Over the years, I’ve done a lot of blog posts about places I’ve visited while speaking at conferences. And I always feel kind of funny because I talk about the scenery, but not the people. That’s because it’s hard to talk about the people. I don’t have permission to post their pictures, and I don’t want to break any confidences by talking about questions they asked or challenges they have in their ministry.
And part of this trip was ministry.
The conference was at Calvary chapel, Pearl Harbor, a fairly large church located in a strip mall. I met so many friendly leaders.
And the music during the opening was appropriately Hawaiian! Such fun.
The next morning we were able to attend the service at Hawaii Kai. (I love saying Hawaii Kai!) Good service and more friendly people.
In fact, afterwards, one of the men took us out to lunch at the Maona Cafe – a popular breakfast place in Hawaii Kai. He told us that there is always a wait. I had a super delicious strawberry waffle and good conversation.
That afternoon we visited two Awana clubs in two different areas and once again, I had the opportunity to meet great people. (I took a lot of pictures but can’t post them because of privacy restrictions.)
But here is the Game Square for one of the churches.
One night we drove through Wakiki – which is a part of Honolulu best known for its beaches. But Wakiki is also an area of city lights, upscale stores – think Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
The night we drove through the area, the roads were semi-empty because some of them were blocked off for a festival. However, the sidewalks were packed with people. I mean, we kind of wondered how they could walk there were so many of them. You can’t really tell from the video because a lot of the people were back off the sidewalks a little – but one corner must’ve had 500 people standing on it.
I didn’t get a great picture since I took it out of the car window at night – but the red and blue building is the Aloha Tower which is actually a lighthouse that can be seen 15 miles from shore, an iconic symbol of Hawaii.
Some people say that like the Statue of Liberty welcomes people on the East Coast, so the Aloha Tower welcomes people into Hawaii.
The tower was built in 1926 and up into the 60s was the tallest building on the islands. Now, it is being redeveloped by the Hawaii Pacific University as a residence hall.
(Ok, interesting sidenote – Honolulu ranks seventh as US cities with most high rises.)
During World War II, the military protected the tower and in fact, painted it in camouflage colors and turned off the light so it could not be seen. Finally, in the late 40s it was sandblasted back to its original color.
I remember attending a conference at DisneyWorld. The shuttle picked us up at the airport and took us right to our hotel complex. We never saw anything outside of the magical world of Mickey. Since I had been to Florida (and DisneyWorld) before, that was fine for the conference visit, but kind of limiting to someone who hadn’t been to the South.
You can do the same in Oahu. A shuttle will pick you up at the airport and deliver you to the Disney (and other hotels in the resort area) and then take you back when your stay is over.
One night we went over to the resort area and walked down to the beach. Although the resort areas are closed off to the public – the beach is public and they have a path that you can follow to the public area.
After dining on shrimp as we listened to the roosters crow, the pigeons coo, and watched the cats wait for their dinner, we headed up to Keana Point State Park.
Part of the park was closed to cars because of the recent flooding, (won’t be open again until 2019), but there was still a lot to see as we watched the sun go down over the Pacific. The closer it got to the sunset hour, the more people showed up, but still, compared to other areas we visited, there weren’t that many people around.
The point was beautiful and I could have sat there for hours just watching the play of the sun on the water.
Plus, I got my first glimpse of a red-crested cardinal! In my research on birds I might see in Hawaii, this one was often mentioned and I liked its coloring. The cardinal, however, is not a cardinal, but a tanager. And, like all the birds I saw, this one is also an alien – from South America.
I remember when we went to Israel, I was surprised to see cats everywhere.
Well, in Hawaii – it’s chickens or if you want to be precise – red jungle fowl.
They are everywhere – thousands of them. They crow constantly, not even waiting for dawn.
The island has had programs where police would capture the chickens, but the programs haven’t worked and they simply keep multiplying. With all the feral chickens I saw, I can’t believe this is the only picture I got and it’s not even a good one. This one was at the shrimp truck.
I think my absolute favorite sighting was when we were in the McDonald’s drive-thru line one morning – to get Egg McMuffins. Think of the resulting ad campaign they could create!!!
Oh yeah, not only chickens, but speed bumps. Everywhere! So my takeaway from Hawaii – speed bumps and roosters.
After stopping at the Dole Plantation, we drove along the North Shore. The best way for me to describe the ride is – the scenery was exactly as I imagined Hawaii scenery to be … blue sky, endless sparkling water, rocky shorelines that fade into sandy beaches.
Better yet – here’s a few (yes, just a few) of the pictures I took.
People traveling with me know I am intense about learning the name of every new bird, flower or tree that I see. I will ask until I find out and then to be even more annoying, I have to stop and take a picture of said bird, flower, tree. Sometimes I mentally tell myself to stop and not bother people, but then I see another bird, flower, and tree and I’m once again asking questions. I apologize to everyone who has gone anywhere with me. Sort. Of. All comes down to just wanting to know.
So the very first morning in Hawaii I saw two new birds.
I identified the common waxbill by texting my brother. This pretty little finch was sitting in the branches off the balcony of the condo where we where staying. A lot of other birds were also flitting around and singing, but I couldn’t capture them via photo nor could I see them close enough to describe them.
But I did get a picture of the common waxbill, although it’s not very clear. This bird is also called the St. Helena waxbill (for the island of St. Helena).
Although the name says it’s common, it’s not as common here as it is in Southern Africa and the Pacific Islands. The red streak across it’s eyes is pretty, sorry I didn’t get a better view.
I also saw a spotted dove (a long-tailed pigeon). Well, actually I saw dozens of spotted doves over the next week. This bird is found mostly in Asia, in particular India but has now reached Hawaii and Southern California. I liked the polka dots on it’s neck – they made it seem as if the dove was wearing a scarf.