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Hawaii Bucket List

February 24, 2012

My tan is almost completely gone, my crazy Margarita Dermatitis is starting to heal, we’ve had our first snowfall of the season and it’s been exactly a month since I flew home from Hawaii.

Yep, seems like it’s time to actually tell you about the trip.

Speaking of snowfall, I forced encouraged Chef (a card-holding snow hater) to play with me in the glorious white fluffy stuff this past weekend. I did the three most important things that one must do after a snow fall: make a snow angel, build a snow man and drink marshmallow lover’s hot chocolate.

Okay, I didn’t mention we only got a few inches. My snow angel is a bit more like a snow/grass angel.

Chef and my snowman. Snazy, eh?

hot chocolate, marshmallow hot chocolateAnd our snowman is sorta tiny. But not tiny enough to make the neighborhood kids show mercy upon it. Maybe 10 minutes after we built it, some hoodlums kicked it over. Kids these days! Where is this country coming to?

But the hot chocolate was awesome. Whoever decided to put the cocoa and the marshmallows in separate packets should win the Nobel Prize. You can mix the cocoa in thoroughly without melting the marshmallows. Genius.

Okay, back to my trip to Hawaii. There were some very specific things I wanted to do on my trip – a Hawaii bucket list, you might say.

I’m happy to say it was mission accomplished.**

Oh, damn. There goes the ** again. Okay, full disclosure. I missed one thing on my bucket list. I thought I wanted to go snorkeling when I was Hawaii. Let’s just say I slightly underestimated how cold the water would be in January. While it was warm enough for a quick swim, it never felt quite warm enough to go snorkeling for an extended period of time.

Without further ado, here is my Mission Accomplished** Hawaii Bucket List.

Drink a really girly drink while lying on the beach

Okay, turns out I was too busy enjoying said girly drink to take a picture of it. But here’s one of many girly drinks I had while on vacation.

Hawaiin drink, umbrella drink

I don't even want to guess how many calories these things had

Swim under a waterfall

You see this waterfall? Yep, I swam under it. My sister very accurately described how it felt: like swimming in bottled water. The water was so cool, refreshing and clear, I swear Aquafina comes in at night and bottles it to ship to your local Wal-Mart.

Isn't this beautiful? Interestingly, they also shot many episodes of Lost in this same area

Eat shaved ice from Matsumoto’s

Everyone I talked with before I went to Hawaii suggested that I go to Matsumoto’s in the North Shore. You can get shaved ice about anywhere in Hawaii, but everyone insisted on Matsumoto’s. Well, let me tell you, you guys were all right. This stuff was amazing. There were so many different flavors, I had no idea what to choose.

Shaved ice Hawaii

Too many options to just eat here once!

And even though I look pretty stressed in this picture (hello strained neck muscles), it was delicious. The vanilla ice cream surprise at the bottom of the cone was absolute perfection.

Promise I'm not stressed. Just very serious about my shaved ice, apparently

See the turtles

I was told by a coworker that in the North Shore, there is a spot where you can check out some sea turtles. I fantasized about the moment when I would come in contact with these beautiful creatures. I couldn’t wait.

When we got to the spot, I was immediately disappointed. Where the hell are all the turtles? There’s just a bunch of rocks here!

Sea turtles, Hawaii, North Shore

Upon first glance, all I saw was rocks

Yep, I’m pretty observant. Alongside the rocks were the turtles. I have to say, however, that I expected them to be a little livelier. I’m not sure what made me think that sea turtles would be these highly active creatures, but turns out they are just big versions of the slow ass turtles we have at home. Cool, nonetheless.

North Shore sea turtles Hawaii

Sea turtle head

They really don't do much, I must say. They are turtles, after all.

Eat pineapple ice cream from the Dole Pineapple Plantation

So it’s clear that you have an ice cream addiction when you have a bucket list item to eat ice cream from the Dole Pineapple Plantation, not actually visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation. While I really enjoyed the ice cream, the visit was a lot more fun.

Dole Pineapple plantation Hawaii

First off, let me just ask you. How do you think pineapples grow? On trees, right? Like coconuts?

I hope at least a few of you have been believed your whole life that pineapples grow on trees. Or maybe I’m just really dumb, because that’s what I always thought. Turns out they grow in little bush thingees (the technical term).

Pineapple Hawaii

This is how pineapples grow

Pineapple Hawaii Dole Plantation

Here's another one - had no idea there were different types of pineapples, too

Pineapple picking Hawaii

Here's what it looks like after it's picked. Or before. Damn it, I don't know. But the colors in this pic are pretty 🙂

pineapple picking

For some reason, we felt the need to point at the pineapple. Because that makes the experience more interactive

pineapple plantation Dole Hawaii

Of course, I had to buy some pineapples while there

buying pineapples, Dole Pineapple Plantation, Hawaii

Of course, I didn't know how to select a pineapple. Luckily, I had help. Unless she was messing with me, you are supposed to smell it and squeeze it for freshness

Since I can't find any good pictures of the ice cream I actually had, you can look at this sign. It looked like that. Ish

Go to a luau

Besides skydiving on my 27th birthday, my dad took us all to a luau. Unfortunately, my sister’s camera died and we didn’t get as many pictures of this awesome experience as we would have liked. (Incidentally, I should mention that about 90 percent of the pictures in this post were taken by my wonderful sister Natasha, our family photographer. Don’t know where we’d be without her!)

Let me tell you why I like luaus. Mai thais, hot guys, hot guys dancing, hot guys climbing trees, people playing with fire, fun chants and good food. Yep, that about covers it.

luau, Hawaii, palm tree climbing

This guy showed us how they climb trees to collect coconuts. Crazy

luau male dancers

Can't beat hot guys dancing at the luau. I definitely was in an objectifying men mood that night. It was my birthday, after all

luau male dancer

This guy was our favorite. Enough said

Hawaii hula dancing lesson at luau

Okay, okay. There were some women there too. This hulu dance instructor has the most perfect legs I've ever seen. I enjoyed watching the hula lessons. Until later, when they pulled me on stage. You won't be seeing the pictures - well, video - of that embarassment!

coconut, luau, Hawaiin food

I tried raw coconut for the first time. Interesting...but I prefer it in a pina colada

food at luau

The food at the luau was very good. I also tried poi for the first time and was not a fan

Here's our family picture at the luau

Visit Pearl Harbor

One of the very first places we visited was Pearl Harbor. There are simply too many pictures and thoughts I’d like to share from that trip. So I’m going to save it for another post. But I can tell you, it was definitely a remarkable experience.

USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Here's one shot of the USS Arizona to hold you over until I write about the whole Pearl Harbor visit

Not kill bond with my family

I don’t know if I’ve ever given my family history on Simply Solo, but my parents got divorced when I was six. My dad was in the Army, and my mom worked as a civilian for AAFES, the organization that provides food services, stores, etc. for the military. When my parents split, we were all stationed in Germany. Then, my dad got his new orders: move back to the United States. But my mom, now divorced from my dad, needed to stay in Germany with her job. At that time, our family split up a bit. I have two older sisters. My sister Natasha stayed in Germany with my mom and step dad, while my sister Debbie and I went with my dad and step mom to the states. After that, us three sisters never lived under the same roof at the same time again.

It wasn’t until this trip to Hawaii that I realized just how much we needed this time together for us sisters to reconnect and for us to reconnect as a larger family. Were there arguments? Yes, not gonna lie. Stick five very opinionated people in close quarters for two weeks straight, and there will be some fights disagreements. But the good thing is that you are also forced to get over those fights (who wants to be miserable on vacation?) – look for the good in one another – and be reminded how lucky you are to have a family that loves you.

Beyond completing my Hawaii bucket list, and having so many other fantastic experiences I can’t even begin to tell you in this blog post, I feel so blessed to have spent this time with my dad, step mom and two sisters. Thank you Dad and Uncle Michael for a truly unforgettable vacation.

My sisters and me at Pearl Harbor - we love self portraits. Debbie on left, me in middle, Natasha on right

father daughter picture

My dad and me

My dad, me and my step mom Rike on the beach. It's possible this is the first picture the three of us have taken together since my college graduation

My two favorite sisters

What I wouldn't give to be back there

Copyright 2012. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.


27 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2012 9:58 am

    My husband and I went to Maui a few years ago and I still get pangs of homesickness for it-even though we were only there one week! Hawaii really gets into your blood! Love the pictures!

    • March 4, 2012 9:50 pm

      Ooh, I bet Maui was wonderful! I’d like to learn more about how it differs from Oahu – especially the beaches. What got me about Hawaii was how all the beaches were so different from eachother. It was also great to be in the United States – but still feel like you’d gone somewhere quite different from the United States. I’d love to bring my kids there someday!

  2. February 24, 2012 10:14 am

    What an adventure! I can honestly say the only way I would ever climb a tree all bare-legged like that (or, um, at all) would be if they found trees that sprouted cake. That’s some serious devotion right there 🙂

    • March 4, 2012 9:48 pm

      Tori,
      I know, right! I wonder if they end up with all kinds of scratches on their legs? Too dangerous for me. (This coming from the girl who just went skydiving). LOL 🙂

  3. February 24, 2012 10:27 am

    *sigh* I hope to set foot in Hawaii one day… 🙂 Great Post!!!

    • March 4, 2012 9:45 pm

      Thank you!! It certainly wasn’t cheap, so I was really lucky that my dad treated me. But it’s definitely a place I’d recommend you go someday!

  4. February 24, 2012 10:53 am

    I’ve never made it to Hawaii before, looks gorgeous – nice pictures!

    • March 4, 2012 9:44 pm

      It was gorgeous – I have to show you guys some pictures of beaches and then you’ll see just how beautiful it was!

  5. February 24, 2012 11:15 am

    Oooo…I want to go! Did you bring me back some pineapple ice cream? No? What about the shaved ice?

    • March 4, 2012 9:43 pm

      Whoops! I did bring it back for you but forgot until just now…and it melted…next time! 🙂

  6. Natasha permalink
    February 24, 2012 12:31 pm

    Such awesome pictures, haha 🙂 it was a great time and I wish we were lounging on the beach!

    • March 4, 2012 9:39 pm

      Ha, thanks for the pictures. Love you and can’t wait to go to the beach this summer sometime! (Won’t be as good as Hawaii, but oh well!)

  7. February 24, 2012 12:47 pm

    Looks like a fun trip! It’s funny, I never really gave a thought to how pineapples grew – good to know I guess 😉
    Time to make it over to Hawaii I believe!

    • March 4, 2012 9:39 pm

      Ha, well I guess there’s not much of a reason to consider how pineapples grow. But maybe someday you’ll find yourself on some game show and this information will help you. Definitely go to Hawaii – it was a blast!

  8. Anklebiters permalink
    February 24, 2012 10:50 pm

    My dad was also in the Army so our family constantly moved to where ever he was stationed next. After he retired he and mom settled in HI. I’ve been returning to HI twice a year for the last 6 years to visit my mom and ill dad…dad passed away last June and the kids and I flew back together for the first time in 15+ years. It was either myself, myself with GF or the kids with their mom. We had a great time there together and my mom saw her first great-grandson for the first time.

    I also hooked up with a several online Hawaii blog groups that I had met years ago and whenever I am in HI, it’s pah-tay time, as we get together for pupus and karaoke. They are the greatest group of people that I could have met anywhere. Whenever any of them are in the area or Vegas, we would get together for dinner or I would drive to Vegas to meet them….Vegas is the 9th Hawaiian Isle.

    Catherine, have you tried the submarine cruise out in Honolulu Harbor? Swimming with the sharks (with you in a shark cage of course!!) ? Climb the Stairway To Heaven on the Windward side next to the H3? I make it a priority to drive around the island when I’m there (especially during the winter when storm surf hits the North Shore and Waimea Bay sometimes hits 40′ surf) and the Matsumoto Shave Ice stand in Haleiwa is always on the itinerary along with the shrimp roadside stands near Kahuku. Laie Point is another place to take scenic photos and its right across from the Polynesian Cultural Center and BYU Hawaii.

    I’m going back in June or during Thanksgiving and can’t wait!

    • March 4, 2012 9:38 pm

      Anklebiters,
      I had no idea you had so much knowledge and experience about Hawaii! I would have talked to you before I left. These are some great tips for my next trip. I really do hope to return someday. And I went snorkeling with sharks one time in the Bahamas, and I think I’m all set with being close to sharks 🙂

      Enjoy your next trip!

      • Anklebiters permalink
        March 10, 2012 2:37 pm

        HI Catherine,

        Looks like it’ll be a Thanksgiving Hawaiian trip this year for me. They are having terrible weather there currently….I have sympathy for the tourists who are there. On your next trip, visit Kauai and the Big Island. If you time your trip to the Big Island, you can play in the snow in the morning and lounge around on the beach in the afternoon 😆

        Unless gas prices decreases a bunch, air fares are becoming expensive. Hope you make it back soon.

        • Anklebiters permalink
          November 20, 2012 2:07 pm

          Hi Catherine,

          I’m in area code 808 again !!! …for three weeks…my annual Thanksgiving visit. The weather has been the usual rain in the morning and sun shine the rest of the day, even had to turn the a/c on the last few days. Meeting up with the blog people tonight at Ryan’s in Ward Center….lots of Trader Joe’s stuff to give away as gifts.

  9. February 25, 2012 9:21 pm

    If you love coffee, make sure you have the Kona coffee there. And macadamia nuts galore!

    No I didn’t go to Pearl Harbour.

    But I enjoyed other type points of history…since Hawaii is melting pot. Actually Vancouver is like that –without the palm trees and hula skirts. 🙂

    • March 4, 2012 8:46 pm

      Jean,
      I’m not much on the coffee, but if you ever go back, definitely check out Pearl Harbor. It was an amazing experience. And trust me, I had my fair share of macadamia nuts – including these really good macadamian nut pancakes!

  10. February 26, 2012 9:29 am

    Looks like you had an awesome time!

  11. February 27, 2012 10:21 pm

    Tag You’re it! Rules are here 🙂 http://ragrobyn.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/olly-olly-oxen-free/

  12. April 9, 2012 1:53 am

    Aloha Catherine,
    I was just looking around wordpress since I’m new to this community and I saw this post. Well, initially, I saw your banner and quickly got attracted to click on it (purple is my favorite color) . Then I saw “Hawaii”…got me all excited to read a post about my state ^_^
    I really enjoyed reading the whole thing. Working in the hotel industry and dealing with visitors is getting very tiring for me. Sometimes I wonder “what do these people find so fascinating about Hawaii.” Sometimes I tell guests some really bad things about the islands whenever they come to ask me what’s the best thing to do in Hawaii (O’ahu to be specific). But reading this made me realized how people of other states really appreciate the simple things that Hawaii has to offer. Now I feel bad for bashing on the islands.
    Thank you for sharing your Hawaii memories. Hope to see you back in Hawaii someday!

    • April 25, 2012 10:32 pm

      Lovely,
      A: Purple is the absolute best. Someone after my own heart.
      B: I know how sometimes you can get into a rut and think bad things about where you’re from. We all do it, no matter where we are from. Obviously, in your case, tourists flock to your state to enjoy it. To me, it was really beautiful and fun and wonderful. But I know that just like anywhere in the world, Hawaii probably has its downsides. But really, sometimes we all need to look around and appreciate what we have in beneath our noses. I’m glad my post did that a little for you. And I’ll definitely be coming to Hawaii again someday. But I ma not ask you what the best thing to do is. Ha!

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