We recently touched down on the beautiful Island of Oahu, ready for our adventures in Honolulu! We have checked in to the incredible Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort, which looks to be its own city, complete with restaurants, local shops, vendors, and an incredible all natural juice and smoothie bar.
On our first night we increased our family experience by placing all of our cell phones in a box. We had an incredible distraction-free dinner. It was such a positive experience that the trip members asked us to do this at every group dinner. We have now called this box the “nightclub,” and our cell phones are looking forward to revisiting this popular spot every time that we have a group dinner.
To continue the team bonding experience, the staff planned a program for the trip members at nighttime. Each group of trip members was given a set amount of play money for a very important auction. They were given strategic clues and asked to bid on secret items. In the end many prizes, and tricks, were won, such as candy, or the requirement to run an ice-breaker activity for the rest of the group. Some will have to create a synchronized swimming routine to present to us, while others earned an extra 15 minutes of socializing time after curfew. The trip members all seemed to love this activity, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with.
The next day, we filled our bellies and headed down to the beach for some sunshine. That afternoon, we learned how to “hang-10” with professional surf instructors and hit the waves for an afternoon on the water. The instructors said they were extremely impressed by the skill and persistence of our group, as we all managed to get up and surf the waves.
The following day took on a more educational tone, as we visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation and Pearl Harbor. At the Plantation we searched through the pineapple maze for symbols in an amazing-race type fashion. We then sampled delicious pineapple ice-cream and floats made in pineapple juice. Our afternoon continued with a very powerful trip to Pearl Harbor. You could hear a pin drop as we watched a video on the events leading up to and during the raid on Pearl Harbor. We got on a boat and visited the memorial dedicated to the men who lost their lives aboard the USS Arizona ship decades ago. The memorial was directly on top of where the iconic ship sank, and you can still see the ship below, as well as oil from the tanks still inside. We left this afternoon with an even stronger appreciation for those who dedicate their lives to service.
That night, we walked over to the Ala Moana Center for dinner, where the majority of the group enjoyed a Hibachi-style meal. We watched in amazement as the chef prepared onion volcanoes, juggled eggs, and caught shrimp in his hat. The food was excellent, and so was the show!
Yesterday, we started off our day with a breathtaking Segway tour of the island. We hopped on our Segways and rode along the coast of the beach and over to many incredible look-out areas. At one point, we were told we were looking at the houses of Cher, and Mel Gibson, as well as the location for the TV show “Shameless.” Upon our return, many trip members enjoyed gigantic water toys for their use at our lagoon-area, a man-made beach. Here, trip members could be seen in kayaks, or on giant water-bikes.
Finally, today, we arose this morning prepared to tackle the hike at Diamond Head. The beginning of our hike was paved, as we braced ourselves for the 350 stair climb that we knew was to come at the end. The trip members were champion hikers, and we celebrated this accomplishment with some shaved ice treats back at the bottom.
While we are sad to leave this island tomorrow, we are looking very forward to visiting the Big Island tomorrow.
Mahalo from the Hawaiian Spirit!
– The Westcoast Blogger