Living in California is a good place to start. I wouldn’t know much about it/I’m not the best person to ask, but there (edit) IS a bevy of financial aid options and scholarships available that you can look through and apply for. If that’s not your thing, you can take the hit for a year or two and try to be an RA (paid-for housing/food) or a UGSI for a lower division class (paid-for tuition).
Once again, woke up too early and wasted some time in the hotel room. Parents went to yoga, while I went to the gym again and worked on other stuff. Went to the same buffet for brunch, and then went back to pack and check out. To be honest, usually by this point in the vacation I’m more or less over it, and ready to go home. My family cooped up in a car or hotel room for any more than a few days, and we get testy and irritable.
But before we left, surfing! Was about as fun as I remember when I last did it, which was not all that much. Cold water, lots of waiting to go, and the brief (and I mean brief) thrill of standing atop the waves. Almost hit a couple people before jumping off the board and rekindling my old shoulder injury. The instructor also cut the cycle short, so I was down one wave (which I guess was fine by me.)
After this, got some shave ice at Ululani’s, which was pretty good if you’re ever in Lahaina. I’m not a giant fan of ice and syrup, so I didn’t have that much, but it was good nonetheless. Showered at the hotel, and then headed out.
Dad wanted to stop by this mountain thing, so we parked amidst rain and wind and trudged out, and saw an extremely anticlimactic rock. After that, grabbed some quick dinner and then got to the airport to head home.
Stayed at the resort the whole day, haha. Was more or less our first unplanned day, which was simultaneously a bit stressful, in figuring out what to do, and relaxing, knowing that we didn’t have to rush from place to place. Woke up at my usual too-early, and went to the gym to work out for a bit.
After, had all-you-can-eat breakfast/brunch, which essentially filled me up for the next 4 hours. Was pretty normal fare, with a Hawaiian twist on some things. My sister wanted to go to a luau, but because we didn’t reserve beforehand, it would be difficult to attend. However, we saw an offer that, if my parents went to a timeshare presentation, we could get two free tickets to the one that night, so they did that while my sister and I played at the pool (can you say deal?) Not much happened, except I ran into a guy who was screwing around at the bottom of the waterslide. My foot still hurts.
At the luau, ate some pretty good food (not super excellent), but they did their chicken and poke right. I felt that it was a bit forced, them trying to make it a perfect experience, but falling short in several areas, i.e. the buffet-style dinner didn’t last very long before they started consolidating it into one line (so much for all-you-can-eat), their bar offered small, watered-down, pre-made drinks (so much for open bar), and the dancers were pretty good, despite a couple slips, and the fact that their costumes were all plastic (think bright green hula skirts vs. actual, authentic grass skirts.) All in all, not too bad, but not too great either.
Went stargazing! Had a really excitable guide, who would just keep talking and talking while he pointed the various telescopes and binoculars here and there. Most of it was overwhelming, but really educational. The coolest thing was probably being able to see Jupiter and three of its moons around it; the rest was basically just pins of light.
Went to a classy nearby hotel for breakfast. Was good. Not worth. Backtracked on the highway to 1. pick up some banana bread and fresh lilikoi (passionfruit), and then 2. go to a black sand beach. Pretty cool, pictures later. Kind of painful, because it’s not really sand… just small rocks HAHA. Explored a little, went through a cave and watched a blowhole for like 20 minutes to see it go off like once.
Then it got really hot, so we got some handmade popsicles (?) and went on this strangely dangerous journey to a red sand beach. Steep cliffs and really thin paths. I couldn’t fully enjoy it because I got annoyed at my dad once we were there, and there were dogs playing/fighting with each other and running around and barking, and evidently it was a nude beach so there were some people just fully exposed (you would think it’s a good thing, but it gets a bit annoying after awhile, especially when your parents are nearby).
After that, went on some short hiking trails to see a waterfall as well as several springs that flow into the ocean. Not all that exciting. Then, began the trip back. Tiny dirt roads and a driver who likes to play it safe, going 5-10 below the speed limit and stopping to let people pass when they get any where near, get a bit annoying after a while. Eventually got to where we started on day 1, and had Da Kitchen for dinner (the sit down version), which was pretty good. Finally made our way to our next hotel and I crashed before I had a chance to write this :P.
Woke up to go on a run near the hotel, which had to be situated at the very top of a hill. Had to take like three breaks but that’s okay because I’m on vacation. Headed back to make breakfast… Chocolate macadamia nut pancakes with banana from pancake mix! Lots of fun to be had there.
Headed to Hana, the road to which is supposed to be scenic. Before we really even got started, we grabbed some (mediocre) fish tacos and got a bit lost. Finally found our first stop, a bamboo forest. No really, it was kind of huge and muddy and gross because it started raining around the same time we got there, and I had presumed we would just be sightseeing. Flipflops and hiking, very exciting. Saw a beautiful waterfall and hike/climbed to the top of it, and took some cool bamboo pictures.
From there, we failed to find a waterfall, and then doubled back to try to find another set, called the “Three Bears.” We found two sets of waterfalls which looked like they could be, but upon reaching our hotel, realized that neither of them were. Fail.
Hotel was pretty nice, had a kitchen to cook some overly-salty fried udon with Hawaiian beef, and several rooms from which we could hear the ocean. Kind of humid and mosquito-y though…
Played some card games and went to sleep!
Woke up at 4 a.m. for the sunrise.
… That’s early. Mainly slept on the car ride there so that was fine though. Around 10,000 feet in elevation, had to deal with thin-as-hell air, high winds, and freezing temperatures just so we could see the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen. Just something about being above the clouds… Froze a bit more and walked around but wasn’t too bad.
Went down really hungry, but waited in hotel until lunchtime, and went to Da Kitchen. Summadat deep-fried spam musubi to make our Hawaiian experience authentic. Got some Hawaiian shave ice from S&Q to wash it down too. Apparently “Sharks blood” is strawberry and coconut and “POG” is passionfruit, orange, and guava. Then headed to the beach to chill/kick water around. Saw a beach wedding with like 10 guests… was pretty cute I guess.
For dinner went to Cafe O’lei, which was rated pretty well. Ordered too much food, but had an awesome onion soup and some great macadamia nut crusted honey pork. Then just headed back to the hotel and chilled until bedtime.