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Hawaii 2003

I recently spent some time with my scanner and digitized a few more of my favorite 35mm film prints from my first time traveling to Hawaii waaay back in 2003. It was such a fun trip, so I definitely wanted to give it some space here on the blog! Chris was working at a conference in Honolulu for a week in June that year, so I was able to tag along and enjoy my first visit to Oahu. I filled the week with restful days at the pool at the Sheraton Waikiki and did plenty of sight-seeing. We rented a car and drove around the whole island when Chris had time off. When he was working, I explored Pearl Harbor and the Byodo-In Temple. (For some reason I can’t find the handful of photos I took at the USS Arizona Memorial, but it’s definitely worth a visit.)

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Here’s one of only a few photos of me from the whole trip – we were at the Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu. Doesn’t Chris look thrilled to be posing for a photo?

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Hiking to the top of Diamond Head is one of the first things we did on the island. I highly recommend this hike if you’re up for a bit of exercise! It’s a short hike, but the 0.8 miles to the summit are steep and strenuous, with stairs, switchbacks, and tight crawlspaces. Good sturdy shoes are a must, and some people chose to bring flashlights although we didn’t. The little tunnel was short enough that you could illuminate it with a cell phone if needed. Your reward awaits at the top – stunning views fit for a postcard, so bring your camera!

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The Byodo-In Temple is one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever visited. The grounds were immaculate and wonderful to photograph. Non-commercial photography is allowed without a permit, and the website even offers suggestions for the best time of day to photograph: “The best time to take photos of the temple and grounds is in the morning when the sun is still in the east.” The temple is a work of art, as is the Buddha statue inside. Before entering, I happily rang the bon-sho bell (or “sacred bell,” pictured below in the small structure), said to bring happiness, blessings, and a long life.

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Sadly we didn’t spend much time in the water on this visit. I got completely spooked by a sign posted on Waikiki beach one day that warned swimmers not to enter the water due to the amount of jellyfish swarms! So of course in my head, that meant Hawaii = death by jellyfish. The sign was only posted one day, but I didn’t want to take any chances. I think I’ve made good strides towards getting over that fear, and I’d like to go back one day. (Of course, if the sign was posted again I certainly wouldn’t jump into the water, but I’d go in another day.) I hear the snorkeling is awesome! Plus I would love to see Maui.

Chris and I did explore other beaches, even if we didn’t swim.

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This last photo is what happens when you hand a stranger your 35mm film SLR and ask him to take a photo of you on the beach. To be fair, properly exposing a sunset and people in the foreground is one of the toughest shots to get right, and I should have dialed in the settings for him. He actually made me super nervous because he approached us and offered to take the photo, but once the camera was in-hand, he kept backing up and backing up a little bit more. It turned out he just didn’t know how to use the zoom lens, but I thought for sure he was going to run off with my camera once he had some distance from us. Thank goodness for kind, honest people.

It was a gorgeous sunset though, and I still love this photo!

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