24 December 2013

Mele Kalikimaka

Wishing all of you Mele Kalikimaka, Happy Christmas, Frohe Weihnachten, Joyeux Noel, 
Buon Natale, Feliz Navidad and Vrolijk Keerstfest.

22 December 2013

This is Hawai'i

Lots of pictures, few words ...................
Beaches, and the year I took these I could have told you which beach it was. It's either Sunset, Waimea or Pipeline.

Big waves on the North Shore. The lifeguard kept chasing children away who had gotten too close to the water.

This is part of Waikiki Beach. Everybody was waiting for the sun to completely disappear below the horizon.
Cruise ships, huge ones. Always docked near the Aloha Tower.

The view from our condo a couple of years ago. Looking into the Hilton Hawai'ian Village with Diamond Head in the background.
Sky scrapers, lots of them in Honolulu, this picture taken near the Aloha Tower. Some of the locals call it the "concrete jungle" as opposed to the green side of the island, the windward side or the North Shore.

Looking down on Ala Moana Boulevard in the evening. Busy!

And tattoos, lots of them. This sign was across the street from our hotel, a day or two after the Honolulu Marathon (that'll be another post).


I could shop for England or any other country for that matter and Waikiki and the Ala Moana Mall are really a shopper's paradise. I'm not going to list all the stores you can find there, let me just say that it's all the big names, sort of like Rodeo Drive except much bigger. And since it's as far from Tokyo to Honolulu as it is from California, the Japanese come in droves. A good exchange rate helps, too.
This place, unfortunately, is closed by now.
The famous International Market Place, full of fun touristy things, is being torn down to make way for another upscale department store. Bloomingdale's or Neiman Marcus or Saks. A real pity.
This used to be a big Sears store. It, too, has been torn down to make way for yet another upscale department store.

Tourists, mostly from Japan, waiting to get into the ugg store. It was full inside and the employees were only letting in a certain number of customers at a time. And there was an equally long line at the other entrance to the store, on the inside of the small mall.


I was going to just do a huge photo dump, take everything off my camera and put it into one post, but decided against it. Wayyyyy too many pictures. So, I'm sorting them, sort of, by theme. Or geographical theme, or maybe the order they are on the camera. Haven't quite figured it out just yet.
Since I also have pictures from 2 and 3 years ago that I haven't used yet, it could be  a while.
So, first sunsets .............

The triangular things pointing up on the bottom left are gas lights that are manually lit every evening.

All taken at Waikiki Beach. The last two are pictures of the place where L rents a board when he goes surfing and this time around he went surfing quite a bit. Had to do with the fact that my feet decided to give out.

This huge tree is just off the beach. And it doesn't have multiple trunks, those are roots. I have no idea what the tree is called. Maybe somebody can help there?

This is the statue of Duke Kahonamoku - wikipedia entry here.

Food and Hawai'i Five-O

There is a connection, far-fetched, but still there. Really!
On one of several trips deeper into Waikiki (for Happy Hour), we came upon these trucks parked along the curb on Lewers Street:

We asked around a bit and found out that Hawaii Five-O had been filming in the area, not unusual, they are quite a common sight around there. Lots of trucks full of camera equipment, food and, yes, there were a couple of port-a-potties.
On our last day in Waikiki, we took a last morning walk out the back of the hotel, along the marina and down to the beach and saw yet another long line of trucks along the curb.
Neither one of us had brought our phones, so after we got back and while I packed seriously, L went back down to take pictures. This set was inside the Hilton Hawai'ian Village, around one of the many pools there.
He really shouldn't have taken this one, he was told politely by a rather large gentleman that taking pictures wasn't allowed. Too late. No cast in sight. And, by the time we left, at 11 am, there was no evidence that anything had been happening there at all.
On to the food.
This is plain old comfort food, Hawai'ian style:
Loco moco, rice, a hambuger patty, brown gravy and an egg on top. I had the small plate. It was good.
These are coco puffs and they are connected to the TV series. In one of the shows, Chin Ho Kelly, tries to bribe McGarrett's mother with these. We tracked down the bakery - Liliha Bakery on Liliha Street - and stood in line patiently along with all the other customers and bought half a dozen. I took this picture in the car before we dug in. The top row is filled with custard, the bottom row chocolate pudding. And, yes, they are good.
Kamekona, another character on the show, runs a shrimp truck which is always parked by the lagoon in the Hilton Hawai'ian Village. There really aren't any shrimp trucks there, we've only ever found them along the North Shore, along the Kamehameha Highway, but nevermind.
The actor, Taylor Wily, really does own a shrimp truck and we found it parked outside Hilo Hattie's:
Apologies for the bad picture, it was parked under an overhang with the light behind it and you all know that makes for bad pictures. Big T wasn't there the day we were, he was supposed to be at the truck the coming weekend and by then we were back home. Pity!

And that's it for food and the TV series. I have a couple more posts I need to write and hope to get to them really, really soon.

15 December 2013

Some random observations from a tropical island

The Bus
Whenever we go deeper into Waikiki, we take The Bus, easy and convenient. No need to mess with traffic which is notoriously bad on this island and no need to hunt for a parking space. I had noticed in previous years that, whenever we got on the bus just outside our hotel, quite a few Asian women got on with us and more joined at the stops in front of the other hotels. I always figured they were maids or other hotel workers. This time around, I talked to one of them (she explained about bus passes) and found out that this particular bus goes all the way to the East end of Waikiki, then turns around and heads back towards the other end of the island on the highway. Housing there is less pricey than it is in Waikiki.
On a side note: The Bus is shown in one of Jack Johnson's music videos. See here. And on another side note, he's wearing one of the "Keep the country country" Tshirts in the video.

Shrimp trucks
On Sunday, we tried Giovanni's, previously we had always eaten at Macky's in Hale-iwa. For the sake of research (yeah, right), we ate at Macky's twice during out visit.
Here's the comparison:
Giovanni's: 12 shrimp, lots of rice and maybe a little too much garlic on my shrimp. L always eats spicy shrimp and he was happy with them. The facility is a little less primitive, there's a concrete floor with a permanent wooden roof over the outdoor tables.
Macky's: 9 shrimp, lots of rice, a small salad (Romaine) with just the right amount of dressing and a small slice of pineapple. The shrimp are a little more tender and tasted just a little better, IMHO. You still sit at outdoor tables, protected by large beach umbrellas or canvas, but the floor is bare and there are chicken and pigeons underfoot (no problem, though).
Both places have outdoor toilets, Macky's is a port-a-potty, and a sink for washing your hands afterward because the shrimp come in their shell.
We had been told that the shrimp at Macky's were bigger, but found that not to be the case.
Don't let the outdoor facilities turn you off, both places are clean and the food is well worth it.
Oh, and the price is the same at both places: $13.00.
L tried coconut shrimp on our second visit to Macky's and liked those, too. There were fewer of them, 6, and they had been shelled before being breaded. No messy hands. Me, I'm sticking with the garlic butter shrimp. Never had better ones.

Friday Night Lights
There are fireworks at the Hilton Hawai'ian village very Friday night. We watched from the large outdoor area at our hotel.

For some reason we haven't figured out yet, people here like to back into parking spaces, even if there is a big sign saying not to. I guess it makes for a quick getaway? In fairness, though, they do it quickly, efficiently and well.

A rainy day in paradise

I know there is a way to write and post blog posts from an iPad, but I haven't figured it out yet, so I took pix and notes along the way and will write things up over the next few days as time permits.
We have spent part of December in Waikiki for the last 5 years, previously, we went over Christmas and New Year's, this time around, we went in early December.
We arrived on Saturday, stocked up on groceries, checked into our condo and just took it easy.
Sunday was wet, very wet, according to the TV news, there were thunderstorm warnings and flash flood warnings, and we saw a couple of trees down. We heard later in the week that several beaches were closed because of brown water run-off.
 The view from our condo. The small white building in the middle of the picture is one of the many, many ABC stores you can find all over Waikiki. I think there are at least 4 more within easy walking distance of our hotel. They are like 7-Elevens, carrying everything from groceries to touristy things.
Hawai'i isn't called the Rainbow State for nothing, although this isn't a great example of one.

Since it was too wet to walk around, we decided on a drive, a long drive, up the windward coast towards the North Shore. We passed by the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, but there wasn't much going on. The waves weren't very big.
We stopped in Kaneohe to visit Aloha Yarns - I can highly recommend this store. Friendly people and a great selection of yarns.
Saw lots of signs along the North Shore with the same sentiment: keep the country country - no development, no planned city. Found out later that these all refer to a planned expansion of Turtle Bay.
Tried out a new shrimp truck - Giovanni's. More about that later.
We bypassed Hale-iwa because of the rain.
Drove South and stopped at the outlet mall, or, rather, tried to. It was too crowded and we just headed back to the hotel.
Since the rain cleared up later on, we wandered around the Hilton Hawai'ian Village, which is right next to our hotel. A huge complex of accommodations of various types with several restaurants, plenty of entertainment and quite a few shops, some lots fancier than others. Many of the salespeople are Japanese and it's quite obvious that they are more used to Japanese tourists than English speakers.

20 November 2013

Recently ..............

.............. we went looking for tall ships. L had heard on the radio that both the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain were docked in San Francisco. They were supposed to sail on the Bay during the day and there would be tours in the late afternoon.
So, being retired and not having anything to do that particular day, off we went to look.
We drove to Berkeley first and walked the length of the pier hoping to see them sailing on that side of the Bay.
Statue across the street from the entrance of the pier.

The end of the pier.

No tall ships in sight, so we drove into San Francisco. We knew which pier to look for and were lucky to find a parking space. And, yes, there was one of the tall ships:

The Lady Washington, of Pirates of the Caribbean fame. Turns out, the two ships were not sailing together and obviously weren't out on the Bay that day.

18 November 2013

A small miscalculation

So, last week, I made this ingenious sock sack from a pattern on Craftsy. Even though there's quite a bit of detail there, it came together easily and pretty fast. Would have been faster if I hadn't had a couple of small mishaps.
Anyway, I liked the way the drawstring bit is done, so I thought I'd make a slightly larger version and went ahead and recalculated. I multiplied everything by 1.5 and ended up with a humongous bag.
Here it is - this one easily holds 5 balls of yarn, maybe even 6, I didn't fill it completely when I got ready to take pictures. It's just a bag, no divider, no tabs.
And here are the two bags together for comparison:
Big difference, right?
I'll try again, this time multiplying by 1.2 - maybe.