Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Flying dolphins

After we went to eat at Pizza in the Sky, we had planned on going on a hike to a waterfall, but since it was getting late in the day we decided that adventure would have to wait until another day. Instead we headed over to the Ocean Expo Park. We ended up accidentally parking at the south gate on the other side of the aquarium, but this ended up being perfect because we got to walk through the whole park.

First we walked through the gardens of the Arboretum. There were fountains, pools of water, and of course a lot of beautiful flowers. We saw people playing "ground golf" or croquet and it looked pretty fun.

The park is located right on the ocean and provided many beautiful spots:

We passed the Tropical Dream Center. We did not go in but it looks really cool. It's a botanical garden I think.

We also passed by the area focusing on the history and culture of Okinawa, the Native Okinawan Village and Omoro Arboretum and Oceanic Culture Museum. This park has TONS of things to do and see! We also passed by a really fun looking kids area called Adventure Land and kids were loving the Fountain Plaza and playing in the mist. There were a bunch of giant flower and plant animals, some you could even get in.

It was a pretty good walk, but we made it to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Just the building and location on the water were stunning.

We saw the crowd at the Dolphin Pool so we made our way over to catch the show. The commentary was all in Japanese, but you didn't have to understand the language to appreciate the magnificent and intelligent creatures. And wow, those dolphins and pilot whales really got some air! The show was very good, about 15 minutes long and free.

Also for free are the sea turtle pools and manatee pools outside. I LOVE dolphins, sea turtles and manatee's so this was pretty exciting for me.

We went down to the beach (yessssss finally) and I got my first taste of East China Sea salt water and sand.

We also went over to Emerald Beach:

Up to this point, our time at the park and aquarium had been totally free. But I do suggest that you pay to see the inside of the aquarium and if you go after 4 pm like we did you get a discount. They have some incredible exhibits like the coral reef, sharks, fresh water and deep sea.

Me being way too over excited for an adult about the touch pool:

The highlight of the aquarium was the famous gigantic Kuroshio Tank with the massive whale sharks and manta rays. Completely incredible. It is like you are under water. We sat here for quite a while watching and relaxing.

On our walk back to the car we were accompanied by a spectacular sunset! Enjoy:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pizza in Paradise

Pizza for me in the states usually consisted of a last resort dinner from the freezer section, take out or if I'm feeling really lazy, dinner delivered to my door step. However, here on Okinawa, the pizza is worth getting up off the couch, going for a drive and there is no freezer burn involved. The delicious pizza and amazing views at Pizza in the Sky is something I've been looking forward to experiencing for as almost as long as I've been looking forward to Okinawa. It did not disappoint.

The drive up north was so beautiful and I finally got to see the blue and green tropical water. Pizza in the Sky had it all. Panoramic ocean view, beautiful gardens and awesome food. We ordered salad and two small pizzas off of the menu fan (one side of the fan was in Japanese, the other in English). The ingredients were so fresh and flavorful, not overloaded with grease and salt. The pizzas were not of the kind you find in the States and didn't have topping choices that most of us are used to, but had the same cheesy, gooey deliciousness and soft inside, crispy outside crust. The pizzas came one way, with everything, but with Brad's handy Japanese skills we were able to order one without meat for me. Toppings included corn, garlic, green and red peppers, onions, bacon and sausage. We ate slowly, took in the ocean air and the beauty around us. It was perfect!

And take a look at these beauties! I love flowers!