Dewit Family Travels

Joined August 2017Living in: Duncan, Canada
  • Day7

    West Coast of Oahu

    May 4, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 23 °C

    Our plan, to start the day was to attend a big swap meet at the Aloha Stadium near the airport. We thought it was on until three but unfortunately it ended at noon this time because of another event happening in the stadium. We didn't think 15 mins would be enough to see much so we decided not to go inside.

    Instead, we continued west to the coast to check out the beaches there. We arrived to find it very windy. We walked along a paved walkway that connects four, man made lagoons. The first is a public beach and the others belong to resorts, including Disney. Each is a very nice, sheltered beach. Perfect for families with young kids. Not really what we were looking for.

    We drove from this resort area on the west coast back to Waikiki beach. We rented a surfboard to share. Good deal at $10/hr. The waves weren't the best but Aaron and Emma were both able to catch a few waves on the board. It was cloudy, which was perfect for us, with our burns from two days ago.

    This being our last night in Hawaii, we decided to go out for dinner. We decided on the Cheeseburger Waikiki. I had cod dipped in Hawaiian beer batter and fries, Aaron had a veggie burger, Jaden and Emma had beef burgers and Laura had an avocado, watermelon, tomato salad. All very good.

    We then walked to the beach and along the waterfront to catch an Hawaiian sunset. As a bonus, we saw a monk seal sleeping on the beach. Walking back we had a chance encounter with a street market. Lots of vendors and entertainment with the street closed to vehicle traffic. We all enjoyed that and stopped at the Haagen Daas for ice creams before walking back to the condo. That was almost a 6 K walk!
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  • Day6

    Pearl Harbor Tour

    May 3, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    After eggs this morning, we all walked along the canal and to the Ala Moana shopping Center. We were interested in checking out the only other ROSS store on the island after a successful bargain hunting trip to the ROSS store closer to our condo a couple of days ago. We thought it would be the larger of the two, but it wasn't to be. Jaden picked up a nice pair of aviator style sunglasses and a t-shirt, and Laura a pair of shorts, but that was about it.

    After a quick break at the condo, we hopped in the car and drove to Pearl Harbor for our scheduled tour at 1:00. It started with a 20 min. video explaining why the Japanese attacked and how they managed to inflict so much damage. Following the video we boarded a boat and were given a narrated tour of the harbour showing the locations of the various battleships that were destroyed in the attack. For a nominal $1 fee per person, that was by far the best deal we've had on the trip!

    We spent the afternoon at Waikiki Beach, trying to shield ourselves from the sun as much as possible, still feeling the burn from our snorkelling adventure at Hanauma Bay. Aaron and Emma tried surfing and were able to catch a few waves! I tried boogie boarding, but failed to catch a single wave. Will try again tomorrow.

    The day ended back at the condo where we made dinner and watched shows on the television and various devices. We missed the Friday fireworks at the Hawaiian Hilton.
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  • Day5

    A Hiking Day

    May 2, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Today was planned as a hiking day. We needed to stay off the beach and wanted to see Diamond Head as well as the jungle like mountains north of town. So, we started by driving to the parking area at the start of the trail up Diamond Head. It was busy but we only had to wait about 10 minutes to get a parking spot. The weather was not too hot and there was a breeze to help cool us off as we hiked up the trail. It took us only about 1/2 hr to reach the top. Beautiful view of the area from the lookout!

    From Diamond Head we drove a short distance to the Manoa Falls trailhead. It was raining lightly, but very warm when we started on the trail. Instantly, we were in the thick of the tropical rainforest with incredibly large trees all around us. It definitely felt like Jurassic Park, which was filmed not too far away on the island. It was an easy hike with just a few, short steeper sections, and it took us only about 1/2 hr to reach our destination. A 40-50 m. high waterfall. We took a few pictures and headed back to the car.

    After a short break at the condo we drove to a nearby ROSS Dress for Less store and picked up on some bargains. Then we shopped for groceries at a local supermarket before going home to make dinner.
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  • Day4

    Snorkeling and Sunburns

    May 1, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 26 °C

    Today we had to get everyone up bright and early so we could arrive at Hanauma Bay in time for our guided snorkelling adventure. Upon arrival the parking lot was full so we had to turn around and park in a residential neighborhood about 1/2 mile down the road. Our guide me us at 10:00 and we got fitted with fins and floatations belts. We had to watch a short orientation film before being allowed into the park.

    Soon, we had all our gear on and we were in the water. Our guide took us to all the best locations to see fish. We were also allowed to take off our belts and free dive to the bottom. The variety of colourful fish was spectacular. It was like swimming in an aquarium. And, I was surprised at the size of many of the fish. They were huge! We swam from one side of the bay to the other and were in the water for over an hour. We don't have pictures of the fish yet, but our guide had a Go-Pro and will email us the photos.

    Our guide gave us a ride back to our car and we headed to Sandy Beach to eat lunch and enjoy the ocean. When we got there though, the lifeguards informed us that this beach has the distinction for being the number one beach in the world for broken necks and backs because of how the powerful waves crash into the shore. So, we didn't stay long and instead drove north along the coast to an absolutely beautiful beach, Kailua Beach. Fine, white sand extending all around a bay with gentle waves and few people.

    At this time, we began to notice sunburn, even though we hadn't been in the sun long. What we had not realized was that we were going to be exposed to the sun most of the time we were in the water snorkelling. And, we had not used sunscreen as it is harmful to the coral. So, later in the day we began to notice the effects!

    From Kailua we drove back in air conditioned comfort to our condo where we showered, relaxed for awhile, did laundry, made dinner before walking along Kalakuau to check out the shops and action on the promenade. We watched a talented group of dancers perform and enjoyed the performance until they started badgering the crowd for money and even making insulting remarks like "What a cheap crowd!". We left before their final act.
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  • Day3

    North Island

    April 30, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    I started my day with a run. Figured that I wouldn't be feeling too keen later when the heat is on. I'm not used to early morning fitness though. So although I covered 5-6 kms, I probably only ran about 1/2 that distance. I ran from our condo to the beach and as far as I could along the beach. And ran a similar route back. We all cooked eggs for breakfast in our little kitchen, and put together sandwiches, veggies and fruit for lunch on the beach later.

    I used WIFI to map our route to the Dole Pineapple plantation and we headed to the car. About an hour later we arrived. I did not expect it to be as busy with tourists as it was. It reminded us of the Hershey Chocolate factory we had visited on a previous trip. Several tour packages were available but we opted to just take the the 20 min. tour train. The wait was going to be about 20 mins so we decided to have a snack. Emma and I had Dole whips. They are basically soft ice cream flavoured with pineapple. Very yummy. Laura and the boys had pineapple fruit cups.

    The tour was informative and enjoyable. We saw a number of different crops along with the pineapples, including bananas, cacao, avocado, coconut and others. Everyone (except for me because I had seen pineapple plantations before) was surprised to see that pineapples don't grow on trees!

    A short drive North of the Dole stop and we had reached the North shore of the island. We stopped at one of the first beaches we found, Haleiwa Alii, and had our lunch. It wasn't the best for swimming so we drove along the coast and stopped to swim at Sunset Beach. After a nice break there we drove further along the North Coast before heading back south along the East coast of the island. I had hoped to take highway 61 back into Honolulu but it was closed due to a landslide some time ago. As a result, the traffic was quite slow moving and it took us quite a bit longer to get back to our condo than anticipated. It was a very scenic drive and well worth it though.
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  • Day2

    First Full Day

    April 29, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Trip is a going well. Had tons of leg room on the Seattle - Honolulu flight. We were right by the emergency exit doors. Picked up our ride at the rental place and drove into town. Went for a bite to eat at a food fair in the Ala Moana mall before heading to our condo.

    The condo is alright. Great for the price. We're on a noisy street plus we need to run noisy AC units in order to keep the heat down in the rooms. But it's close to the beach and has a full kitchen so we can save by preparing our own meals.

    Yesterday we started the day with brunch at The Cream Pot, which we were able to walk to. We then did grocery shopping. First at Costco. Then for smaller quantities, at Walmart. After bringing it all home and having a snack we walked to the beach and went for a swim. We lazed on the sand for about an hour but didn't want to burn so headed back to the condo.

    Made ourselves a pasta dinner with Caesar salad for the main course and sliced, Hawaiian Pineapple for dessert. After a bit of r&r for me and the boys, and a run for mom and Emma, we walked to the big, Ala Moana shopping centre. Not much there in the way of bargains, but over 350 shops to choose from!

    Back at the condo I managed to find a show of interest from the 2000 available channels!
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  • Day15

    Our Bonus Day

    July 14, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 26 °C

    This morning, shortly after waking up after a good night’s sleep, I opened the curtains in our hotel room and saw a shopping mall just down the street. I checked on my phone to see if I could find out what stores might be in the mall. I didn’t recognize any, however, we’ve been looking for stores we don’t have in our neighbourhood at home and they seemed to be worth a look.

    I also noticed an IHOP within walking distance. I suggested we do brunch there as our hotel room did not include breakfast. So, after a workout in the hotel fitness centre and once everyone was ready, we checked out of the rooms and left our luggage at the front desk.

    We had a short wait because it was very busy at the Hop. The wait was worthwhile! We all had great meals. And, it only cost $US92.

    We then started walking to the mall across the street. Along the way we came across a Collectable Sneaker Shop. I expected one or both of the boys to find something to their liking. But it was actually Laura that bought herself a nice pair of Nike walking shoes. I know now that every time she slips on those shoes she’ll have fond memories of my blunder.

    We found several good stores in the mall and I think everyone bought something. We then walked to a nearby Costco. I always like seeing what Costco’s in different parts of the continent have to offer. Here the highlight for me was watching a Vitamix demonstration. We have one at home and love it, using it almost daily. The one being demonstrated was cool because it has built in Bluetooth and you can use an app on your phone to pick recipes and have the machine automatically mix the ingredients at the best speed and for the required time.

    One more stop on our tour of the Queens area. Another mall about 1/2 km away. It had a Burlington. By the time we had finished inside that large store we were pretty much shopped out. The plan was to catch A cab back to the hotel. $US56 was a bit much so we walked.

    We arrived just in time to gather up our luggage and hop on the shuttle. The driver was kind enough yo take us right to our departure terminal so we did not have to reboard the Airtrain.

    Other than a bit of trouble checking in Aaron’s suitcase/skateboard combination which resulted in us having to pay to get his boards plastic wrapped, it was all good this time around. Now we just need to wait 5 hours for our red eye flight to Vancouver.

    So ends another great family vacation.
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  • Day14

    Last Day in New York - Maybe?

    July 13, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    This morning we have a family tour of the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum scheduled for 11:30. We are driving the car down to a parkade just a block from the site. I pre-booked that online a while ago. The drive from our hotel in Yonkers is easy and takes us about 45 mins.

    We are welcomed by our tour guide and joined by about ten others on the tour. She gives us each headsets so that we can easily hear what she has to say as we tour. We spend about 1/2 hour on the site and learn a bit about the design of the memorial. The two pools in place where the north and south towers once stood are very impressive. The next thirty minutes are inside the museum where we are given information about the terror attack and the extent of the damage and lives lost. We are then left to explore the rest of the museum on our own. It is a very well organized exhibit with lots of photos, videos and artifacts salvaged from the ruins. The museum is deep underground at the level of where the foundations of the original buildings were located.

    From here we began another walking tour. This one was in a travel book of NYC we purchased long before we left. It took us through the heart of the financial district, along Wall Street and ended at Battery Park. We passed many historic buildings along the way. After a short break, we made our way to the nearest Metro station and caught the train to Union Square. The plan now was to see some more sights in the area, but also to find a large, recommended vintage and consignment clothing shop called "Beacon's Closet". It wasn't too far before we found it. Very popular and very crowded. Jaden and Aaron both found sneakers.

    We continued touring the Soho and Greenich Village neighborhoods. Ate a delicious lunch and found a few more shops of interest. It was then time to take the Metro back to where we had parked our car. We initially headed in the wrong direction and got off at a stop soon after finding out. Sadly, at that stop we did not have the option to go back. So, we had to wait for the next train, go two more stops in the wrong direction and then transfer to the train that would take us in the right direction. Luckily, we had lots of time to get to the airport. Lots and lots of time!

    We had to wait a few more minutes to get our car back once we arrived at the pickup location. It is a valet service and I was instructed to text ahead of time so that car would be ready on arrival. I'm not sure what went wrong. There was no apology or reason given. Again, it was all good because we had lots and lots of time before our flight would leave.

    The drive was a it unnerving at the start. It was dark. It was very busy. And, the GPS was lagging making it problematic when you had to make many quick turns to stay on course. Once over the Brooklyn Bridge, however, traffic thinned out and it was much less stressful. We arrived at our car rental drop off location. I had to go in and see the manger regarding a parking violation from yesterday that had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the fact that the car did not have valid insurance, or at least did not have a current sticker on the license plate. The manager was very apologetic and told me she would take care of it. So far, this had been a fairly good day, considering it was Friday the 13th!

    From here we hauled our luggage to the Airtrain for a short ride to Terminal 1 where we would check in with Phillipine Airlines. It was still a couple hours before the flight was to leave so I wasn't too concerned about the fact that no one was yet available to check us in. While waiting, I decided to take a look at the recent reminder email I had received for the airline. To my astonishment, we were a day early! When I announced the finding to the family they thought I was joking. Soon, however, they realized that I was not.

    I was not popular. I expected that response. Nobody was happy. Least of all, me! I felt that I had done a pretty good job of planning and organizing this trip. It had all gone according to plan. Until now. I did not want this to be the defining moment of our last, full family trip. All I could do was apologize and go about finding a solution to our problem. It took several phone calls, but eventually I managed to find a hotel nearby with a room for us. They would even send their shuttle bus out to the airport to pick us up and drive us to the hotel. I breathed a sigh of relief. But the dilemma was not yet completely resolved.

    On arrival at the hotel, we checked in and found that there were two double beds and no cot, as promised. I called the front desk and was told that it was not possible to bring in a cot. I explained that I had been promised that the room would be fine for the five of us and that a cot would be provided. The fellow that made the promise worked out of the central reservations, not the hotel, however. To spare you more details, suffice it to say that I successfully plead my case and we ended up getting a second room at no extra cost. Now we could finally relax and get a decent nights sleep.
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  • Day13

    Day 3 in NYC

    July 12, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Our day starts, as most others have on this trip, with the complementary breakfast. The one at this hotel is average. Nothing beats The Embassy in that regard! For reasons unknown, there is no shuttle today to get us to the train station. So, we drive instead. When we get there we discover that it is metered parking. At 25 cents per 1/4 hour we would need a lot of quarters for the day! Fortunately, there's an app for that. All I had to do was download it and enter our location number and we were good to go. Even has a feature built in to help you find your vehicle in case you forgot where you parked it!

    On arrival at Grand Central Station we find our way out of this massive building and start our day's walking tour. First stop, the MoMA. This world renowned Museum of Modern Art has a large collection of works by many great artists including Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, Monet and others. Too much to take it all in during a single visit so we choose a few of the many rooms and spend a couple of hours enjoying the art. A free app was available with an audio tour so that you could get insights into many of the more famous works.

    Next not the day's agenda was the Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center. Unfortunately, it was going to cost the family over $200 to take an elevator to the top. We decided that Laura and Emma would go up and I would walk to Macy's with the boys. We would meet up again later. Once together, we visited a few other stores nearby and had a lunch. From there we spent a bit more time walking about and enjoying the atmosphere before heading back to the train station by Metro.
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  • Day12

    Back to the Big Apple

    July 11, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Today we drove the short distance from New Haven to Yonkers where we will spend the last two nights of our vacation. It’s too early to check in but we were able to park our car in the lot and catch a free hotel shuttle to a nearby Metro train station.

    From the Greystone station it is a picturesque, 40 minute ride by train to Grand Central Station in NYC. What an amazing building! Huge and so much going on. We all ate lunch st one of the many food outlets.

    It’s still quite hot when we go outside but not nearly as bad as when we arrived two weeks ago. We decided to do a walking tour that includes Central Park, the Guggenheim Museum and Times Square.

    To return home we found a metro station nearby and used it to get back to GCS. From there we trained back to Yonkers. Our hotel shuttle arrived at the train stop soon after we did and took us back to the hotel.

    By now it’s almost 7 pm and we need dinner. The desk clerk at the hotel recommended a Chinese restaurant nearby. When we arrived it turned out to be little more than a take out place, but they had one table for five and nobody was using it so it worked out fine.
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