Canyon Spotting

Next story was already queued. This time you will read about the Canyon Tour Loop. Again I will give you a short update of the days in between PCH road trip and Canyon Tour. I assure you, I will keep the filling short.

17.6 That day I was doing Window Shopping at the Camarillo Outlets. My shoes bought in Japan about 5.5 months ago starting to have holes which does not look very good! I didn’t buy any shoes but compared prices and models.
18.6 A colleague showed his girlfriend the Santa Monica Pier and beach as well as Venice and Venice Beach. I joined them. On the pier we almost thought about doing the big wheel ride but decided against it after being aware of the price. The weater was really nice and calm. To show his girlfriend an American Delight we went to In&Out for dinner. I had animal style fries instead of a burger and hoped this kind of fries would be better than plain fries. They weren’t. What does fries animal style mean? Fries topped with a special sauce, processed cheese and fried onions.
20.6 Minigolf; I went for Minigolf all alone at Golf’n’Stuff Ventura. This place is magical. It offers two 18 hole minigolf courses both completely different, both beautiful! Furthermore the place offers gokart, bumper boats and arcade games. At each hole I tried to be below 3 shots and if that didn’t work out I started the hole again. On top of that the weather was really nice!
21.6 Cinema Night: The Internship; 2 Guys want to strike success in their life and then the opportunity comes up for an internship at google. Somehow they get the internship and the adventure starts. Eventually they get a job at google! This all mixed up with a romance. The movie is fun but probably not worth the entrance fee for the cinema.
22.6 Disney Adventure Park; A day packed with fun. This park offers more thrill rides than Disneyland opposite to it. I am a little worried about the situation of this park because a few rides were already shut or have been shut when I was in line. Some of the attractions reopened later but some stayed shut. That day was also the premiere of the movie Lone Ranger so finally many ppl just visited the park to see the stars walking on the red carpet. I had a short glimpse and saw Jonny Depp posing! Have a close look at the pictures!
23.6 I went with two other interns to Santa Monica and Venice for the afternoon. We enjoyed a stroll along the coast and cool drinks in a beer garden. The sun gave us company the whole time.
24.6  We all went to watch a baseball match: LA Dodgers VS SF Giants. However the match was not as much entertaining as the food offered. I had a doyer dog. It comes with hot dog bun, sausage, different sauceses, cheese and onions. The kiss cam sometimes showed on the huge screens was the entertainment highlight of the evening.
25.6 Cinema: This is the End; It was fun but shallow entertainment. In this movie hollywood actors play themselves and trying to escape from the apocalypse.
26.6 This was the day when 3 ppl celebrated their birthday. We all met at another interns home, had TriTip and burgers, salads and condiments. It was a very nice BBQ feast with an awesome Whirlpool roundoff! Thanks guys and gals for the awesome party!
27.6 I hardly write about work these days but at that day something notable happened. I sprained my ankle badly when I had to help in loading a truck. My foot swelled to double size within minutes. A colleague brought me to the doctor straight away. After painful waiting a doctor was inspecting my foot, gave me massive shoe to stabilize the foot, a cool pack and a pair of crutches. Back at Home I was watching television with my roomies. The following weekend was more relaxing and movie watching. Although I went for a brunch at Manhatten beach on Sunday (yum!) followed by a coastal drive along to Redondo Beach and eventually to the Peterson Automobil museum. The people in the museum were so kind to borrow me a wheel chair for the duration of my visit. There were some speciality exhibitions about pickups, vehicles from movie sets etc. We also drove by the Hollywood sign to get some close up shots.
01.07 In the evening I went to the doctor to make him observe the progress I made over the weekend. Unfortunately the progress was not very much! The doctor gave a bandage sock and a second cooling pack. I cooked for my roomies that night to thank them for their support
02.07 We had a canyon tour lined up which is why I did some preparation for the trip: Shopping, packing etc.

Now for the Road Trip at which we had an glimpse of an insight in USAs backcountry.

As we had 4th of July holiday and 4 th July was Thursday we decided to do a huge 4 day trip on that weekend. The only thing which came between me and the trip was the ankle sprain from last week. However, I didn’t want to miss out on that adventure and so rented a wheelchair and asked at the BMW vehicle distribution center for a car in which the wheelchair and luggage fits nicely. The vehicle I got was a nice silver BMW 5 series. Indeed the wheelchair fit nicely in the trunk and there was still space for the luggage.
The first part of the trip brought us to south Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Half way through was a dinner stop at Habit Burger. I noticed that I forgot the national park card from our predecessors and so we had to pay entrance fee at each and every national park seperately – bummer!
When we reached the Siena suites on the Boulder Highway it had about 35 degrees celsius night times. In the parking lot the first true adventure began: cockroaches are spread all over the place. However our appartment seemed to be neat and clean. My friends organized dinner for us at Subways whilst I was waiting in our appartment. Not much after dinner the crew went to bed.
The night was not very long because the itinerary for Thursday the 4th of July was quite packed. I shared the shower in the morning with a cockroach which was not how I planned to start the day. It also gave me something to think about: How can someone be so scared of an insect that he jumps out of the bathtube even though he knows any sprained ankle wouldn’t like it – well my sprained ankle really didn’t like it! I confined the cockroach in an upside down trash can and was able to enjoy a shower.
We split the group and without breakfast one part of the crew left for Hoover Dam. I guess its so famous I don’t even need to explain it much. I got a drop off at one side of the dam and walked once across with the crutches – not without having some scenic stops on my walk in the hot morning sun. I had the dam larger in mind, I mean I saw it two years ago from an airplane and it looked so huge – obviously: you can not imagines somethings size if you are too close. After a while I was picked up on the other side of the dam for a ride back to our appartment.
The group headed towards Zion National Park which was a drive of approximately 4 hours. When we were driving through the valley of the park the road was narrow and surrounded by reddish white layered rock – very dramatic. However we didn’t have much time for a photo stop and left the park on the other side. Just a few miles after the exit we took a left turn towards Ponderosa Ranch where we stopped for a salad lunch. The ranch offered many leisure activities for families. There was ATV driving, zip-lining, swimming, group activities and amongst many others also a 2 hour Jeep Tour. We choose for the jeep tour after lunch. The jeep tour was only at the Ranch’s property and was going steep dirt roads up and down. The scenery had nothing to do with the Zions reddish/white layered rock. It was more bushy. At a few points the view was definitely great but all in all I would not recommend the 33 $ tour at the Ponderosa ranch. As we still had some time after the tour we decided to drive back in the Zion National Park for a few more great views of the blunt rock. When we reached the bottleneck of the valley a narrow tunnel with managed traffic we turned around, mounted the GoPro Camera on the roof of one of our cars and headed back towards the exit of the National Park – we definitely had a few photo stops on the way.
In the evening we reached Page, Arizona. Just before Page we stopped at the Glen Canyon Dam which helps to keep the Lake Powell at its size. The dam itself is a little smaller than the Hoover Dam and the rocks and sand around it is completely reddish. This combined with a almost setting sun was definitely a nice photo spot – well not for me I observed the scenery sitting in the car with the left foot on the glove box because I didn’t bother going outside the car. First thing we did when reaching actual Page was to settle down in our room at the Motel 6. Our room was a little small and the hotel already booked which is why we spontanously booked another room in the Super 8 hotel, the very next building. After some refreshment we drove to Denny’s for dinner and 4th July firework gazing. We had troubles finding the right time for Arizona because its on the same latitude as Utah but still has one hour difference to it. The solution to the problem: Arizona doesn’t have summer time. Finally when we adjusted our clocks to the correct time, the fireworks started at the correct time and after sunset – I was observing from my wheelchair. The firework hasn’t been very professional as every single item was fired manually. It was nice to watch though. When we reached back to our table at Denny’s the food has already been served.
The next day didn’t start much early and with a very simple breakfast buffet at the Super 8 hotel. First on that day we went to a place south of Page where the Colorado River makes a horse shoe bend. I skipped the walk from the parking lot to the actual bend because it was in sand and went steep uphill. I prefered to stay in the car with running aircondition and engine. I had a look at the pictures when my friends came back.
We headed back the road we came, crossed the Glen Canyon from East to West and stopped at the Lake Powell National Park where we had to pay entrance fee – bummer! We squeezed everyone in the BMW 5 and saved so on one entry fare. The walk to and from the beach with crutches was very exhausting. The first couple of meters were on concrete while the last bit was on hot sand. The swim in the warm to cold waters of Lake Powell were really relaxing for body and foot though. I actually didn’t want to leave the water. When I finally reached back to the car I was sweating like hell and had a blister at the left palm. Next stop that day was again in Page for lunch and water bottle refill. Our water bottles going like hot cakes in this hot weather conditions. When we reached Antelope Canyon east of Page the weather was already cooling down and the sky was more and more crowded by clouds, eventually it started to rain. The smell of the fresh summer rain in the air was too nice. The canyon was not crutches/wheelchair accessible and hence one more time I waited in the car for everyone else to come back listening to music. A/C and running motor wasn’t necessary this time because of the strong breeze outside. I again looked at the pictures when my friends came back – the pictures are just too awesome. My friends have been told that they are very lucky to choose this canyon because its at the given light conditions (end of the world darkness below heavy clouds) the better canyon to visit. However they had to evacuate the canyon due to rapid floods that can occur once it started to rain, so my friends got their money back – yeah!
After approx 3 hours drive we finally reached the Monument Valley. It’s an awesome rock formation in the middle of the dessert. The rocks are mostly reddish, layered with some darker rock. With some imagination it is possible to see that the rock formations can also be interpreted as creatures. Shortly after the end of the Monument Valley was the little village of Mexican Hat where we stayed in a hotel called – guess it – Mexican hat. Giving us a little time to relax in the hotel room, we hung out until dinner with some drinks in our cozy room. Dinner was at the restaurant of the hotel. The menu was very simple but the food directly from the swinging grill was very delicious. We opted to hang out a little more at the pool side before we finally went to bed.
Saturday started relaxed: packing and a couple of minutes swinging on the porch-swing in the morning sun. Breakfast was at San Juan Inn & Trading Post a little down the road. If it had been a normal breakfast I wouldn’t have mentioned it. But there is a little something unique at this place. The only girl in our group placed her hand bag beside the bench on the floor. When the waiter came with our delicious food he had a syrup dispenser dangling on his index finger below a plate. Because the syrup can was super full he drew a syrup line from the kitchen through the dining area right into our girls hand bag. We tried to tell him but because he didn’t see the cannikin he didn’t understand what we meant. However once he got rid of the plate in his hand he saw the disaster and apologized slightly. He politely asked if he should bring a damp cloth instead of bringing it right away – what should be the answer? No, thank you no need of a damp cloth I’ll dip my pan cake in the hand bag instead…Tipping was very little this time.
We continued our little road trip back through the Monument Valley, towards Grand Canyon. The most important stop on the way was the Monument Valley visitor center. The visitor center was surrounded by many rock formations. It explained the history of people lived in the area and gave examples of animals which can be interpreted when looking at the rock formations. Also a list of movies recorded at this sacred place was hanging on the wall. There was also an off-road path winding in between the formations but it didn’t seem passable with an BMW 5 series. The temperature at this place was not too hot due to normal winds.
Later when we reached the Grand Canyon the temperature dropped to roughly 12 degrees and it was slightly raining combined with heavy winds. The road was winding along the rim of the canyon and we had several stops along the way to have the breathtaking views from every possible angle. I didn’t leave the car at every stop but at most of them because I wanted to rest my leg a little. Once I was sitting in the car, observing the scenery from the passenger seat, the only girl in the group was about to take a picture of me and asked me to show how much fun I have on this trip. My spontaneous answer in a cute and sad voice at once was: I don’t have fun. However I want to emphasize that this particular situation was very sad because everyone was out of the car and exploring the area on their foot when I was sitting in the car not able to walk without crutches. I definitely need to say that the whole group was caring as much as possible to make this weekend possible for me – thanks for that! Alternative would have been alone at home and that would have been definitely no fun at all.
We didn’t stop at the Grand Canyon Village, instead we hurried south to our home for the night. It was a very nice home-stay in Valle with on site dinner prepared by a maid. When everyone else was going to the gas station to buy some beer and get some cash for dinner, I stayed at the home-stay and helped the landlady to fix her computer. The dinner menu was again very simple (beef or shrimp pasta). It was very delicious and filled our stomachs to our complete satisfaction. Relaxation at the whirl pool was the option after dinner. The jacuzi however looked like it could need fresh water but it was a good round off for the long day.
Breakfast buffet the next morning was again home made: pan-cakes, waffles, fruits, bread, cookies, eggs, bacon, syrup – the list was endless – definitely one of the best breakfasts on this planet. That morning I went on a 45 minute scenic flight over the Grand Canyon. It was a 160 $ and worth every cent! Spectacular views of the canyon, great weather conditions for the flight and a window seat on the airplane – what else would I need? A healed foot maybe but flying doesn’t need a healed foot necessarily. Eventually we went to the Grand Canyon Village for a few more spectacular views from the rim down to the base of the canyon – stunning! The temperature was again above 25 degrees and made us sweat while walking along the rim – especially with the crutches.
That was the final main activity on the weekend. The drive back home took us a giant 9 to 10 hours. We stopped a few times to swap the drivers, relax with ice cream or have some nice food.
This was our short trip out of California, out of Nevada and into Utah and Arizona. I hope you enjoyed reading and don’t need pictures as I have described the trip in much detail.

What happened after the Roadtrip? Well I wouldn’t call it the standard program, read yourself!

09.07 Cinema: The lone ranger; A very very long story. Jonny Depp could have performed a little better. I would have loved a little more of his fancy dry jokes and more of his Jonny Depp like moves. Nice action and beautiful scenery though!
10.07 Imagine the beach, the pacific ocean, the sound of the waves and the smell of the ocean. Also imagine a fire, the cracking of the dry firewood bending under the heat and the divine smell of barbecued pork. Also imagine the sun just before sunset, yellow glowing clouds on the horizon and the warmth of the last sun rays of the day on your skin. Now combine all these three things and you get a glimpse of the setup we had for our Wednesday Night BBQ. It has been awesome!
11.07 3$ Cinema. Fast and Furious 6! I think everyone knows what this is all about? Fast and stylish cars. This time the former bad ones help the police to catch the new evil. All stunts are damn realistic – for sure!
13.07 Drive-In Cinema: Third time cinema this week. But if the third time would not have been for a drive-in I would not have gone. I watched Despicable Me 2. The frequence for the radio was 95.6. The drive-in at Santa Barbara is definitely a good dating site! The movie was fun too!

So, this is the end of this short entry. Word count is almost a 3500 and I’m quite tired to continue this entry. Please give me some time to prepare the next story – stay tuned as the next entries might be about a fabolous concert weekend in Southern California or about India or maybe Sweden. Let the adventures begin!

Pacific Coast Highway Roadtrip

This story is dedicated to my roadtrip from San Francisco back home to Los Angeles area on the Pacific Coast Highway. However I will start with the days between Hawaii and the trip. Enjoy!

Well I was quite busy right after reaching back to LA from Oahu, Hawaii. From the airport straight back to the park-n-ride where I parked my car. Thank god it was still standing there and didn’t have any new scratches.
I drove to Santa Monika to apply for my Indian Visa (> 200 $) – crazy how they rip of tourists. After only 1 hour I filled all the forms and was ready for the business trip to San Diego. A co-workers girl friend picked me up at another park-n-ride – again I left my car for 2 nights.
Still tired from the over night flight I have had two relaxing baths in the evening, one in the bathtube of my hotel room in San Diego and one at the hotels whirlpool. In between the two baths I was observing my co-workers working on the cars. I learned quite a few things about cars!
My wish was to have dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and so we went there. It’s a pleaser any time being in a Hard Rock Cafe!
I caught up on a little sleep over night and found myself on the passenger seat of a preproduction series car the next day. We were driving across San Diego for quite a long time to make sure the vehicles hardware/software is working properly. Later in the afternoon I have seen enough testing and started programming in the hotel room. The whirlpool helped relaxing after this long and exhausting day. Dinner was at Rock Bottom, a restaurant with heavy dark furniture and the ambience of a western saloon. Observing girls on the mechanical bull at the Double Deuce bar was a nice round off for the day – although I didn’t ride the bull!
The next day I was again sitting on the passenger seat of a preproduction series car but a different model this time. Later I moved in an electrical vehicle which gave me a nice insight of the vehicle of the future. This day we didn’t drive much around in San Diego but back to Oxnard. Planned rest stop was at the nice Lighthouse Deli&Cafe in San Pedro where I had liver for lunch – didn’t have it for long and it was very tasty! The crew dropped me off at the park-n-ride where I picked up my car and drove back to Camarillo on my own.
I’d say I have learned quite a lot going on the road with my co-workers from the other department.
To keep the evening short and catch up on some more sleep, I just had a quick dinner hangout with two mates at my home in Camarillo

After one night at home, the next weekend trip already started: The Pacific Coast Highway Roadtrip

Friday night was meant to get up north of San Francisco to the Marin Headlands Hostel. We had a yummy tailgate picnic somewhere on the roadside and took impressive pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge by night. The Bridge Towers were partly covered in clouds which gave the pictures extra spice – awesome! The girlfriend of a mate of our group has reached San Francisco a few days earlier and manned our room in the hostel that night so that we were able to enter even after 10 PM.
We knew that there was a long drive ahead of us the next 2 days and so we decided to start early in the day on Saturday. First item on the itinerary was to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Thank god we took some pictures by night because the Bridge was completely covered in fog that morning. A few minutes later we arrived at the House of Bagels for breakfast: I had my Bagel topped with green onion and LOX (salmon) – definitely the way a day should start!
There was not another stop in San Francisco itself because San Francisco has been part of two other trips already. Instead we stopped at the Stanford University. As described in an earlier entry the campus is one huge village itself. There is everything: huge buildings for each faculty, sporting grounds, yards for relaxing etc. pp. A full scholarship would help if I want to study there! Anyone some money left?
Next stop were the headquarters of Google and Apple. Apple was more a drive through and Google was a non-event. Last time I have been there was a Sunday and no-one complained about us using the Google campus bikes. But this time, a Saturday morning, security staff requested us to not use the bikes as they are Google property.
Our next stop at Santa-Cruz was also a non-event. Seeing the crowds at the pier most of us decided to not stop for the boardwalk. Another reason for not stopping was maybe the outside temperature of above 30 degrees Celsius. A few kilometers past Santa Cruz the appetite of the group members rose to a level which was further decreasing the happiness. So we stopped at the Bangkok West Restaurant for some curry – definitely delicious! The decoration in the restaurant is definitely bringing some Thailand feeling in the restaurant guests minds. Happiness rose again to a very acceptable level. A few miles south was already Monterey. A short stroll along the coast, seal watching at the pier and ice cream stop at McDonalds later we were back in the car. In matters of time we skipped the Monterey Bay Aquarium famous for its large exhibition of large fish. The road leaded us through the cannery row district which reminds us to the large fish industry which has been residing here earlier. Nowadays the district is famous for its bars and restaurants in old fishing industry buildings.
The next stop on our road trip was the 17-Mile drive. A scenic stretch just a few miles west  from the Pacific Coast Highway. Most parts of the drive are on the edge of a Golf Course on one side and the pacific ocean on the other side. It definitely is a beautiful stretch of road but also quite windy. We only stopped twice on the 17-Mile drive: First stop was to meet a colleague who was doing the same trip but in south-north direction and second to take pictures of the lone cypress.
We followed the number 1 further south until we reached a waterfall which lower end is not a pond but the beach. The name of the waterfall is “McWay” waterfall. It’s beautiful to watch but one has soaked up the complete environment quite quick, so we boarded the car again after 20 minutes and drove the last stretch of the pacific coast highway for today until we reached the Big Sur Lodge. This stretch of road was extremely beautiful, due to its narrow roads which are winding up and down, over bridges with green meadows to the left and the steep cliffs on the right. Our home for the night was a cozy bungalow in the Big Sur area. Dinner for the day was a meal consisting of bread, salami and cheese.
Breakfast the next day was at the wooden Big Sur Bakery. Most of us had a croissant either with or without chocolate and a hot drink such as hot chocolate or coffee. This along with the sun on the bakeries patio was an energizing breakfast!
The Big Sur stretch combined with the stretch of the PCH to the Hearst Castle was again very scenic: Winding road, cliffs, mountains to the left, the ocean to the right; Only thing missing was a convertible vehicle to make us feel the breeze.
We stopped at William Randolph Hearst’s famouse estate aka Hearst Castle. He was  wealthy owner of quite a few news papers and tv shows back in the days. We booked the “Designing the Dream” tour which took about 1 hour and 15 minutes without the transport to and from the castle. The tour gave an insight of the pools on the property as well as outside facilities, earlier guest rooms and newer guest rooms. Part of the tour was also a room specially designed for Hearst itself but he never made it to see the room by himself. I am glad that we picked this tour so that I got another sight of the property compared to two years earlier when I did the “Grand Rooms Tour”. All-in-All: Overwhelming!
We stopped for lunch in Cambria at the Main Street Grill where I had a squid steak sandwich – mouthwatering and revitalizing!
The road was winding further south until we stopped in San Luis Obispo for two spots: First the Madonna Inn with a truly remarkable mens restroom and second for a stroll through downtown San Luis Obispo. Well, why is the restroom in Madonna Inn so remarkable? Find it out yourself it’s worth a visit! The stop in downtown was good to add some bubblegum to the Bubblegum Alley and to refresh with frozen yoghurt. I definitely liked the frozen yoghurt concept: Just add whatever yoghurt to your cup, add as many toppings as you like and pay by the weight of the whole cup.
This stop was basically the last on the road trip. Another 180 miles stretch of beautiful landscape later we reached back home! Actually it has been dark after half of it but until then it was definitely worth to look out of the window.

There are not much pictures from my side. Please enjoy what I’ve got:

Oahu, Hawaii

Only 4 weeks later, the Hawaii story is up! Enjoy Text and pictures.

My trip to Hawaii actually started on the 6th of June. My smart Mini brought me to a Park&Ride parking spot. I just missed one of the trains to the Airport but the next didn’t make me wait long for it. A shuttle bus brought me from the green lines Airport station to the Airport. It was already less than one hour when I got to the airport so I thought I’ll miss my ride to Hawaii, Oahu. However check-in was still possible and after a while I was sitting on that plane.
I arrived late on Oahu, picked up my rental car at Hertz, a Ford Mustang Convertible, and drove to the supermarket to buy some supplies for the next days: basically water and non-refrigerate items for breakfast and picnic. I have been damn tired probably because LA time is 3 hours ahead. I searched for a nice silent neighbourhood in Honolulu, parked my car and went to sleep. The worst part about the seats in this convertible were that they didn’t recline much more than an airplane seat :/ For the first night I choose the trunk and a sleeping bag for a good nights sleep.

I woke up pretty early on the 7th of June which was awesomely perfect for a visit to Hanauma bay. I had take-away breakfast from a bakery on the way. I had to watch an introduction video at Hanauma bay on “how to treat the reefs”. I walked all the way down to the bay instead of taking the costly tram. I made myself comfortable on the beach and caught up on some sleep. After a while I thought of snorkelling in the turquoise blue waters of the bay. A problem turned up: I lost the clip which holds the goggles and the snorkel together. I improvised and used two bag clips (from this mornings bakery visit) to attach the snorkel to the goggles – off I went. I was a little disappointed because the reef was so grey and only few colorful fishes were sprinkled in the warm waters. Compared to the Great Barrier reaf a real disappointment! Just after lunch time I felt real hungry and struggled in finding the Diamond Head Grill. One-Way roads all across Honolulu didn’t make it easier to find it. The food there was really delicious and inexpensive!
The next Odyssey was Diamond Head Crater. I found it easily but lacked in cash when I had to pay the entrance fee for the park in the crater. So I drove all the way back to find an ATM. Approximately 45 minutes later I have been again to the entrance of the park and ready to pay. Back to Honolulu Downtown I bought some items for a picnic on Waikikis white fine grain beaches and made myself comfortable in front of the warm turquoise waters. In the middle of my picnic, the Friday Fireworks began. It was a 10 to 15 minutes spectacle and nice round off for the day. I didn’t even had to bother about a thin jacket, the air was even night times warm.
Another Odyssey started just after the firework when I tried to find my way to the north east coast to visit a colleagues home whos visiting with his girlfriend. At one point I drove mistakenly on the Highway 3 towards Pearl Harbor and haven’t been able to turn around for 10 miles. That means a 20 miles extra on my Odometer. These 20 miles were most painfull. My colleague welcomed me in his beach front bungalow and we had a nice hour just before sleeping.
I prepared pancakes on the 8th of June to thank the couple to give me accommodation for the night. Later I drove down the east coast to Chinaman’s hat. It is actually a small Island in shape of a chinaman’s hat. After taking a few pictures I headed further south to “Tropical Farms” with free sample of Macadamias, honey and peanut butter – yum. My next stop was the Pali lookout which offered great views towards Honolulu and Waikiki and Hanauma Bay. I choose to hike an unoffical trail along a mountain rim. The hike was indeed quite dangerous but I still made it up to a spot where I viewed through a natural spyhole in a rock. Incredible views bordered through a spyhole!
I spent the rest of the day in the Polynesian Cultural Center to get some cultural insight of the polynesian islands. The afternoon in the cultural center was filled with 20 minute open-air performances of the Islands of Hawaii, Fiji, Tonga, Tahiti, Aoteaora (New Zealand). Performances consisted of dance, music and history of the Islands. One attraction were floating boats in the artificial river. The boats were differently themed accordingly to the island they represent – food for the eyes! There was also a dome shaped cinema in the cultural center where they showed hardly seen landscape of Hawaii – made me wanting more!
I took place in the large dining hall of the cultural center for dinner and served myself from the buffet and drinking fountain – great food although it was cooked in large amounts. The turkey roast in gravy was probably the best :-)
Next item of the itenerary was the production of “Breath of Life” an 1.5 hour spectacular with fire, dance and music. The story in short is of a newly born baby getting introduced in the different cultures of the polynesian Islands, marrying later and having a baby right at the end which could go through the same story again.
I parked my car at Laie point right in front of the sea and slept on the passengers seat.
On Sunday I woke up facing the sea in the dawn. I turned the car around and held a photo shooting with it before I had breakfast sitting on the trunk lid stil watching the uprising sun – relaxing start of the day, huh?!
My first stop of the day was the turtle bay resort where I snorkelled among huge sea turtles. These gigantic turtles moving slowly around in the calm waters of the bay. It looks effortless how they move and slowly flap with their fins. I drove across the north shore and stopped every now and then for some beach stroll or snorkelling. I bought some fresh from tree ice cold Lychees on the way. Snorkelling at the sunset beach was a little better than at Hanauma Bay but still not great compared to the Great Barrier reef. There has been a lot of brown rocks which are perfect hiding spot for colorful fish – every color is better than the grey at Hanauma Bay. I sprinkled a little diversity in my day by doing the hike to the waterfall in the Waimea valley. The path was all paved and equipped with thousands of plant explaining signs. The pond of the waterfall didn’t look much dangerous but still 2 lifeguards were supervising the people swimming there. They also made sure that everyone is wearing a swimwest. I asked them for sun screen because I didn’t have any due to restrictions in hand luggage in airplanes and they were so kind giving me a little. A little further west seemed to be the place for beach fun sports. People were Kite Surfing and wind surfing – my favourite beaches on the whole island!
I took a lunch break at Haleiwa and ate some lamb chops along with rice and shave ice coconut flavoured for dessert. Then I drove southways towards Dohle Pineapple plantation to get an insight in how the pineapple comes from the field to the supermarket. There was a huge FAQ board which covered the same questions answered on the pinapple express. The pineapple express was a train which was going two miles across pineapple plantation fields for the price of 8 $ per ride. Well I just knew that the content of the narrators speech on the train is the same as on the FAQ board because I was doing both – reading and riding. I drove all the way south past Pearl Harbor to KoOlina bay in the south west for a great sunset picnic with crackers and cheese. I then droveup on the west coast until I reached the end of the road where I parked my car for the night. I know the west coast is not very famous for sunrise in the morning – but sometimes I need to make a compromise.
I woke up with the first rays of sunlight on Monday and had breakfast along with compulsory photoshooting. I then tried to start a hike to the most northwest point of the Island Oahu. A girl in another car was starting a conversation with me about Hawaii and her past life. Additionally she gave me about 15 small shells she collected in a secret spot and wished me a good hike to the “edge of the island” – definitely nice chat in the sun! I found that there are 3 geocaches on the path of the hike but my cell phones GPS didn’t work, so I didn’t find any of them – Bugger! The views from the most north-west point were great but bathing was not possible. I saw a few really large birds nesting in that area and also present were some seals almost perfectly hiding on the rocks.
I drove down the west coast after the hike. Again I stopped on some of them and also ate lunch, some take away food which I bought in some restaurant, at Pokai Bay Park Loco Moco.
Next stop was the Pearl Harbor area where I used all the free facilities to soak up an impression of the days around the 7th of December 1941. Afterwards I had a clear vision in mind what happened back then. I drove back to Honololu to have a stroll through Downtown and Chinatown districts both are kind of similiar to other American cities. I neither had a shower nor had a swim in the sea on my last day on Oaho, so I decided to have a swim in the warm turquoise waters of Waikikis Fort DeRusy Beach park. To gain some strength for the long flight back to main land I went to the Hard Rock Cafe Waikiki and had some fries plus chocolate flavoured thick shake – latter one was free because I ordered a mix of vanilla and chocolate; even better! I still had some time which I utilized in the fluffy bear museum – awesome but expensive!
I then dropped the car off at the Hertz Station at the Airport. I first had troubles to get a seat on my airplane because they changed the airplane model and had less seats to offer. They assigned me an exit row seat which was not to recline – Bugger again!
When I reached mainland America, my bussiness trip to San Diego began.

But more on that in the next story :-)