This morning started with a picture outing for myself. I wanted to get down to the beach in front of our condo but the gate was locked! Weird. I was able to get around the obstacle and get some nice shots while the rest of the gang woke up and ate breakfast.
The next thing on the agenda was a beach visit for myself, Sox, Sprout, and my mom. Sprout loved playing in the sand and still didn’t want to get in the water with me. Funny little boy.
The afternoon plan was to drive up Haleakala and watch the sunset. We checked the weather and it did not look good. The top of the volcano is over 10,000 feet and it was totally socked in. There was no way were were going to drive for 2 hours on the off chance that the clouds would part before we got there. We ended up canceling that trip. I was pretty disappointed since it looked like that would mean we wouldn’t get go at all. My mom and sister had a tour planned for Thursday afternoon and we had plans for Friday afternoon as well.
While Sprout was napping my sister and I looked into booking a heli tour of the island. We checked out a bunch of the tourist advertising pamphlets and found a couple tours that we were interested in. We ended up calling Alex Air because we saw an ad for a interesting looking tour that was $122. My sister was on hold for quite a while and when they finally found some seats on a flight that we could make she went to pay, and found out each seat would be $220. Apparently the ad was for an early bird special. We we supposed to have booked early, and it was for a dinner time flight. The ad never mentioned any of that. I was extremely unhappy. It just seemed like such a scam. Very, very lame.
Sox, me, and my sister then played mini golf. This was a lot of fun, and was perhaps the most beautiful mini golf course I have ever seen.
One of the things I had read about and really wanted to see was the Iao Valley. It was a fairly short drive from the condo, and turned out to be a most amazing sight. The valley walls were extremely steep and lush, lush, lush. While driving to the park we rounded a bend in the road and a couple cats scampered across the road. Weird.
At the valley parking lot there were a lot of feral cats. It was pretty weird to see 8-10 cats lounging on a hill staring at us as we walked by. The park was full of cats.
The gardens at the park were pretty amazing. Lots of gorgeous plants and flowers, a nice river, and some ponds and pools. The Iao Needle was awesome as well. A very tall, freestanding spire covered in vegetation. Unfortunately my pictures cannot do this park justice. The clouds were so bright, and the vegetation so dark, the camera could not properly expose a picture. I could have spent days in this one tiny park if I had all my camera gear. We saw some other wildlife in the park too. As we were walking along, a couple rats fell out of a tree. We also saw a feral rooster hanging out with some of the cats.
Dinner that night was at the Saigon Cafe, a Vietnamese restaurant. One of the guide books recommended this place and gave very explicit instructions on how to get there. The reason? There is no sign outside indicating the name of the place. The great thing about Vietnamese is that food is prepared very quickly. Besides being fast, the food was excellent. So yummy.