Well I'm back now. I think I'm fully recovered. Everything here is probably going to be pretty mixed up chronologically because I have pictures from different sources and also more to develop. All of the photos are here if anyone is interested; I'll post just the highlights here.
This is Jason getting patted down at LAX. Carly and I jumped on the opportunity to make a spectacle of this. As soon as I took this picture though, the officials there were not too pleased. They starting homing in on us but finally just told us to move outside the holding area. Yes sir; thank you, sir.
This was not exactly our view from the hotel room, but just across the hall. Top floor, baby.
On Monday (the 16th) we visited the USS Arizona Memorial. I learned that the Arizona was the place chosen to commemorate those that died in the attack on Pearl Harbor because when it sank, over half of its crew was lost. It suffered the most casualties of any ship in the harbor. In fact they decided not to raise the sunken ship; instead they decided to let the sunken hulk be the tomb for those who died in it. One really interesting thing I saw there was that some who had survived the attack later chose to be interred with their shipmates after they died.
A museum was there as well; unfortunately it was terribly crowded and had no air conditioning, so we decided not to go.
On Tuesday, we visited the Dole Plantation. In it is a maze where you are supposed to find six colored stands; each stand has a stencil of a different fruit which you can trace on your ticket. We wandered around for quite a bit. It started to feel like a reality show after a while.
Not exactly record time, but hey, we finished. (Hint: there's a map on the back of the ticket.)
Later that night I went to the Honolulu church's midweek service. Surprisingly, I knew one of the brothers there, at least by name. I had talked to Dino several years ago, when Kevin was just trying to get his bearings in San Diego. It was really cool to touch base with him. Also, I saw Joe there, and chatted with him after the service. It was a pretty simple lesson, led by a brother named Tui, who apparently knows Guillermo pretty well. Too bad there was no singing, though.
On Wednesday, Carly and Jason and I decided to behave with reckless abandon and get tattoos. It took us each about two excruciating minutes for the tattoo artist at the Polynesian Cultural Center to apply them. Probably the most dangerous part was making sure to look away while he delicately sprayed the ink, so as not to get any paint in our eyes. Carly had a butterfly done; Jason, a gecko. Mine was certainly the most manly choice of the three — a dragon. Unfortunately you can't see much of them in this photo.
Overall the PCC was probably the most interesting part of the trip. Each part of the Polynesian islands is represented. We were able to see Samoa, Marquis, and Fiji, if I remember correctly. Samoa's representatives had the most personality. Later we realized that it's a very well-rehearsed routine; it's very entertaining nonetheless.
The luau was very well done, and the food was incredible. It is interesting to note that the song they performed as thanks before the meal was the same melody used in "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow" in our song book. The show at the end was very good too. I especially liked the song performed a cappella. And of course the fire show was very good; in fact the main performer was the same guy who ran the Samoan show.
Carly and Jason had a lot of fun snorkeling on Thursday at Shark's Cove.
I think I got a week's worth of salt intake.
Jennifer and I had lunch on Saturday. It was cool to finally meet her after playing phone tag a few times. We had a good talk; interestingly enough, she's read Boundaries. She is reading Search for Significance right now, which I will look into myself when I get the chance.
And this concludes Aloha 2004!