Let The Adventure Begin…….

Easier said than done…..

You would think after doing this for so many years, that I would have the routine down by now. Nope! The process is never dull from beginning to end. I absolutely love our adventures over the years. Honestly, it is totally worth all of the sleepless nights of packing. The sheer joy on my children’s faces is priceless. So, please come along for the ride…….

The Chapmans’ adventure this year is taking us to different regions of Switzerland…. for the moment. Every summer, we try to explore with Jordan and Alexandra some different fascinating part of the world. We consider this a big of part of their education. They need to know and understand how they fit in this great big world. Fortunately, the little people enjoy traveling just as much as we do.

The planning for the family vacation usually starts in September. The children tell us where they would like to go and why. All of their ideas are listened to. But then, we explain why we can’t go here or there. This year, Jordan wanted to go to Australia. Alexandra had her heart set on Argentina to go visit her Uncle Pollo and Auntie Val. Both wanted to end up in France with their cousins Jibril and Noe. So, the compromise was Switzerland. They pretty much dictate where the next adventure will take us. Of course, Christopher & I will always have the final say because wherever we go, safety is a big concern.

They know that we usually leave the last days of July or the beginning of August. As the days get closer to our departure,  the children become more excited. I don’t have to tell how much work goes into planning vacations with little people. I was exhausted just thinking about it. I have to tell you, I still have not mastered the ‘art of packing light’. It’s a work in progress. Seriously!!!!

 

Today is the day. Yeah!!! Both children are literally bouncing off of the walls. They are so hyper and excited. 7 pm can’t come fast enough to go to the airport. We decided to let Alexandra go to cheerleading practice. She Which would have ended at They/we love to fly. Since the fly to Zurich is eight hours long, we tend to fly at night to go. They play for a while. Then it is lights out for everybody but me. I can’t sleep. I’m too nosey. You know I just spent the past 36 hours packing, organizing and cleaning. I’m now functioning purely on adrenaline.

A Special Visit: The White House

Visiting The White House was an extraordinary moment in time!!!

Both Christopher and I wanted the children to visit The White House while President Barack Obama was still in office. This moment may not exist again in our lifetime. We needed them to understand that anything is possible with hard work, courage, determination and perseverance.

President Obama is a man of great integrity, dignity, and unbending principle. He is also an amazing leader. He’s always conducted himself with great pride , courage, restraint and showed tremendous love for his country. We wanted Jordan and Alexandra to see the face of hope and possibility.  President Obama represents that and so much more.

Pictures to come……

 

Man of War, Jellyfish………….Just Keep Swimming, Swimming, Swimming!!!

Remember the Jellyfish in Nemo!

We were all having a wonderful afternoon at Waimanalo Beach. Christopher was relaxing on his beach chair talking to some folks. Alex was playing in the sand with a friend. Jordan was having the time of his life body surfing. I was taking pictures of my Baby Boy.  He was just riding the waves like an expert…..lol. All of a sudden….

I felt a sharp pain around my left ankle. I cried out. I grabbed my ankle and I removed what looked like a blue bracelet. I threw it back in the ocean. I quickly got out of the ocean. I ran to Christopher. My ankle was still stinging & throbbing. It brought me to my knees. I was still screaming. Being that I was such a scary individual, Christopher did not take me seriously. I was scared of my own shadow. My children took pleasure in yelling “Boo” all the time so that I could jump with fright. This time I had a legitimate reason for screaming. The couple standing and talking with Christopher said that I was probably bitten by MAN OF WAR jellyfish. Seriously!!! The wife knew because her husband was bitten a few days prior. Now Christopher believed me! I now had a ring mark around my ankle. I came all the way  to Honolulu, Hawaii to get bitten by a JELLYFISH. That jellyfish couldn’t find anyone else to bite!!!! Well…….he did!

Images for man of war

Deadly Beauty: Portuguese Man-of-War | National Geographic

I couldn’t believe it. How did you treat a jellyfish sting? While I was crying a bit, Jordan came over to see what was all of the commotion. I told him I got bitten by a jellyfish. Guess what he said! “Oh maybe that’s what happened to me.” He pulled up his shirt. OH MY GOD!!!! The boy’s belly and chest area were completely covered with welps, blotches and scratches. He never said a word until that moment. He was not crying or anything. Jellyfish tore him up while he was body surfing. He did not even took noticed. At some point, I remembered him asking me for his swim shirt. He said when he was on his stomach in the water, he felt sharp stings. He had no clue that the stings came from the MAN OF WAR jellyfish.

Guess how you treat jellyfish stings?

 

Waimanalo Beach Park, Oahu – To-Hawaii.com

Pictures to come:

Waimanalo Beach……Peace of mind Until……. Jellyfish

Jellyfish…….just keep on swimming!

Remember, we were just at Sandy Beach. We heard the message loud & clear about the dangers of Sandy Beach. We drove to Waimanalo Beach. Jordan was still pouting. It must be nice to be him…..He was on vacation in Paradise Island, crying and pouting over which beach to go body surfing. Christopher and I would have loved to have had that problem as children. Wow! The boy had no idea how blessed he was. We will teach him. He will know.

Waimanalo Beach Park, Oahu – To-Hawaii.com

Waimanalo Beach was great. The waves were perfect for a non-experience body surfer. However, there were some folks with experience as well. I felt better because I was not worried over Jordan or Christopher breaking their necks. We were there for over three hours. Once Jordan got over his bad attitude and  mood, he had a fantastic time. There were plenty waves big enough for him to body surf. He kept asking me to take pictures of him riding the waves. Alex was in her glory as usual. She was on her Daddy’s shoulders or arms. She was even riding the waves at some point. We met some wonderful people from  South Jersey, but now resided in Hawaii. The children had no problem making friends. They always found friends to build sandcastles with them.

We were all having a great time. Christopher was relaxing on his beach chair talking to different people. Alex was playing in the sand. I was taking pictures of Jordan while he did his thing on the waves. All of sudden….

Sandy Beach Park……Beautiful, Powerful and Dangerous

Jordan wanted to go to the beach every single day. It did not matter what beach. The bigger the waves the happier he was. So usually after a half touring, we would appease him and head for the beach. Why Not!!! Today we packed our gear, surfboards & with our trusted Mapquest, we headed for Sandy Beach Park. During our day tour around Honolulu, we heard about Sandy Beach Park. The waves were too die for…….literally. The beach is known as “the beach of broken necks”. Jordan was so excited about being there. He was very impatient to get there. We took the scenic route so we could take some pictures. Jordan was not happy. He just wanted to get the beach. Alex was going with the flow. She was following behind her brother. We got to Sandy Beach. Yes, it was plain to see, the waves were incredibly powerful.

Sandy Beach Park, Oahu – To-Hawaii.com

Sandy Beach was incredible. It was absolutely breathtaking.The most beautiful sandy bottom beach on the Southeast side of Oahu. It looks peaceful and serene here, but those who knew Sandy Beach say beware.

Christopher unloaded the car. I walked with the children a bit to located a good spot to put our things down.  While he went to find parking. Jordan already had shoes off, surfboard in hand edging towards the beach. I told him absolutely not. We had to wait for his Dad. I was looking at the waves slamming hard each time and was no longer feeling very confident about the children being at this particular beach. My fears were confirmed a couple minutes later. One of the lifeguards came over to talk to us. He said that was his usual speech he gave to all newcomers especially those with young children. Under no circumstance should we be at Sandy Beach Park.

The waves were extremely dangerous even to professionals. Many severe injuries (broken backs, necks, legs) occurred because the waves were too powerful. It would be better for us to take the children 10 mins down the road to Waimanalo Beach. Christopher came back from parking the car and got the same speech. He agreed we should leave. Well, Jordan who believed himself to be an expert surf boarder started to cry. Mind you, he’d only been on a surfboard this vacation. When in the world did he master SURFING? He had a crying fit, along with a serious tantrum. He said that he was not interested in going to a beach with “Baby Waves”. … Right!!! I understand he was disappointed. However, their safety came first. Disappointments were part of life. He cried and pouted for the next 40 mins. I didn’t get upset with him because I wanted to be at Sandy Beach as well. My President spent a lot of time on that beach I’m told. That was President Obama’s beach whenever he could get there. Oh well, at least, we were there. We stepped in the ocean briefly.

Pictures to come:

Catamaran TradeWind Sailing Cruise

Catamaran TradeWind Sailing Trip was so much fun. The crew was very friendly and you had great service! They kept you laughing. You knew you were in for a good time. While we waited for the people to load up, Jordan and Alex played in the ocean. They absolutely loved that. We had to be barefoot to board right on Waikiki Beach behind the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. What more could the children asked for! You were told to sit in the front if you wanted to get wet. Well….., I went closer to the back, leaving Christopher and his beautiful children to enjoy being splashed at every dip and turn. They absolutely got soaked. Again, they were the happiest. The were squealing with laughter. The cruise, itself for Jordan and Alex, was nowhere near as exciting as the idea of the unexpected baths from the ocean.

The excursion only lasted 90 minutes. You know me, that was more than enough time to make friends…lol. I love meeting new people. We are all connected. It’s a pleasure to meet fascinating folks all over the world. You were sailing along the Waikiki coast. It was a very relaxing and sweet sail with gorgeous views of the ocean. The tropical breezes, the serenity of Hawaii’s deep blue waters and the warm Hawaiian sun just made you feel so good. You wanted the sail to go on forever.

Maita’i Sailings : Maita’i Catamaran, A Unique Experience

At some point, Jordan and Alex were allowed to steer the cruise. Alex couldn’t even reached the wheel. That didn’t stop her from trying. They were all smiles.

An unforgettable island memory!!!!!

Pictures to come……..

Giggly Bubbly Circle Island Tour

Day Tour :

We took a day tour around Oahu. The good news was, we didn’t have to get up at 4 am to drive for 3 hours to get on the bus. We left the condo by 8:20 am. We returned by 7:30 pm…..lots of traffic coming back. The meeting point was literally around the corner in front of the Aqua Waikiki Wave Hotel.  I found a great deal on Groupon for the Giggly Bubbly Circle Island Tour around Oahu. Again it was a long day, but extremely helpful and informative. We would have never gone to all of the different locations on that particular tour. A bus tour was the way to get an overview of OAHU without trying to drive in the horrendous traffic on this island.

There were many stops and scenic sights. They were not long, but were terrific. The tour guide/driver Patrick was very knowledgeable. He was animated and engaging.  We were given a map of the places we would stop along the way.  He really made the trip with his stories and insights into his island. The trip included 2 hours at Kualoa Ranch (lunch and a tour of the property by ranch tour guides). We only had about 13 people on the tour bus. It was a beautiful relax day. It was hot, but no humidity.  It was a terrific day trip that included the East Shore, North Shore and Dole Plantation. We had a GREAT Day  along with many natural wonders of the island’s coastline, we saw sea turtles, rainbows, surfers in the pipeline and had an amazing lunch & tour on the Kualoa Ranch.

—-Kualoa Ranch is a 4000 acre ranch and tourist attraction on the windward coast of Oʻahu in Hawaiʻi. The ranch consists of 3 valleys: Kaʻaʻawa Valley, Kualoa Valley, & Hakipu’u Valley.—–

The children had plenty of space to lounge around in the back of the bus. We sampled a lot of junk food along way. I had to have my shaved ice.

Pictures to come:

Waikiki Beach

Jordan had two desires for Hawaii. He wanted to come face to face with an active Volcano Hawaii Volcanoes | GoHawaii.com and he had to be at the Beach every single day. Well, we didn’t make the beach everyday, but just about. In Hawaii, Waikiki Beach is not only the most famous beach, but also one of the most recognized Oahu beaches and spots in the world.  I did not  know that Waikiki actually had 8 different sections. We were staying in a condo literally one block away. So our first visit on the island was Waikiki Beach per Jordan’s request.

Waikiki Beach – All 8 Sections of Waikiki Beach – Best of Oahu

 

Pictures to come…….

Next Destination: OAHU Haiwaii

Our next stop was the Island of O’ahu.

Oahu – Aloha Hawaii

Our first impression of Oahu: After Christopher picked up our rental car, we were on the road to our new condo. First impression was the congestion, TRAFFIC. It was apparently rush hour at 4:30 pm. I felt as if I was back home on the Parkway heading down the shore. It was bumper to bumper. I knew the island of Oahu had way more to offer than just traffic. However, after leaving such a peaceful Big Island, it was hard to suddenly jump into this new scene. I had ideas of what the capital was going to be like.

  1. Oahu is an island in the mid-Pacific, part of the Hawaiian island chain and home to the state capital, Honolulu. Highlights of the city include historic Chinatown; the Punchbowl, a crater-turned-cemetery; and Waikiki, the iconic beach, dining and nightlife area. West of Honolulu is Pearl Harbor, site of the 1941 bombing attack and home to the USS Arizona Memorial.

    Our condo was on the 11th Fl of a huge complex located smack in the middle of Waikiki. It was very secure. We had a parking spot on the 2nd fl. It was very easy to load our luggage in the elevators because there was a loading zone. Being on the 11th was not an issue at all. The condo was very spacious with a huge balcony over looking the city. We didn’t take time to explore because everyone was starving. Last meal was breakfast.

    We could walk to a lot place, but having a car simplified our lives. Waikiki beach was two blocks away. We were in the center of everything. We couldn’t wait to explore. However, the best excitement of Oahu for today came when we went to dinner. Christopher asked friendly passerby for best places to eat with children. We were heading once again for french fries and pizza. A few feet from our condo was a Korean Restaurant. And there you have! Jordan said he wanted to eat there. I was not convinced that he’d actually eat anything. Well, I was wrong……he ate and ate well. I shouldn’t have had any doubts because his Dad cooked Korean food on a regular. But lately, he’s been particularly picky about what he would and would not eat. Since the beginning of this vacation, that was the first time we all enjoyed a wonderful meal together as a family. That was a fabulous beginning to our Oahu vacation. This night, we were in bed by 9 pm. I fell asleep before everyone else. I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

    Pictures to come………

Last Lasting Moments of Big Island

  •  Our flight was at 2:30 pm. It was only a 40 mins flight to Oahu. The process of flying, checking in & out is still tedious and requires work. We were ready by 9:30 am to walk out of the door. You know I spent most of the night, cleaning,  doing laundry, packing and organizing.  I couldn’t leave the rental messy. What would the owners think? As usual, I was tired when it was time to walk out the door. That did not matter! New adventures awaits! We said our goodbyes to our gracious neighbors, Joann and Rigley. They lived upstairs above us. They were very kind and generous. They answers any & all of our questions. They were never too busy. They even welcomed us with a fruit basket. They thought our children were just adorable. I agreed with them…..lol.
    We sat on the lanai with the gorgeous views for the last time. We took our last stroll around the neighborhood, along with some amazing pictures. We then packed the car and headed for the road never looking back……too sad.
    Next stop was breakfast: I told you we had time to kill. I had issues when it came to time to fly out anywhere.  I liked to get to the airport extra early because I did not like to feel pressured or rushed. The thought of missing our flight because we didn’t get to the airport on time is unacceptable for me. So I always had plenty of time to get there. After breakfast, we made our way to the airport. Christopher dropped us off before heading to Budget to return our rental car.
    I have to say that we enjoyed sitting at Kona International Airport at Keahole. You were on ground level and could see and take pictures of all the flights taking off and coming in.
    Pictures to come…….