Of Sunrises, Banana Pancakes and Latter Day Saints
Trip Start Dec 27, 2008
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Of Sunrises, Banana Pancakes and the Church of Latter Day Saints
One of the things that Barb and I have in common is our appreciation for beautiful scenery
Now that would seem like a "motherhood" statement, but there are a fair number of people who are indifferent to beautiful surroundings.
I will go a step further and say at the risk of exaggerating - "there is nothing worse than traveling through beautiful scenery and your travel companion doesn't even notice or doesn't care".
As I have alluded to in past blogs, Barbara is the only person that I have met who gets more excited about scenery than I do.
For example, two days ago, (Sunday, February 24, 2008) we took a little drive to Nakku Elementary School, located about 35 kilometers north-west of Prince George.
I had become aware of the area a couple of weeks ago when I got a phone call from the school board to replace a teacher for the day at this school. I had no idea where it was, and only vague instructions as to how to get there.
It was an exciting experience driving for 40 minutes into the deep woods of British Columbia dodging lumber trucks in search of a school located on Nakku Lake.
When I told Barbara about my drive, she expressed an interest in going there. That is how it became our destination for this Sunday drive.
My own reaction upon driving there, for the second time, was a lot more muted than the first time. Barbara, however, saw a lot more beauty in the drive than I did. She even insisted on driving beyond the school to the end of the road and on taking photos of the snow covered terrain as well as some of the live stock that we saw along the way. I must have been tired as I never got out of the car. I also wondered "why is she taking photos of this?" I acted almost like the "worst nightmare" scenario travel companion that I described above.
Early yesterday morning, she called me twice to look out of the kitchen window. On the horizon was a narrow strip of clouds transformed to a blazing red by the sunrise. This was another example of Barbara's heightened awareness of physical beauty and her desire to share it with me
Did I say "sunrise"?
That is how our next day in Waikiki started.
Barbara had been speaking enthusiastically about catching a Hawaiian sunrise after having seen the glorious sunset from Waikiki Beach two nights earlier.
While Waikiki Beach is on the south shore of Oahu, the beach faces south west, making for world class sunsets. There is obviously nothing in the guide books about Waikiki Beach sunrises.
So where does one have to go to catch the sunrise when you are in Waikiki Beach?
The east side of Oahu would be a good start. The stretch of coast from Hanauma Bay (see previous blog) to Sandy Beach, located about 14 miles from Waikiki Beach, would be ideal.
Just after Hanauma Bay is a trail that leads to the top of Koko Head (elevation 642 feet). This would undoubtedly be the best vantage point to catch the sunrise.
Since the sunrise was at 07:10, we had to get up around 05:30 and at 6:00 we were on our way to find Sandy Beach. At that point we did not know about Koko Head.
I had to laugh when I first saw the photo of Barbara heading out from our hotel in the darkness eagerly anticipating the day's sunrise. Gauged on how far I was walking behind her, I did not seem to share the same degree of enthusiasm for this early morning start. Nevertheless, I was thankful to have a partner who was willing to make the effort to catch a Hawaiian sunrise.
As we headed east on Kalanianaole Highway along Manalua Bay past the locked gates of Hanauma Bay, the darkness was just starting to lift signaling the dawn of a new day.
Koko Head loomed large to our right. We stopped at the parking lot to study the information panel
After Koko Head we drove north-east along a scenic stretch of road. It was bordered on the west by the beautiful Koolau Mountain Range so typical of Hawaiian mountains with steep, folded, moss green slopes, and to the east by the ocean.
At 07:05 we arrived at Makapu Lookout near the Sandy Beach parking lot and as one of the photos shows, Barbara was getting her photographic angles ready for the big shoot. She is leaning against the front fender of the car in order get a steady position from which to take the best photo of the sunrise.
Right on galactic time, the first dot of bright orange pierced the eastern horizon at 07:10. The crucible of the sun was about to make its presence felt in a most spectacular manner - or was it?
It was great, but it was not spectacular.
A lack of some clouds on the eastern horizon at the point of sunrise precluded any possibility that we were about to see spectacular cloud patterns illuminated in a blaze of red glory by the sun's early rays
As for the moss green, folded mountains behind us, they were supposed to be bathed in a pale golden hue produced by the sun's early rays. We kept looking for it, but it never happened.
The only "pale" we got out of the situation was that the morning sunrise was a "pale" comparison with the sunset we had seen at Waikiki Beach two evenings earlier.
Oh yes, the whales, they were supposed to surface in the bay just as the sun made its first appearance. That didn't happen either.
Having just looked at the attached photos, I have to second guess myself at having said that it was "not spectacular". The photos say otherwise, and there is even a "pale golden hue" in Barbara's hair if not in the green mountains.
Well, just in case the sunrise was not good enough, we had something else to look forward to. We had put off breakfast till later. This morning we were going to have the famous "banana pancakes" that were the specialty of Cinnamon's Restaurant located in Kailua, on Kailua Bay
As it turned out, Barbara opted for the eggs benedict. As it was a large portion, I had the pleasure of finishing it for her. My banana pancakes were to "die for" as my sister-in-law from Detroit would say. We had no regrets at all about having passed on our usual breakfast of yogurt and raw oatmeal for these delicious morsels. Both choices were tasty and plentiful which is an unbeatable combination.
There is nothing like a good meal create the right frame of mind to take on the rest of the day.
The rest of the day for us meant that we still had a long way to go. That is the disadvantage of getting up early.
From Kailua we continued along the north-east coast of Oahu. We were fascinated by the beautiful, if not spectacular, beaches along this coast.
When I see a beach, I tend to compare it with the beaches of Ontario's Pinery Provincial Park or those of Port Franks, both of which are located near our cottage on Lake Huron
Hawaiian beaches are rarely expansive. Sandy beaches tend to be small and interspersed with rocks. Often there is no sand. (these comments are made in the context of what we had seen so far).
We stopped at Kualoa County Regional Park to enjoy the beach scenery punctuated by a rocky butte that pierced the ocean just off shore. It was also an opportunity to catch a little bit of sunshine and enjoy the warm temperatures.
Nearby we came across Kualoa Ranch, an immense four thousand acres, covering some of the most beautiful territory in Oahu. Its abundance of green valleys and the lush mountains of the Kualoa range have served as the backdrop for the movies "Jurassic Park", "Pearl Harbor" and "Lost".
Just eight miles further north on Highway 83, we found perhaps the biggest tourist attraction on Oahu - the Polynesian Cultural Center
In a Disneyland setting, it assembles seven different native villages which are representative of Hawaiian and other south Pacific cultures.
In typical fashion, I refused to pay an entry fee of $75 per person. This refusal is based on the fact that I think twice before spending a dollar, and the belief that we had enough exposure to Hawaiian culture just traveling throughout Hawaii.
Sometimes one makes the wrong decision.
Ironically, upon our return from Hawaii, we ran into a neighbour who had also just been in Hawaii.
She had gone on a two-week cruise and the highlight of her trip was the Polynesian Cultural Center. She just couldn't say enough about it. The more she expounded on her experience, the more I felt that we had made the wrong decision in not going there.
The other factor in our decision was that we had come this way to see the great Northern Coast of Oahu
A little further north, we were perplexed to find the name of Brigham Young front and center.
Brigham Young is a name that is associated with: the state of Utah, the Mormons, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Adam Smith etc. This is the island of Oahu in Hawaii. What is Brigham Young doing here?
The Mormons have come a long way since 1812 when Joseph Smith Jr. had a vision in the woods of upstate New York to start the movement. It was Brigham Young who led a branch of the church to a new start in Utah in 1847.
The church has since spread around the world dispensing its own particular brand of Christianity.
In 1955, this expansion around the world meant the establishment of a branch of Brigham Young University, Utah here in the town of Laie. Only 5 miles from the northern tip of Oahu, it is an idyllic setting for the 2,400 students mostly from Asia, the Pacific Islands and the U.S., to pursue a higher education from a Mormon point of view
We walked around the neat, nearly empty (Christmas holidays) campus admiring the architecture and the spacious beautiful surroundings.
Several miles away we came upon a "Taj Mahal" in the middle of nowhere. It was what I wanted to see most - the Mormon Temple. I knew that just like in Salt Lake City, there also had to be a temple. That's when we came upon the Taj Mahal which is officially called The Laie Hawaii Temple.
At the visitor's center, we were welcomed by a series of young ladies from Japan, Germany and the U.S. who in a cookie-cutter-fashion exuded a child-like enthusiasm and fervor for their faith.
When one meets Mormons, they reflect their faith in their dress, speech and behaviour. Upon first impression, this is unnerving but at the same time refreshing in a world where everything goes.
We declined to fill in an oft requested comment sheet with our address before leaving
Now we were within striking range of the legendary north coast of Oahu. This area of Hawaii is renowned for spectacular beaches and even more for its gigantic winter waves. This makes it a paradise for world class surfing.
Oahu - "Hanging Ten" on the North Shore
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