So I'm at my parents' house which is gradually turning into a museum of Asian art complete with a bonsai and orchid garden and a koi pond.
I was telling J on a layover in San Francisco that I was already going through Hawaii withdrawal. You always surrounded by beauty on the island of Oahu. If it isn't the ocean, it's the mountains. It was a great week to say the least. We were lucky to get a lot of cultural education at the Hawaiian conference, not only with the native Hawaiian culture but also the Native Alaskan culture as well. I have learned that the Hawaiian language has a LOT of vowels and the history of missionaries in Hawaii was pretty wretched.
Foodwise, most of the food was hotel/convention center food. Pretty unremarkable. But we made a second trip to the shaved ice stand during the latter part of the week. If you are ever in Oahu, please go to the Waiola market for shaved ice. Not only do they have flavors like mango, lilokai (passionfruit), and coconut, they can surround things like ice cream or flan in a shell of shaved ice. Kind of like a cold version of baked Alaska.
Our final night we all decided to hell with Convention food, we wanted fresh fish. On the advice of the guidebook we went to the Ocean restaurant at the Outrigger Reef hotel. As we got there at 9:45 pm, we decided to go the more casual restaurant next door. The set up for this restaurant was that you ordered your choice of grilled meat/fish and you got their salad bar. The salad bar ranged from ok to kind of vile. Avoid the cardboard pasta salad. But surprisingly, the fish is excellent. It's ordered daily from local fishermen and cooked perfectly. Half of us ordered the local fish Olo and half ordered the ahi tuna.
Finally I DID go to a rainforest but I couldn't be sure if it was the Lost rainforest. On that side of the island, it's all a beautiful rainforest and as you drive you are surrounded by it. While that was lovely, what was lovelier was snorkeling at Hanalua bay, a crater that became a coral reef. We saw tons of fish and could check off the entire list of fish on our fish map. They were pretty nonchalant about the presence of people and went about their way even when we were a foot away from them. I was amazed by the size of many of the fish. In particular, the parrot fish was the size of my leg. But the real treat was coming within a foot of a sea turtle. woo hoo!
Tomorrow I am headed home. It was a good trip and the best part is knowing I am coming back next year with J.