Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hawaii - Honolulu - Day 2

On the second full day in Honolulu, I joined a tour that took us out to the East and North coasts, a very scenic part of the island.  Our first stop along the way was at the Byodo-In Temple, a Buddhist temple replica of the one Japan.  It is located in the Valley of the Temples, an area built in the 1960’s to commemorate the Japanese coming and settling in Hawaii.  Just outside the temple, is a giant bell, or gong-like bell.  They say if you ring the bell you will have eternal happiness.  I rang the bell.  

Our next stop was along a beautiful beach called Chinaman’s Hat.  It is so named for the little island that sits just off the beach, and is shaped like that of a Chinaman’s hat.  One story as to how it was named centers around a little boy in China and dreams to be big.  He wakes up a huge boy and his people were scared of him to he walked into the water to cry, he fell asleep and woke up in Hawaii.  The people of Hawaii accepted him and made him a hat.  He falls back asleep and floats all the way back to China, but his hat remained in the water in Hawaii where he had fallen asleep.  

We stopped at a number of other beaches with lovely views, before we ended up at Fumi’s Shrimp Farm for lunch.  There are a lot of freshwater shrimp ponds along the cusp of the east and north shores area of Oahu, and the shrimp is quite good.  The shrimp ponds “grow” freshwater shrimp.  The creators of the ponds maintain that these ponds make the land more fertile - first of all, your land is not ruined by having salt/sea water replace it, making it less invasive.  Also, ocean shrimping is done by casting large nets in the ocean and these nets end up catching lots more than shrimp - they ensnare dolphins, and turtles, for example.

After lunch we stopped at the famous Sunset Beach, the scene of some great surfing contests during certain times of the year, when the waves run very high.  Just down the road is the Bonzai Pipeline, another famous surfing spot.  Our last beach stop was at Hale ‘Iwa Beach Park, where giant sea turtles are known to congregate.  While we didn’t see any out on the beach this day, we did spot a number of them floating in the water just off the beach.  Every minute or so, they’d pop their heads up, but none seemed all that interested in coming onto the beach to say hello.  Pooh.

Our final stop of the day was at the Dole Pineapple Plantation.  While some pineapples grow out behind the main storefront, sadly, pineapples are no longer grown for commercial purposes, as in sending off the islands.  The only ones grown now are for Hawaii’s use only.  I did go see the plants - they are very pretty with the fruit growing on them.  The stop at the plantation is now a shopping stop only.  I must say, if you’re into pineapple, this is the place for you!  Pineapple mementos, pineapple creams, lotions, scents, pineapple candy, pineapple toys, and the very famous whipped pineapple - a sort of ice creamy concoction which is quite delicious.  

The ship sailed a bit after 5 PM, and we headed in the direction of the big island - Hawaii - and Hilo, our first of 2 ports for that island.  

This is the Byodo-In Temple

Gong/Bell at temple

Koi ponds

Buddha and Snort

Chinaman's Hat

Happy feet!

Shrimp ponds

Where we ate lunch.  It was yummy!  I had spicy garlic shrimp and rice.

Some "written" foliage outside the shrimp shack.

Horse ranches along the highway - North Shore

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