This past Christmas, I took a trip to Hawaii with my family and although it was a great time spent there, it feels good to be back home.
Hawaii was an interesting experience for me because on some level I had this Hollywood like expectation of the place [what was I thinking?] and at the same time, I didn’t. During my short stay on the beautiful island, I got the chance to visit a number of places including the beach, where I learned how to paddle board for the 1st time and take part in lots of fun activities.
Here is a look into a few of the places I visited and my experience. (Click on images for larger view)
One of the 1st things I noticed even from the plane was how clean and beautiful the waters were. Fortunately I had an awesome view of the beach and the Diamond head from my hotel room!
1) A visit to Ala Moana Mall
Ala Moana Center is claimed to be the world’s largest outdoor shopping center. It is Hawaii’s premier shopping, entertainment, and dining destination with 290 stores, including nearly 70 dining options. I really liked this mall because it features a diverse collection of stores from really high end brands like Hermes, Chanel, Jimmy Choo to locally owned boutiques and national retailers.
Aside the size and variety of stores present at this mall, the second most striking moment for me were the fish ponds in the mall! They had lots of big colorful fishes, enough to host a dinner party.
2) A trip to the local swap meet
Thanks to Romely of Makana Candles (read her feature here) I got to know about the local swap meet where lots of Hawaiian or Hawaiian themed products are made and sold. I was really looking forward to checking this out because I knew I was bound to find a crazy amount of locally inspired jewelry and get to experience another side of the island life.
The swap meet is open every Wednesday and Saturday and is located very close to Pearl Harbor, so if you are in the area or plan to visit anytime, make sure you stop by. Note there is a $1 admission fee.
3) An historical journey at Bishop Museum
I am a big lover of outdoor educational places like zoos, aquariums and most of all museums. I think it is fun and eye opening when you can go back in time to see & live moments in history. To experience life through those who have lived before or to become aware of other things or creatures that exist with us in this world. Besides, such places are great for drawing inspiration.
At the Bishop Museum, there was a large collection and display of locally made jewelry worn by some of the royalty of Hawaii when it still operated under a monarchy. Some of these pieces were made with shells, some with metals like gold and others with gemstones. During the visit, there was a very informative and heartbreaking story telling session on the history of Hawaii and how their monarchy was overthrown and the queen forced to give up her throne.
After exploring the cultural part of the island, I also visited the interactive science center where I got to attend another session and learned about volcanoes, the different types of lava flow like Pahoehoe and the legend of Pele’s tears. We were then shown a typical lava flow and how lava cracks after it is cooled to become a rock used for other purposes like beads.
4) Behind the scenes of Maui Divers Jewelry
This was actually one of the first places I visited. Here I got the chance to go behind the scenes and see for myself wax jewelry molds for rings, workers cutting and filing metal pieces, pearls sorted by size/color for finished pieces and see some unpolished jewelry pieces. Unfortunately no photographs were allowed during this tour. I was only able to get shots of a black coral decoration and some oysters in bowl with pearls in them in a show room.