Desert views…

Linda and Paul live outside of Buckeye, AZ, and the landscape is beautiful in a flat, dry, desert-y sort of way. The colors are intense and the sky is so big! I like the look of power lines running off into the far distance in the photo below.

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Sun City Festival, the community where Linda and Paul live, is planted with mostly native plants that don’t require a lot of water and can tolerate the heat. I’ve been walking this path in the morning.

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I had forgotten how green the bark is on a Palo Verde tree. They make me happy, especially against a blue sky.

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There are palm trees, but only where they get water.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in such an open place. It feels good, more relaxed, but maybe that’s because I’m on vacation with my best friend :-).

Oahu…

We are staying in Waikiki. Let me just say that this is a place that is about shopping. Lots of it. If you don’t have shopping where you live, and if you like to shop, this is Nirvana. If that’s not your thing, Waikiki is sort of like hell.

I can love it, in small doses. Let me just mention that Steve and I went to the Apple store and I had a sincerely great time. My wrist is happier than I thought it could be. I know, I said I would resist. Dammit. I could not. More about that in a future post.

The four of us went to Kailua Beach today. This is one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, depending on when you go. In our experience, it’s better in the summer than it is in the winter. I mostly took people pictures for this post but if you check my instagram or facebook feeds, you’ll find more.

The Japanese kids are so very cute! And their parents are cute too!

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This mom pulled her kids going…beckygoldsmith-Oahu-37-1

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And this woman may be the selfie queen. Later, I offered to take a photo of her with her phone but she was all about doing her own thing.beckygoldsmith-Oahu-26-1

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Let me admit that I take pictures. More than I used to. But I am not going to fall into selfie-land. Just how much documentation do we need? I know that the photos I took on this trip are largely meaningless in the grand scheme of things. They are not going to be famous, or noteworthy, or… you get the idea. They are fun! And I enjoy sharing them. But tomorrow, when we hike up Diamondhead at a very early hour, I am not carrying the big camera. And Steve says he isn’t either. Watch for instagram photos :-).

We fly home tomorrow. This has been a lovely trip, shared with good friends. I hope to get back to Hawaii in the future. If you have never been, don’t miss this place. It is truly special.

Aloha!

Tunnels Beach, north shore of Kauai…

We chilled today, at Tunnels beach. All of us are feeling the tug of work that is piling up at home but we are on vacation, dammit! Enough with the tugging!

My current photo challenge assignment is ‘silhouette’. I woke up as dawn was breaking and everyone else was in bed and took several photos. This is the best one and it’s not really doing it for me. Too much color, too much light. But I do like the image.

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I also realized that we an see the mountains that surround Hanalei Bay from close to our back door. I took several photos as the sun came up…

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At Tunnels Beach we mostly sat. Keith snorkeled. Amanda and I swam once. The water was murkier than we are used to and this is an area where there have been shark attacks. We got over loving being in the water in short order and went back to our shady spot and read. There was not that much going on in front of us, either. Most folks went down the beach.

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I found puka shells which are shells with a naturally occurring hole (I learned that today on google). I am old enough to think of surfer dudes in puka shell necklaces when I hear about ‘pukas’.

I always look for round shells with holes and was amazed to find 20-40 of them today. Mine are now soaking in water to get the sand out. Not all are perfect—in fact most are not. But I promise to share a photo in another post. Tonight I have my camera already in the bag.

I don’t know exactly how I will string them, but I am excited and happy and not going to work on quilt class supply lists tonight. I’m going to read my book and maybe start the next one in the series because, dammit, I’M ON VACATION!!!!!

FYI: The Informationist is a dandy beach/summer read. As is The Martian. They start fast and move along. No deep thinking. I’m enjoying shallow thoughts :-).

 

Kauai and the Napali Coast…

We are staying in Princeville for a few nights. Today we did a 4 mile hike on the Napali Coast—2 mile in, 2 out. This is not an extreme hike but it gets your attention. There are ups and downs aplenty. The views are spectacular.

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We stopped at the stream. There are rocks, big and small and we did the mountain goat thing and got to where we could see the beach. I took pictures, and so did Amanda. Can you tell that there was sweating involved?

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Some (stupid) people swam here. It is not advised. If you get swept out, you are just gone. In fact, we passed this sign that most people probably ignore, along with the rest of the other warning signs.

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We knew we weren’t going to swim so we didn’t wear swimsuits. That is not necessarily a deterrent.

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This nice, older (than me, by several years) lady proceeded to take off, and a little later put on, her attire. She was joined by two other ladies who were maybe about my age who did the same thing. No fuss, no muss, just enjoying the day. I gotta say, they were completely comfortable in their bodies and I celebrated that from afar.

Keith crossed the stream to check out a cave.

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And then we hiked out. The same ups and downs, but in the other direction. Then we swam for a while at Ke’e Beach. The surf was up enough that we didn’t go out far. Nice swimming. Amazing views of the cliffs. Steve and I took each others’ picture.

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And then we left for happy hour and MaiTais in Hanalei and dinner back in the condo. Life is very good.

I am now going to shut down and read my book. Amanda recommended The Informationist and I am loving it. Keith recommended The Martian and I plowed through that last week. Both are great beach reads!

Maui, last day(s)…

On our last full day on Maui, we went birding. The guys are enthusiastic birders as is to be expected because they are biologists after all.

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Even though I am not even close to being a birder, I did take a very few nice bird pictures.

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Personally, I enjoyed the shape of this tree as much as I enjoyed the birds.

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We went to Makena Beach Park after birding where there were dangerous shore breaks. Enough so that we did not stay in the water long. Amanda is saying hello there, not asking for rescue :-).

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I was happy to catch some wave action in focus—manually!

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I took a few more “story” pictures. Please do tell me what you think. I have to turn in my homework tomorrow.

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PS—While walking down an alley to our hotel one night we saw this mailbox…

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I stopped, and stood in front, and contemplated the message and button…

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The ‘Oh try it, it won’t shock you’ pulled me in. Seriously, I’ll fall for just about anything, just ask my sons.

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I got a little wet. Luckily the camera was spared a drenching. Next time I see something like this, I’ll stand to the side when I press the button :-).

From Hilo to Kona…

We left the volcano area and drove from Hilo to Kona around the long way. We stopped at Laupahoehoe Point which is scenic and was also the site of a tsunami tragedy in the 1940s. Very few people live there now, but there is a park, some campsites, and an impressive boat launch with what look like giant concrete jacks tossed around it.

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I took many photos there but it was so humid, and there was so much water in the air, that they all look out of focus.

We spent a couple of nights at the Royal Kona, which looks a little like a cruise ship.

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There are nice views…

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We walked around and I spied these treasures left on the seawall…. such a nice composition.IMG_4772

We went to happy hour and enjoyed live music and people watching (and MaiTais). This lady was fun to watch. She looked so staid but really perked up when the parasailers flew by.

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On our full day on the Kona side we visited Pu’u Honua O’honaunau, the City of Refuge, an interesting historic site that is next to a fantastic snorkeling spot.

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I had fun taking pictures….

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Amanda took photos too…

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I don’t take pictures under water so you just have to trust me that the fish were amazing.

Today, we left the Big Island and are now on Maui, staying in Lahaina. Back to snorkeling tomorrow. Yay! Life really is very good.

 

Puna Lu’u, the black sand beach…

I’ve been without internet for a couple of days so I’ll put up more than one post today.

On Thursday we went to Puna Lu’u, the black sand beach which is called that for obvious reasons…

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We got there early enough to snag a great spot on the shade….

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This is a great spot for snorkeling. That’s Steve,in the water. Snorkeling is not a sport that results in exciting above-water photos.

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Puna Lu’u is a reliable place for spotting amazing fish and Green Sea Turtles.

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After lunch we headed back to Volcanoes National Park to the end of Chain of Craters Road. This area didn’t use to be ‘the end’ of the road, it used to continue on to Hilo and beyond, around the island. In the 1980s the road was covered by an impressive expanse of lava.

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If you have been here before, but not in the past couple of years, it has changed. What used to be “the end” now goes farther. The park service carved out a gravel road. After walking about a mile to find ‘the end’ we gave up.

There was walking involved to get see the lava, and it was hot. Even so, we did stop for photos, but not always of the same thing 🙂

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On the way out we stopped at a pullout. What’s especially cool here is the fact that we are high up, and in the distance the water at the horizon is unexpectedly high. It’s just weird when you see it in person as you drive down the hill.

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This may be on next year’s Christmas cards—many thanks to Amanda for this shot!