Travel Date: Thursday, Nov 26 2015

Justin and I woke up at got some breakfast at our hotel: Courtyard Maui Kahului Airport.

It is Thanksgiving Day 2015. There are not many residents at the hotel. We talk with a few people around us briefly, and then head out to the airport. The plan is to fly to Oahu, and celebrate Thanksgiving with my dear friends Kathy and Hank.

Along the drive there, we witness a rainbow. A great reminder to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of life – and not to get caught up in the daily drama of our thoughts.

At the airport, there is this large wide open space. It gave us the opportunity to turn around and look back at the mountain of Haleakala National Park. It is still hidden behind the clouds. I want to go back and see the sunrise. I want to go back and walk around the cones and shifting sands.

But, it is time to get on the plane, and fly to Oahu. Goodbye Maui. It was a pleasure.

Hello, the island of Oahu.

Now I can say I’ve been to Honolulu: the capital of the Hawaiian islands; and the place that most people think of when they reference Hawaii.

As we walk out of the main terminal, I see an Amnesty Bin. I’ve never seen this before. I chuckle at the thought of an opportunity to get rid of any illegal substances before you cross over into the security zone. It is unfortunate that I don’t have anything illegal on my person, to discard, and make for a great ‘Amnesty Bin’ story.

We pick up our rental car, and then drive over to Ko Olina to see Kathy and Hank. We make a stop over at a supermarket to pick up some wine and ice. It is our small contribution to the Thankgiving Pot Luck Dinner that we will be going to later in the evening.

And finally we arrive at their home, and it is a wonderful reunion.

I met Kathy, and Justin too, in Roanoke, Virginia. It was through a John Park organized event. Since then we have run into each other many times in the Roanoke area. Back in the day when I was training to become a licensed skydiver, I decided organized a group of wannabe skydivers. Kathy told me Hank – her boyfriend at the time – was interested. He and others decided to take the leap of faith. Since then, it has been great friendship.

Justin has never met Hank and Kathy, even though they all lived or visited the Roanoke area during the same time period. So it was an introduction and reunion of sorts.

Kathy has mentioned that there have been mongoose terrorizing ‘the neighborhood’. So Hank sets up a cage to catch it.

Mongoose bait. Let’s see how long it takes to catch the bugger.

We head out for a tour of the Ko Olina area.

First stop Lanikuhonua Beach Parking.

We walk on the path towards the local beach.

And then to some man made lagoons.

We cross over the old tracks.

And then into a large wide open space, that is just perfect for hosting any festivals.

We run into an old old tree that is Yuuuge (huge). Hank gives me a great local history lesson about this tree, which I have forgetten about at the posting of this blog entry. Sorry Hank. My memory is not what is used to be.

We walk towards a snorkeling cove. Some of the residents are enjoying the delights of swimming in the ocean, and appreciating the wonders of nature. I’m envious. I haven’t snorkeled yet in the Hawaiian islands.

Back to these train tracks. I love these train tracks. I promise, no live trains were operating at the time of taking this picture.

And then we walk by a local hot spot: Longboards; where they apparently have the best Mai Tai’s. Unfortunately, we don’t indulge since, we have a Thanksgiving Party to go to later, and we don’t want to get trapped by the lively atmosphere and potent Mai Tai’s.

The History of Longboards.

We practice our surfing skills, using the excuse of taking pictures.

It is time to head back home, and get ready for dinner. But first, a pre-game beverage.

We head out through the garage. Justin practices blowing a didgeridoo horn from Australia. He really has a hard time with it.

We begin walking through the many of the residences in the Ko Olina neighborhood.

Justin and I have the ‘difficult’ and ‘most responsible’ task of carrying the cooler.

When we arrive, we notice that Thanksgiving Potluck Party is lively. There are very few empty chairs in sight.

There are many people, from many states, who have now settled in Oahu, and call this place HOME.

The assortment of food is incredulous.

After loading our plates with an assortment of goodies, we find a place at the table, and munch down on some delicious food.

I go back to the bar, for a re-fill of wine. I randomly start talking to Diane, who I find out has the same adventurous spirit that I have. We talk about my adventures, and her adventures, and she shares with me great insight into all the opportunities available in Hawaii.

Since Thanksgiving is about gratitude, there is a Post-It board for exactly that.

So I indulge.
After a festive evening, we head back home. Lounge around and begin decompress from a fully bellies and great conversation.

But not before some authentic Sugar Care Rum from Hawaii.

Cheers!

And then it was time for bed!
Reflections:
Today was a rest day for Justin and I. There was no chasing of items on the Hawaii bucket list. It was all about spending quality time catching with Hank and Kathy. 
It was great to see them, and spend quality time with them. They live in Ko Olina, a beautiful area outside of Honolulu. And from what I have heard, is the best place to watch the sunset in the island of Oahu. I am so appreciative of them opening their home, showing us around, and inviting us to spend Thanksgiving with them.
The Thanksgiving Pot Luck Dinner was amazing. It was great to share the moment with them, and their new friends. It was nice to see how Hank, Kathy, and Justin effortlessly bonded. My conversation with Diane was one of the highlights of my trip. I wish I had her knowledge of the islands before planning the trip.
The icing on the cake at the end of the night was the delicious KoHana sugar cane rum that Hank shared with us. Just amazing. I can still taste it.
Thank you again Kathy and Hank for an amazing experience. 
Expenses: $57.87
Breakfast: $15.57 (Marriott)
Gas: $21.46 (Tesoro)
Parking: $20.84 (Marriott)
Car: 4487 Points (Alamo)