Posted by Amanda
Totally weird to be back in the United States. We are of course docked at a slightly odd place but near the regular cruise terminal. Noah and I were able to get off pretty early because my boss had given me Hawaii off due to my work from Hong Kong to Shanghai. We all had to do a face-to-face inspection with customs. Suprisingly that went quickly even though it started at 6am. We were done in a little more than an hour (which meant every single person on the ship had to be up and through customs) and were off the ship by 8:45.
We walked over to the Aloha tower, where it seems the regular cruise ships come in, and met up with Kyla. She very kindly had beautiful leis for us. I had hoped we'd be greated at the port with them by some nice Hawaiian welcoming committee like you always see on television, but our very own personal Hawaiian welcoming committee was even better. I also met Jakob and Alia who are ridiculously cute. I'm pretty sure I could eat Alia with some jam and clotted cream. They both look like Newbould kids with their blond hair and blue eyes. Kai was at kindergarden so he missed our morning fun. Poor little Jakob gets car sick but he never complained. He just dutifully threw up in his bucket and never even cried.
Kyla drove us by Waikiki which was beautiful. We decided to go to a military beach where Jason would met us. The drive there was spectacular with crystal waters and dramatic mountains. We stopped for a photo at an overlook.
At the beach we each had a plate lunch--sort of a Hawaiian tradition. I had mochiko chicken and Noah had kalua port. Both were good but I couldn't eat it every day. Neither was the most healthy thing particularly since they came with macaroni salad and french fries.
The beach was great. The little ones had a great time playing in the water. Since you have to be miliary to get on this beach it was very empty. About two other families were there. After a great time at the beach with no sunburn we headed to Kyla's house. Noah and I went in Jason's jeep which afforded great views and warm sun.
Kyla and Jason have a huge house. It is so nice that I wouldn't want to leave it if I were them. Kai returned from school. He's such a smart, friendly little boy. If those three kids were on the ship, they'd be everyone's favorites. Kai quickly caught their cat for me to cuddle.
Noah and I video chatted with my mom for about an hour. That didn't give us much time to visit with Kyla and Jason. We did have time to give our gifts which seemed to be the right sizes. Of course Jakob almost immediately threw one of the stuffed animals into the ceiling fan. I totally did that in college so I can relate.
Kyla took us to Wal-Mart so we could stock up for our 10 day journey to Costa Rica. Then for dinner at a Thai restaurant. It is strange the food we've missed on this trip--Thai food, Mexican food, and In 'n Out. The dinner was delicious and spicy like I'd been craving in so many other countries. When I used the bathroom in the restaurant, I was surprised to find both a Western toilet and toilet paper. Odd to have reverse culture shock. Noah was taken aback when the waitress spoke with an American accent. We're so accustomed to hearing English as a second language now.
From dinner it was back to the ship. I expected long lines to get on as it seemed likely everyone would be buying a lot of food and drink. We got on pretty quickly and managed to find time to call Noah's mom at what was probably 1am her time. Unfortunately many of the students did not come back early so the large crush to get back on by 9pm caused some problems, but nothing too serious.
Hawaii is truly a paradise. Kyla and Jason were lovely hosts. Hopefully we can get back before they leave in a year.