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July 9 - Hanauma Bay, cancelled luau, and Todai
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-Hanauma Bay is famous enough and beautiful enough for it to have been recently voted America's best beach by some magazine. The bay is certainly well deserving of that distinction. An extinct volcano crater, the bay is home to a nature preserve and one of Hawaii's most popular places for snorkeling. Andrew arranged a deal for us that included transportation and equipment rental for the modest price of $18.
-The day began like the day before, getting up early except this time with a 7:50 am deadline to meet in the lobby. I got up around 7 and other people followed suite. Quickly out the door by 7:40 to go pick up something for breakfast. Brian and I both ended up with sandwiches from the ABC store (but i also had an ume musubi). The Tommy's Tours taxi van arrived at 8 and already had 3 people inside. After picking up another, Larry (the driver) proceeded to the interstate H1 (apparently the non-scenic route) to Hanauma Bay. Along the way, he pointed out a couple of sites and explained a few things about Hanauma and how to use the equipment. Before arriving at Hanauma, we stopped at another bay where Larry distributed the flippers. We got to Hanauma around 9 am and all paid the $5 entrance fee. Now due to the nature preserve status of the bay, we were forced to watch a 9 minute video about the bay. The take away message was "look, but don't touch." After that fun, we walked down the steep road to the beach area. Once at the bottom it took Brian and I like 15 minutes to rent a locker for our stuff because of the freaking long ass line. Eventually we got the valuables stored away, and joined everyone else on the beach.
-snorkeling is quite fun mainly because you get to see all kinds of crazy looking fish. The only bad thing is when water gets into your breathing tube or your goggles.. then you have either a lovely mouthful of saltwater or saltwater mixed with sunblock in your eyes. Another annoyance is getting sand in your flippers... which leads to an irritating feeling. But it was seriously very fun and being able to see the Hawaiian state fish, the humuhumu nukunuku apua'a, or reef triggerfish was quite thrilling. The deeper section of the bay, "section2/intermediate," was in my opinion prettier than the shallow area, mainly because the coral was less damaged and there were more fish. Getting to the deeper area was a bit troubling, as the border zone was very shallow and we found ourselves swimming in less than 1 foot of water and touching the coral! You also have to deal with the waves which break at the shallow border. Anyway we snorkeled until about 2 pm and that resulted in many sunburns... Despite the painful burns i was well worth the experience.
top side view top side view 2 me and the bay
-if you noticed from the pictures, yes the beach is very crowded and there are a lot of people in the water too. Anyway the last three pictures were taken after we were all done and on the way back up that fun steep road. the nice section 2 of the bay is located beyond where the waves are breaking in the pictures above. You'll notice that is actually quite a ways out from the shore. After we got back up to the entrance, Larry picked us up around 2:20 pm and took us just outside the park. Another van took us back the rest of the way to the Hawaiian Monarch. After showering, we met at the Waikiki Gateway hotel at about 4:20 pm to go to a luau.
-Also booked by Andrew, we were going to Germaine's Luau, supposedly one of the best on Oahu. We were picked up in a nice coach bus and accompanied by an escort who went by "cousin Jaysin." This guy was pretty hilarious and hyped up the luau quite well. We learned a bunch of new terms and heard some (bad) jokes. The bus picked up about 50 people from various hotels in Waikiki and proceeded west along H1 to Barbers Point. However when we got there, the road was blocked by Honolulu county police. Apparently someone left a mysterious tanker truck along the side of the road, and the police were afraid that it was some kinda bomb or something. Not fun..... after twenty minutes of waiting, the luau was called off and we were forced to go back toWaikiki. Everybody was of course disappointed, especially after all the hyping up. I mean damn i really wanted to dip my pipi into poi to make pupu! Blah... worse thing was that we weren't even sure if we could book another night on such short notice. Jaysin tried his best to keep us entertained, but yeah, most were pissed off. We were all bitterly dropped off at the Waikiki Gateway at 6:50 pm.
-We were so damn hungry, and i was especially so since i had nothing but that sandwich and musubi in the morning. We decide on of all things Todai... But before going there, Menzies realized he left his camera on the bus. Andrew and him took off like jail escapees to catch the bus. Meanwhile, the rest of us (minus Brian who didn't want Todai) went over to the restaurant of gluttony. Menzies and Andrew recovered the camera and after a wait of about an hour or so, we finally got our table. Then the gluttony began. some 5 plates and nasty key lime pie later i was feeling as always feel after buffets... like i'm about to explode. Shit i don't know why i do that to myself, but hell i figure paying $28 you should get your money's worth. We stayed until the restaurant was about to close, nearly until 10pm. We went back to the hotel and called the day. GOTO JULY 10

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