Hawaii Day Five – Pineapples and Chinese Hats

The Dole plantation was established around 65 years ago as a fruit stand. It became famous for its pineapples and as part of the ever expanding Dole empire. These days it is a popular tourist attraction on Oahu. We got an early start this morning and beat the traffic to arrive just as it opened and be first in line for Dole whip, their signature pineapple ice-cream. We sat and ate our cups and cones with spoons and licks while looking out over the plantation grounds. The day was off to a good start.

As we exited the main pavilion Rowen noticed a stand offering face painting and temporary tattoos. We just had to stop and get one. After a few minutes of careful deliberation Rowen selected a sparkly tattoo of a cupcake to go on her forearm. The lady running the stand was kind and patient. Rowen sat still the whole time as she shared stories of our adventures over the last few days.

  

Appropriately inked we went in search of our next adventure. We had heard of a train called The Pineapple Express that toured the plantation grounds so of course we had to give it a try. I went in search of tickets while mummy and Rowen played in a life-sized pineapple house. On the way to the train we came across a gum tree. It’s trunk was smooth and the surface streaked with many different colors. Rowen observed it carefully and a little cautiously.

People filed onto the train as we all shuffled forward. Finally reaching the front of the line Rowen handed the conductor our tickets and we were ushered to our seats. The ride was superb. We saw vast fields where pineapples are grown, several fields growing sugar cane, and numerous orchards filled with trees bearing all kinds of fruit, many of which were unfamiliar. A narration accompanied the tour providing fun facts interspersed with musical interludes. It didn’t take long before Rowen was dancing along with the music and looking out of the side of her carriage as the sights drifted by.

  

The views were spectacular. Vast fields of red volcanic soil framed by distant mountains that rose into the clouds. Although we were only a few minutes from the bustling pavilion at the center of the plantation, the landscape quickly became calm and tranquil with only the sounds of the train and our fellow passengers around us.

Jack Fruit is a type of fig that is thought to have originated in India. It also bears the honor of being the largest tree-borne fruit. Breadfruit apparently gets its name from its potato-like flavor that is similar to freshly baked bread, or so Wikipedia informs me.

Despite being a tourist attraction the plantation is beautifully maintained and must yield an impressive amount of produce. The train ride lasted for twenty minutes and we passed field after field of food the entire time.

After the train we went to feed the fish in the Koi pond but not before our little pineapple posed for a photograph.

The fish are crazy. Throwing them some fish food results in a complete feeding frenzy. They jump and swim all over each other in an attempt to be first to the food. It’s a bit like watching humans shopping in the opening hours of Black Friday.

The morning soon gave way to afternoon and we decided to get back on the road soon. First we got some lunch to prepare us for the drive back. Rowen played a few more times in the pineapple house running back and forth to our table to get bites of food.

Just as we were about to leave Rowen found a chicken that was just wandering around in the parking lot and decided to make friends with it. The chicken wasn’t sure and kept trotting just out of reach. I explained that the chicken was where our lunch came from, which only seemed to spur her on.

We had originally intended to continue driving north to find some of the famous beaches on the north shore but Rowen was starting to look really tired and so instead we decided to start heading back to our resort for nap-time. It wasn’t ten minutes into the drive when all went quiet in the back and we turned to find that she had fallen asleep in her car seat. Figuring that this gave us a few more options and concerned that she might not transfer out of the car well we continued back towards our resort in Waikiki but cooked up a new plan to go to a state park on the eastern shore should Rowen stay asleep long enough as to not be exhausted when we got there. Sure enough she stayed asleep for almost an hour and soon we were approaching Kualoa park, home to the famous Chinaman’s Hat or Mokoli’i in Hawaiian.

The beach at Kualoa is a short one but Rowen quickly made the most of it, plopping down in the sand and starting to dig. She was singing as she filled her bucket, the picture of happiness. We asked her if she’d like to go in the water but she said she was just happy looking at the ocean and digging with her shovel. Can’t argue with that.

  

I watched Rowen while Meaghan went snorkeling. The weather was a little overcast at the park, which provided some nice relief from the otherwise unforgiving sun. Having dug a sufficiently satisfying amount of sand, Rowen wanted to join Meaghan in the water and soon they were running up the shore away from the waves. Rowen has become much more confident in the water but she still doesn’t like the feeling of the waves pushing her when she’s standing on the edge of the shore.

After another fabulous afternoon at the beach we once again packed up the car and headed back towards civilization. It was happenstance that led us to the east coast park but I’m really glad it worked out that way. The views were amazing and the breeze and cloud cover let us be outside without increasing our risk of getting sunburned. We slather on sunblock on a pretty regular cadence but this is Hawaii after all and we burn easy.

We ended the night once again at Jimmy Buffets. We both like the drinks there and Rowen loves the live music. Tomorrow we’re going to take a break from being in the car and walk down to the nearby Kuhio beach early in the morning. In the evening we have tickets to the Luau just outside the Hilton Hawaiian Village only a few minutes from our resort. We’ll probably take an easy afternoon maybe just hanging out by the pool. Then again it’s been fun just seeing where the days take us.

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