Friday, August 29, 2008


Nathaniel has been dying to take me to Hawaii because it has always been one of my dream destinations. This summer, he made that dream come true! We got back about a week ago from our Hawaiian paradise. We had the time of our lives! Here are some pictures of our stay...
We stayed on Oahu in Waikiki at the Moana Surfrider, Westin Resort. This place opened in 1901! Nathaniel and I are suckers for old architecture, we can't get enough of it (many of you may remember that Nathaniel proposed to me at a gorgeous pre civil war plantation home in Louisiana). So, the second we saw this place, we knew it was where we wanted to have our stay. You can't really tell from this picture, but there are wooden rocking chairs lined up within the Veranda. We occasionally enjoyed sitting in these rocking chairs to relax and people watch, Waikiki is certainly home to some characters :)
Our mornings were filled with tourist attractions but our afternoons were spent on the beach located just outside the back coutyard of the hotel. That large green blob in the picture that looks like several trees is only one tree, the famous Moana Banyan tree to be exact.
We frequently dined (or just drank Pina Coladas and Strawberry Daqcuiris!!), and enjoyed live Hawaiian music beneath this tree. The atmosphere was magical!
Nathaniel and I each received a lei upon our entry into the hotel, it was very exciting.
We went to the Dole Plantation...
And had pineapple ice cream!
Nathaniel really likes pineapple.
I enjoyed the fish.
We rode the pineapple express and enjoyed beautiful views of the agriculture. Honestly, the Dole Plantation is on my most gorgeous sight seeing list. The views were breath taking!!
We toured the Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the United States. We love that old architecture!
We hiked to a few different waterfalls.
We visited the Laie temple (it's pretty far behind us in this picture), which really looked like something out of the Book of Mormon.
We went horseback riding up a mountain...
To here!
We were driving and happened upon this beautiful ocean view, which isn't hard to do in Hawaii, I couldn't resist the photo op!
We visited the USS Arizona memorial and Pearl Harbor, a very humbling experience.
We experienced the Polynesian Cultural Center!!! This turned out to be one of our most fun and entertaining events! The Polynesian people are absolutely hilarious, we were laughing the whole time. This is a photo of the canoe pageant. Each island of Polynesia had a canoe, I believe that this is Aoterroa's canoe. Aside from the canoe pageant, you could expeience each island of Polynesia within the park. Every island had their own area in which their villages were recreated, they would dance and sing and explain their culture. Following their presentation, you could taste their cooking, play thier games and such. Seriously, everyone was so funny!

Here is a picture of us at the Figi presentation.
Following the day festivities, the park held a massive luau. They gave us these leis upon our entry to the party!
More pineapple for Nathaniel! Dinner at the Luau.
Entertainment at the Luau. Following the Luau, we were led to the last of the festivities. We came to a theater with stadium seating where we viewed their production. Amazing.
This is Hanauma bay, where we snorkeled. You can see how shallow the water is and all of the coral reef beneath it. This was an experience! I had never been sorkeling before and so the first time I went under I thought I was going to suffocate!!... But I got used to it and we saw beautiful coral, fish, and even a (very poisonous) sea snake. Oh ya, that reminds me, Nathaniel saw a sea turtle in the ocean just outside our hotel when we were swimming. It was a foot away from him!
Us Snorkeling. The mask is falling off my face :) I can't figure out the face that Nathaniel is making!
More snorkel gear. We got fried at Hanauma bay, you can kinda see it on Nathaniel's feet. We are still peeling!!
We went to the sealife park. This place was gorgeous, it was not enclosed at all. The park is on the edge of the North shore, so the backdrops were natural- no walls. There were beautiful ocean views no matter where we were in the park. We saw fish, sea turtles, sea lions, and my favorite... Dolphins!
This is Nathaniel doing the dolphin swim! We both got to do this. The dolphin turned over on it's back, we held her fins, and she swam across the water! Dolphins are very fast, I had no idea.
Okay Dolphins have got to be one of the kindest animals in the world. They just seemed very happy and fun loving!
The more time Nathaniel and I are married, the more I see his love for animals. It was like being at the Sealife park with a child. The look in his eyes the whole time we were there was priceless.

Well that's it, I have highlighted our favorite memories of the trip! I am so grateful for the opportunity to have gone.