Monday, January 09, 2006

PARTY LIKE ITS 2006!

Aloha! I’m wishing that I were still in Hawaii, where I just spent a week-long vacation visiting my brother, Andrew. The trip was great. I flew to Honolulu the day after Christmas. I had spent the holiday at home in Philadelphia. Went to church on Christmas Eve, and spent Christmas day with my whole family. I had been so busy throughout the month of December, I was really ready to get away for a little break.

It’s a long trip to Hawaii, especially when you’re stuck in the middle seat on the plane. But it’s well worth it, because Hawaii is absolutely beautiful. And having the opportunity to hang out with my older brother for a whole week was a priceless gift. Andrew was recently promoted to Sergeant in the Army. I’m so proud of him. He’s stationed in Hawaii, and works on Hickham Air Force Base. I stayed with Andrew for the week. He’s got a great apartment that overlooks Pearl Harbor.

Waikiki is so cool. I fell in love with it. The beach, like all the others on the island, is gorgeous. The famous “strip” is lined with really great shopping and restaurants. A lot of the nightlife exists there, too. One night, Andrew and I ate a fancy dinner at one of the Sheraton Hotels in Waikiki. It was so nice. We ate outside, overlooking the ocean as the sun was going down. There were hula dancers and guys singing and playing ukuleles in front of our table. And the food was really good!

Luckily, Andrew had most of last week off from work. He did, however, have to jump out of a Black Hawk on Wednesday morning. I rode out to the “drop zone” with him and some of his Army buddies so I could watch them jump. The helicopter took them fifteen hundred feet up, and they jumped using parachutes that were packed by my brother’s unit. It was a cool new experience for me.

After the successful jump, my brother and I drove up to the North Shore, where the waves are really big this time of year. We drove halfway around the island, along a scenic road that took us past coastline and mountains and Dole pineapple plantations. We stopped to get really yummy shrimp from a truck on the side of the road. (There are shrimp farms all over up there.)

Other great experiences we had during my trip included snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, seeing fish and sea turtles through the porthole in a submarine 120 feet below the surface of the ocean, and visiting the Punchbowl cemetery, where our grandfather (a pilot, killed in WWII) is buried. Also loved the beach at Makapu’u The best part of the trip, though, was just getting to hang out with my brother, who I don’t get to see much of now that he’s traveling all over with the Army. We did a lot of swimming, watched funny movies, and played board games. Good brother-sister bonding stuff. It was great.

On New Year’s Eve, we decided to chill out at Andrew’s apartment. We were able to see tons of fireworks from his balcony, which made an already beautiful view even more spectacular.

Speaking of which, Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to 2006!