So, we went to Hawaii for two weeks. It was 95% awesome. There's something about island life that really struck a chord with Erica and me—within a few days we were talking about whether and how we could move to Hawaii. We'd have to change a lot about our lives, but it might be worth it. So that's now in the back of our heads. But as a vacation, it was certainly grand.

We did Oahu for a week and then Kauai. Oahu is the most populated island—it's where Honolulu is and we stayed right down in Waikiki. We did plenty of touristy stuff around our hotel and also got out around the island. Snorkeling, it turns out, is one of the most awesome things ever. It's so easy—you just stick your head in the water and float around and there are fishes. Or sea turtles, which we got to see on a catamaran trip. Sea turtles are turtles that live in the sea! Except that Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, evidently uniquely among sea turtles, also like to come and just bask on the sand and we got to see that as well.

Kauai is a lot more country of an island. The two biggest towns on the island are both about 20,000 people. There isn't even a road that goes all the way around the island. My favorite thing about Kauai is the chickens. There are chickens on all the islands—they came with the first Polynesians immigrants a thousand years ago. But on Kauai there was a hurricane in 1992 that released a lot of chickens from their coops and ever since then there have been wild chickens all over the island. At the beach—chickens. Up in the hills in the park—chickens. Wandering all over our resort and crowing at 5 am—chickens.

We took a surfing lesson in Kauai and it turns out that I'm pretty OK—at least on a big spongy board and with nice, regular waves. Since I did well, it was, of course, the one time we didn't bring a camera with, so there's no proof.

In Kauai we also got to see Hawaii's other large endangered animal that comes and basks on the shore—the Hawaiian Monk Seal. Having seen this large creature sleep on the beach for hours, I now think that maybe Parker is a seal. Tell me I'm wrong.

So, that 5% not awesome? Erica had two kidney stones pass while we were there. It kind of threw the end of the trip for a loop, and of course she was in terrible pain for a day. But the emergency room in Lihue was the nicest emergency room I've ever been in, with the friendliest staff, so there's that.

If you're traveling to the islands yourself, we can recommend the "Revealed" series of guidebooks from Wizard Publications. One of Erica's coworkers loaned her Oahu Revealed and we bought The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed while there, to help us get around that island. The books are written by someone who lives on the islands and there's definitely a local feel to the advice he gives.

As usual, I've put a metric buttload of photos up on Flickr, and a few video on YouTube. As is also usual, of late, Erica has written up the trip much more extensively:

Hawaii in Photos, Part 1
Hawaii in Photos, Part 2
Hawaii in Photos, Part 3
Hawaii in Photos, Part 4
Hawaii in Photos, Part 5
Hawaii in Photos, Part 6
Hawaii in Photos, Part 7
Hawaii in Photos, Part 8
Hawaii in Photos, Part 9
Hawaii in Photos, Part 10
Food of Hawaii