Monday, July 18, 2011

The Big Island

We just got back from a week long trip to Hawaii.

Jake works really hard and puts a lot of time and effort into his business... and it pays off. Through a campaign, he qualified for this company-wide trip to Hawaii and we had a blast. Rumor has it that 1,200 agents qualified this year (I mean, who wouldn't work extra hard to make it to Hawaii!) and a few agents from our state were on our flight.

We left Monday morning.

Flying over the Narrows bridge- I'll be running over it in less than a month!

Flying over Washington and the Puget Sound is always so cool to me.

After 5 1/2 hours in the air, and a hundred Tetris games played on Jake's phone, we saw the Big Island for the first time.

The Big Island is pretty much a volcano and a lot of the island is covered in lava. You don't see very much sand from the air... so I took a picture of the only beachy place I could see from my window seat.

Later the shuttle bus driver told Jake and I that Harrison Ford once owned that place. He told us about a lot of the real estate on the island. Houses being sold for $27 million, shacks right off of the beach for 500K, houses in the middle of nowhere on 3 acres for 50K, or regular old houses like his... he paid 30K for it in the 60's and now it's worth more than $900,000. We marveled at his equity but he said that most Hawaiians don't sell their houses if they can help it- they try to keep it in the family. He said that the taxes are outrageous but once he retires they will only be $300 a year. He said there ARE perks to getting older!

The Kona Airport
We got off the airplane and it was like a big, wet, warm towel was being wrapped around us. It was amazing. Aloha Hawaii!

Waikoloa is pretty much pronounced "why-cola"
It was a 30 minute bus ride to the hotel. We were staying at the Hilton in Waikoloa Village. And IT. WAS. HUGE.! We got off the bus at the lobby, checked in, and then waited for the tram or the boat to take us to our room. There were 3 different towers to the hotel. We were in the ocean tower. A 10 minute tram ride from the lobby. (This place was seriously huge).

I took pictures of pretty much everything... except the hotel, tram, and boats! But you can see the very front of the tram in the upper right of the picture above and you can see part of the Palace Tower in the picture below.

It took us a little while to find our room- Ocean Tower Room 3004. Our view wasn't too shabby... (nothing like our view in Sydney but I am not complaining one tiny, little bit!)

Trying to find our room in the enormous Ocean Tower.

We didn't even wait for our luggage to get to our room before we were on our way to check out the shops at the Queen's Market. It was a loooooong and hot walk. Our un-seasoned flip-flop feet were killing us by the time we reached the condos along the way. 

The amount of lava on the island is amazing. According to the recording on the hotel tram, once the hardened lava is ground up, it makes the perfect, organic soil. And according to our bus driver, it's fairly easy to grid the stuff us.

They even grind the lava up and make pots for the plants (bottom left).

We finally made it to the King's Shops (a 30 minute hot walk in flip flops) and decided to save the Queen's Market for another day.

We ate Tempura Plate at Island Fish & Chips and it was amazing. We vowed to eat there again.

The view from the lookout tower at King's Shops

Later, we walked across the street to the Marriott and asked if there was a shuttle back to the Hilton (I guess we were wimps.... but I swear it was like walking 2 miles in the sauna). Come to find out, so many agents qualified for this trip that they had to split us up between two hotels and there was a free shuttle between the two resorts all week.

Back at the Hilton we threw our swim suits on and checked out one of the 4 pools; two of which were connected by water slides.

We lost 3 hours in travel time so we were in bed by 9. We were exhausted but so excited to be in Hawaii!!!


  1. I know what you mean about that flip flop feel when your feet are not used to it- ouch!

    That is crazy about the land pricing. I know our friend is hawaiian and they have a thing that if you are native you get really cheap land in the state so he got a few acres and a big house for like $140,000 in Kauai, but the rest of us would pay a fortune!

  2. Hey! I stayed at the same hotel 8 years ago! Fun to see such familiar pictures! I loved all the Koi fish and they had a baby dolphin in their dolphin tanks while I was there. They have some really cool Asian artwork there, too. Hope it was lots of fun.