I did not know this:
The world’s most active volcano:
I did not know this:
The world’s most active volcano:
Tropical rain does not stop us from doing most leisure activities, other than cycling, and golf. Wait! I cycle and golf! So, what else can we do when it rains here?
The obvious choice is to swim, either in the ocean or the pool. But thunderstorms generally force people off of the beach. I have been caught in heavy rainstorms here in the past, both on the golf course, and in the pool. Generally, just waiting for about ten to twenty minutes until the storm passes, works just fine.
Shopping is a good alternative. It can get expensive here in Maui, but what the heck, we are on vacation! A little shopping excursion to Paia or Makawao is good rainy day therapy. And maybe grab a light lunch.
So is going to a spa. But I am really not a spa guy. My sis-in-law Laura would go in a heart beat.
And I am not really a museum guy, but I have never been to the Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum. The building has been there since 1902! Theater is a reasonable alternative, but I have seen all of the Polynesian themed theater I care to see in this lifetime.
The Kula Lavender Farm in Upcountry is also a good diversion. And Maui has a winery up there too! So is Surfing Goat Dairy.
Too bad I can’t find a two or four hour work assignment, or a volunteer gig. I could wait tables for the lunch hour? Or I can just go with it, and read, watch TV, or send emails.
Driving in a heavy rainstorm here can be treacherous. The Road to Hana contains many stories of drivers who overestimated their ability to drive in a tropical rainstorm. Likewise the road to the top of the Haleakala crater at 10,023 feet. Too many treacherous switchbacks, and too many tourists!
Forget the helicopter tour, as I would not do that in good weather. Too many crashes!
And despite being able to handle a sightseeing boat, or even the ride to Lanai, the ocean is not a good place to be in a storm. It is a little too unpredictable for me. So, whale watching will have to wait until the seas are calm. Do you remember, “It was an angry sea, my friends?” It was a famous line from Seinfeld, where George is able to save the life of a whale by pulling out a golf ball from its blow hole.
When in doubt, always remember Maui has lots of watering holes. Remember back in the days when Primo beer was a big deal? Now, this island, like elsewhere, is a microbrew paradise.
See you on the mainland!
In reality, Kauai is probably just about everyone’s happy place, if you have been there. Many people I know do not venture much beyond the madness of Waki Waki (Waikiki Beach in Honolulu), and the increasingly mad and bustling island of Maui.
But Kauai has been special for us, since our first visit together, over twenty years ago. Why? We met our now dear friends, Rey and Corinne during a round of golf at Princeville, on the north side of this small island paradise. While I do not remember much about that round of golf, save for a birdie here and there, we made lifelong friends.
Quite unusual in that both are natives of the island, as are their parents and family. Over the years, we have enjoyed many meals, rounds of golf, social activities, and family outings. But there is one thing that stands out about Rey and Corinne after all these years. They are just fantastic people!
Another unique part of Kauai is that everyone on the island knows everyone else. And of course, we can hardly go anywhere without running into one of their friends or family. I even ran into a fellow at the Padres-Giants game, who brought his Little League team to San Diego. Of course, he knew Rey!
So, along with the great scenery and peaceful vibe of the island, our friends make the island feel like home. I think that is the best way to describe the feeling we have when we visit. And it is our happy place!!!! Thank you, Rey and Corinne!
I must tell you that I am very picky when it comes to Hawaiian music. I was never a fan of Don Ho and his Tiny Bubbles. I also remember being entertained by Hilo Hattie on the Harry Owens and the Royal Hawaiians on TV back in the 50s. Through adulthood, I have just lost interest in Hawaiian music, save for the occasional hula at a wedding or party.
In the 90s, I learned of the great IZ*, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, who died an early death but made a huge impact with his falsetto Hawaiian singing. I do like the ukulele virtuoso, Jake Shimabukuro, though it is hardly traditional. But what do I really know about its roots and meaning?
From the experts:
Music and rhythm have played central roles within the Native Hawaiian culture. From the beginning, mele or chant, was important for Native Hawaiians as it allowed them to remember myths of gods. Early Hawaiians told their stories through chants in two general categories, mele oli and mele hula. Mele oli is a chant usually performed by one person and generally recounts historical events and tells stories of legends. Mele hula is accompanied by dance movements that help translate ancient legends and stories. Native Hawaiians used different objects for instruments like the ʻuliʻuli (rattle instrument), ipu (gourde rattles), pu’ili (a pair of hollowed bamboo sticks).
In the nineteenth century, Hawaiian music evolved to a more western style as string instruments were introduced and that music is known as himeni (hymns). The ukulele and slack-key guitar were introduced by the Portuguese, modeling their traditional “braguinha.” The music of Hawai‘i is mixed with vibrant rhythms and poetic lyrics that tell stories of the Hawaiian culture and lifestyle. The popularization of Hawaiian music around the world began in the last quarter of the 19th century, mainly through the publishing of many of the songs of Queen Liliuokalani in the United States – Aloha ʻOe (Farewell to Thee) was her most famous song. The stories and legends of the Native Hawaiians come to life through the sounds of the islands. Some popular Hawaiian musicians include: Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole (Brother IZ), Kui Lee, Kealiʻi Reichel, Keola Beamer, and Ledward Kaapana. To this day, the Native Hawaiian culture is perpetuated through Hawaiian chants and himeni that embrace the depth and significance of the people of Hawaii‘i and their history.
Perhaps the funniest encounter we ever had was with a Hawaiian singer named Arnold in Waikiki, on our very first trip to Hawaii. He was singing and playing guitar at Chuck’s Cellar across the street from our hotel. We went over to hear him since we were taking guitar lessons at the time. We even started singing with Arnold on many of the songs, and “forced” him to sing additional versus of well known songs. When he joined us for a beer during a break, Arnold could only speak pidgin, the singing voice and enunciation disappeared!!!
*IZ= Israel Kamakawiwo’ole-his best popular album was “Facing Future” released in 1993, and topped by the medley, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World”. You must find it on You tube or your favorite music service if you do not know about it. It is quite uplifting, and provides a glimpse into this artist who left us too early, due to severe obesity.
While we no longer dine on the expensive side here, Hawaii does boast some of the best chefs in the world. And we have been to a few, over the years. If you have not tried at least one of these chef’s delights, I would go at least once.
What exactly is Hawaiian Regional cuisine? It blends Hawaii’s unique flavors with the cuisine of the world. These twelve founding chefs decided to feature the freshest island ingredients, such as cattle raised on the Big Island, fruit and vegetables from their rich, volcanic soil, and the fresh fish from the Pacific.
My personal favorite is Roy Yamaguchi, who heads up the world wide chain of Roy’s. His outpost at The Inn at Spanish Bay is our personal favorite. And here is a secret. It is Roy’s favorite too. Do you know why? Because of the golf at Pebble, Spyglass, and Spanish Bay of course. But his food here is the best of all the Roy’s we have tried around the country and world.
Probably the second most famous is Bev Gannon, who rose to fame with her famous Haliimaile General Store on Maui. Set in an old general store, the food is not only Hawaiian regional cuisine, it is outstandingly fresh, as in farm to table. In fact, most days, produce brought to the “store” can be found next door, for sale, mostly by the honor system.
There are many others worth noting: Alan Wong, Peter Merriman, Sam Choy, Mark Ellman, Roger Dikon, Amy Ota, and many others. But Roy was the island’s first winner of the James Beard Award. Another winner, George Mavrothalissitas, owner of Chef Mavro’s, features French-Hawaiian cuisine. Even Iron Chef Morimoto has a place in Waikiki, as does Nobu.
Mala Ocean Tavern in Lahaina by Mark Ellman is another place with fantastic ocean views, and a California twist to his food. He recently opened a pizza place, Honu Seafood and Pizza in Lahaina that might be worth a try.
But I will guarantee two things: One, dining at these places will be expensive, and two, I can lead you to equally delicious food at a fraction of the price! Just follow me!!!!
You will have to read some of my other blogs form this trip to get the “G2” on the local food.
Who would ever think that a little bakery in Hilo, Hawaii would become world famous? Certainly not Robert Taira, back in the 1950s, in Hilo. Sometime in the 1960’s, they moved to Honolulu, and changed their name from Robert’s Bakery to King’s Hawaiian. By the 1980s, they grossed over $20 million, and moved to Torrance, CA.
Robert Taira was the son of Japanese immigrants. He opened hi first bakeshop in 1950s in Hilo, after graduating first in his baking class. “The first round, soft loaves of Original Recipe King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread were made here. The loaves rarely ever made it home before being devoured, and a local traditional island favorite was born.”
When we first started visiting the islands, King’s was hard to find. Then it popularity spread across the islands. Soon, the Southern California operation began, and King’s became a household item. We can find it everywhere, including Trader Joe’s, club stores, grocery stores, and many specialty stores. In 1988, they opened their first full service bakery and restaurant in Torrance.
We use it to make the best little sandwiches for tailgating before Bulldog games. We also enjoy the bread with soups, stews, and beans. And the loaf can be cut up for great dishes like French toast. Or just regular toast with butter. We will enjoy it almost every morning while we are in Kauai and Maui.