August 11, 2012

Honolulu Zoo

We are so thankful to have a zoo membership! Although it is "all the way in town," it is nice to be able to go and play without having to make a full day trip of it. It is a small zoo, but it has plenty to offer for the little ones. Here are some of the highlights!


Keiki zoo with interactive exhibits and petting zoo

Elephants! We saw their old enclosure and now enjoy the giant place they call home now. If you come when they're getting fed, you'll get a show too!

Playground - there is a large play structure in the shade. Unfortunately, I only have pictures of the alligator from the "baby" half of the playground and a tree that my kids thought was a jungle gym.

Giraffe sculpture to climb

And of course, the animals!!!

My favorite animals:
*These pictures come from many different trips, as you may have noticed due to the changing size of the keiki*

August 2, 2012

Kamaʻāina - Local

Who doesn't like to save money? For most touristy things, there is a military/kamaʻāina discount. We're not military, but we quickly figured out how to qualify for the kamaʻāina discount! Sorry Michigan, but one of the first things we did when we arrived was to trade in our "great lakes" IDs for ones with rainbows on them.
It allows us (and sometimes friends that are visiting!) to try out new things for a lower price. So instead of just buying a kayak, we can try it out and see if we like kayaking before buying one and then having it take up space in our garage. And it allows us to stay at a hotel like this for a not-as-ridiculous price. 
Or eat here and order more than just an appetizer!

However, there are two sides to the word "kamaʻāina." Literally it means "land child," so we will never really have that official title since we weren't born and raised here. However, we can aspire to "local haole" if we live here long enough (haole means "white", which is a whole different post!).

It's also important to note, people from that are from Hawaii are called "locals," and that can apply to people of many races. But you are only "Hawaiian" if your ancestors were Hawaiian. Sometimes people say "native Hawaiian" to clarify, but usually "Hawaiian" means they are ethnically from Hawaii. And just please don't use "natives," since it brings to mind the idea of the "hostiles" from Lost and maybe isn't the best term for people anywhere.

So, we might qualify for the kamaʻāina discount, but if you ask if we're local, we'll have to say no. For now.

July 15, 2012

Kahe Point - Electric Beach

Electric Beach is one of the best snorkeling sites on the island. It's nickname comes from the not-so-scenic electric company next to the beach. However, thanks to the power company, warm water is piped out into the ocean and where the pipes come out there is an abundance of fish. It's a bit of a swim, but worth it! We also saw a few turtles and there is supposedly a pod of dolphins that frequents this spot.

The beach is nice for the kids to play on, although there is little shade. The water is clear, but the break is too strong for little ones to swim in (although someone was boogie boarding). Plus, the restrooms are shuttered, so you're limited to the porta-potty. We found a more family-friendly spot (although not quite as many fish), that I'll share about next time.

North end of the beach
What's behind the fence

Next time we'll bring the underwater camera so we can post pictures of the fish!

July 12, 2012

Mahalo Nui Loa! - Thank you very much!

You would not believe it, but we moved to O‘ahu one year ago today!

There have been many ups and downs, but mostly we are thankful. Some of these things we owe to just moving in general, but most are to our family, friends and the people and state of Hawai‘i. We are still missing many people, but are thankful for those that keep in contact and that we have those visits to look forward to and appreciate them even more.

Moving has allowed us to slow down the pace of life, partially because of the island attitude, but also by stripping us of all the additional commitments. We are enjoying this time with our family as we readjust to a new place and are able to slowly incorporate activities. Grow a lot as we are forced out of our comfort zone in meeting new people and trying lots of new things.

Mahalo nui loa:

Our family and friends in Michigan - the endless hours you donated to helping us pack, watching our children, cleaning, sharing garage sales and mom-to-mom sales. And for letting us leave, but still keeping in touch.

Mighty Moms Bible study - for answering my constant questions about where to go, what to do, what is that and all the valuable cultural inside information. And for being a solid rock to stand on in a time of much uncertainty.

Our neighbors - answering more silly questions about home improvement, plants and native bug species, bringing over cookies, being quiet and kind and having a playmate for our kids!

The state of Hawai‘i - For having islands with distinct personalities, for your awesome beauty, moderate temps and cool tradewinds. For being "half way" to Japan to visit our friends. For being so diverse so we and our children can make friends with people from a much broader group of cultures. Which also means many new foods to try!

The random people of O‘ahu - friendly drivers letting me cut in, helpful store clerks asking if I need help, social Pizza Hut workers complementing our pizza choice and inquiring about our plans with said pizza.

And mahalo to you for reading! I have really enjoyed this endeavor and will continue to blog about our adventures and will hopefully have many more to share!

Mahalo from Perrydise!

July 7, 2012

Haukōhi - Shave Ice

One of our favorite treats is shave ice. It's not a sno-cone. And it's not "shaved ice." (I'm not trying to be picky, but helpful). It's the perfect treat after a hot day on the beach. Or after a long drive. Or after dinner. Okay, anytime!
Sooo ono!
In Hawai‘i, shave ice is made - not surprisingly - by shaving a block of ice. The places that offer it vary because of their shave machine. I never knew that ice could be so different. It can be grainy, fluffy, smooth or kind of crunchy. Always delicious though!

The Hawaiian, haukōhigives a pretty accurate description, since "hau" means snow, and "kōhi" gather. Apparently, shave ice came here from Japan (although many cultures have something similar). The rich people wanted a cold treat, so they'd send their servants to the mountains to get ice. Someone figured out it was a good idea to flavor it, and for that, I am thankful.

I thought this was funny:
As Japanese immigrated to Hawaii, they brought this tradition with them. Like Rome and Japan, in Hawaii warm areas are close enough to snow capped mountains that snow can be brought into the warm areas without melting - Wikipedia
In Hawaii, there's only one snow-capped mountain, and it's not snow-capped all the time. And it's only on one island... Who knew that Wikipedia could be inaccurate?
Our newest find: Angel's in ʻie

I am not joking in that it's one of our favorite treats - I had to comb through over 80 pictures of shave ice to choose the ones you see here! So we have tried quite a few different places and have our favorites. In Hale‘iwa on the North Shore, Matsumoto is good, but it's the most common in guidebooks, so the line is always out the door. Nearby is Aoki's which is not nearly as busy, but we'd rather go to the other side of Hale‘iwa town to the Aloha General Store. Ample parking and seating, and last time they were playing music so the kids were dancing and entertaining the other patrons.

The North Shore might be the popular spot for shave ice, but you can find it all over the island, even on trucks!
Boy, were we excited to see this pull up to the playground!

When you're planning your trip to Hawai‘i, you need to seriously consider what flavors of shave ice you'll try. You can go with classics: grape, lime, cherry, orange. Or tropical: mango, pineapple, coconut, lilikoi. Or try them all. Each place usually has their own special flavors too.

What makes it even more awesome is getting ice cream on the bottom and a "snow cap" on top (aka sweetened condensed milk).
With whipped cream and a cherry on top

No matter what you try, if you eat with our family, you'll have to eat it quickly or it'll be all gone!

*Another blog, Oahu mom, had an entry about shave ice, so I waited to post so it didn't look like I was copying - but she and her readers suggest other places to try so check it out!