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Josiah's Hawaii Travelogue 13
December 15th, 2022 - January 9th, 2023
Hawaii Travelogue 12
December 15th - January 9th: Back in Hawaii
As always, we had our usual family trip to Hawaii over winter break. Some scheduling issues made it a bit shorter than I would have liked, especially since adding another week or two would have made the plane tickets a lot cheaper, but it was still a fun trip. Since our previous visit, Hawaii finally dropped the last of its COVID restrictions (making it one of the last places in the country to do so), which meant everything was fully open with no need to worry about masks, vaccine cards, or the like. The tourists were back in force as well. Not as many from Asia since Japan had only recently opened its boarders and China didn't until right before we left, but the American and European tourists seem to have made up for it. There are still a number of empty storefronts though, as a sign that the economy there has yet to fully recover. I was pleased to see some new little food court areas open up here and there, and really happy that the Japanese food court on Waikiki is in the process of re-opening under a new name. Shirokiya, sadly, seems to be gone for good though.

Anyway, it was a great trip and we had a lot of fun spending time with family and hitting up some favorite spots. We stayed on Oahu until New Year's and then went over to Maui for the rest. We didn't visit a lot of new destinations on this trip so I won't be doing a full day by day travelogue, but I did want to do entries for two specific destinations, so here you go.

January 4th (Wednesday): Rappel Maui
When I was a kid, I used to go to a camp in the mountains of Colorado and one of the activities was rappelling (climbing down a cliff). However, while I've done the occasional climbing wall and rope courses over the years, it's been a really, really long time since I've done any proper rappelling. So, for birthday presents this year, my parents got my brother and I a reservation with Rappel Maui, which doesn't just feature rappelling, but rappelling down waterfalls.

Rappel Maui is located in the Garden of Eden, a botanical garden on the famous "road to Hana." Note that it's the road that's famous, not Hana itself. The road is very curvy and very scenic and it's also one of the few major attractions on Maui that I've yet to see. Well, I saw part of it this time, but I don't think we even made it half way so it'll have to stay on my list for the future. Anyway, it's a pretty area. The weather was iffy (it rained on and off) but fortunately not enough to cause any problems for our rappelling tour. Plus, since we were going to get wet anyway (waterfalls and all), rain wasn't that big of a deal.
After getting suited up and going through the usual safety stuff and instructions, we had a short hike to the first hill (where the previous picture was taken). It was essentially a bunny slope. Too steep to walk down, but no rocks and no waterfall. Since I'd rappelled before, it was pretty easy and the rest of the group (most of whom had no rappelling experience) did just fine as well. The second and third cliffs featured jagged rock walls and waterfalls with pools at the bottom that you had to drop into and swim across. It still wasn't too difficult (rappelling in general is fairly easy so long as you're properly roped in) but it was a lot of fun and the waterfalls certainly made things more exciting. Luckily, no one in our group froze up or freaked out so we made very good time and, after the three rappels, finished with a short but steep hike back up to where we started. All in all, we actually didn't cover much distance, it's really just three rappels and a bit of hiking, but it still made for a memorable activity and one I'd recommend if you don't mind the price.

January 5th (Thursday): Maui Tea Farm
They don't grow much tea in the US but, like with coffee, Hawaii is a bit of an exception. While Maui has had a tea farm for a while, they only recently started doing tours. Maui Tea Farm is a small but fairly picturesque place up on the side of a mountain. They've got a gift shop but you can also sign up for guided tours. The farm isn't especially large, but there's tea and a variety of other plants as well. Our guide was very well informed about both tea and plants in general and I found the whole experience pretty interesting. And, of course, there was plenty of tea to sample. While it would have been nice to see more of the tea making process itself, I enjoyed walking through the farm and hearing all about the various plants. It's not a must see attraction, but if you have an interest in tea or Hawaiian flora, it's a pleasant way to pass some time.

Hawaii Travelogue 12

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