Saturday, November 28, 2009


As Mom pointed out in her last comments there are several other vacations that I totally forgot about. Perhaps the most memorable to me is a skiing trip we made to Brighton. We stayed in the lodge at the foot of the ski hill and we could literally ski right onto the balcony and walk into our rooms. Some day I'll dig out some pictures and talk more about that trip. Today I'm going to talk about our trip to Hawaii. The sad part is that this was perhaps our first vacation where we didn't have all the kids. Kira was married and Brandon was on his mission. I had accumulated a lot of air miles on my trips so we cashed about half of them in and off we went with our four youngest children. We had actually considered several other potential vacations and it finally came down to either Nauvoo or Hawaii. When we took the final vote Lisa voted for Nauvoo and the kids and I voted for Hawaii.

Next we discussed in some detail where we should stay. It seemed like everyone always stays in Honolulu around Waikiki but we decided we wanted to get away from it all and after some studying we figured out that most of the real cool beaches are on the north and east shores so we picked out a condo by turtle bay and made that our home base for the week.

If you've ever rented a car before and you're really cheap like I am you will quickly find that Enterprise Rent a Car is about as cheap as you'll get. There's a reason for that, they have the worst service you'll ever find. We landed in Honolulu and got to the rental car place to find that they didn't have a mini van for us. They offered to give us two cars for the price of one but then that would mean that our family would be split up for the week. That didn't sound like a lot of fun to me so we waited; and waited; and waited. Finally a minivan came in and about two hours after we landed we were on our way. We drove up the middle of the island and enjoyed the beautiful view of the mountains, we also drove through some very interesting pineapple plantations. I kind of wanted to go tour a pineapple farm but there were so many other fascinating things in Hawaii that I wanted to see that I knew we wouldn't have time. Our first full day in Hawaii was a Sunday. To keep the spirit of the Sabbath we didn't go swimming and we chose that day to get a feel for the island. We went to BYU Hawaii campus and checked it out. We went to the temple; we found dozens of beaches and scoped out their locations and then we drove up the west coast. That is where many of the locals live and there are no tourist sights over there. We were warned not to do too much over there because some of the locals hate tourists and are known to beat up the occasional tourist now and then. We met up with Scott Warner who was going to school there and attended with him at his student ward. It was very interesting.

It would be impossible for me to remember what activities we did on what days so I will just briefly discuss our days in random order. One day we just went beach hopping. We would go to one beach for a few hours and then hop in the car and go to another beach. Some of these beaches are quite difficult to find and are only visited by the locals. They are beautiful beaches and have very few tourists. They have them all up and down the east coast. Another day we dedicated to boarding
Waimea Bay and the area. On one of those days we went and hiked into a ritual site for the original natives. It was fun traipsing through the jungle and we saw some beautiful sites. Another day we dedicated to Pearl Harbour. You've got to spend at least one day at Pearl Harbour. It is very sobering and I wouldn't do two days because it could put a real downer on your vacation. Probably the highlight of our vacation was the day we spent at the Polynesian Cultural Center. What a wonderful place. You could spend two days there but we made it one very long day. Another day we spent snorkeling in Hanauma Bay that is famous for snorkeling. We saw many wonderfully colorful fish. On one of our beach days we swam with these huge Sea Turtles. It is very freaky when you're snorkeling underwater and they turn and swim toward you. I was sure I was going to get eaten but they were just checking me out. They are big.
We drove into the crater of a dormant volcano. That was pretty cool.

We ended up spending two Sundays on Oahu so the second Sunday we picked a random church meeting to attend. I really like the church meetings they have in Hawaii. After church they had a big pot luck on the back lawn. There was some very good food there and we made many good friends. One summer we sent Ben to a football camp at BYU. His room mate turned out to be a big Hawaiian kid from Laie. As luck would have it, the ward that we attended was having their Ward Conference and the Football kids dad was the stake president and spoke at the sacrament meeting. We introduced ourselves and he invited us over for dinner that evening. They are a very nice family and we enjoyed our visit. They have a beautiful view of the ocean from their house. I far preferred meeting with with the natives over the student ward.

All too soon the week came to an end and we had to drive back to the airport. Usually on these vacations I'm looking forward to going back home and getting into our normal routines but not this time. I was quite sad having to leave the peaceful life we had for the week. It was a very beautiful place and we really enjoyed it. Sadly enough the Lord has arranged it so that we need to earn a living in this world and my employer was expecting me to show up and earn my paycheck. How sad.

At the time of Christ Africa was home to many races including whites, Asians, Pygmies (not considered black) and two races now called Khoisan and Xhosa. The blacks (Bantu) occupied just a corner of Africa. Due to a freak of nature the Bantu's gained a huge advantage over the other races and in a movement that closely parallels the European take over of the America's, the blacks engulfed the majority of Africa pushing the whites to the north, eliminating the Asian's and reducing the Khoisan and Xhosa to small settlements where the blacks didn't want to live much as the native Americans have been pushed to reservations in the deserts and other undesirable localities.

A couple of cute girls I found hanging around the beaches. We were actually looking at a water spout that shot high into the air when the surf came in.

The east coast.

Alex walking along an empty beach.

Three of the prettiest girls I know.

This is a beautiful island.

We found the coconuts fascinating.

More scenery

The snorkeling was incredible.

You can't tell from the picture but this guy was at least five feet from nose to tail. He could really hurt you if he wanted to.

Probably the cutest snorkeler you'll ever see. She really wanted to get out there with us.


Brandon J. Leavitt said...

I'm still bitter you waited until I was out of the picture before going to Hawaii. How convenient...

Lisa L said...

Brandon you went to Hawaii before we ever did. You went in highschool without us. Then we went to Nauvoo after your mission and Ben & Kira weren't on that there! Don't feel ripped off.

Trevor and Alycia Crowley said...

haha LOVED this trip :) Don't know why I look unhappy in that pic of me and mom, I think I was just starring and didn't know the pic was being taken! Probably my favorite family vacation... loved everything about that trip!

Brandon J. Leavitt said...

I don't think you understand, mother. You see, I am allowed to have fun without the family but the family is not allowed to have fun without me.

Lisa L said...

That was an amazing trip wasn't it Alycia? One of my favourites and there is so much more we did that Dad didn't even mention. I think you were staring out at the view :) Remember I had my books and we learned so much of what we saw from them? Oh Brandon :), we did have fun in Nauvoo with you and missed the others and we did miss you and Kira on the Hawaii trip.

Lynn said...

I just think it's totally amazing how small the world is with the membership of the church. You fly to Hawaii and then end up meeting someone's parents that you know at the ward you!

Justin, Kira and Evan said...

I wish I could have had that experience with you.