My day in beautiful Hawaii!!!
Trip Start Aug 26, 2006
20Trip End Dec 08, 2006
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On Sunday, I was IN HAWAII!!! Yes. That's right. The land mass farthest away from any other land. Many of the SAS students slept on the decks the night before to see the lights from a distance. Knowing that the crew hoses down the decks every morning at 4 am made me stay in bed and go up to see the sunrise (I got up, willingly, without any problems at 5:45 am). It wasn't really a 'sunrise' but it was great to see Hawaii in the early morning. We docked around 7 am, had to have everyone go through customs before the ship could be cleared, then waited in atrocious lines to get off. We have a scan card system (your ID is used for this, your on board account, and room key... basically, it's your life) however, the computer broke down for a while, so everything was done by hand. Let me tell you, 600+ students in a stairwell about to embark on Hawaii is not exactly where you want to be stuck! FINALLY, I got off the ship and easily spotted my two fantastic hosts for the day: Dr. Sam and Amy (and yes, I was named after Amy). As promised, Dr. Sam had on a red t-shirt, which was such a relief to see! Amy marked me as a Hawaiian guest with two gorgeous lei's - one which will travel home wonderfully (it's made of purple dry flowers) and the other, which may not make it home, is deliciously fragrant. On our way to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, I stayed hydrated with water and Passion fruit and Orange Juice. Yummy.
First stop, we visited the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, a relic of the tragedy of Pearl Harbor. There was a video presentation prior to being ferried to the memorial, which was very moving and informative. During the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S.S. Arizona was hit with bombs from the Japanese fighter pilots that flew right over the beautiful Hawaiian mountains. It sank within 9 minutes of being struck, and the whole event took place in only 2 hours time. After living on a ship now for a week, and having one boat drill, and the chaos in trying to get off the boat in the morning, 9 minutes is a blink of an eye, and two hours is about the time of a yawn. It was hard to imagine such chaos and war in such a beautiful, peaceful place.
After the memorial, Dr. Sam, Amy and I had a snack which included PINEAPPLE!!! First of all, I love tropical fruits. Secondly, the fruit on board leaves something to be desired. Third, we can't transport any fruits from any countries... so the Pineapple made my day!
We then drove to Nuuanu Pali State Park on the north side of the island which looked out for what seemed like forever. The volcanic stone was covered in lush green everywhere, and the water was the kind of blue you imagine it to be from the commercials you oogle over. Hawaii is really as beautiful as it seems. Though seemingly windy at the top of the lookout,in my opinion, Dr. Sam and Amy told me it was a mild day and normally women are fighting with their long skirts. Upon our return to their car, we called my parents who were eating dinner with my sisters, cousin and aunt - so I got passed around and got to say hi to the immediate family. Probably the longest phone conversation I'll get to have until December. It was glorious (and OSU won the game!)
Next, we drove to Hanauma Bay, which my Mom absolutely loves, and for obvious reasons. The waters are varying shades of one gorgeous blue after another, however, it's changed since Mom was last there (P.S. Mom, 20+ years is too long to stay away from Hawaii. You and Dad should definitely go there for the ADA convention in '06... or sooner.) Anyway, now there is a $5 per visitor admission (for upkeep) and a 9-minute educational video about protecting the marine life in the bay. It's a great place for snorkeling. We walked down to the bay and I touched the Pacific Ocean for the first time in my life. There's a tram that runs up and down the hill (50 cents to go downhill and $1 to go up the hill... hahaha) and we took that up. Good decision. Drove through some shopping in Waikiki and strolled through some shopping prior to dinner. Amy told me all about how the stores there (Louis Vuitton, Armani Exchange, etc.) were geared towards the Japanese tourists (that Dr. Sam says "are brought in by the bus load").
For dinner, we ate at the Palomino (interesting side note: Palomino was the same restaurant chain that I took Dad to for his birthday 2 years ago in Cincinnati). We dined on absolutely delicious food - I had a greek salad, crab cakes, and the most amazing tropical iced tea. Took a quick trip past the Hawaii convention center (where the 2006 ADA convention is going to be held... hem... hem... Dad.. Hem.) to take a quick jaunt through a certain restaurant for a certain T-shirt for a certain Breana friend who will turn 21 here in a few days (if you're curious, it's the hard rock café). On our way there, I had the pleasure of seeing a beautiful rainbow, while on our return to the ship, there was a beautiful sunset. Said my goodbyes and hopped aboard the MV Explorer without any problems. A perfect day in Hawaii!
Upon my return to the ship, I got to meet my roommate, Kate, at last!!! She's a very nice girl from Pepperdine (in CA) and it's been a lovely time showing her around the ship... and having someone to share breakfast time. Yesterday (Sunday) our final overnight trip requests and day requests for trips through India were due... more about that in a few days.
Classes are classes - but different than what I'm used to - not because we're on a boat, but I miss my sciences! In science, lectures are constantly building on things you know or need to know, while most of my classes are brute memorization and chugging through an entire book of... whatever the topic is. There is a ridiculous amount of reading, however, I am taking it as a way to prepare for the MCAT - I'm constantly trying to improve how fast I can read and still comprehend an article... or simply picking out the main points for the class. So far, it's been a terrific for giving me time to do other things while still absorbing the material. Organization meetings are starting... hooray! I'm getting involved with students of service, vicarious voyage (being a pen-pal with an American school), the Ambassador's program (promoting cross cultural interaction with our visiting guests from other countries as well as it's sub committee: Goodwill - promoting morale and spirit!), the programming committee (I really want to have a karaoke night!), and... I'm sure I'm forgetting one or two. Oh, well.
Well, I'm going to call it a day now - the sun's still shining, we're gaining another hour of sleep tonight, and my 'sea' (how our hallways are broken up into communities) has laundry pick up day tomorrow! Woot. Take care - and for Sam and Amy: Mahalo!!!!
P.S. The internet aboard the ship's been super slow, so as soon as it gets back to it's normally sluggish pace, I'm going to try to post a couple of pictures from my day in Hawaii!