Memorial Day Weekend in DC

I feel like I’ve been a traveling machine lately!  Now I know how Dan feels somewhat.  This past Memorial Day I spent the weekend in DC with my friend Naheed.  We both went to see our former co-worker and friend Turisa get married to the love of her life.  I love going to weddings.  It’s such a great reminder to me of the promises that I made to Dan and all of the excitement and anxiety I felt on that special day.

We flew up on Friday after work so we could explore the city a bit.  It was my first time in DC so I had a lot to see.  We decided to take the double decker bus to the main attractions and do some shopping in Georgetown.  The weather was beautiful and it really allowed us to get some good exercise walking around seeing the city.

Naheed with a View of the reflecting pool, Capital and Lincon Memorial

Naheed with a View of the reflecting pool, Capital and Lincon Memorial

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Naheed at the National Air and Space Museum

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Me at Grand Central Station

Naheed at Mui and Yui

Naheed at Mui and Yui

George Town - Mui and Yui

George Town - Mui and Yui

George Town - Mui and Yui

George Town - Mui and Yui

The wedding was on Sunday.  Turisa made such a beautiful bride and there were some memorable heartfelt speeches at the reception.  I would say those are the two main things that stood out to me.  There was a great ceremony and a really nice reception.

Me, Turisa and Naheed

Me, Turisa and Naheed

Turisa and I

Turisa and I

Hawaiian Babymoon

We are so blessed to have been able to go on such a wonderful Babymoon to Hawaii

…the term has come to be used to describe a vacation taken by a couple that is expecting a baby in order to allow the couple to enjoy a final trip together before the many sleepless nights that usually accompany a newborn baby. Babymoons usually take place at a resort that offers appropriate services like prenatal massage.

We intended to relax, but then we got caught up on all of the things that we could do that we probably won’t be able to do for a while after the baby, so it became a bit more adventurous than we had planned.  We did have some relaxing days though.  It was nice.  Here’s a recap:

We began our vacation in busy Oahu.  We decided to rent a car so we could go up to the North Shore.  We spent the first day driving up there, having lunch, lounging on the beach, watching the surfers, and hanging out in the little town there.  It was really nice, but MUCH smaller than I had anticipated.  I mean, this is Jack Johnson and Kelly Slater’s hang out spot.  I pictured something much more than a small town with maybe two restaurants and a shaved ice place.  But nope, it was a sleepy little surfer town!  After dinner we went past the North Shore to Sunset Beach.  Travel Channel claimed that you can view the BEST sunset from this beach.  We waited until the sun set to only be disapointed when it set behind vog (volcanic fog) early before it touched the water.  We got some great shots prior to that, but from what the Travel Channel said, I thought the sand would do a drum roll. I’ll let you decide if it’s note worthy.

Sunset Beach Sunset

Sunset Beach Sunset

We also enjoyed visiting the Dole Plantation where we learned how pineapples grow.  We toured the pineapple fields by an open air train, and it was a lot of fun.

Dole Pineapple Plantation

Dole Pineapple Plantation

Next we decided that we should go to Diamond Head.  This wasn’t too far from our hotel right on Waikiki Beach, and it claimed to have some of the most amazing views of the city.  So, we said why not?  We didn’t know what we were in for.

View of Wikiki from Diamond Head

View of Waikiki from Diamond Head

The stairs leading up to the top of Diamond Head

The stairs leading up to the top of Diamond Head

View of the lighthouse and crystal clear waters

View of the lighthouse and crystal clear waters

What you didn’t see was us panting all the way up to the top of this mountain.  Fortnately it got cooler the higher up we got.  It was totally worth it for the amazing view.

Our last day in Waikiki we relaxed and lounged on the busy beach before hopping a plane over to the Big Island.

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach

The day we went to the Big Island, we thought we had landed on the moon.  It was covered with volcanic rock and from the sky it looked like one big black lava flow.  We were in for a treat because the island really turned out to be a diamond in the rough.

We stayed at the Hilton Wikaloa Village.  This reminded me more of an asian theme park out of disney world than a hotel.  To say it was a mega resort was an understatement.  There was a metro train and a boat to get you around the place.  We stayed in the Palace tower which had the most amazing museum quality asian artwork that lined the walls leading up to the building.  We didn’t have time to photograph all of it, but you could spend hours just on the hotel grounds viewing all of the incredible pieces they have.  We arived just before dusk, and we were able to get some good shots of the property.

May 2009 Hawaii Trip 058

Waikaloa Beach

Hilton Waikaloa

Hilton Waikaloa

View of the beautiful rocky beach

View of the beautiful rocky beach

Pool Falls

Pool Falls

Our first full day on the island we decided to take it easy and visit a local black sand beach.  The beach was nestled in a million dollar community that housed Priscilla  Presley’s vacation home.   The sand was so hot! We had a lot of fun goofing off and relaxing.  They had some huge rocks at the bottom of the water!

Rocky Black Sand Beach

Rocky Black Sand Beach

Relaxing on the Black Sand Beach

Relaxing on the Black Sand Beach

Showing off the Baby Bump
Beautiful Black Sand Beach

Beautiful Black Sand Beach

Our first excursion we decided to go on the Body Glove morning snorkle and SCUBA cruise.  Dan tried SCUBA diving for the first time and absolutely loved it.  We saw so many dolphins on the way to to the dive site.  It was awesome.

Wild Dolphins

Wild Dolphins

Dan SCUBA diving

Dan SCUBA diving

We came back to the hotel and enjoyed a beautiful sunset before heading to bed for the night.

Budda Point Sunset

Buddha Point Sunset

Amazing Sunset

Amazing Sunset

The Big Island is so unique and vast, and with a limited amount of time on the island, we wanted to be able to see as much of the diverse island as we could.  The only way to do this was to do a helicopter ride.  This was by far the best helicopter ride ever.  We saw everything from hardened lava fields that looked like another planet, to lush beautiful rain forest with enchanting waterfalls.  We did a valley landing and had lunch on the Hilo side of the island in the middle of the beautiful rain forest.  It was truly amazing!

The source of the "vog"

The source of the "vog"

Paradise Helicopters

Paradise Helicopters

Lunch in the Valley

Lunch in the Valley

Dan in the helicopter

Dan in the helicopter

Beautiful Cliffs

Beautiful Cliffs

On one of the evenings we decided to do a traditional Luau.  We had so much fun meeting new people and having a traditional Polynesian meal.  I know…it’s the cliche’ thing to do in Hawaii..but we really enjoyed it!

Preparing the meal

Preparing the meal

Luau

Luau

Dan with the hula ladies

Dan with the hula ladies

Me with the Hawaiian Guys

Me with the Hawaiian Guys

Our last excursion was unique to the Big Island and absolutely phenomenal.  We did a night dive with Manta Rays!  Unfortunately we don’t have any pictures for that, only videos.  We took several pictures with our underwater camera, but we only got shots of white dots.  We left just before sunset and took a boat out towards the manta area.  After night fell we got into our wet suits and hopped into the water.  We all had flash lights and there were lights lighting up the bottom of the ocean like a mini city.  Manta Rays eat plankton, and the plankton is attracted to the light.  So the more light..in theory, the more Manta Rays.  We were amazed by these 100-1000lb creatures.  They are completely harmless, and incredible to see.  A bit scary at night, but it was well worth it.

I think we had enough adventure to hold us off until the baby arrives.  We can’t wait to start taking trips with Parker once he’s older.  It’ll be so exciting to learn and discover new things with him!