Driving Miss BrendaOctober 25, 2016 in the United States
On Tuesday we rented a car with the intent of driving to the North Shore to see the sights there. Before leaving, Brenda came across an App that acts as a tour guide and indicates points of interest along the way. We coughed up our $6.49 CDN and downloaded the Oahu Shaka Guide onto my smartphone. It turned out to be one of the best investments we made here. The guide took us way off the beaten track to places we never would have seen, pointed out recommended eateries and filled the trip with interesting stories of Hawaiian kings, legends and gods.
The first stop the guide recommended was to a small gift shop that offered samples of different flavours of Macadamia nuts and Kona coffee. We knew from that point on that we had made a wise purchase!
As we headed north, we saw Chinaman's hat, learned about the formation of the rugged and beautiful Koolau mountain range and made a quick stop at the very tourist oriented Polynesian Cultural Center.
At the northernmost tip of the island is the town of Laie where we visited the largest Mormon temple outside of Salt Lake City. There is a huge Mormon population here. We also saw another of Mother Nature's works of art in the form of a sea arch that, according to legend, is actually the remains of the tail of a giant lizard that was killed by the legendary warrior Kana and his magic spear, cut into three pieces and thrown into the sea. Hmmm...I think the ancient Hawaiians may have been into the Maui Wowee.
Our first glimpse of surfers came at Sunset beach where 10-15 foot tall waves were breaking along the shoreline. We were very impressed until we made our next stop at the Banzai Pipeline where the waves were even bigger and actually formed tubes that the surfers skilfully dove in and out of. In the winter months, waves here can crest at 30 feet! And if the thought of wiping out under that many tons of water isn't enough, there is a jagged coral reef beneath the surface where the waves break. I'll give it a pass, thanks.
We were then guided inland and up a steep hill to the remains of an ancient temple, in Hawaiian a Luakini Heaiu, in which sacrificial ceremonies and even human sacrifices were performed to help ensure warrior's success in wars. The volcanic rocks that formed the 400 year old temple were hauled up the steep hill from the valley below.
Back to the seashore and our next stop, Laniakea Beach where we saw a couple of sea turtles frolicking in the waves. The water was too rough for swimming, so we didn't stay there too long.
Like visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Coliseum in Rome, one must have a Shave Ice when in Hawaii. In the town of Haleiwa we visited the iconic Matsumoto's Shave Ice and, after waiting n line for 20 minutes, we were served our treats. Brenda had ordered the Matsumoto special that was flavoured with pineapple, lemon and coconut. When she got her order, she thought they had given her the wrong one. It was coloured blue, yellow and red. She went back to the counter and they confirmed they got it right. The pineapple syrup is blue. Go figure. Anyway, the overall effect was very pretty and reflected the abundance of rainbows here. Mine was passionfruit, coconut and papaya with a sprinkling of condensed milk over the top. Quite tasty, but I don't really need to have another anytime soon.
Our next to last stop was at the Dole plantation. With my love of pineapple, I was very anxious to arrive there, sample some of the fruit and maybe even buy a few pineapples for the coming days. I figured the price here would have to be better than in town, right? No middleman, no transport costs, no carrying fees etc, etc... WRONG!!! They were selling boxes containing two large pineapples for over $15.00 US. Robbery. Needless to say, we spent very little time there.
Our last stop was an "off the beaten track" visit to the geographical center of Oahu which symbolizes the human belly button. The birthstones of Kukaniloko are located here and it was believed that women birthing here could do so with ease and no pain because of the magical powers emanating from the stones. Kukaniloko means "to anchor the cry from within". The women would squat atop one of the stones and had to push their babies out without flinching. These babies would often grow up to become chiefs and leaders of their villages.
Overall it was a very entertaining day and I would recommend the Shaka Guide to anyone visiting Hawaii.Read more