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.
I often thought Alaska was #50, and Hawaii was #49, but it is the other way around. Hawaii is our fiftieth and final state, as of August 21, 1959; and prior to that, it was a territory since 1900. Also, the population of Hawaii remains fairly constant at around 1.5 million people. And despite a total area of only 10,931 square miles, Hawaii ranks only 13th in U.S. population density. Nearly 900,000 live on Oahu’s 600 square miles.
The median age here is only 38.5 years, with only slightly more males than females. Racially diverse, Hawaii is 38% Asian, 25% Caucasian, two or more races 23.8%, only 10.2% Native Islander, African American only 1.8%, and 1% other. But remarkably, 63% of residents are Christian, 10% non-Christian, and 26% unaffiliated. I would have expected a bigger Buddhist affiliation. Life expectancy is 81.3 years, the highest in the country.
Though Hawaii consists of four main counties (Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island), the chain contains 132 distinct islands. It is one of only two states that grow coffee. What is the other?
Of note, the main campus of the University of Hawaii sits up hill at Manoa. In previous visits, we often attended UH baseball games, when my son was a big fan. Big secret: I was once offered a teaching position at UH when they had a School of Public Health.
If you have never hiked up to the top of Diamond Head, I strongly suggest it to you. It is an easy climb, and affords a fabulous view of Waikiki, especially at sunrise. Please, wear decent shoes, I saw Asian tourists hiking up in high heels!!!!
Each day, 72,000 of us tourists visit Honolulu. And Honolulu is the second most expensive city in the U.S., behind only Anchorage, Alaska. The cost of living is 65% higher than the mainland. But it does not have to be expensive, if you have listened to anything from the Samurai School of Discount Travel**!!!
So, do you know the difference between an island and an atoll? Make sure you do not speak with a lisp! Anyway, an atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef or a string of loosely spaced small coral islands, enclosing or nearly enclosing a shallow lagoon. And island is land surrounded by water, not large enough to be a continent.
While we are at it, there are no flip flops in Hawaii. they are known only as “slippahs”, and don’t you forget it! In fact, learn mauka and makai too. Mauka means mountainside, and makai means ocean side!
So, buckle up, even though you have been here before. This is as close to paradise as many of us will ever get!
** The Samurai School of Discount Travel is ME!!!!
When we first started visiting Hawaii in the 70s and 80s, most of the tourists were from Japan. But the collapse of the yen and the weak Japanese economy translates to more Chinese and Koreans visiting now. The average Japanese tourist (read that as honeymooners) stays an average of only 5 days. Tourists from the other Asian countries stay an average of 9.5 days, and spend 25% more!
Canada, China and Australia now constitute the fastest growing tourist numbers. Fewer cruise ships stop in Hawaii now as well. But for those of us from California, and western states, the airfare runs only about $400, thanks to competition from the major airlines. And it is only a 4.5 to 5 hour flight, depending on the trade winds.
While I was in college, we played the Hawaii All Stars baseball team. They featured two well known players. One, Derek Tatsuno, was drafted high second round by the San Diego Padres) in the major league draft. The other, a fading star, the only man to pitch a perfect game in the World Series, Gilroy’s own Don Larsen. He was well past his prime, but a nice man, cordial to all of us.
I thought it rather strange when Hawaii became our 50th state on August 21, 1959. It was President Dwight Eisenhower who signed the bill that dissolved the Territory of Hawaii, and established the State of Hawaii as our 50th state. It was not connected to the mainland! But that was a good thing.
Hawaii is our only state with a tropical rainforest. And Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu is the only royal palace in the U.S. In fact, Iolani had electric lights a full four years before the White House!
Most people think Hawaii consists only of eight major islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii, Lanai, Molokai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe. But the total number of islands is a whopping 132! I have been to five so far. How many have you visited?
My favorite island is Kauai for several reasons. First, we have dear friends, Rey and Corinne who live there. And second, lots of things to do without too many tourists! This includes nice places to eat (Kintaro, Hamura, Ko
untry Kitchen, Tip Top), beautiful golf courses, cycling paths, manageable traffic, and beautiful scenery.
But Maui is certainly a strong second. In fact, we will visit both this trip. Kauai, mostly to see our friends, and Maui, where we have our Marriott timeshare. My brother Bob, and his wife Laura will join us. It is always more fun when they come along with us.
We plan to hit all of our favorite spots, like Aloha Mixed Plate, Sam Sato’s, Kula Bistro, Haliimaile General Store, Star Noodle, Sansei, and Monkey Pod. Add in some golf, cycling, beach time, pool time, shopping, along with a big two bedroom, ocean view condo, complete with free whale watching.
After returning from my trip to SE Asia, I have thought about some of the great views I have experienced around the world, and here at home. Each of us has a favorite, or favorites. Many times, it centers on lakes, mountains, oceans, or our great National Parks.
Here is a list from Travel and Leisure, just to get the conversation started. I do not agree with many of them, but here goes:
Bryce Canyon, Utah (good choice)
The Golden Gate Bridge
The National Mall, Washington, DC
Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii
Portland Head Lighthouse, Maine
Grand Teton, Wyoming
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Glacier Point, Yosemite NP
Badlands NP, South Dakota
Big Sur, California
Crater Lake NP, Oregon
Denali NP, Alaska (another good choice)
Manhattan Skyline, New York
Glacier NP, Montana
Cliff Walk, Newport, Rhode Island
360 Chicago, Illinois
Lookout Ledge, New Hampshire
Personally, I think they left a few out. I would add:
Lake Tahoe, California (and Nevada)
Sedona Red Rocks, Arizona
Sunset Beach, Haleiwa,HI
Arches National Park, Utah
Seventeen Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, CA
Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC
Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
Wrigley or Fenway?
Mount Rainier, Washington
Sunset on any beach!
Sunrise on any mountain top!
Carneros Region, Napa Valley, CA
Honolua Beach, Maui
Antelope Canyon, Page, AZ
What about you? What is your BEST view??