Monday, March 8, 2010
Stories, much like life, wind and wend
Through stages of beginning, middle and end
This chapter ends with much success,
Filled with excitement and just a wee bit of stress'
With rest & relaxation as the overarching trend
Friday started with an Island hop
As we made Waikiki our final stop
Oahu has a much different pace
As people seem to be all over the place
From our 33rd floor room, we went out on top
Our visit to Pearl Harbor had an effect
As it caused us to take time to pause and reflect
On how war and its incessant ensuing strife
Can have a huge impact on a individual's life
And leave a world that's partially wrecked
We toured the city for sights to see
As we marveled at mountains and ogled the sea
As our energy diminished, we brightened our mood
By stopping in Wailua for good Mexican food
Then returned to the hotel named for the Banyan Tree
Our final day dawned sunny and bright
As we summoned the courage, strength and might
To pack our bags and head for home
As the time has ended for us to roam
And our odyssey ended with a much smoother plane flight
In general, I think things went quite well
As we enjoyed the company of Aunt Eula Belle
We'll miss the sunsets, and the soft ocean breeze
The sight of whales jumping and Merlin's knees
But the memories and photos will provide a great story to tell
Our trip comes to an end with a 48 hour visit to Honolulu. We packed up and bade farewell to Makahuena and headed off to the Lihue airport. With only 6 gates check-in is pretty quick so we had time to eat some sandwiches and play cards while we waited for our flight. When we landed, I rushed off to get our car and returned with a Jeep from Enterprise which had less legroom but more suitcase capacity. We piled in and took the scenic route in to Waikiki where we checked in to the Aston Banyon, on the east end of Waikiki a block from the beach. We had a 1 BR with 3 beds and kitchen on the 33rd floor with a great view of Diamond Head. Mary, Dianna, And I ruched down to catch a sunset and arrived just as it plopped into the ocean and before a rain shower greeted us. Merlin & Mary had stayed in the Hilton Prince Kuhio next door a few years ago, so we picked their restaurant for a meal and were served 1 foot diameter plates of Chinese Chicken Salad, Beef Stew, and Chicken Fried Steak. Fortunately it was a short walk back to our hotel and the elevator was sized for extra capacity. No internet connection was available, so I needed to save up my memories for a recap when I got back to Portland.
We had to be up early for our Grayline tour so we bounced out of bed and were picked up by our bus and its driver Ty for a full day of sightseeing. Tickets often sell out for the Arizona Memorial as tourists are shuttled by boat 150 at a time, so we hurried to ge our tickets. The Visitor Center is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation and is partially open. so we milled arounfd until our 9:20 boat arrived. It was sunny but windy and our visit to the Arizona was sombre and emotioanlly powerful. Eula had lost a chilhood friend, CV Lee Jr. and she found his name in the center of the plaque. We then headed over by bus to the USS Missouri, the site of the signing of the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay on Sept 2nd 1945. I had hoped to pick up more of a peace vibe but both the Arizona nad the Missouri resonated with the sense of sadness and loss that war brings. There never seems to be a winner when war is the mindset... We ate at the Missouri and then had a bus tour of Honolulu on the way home including a drive through the National Cemetery at Punchbowl. I had hoped we would stop since my dad had always told an eerie story of their 1984 visit when he sat down after walking the grounds and found we was seated next to a marker for T.J. Ponder. No stopping is allowed these days, so we drove on through and arrived back at the hotel by 3:00.
Since we had a car and some wanderlust, we drove out East toward Hanauma Bay but found the $7.50 charge/person a little steep. We worked our way around past scenic visitas to Kailua where we found a Mexican restaurant as a change of pace. We had a good meal and still made it back in time to catch a sunset by coming back on the Pali Hwy. We came home and started pre-packing before some card-playing. When everyone went to bed, I decided to stroll around Waikiki since it was only 9:00 and it gave me a little more sense of the Waikiki nightlife. I'm definitely more of a Kauai lifestyle kind of guy.
Leisurely morning as we packed and then headed into the heart of Waikiki so Mary could see the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. My dad had talked about playing volleyball on the grounds of the hotel when he was stationed here in 1944-45 so it was fun to imagine what life was like 65 years ago. Parking was a challenge, but I was able to find a small lot after dropping people off and letting everyone people-watch. Eula finally got to visit one of the ubiquitous ABC Stores, so with our checklist complete, we returned to the hotel, packed up and headed to the airport. Our flight left a little late, but the pilots shifted into high gear and we had a smooth and uneventful flight home. Merry picked us up about midnight and we gratefully got to bed about 1:00 AM. All in all, I think we can mark this trip down in the plus column as, from waht I saw, we all had aventuresd we enjoyed. I'll let the internet cool off for a few days and then I'll comment on how reentry to non-vacation life progressed. Aloha & Mahalo...
Thursday, March 4, 2010
In honor of the birthday week
Of Dr.Seuss, we shall seek
To imagine how he would see
His books if located in Hawaii
In a way that's unique
Horton Hears a Hulu is one
Green Flash & SPAM could also be done
You could find Yertle on the Hawaiian Beaches
As well as the Starfruit Bellied Sneetches
This exercise in fun has barely begun
The simple to read Hop on Poipu
Would be something that all would find quite new
Mele Kalikimaka, so sayeth the Grinch
Is a phrase we might find that would work in a pinch
And it's easy to find a Beach Thong One & Thong Two
Morals abound as in the "Better Butter Battle"
Seuss loved to grab convention and give it a rattle
Another could be Ten Pineapples Up on Top
I could go on and on but I really must stop
As our time is short and must cease this prattle
"You're Only Old Once", the author once said
His advice hasn't ended although he's now dead
"Oh, The Places You'll Go!" is a fitting refrain
As we pack up tomorrow and hop on the plane
Well tanned, content and obviously well-fed
It's now apparent the downside of giving me a little too much free time and a self-imposed goal of recapping our activities here on vacation. However, I've rarely met a theme I couldn't twist for my own enjoyment, so don't expect things to return to normal even though the vacation is ending... Since this week marked the 106th birthday of Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) and a number of school activities were planned to celebrate reading, I thought I would offer my own tribute. Geisel was challanged to take a list of 250 words to create a book kids would be eager to read, and the resulting "Cat In The Hat" energized generations of readers, myself included. His rhyming pattern was anapestic tetrameter while I lean more to the simpler anapestics of the limerick style.
Actually got to come face to face with rain today a few times as we headed up to Elsie's with a treasure trove of unused food. I was able to get in the car before a squall soaked the Gang of Four but by the time wereached Lihue, the sun was emerging. Elsie had a church activity today that ran longer than she expected, so we missed her and dropped our food off in exchange for a last batch of fresh oranges. We did our final shopping at Hilo Hatties and dined at Costco before heading home. Dianna & Mary wanted to check out the shops in Koloa, so as designated driver I went with them and then stopped at the Hyatt where I was able to get a few blog-ready photos including a rainbow that preceded another intense rain shower which I got to soak in.
We had a whitefish (not red or blue) and two corn dish meal with dinner rolls as we cleaned out the refrigerator and then caught a nice windy sunset. Played cards and then prepared to pack up tomorrow for a 2:00 PM flight to Oahu.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
As the time approached Eleven O'Clock
We boarded Kilohana's rolling stock
We passed by the pigs and the cows
Saw trees with fruit laden boughs
And heard an occasional crow of the Cock
Our wheels were rolling as we did not lag
Filling with coffee and chocolate our reusable bag
The occasional shower didn't dampen our mood
As our cinnamon rolls highlighted our food
And we even got a cover photo for Hawaii Surfer mag.
We move closer to our Friday departure from Kauai and checked a couple more things off our to-do list. We had scrambled eggs with diced bacon & sausage as an accompaniment to another batch of cinnamon rolls, which came out much closer to the gold standard of my mom's Norwegian Cinnamon rolls. Rule of thumb - more butter is better...
The Kilohana Plantation had an hour long train ride around their grounds, so we hustled up to ride the rails. We passed through a variety of exotic tropical orchards and plantings and stopped to feed the wild pigs. The scene was reminiscient of the rush through some of the food lines at the Smith Luau we attended last week. At the conclusion of the ride we headed down to Port Allen to visit Kauai Chocolate under the guise of doing reseach for Ted and then picked up some coffee at the Kauai Coffee Company store. We stopped for a quick photo-op of Eula surfing in the mist and then headed home to resume the task of trying to empty the contents of our refrigerator before we pack up Friday morning. More shrimp, pork, fish, corn casserole and salad was consumed, but we're not making enough of a dent.
"Some watched while others must sleep", as we played some cards and watch the Duke-Maryland game before arriving at dinnertime with no appetites. Their was no sunset to view to speak of, so we passed the early evening with a series of Back Alley games and a Five Crowns match.
Tomorrow we pack up our perishable food to take up to Elsie's and do any last minute shopping. We don't fly over to Oahu until 2:00 PM on Friday so we'll save our packing until then. A famous birthday acknowledgement is in store for tomorrow. Stay tuned....
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
"Blowin' in the Wind" is something we know
As we're under the influence of a persistent low
But we won't bemoan our fate
Since food and scenery remain great
And it doesn't affect where we go
We hoped for a low pressure vacation
So this hasn't dimmed our elation
As the wind is blowing
The water is flowing
And beauty is evident at each location
Week One gave us our sun so to be fair Week Two is about air... We started the day with some excellent crab omlets and hash browns prepared by Merlin and then plotted our course for today. All we knew was that we'd be tacking into the wind as once again the day dawned cloudy and windy. My chore of the day was fixing the condo complex's guest computer which would entail a visit to the East side of the island, and we wanted to visit some of the great waterfalls on the island. We found the Computer Hospital in Kapaa and I had an enjoyable conversation with the owner. He wants to sell his business due to health problems but one computer business on my resume is enough for me although based on the level of support I've found so far, a guy could stay busy..
The Wailua River, home of the Fern Grotto and adjacent to Elvis's famous Coco Palms ( which sadly has fallen into complete disrepair since Hurricane Iniki in 1992) has a beautiful waterfall named Opeaka which has a view easily accessible off the roadside. We enjoyed the scenery and snapped a few photos including one of a parasailor on the beach at the mouth of the river. We then headed off to Wailua Falls, an impressive 80 foot falls made famous in "Fantasy Island" The flow was only moderate due to lack of rain but beautiful just the same. We returned home for lunch and I headed to the office and installed the new network card, loaded IE 8.0 and was relieved when a connection was established. I was given mahalo and fresh avacados, a variation of the country doctor taking chickens for service... although finding a chicken on this island wouldn't have been a problem either.
Played some cards and then Dianna & Mary went for a nice round-trip walk to Brenneke's and then we prepared dinner. Pork chops, corn casserole, and salad greeted us after a quick sunset viewing followed by an evening of spirited Back-Alley card playing. I prepared another batch of cinnamon rolls and deferred the blog entry until morning.
Monday, March 1, 2010
In the last week, you've heard a familar refrain
That rarely have we encountered much rain
But the clouds rolled in
And the wind caused a din
Allowing just a glimplse of the moon's wax and wane.
Saturday's trauma had taken it's toll
So rest and recovery was our goal
While we sat around and waited
Our appetities were sated
By helpings of my Cinn-nami Rolls.
The day after the "Tsunami that Wasn't" dawned cloudy and windy, so we weren't in any hurry to get out and about. Merlin & Mary headed off to church after I whipped up some pancakes and scrambled eggs and the remaining Hawaii celebrants relaxed around the condo. Eula had yet to see the movie "UP" and since we were constantly joking about it in regard to our whale distractions, we all sat down to watch it. M & M returned from waht's probably our last major shopping trip and the they rested while I caught up on my reading and we watched a little TV. We watched virtually none of the Olympics while we were here as I was content to get my news from the Internet or work on my blog while we read our engaging in that somewhat forgotten art of conversation. I've enjoyed having time to get to know Eula and hear some of her stories and I think we've all valued a chance to just have "being" time instead of overloading on "doing" time.
Merlin prepared some of the salmon he brought back from his Alaska trip which resulted in an excellent meal finished off with brownies that Dianna had made. Since we didn't have any oil for the recipe, Dianna "Julia Child'ed" the recipe and substituted butter which worked great. We were looking forward for the Full Moon rise as the sun set, but the "clouds got in our eyes" and in the way, but I was still able to get a few photos. As the evening went on, the view improved but we had to fight the wind as we stood on the lanai. A few card games and then I stayed up to prepare some cinnamon rolls before bidding Aloha and Mahalo to February 2010.
Monday arrived even windier and cloudier, but did provide a spectacular veiled sunrise that I caught on camera. We had scrambled eggs, sausage, cinnamon rolls, and a variety of island fruits for breakfast and then sent a small scouting party out to the Koloa Sunshine market for some Avacados for our afternoon taco-fest. We ran into the new friends from Florida that we had met at Koloa the previous Monday and hung out with Saturday at Kalaheo during our Tsunami-Watch and Dianna gave them some info on the McMasters slack-key guitar concerts. It's fun how easy it is to make connections when you've got a relaxed environment and willing participants... We returned to Makahuena and I went to the office to print our tickets for our Pearl Harbor tour in Oahu on Saturday. Their computer was on the blink and when the uttered the magic words, "Do you know anything about computers?", I switched into full Nerd mode (after idling at 80% for most of the vacation). The Network Interface Card needed to be replaced and as a 10+ year old techology,l I was skeptical I could find a substitute. I worked on it for 1/2 hour and then offered to look around when we went in to Lihue. I tried a few places but most people had no idea what I needed. With wireless capabilities built in to most computers and the declining cost of hardware, it's difficult to justify repair, so I may be out of luck - we'll see tomorrow..
We had a late lunch early dinner of tacos prepared under Eula's guidance, and then we headed off to our E Kanakapili Kakou concert which featued a Hawaiian pianist and Hula teacher/dancer. They were both very talented, but we all agreed that this season's offerings didn't have the spark of previous years. We got home by 9:00 and Eula was ready to call it a night while the four of us were able to get in four hands of pinochle before winding down. We hoping to take a train ride and visit a waterfall if the wind dies down a little.