Day 4: Laie | PCC | BYU-Hawaii | Valley of the Temples

The beautiful part about O'ahu is within a weeks time you can really see a good majority if the island. I feel like we picked a handful of things we really wanted to see and left the "kinda want to see, but want to spend time with the kids" for the another trip to O'ahu.

On Friday we travelled to the north and eastern parts of the island. After only traveling 50 minutes north, it seemed like we had gone to a different island. If I didn't have free room and board and the cutest kids in the world to stay with in Honolulu, I would recommend staying in Laie, north shore area. It is quaint and cute and that "Hawaiian" feel to it, completely laid back and intimate.

On our way to Laie, we stopped by the Byodo-In Temple in the Valley of the Temples of the God. I had seen it in pictures and saw how beautiful it was, I wanted to stop by. Basically, there are all these temples from different religions sprinkled through out this most beautiful scenic cemetary I have ever seen. But really, the Ko'olau Mountains were the perfect backdrop to this quiet, but huge cemetery. You can drive and see all these temples, but we only had time to see one. The Byodo-In Temple was built in honor of the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants who came to Hawaii. When we parked and got to the bridge there is a small booth where you have to pay a $3 entrance fee. Remember how we already spent that $$ on the shaved ice? I said, "oh man, we don't have cash. Do you take card?" And the big polynesian man who was eating his breakfast said, "Just the two of you, go ahead". I almost bowed and said thank you, we were at a Japanese temple after all. We took some pictures, didn't have time to go in and then made our way on to Laie.

The whole drive is along the coastline and so look to your left, beautiful mountains, look to your right, gorgeous ocean. Its so scenic. All the homes were beach like, where the house is built above, and you park your card underneath. The road is RIGHT next to the ocean to its so fun to be so close. The area is a bit more run down -- but not in an ugly way. And I think the juxtaposition of the Laie Temple with its surroundings is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. The landscape was so manicured (but duh, it was the Temple!), and it was so peaceful -- most temples are in busy locations, and this was just in the small quaint town. BYU-Hawaii was fun to drive through -- we kept saying, "why didn't we come to BYU-Hawaii!"

Our next stop was the Polynesian Culture Center. An absolute MUST SEE AND DO activity. I was probably the only person in the whole state of Hawaii that was wearing pants that day, but I did not dare let my sunburnt legs see the sun. My legs had swollen up so much from trying to heal my sunburn (a common side affect of really bad burns), it was kinda tough to wear pants, but I didn't want another burn. Sorry -- I'm done talking about my sunburnt it was just half traumatizing.

The first thing we did at the PCC was take a canoe ride around the place, they are every 10 mins or so and we just wanted to get a feel for the place. Holy smokes its huge and there is so much to see and do in such little time. I wish we had a guide, but we don't have that kind of $$. One helpful thing was downloading the PCC app, and it sends you a notification about 5 minutes before an event so you can make your way there if you want to participate. What you'll spend your most time doing is going to the six villages which represent Polynesian islands, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji. Each islands have performances (song and dancing, story telling, informational tour, etc) throughout the day and peppered throughout are mini activities/classes like: how to make coconut oil, basket weaving, tapa making demonstration, tour of a chiefs house, etc).

We learned so much about these cultures, traditions, lifestyle, but most of all their innate power of family that is embedded in each of their cultures. I wish we as a society had more that we passed down to our posterity that linked all the generations together like the Polynesian's do.

We participated in the Luau meal and night show -- PCC totally rocked.

Do you see the guy on the tree?

Some takeaways: 
- Eat at Seven Brothers (really close to BYU-H), it has the VERY best fries I've ever ate in my life
- Definitely pay the extra money to do the Luau and Night show, totally worth it.
- Wear SPF 1000000
- If your Luau is at 4pm (like ours) you'll have about an hour and a half before the night show, and during that time they have a shuttle that will take you to the Temple

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