But what I AM ready to blog about is beautiful Hawai'i! We arrived last Thursday after traveling through Balikpapan, Singapore, and Tokyo. The flights went fine - it's amazing how much easier it is to travel now that the kids are older - no pacifiers, diapers, etc. - everyone carrying their own bag, and a few able to help tote the big bags.
Zoe really enjoyed the water fountains and automatic soap dispensers at the airports we traveled through. It doesn't take much to give our kids a thrill.
Our reason for traveling to Hawai'i was to visit our supporting church, Berean Bible, on the Big Island. You can read more about them here. They arranged for us to stay in a fantastic beach house situated right on rugged lava-rock cliffs. All day the waves crashed into the cliffs, sending up salt spray and creating the most sopophoric sounds to sleep to. There it is. My favorite SAT word. Have to use it when I can.
From the heights of the world's largest mountain to the roiling depths of an active volcano, we took in several of the amazing sights the Big Island has to offer. We drove to see the beautiful Akaka Falls, which reminded me very much of some waterfalls we've seen in East Kalimantan.
One night we drove to Volcanoes National Park to see the lava glow. We wrapped up like bedoins (57 degrees feels cold to our thin jungle blood!) and sat for as long as the kids could endure (about five minutes) and viewed the red-hot caldera.
Another night we headed up the slopes of Mauna Kea, Hawai'i's iconic mountain that is renowned as the world's best place for viewing the stars. We went up to the visitor's center at 9,000 feet and waited for the sun to set so we could hopefully do some stargazing.
The view was incredible, and once the sun set and the clouds cleared we had a crystal-clear view of the stars. The moon was quite bright, so we couldn't see the Milky Way, but a telescope view of the moon made up for that, and the kids were excited to see Saturn's rings through a telescope.
We didn't shiver the whole time we were on the Big Island...we did manage to get in the water some. The place where we stayed had a minature pool, and we got to swim in a lagoon with friends from the church.
On Sunday we shared a presentation about our work with MAF at the Berean church. Since we last visited there in 2004 they had constructed a lovely church building that is perfect for the tropics. They opened up side doors and let the breeze blow through. After the service we were treated to a pot luck lunch, and some Hawaiin music. One of the ladies even taught me a simple hula dance - so much fun!
The two ladies in the picture below sang for about an hour. It was the quentessential Hawaiin experience for me - sitting, enjoying the breeze, chatting with long-time Hawaii residents, listening to this beautiful music. We really enjoyed our time there.
This morning we flew back to Honolulu and went to Pearl Harbor to visit the U.S.S. Arizona memorial.
We then headed to downtown Waikiki to eat at a restaurant we saw a blurb about on one of our flights that the tv food guy Anthony Bourdain visited, the Puka Dog.
Buns are toasted on these sharp burners, then filled with different relishes, like mango and pineapple.
David is taking suitcases down to the hotel lobby, so this is it for now. We're hoping to drive up to the North Shore, see the surfers, and eat some shave ice before heading to the airport to catch our overnight flight to the mainland.