Stroop Therapie (Dutch translation = Syrup Therapy)
An Evolutionarily series chronicling the moments that left their mark during a time of self discovery and renovation.
Oahu, Hawaii – January 2006: The rest of this part of my therapeutic story.
(One of three photos on this post that is not from mine or my mom's camera.)
When I left you last in my traveling experience, I was just saying hello to Hawaii. I will end today saying goodbye to Hawaii. If there’s too much syrup for you, the pictures tell an abbreviated version.
Hawaii – Day 3
I‘m trying to slow this down and enjoy every second, but oh how time flies when you’re in Paradise!
We stopped for pastries on our way to Pearl Harbor this morning. Visited the Arizona Memorial. It’s hard to believe such tragedies are a reality, but it sure rounds out my feelings of Patriotism.
Toured a submarine named Bowfish. Mom was sure the sign “For Display Only” was referring to just a few of the bunks and insisted on my posing for a picture in some others down the hall. What a bad influence she is! Isn’t she fun?
We also visited the Missouri Battleship–the place where the WWII Peace Treaty was signed while it sailed in Tokyo Harbor. The ship was magnificent. We spent quite a while there. Interesting life, that vessel has had.
We left there and went to the Punch Bowl – a veteran’s memorial cemetery nestled in the crater of an inactive volcano. Very serene and beautiful. Incredible trees.
Next we took the Pali Highway and stopped at the overlook. Absolutely breathtaking view! Almost didn’t seem real, but I know I was there. We spent about 30 minutes there– I climbed a tree, we bought fresh coconut and pineapple someone was selling right off the highway. Wow! There’s nothing like eating Hawaiian pineapple while driving Hawaiian roads!
(Pali Hwy overlook in January a.k.a Rainy Season)
I don’t think I can get enough of this place! Magical views everywhere.
Went back to the village, ate dinner and shopped. Mom did her best to convince me I should try the hotel spa. I’m not so sure.
Very tired tonight. Still not up to par on my sleeping habits after months of trauma and stress. Hoping the coming days will cure that and this chest pain that started the night my world came crashing down.
Meanwhile, I wouldn’t–don’t–want to be anywhere else right now! What a loving and generous Father to give us such beauty in this world.
Hawaii – Day 4
Spent the day meandering more roads on our way to the temple in Laie. We took a turn not meant, but it was okay because we weren’t in a hurry, especially after Mom realized she forgot her temple recommend. She told me she would wait for me if I wanted to go, but I didn’t want us to separate. Instead we went to the visitor’s center where they had a display of the Dead Sea Scrolls. So fascinating! We also watched the wonderful new Joseph Smith film.
Went next door to the Polynesian Cultural Center. Fascinating and impressive place. We toured the different cultural villages, went to a luau for our dinner, to an IMAX show on coral reef, and then to the evening show called Horizons. Those kids are very talented and their cause (to support other Polynesians’ pursuit of education) is inspiring!
(Luau at the PCC.)
The drive to the temple, by the way, was one of my favorite things about this trip so far. Breathtaking cannot even begin to describe such beauty that goes on for miles and miles.
We stopped at the Kualoa Park and combed the beach in our dresses. Didn’t want to leave that spot.
(Famous Mexican Hat island in the background.)
Hawaii – Day 5
Today is Sunday. The concierge dug up the time of the LDS church meetings for the tabernacle (a well known LDS meeting house). We ate downstairs at the restaurant we can see from our room balcony and then wandered until it was time to go to church. Got turned around again, but made it to church just before the meeting started.
This building has an open atrium in the middle of it that you have to walk through to get from the chapel to class rooms. They leave the doors to the chapel open so you can hear the birds and feel the moist air filled with the many scents I can’t identify, but believe are from the gazillions of flowers on this island.
The speakers were wonderful and I could sense their culture infused in the gospel so familiar to me, adding to its beauty.
We went back to our hotel after church to change. Stopped in the village and picked up a Kahouna Dog (a big hot dog with sauerkraut) for lunch on the way to our room.
I changed and went to the spa while Mom stayed in the room to “hang loose” by herself.
Wasn’t sure I wanted to spend that much money on a spa package, but–again–when was I ever going to do this? Almost talked myself out of it because I didn’t think I was ready for my space to be invaded that way.
I cannot even begin to describe how such a special treat has changed my life! The best money I’ve spent, I would say. Worth every pretty penny. Had a full body massage (first ever) and a facial (first ever). And this, after sitting in the sauna and the hot tub, wrapping myself in a big, white, warm fluffy robe and then soaking up the air and sounds of the sea that came through the open veranda where I waited to be taken in for my massage.
I would dare say I had to have had the master of therapists as my attendant. He was amazing! I couldn’t stop smiling inside. It felt as if something inside of me had unknowingly been locked in prison and was suddenly handed the key.
I was very impressed with how careful they were about privacy and professionalism. So unlike anything I had ever known about massage. And I had no idea so many things could be done to maneuver body tissue. I wanted to ask the therapist and the facial gal if I could take them home with me. I DID tell my male therapist–after the massage was over–“That was the best divorce therapy I could have had.”
I feel like a new woman. I told Mom I think everyone should learn how to give a massage like that.
Mom seemed to enjoy her alone time. She roamed the village at her own pace, napped, read and called Dad.
We decided to walk to The Royal Hawaiian for dinner at the Surf Room restaurant. Mom suggested that we stay at The Royal Hawaiian next time we come. I think it a great idea. The restaurant was perfectly pink and perfectly delicioso! Best Chilean Sea Bass ever. Mom had crab stuffed Mahi Mahi.
On a sad note–I was checking my new digital camera to see how many pictures I had and accidentally deleted all 60+ pictures from the last 5 days! It made me sick to my stomach when I realized what I had done. 5 days worth! Thankfully, Mom has a camera and has been taking some.
All of the above photos came from my mom’s camera. Thanks, Mom. Sorry there aren’t more of you on here.
Hawaii – Day 6
This day of adventure went by far too quickly.
Started with a 9:00 trip flying in the air behind a boat. Went para-sailing! What a thrill. Not what I expected at all. Mom went along to observe, but became my savior when she “observed” who my sailing partner would be and you have to have a partner. The quarters would have been too close to enjoy sharing them with a backward South Carolinian with brown teeth. Mom thought she would be too nervous going, but lucky for both of us she bit the bullet. We both enjoyed it immensely. The height was not even an issue because of the harness. Our ride was about 15 minutes long with a dip into the water before being reeled back to the boat. The boat ride was fun as well and it was awesome to see the island of Oahu from that perspective.
(Waikiki in the background.)
We hurried home, changed, packed, and checked out of the Hilton Hawaiian Village and then we headed… somewhere. We were in such a hurry to check out before we were supposed to that we didn’t decide where we would go for the few hours before the next item on our agenda: Kualoa Ranch. We’re staying at a different hotel for the remainder of our days on the island.
Going with the flow is something we’re both pretty good at so we ended up at just as good a spot as any–the Aloha Tower. We browsed the shops and found some lunch overlooking the harbor and peer. Found fabulous trinkets, namely my new straw purse.
We next drove the Likelike Hwy to the Kualoa Ranch, toward the North Shore, but not all the way there. We arrived with an hour to spare–enough time to find more souvenirs.
At the ranch, we took a two-hour guided tour on the back of extremely mild mannered horses. The Ranch! Oh, the Ranch! Picturesque at every glance, 4,000 acres untouched by development and something you have to absolutely see if ever visiting Ohau.
(We probably have more photos from this tour than any other area on our trip, it was so gorgeous.)
The Ranch has been used in several movies including Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, Mighty Joe Young, Godzilla, Pearl Harbor and one being released this year called You and Me and Dupree. Mom and I decided we need to watch all of those movies and shout (with much humility), “I’ve been there.”
I happened to get the lead spot in the line-up of tourists on horses (other than the two guides) and reveled in it by asking the guide all kinds of questions. I wanted to lope, but I’m not sure the horses even know how to do that anymore.
I know that when I get home I won’t believe I was here, it’s all been such a dream.
(One of my favorite views from the whole trip. Can you find the dinosaur foot print from Jurassic Park?)
On our way back to Waikiki, we found the Haiku Gardens and walked through the valley nestled in between neighborhoods. It was like finding hidden treasure.
(View from the Haiku Gardens.)
Upon arriving back into town, we pulled into the Sheraton Moana–Grandma Sammy’s hotel. We’re staying here because it was her favorite. The room she liked to stay in (a full ocean view) was a bit too pricey for our budget so we settled for cheaper (partial ocean view), but that’s beside the point of why we’re here. And we got our ocean view at the Hilton.
(The 2nd photo that is not from mine or my mom's camera.
Built in 1901, the Moana was the first hotel in Waikiki. Read more about it here.)
Mom tried to get me to go in the hotel the other day when we walked by–just to the lobby, but I told her I didn’t want to spoil the surprise; I would see it when we were guests there. It has such a history that the walls seem to talk. Wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for any other. Mom took me on a tour of the hotel after we gussied ourselves up and then we went to dinner at a hotel cafe. We’re saving the buffet for extra empty stomachs.
Looking forward to soaking up every drop of atmosphere here.
Hawaii – Day 7
Well… It’s our last night in Paradise. We just returned from the buffet where we ate enough shrimp and crab legs to make ourselves sick except I enjoyed it far too much for that to be an option. We’re going down to play on the beach one last time–and hoping the bum pounding on his snare drums on the street out front will pack up and go home by the time we are ready for bed. I’ll be back to report on our day. …… We’re back and settled in for the night. I was about to write that the drummer had not gone home, but it sounds like he may be done. Mom said she would like to go strangle him. I was seriously considering calling the front desk when his drumming tapered off. The beautiful atmosphere of this hotel should not be marred by such a nuisance.
Enough of that sour note!
I decided we needed to sleep in a little today. We did–until 7:00 a.m. Headed to Haunama Bay and again took a road that we didn’t mean to. It’s amazing that we find where we need to go every time. An island is a perfect place to take a wrong turn because eventually you end up where you need to be. Haunama Bay was closed on Tuesday’s so we went with the flow again and headed for the North Shore.
Stopped at the Blow Hole where we saw the clearest ocean water. Then drove on to Sunset Beach. This was the best beach by far. The high surf attracts a lot of surfers. I’ve never seen such large waves. So much more spectacular in person. The sand is much bigger granules, but still smooth and so fascinating for a beach comber.
Scooped some up in Mom’s macadamia nut can we had eaten clean.
Mom and I tried to get creative and build sand castles, but the waves came too close and washed them away. We were about 30 feet from where the marks of the closest wave had come, but a wave surprised us we were forced to pick up and run to the rescue of our cameras, 5 more feet behind us. The cameras got wet enough to worry about them, but we dried them with our shirts quickly and then scraped out the sand. They are both functioning fine tonight, thankfully. We are not used to that kind of a force.
From Sunset Beach we drove to Haliewa. Quite the surfer’s pad and full of quaint shops, or at least “quaint” as surfer’s shops can get. We found the burger joint Mom was looking for (Kua Aina) and had a HUGE Avocado Burger–each! I spilled my fruit punch on my white sandals and Mom spilled ketchup on her shirt. Those burgerous were a monumental undertaking. We were quite the sight together and I giggled myself silly because of it.
Mom asked where to get the best shaved ice in town and so we found that as well. Motsumoto’s also appeared in 50 First Dates. The flavored ice was on top of ice cream. Made for a yummy treat after that burger, but eating the whole thing was out of the question.
We left Haliewa and hit the Dole Plantaion. Took the 20 minute train ride through the fields. Learned interesting facts, but was a lot more un-interesting than I expected. Fun to see, but not sure I would recommend it or go back. Drove back to Honolulu from there and hit rush hour traffic. Cannot believe the kindness of drivers here compared to… every other city I’ve been in. Must be that island air that I wish I could capture in a tin can like we did the beach sand and take it home with me.
Did I mention that I scraped the hub cap of our rental car? I thought I was pulling into a driveway, but the curb was longer than I saw. Dented and scraped it. I guess this trip needed some opposition besides our getting lost and spilling our food. That’s just our norm. Me and Mom both.
Hawaii – Day 8
Final day in Hawaii was nearly perfect. We awoke as early as possible to beat the crowds at Hanauma Bay and were blessed to do just that.
The Bay is in volcanic remains which are covered in foliage. The water was a little cool but we adjusted quickly. We rented snorkeling equipment and swam with the tropical fish for two hours. The longest fish I saw was nearly 3 feet long and 1 foot wide and was rainbow colored silver. It was so peaceful and nurturing to swim along side such varied and unique fish. Coming face to face with such beauty was unreal. Mom and I both scraped our knees on the coral. Boy does that sting! The current was strong enough in points that it was difficult to avoid getting water in the snorkel, but easy to remedy and start again. I could have stayed out there all day, but we need to go back and get ready to leave this wonderful place.
We had enough time to get the final items on our “souvenirs to buy” list. After our bags were filled with package we unloaded our arms and savored our last moments at the Moana Banyon Courtyard, playing musical chairs.
At first the veranda was occupied so we went down to some chairs just below until seats opened up. We moved back up to the veranda, but then we saw the bar and had a hankering to get one last tropical smoothie. We moved close to the bar after getting our smoothies, but two men were blowing cigar smoke our direction so we moved to get some distance from them to more fully enjoy our Coconut/Strawberry/Mango smoothies, including the umbrella. They were the perfect way to say goodbye to a dream. The smoothies, not the men with cigars.
(The only other photo that is not mine or my mom's. We have photos of the veranda, but I can't find them.)
We flew home on an uncomfortable red-eye. Arrived in Salt Lake to 6 new inches of snow and 35 degree, DRY weather. I forgot about reality and was still in my skirt and flip flops. I nearly froze walking off of the plane. I was ready right then to turn around and get back on that plane.
I say this final day was “nearly perfect” because perfect would have been to never have left. Finally a dream fulfilled! I’m sure I’m 10 lbs heavier, but what is that to my first ever trip to Hawaii?
Next up… I’ll explain the difference between Holland and The Netherlands, how to pronounce Stroop, and where to find those delicious waffles in the U.S.
Today’s Syrupy Moment: Getting the damaged basement floor rubble hauled off to the dump, thanks to one lady (not me) and some manly men and boys. Oh, and I got my hair cut and colored. Yes, I was getting my hair done while others were slaving away at my house. But we all feel lighter.