The Skagway High School class of 2003 recently returned from its senior trip to Hawaii, and our senior student reporter was there with her notepad.
By LUCIE STRAUB
In my experience, Ireland has the most beautiful land in the world. But Hawaii has the best beaches and skies.
As soon as I stepped out of the airport into Hawaii, I was bathed with warmth and humidity. Kourtney Downen described it the best, It feels like were in a big swimming pool.
Everybody was sweating within five minutes, but had to hustle to make the bus to our hotel, Waikiki Surf East. They had metal tiki torches lining the streets wherever we went. The trees were lit up, making it feel almost like Christmas minus the snow, cold, and Salvation Army Santas on every corner.
The hotel was a Hawaiian version of a Motel 6. The girls and I hated our room because there was blood on the bed skirts and an ant infestation. At least we had a balcony. The three days we were there, housekeeping never changed the bed skirts, even after repeated requests to do so. I figured though, we were in Hawaii; they arent going to do anything about it; we have to make the best of it. However, my bed wasnt the one with the ant infestation, so I dont have much room to talk.
Then we all went shopping.
There was a street market about two blocks away from our hotel. They guys bought T-shirts and shorts. The girls bought sarongs and puka necklaces, starting to knock off their list of gifts they have to buy for friends and family.
The next day brought the first of our to-do list on the trip the USS Arizona Memorial tour at Pearl Harbor. It was interesting when I got to the actual memorial, it looked like this white banana-shaped structure that was chopped short on the ends. It laid on top of where the USS Arizona rests. It was very quiet there, peaceful. On one end of the structure were the names of all the men that died on the ships that sank. The disturbing thing I noticed was that the Arizona was still leaking oil. Brandie, Colleen and I were watching oil bubbles form on the water. Very pretty to look at, but very scary at the same time to think its still leaking after 60-some years.
Other than the memorial, there was a one-room museum containing miniatures of the boats, old parts, and the like. There was also a gift shop and a movie theater that explained why and how Pearl Harbor happened. The only other interesting thing there was a World War II veteran who survived the attack, and who signed things and talked to people.
Oh, and there was a little cafe as well. I wasnt expecting an amusement park or anything, but they could have at least made the museum into two rooms, to give credit to such a significant event. Thats just my opinion though.
We finished our tour of Waikiki after the memorial. Cousin Dave was our tour guide, and he made everyone on the bus into cousins. It was an interesting experience since I was apparently family with people from Japan, but hey, no worries. It was a half-day tour of the town, and we learned that hula hula means to turn over and also the history of Waikiki.
The rest of the day was on the beach.
From left to right: The excitement for the luau is evident in our boys faces. The girls pose with one of the local Samoan guys at the Polonysian Culture Center. -LS
There was a stretch of beach a couple blocks away from our hotel. Most of the seniors went down there, others went shopping and stayed at the hotel. I went to the beach, armed to the teeth with sunblock. Jerod finally mastered the art of floating, and Kourtney, Miranda, Marian and I jumped waves in the ocean. However, there were sharp, pointy rocks at points which sucked. Also the tide was coming in so we all had to keep moving our towels further back. Miranda dug a trench in front of hers, but even that couldnt thwart the waves.
That night, I went back and all the girls in my room slept on my bed because of the ant infestation in the other one. Luckily Colleen moved to the couch and Miranda wrapped herself in a sheet and curled in a ball on the other bed to get away from the ants.
On to the Polynesian Cultural Center. This center was like the Disney of Hawaii. No roller coaster rides or Goofy with a coconut bra though. The purpose of the center is for people to learn about the different regions in Polynesia their traditions, how they eat, cook basically what their lives are like. I learned how to make a fish out of two blades of a palm tree leaf, how to shell a coconut, and how to throw a spear. Also how to do a hula dance, but there was a problem. In the dance youre suppose to outline the person you like with your hands. My man always came out funny, either a tiny chest and love handles, or really feminine looking with big legs. I didnt know how hard it was to outline a guy.
Most of the class liked the Samoan tribe dancers because of the hot guys and women. They are known as the happy people. And the men cook! Score! My favorite place was Tahiti because they were the people that did the cool, fast hula dancing where they shake their butts.
At night was the luau. This is where we all tried the different Hawaiian foods, from poi to some weird fish that didnt really taste that good.
Poi tastes like absolutely nothing, as Dimitra Lavrakas says, Its the tofu of the plant world. Its made from the root of the taro plant, poi being the world for the action of mashing. Its suppose to be really healthy, and I can believe that. If something tastes like nothing at all and is purple, its gotta be healthy. Or radioactive, take your pick.
There was a really good drink at the luau. It was a carved out pineapple filled with sherbet ice-cream or a smoothie, really good. Cost five dollars though that was a gyp.
Then was the night show. All of the tribes came in and danced for us with music. It was awesome. The Tahitian men were the best though, they knew how to move their hips. They had fire walkers, and warrior dancing and my favorite part fire dancing. The Samoan man had two batons that were lit on fire and he danced around with them and chucked them at other dancers. He was also great with the audience and kept us laughing. The show was many seniors favorite moment in Hawaii.
We went shopping a little after the show, mainly buying pictures the staff took of us while we were doing activities and posing with other staff members.
At the hotel, it was the battle of the ants again, and griping to the manager of the hotel that there was still blood on our bed skirts. But who listens to us; were just hotel guests.
Early the next morning we went to the airport for a 30- minute flight in the late afternoon. We left Oahu and now were on Maui. Maui was pretty, but Waikiki was more fun. We got out and drove halfway down the island to get to our friggin hotel, and almost lost the other van on the way. There was a slight problem though. Mr. and Mrs. Calver didnt have hotel reservations. To combat this, the hotel offered a room for them at their hotel, and we would room at the neighboring hotel. The seniors were excited, but the Calvers quickly rejected that idea. So we all moved into their adjoining hotel.
That was the best mistake of the whole trip. Instead of rinky-dink hotel rooms, we all got condos, except for the Calvers. People lived in the condos during the winter, and the hotel rented them out for tourists in the summer. So we had a personal balcony, a kitchen with all the utensils included, a washer and dryer, two bathrooms with a deep tub, a TV, and stereo, a fold out bed, and a killer wall-sized window. When the sunset came it was so beautiful on the water, I hope my camera came through on those pictures. The other girls room had this cool dried up pineapple that smelled like vanilla. I really wanted to keep it, but didnt have room in my suitcase when I had to leave.
We had a large pool and right next to the beach. Unfortunately the beach was full of coral, as Colleen found out. She sliced her big toe and had to go back inside because of the sharp coral. Kourtney, mistress of the sea, wasnt scared and for the rest of the night basically spent her time in the ocean. Every chance she could get she was in the ocean, riding the waves.
The next morning we woke bright and early. Actually just early, we got to the bright part later in the day. Today was snorkeling with fish and turtles! The boat was an hour late because of maintenance problems, but they got those fixed before we got on (I hope) and we went out into the sea. On the boat we saw three whales, one was a calf playing around, which was really cute. The first stop, we received our snorkeling gear and jumped in. The water was warm and the fish were cool to look at. Some of Mr. Trozzos students had to take pictures of blue and yellow fish, there were plenty there for them. Apparently there was also a shark named Oscar there, as well as an octopus. Luckily for the shark I didnt see it, I would have freaked out on it and punched it. I kept getting seawater into my snorkel which made me gag several times, which wasnt fun, but the scenery made up for it. The coral was pretty too. Kourtney had a close encounter with the coral and has a mark on her leg from it, but luckily it didnt faze her.
From left to right: Jenny Andrews shows her spirit for the camera in Juneau. Senior class plus Toogie at the USS Arizona Memorial. -LS
The next spot was also cool. At first I couldnt see any turtles, but it seemed like they came out from the bottom all at once. It was so fun to swim with turtles. Jerod bonded with one of them and swam with it for a while. I counted at least 11 full-sized turtles in the murky water, but I honestly dont know how many there were. Also a water trampoline was there, but that wasnt as fun as it sounds. Basically you get on it and jump off. I had more fun with the turtles. Even Jimmy snorkeled, but got a sunburn from the goggles which had an interesting effect on his face.
There were parrot fish in the water which were feeding. I didnt know that until I was in the middle of a circle, which scared the crap out of me. They surrounded me and were brushing up against me, looking for food. I didnt really go back into the water after the fish incident. People jumped off the boat, so Colleen and Tyler had fun throwing bits of bread near them and watching the fish attack the people. Mainly it was Kourtney, Kyle and Aaron.
That was April 5, and it was Lucass 18th birthday. The boat sang Happy Birthday to him and he posed for a picture as the boat captain. I went back to the hotel to battle the ants. Kourtney and I made dinner for everyone that night she made tacos, I made a four-cheese chicken pasta thing. For us, cooking was an adventure. We had to find everything in the kitchen, and had to go back to the store three times because we kept forgetting ingredients. Miranda wanted to make non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiris. The cashier wouldnt let her purchase the drink though, even when it clearly said non-alcoholic. Some people are just prudes. So the Calvers bought it for us. We almost burnt out the blender chopping up the ice and ended up chopping a wooden spoon while shoving the ice down, but overall it was a good drink while cooking. We had too much food. For breakfast everyone had to eat as much as they could, and still we had to throw away a lot of it.
We flew to the island of Hawaii and hung out at a local mall. Kourtney and a few others went to the swimming pool. I stayed in the hotel because I was sick. Unfortunately, too much sun and dehydration kind of gets to you after a couple days. The next day was the most boring day. It was a tour of the entire island. Sounds cool, but the volcanoes werent erupting, it was rainy, and there was this jackass that kept making smart comments to our helpless tour guide. However, I did get a book on how to speak Hawaiian which was pretty cool. We went to an orchid greenhouse, a tunnel that was naturally created by lava, and a couple of lava fields. We also went to a chocolate factory. I didnt get anything there, but I made my rounds with the complimentary plates offered at the store.
That was our last adventure in Hawaii, but fear not, there is more to tell.
Arlen apparently picked up a lava rock on Maui, so naturally, Pele wouldnt let us leave Hawaii so easily. First, our plane was delayed from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. It took over a half hour to try to find a way to fly out sooner. So first we were rerouted to Salt Lake City, then to Seattle. Then it was from Salt Lake to Anchorage. Finally we settled for rerouting to Phoenix, Ariz., and then Seattle. Aarons eyes lit up and he was smiling all the way to Phoenix, where his girl friend goes to college. He was the only one to thank Arlen for stealing a lava rock, but the rest of the class made him throw it away so the plane wouldnt crash into the sea or something of the sort. When we flew back to Juneau, we were on the milk run. So that stretched a two-hour flight to five-hours. When we returned to Skagway the next day, all of us were sick of flying and were glad to be on ground again, although we still had to go to school that day. That part wasnt fun for me because I was tired, sick, and cranky.
That is the lowdown on the Senior Trip. Mahalo for reading this and check out the cool pictures the seniors took.
From left to right: Tired after snorkeling, Jerod Moore rests. Arlen McCluskey relives swimming with the fish. The Calvers celebrate their anniversary at the luau. -LS
All photos courtesy of senior class and advisor Linda Calver.