Posts Tagged "Hawaii"

A DAY OF ‘CULTURE’ IN HONOLULU

Well, that’s just a little play on words…actually  I’m speaking about our visit to The Polynesian Cultural Center.  The PCC is located on the North Shore of Oahu in the town of Laie, about 40 miles from Waikiki.  I developed an avid  interest in the history and culture of the Polynesian people after my first visit here when I was about 16.  I’m not unusually a history buff, but ancient Hawaii has held my interest for many years.  It was on my second visit to Hawaii while in college, that I first visited the Polynesian Cultural Center.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a wonderful place to experience,  with about 1,300 employees representing the island people and nations of Hawaii, Samoa, Maori New Zealand (Aotearoa), Fiji, Tonga, Easter Island, Tahiti and the Marquesas (French Polynesia)—spread over approximately 12 million square miles of Pacific Ocean.  Note the map below.

 The  Polynesian Cultural Center, considered one of the world’s most successful cultural theme attractions,  opened on October 12, 1963, to help preserve and perpetuate the more ideal aspects of Polynesian culture, and to provide work opportunities for students at the adjoining Brigham Young University.

   Many of the students there are from the lesser known islands in the Pacific, and would never have the opportunity to attend a university without this program.  Since opening, over 33 million visitors have been introduced to the Polynesian people, their arts and customs, and nearly 15,000 BYU-Hawaii students have helped finance their educational objectives while working as the friendly guides, performers and other PCC employees serving people from all over the world.

We had a tour bus from the center pick us up at our hotel about 10:00. Upon arrival at the center, we were divided into groups and assigned a tour guide.  The PCC is divided into 8 separate areas depicting the island groups in Polynesia.  With our tour guide and the rest of our group of about 25, we began our trek around the center.  Each of the areas showed some of their culture, their dances, their food or their customs.  And, as much as possible, they tried to replicate the differences in  the type of housing or shelters they used. 

TheRainbows of Paradise canoe pageant, Hawaii’s only water-borne review, takes place near Samoa and Hawaii every afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Skilled dancers show how their respective islands brought the colors of the rainbow into their lives. The pageant provides excellent daylight photography and video opportunities.

We were able to participate in several activities…playing ancient games, learning to hula, getting ‘tattoed’, tasting foods,watching the students showing some of their skills., even doing a simple weaving project. We did pretty good on everything we tried…especially the hula…yeah, they were wanting to hire us for the show!  Ha!  This seemed to be the activity we did the best in…pineapple, orange, and mango sherbet.  On this HOT day…delicious!

This was an all day adventure.  So next we were treated to a wonderful luau.    Delicious food, fine entertainment, and a nice, cool place to sit and eat.

And, after we stuffed ourselves, we moved over to a huge theater to watch the main show. 

Hā: Breathof Life
The Polynesian Cultural Center’s world-famous evening show, Ha-Breath of Life, is the pinnacle of the entire experience. A cast of over 100 of the PCC’s finest young dancers and musicians reprise an afternoon in the villages in a powerful 90-minute display of grace, beauty, color, exceptional choreography and unforgettable excitement.
 
The Polynesian Cultural Center evening show has thrilled millions of people, year after year, for the past 40 years.

The show was an excellent adaptation of just how people came to these islands and how they learned to live here with what was available.  One of the best shows we saw anywhere on the trip.

After the show, they allowed about an hour for shopping, or exploring.  They had opened up small kiosks all around with native crafts.  We had too much time to wander around in all these shops…if you catch my drift.  We caught our bus and were back at our hotel around 10:00.  The bus was equipped with TVs spaced throughout, and they showed interesting documentry type programming.  Sorry to say…I snoozed through some of it.  It was a loooooong day!

If you ever take a trip to the island of Oahu, this would be at the top of my list of  ‘MUST DO’.  Top quality throughout.

AND NOW, BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED POSTS……..

WELL.  What with all the exciting’ baby coming early’ news and all…which I am not complaining about, you understand……. my posts about our trip got put aside.  And, rightly so.  I mean A NEW GRANDSON certainly trumps a TRIP TO HAWAII !  There are still some things about the trip to talk about, so I’ll pick it back up.  HOWEVER, Sweet Levi may break in at any time! 

Let’s go to Honolulu!  Honolulu and Waikiki are on the island of Oahu.  This is the most populated and most commercial of the islands. 

We went there mainly to see how it had changed since Joy and I were there in the early 70’s.  We also wanted to go back to the Polynesian Cultural Center.  We remembered it being so good back then.  And, Patty really wanted to go to Pearl Harbor.  We knew we had an ocean front room in Maui, so we took a city view room in Honolulu.  The hotel was right on Waikiki.  It is the oldest hotel on the beach, built in 1901.    Much renovation, though.  However they are now deemed a historic site and can make no more changes.  It is a beautiful place, for sure.

Someone has to have the yucky view rooms in hotels in Paradise…and we knew ours was going to be poor.  So, it was OK…we didn’t spend much time there anyway.  But, just a peak at how faaaaaaaar away from the beach it was…here are Joy and I practicing our synchronized waving on our balcony…

…then we made this photo of Patty…..way down there…

And, when we got a chance, this is the site we saw….Waikiki Beach.

Joy and Patty planned their next day to be a trip to Pearl Harbor.   To make it a real adventure, they took off early, caught the city bus, and found the Harbor.  They were able to spend as much time as they wanted there, and then they made there way home, again on the bus.  Here are some of their pictures from the day:

The Arizona Memorial…

This is the top of something that is on the Arizona.  I don’t mean to sound flip, but I really have no idea what it is.  I do know, however, that oil is still leaking out of it, even today.  You can see the oil on top of the water.

This is a plaque on the Memorial…sorry it is hard to read…

I love the composition of this picture.  Through the top of the Memorial, which floats on top of the Arizona, Old Glory still waves against the Creator’s blue sky. 

And, back in the park, a picture of Joy and Patty, with the Arizona in the background.

As for me, I did a little exploring of my own.  There were so many little, and BIG, shops around and in the hotel.  I did a little shopping, then went back to the room and rested, and read some, and watched a movie.  I needed an easy, restful day after the long trip the day before!  Then we ate at The Cheesecake Factory, of all places!  Joy and Patty were so tired, and it was in walking distance.  But, a strange thing happened there, that has never happened to us before.  We ate our meal…and NOBODY WANTED CHEESECAKE !!!!  I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.  We didn’t even take any with us.  I don’t know…maybe it was the sun…or something.  I’m hoping it doesn’t carry over to the next time I visit one of their Factories.

STAY TUNED….MORE EXCITING ADVENTURES  OF *THE THREE WAHINES * TO COME…

*****TSUNAMI*****addendum***

I believe in prayer.  I believe God is always listening to hear the prayers of those who belong to Him.  I believe that He answers prayers according to what is best for us.  Prayer brings our thinking more inline with God’s.

Prayer is conversation with God.  It is not contemplation or even meditation.  Prayer is a direct address to Him.  It may be spoken out loud or it may be silent,  but it is a pouring out of the soul to Him and beseeching the Lord for His favor.

To believe in prayer…you must believe in God.  You must believe in His abilities.  You must believe in His control of all things, and of all his creatures and all their actions.  You must believe that He wants to communicate with us.

Our prayers must be sincere.  They must be offered with reverence and humility.  And, they must be offered in the faith that God will hear and answer…that He will keep His promises.

[References:  Ex. 32:11,   1 Sam 1:15,   2 Cor.32:20,  Job 8:5,   Ps. 73:28,   Eph. 3:14,   Hebrews 10:22,    Matt. 7-8,  1 Peter 2:5,    John 14:13-14]    ….The Bible Encyclopedia

*****************************************************************************************************

I believe the above with all my heart.  And, I know so many of you do, too.  It was amazing and so, so comforting for all 3 of us when we started getting messages, and e-mails, and tweets, and FB messages, and phone calls, and text messages.  They started, and they kept on coming and coming and coming.  Each time, we would share what was said with each other.  My 2 best friends called each other and prayed together for us…then called us.  With each word of support, we felt the arms of our Lord holding us tighter and tighter.  And, our hearts….felt more and more peaceful.

You did this for us.  Even though there was an ocean between us….we felt you were as close as next door.  You did it because you carry the love of God in your heart as well.  And, with sincere and humble hearts, you carried our dilemma to the Father.

Thank you so very much.  We are eternally grateful.  From Patty, Joy, and myself….’mahalo’ from the bottom of our hearts.

(MAHALO…thank-you)

***** TSUNAMI *****

What a surprise!  The surprise of our lives, you could say.  Who would ever think that in this beautiful paradise, amidst the most beautiful of natural creations, the force of the life-giving ocean would offer up its most devastating ways.

 A tsunami  is caused by an underwater earthquake or volcanic eruption.  We know the earthquake occurred in Japan…and I am sure you have seen the devastation there.  Such a tragedy.  We were seeing the pictures also…just as we were waiting for it to hit Hawaii!  What exactly is a tsunami?A tsunami wave is really a very “long” wave, with its energy moving vertically from seafloor to surface at a high rate (this wave was traveling at 600 mph). When approaching the coast, the depth decreases dramatically and thus the amplitude increases creating huge devastating waves.  Usually there is little impact offshore, and most boats travel over it feeling only a small bump.  The water along the coast is sucked out , then the wave come rolling in…stopping for nothing.  Size varies.

The first hint of things to come came at about 9:45 as we were watching CSI .    The newscasters broke in and said that we were under a tsunami watch…….”News at Ten.”  Of course, we watched it, and at that time all they had to say was that there had been a major earthquake in Japan and that the Pacific Tsunami Warning System was assessing the situation.   And, they would let us know.  So we waited and soon they were back on and telling us that the earthquake in Japan was much worse than thought and that it had already caused a major tsunami in Japan.  And in another half hour…..we were under a tsunami warning!!!

Now, I knew what a tsunami was.  One of the very first times I came to Hawaii….back in the dark ages…….there was still evidence of the last one.  There were ‘water line’ marks that were higher than I could reach.  I was only16 at the time.  In 1946, a Pacific wide tsunami obliterated the waterfront area of Hilo, on the Big Island.   This prompted the establishment of the Pacific ‘Tsunami Warning Center.  Since then many areas and lives have been saved due to this early warning system.  It is always ‘on watch’ for any thing happening in the Pacific that would affect the areas it serves.  Unfortunately, the tsunami in Japan was created immediately and there was no time for the warnings to take affect.  If you remember the devastating tsunami in Thailand several years ago, there was no warning system in this area to warn the residents of coming disaster.  So sad.

Well, it is hard to explain the way I was feeling.  Surprisingly, I felt a  sense of calm.  Maybe it was niavite, but I felt no panic or fear.    Because, I was familiar with the Warning System, I knew that the warning was true and would happen…in some form or another.  Also, I knew that Hawaii had evacuation routes already in place and that we would simply evacuate, if necessary.

I also experienced an excitement of sorts.  Was I actually going to have a chance to witness this phenomenon of nature?  It really would be quite a sight to see…and quite a story to tell!  (And what great blog material!)

The newscasters were telling us to wait until the ‘EVACUATE’ order was given.  They had told us all to check in the phone book where it explained just which areas were in the evacuation zone and should be prepared to leave.  We looked.  And, yes.  Yes we were.  We were smack dab in the middle of the tsunami warning evacuation area.  Which meant we had to be ready to leave.  If we left, we would drive up into the mountains following the escape route.  We were to go as far as we could.  Then we would stop, and spend the night in the car…until the ALL CLEAR was given!  We were to take food and water.

We decided that that Joy and Patty should begin to pack.   I  asked Patty to go and get our car, which was in valet parking, and move it to the third floor parking so that it would be closer to us. In the meantime, I took off to the lobby to talk to the management.  As I expected there was a huge amount of activity around the lobby.   When it was my turn to talk to ‘the man in charge”…I asked him about the level of danger.  “EXTREMELY  HIGH”.  I asked if we should leave.  “THAT WOULD BE THE SAFEST THING TO DO”  We are on the 6th floor of the motel…would we be safe there?  “YOU SHOULD BE O.K.”  ‘Should’ is not a word that instills much confidence in this girl.  Should is not definite.  And, in matters of life and death, I prefer to be VERY, ABSOLUTELY, DEFINITELY SURE !………[which is why I know FOR SURE . where I will be going when I die! ]  .  He moved on to talk to someone else.    And, so, as I stepped out into the beautiful courtyard of our motel, I looked up into the sky.  The stars were  amazing.  Millions of them…twinkling their little lights as hard as they could.  The beautiful palm trees were gently swaying.  The smell of plumeria was heavy in the air.  And, the waves crashing on the shore was an oddly comforting sound.   All around me was the most beautiful of the natural world.  It was unthinkable to imagine it mutilated or gone completely. 

I did not hear God speak to me…even though I was asking Him to tell me what to do.  But, in my heart of hearts, I knew that He said to me….”These things belong to me.”  Well, not meaning to be sacrilegious here…but I KNEW that these things belonged to Him…and that was not an answer to my question….and I really didn’t have a lot of time here.  So, just in case I wan’t passing along to Him the fact that I needed to hear some instructions NOW…I said out loud, “Jesus, please let me know what to do.”  And, I heard nothing…and I felt nothing…and my heart of hearts stayed empty of His words.  So, I found a bench and sat down and waited.  I knew Joy and Patty were packing and waiting for me.  But, I needed to be still.   I watched as people were scurrying here and there.  The sirens were blowing everywhere…every 30 minutes.  Loud…very loud!  How could anyone miss it?   People rushing to the parking lot with their suitcases.  People on the phones making reservations at hotels not in the danger zone.  People calling the airport and trying to book flights out going anywhere before the tsunami struck…about 4 hours.  Husbands and wives arguing about what they should do.  Children crying because they were seeing their parents not in control.  People arguing with the hotel manager, “You mean you expect me to sit in my car all night?”  or  “All you have to offer is the floor up on 6th to sit on and wait?  What will we eat?  What are we supposed to do all night?”   I sat and watched, and felt foolish for not doing something.  I thought of Joy and Patty.  And, even though they could make their own decisions, I knew they were waiting for me.  But, I heard nothing.   I thought of how watching all these people in such turmoil was like an ant hill that gets stepped on.  Out pour the ants, not knowing where to go…just going.  There was no leader.  It was a picture of chaos.  If the Queen Of All Ants would just step out and blow her whistle and get them all lined up…they could follow her out of danger…back into the deep trenches of their home. 

And, then I knew.  I HAD a leader.  I HAD heard Him before tell me to STOP!    Or tell me to GO!  And, I knew that if I needed it, He would,again, tell me what to do.  I felt an immediate peace about the situation.  AND to top it all off, a friend of mine had posted this verse on FB…and I had read it aloud to Joy and Patty. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified…for the Lord our God will be with us wherever we go.”  Joshua 1:9.  If  He meant anything He said in His Word, then He meant this as well.  Either all He said was true or all He said was lies.  This was one of His promises and I had every reason to believe He would keep this one as well as all the others He had kept in my life!

I went back to the room, and we sat down and talked.  I told them I had a very strong peace.  And, that I felt like we should stay put.  But, if either of them felt different, we would go.  But, both Joy and Patty assured me that they were at perfect peace, and not afraid.  I wanted to know one more thing before we made our final decision.  I asked them to go to the lobby and ask about the strength of the building we were in.  They were told that it was a concrete structure made to withstand hurricanes and the like.  That settled it for me.  And Joy.  And Patty.  They went and got our suitcases out of the car.  We sat together and prayed and asked for safety for us and all the rest of the islands.  We prayed for the devastation in Japan.  We thanked God for giving us the courage of our convictions.  We called home and spoke to our families and told them what we decided and they were in agreement with us.  Since it was the middle of the night, I just sent e mails to some.  And, then, we still had 2 hours to wait.  We watched TV…which alternated between what happened in Japan, and what could happen here.  I looked over at one point and Joy and Patty were both asleep!  ASLEEP!  Can you believe it?  Facing danger and mayhem, yet they were sleeping!  🙂  Creates a picture of true trust, doesn’t it?  (Well, I woke them up before time for it to hit…no way I was sitting through this alone!)

About 50 people came up onto the breezeway of the 6th floor.  They had rooms on the lower floors but could not leave for one reason or another.  The hotel provided them with food and water.  At one point we took the blankets off our beds out to see if anyone was cold, but no one was.  There were old and young, men and women.  Mostly they sat without talking.  Just waiting.  So thankful that we had gotten a room on the 6th floor when we checked in!  God knew!

The tsunami was scheduled to hit Kauai first.  It did and caused  little damage.   It was announced that it was only about 4 feet high on Kauai, so it should be no higher on Maui.  That relieved our minds.  We didn’t know until the next day that it actually was about 6 feet high here in Maui.  We never saw anything where we were.  But, there was quite a bit of damge about 10 miles from us . It seemed to do the most damage on The Big Island and on Oahu.  Damage, yes, there was some.  And, some of it was quite severe.  But, nothing like it could have been.  Hawaii had for the most part, been spared. 

 

Long line of cars snaking their way up the mountain to safety in Maui.

 Coming ashore…….

Can you find the house in the ocean…below?

Here it is!

Can you see how the water has receeded below?  That is one of the first signs that a tsunami is emminent.  In Hawaii, it uncovered coral reefs that had never been seen before.  Some people were dumb enough to try to run out and see it.  On Oahu, near Waikiki, some young kids were riding their bicycles out onto the empty ocean floor.  Helicopters kept telling them to leave…finally the police were called to get them.  Crazy!
 
 
 
 
“The seas have lifted up, O Lord,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea-
the Lord on high is mighty.”                     Psalm93:3-4
 
 
“The sea is His, for He made it.”  Psalm 95:5
 
There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number-
living things both large and small.
There the ships go to and fro,
and the leviathan,
which you formed to frolic there.”           Psalm 104:25-26
The LEVIATHAN is thought by scholars to represent the whale.  This is the time when the whales have migrated back to the warm waters of Hawaii to have their calves.  We were able to go out on a boat to see them one day.  They are the most amazing creatures.  I wondered since so many are in the waters of Hawaii at this time, if they were affected in any way by the tsunami.  The Pacific Whale Foundation had this to say:
*****For humpbacks, the wave would have passed them with likely little notice, provided they were not in shallow water. If they were resting close to shore, they would have had to move quickly offshore and fight the force of the wave. No strandings were reported yesterday, save for a turtle and numerous fish tossed on land, therefore it appears humpbacks are fairly good at navigating such a wave. FYI we have observed humpbacks cruising very large waves 20’+ (albeit not tsunamis) off popular surf spots off east Australia and not strand.
For coastal/intertidal marine life (especially coral and fishes) the wave is extremely, immediately disruptive (devastating), but not-so-much further offshore (> 100 foot depth). The resultant effects will likely include waters laden with earth and debris retreating, dumping tons of sediment at greater depth, smothering everything. Short, even long term, this sediment can kill or harm other animals dependent upon this area of the ocean for food. Therefore while dolphins may not have noticed the tsunami, they could suffer from lowered prey availability due to habitat destruction of prey species.*****
An adventure, to be sure.  And just another lesson in Providence.  Thanks be to God!
 
“You rule over the surging sea;  when its waves mount up, you still them.”  Psalm89:9

SEE YA !

See Ya soon, my friends!  I am headed out of Dodge early Sunday…I packed my bags.  Think I brought enough….?

 

 I’m leaving on a airplane…..

Look!  There we are…..Joy, Patty, and me!  I’m the one waving!  But, my hair looks doesn’t like that!!!!

Well, can you imagine where we are heading?   Here’s a clue…..

A hammock under a palm tree against a blue sky…. Well, that could be anywhere…I live just 80 miles from the coast in Florida, and I LOVE Florida!   But, I’m not going to Florida.  Here’s another clue……

OK …. you think you know?  There are palm trees and hammocks and sand……aaaannnndddd…

…WHALE  TAILS!  Now do you know? …….  RIGHT!!!!!  We’re going back to Hawaii!  Joy and I and our friend, Patty, who has never been.  And, Joy didn’t get enough last year!  We have been talking about what we’ll do and what we’ll see and especially what to take.  Because we want to look really good when we hit the beach…This is what we have in mind…

 

But, let’s be realistic here…this is probably closer to the truth….

So, all is well.  We’ll be cute either way! 

This time we are going to the island of Oahu first, and staying several days on Waikiki Beach.  Then on to the island of Maui for a week in my favorite place on this planet!  I always stay in the same resort on Maui…here is a shot of the courtyard.  Isn’t it beautiful?  And, even though it doesn’t show here, there are flowers everywhere.  It smells divine!

I plan to blog while I am there.  Plan to….we’ll see.  It’s just so hard sticking to a plan while in Paradise!    So, if you don’t see me commenting much…you’ll know why.  Cause I’ll be doing this….

…and this…

…but, I’ll be staying close to the ocean because…

I’m not sure if that is true……..but I’m not taking any chances!

Mostly we are going to enjoy the fun of family and friends.  Good food, good drink, good scenery, good activities, good everything!

And, so, as we leave, we pray for safety……for ourselves and for our loved ones  here at home…and  we will remember this:

 And, we intend to find it!       ALOHA

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