My family and I came back from the Big Island this afternoon, after a nice weekend away from busy Oahu. In case you’ve never been, the Big Island is very laid back. Even the tourist places aren’t as crazy as Oahu. There are no freeways, no tall buildings, no downtown district, none of that. Only lava rocks and land, a lot of it.
Even though we were visiting family in Kona, we stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, about 30 minutes from there. I remember the hotel because we visited before but this was the first time we stayed over, and it was nice.
Our room had the perfect view, with the dolphin pool right below. While my parents were cleaning the room I was sitting out on the balcony watching the dolphins swim back and forth, and the trainers feeding them fish. I love dolphins: they’re so smart and they just bring a smile to my face whenever I see them.
Saturday morning we had brunch at Honu’s on the Beach Restaurant located at the King Kamehameha Hotel. We met with family I haven’t seen in a while, and we were introduced to Auntie Tomi, who knew my mom’s dad from college. She was so cute and she didn’t have to, but she gave us a box of Mrs. Barry’s Kona Cookies (our other relatives gave us the same thing, but it included two containers of chips!). It was a really good brunch: the potatoes and link sausage were really good.
After we took a ride down to the farm (my relatives own a plumeria farm, so they make leis for stores and ship to the outer islands as well). They have the biggest (or second biggest) farm in the state. I didn’t take pictures. My cousin, who I thought worked on the farm full time, was there. it was nice seeing him again.
We went back to the hotel to get freshened up for the taping that night. The Hilton Waikoloa was the filming location of Wheel of Fortune, which has been shot there before and in Waikiki, on Oahu. An auntie of mine works for the show so she got us tickets to be in the audience. Several relatives went to a taping before so over brunch I was getting advice like to not clap so much because my hands were going to get sore, and to bring water.
The doors opened at 5pm, but filming didn’t start until 6:45pm or so. I was excited because I never saw a live taping of anything before, and it was really cool! They built the set from the ground up, and the wheel needed to shipped in on a boat. During commercial breaks which happened after a puzzle was solved, music would play for a bit, Pat and Vanna would get touched up, the contestants would get a briefing, etc. I liked how they showed the footage as if we were seeing it on TV. They filmed five episodes in one night, and we were free to leave after each one was finished. We left after the first showing because we were hungry. I wasn’t steered wrong with my hands getting sore–there was a lot of clapping, but it wasn’t hot because the sun was going down and we weren’t sitting in the sun.
Today we checked out and stayed in Kona. We ate lunch at Pine Tree Cafe (I saw a cute guy there haha!), went to Mrs. Barry’s Kona Cookies headquarters, ate ice cream at Baskin Robins, and took a drive to Keauhou. We boarded the plane at 4pm and didn’t get home till 5:30pm.
it was nice to go away but I was itching to get back home.
Next month we have a family get together on Oahu so I’ll see the same relatives again, with the exception of the auntie who’s from LA and just here for work.
(Instagram has collages from the trip).
(Today was also my mom’s birthday)!