Friday, April 3, 2009

Aloha! Part 1

Wow! My hubby and I are home from a wonderful week in the islands of Hawaii! Here are some highlights from our trip. I really wanted to be able to post while we were in Hawaii, but, since we don't have a lap top, I had to wait to share our adventures until we came home.

Day 1, Sunday, March 22
The morning started off a little rough. Our itinerary was supposed to go from SLC to LA, then from LA to Kona, Hawaii. When we arrived at the SLC airport, we were surprised to find out that our flight from LA to Kona was cancelled and we had been rescheduled to fly out of LA the next day, that just couldn't happen! I commend the Delta employees, because they did everything they could to get us on a different itinerary that meant arriving a little later in Kona, but at least getting us there that day instead of a day late. So we flew from SLC to Maui, had a 4 hour layover then on to Kona arriving at our splendid hotel around 10:30 pm. Long day, but wow was it worth it. We were greeted at the Kona Airport with lots of friendly smiles and signs, and were presented with beautiful purple fresh flower leis.

We did miss the welcome reception at our hotel, the Hilton Waikola Village. (You can learn more about that by clicking on the Hawaii logo on the right hand column) but, our room was beautiful! We stayed in the Palace Tower. The rooms were VERY comfortable, although we didn't stay in the room much.

Day 2, Monday March 23
We started the day out with a fabulous breakfast buffet on one of the resort patios. It included french toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, croissants, yummy fresh fruit, pastries, and fresh juices. The tables all had white table cloths and real silver silverware. Following this wonderful breakfast, were greeted by Shelli Gardner in a brief Welcome General Session. We learned that there were over 400 demonstrators who had qualified to earn this trip. Each demonstrator could also bring along a first guest for free (My husband for me naturally). We also had the option of "buying on" other guests such as children. Although we didn't bring our children, many demonstrators did, all total Stampin'Up! had over 900 guests in attendance on this trip! During this morning welcome session, there were also some fabulous stamping demonstrations showcasing some fun products too.

After the Welcome Session, My husband and I met up with a demo friend of mine, Melanie and her husband Randy. We rented a car and took a fun tour of the island. Our first stop was for lunch at this fun little place. Paniolo means cowboy in Hawaiian.

Then we stopped in the next little town (I don't recall the name right now). It was a cute little town with lots of little shops. We got some ice cream and did some souvenir shopping. One shop had crystals in it. The shop keeper was very gracious and gave us all a short back rub with her special healing stones she makes. I took this picture mostly for the HUGE crystal to show my son, that is why my hubbys hat is a bit cut off.

Next stop was Waipio Lookout. The Waipio Valley below us is so beautiful to look at. There are cliffs all around the valley. There are people who live in the valley below, but there is now electricity. The views from where we were were spectacular.

Next stop was to see some BEAUTIFUL waterfalls. We had to walk a little bit to see these falls, but it was SO worth it! I have never seen anything like it in my life. The first one we saw was this smaller one, it is surrounded by this beautiful rain forest vegetation. The leaves on some of these plants were taller than me! I kept trying to picture in my head what it would have been like for the very first person who discovered this place, trying to get through the thick vegetation and then coming to the abrupt cliff and seeing this spectacular waterfall across the way.

We stopped in the city of Hilo for some dinner and some light grocery shopping. Then it on to Saddle Road which is a very steep road that would take us up Mouna Kea. This is where they keep all the BIG telescopes and observatories for the universities These telescopes are so powerful, you can actually see stars being born hundreds of light years away! The summit of Mouna Kea is almost 14,000 feet above sea level. If you were to measure this mountain from its base (which is how you measure a mountain) that starts at the bottom of the ocean, it would be taller than MT. Everest. Although it is possible to drive to the summit, we didn't. You need a 4 wheel drive vehicle to get there and it is a very bumpy ride. We only went as far as the visitors center that sits at 9,200 feet. They had several telescopes out for star gazing. It was chilly up there. The wind was pretty nippy. Many people were bundled up in parkas and heavy hats and mittens, we were in our jackets. It kinda felt like it does here at home in the middle of winter. It was so fascinating to star gaze from there. One interesting thing to note, besides the shear number of visible stars, is the fact that because our altitude was so high, and the atmosphere was thinner, the stars didn't "twinkle". They were solid dots there in the sky. Now, being from a small town where you can see the stars so much easier because of the reduced city lights, and having a father who loves astronomy, I have grown up looking through telescopes. But, this experience was phenomenal. I have never seen so many stars in my life! I have seen the Milkey Way, but never like this. It was all white with stars. Stunning. My favorite part was when I looked through the telescope and it was pointing toward Saturn. I have seen Saturn before (due to my childhood), but I loved the expression on Melanie's face as she looked through the telescope and saw Saturn for the first time. The way Saturn is positioned right now, we were able to see the depth of its rings. It is truly an awesome experience to feel so close to those other planets. I am so glad we were able to share that experience with Melanie and Randy.

From the star gazing, we went down the mountain and traveled back to our hotel. We had put in a full day and were ready for some good sleep. But, look what we found on our bed when we arrived back....

A beautiful custom made bag for me, and a nice bag for my husband! Each has Hawaii Stampin' Up! 2009 printed on them. Kevan's is on the black pocket in front, and mine is on a metal tag attached to one of the handles. What a perfect way to end the day! I have to say I love pillow gifts!


Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

heather stevens said...

Hey Deborah,
Don't leave me in suspense! I can't wait to hear the rest. I am soooo jealous. I love how detailed you are, I almost feel like I was there!