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23 July 2016 @ 08:22 pm
The Trip To Hawaii, July 2016  
Tuesday, July 12, 2016 – Travel Day

Today was our outbound travel day. It started easily enough, as easy as things can be at 5:00 AM. We were dressed and out the door by 5:30, which was the goal. We were quite glad that we were able to use the carpool lane because of the normal morning commute traffic to get to the airport. We arrived and got checked in with the airport with no problems, and one bonus nicety.

Back on June 4th, we had registered with the TSA Pre-Check program, gone in, done our interview, got our fingerprints taken, the whole bit. GuildMistress got her Known Traveler Number within about a week and a half. Mine, not so much. They say to call them if we don’t hear from them within 30 days. Time passed. I called them on July 5th, knowing that we were traveling soon. They said, “It’s in progress, and the program has become popular. Give us a few more days.” More time passed. I called yesterday (the 11th). They said, “It’s in progress. The FBI part has come back. I don’t know what the delay is, but since it’s been more than 30 days, I’ll bump it up a level. I’m sorry it won’t be in time for your flight tomorrow. Try again in a few days. Maybe it will be done by your return flight.”

Remember the bonus nicety I mentioned a moment ago? Hawaiian Air, likely because I had entered GuildMistress’ Known Traveler Number, did all of our boarding passes as TSA Pre-Check. They didn’t have to do that, especially since my number hadn’t come through yet. Sweet! No taking off shoes, no pulling out computers separately from bags, just shove the bag through the screening machine and walk through the metal detector. Unless you’re GuildMistress. “You’ve been randomly selected to go through the full-body scanner.” Yeah, whatever. Something flagged, and she also got a brief patdown. We’re still not sure what flagged, but we still sailed through pretty easily.

On the flight itself, we were seated behind a couple that started arguing, loudly, from the time we pulled out of the gate, and for the next hour and a half. One of the quotes that we (well, everyone within five rows or so) could hear was, “…And it’s likely to be that way for as long as we’re together!” You have to know that both my, and GuildMistress’ first thought that ran through our heads was, “Well, that won’t be too much longer!” They went quiet for about an hour, then he dragged the argument back up, and they went back and forth for another hour. I was never so glad to have earplugs. GuildMistress really wanted to pull the girl aside somehow and tell her she could do better, relating to me that this was the same treatment her Immediate-Previous Boyfriend had acted towards her. GuildMistress then held my hand, and said thank you to me for being so much better than Immediate-Previous Boyfriend.

We walked the ½ mile or so across a couple of terminals to get to our baggage claim area, and found our shuttle fairly easily to the hotel. Yay, easy! Check-in went smoothly. GuildMistress even is trying to allow Ravenpuff Sith to have a little bit of trust and responsibility by allowing her to charge about $10/day on her own on treats or small things - $100 total across ten days. If she blows through it all in two days, so be it. She should be just fine. She’s actually unsure about how to handle the obvious responsibility of being allowed to charge anything at all. Then it was off to lunch, followed by fun and swimming. The goal: Wear her little butt out. (We were successful in this endeavor.)

We walked down the hill to the local ABC store, which is the local grocery store, to get some supplies. They had clam chowder as one of the soups, and GuildMistress and I each went…that is dinner. It was simple and satisfying. We came back to the room, ate, and basically unpacked and crashed for the evening. Yay for a good travel day!

DSCN2021A - Flying Into Honolulu

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 – Slounge Day At Aulani

Today, I got up about 5:15. It was still mostly dark outside, but I was restless. So, since there’s a lovely 1.5-mile jogging trail that begins right here, I decided to go get my three-mile walk in before the girls woke up. Sunrise was right about 6 AM, so that worked. I ended up getting back right after 7 AM. GuildMistress decided that it was time for her to go. I, being an idiot, said that I would go with her. Ooof. Make that “Ouch.” I’m not used to walking six miles. Upon our return, Ellen went to get, *ahem*, breakfast – Malasadas, a glorified over-grown doughnut hole rolled in powdered sugar.

Ravenpuff Sith, being a kid, kept saying, “Let’s go swimming! Let’s go! Let’s go! LET’S GO!” So the girls went to the pools until lunchtime. I stayed in the room and rested my legs until after lunch. We all went out to the pools (water slide, lazy river, infinity pool, hot tub) across the afternoon. Ravenpuff Sith has a hard time learning the word “Lazy” on the Lazy River. She insists on pulling Mom and Dad, a lot, usually towards the water sprays and waterfalls, trying to soak us. We, on the other hand, mostly were able to prove the old adage of “Old Age And Treachery Will Overcome Youth And Skill” and soak her instead while we stayed out of the hazards and dry-ish. To nobody’s surprise, Ravenpuff Sith was the first to get tired and hungry, but it took a little longer than we thought. (I had thought by 4:30 or so. She lasted until about 5:15.) So, we ordered a pizza and called it good.

DSCN2024A - Quiet Reflection At Dawn DSCN2026A - Sunrise On The Walking Trail DSCN2027A - Aulani At Sunrise DSCN2029A - Lava Rocks At Sunrise DSCN2032A - Harbor Tower Post DSCN2036A - Thatch Umbrella At Sunrise

Thursday, July 14, 2016 – At Aulani

Today started with me waking up at 5:00 or so, and wanting to go for a walk with GuildMistress. Given the conversation that we had the night before, I chose to sit and wait for her to wake up about 7 AM. By the time we managed to convince Ravenpuff Sith to go with us (“…Go with us or no Malasadas…”) it was about 8 AM by the time we all got out the door to go for our walk. The two of them immediately left me in the dust. By the time they were one cove over, they were already about 75 yards in front of me. By two coves, they were 1/8-cove in front of me. By the fourth cove, they were on the other side of the cove from me. We stayed that way on the return portion, but by the time I reached the 2nd-to-last cove, they were heading out of that cove area completely as I entered.

I very much was thinking that I should have gone when I wanted to at sunrise, two hours ago. I would have been by myself anyway, and it was when I wanted to go. GuildMistress, upon me saying this, assured me that I was quite glad that I was not with her and GrumblePuss, who apparently complained the entirety of the three miles we walked. Right, then! On to breakfast! Maybe that would help.

After breakfast, GuildMistress used my computer to look up some things to do for while we’re here, and check the availability of some of those activities at the front counter area. I made the mistake of lying down…and waking up a couple of hours later. I must have needed the nap. Kidlet had quieted down and was happily playing on her tablet. GuildMistress was reading a book by then. But hey, we now have activities to look forward to, and not all of them are ones that we have done before. Weeee!

We can now look forward to: A dolphin sail (tomorrow, Friday), a hike in the rainforest (Sunday), and a return trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center next Wednesday. I also heard from my friend Stefani that she’s around this week. She happens to live in the next town over from where we are. We are planning to hike Diamondhead on Monday with her. Yay!

We had a late afternoon swim, including watching the sun go down. We’re heading to sleep early tonight, since it is going to be an early day tomorrow for us.

DSCN2040A - The Girls On The Jogging Trail DSCN2043A - Sunrise On Oahu DSCN2044A - Not Pineapple DSCN2048A - The Girls On The Lazy River

VIDEO--> DSCN2058A - Water Slide

DSCN2063A - Kidlet And Dad On The Waterslide DSCN2068A - Sunset From The Infinity Pool

Friday, July 15, 2016 – Dolphin Sail and Snorkeling

Today, we set an alarm for 6:30 to be out the door by 8:00 AM. That, of course, meant that I woke up at 4:30… (*Sigh*) Oh, well. I mostly managed to get back to rest, if not sleep, until about 6:00, at which point I gave up. We were, indeed, out the door on time.

Our tour bus drove us north and west, up the western side of the island, to Wai’anae Boat Harbor. We boarded a 65’ catamaran. The captain set out by motor out of the harbor, then killed the engine and raised the sails for most of the rest of the outbound journey. We sailed south for a little bit, then turned north and headed to Kepuhi Point on the north end of the Makaha Valley, about ten miles from the northwestern-most point of the island. There we got a chance to see a pod of about 25-35 Hawaiian spinner dolphins.

Unlike the bottlenose dolphins that most people think of, which grow to 8-12 feet or so in length, these spinner dolphins only grow to about 5-6 feet in length. They are called spinner dolphins because every once in a while, without any special training, they jump in the air and spin, just because they think it’s fun. We arrived early enough to where the captain said the dolphins were still half-sleeping in pairs and trios in near the shore. He said that later they would head to deeper water to hunt and eat for the day.

Dive Map 1 DSCN2086A - The Sails On The Catamaran DSCN2092A - The View From The Catamaran DSCN2102Pano 1 (16x9) DSCN2108A - The Girls On The Catamaran DSCN2151A - Four Dolphins DSCN2158A - Dolphin Pod Up Close DSCN2181A - Dolphin Spinning

VIDEO --> DSCN2185 - Dolphin Surfacing

We were not allowed to swim with the pod. Other companies had allowed their people in the water there, but this company did not allow it on conservation grounds. We did, however, leave those shallow waters near the coast edge where the dolphins were and pulled out a little farther out along the reef’s edge to snorkel for about an hour or so.

The crew was pretty badass. Two crewmembers did free-dives to the bottom, which was about 25’ down. I watched one dive down, and under a medium-sized cave opening, then return. Another dove down, and brought up a small octopus, and described its intelligence and camouflage abilities to the rest of us right there while we were all in the water, watching it change color a couple of times right then. Then he dove right back down and put it back.

DSCN2205A - Ellen and Sarah Snorkeling DSCN2210Comp - Fish DSCN2217A - Sarah And The Octopus DSCN2227A - Sarah Snorkeling DSCN2231A - Turtle

I was fine for the first 50 minutes or so. Then I accidently took in some salt water, and lost it. Damn it! I was being good, too. I had purposely not eaten anything major yet on the day, knowing that if that happened, I would just chum the waters. I didn’t need to do that. But I dry heaved anyway. Fortunately, I was near the boat anyway, so I swam back to it, and climbed aboard. It turns out the crew had called “time to come in” anyway about then, so I didn’t miss anything by my timing. I hated that I was the one who turned green, as I was having a great time. Being aboard again, I ate something (food and simple drinks were part of the excursion price) and managed to keep it down. So, there’s that at least. I sat quietly the entire rest of the trip back to harbor, a little shaken and a little sheepish that I was “that guy,” but the trip was well worth it.

When we got back to the hotel, each of us got a shower to wash off the seawater, and then we had a treat of pineapple soft-serve ice cream, sometimes called Dole-whip. Then it was time for a nap. Funny how you can still feel the waves rocking back and forth even when you’re on solid ground.

Later, we walked down to the ABC store and got some dinner. The girls went for a sunset swim while I went to try and catch my first sunset photographs at the water’s edge. It was more or less a cloudless evening, the first since we arrived. Nice enough, but photographically less interesting than it could be, at least to me. It was good, though. The waves I saw were stronger than last years, so that was good. I will do it again another evening.

DSC_4245A - Sunset Waves DSC_4303A - Sunset Waves DSC_4334A - Sunset

Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Lunch At Assaggio’s With Stefani

Today’s excitement centered around us having lunch and visiting with my friend Stefani. She was stationed in the Army here for a long time, and retired here a few years ago. She suggested an Italian place called Assaggio Kapolei, which is in the next town over from where we are staying.

We got there about fifteen minutes before they closed for the afternoon changeover to dinner, but they were gracious enough to seat us for lunch service anyway. The seating and ambience is above what you would call “corporate,” and reminds me very much of a restaurant near us called “Carpaccio’s.” Kidlet had the calamari, which is one reason Stefani suggested Assaggio’s in the first place. GuildMistress had the scallops, and I chose the chicken parmigiana.

After lunch, we headed back to Stefani’s place, and we spent all afternoon chatting and having a grand old time of it. The ladies started talking about costumes and conventions. Then we discovered that two circles of friends overlapped in an unexpected way, in that Stefani knows Bill and MAB through Hawaii-Con, not faire.

DSCN2241A - Sarah, Ellen, Stefani, Dave At Lunch DSCN2245A - Hilltop View of Honolulu DSCN2250A - Night View Of Honolulu

Sunday, July 17, 2016 – Morning Swim, Manoa Valley Rain Forest Hike

I went for a swim with the fishies this morning out in the lagoon. I saw fish, including a little ½-inch type that I didn’t see last year. The water was a little cloudy, but it felt good to be out there.

DSCN2258Comp - Two Fish DSCN2264Comp - Fish

About 12:30 or so, we all headed out to the front of the hotel to catch our tour to Monoa Valley, which is just inland to Honolulu. We went on a hike into the rainforest there. It was listed as Moderate for activity level, and rated at a little over a mile to a mile and a half. When we asked later, the guide said that the elevation change was about 400 feet, but it felt more than that, probably because the trail was tight and slow. This was not the normal, public trail to Manoa Falls that most people take. We were guided on a private trail by a guide.

DSCN2310A - On the Rainforest Hike DSCN2316A - Manoa Valley Rainforest Trail

VIDEO --> DSCN2314 - Retracting Plant (10 Sec)

We saw a lot of vegetation, as one would expect in a rainforest. As you can also expect, it started to rain on us in five- to ten-minute segments at various parts of the hike. We crossed a stream twice on the way up. The rocks were clear, but I took a mis-step on the second crossing and fell (stepped) in. Ah, well, I now had soaking feet. Whatever. The trail led through a bamboo area, and got steeper the closer we got to the falls. My thought at the time was, “The ascent is tough, and the descent is going to be tougher…” I wasn’t wrong, but it really wasn’t too bad. I made it up and down with only one cut to my leg because I wasn’t careful enough in one place on the trail, and accidentally hit my leg against a short piece of dead bamboo.

DSCN2319A - Manoa Valley Rainforest Trail DSCN2324A - Fallen Tree on the Manoa Valley Rainforest Trail DSCN2329A - Manoa Valley Rainforest Trail DSCN2347A - Bamboo On The Manoa Valley Rainforest Trail

VIDEO --> DSCN2349 - Kidlet and Heavy Rain On Manoa Valley Hike (10 Sec)

DSCN2350A - Kidlet and Heavy Rain On Manoa Valley Hike DSCN2351A - Crossing A Stream On The Manoa Valley Rainforest Trail

The falls themselves were / are about 150’ high, and are rain-fed. They were running quite full based on the amount of rain that was dropping on us as we were on the way up. Even the streams that we crossed on the way up were fuller on the hike down the hill.

DSCN2354A - Dave, Sarah, and Ellen At The Waterfall Manoa Valley Rainforest DSCN2359A - The Waterfall On The Manoa Valley Rainforest Trail

Once we were back at the hotel, I had a bowl of soup, and dropped to sleep about 8:30 or so. Normally, that timing would have me waking up about 3 AM or so, but not this night. I was so tired, I slept all the way to 5:30 AM, a full ten hours. Yikes. I must have needed it. (I did, I assure you.)

Monday, July 18, 2016 – Diamond Head, and Dinner Out With Stefani

Hee hee, my original placeholder verbiage:

“Today, we hiked up a dead volcano’s crater edge. Later, we went to Outback Steakhouse, largely because my daughter said, ‘Steak!’ Yes, Dear.”

Let’s try that again, shall we?

This morning, we met up with Stefani right after breakfast and headed out towards Diamond Head. We timed it so that we were on the back end of the morning commute. The morning commute rivals that of the Bay Area. There are, what?, 1.4 million people in the entire state of Hawaii, and about 900,000 live on Oahu. Many of them try to cram into the only city in the entire state – Honolulu. It’s kind of nuts, but that’s what the situation is.

By the time we got there, most of the traffic had lightened up enough to be flowing. We made our way past the city out to Diamond Head proper. The name comes from British sailors who thought the calcite crystals on the beach were diamonds. The locals call it Lē’ahi, because it resembles the dorsal fin of an Ahi fish. They (the state? The military? Likely the military) built a tunnel through one edge of the crater to put the visitor center in the center of the crater. We thought we would be early enough to catch a spot in the parking lot there. We were wrong. So, we headed back out and found parking about ½ mile to a mile away. We were hiking anyway, what’s a little bit more?

DSCN2367A - At Diamond Head DSCN2369A - Stefani, Dave, Sarah, and Ellen at Diamond Head

We topped off our water bottles at the base, because there is no water at the top. The military had bunkers at the top of the crater for many years to protect the harbor and coastline around Honolulu / Pearl Harbor. That’s what you climb up to on this hike. People aren’t there for the bunker, though. People go there for the view, which is fantastic. On the day that we went, there were rainclouds on the mountains behind us, stretching all the way to the western (far from us) coast. That’s no surprise, really, considering that the range of mountains included Manoa Valley that I wrote about the yesterday. Some of those clouds drifted over us on the way down, but didn’t actually rain on us.

DSCN2370A - Starting The Diamond Head Hike DSCN2372A - View from Diamond Head DSCN2376A - Rain In The Valleys Behind Diamond Head DSCN2377A - Rainbow Sailboat On The Ocean DSCN2385A - Stefani On Diamond Head DSCN2387A - View of Honolulu From Diamond Head DSCN2394A - Dave On Top Of Diamond Head DSCN2396A - USGS Marker At Diamond Head DSCN2403A - Lighthouse At Diamond Head

We were hungry by the time we came down off the mountain, so we ate the sandwiches that we had brought with us. Stefani got a call that something she had ordered a while back had come in and was being delivered today. It had gotten stuck in customs. As Stefani described it: “Congratulations! You’re the 1,000th container, and we’re inspecting you, then losing your paperwork…” So, we decided to go relax for the afternoon at the hotel and meet up later for dinner while she got her thing delivered across the afternoon.

As we were walking back towards the car, we noticed a small tree growing out of the cement at the tunnel that goes through the crater wall. It was kind of neat, just sitting there on the edge of a hill, clinging to the sidewall, and growing through, or at least into, cement.

DSCN2405A - Tree Growing Out Of A Cement Wall At Diamond Head DSCN2406A - Tree Growing Out Of A Cement Wall At Diamond Head

I thought this was cool: It turns out that she had ordered a water condenser, which will pull and purify water out of the moisture from the air. It only needs about 30% humidity to work, and they have a pretty consistent 55-60% all year round. I think she said it can pull something like three gallons of water each day.

Anyway, we headed back to the hotel for a quiet afternoon. Of course, anybody who knows the idea of “So, what would you like for dinner” knows that discussion can go for a while. Through conversations across the afternoon with Stefani to see what the options in the area were, we ran through everything from Chinese to Italian (again) to Thai, from seafood to ribs to steak. Ravenpuff Sith chimed in with “Steak!” Right, then. We eventually settled on the idea that Outback Steakhouse, while corporate, would do nicely to satisfy what we wanted for dinner.

Ravenpuff dressed in her gold high heels from the Lt. Colonel, because she could. We all dressed up a little bit, actually. It was nice. Because it was a little slow, we even got the hostess to take a picture of the four of us. We ordered a couple of steaks, a full rack of ribs, and one of the onion things, and just shared them all around the table, family style. Yay!

DSCN2417A - Ellen, Dave, Sarah, and Stefani At Dinner

Eventually, we went back to our room and fell on our faces into bed. Two days of decent hikes. Yeah: Thud.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 – Around Aulani, And Photographic…Fail? Flail.

Today was an easy day with no scheduled activities, other that whatever we wanted to do in the moment. We slept in, which was no surprise considering the hikes of the past two days. We swam a little, and made a point of starting to finish up the extra food supplies that we had remaining before we leave, knowing that we’re going to the Polynesian Cultural Center for most of the day tomorrow.

I went out to the rocks at sunset to attempt a few sunset shots. The night before had been raining in the area, so there was no visible sunset through the clouds, and tonight really wasn’t that much better. There were clouds at the horizon line blocking the sun for the most part. So, I waited through sunset. I knew that last night was the full moon, so I wanted to see if I could get a few Night As Day shots. These shots look like daylight photographs because they are lit by the moon, but you generally also see stars in the shot as well. Thus began a somewhat epic fail.

After sunset, I wandered for a bit and waited, hoping for some color in the sky after sunset. It didn’t happen. So, I waited for dark, and planets, and stars. I found a nice spot, which is saying something because it’s a resort area and they light everything, including the trees. To say that there’s a little bit of light pollution between Disney (and now The Four Seasons, yikes) is something of an understatement. That blocked north and east, which left me west (out towards the ocean) and a little south before you see the Marriott on the next cove over. I did a test shot or two.

Night shots are almost always long-exposure shots, in the neighborhood of ten to thirty seconds each. There’s no way to hand-hold that long, so you need some method of support. I was using my shoe as a tripod (monopod?) because I didn’t want to pack an actual tripod on vacation. I think I could live with the results. Then, I watched a cloud roll across the moon, and then across my field of view.

“If you don’t like the weather around here, just wait five minutes.” I waited. I waited some more. Time passes. All I need is a one-minute window, and really just fifteen seconds will do.

I could see that the clouds were in a two-mile swath as they came through the area. I was under one edge of the swath. Behind me to the north was clear-ish. I could see the other side of the (seemingly never-ending) band of clouds streaming through. A slight shift in the winds would have carried the clouds out of my way, if only for a few moments. But no, the winds carried it right through my area. It even sprinkled for a minute or two. More time passed. I waited for an hour-fifteen for a break in the clouds.

Personally, I didn’t mind the wait. I got to listen to the waves crash for all that time. Photographically, I was going nuts just waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more.

Finally, I saw a break in the clouds. I saw the moon come out. Yay! All I need to do is wait five more minutes for the clouds to clear my field. Then I noticed that Mars and Orion had, well, moved in the last hour out of my frame. No problem. I’ll get what I get. Here it comes. I can get the shots I waited for…and the lawn sprinklers came on. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming. I certainly didn’t.)

DSC_4495A - Lawn Sprinklers
I was sitting under that far back center tree.

Yeah, it was really just not my night. We’ll see if anything comes of the photos I did get.

[Edit: Not bad, actually. - Me]

DSC_4405A - Sunset DSC_4421A - Sunset Clouds DSC_4444A - Sunset Clouds (16x9) DSC_4446A - Sunset Palms DSC_4469A - Stars and Palm DSC_4499A - Night Palms Lit With Clouds

Yeah, working on one of the sunset photographs, I kept getting the feeling that something was missing. Then I remembered what it was that felt like the missing part. Yep, I’m a geek…

DSC_4419A - Sunset That led to this… DSC_4419B - Sunset (TIE Fighters)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 – Polynesian Cultural Center

Today, we hung out in the room until it was time to catch our bus out to the Polynesian Cultural Center. This is one of our favorite excursions. We try to make it there whenever we visit. GuildMistress and I still find the stop at the Dole Plantation to be a waste of time, but we understand why the tours are encouraged (*ahem*) to stop there. Mostly what we find annoying is that the stop, along with the traffic along the route around the North Shore puts us at the PCC a half hour to an hour past opening. We have a hard enough time getting to see everything within the day as it is.

We did, however, get to see and do a lot. We started with a canoe/boat ride to the far end of the PCC, and started with the areas that we couldn’t quite get to last time around, and worked our way forward from there. We got to see the Hawaiian flyover movie (I’ve forgotten the title), which features some terrific drone work on the photography. There’s no way they would take a helicopter into some of those spaces. GuildMistress and I are also convinced that they likely dropped one drone into a large wave on a fly-by shot. But I digress.

DSCN2428A - Flowers At The Polynesian Cultural Center DSCN2430A - Kidlet With An Arm Tattoo

VIDEO--> DSCN2432 - Making Fire (20 Sec)

At the New Zealand area, we caught their last demonstration for the afternoon, right before we headed towards dinner. I made the mistake of mentioning that I was hopeful to learn the sticking game that they do across the afternoons. GuildMistress rightfully chided me on that, as they were lowering their flag for the afternoon as I was mentioning it. One of the men heard me, and said to follow him. He went into their storage area, and specifically grabbed out eight sticks, enough for him to teach the four of us. Oh, the smile on Ravenpuff Sith’s face; mine, too, for that matter. I will eventually have to learn the song that he did that goes with it, but I think I have the pattern down enough to start teaching the hand-eye coordination that goes with teaching this rhythmic game.

Basic pattern: (Both sticks) Down, Together, Together (Yes, it’s in three.) Repeat

One-Stick Pass: Down, Together, Toss Right to your partner; Down, Together, Toss Left. Repeat.

Two-Stick Pass: Down, Together, Toss both (one partner inside, other partner outside). Repeat.

The Luau dinner was quite good. Last year, we were seated behind a post, and had a hard time seeing the performers. This year, we were off to the side, but pretty much right down front. Ravenpuff Sith actually got up on stage when they called for volunteers to go dance with them. Yes, I got video.

DSCN2438A - Ellen, Sarah, and Dave At The Polynesian Cultural Center DSCN2442A - Luau At The Polynesian Cultural Center DSCN2446A - Kidlet Dancing At The Polynesian Cultural Center DSCN2447A - Kidlet Dancing At The Polynesian Cultural Center

VIDEO--> DSCN2448 - Kidlet Dancing At The Polynesian Cultural Center

Our luck was even better for the night show, “Ha, Breath Of Life.” Our seats, with no special action on our part, happened to be far stage left (house right), similar to last year. But, unlike last year where we were halfway up the stadium/theater, this year we were seated in the very front row. We could feel the heat of the torches from the five feet away from the actors where we were seated. The show itself is amazing. I highly recommend seeing it if you’re ever here.

DSCN2451A - Front Row At The Polynesian Cultural Center

Thursday, July 21, 2016 – Travel Day

The return home began with us checking out of our hotel. Our shuttle was waiting for us right at 10 AM. They were supposed to have us and another family of five, plus someone from one of the other hotels nearby. The family of five never showed. They waited until about 10:10, calling their main office a couple of times, to verify if they should leave without this other family. They did. The shuttle went to the other hotel to pick up that passenger, then went back to Aulani to see if the other family showed. They didn’t, so it was off to the airport without them.

The airport was busy, as we expected. I checked to see if my TSA Pre-Check number had come through before heading out to the PCC yesterday. It cleared. Yay! So today, we were allowed to go through TSA Pre-Check. It’s so worth it not to have to deal with the line out the door on the other side. We had brought apples and grapes with us to eat at the gate area. We had forgotten the Agricultural Check area. I declared what we had, and they promptly told us to eat it or toss it. We had plenty of time before our flight, so we found a bench and ate it. No problem. It was just a little bit off of when we were going to eat it anyway.

The plane ride itself was uneventful, outside of the note that our plane ride was really smooth. Yay! Our bags even arrived with us. Yay! The car started with no problems. Yay! Traffic was smooth, even in the 10 PM hour next to the Coliseum. Yay!

We arrived home about 11:15 PM, the ending point of a lovely trip to a wonderful place.

The photos that you see in this post should open in their own, new windows. The entire set of photos and videos can be found here.

I hope you enjoyed this.

If you are still reading this, thanks!