Christmas in Hawaii: Days Five and Six

Click here for the beginning of the story.

My pictures from here on out are pretty sparse, mostly because it's just more cute pictures of our cute children doing cute things, and while that's (ahem) cute, it also gets old. So I'll leave you with just one more:

This is an extremely cropped picture of the baby eating miso soup for the first time. She took one tentative sip, smacked her lips, then stuck her face into the bowl. Hilar.

Day Five was mostly about the stars. After our Japanese lunch at Miyo, we headed over to the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center. While there, we played with the hands-on games and puzzles, watched the standard movie about how the Polynesians navigated to Hawaii using their own star lines, and a really cool 3D showing of our space exploration so far. My favorite part about 'Imiloa was that all of the information for the exhibits were translated into Hawaiian. Can I understand it? No, I read the English, but it's cool that this center is built not just for astronomical learning and education, but also for the preservation of the Hawaiian culture and language.

After 'Imiloa, Matt, my brother, and I piled into my grandparents van and made the trip up to the Mauna Kea Observatory. We planned it nicely - we made it to the 9,000-foot level about 30 minutes before sundown.

If you've never been that high up, the first thing I have to say is WHOA. The clouds top out at about the 6,000-foot level, so we were 3,000 feet above the clouds. From our vantage point, we looked like we were on a small, pimply (from the cinder cones) island in a sea of clouds. It's breathtaking.

That's just looking down. Looking up, the sun blazes along the cloud line as it sets, completely unfettered by an urban horizon. Night falls quickly, but even on the night of a new moon, it's bright because of the vast display of stars. The stars literally (LITERALLY) form a dome over your head, and the Milky Way streaks across the sky.

Having come from 'Imiloa, we were up on our constellations. We were easily able to pick out Orion's Belt, Taurus, the Pleiades, and both of the Dippers. Unfortunately, we were there at the wrong time to see the Southern Cross; it didn't rise until about 3am.

On Day Six, we hopped on an inter-island flight and headed back to Oahu. Talk about a 180: instead of staying in a cabin with scratchy sheets on an island with about 185,000 people total, we were thrown into the lap of luxury at a Waikiki resort. Bellhops waiting to drag our bags to our spacious, well-appointed rooms, and the lobby of the hotel was lined with shops catering to every single need you may have, from cheap booze to freshly-plucked pearls.

Not that we stayed around to enjoy it long: we had to head to our favorite restaurant, Kin Wah. It is, hands down, the best Chinese food in the state. The crispy gau gee is just crispy enough without being too oily, the rice is just the right amount of sticky, and the ginger chicken! The beef and broccoli! The shrimp balls!

My mouth is watering RIGHT NOW.

Other posts about our Christmas in Hawaii:
Days One and Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Seven
The Rest

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