by the way, also has an amazing view. Looking back now it is pretty funny! Those birds were lying in wait for someone to momentarily abandon their breakfast so they could swoop in. After all, why migrate when you could live in paradise year round and eat tourist's breakfasts! Luckily breakfast on this trip was much less eventful. And the pineapple was fabulous! After breakfast we walked all the way to the end of Waikiki beach at the Hilton. The gardens on the grounds of the Hilton are beautiful! There are so many beautiful flowers and birds of paradise, and koi ponds.
We had a long walk back up to Kuhio Ave. from there to visit our travel agent who booked us a trip to the Movie Set Tour at Kualoa Ranch where several movies and tv shows were/are filmed including Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, Godzilla, Pearl Harbor, You Me and Dupree, MacGyver, Hawaii 5 O, and best of all LOST!!!!! Being the LOST fan that I am this was one thing that I couldn't miss!! So, we drove up past Sea Life Park once again to our favorite little town and found Kualoa Ranch. We grabbed a rather uninspired lunch at the ranch and and then were off on a really fun tour!
Yes, that was the actual bus we went on. It was as bad as it looks, but we had so much fun!!!
The entrance to one of the hatches. There is a scene with Matthew Fox (Jack) in front of this door. :)Scouts for LOST driving away after we arrived for a closer look at the hatch.
The tour guide took this picture of us at our first stop. Gotta love the view!

Hurley's golf course location. Breathtaking. I love these mountains!

Me! Look what I found!
Yes, we may look like geeks, but I has sooooo much fun!
Remember the episode in Season 3 when Hurley found the VW Bus with the dead guy and all the beer in it? That ridge in the pic. on the front on the mountain is where Hurley had the guys shove the van down the cliff with him and Charlie in it in order to try to push start it. That scene cracks me up! I LOVE Charlie in it. I love Charlie though!
The Starbucks where Matthew Fox gets his coffee on the way to work. I'm not a stalker. Really. Actually I don't really care that much. Now, if it was the Starbucks where Charlie got his Starbucks, that would be another story!
Blurry Pearl Harbor Picture.
Mike with the Pearl Harbor sign.
And on we go to Jurassic Park. Above are a few of the scenes filmed at Kualoa Ranch.
The log that the Archaeologist guy and the two kids hide behind to get away from a stampede of dinosaurs. Then a T-Rex comes out of the bushes to the side and eats one. Of the dinosaurs, not the kids.
Ain't we cute?
Here we are hiding from the stampeding Dinosaurs!

Godzilla and a footprint from the giant lizard.
Another footprint. Funny story, the footprints were originally 6 feet deep for the movie, but the cows from the ranch kept falling in them during the night and the ranch hands would have to haul them out in the morning. :0 I thought that was soooo funny! They got tired of doing this over and over and they didn't want the cows to get hurt, so they backfilled the footprints so they are only about a food deep now.
A series of footprints and the bus leaving without us. Several of us had run up a big hill to take a closer look at Hurley's golf course. The tour guide loaded the bus and was on his way back to get us, but I thought he was leaving without us! I told him this when he picked us up. He was like oh, then you would have been Lost. He had a cheesy sense of humor. :)
After our tour of Kualoa Ranch ended we decided to take the scenic ride back to the condo and drive around the entire island and back to Honolulu. Our only time restraint was we had reservations at Dukes for dinner at 9pm. The drive around the island of O'ahu was beautiful! We stopped at some deserted beaches and saw amazing mountain views. Mikes favorite stop was at Giovanni's Shrimp Truck. The tour guide said it was the best shrimp on the island. I personally am not all that into food that comes out of a camper retrofitted to be a kitchen, but whatever. I like shrimp as much as the next guy. So we ordered the garlic shrimp. Anyway, they comes out in this garlic butter sauce that they have been cooked in and they are still in their shell things. ICK! I thought that was really gross. I always take the shell thing off shrimp before I cook them and have never been anywhere else where it was served that way. Mike really liked it though. I shared mine with a local cat who really seemed to like it as well.
My favorite stop was an amazing beach on the North Shore not all that far from Turtle Beach. The sand was the softest, finest, whitest sand I have ever seen. It loved it! (Unfortunately I used up all of the camera's memory at the ranch, so I couldn't take any pictures.) Mike and I walked along the beach hand in hand with the sun setting in the background and the surf playing tag with our feet. After a while Mike went and sat down in the sand and I continued to walk along in the surf. But I was not going to get wet. We had dinner reservations. That resolution didn't last too long though. It was too perfect of a night not to play in the ocean! I had a bating suit on under my clothes, so I was in the water within moments. Mike joined me and we has so much fun! I felt like a kid again. I did not want to leave that beach. Ever. But it was getting late and we still had almost a 2 hour drive back to Honolulu.
We made it back in time for our dinner reservations at Dukes. Dukes is my favorite place in Hawaii to eat.
It is named after Duke Kahanamoku the famous surfer and winner of several US Olympic gold medals in swimming. The food at Dukes is fabulous. My steak and garlic mashed potatoes were great, but my favorite thing for dinner is their famous Cesar salad. I had no idea how a Cesar salad could be famous until tasting theirs.
Mike at the dinner table while we waited for our food. He is sooo hot!

The two of us at Dukes. Some pictures our waiter took. We are so in love!
We had a fabulous day. I think it was my favorite day of our vacation. After dinner we had a romantic moonlit walk back "home."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

O'ahu, paradise on earth

We started our vacation on Friday October 19 by spending the night in a hotel by the airport. I wanted to do that so we wouldn't have to get up at the crack of dawn to load up the car and drive to the park n fly and from there take a shuttle to the airport. This way we got to sleep in and then the hotel shuttle took us to the airport while our car spent the week at the hotel.
And Were off to paradise on Hawaiian Airlines! I think flying to the islands on Hawaiian is so much better than on any other airline, because it is like an extension of your vacation. I spent a lot of time on the plane reading and napping while listening to my i pod and snuggling with my hot guy, while Mike mastered his new PSP game.

When we landed the air was amazingly warm and fragrant, and we had a red convertible Mustang waiting for us! When we finally found our "resort" I demanded to change hotels because I was not about to stay at the "resort" RCI sent us to, so instead, our timeshare found a great one bedroom condo with sweeping 360* views of the ocean, city, and mountains! While they were getting the condo ready for us we took the scenic ocean highway that winds past Hanauma bay and the blow hole where "From Here To Eternity" was filmed, to our favorite little ice cream shop in a humble little town past Sea Life Park. After some amazing kona coffee and coconut ice cream we checked into our condo. It was perfect. I quickly unpacked and then we walked to Waikiki beach to watch the sunset and play in the waves. It was very romantic. After the beautiful sunset we walked around Honolulu and found a trendy restaurant called Holokai Grill for dinner. It was a fun atmosphere but the food left something to be desired. However, there was really no way to be disappointed. I was in Hawaii with the love of my life, the coconut shrimp appetizer was really good and while we were there I got a pix message from my favorite cousin with a ring on the third finger of her left hand!!!! Congratulations Jenn!
The next morning we had breakfast at hotel around the corner from us and then went to Aloha Tower Marketplace. We went there last year and I just love it. There is a great surf shop with the best flip flops, oh sorry, slippers, ever! The ones I got last year are brown and pink and oh so cute! This year they didn't have any in my size (but I found some black and pink ones somewhere else. They are called Ocean Minded and are the best flops ever!!!) After visiting the surf shop we went to the Aloha Tower to check out the views from the top. :)
The Aloha Tower. The elevator ride to the top was sweltering! It felt so good to get out and go outside on the balcony! At the top we were greeted with sweeping views of the harbor. There was a huge cruise ship in the slip right next to us an we watched ships come and go. Mike really enjoyed watching the cargo ships being helped in by tug boats and then watching them be unloaded with cranes.
More of the tower. And a palm tree, yay!
The entryway/ lobby. I love how so many lobbies and restaurants are open air on the islands!
The flowers in Hawaii are sooo beautiful. These were growing all around the entryway of the Aloha Tower and I thought they were gorgeous.
The guard saw me taking a picture of the flower and offered to take one of us in front of the pretty flowers! Note Mike's squinty face. This is the face he wore in most of the pictures we took.
After seeing the tower we went in search of lunch in the Tower Marketplace. We found Don Ho's. Yes, the restaurant in honor of the famous singer of "Tiny Bubbles." While we waited for our table we took more pictures!!
Us waiting for our table with tropical foliage in the background. We are so cute!
Me in front of some flowers. No tan yet, but it is still our first full day!
We got an outside table with an amazing harbor view. I ordered a margarita pizza and it came out on a wooden board in the shape of a surf board. It was so cute! Above is a picture of my drink. I ordered a chi chi instead of a pina colada. I wanted to try one because they have the same ingredients as a pina colada except the chi chi has vodka instead of rum. It was ok, but not my favorite. It looked cute though. In the future I will stick to pina coladas (or blue hawaiis, or mai tais or....:)).
After lunch we took a long scenic drive along the ocean up past Diamond Head. It was amazing. The raw beauty there took my breath away. We stopped at a view point on a cliff and sat on a stone wall looking out on the beautiful blue Pacific. All I could think was "good job God!" There is no way to look out at such beauty and not feel peace in your soul.
From there we drove down to a really nice beach next to the Honolulu Aquarium and took a walk in the park and then out in the sand. It was so nice we decided we wanted to swim so we drove back to the condo and grabbed our beach bag and walked down to Waikiki beach where we played in the waves. We swam quite a ways out to where the waves were strong and had so much fun trying to body surf. Just letting the waves pick you up and push you around is so much fun!
We stayed at the beach until long after sunset and by the time we walked around Honolulu in search of dinner most places were either closed or completely booked, so we grabbed some chips and dip at the Food Pantry and had a romantic meal at the
And that was the start of our amazing vacation!