We celebrated King Kamehameha Day this past weekend with a trip to Honolulu for the annual parade, which features many traditional Pa'u horseback riders. The riders represent each of the Hawaiian islands, and include a Queen and Princesses for each location. You may not be aware that King Kam is responsible for uniting the Hawaiian kingdom in 1810, and is the only royal figure to have an official holiday in the United States. Plus, if you're lucky he may be hanging out in your pocket (if you happen to have the state quarter from Hawaii).
Tag and I are amused with the fact that we spent much longer on the parade route than at the actual parade itself. We chose a viewing spot in Waikiki that was next to a beach. This was a great move because the kids could play in the sand while we waited. This was also a bad move because we were at the tail end of the parade's marching tour of Oahu and most of the participants had lost steam by the time they reached us. While the marching bands did the marching part of their routine, that was about it. One of the classic "bugs" in the VW Club lineup was literally being pushed by four people in order to make it across the finish line. Nonetheless, the kids loved their first parade experience. Benji and Alice enjoyed seeing so many Pa'u horses. Tag and I enjoyed laughing about how our one hour parade plan turned into an epic viewing and waiting experience, requiring us to make punchy jokes to keep ourselves from deflating. Tag rose to the occasion and had me cry-laughing at some moments.
|Pa'u riders wearing traditional outfits.|
|Tag's comment: "Do you think that shirt belonged to Iz?"|
After the weekend parade excitement our week began with all the usual stuff. And then today we petted dolphins. Yes! It was awesome! Our neighbors both work for Dolphin Quest on Oahu-- Gregg is a vet who specializes on marine mammals and Julie is the Director and lead dolphin trainer there. Julie invited us to come today and gave us a private session with Lono, the biggest of the five dolphins on site. We had the pleasure of feeding, petting and making hand signals for Lono to do tricks for us. Benji was fantastic at making the hand motions, and was only mildly startled when Lono snorted on command after he tickled his snout. The whole experience was a super special gift from Julie. Their family has been a real representation of the spirit of aloha ever since we've been here.
|Julie introduces us to Lono (meaning "God of Peace and Prosperity"), and we pet him from the dock.|
|Julie shows the kids how to feed a dolphin.|
|Lono does a big jump for us.|
|He comes back and Benji raises his hand with a command.|
|Lono follows his command and waves his tail.|
|Lono shows us his belly button (or, "piko" in Hawaiian)|
|Another trick from Lono.|
|Lastly, Lono jumped onto the dock for us to take some final photos and say good-bye.|