Monday, June 15, 2009

A few of the missing pictures...

Here's a taste of what's to come on my picasa album...

Chillin with Shaina!

Bummin around Oahu with Shantel!

Road trippin & General bad-assness with Jamie

Being a tourist with Michael ;)

Check the picasa album for other pics - more to come when peeps upload photos!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Let the vacation begin!


What an eventful weekend! Although the fun might have kicked off with my bus breaking down mid-trip to pick Jamie up from the airport and a super-human sprint to make the airport transfer bus, it was overall very quintessentially Hawaiian vacation. We rented a car upon Jamie's arrival - a Seabring that we named Peepeopi (thank you, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) - and drove it up to the North Shore. Most tourists stick to Waikiki, which pretty much has everything one might need to be happy from Cheesecake Factory to Cold Stones to, oh yes, Subways! But the 30-45 minute drive to the North Shore is well worth the views and the sunsets!

We began on Saturday with a mound of infamous shaved ice with so many flavors to choos
e from - I personally went with guava, lychee, lilikoi (kinda like a cotton candy passion fruit). The line actually wrapped around the building for it, and it took us a good 25 minutes to order. But it was well worth it! By the time we finished slurping it, it was a race to beat the sun from setting. We parked at the picturesque Sunset Beach with rolling sand and crashing waves. Part of the beach is for surfing and part is for swimming, but we were just chillin. As the sun set, we saw a little cluster of dolphins in the distance! It was almost enough to send me tearing into the water, fully clothed in my plaid shorts to go play! It was EXTREMELY cool and very Hawaiian.

The weekend continued, early (in the single digits!) on Sunday with pancakes and guava juice at a local restaurant. Then we took the meandering coastal road up the east coast to the North Shore where we had an anticlimactic visit to Turtle Bay (the setting for Forgetting Sarah Marshall), which is proof of Hollywood's ability to create paradise... because the hotel was not as cool. Then, we saw the plane from Lost (Nikki!!) and the beach they film it on - it was all closed off, but still so cool to see a little piece of Hollywood in paradise. We continued to see the dock where they filmed part of 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, as well as more interesting geological structures formed from lava flow, such as this little mountainous island called "Chinaman's Hat"... ok, so I was the only one excited by that! But we forged on to spend the morning at Sunset Beach, then adjourning to Waimea Bay for the afternoon until sunset. Waimea Bay has gorgeous aqua waters where you can see straight to the bottom and the snorkeling is decent (a few Doris but no Nemos!) Me and my friend Shantel swam across the whole bay, which is impressive and exhausting - who needs a gym when you're in Hawaii, right Kristie?!

Alas, it was time to return the rental car, so we popped into Zippy's (a local chili place - with AMAZING food) and proceeded to get lost finding the hotel and Thrifty! It's not really a road trip if you don't make at least one illegal U-Turn, right?!

I'll post more pictures soon!! Surfs up ;)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Wiki Wiki Weekend!


I write you now on my lunch break, sipping my new favorite drink called Hawaiian Sun - there are at least half a dozen flavors from lychee to iced tea, and I plan on trying them all! Despite the stagnant internet situation (of not having wireless in my room), my stay in Hawaii is starting to look up. I know, I know, I'm in Hawaii, how could it ever be down?? Well, I'm not exactly staying at the Marriott... or even a motel 6 for that matter!

On Thursday, I met two sisters who live in the nicer part of Ewa Beach, up the street from me. The older sister, is actually attending USC in the spring for Physics, and she plans to later pursue her Ph.D at MIT. The younger sister just graduated from high school last weekend and is taking my Environmental Science class this summer. They are absolutely the nicest people I have met so far! On my first day of knowing them, they offered to not only drive me home but to also take me to the grocery store and my nutritional haven, Subway. Though, in the end we wound up sharing pizza, garlic bread, and cheese bread from Little Ceasars at a beach near my house - YUM! I feel so lucky to have met such awesome friends.

Friday, the day of our field trip to Pali, the extinct volcano, brought a whole new outlook of the island. We journeyed to the wetter, more lush side of Oahu where a massive ridge baracades one side and lava flows are etched into the side of the mountainous structures. For the first time in my life, I saw a volcano and identified the lava flows (both pahoehoe and a'a types). It was extremely cool. The view was break-taking, and my camera phone hardly does it justice. Apparently, it was on this very spot that natives battled the monarch conqueror who would ultimately rule the islands. The natives failed, according to my new friend, and the spirits of the night archers still roam the area because they cannot find peace, since their home was lost.

After our field trip, me and the younger sister, Shaina, came back to school where she showed me the wonder that is our proximity to Walmart and a food court! We dined on orange chicken, cho mein, and dairy queen - sooo goooood. Afterwards, we walked around the various shops in the plaza, talking. Shaina was appalled to discover that I did not own plaid shorts... so she marched us over to Ross where, in true Tricia form (!) I bought hot pink and black ones as well as a really cool blue and purple broken glass-looking jar that will forever remind me of the Hawaiian ocean!

Saturday brought my first adventure - Shaina took us to the Ala Moana Beach Park where we enjoyed the serene water at the beach there. Large rocks that protrude from the ocean about a half mile off of the shore - that means waves break farther out and the water is so calm that people actually swim laps across it (ode to Kristie!) Despite gobs of sunscreen, I still managed to escape with an abstract art-looking burn riddled with random finger marks haha We ended the day with some Tony Roma ribs and french fries and Haagen Daz ice cream, of course! Oh! Then on the bus ride home, Shaina taught me how to make a lay out of yarn - apparently, I'm a pro now. It was a great, Hawaiian day!

Sunday was more chill - I read for class and looked for shells on the beach outside of my house to decorate the lays I made. Ewa Beach faces South and the shells are scarce because there is a lot of coral and rocks that cover the ocean floor in that area. Although I only came back with a couple of shells, they are some of the coolest ones that I've seen. That day ended with Hawaiian BBQ complete with ribs, rice, and fish that was caught that day - yes, I ate fish in seaweed sauce and it was AMAZING!!

Overall, things are looking up - I have met some cool people and Jamie comes to visit this weekend, then Mike next week! Life seems more managable now. As for the education, it's been great - I'm learning so much and actually am able to apply it which is cool! I wish I could write more, but I have to help set up for a lab now :-( I'll try to check in again this week to tell you a little more about the local culture that I think the average tourists misses. Aloha for now!!