Vacation report

I’ve been putting off writing up the rest of the vacation because I got a cold towards the end that turned into a sinus infection and, after flying with it, turned into an ear infection. I’ve now had 3 days of antibiotics, a good amount of decongestants and lots of sleep, so I’m getting better. Photos still aren’t up in gallery form, maybe tommorrow morning.
So, from the notes we wrote up while waiting for the flight out of Honolulu:
Our visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park started before the gate was staffed, so we didn’t have to pay to get in.
We hiked at least 7.5 miles that first day, 6.6 mi on the trails in the rainforest and around the calderas, and at least 1 mi out to the lava flowing into the ocean from the end of Chain of Craters Road. No wonder we were sore the next few days.
After driving back to Hilo, we walked around the Japanese Gardens that was close to the hotel.
The next day, we went to various waterfalls around Hilo including Rainbow Falls and Akaka Falls and a couple of beach parks along the east coast of the island. We then went to the Mauna Loa macadamia nut farm and processing plant. Not much to see, other than rows and rows of macadamia trees. We then went back to the hotel and swam in the pool.
The next day, we drove to the southeast corner of the island, making our way to the east edge of the lava flows that we saw the first day. We visited the Volcano Winery, taking a tasting and buying 3 bottles of wine. We returned to the Hilo area, walked down the rocky beach on the bay and walked around the downtown area. (We stumbled upon some rather large cockroaches on the sidewalks that night, Alisha was not pleased.)
The next morning, we wandered around some parts of downtown Hilo we hadn’t seen, including the farmers market. Then we went to the Borders bookstore and used the wireless waiting for our flight back to Honolulu.
After the flight, we picked up our little blue 4 door Cavalier, drove to the hotel and discovered the overcrowded mess of Waikiki Beach. The sidewalks were shoulder to shoulder for blocks. We ate at The Cheesecake Factory, after a 90 minute wait.
The following day was dedicated to visiting the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor (I just couldn’t go to Hawaii without visting it). We got up fairly early, and got to the Memorial about 8:30 am, and the first available program was at 11:30 am. We walked around the U.S.S. Bowfin, a submarine moored next to the Vistors Center and the other things at the vistors center until our program started. The film before the launch ride to the memorial was almost chilling, lots of actual footage and statements from survivors. The ride out was smooth, and the memorial itself was just that, a memorial to all the servicemen killed on that day. Then we drove off to the Dole Plantation, looked quite a few varieties of pineapple, and realized that Oahu is a much smaller island with many more people than the big island. We returned to the hotel and watched the sunset from Waikiki Beach while hanging our feet in the water. Alisha even saved an infatable toy duck from floating out to sea.
The following morning, we had breakfast at Denny’s, drove around Diamond Head and then returned to the airport a couple hours too early. At this point, I wasn’t feeling too well, so that was fine with me. After the 8 hour flight back to Chicago, I felt even worse.
And let me tell you, the warnings about flying with a cold are all true: if you can’t clear your ears, you will have an ear infection. I’ve now spent 2 days recovering from it, and I’m still less than 75%.

Aloha and mahalo!