Mmm Christmas Day at the beach! We slept in this morning until 9:30 (you know it's been a busy vacation when sleeping in equals 9:30! I don't think Peter's been up this early so many consecutive days since high school!) We met up for breakfast in the boys room, and then just after eleven, headed off for a day at the beach.
We drove about 40 minutes out of Waikiki to Lanikai Beach, which was fantastic! Gorgeous white sandy beach, crystal clear aquamarine water, no waves, etc. We scored a great shady spot under a palm tree, and hung out for most of the afternoon. There was even the opportunity to do a bit of snorkeling right near the beach. I did a tiny bit using my boogie board with the viewing hole in it, but I really don't like not knowing how far away the coral is/not being able to kick my feet down (it's not the depth that freaks me out, its feeling like I can't swim properly without disturbing everything, neurotic, I know!) so I didn't last too long, but Mom and Peter enjoyed it I think. I did see some cool coral and black and yellow fish which were pretty cute.
After we had our fill of time at the beach (including a turkey sandwich picnic in honor of Christmas), we drove around through the little town near the beach, though just about everything was closed, and then headed about another twenty minutes up the road to look an interesting island called Chinaman's hat, because of it's shape. I got the gymnastics urge because of all the great grass (I really am still 7!), so all of the pictures of me here are with my feet in the air-typical! I did get my handstand full turn back fairly quickly, which seemed important at the time!
We headed back to Waikiki, and stopped at the Christmas Lights at the Honolulu City Hall, as suggested by Hitomi - very cool! It was a great display, and the trees inside the city hall were very cool as well - at lot like the ones in the Empress every year. We had enough time to quickly look at everything, but since we'd left Grampa in the car, and had to get back to the hotel, we didn't see it all - we'll probably end up back there at some point before we go.
Back to the hotel around 7ish, and just enough time to change before we went out again, this time to Christmas dinner at the Kahala Hotel and Resort (formerly a Mandarin Oriental Hotel until earlier this year), which was very, very nice! We'll definitely be going back here in the daylight for lunch - they have a dolphin lagoon, tropical fish pond, turtles, etc. which we must photograph during the day. We saw the dolphins a little bit, but it was a bit hard to see with it being almost totally dark-you can get really close to them though! I'm torn between not liking them in captivity, and being selfishly excited about the photo opportunities (see, there you go Andee, you'll get your dolphin shots ;) )
We ended up sitting outside on a terrace fairly close to the ocean for dinner, which was very pleasant except for being a bit chilly for those of us who thought we were eating inside and didn't dress for spending two hours by the ocean breeze! It wasn't bad at all though, some warm tea did the trick! It wasn't a super traditional buffet, although there was turkey and stuffing (key!), but we also ate sushi, rice, sashimi (well some of us), other sea foods, etc. It was very tasty! Peter and I were also excited to see the candy bowl with rockets and mini Reese's pieces to go with the super tasty strawberries and whipped cream, yum!
Had a quick walk through the hotel, they have a very impressive 35+ft. real Christmas tree in their massive lobby, and we also checked out the wall of fame, where many of the famous people of have stayed there (everyone from Konishki to Jerry Bruckheimer, to Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Mr. Solheim (of the Solheim cup), to Elton John, and to the President of Tonga, etc) have photos and signed quotes lining one rather length hallway. It reminded me of the staircase at Sassafraz, the restaurant I went to with Chuck in Toronto last year, which shockingly burnt down a few weeks ago - I gather it was quite the Toronto institution, and I hope they are able to revive as they hope to do!
Back to the hotel around 11, very happy and full! I was hoping to be able to post photos today, but my bags are still mostly packed from the cruise, and the memory card reader is buried in one of them, so unless it comes out in the next little bit and I come back downstairs, I think that will be a long term tomorrow type project - there are hundreds to sort through just on my keitai!
Tomorrow Pete and I will be boxing day shopping (TIVO, anyone?), Mom is going for a walk/beach (she's turning into a complete beach bum on this trip!), and we're not quite sure what Grampa has planned for the day... fun in the sun I'm sure!