Friday, June 18, 2010

.wonderful culture.

There is so much to blog about that it's almost intimidating to start blogging! haha Today was a great day! One of those days that reminded me of how blessed I am to live this life that God gave me! It was a day to remind me to value all the things that God created and how many uses they have (for example, all the uses of a Coconut tree!)

Day started out with getting up at 7am and getting ready. Our goal was to leave by 8am, and no later then 8:15 (and it was Kaile who said this). Well, 8:20 rolled around and there Monica and I were sitting by the door waiting for Kaile to hurry up. haha It's ok though. We finally made it out the door with a full cooler, swimsuits just in case and cameras ready to go.

Our first stop was a blowhole. Supposedly if the waves hit high enough, alot of water would shoot up out of this little whole area. We never saw that. But it was gorgeous! IT was a good picture taking spot with the blue waters crashing up on the rocks. We were there just as 2 Asian tour buses pulled in. It wasn't to crowded though!

After the blowhole, we attempted to find the Valley of Temples. It poured HARD rain for a long time there, so much so that Monica was only driving at 25mph. I prayed the rain would go away, and it did. God is good!

The directions Monica gave us didn't end up working. We couldn't find the road..... so we resorted to Kaile's iPhone (Kaile's solution to everything on this trip haha). Her attempts to follow google maps failed and we ended up on H3, a highway that doesn't have any exits for like 6 miles (10-15minutes)! haha. We were stuck! We did get to go through a tunnel that went under an entire mountain pass! That was pretty cool! I ended up focusing more on trying to take a picture inside the tunnel instead of holding my breath. haha The view on the outside of the tunnel was gorgeous! The highway took us back the other direction though, so we had to turn around and follow the highway in the other direction all the way back!

We finally made it to the Valley of the Temples. Pretty much this is a replica of a Buddhist temple on the side of the mountain. It was pretty small in comparison to that of the one I visited in Canada. Though I do no believe at all in the Buddhist religion, I think It's important to still be aware of what other's believe so that you can reach out to them. Meaning I didn't light any in scents or ring the bell for good luck because I didn't want to participate in something I didn't believe. It is uncomprehendable for me to understand how people can worship statues. But then again, we talked about a similar thing in the theology class. When people worship nature and smaller things on earth, they are worship God's creation - they are worship the part of God they can see. You are not able to physically touch God, so it is hard for people to understand. So they worship what they can understand. I thought that was an interesting perspective on how others can worship other things such as nature.

I did get some really pretty pictures though. I bought this little coin purse from China that is really pretty and I look forward to using it! I also got to see a Peacock! It was so pretty!

After the Valley of the temples, we headed over to the Polynesian Culture center. It was about a 17 mile drive out there. The whole way was through the country of Hawaii. And in front of almost every house you seen signs posted about keeping "Country the Country" and not letting them build on the surrounding land. The native people in this area really want to protect their area and keep it in a state of their culture. I can completely understand this. It's just as if someone from another country came over and tried to take over your land just for touristy attractions.

Once to the cultural center (arriving at about 11:40) we bought our tickets and headed in. Our first village we stopped at was Hawaii. How the cultural center works is there are 7 islands of the Polynesian culture: Aotearoa (New Zealand), Fiji, Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, and Rapa Nui. Each island had it's own show at different times. We ended up being able to work it out so we saw all the shows. Each of the shows were led by someone who was actually from that island. The shows included dances, musical instruments, and even baking. One island taught us how to bake coconut bread. was delicious!  They were all really cool! I loved learning about all the different cultures, there traditions, how they live, seeing there dances, and learning how they use all there natural resources of the land. For example, the coconut tree: the coconuts alone can be used to start fire, to make braided chords to tie wood together for buidlings ect, as a drink, to get milk. The leaves can be used to make baskets and over ground stoves in order to keep the heat in. I thought this was really interesting.

These are some of the things I got to do. The entire cultural center is very interactive:
-Learn a Hula dance of Hawaii
-Learned that the correct way to pronounce Honolulu is Hone-oe-lew-lew
-Learned the correct way to pronounce Ukulele (oo-ku-lay-lay)
-Learned how to cook coconut bread

-Learned how to husk and break open a coconut
-Learned a couple other dances
-Learned how to weave palm tree leaves together to make baskets
-Got to get painted tattoos haha
-Learned how to make "fish" out of palm tree leaves
-Bought a palm tree leaf headband with fresh flowers in it

-Learned to play a game with sticks that was tought to children with a chant to increase their hand eye cordination

-Learned of some of their native instruments
-Learned a lot of history
-Saw someone climb to the tippy top of a palm tree with just his bare hands and feet (saw a little boy attempt to copy him haha)
-Saw three men embarrass themselves as they got up during one of the shows and had to repeat chants.

Everything was so cool! I wish I could go into great detail about everything but that would take forever. As it is, this blog is already very lengthy! When people have pride about there culture it makes me happy. It makes me realize how we are all unique but yet put here to serve the same God, just live in different ways. It emphasizes how everything put on earth is to help us to live and we should be resourceful.

After the cultural center we continued to head around the island (about 5pm).

We stopped at this little fruit stand. Bought fresh pineapple juice and mango that tasted oh so perfect! It was refreshing!

We stopped at Turtle beach where we saw huge sea turtles basking in the sun along the shore. I was like 4 ft away from them! Such beautiful animals! They were so big, that Kaile asked Monica "I thought you said you saw sea turtles!" because she thought the turtles were rocks that were along the shore.

We then headed to foodland (kinda like Albertsons) where we bought dinner. I ended up with a turkey wrap. It had sprouts on it, which I love, so that was exciting! Only disappointment was that I had no ranch. haha

We took our dinners over to the beach where we watched the sun set. It was pretty even though clouds did get in the way at the very end. It was the Hawaiian sunset though. Even more perfect was the boat that silhouetted each picture because of where it was sitting in the water! A couple was down there taking their engagement pictures - what a perfect place huh? We ran around in the water along the shore for a while, took some pictures, then started noticing all these little bugs with wings, so headed out. haha Kaile drove home because I knew she would be nagging me the entire way home about driving in the dark. haha Listened to some David Crowder, FM Static, Hillsong United in English and Spanish, and a few others.

The rest of our night and pictures will come tomorrow. It is now almost 2am and time for me to hit the hay.

The rest...............

So we arrived in Honolulu. Monica wanted to stop by the market place to see if she could find one of the spray paint paintings for her dad like I had gotten. We parked down at the shell and made our way the 6 blocks down the street, while in the process looking at street vendors, and monica and Kaile getting frozen yogurt. We walked as far as the street performers and vendors went but never saw the spray paint paintings. We did see a man completely gold, and a man completely covered in newspaper. Several Ukulele players. Several steal drum players, a group of boys dancing to music, hippies playing guitar, and a church handing out flyers, their choir singing, and men waving banners saying "Repent from your sins!" I guess someone will be impacted through them. I just hope they are all doing this for the right reasons in there heart. Because I know that Christian's like that can scare others away. Personally, I prefer street witnessing to go like, going up to someone, having a conversation with them, and maybe let them know about your faith and pray with them. I think people will have more respect for you and your faith that way.

Monica ended up buying a really pretty canvas for her dad for $20. It was normally $50, and probably worth that, but he gave her a student discount. He was a really sweet old man. He was exactly 78. When Monica bought the canvas, he told us to respect our parents. To take care of them when they get old, because they took care of us when we were babies. To not go have "spring break" because we don't want to get pregnant. Because babies are a lot of work. He was very nice about everything he said - kind of like a grandfather figure. Though long winded, he gave some good advice actually. Though I already know these things, I hope the fact that we listened encourages him to keep talking to others who might really need to hear it.

We headed home, Monica is packing, were transferring pictures, and blogging. Monica leaves tomorrow =( She has to go back to pack for Korea. We are going to the farmers market and an art museum tomorrow! YAY! exciting!


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