A Mongoose Isn’t A Bird- The Trip That Keeps On Giving (Hawaii Part 4)


I have a confession to make. I’m getting senile. It’s only been a month since our trip to Hawaii and already many of the stories and events are fading. I wrote myself some notes and I found myself staring at them this morning trying to decipher what in the world I was talking about. Honestly, they look like the ramblings of a mad woman.

So, I will do my best today to remember what the heck it all means.

Way back in Zoe’s birthday post http://kbjackson.com/a-turtly-awesome-10th-birthday-hawaii-part-2/ I failed to mention something that happened at dinner that night.

We were seated at a long table, Zoe of course at the head. I was next to Zoe, and my brother and sister in-law were at the other end, so I often had to strain to hear the conversations going on. At one point Brooke, my sister-in-law, was telling a story about a mongoose.

Over Parker’s head I said to Jeff, “What’s she talking about?”

He said, “A mongoose.”

I said, “You know a mongoose is a bird, right?”

He gave me a strange look, but said nothing.

The next day the topic of the mongoose came up again. Jeff said, “You know a mongoose isn’t a bird.”

“Yes it is. I think it’s a white bird with a long neck.”

“No. It isn’t. A mongoose is a rodent.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure. Google it.”

And so I did.

This is a mongoose:


I have no idea what I was thinking is a mongoose, but this wasn’t it.

Of course, because I am RARELY ever wrong about ANYTHING, this became great fodder for my family.

The day after we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center http://kbjackson.com/who-let-the-dogs-out-hawaii-part-3/ Jeff stayed back at the hotel with Parker and Nathan, while Toni, Sydney, Zoe and I went back up to Kualoa Ranch. http://www.kualoa.com/

Sydney was a big fan of “Lost” and one of her birthday requests while we were there was to do a “Lost” site tour.

It turns out that our tour guide wasn’t a big fan of “Lost” and therefore didn’t focus a lot on it. There are a ton of shows and movies that have been filmed on this property, and in fact the other day while I was in bed sick and catching up on “Hawaii 5-0” Zoe and I noticed that they were showing scenes filmed in the World War 2 bunkers we had gone into on the tour.

219Zoe in a bunker

sydneylostSydney gets “Lost” in the bunker (He looks pretty annoyed with her)

During the tour, our guide talked about the history of the ranch, its WW2 occupation by the Navy, and how it became a popular location site for filming.

She also brought up the mongoose. I could see Sydney smiling out of the corner of my eye as the guide told us how the mongoose came to be in Hawaii. I tried not to make eye contact.

Hawaii has a rat problem. Some time back some dude thought he would solve the rat problem by bringing in a predator- the mongoose. The trouble was, the rats come out at night and the mongoose (mongeese?) come out in the day time. And never the twain shall meet. Now Hawaii has a rat problem AND a mongoose problem. And now I know more about the mongoose than I ever hoped to know. At this point it’s in contention for my least favorite animal.

When we got back from the bus tour we noticed the hundred and one had arrived- but they were all going on the horseback riding tour. Trying to navigate that crowd was like a salmon swimming upstream.

We headed back down into Waikiki and made plans for dinner. We decided to take the trolley, which is pretty convenient and only $2/person. Unfortunately it was a busy night because 2 full trolleys came by before we were able to squeeze onto what would turn out to be the greatest bus ride any of us have ever taken. About 5 minutes into the ride, our driver said that he thought we needed a little spark to get us going. He turned up the volume and began playing “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang. As we drove he would start and stop to make the trolley “dance.” At one point, he started calling out people who weren’t singing. Parker thought this was all terrifying, while Zoe thought it was the greatest thing ever.

Once “Celebration” was done, he moved on to “YMCA.” Most of the trolley was doing the hand motions. Even people on the street were doing it as we waited at a stop light. At one point, a woman on a bus next to us seemed to have some sort of breakdown because she was angrily pointing and yelling at us in Japanese.

There is video of this fun ride, however Sydney’s privacy settings on her Facebook account won’t allow me to show it. I attempted to screen shot the driver and although these pictures are hazy, you get the gist.

image Our driver clapping and dancing

image The light turned but he still managed to make the Y in YMCA

We rode the trolley several times during the course of the trip. Every other time the driver stayed silent except to announce stops. Which just goes to show- Your attitude about life can turn an ordinary bus ride into an event to remember.

The next day we drove out to Hanauma Bay to go snorkeling. All the pamphlets said “get there early,” but we had no idea that meant like 8am. We arrived around 930, only to be told we couldn’t even pull into the parking lot, it was full. They told us to come back and try again in 20 minutes. We headed down the highway another few minutes until we reached a lookout point. It was spectacular.

hanauma1 hanauma2 hanauma3

We headed back up to the entrance to the parking lot and were allowed in. I had been concerned we were never getting in.

They take people down in groups, following a short video that explains about the bay, what you will see there and how to preserve the fragile ecosystem of the bay. It’s a pretty long hike down, or you can pay to have a tram take you.

Even on a Wednesday in October that place was busy. We found a spot to settle in.

For months Parker had talked about going snorkeling. He’s been snorkeling in our bathtub with a mask, practicing. So when the day finally came…

232 He was ready.

Until he put his face in the ocean.

He didn’t like the flippers, and the waves freaked him out. He ended up hanging right around the edge of the water, never going too far.

He missed out. Somewhere we have an underwater camera with undeveloped pictures that Zoe took. I have seemingly misplaced it. You’ll have to take my word for it- the fish were amazing.


We spent an awful lot of time in the car on this trip. As a result there were a lot of random conversations. At one point Zoe decided we should start a family band. She put her father as lead singer, which made absolutely no sense, as he couldn’t hold a tune in a bucket. I think she assigned Parker the triangle.

Sydney said I should cover all of today’s hits and call it “Mom Bop.”

My taste in music was challenged at one point, so we ended up putting on the Disney Pandora station. This led to a whole conversation about the Little Mermaid, and her voice, and what kind of bargain it was to give up your voice to get the guy.

Jeff said, “It would be worth it.”

He just likes the idea of a pretty woman with no voice.

And I think he likes the idea of me with no voice.

My mother-in-law was trying to understand my family at one point. My dad has two children from his first marriage, my mom has two from hers. They got married, and had me.

“Oh, so you’re the only only?”

Well, did my husband have a field day with that comment. “Oh, she’s the only only all right. Between Zoe, who calls herself ‘the awesome’ and Miss ‘Only only’ over here, you can see what I’m dealing with.”

For the rest of the trip Zoe and I were referred to as “The awesome and the only only.”

Haters are gonna hate, what can I say?

We saw a lot of sites, went to a lot of events, but in the end the true memories were made on those car rides, in silly conversations and unplanned moments.

I promise I only have one more Hawaii post planned. It was Parker’s birthday and it was a day to remember. There was Mickey Mouse, a shirtless man throwing flaming swords and I got a tattoo. What more could an 8 year old ask for?

124He really just wanted me to get a picture of the woman behind him




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