Monday, August 12, 2013

Valley of the Temples and Ala Moana

Baby Peacock! It was so adorable! 
There are wild peacocks at the Temple in the Valley of the Temples. We rang the big sacred bell, and it is supposed to bring us luck. The temple was modeled after a famous Japanese temple. There was a giant gilded Buddha inside. It was made out of Japanese Cypress and then lacquered and gilded. The temple grounds were very peaceful. Next to the temple were a couple of local artisans selling their wares. We bought some prints by a deaf painter - Daniel Wong. We watched the immense koi in the pond in front of the temple. There were tiny fish swimming about as well. A big male peacock was strutting around outside the gift shop.
The gift shop had some interesting items. I was tempted by a little cloissone teapot, but I didn't end up purchasing it.
Then as we were sitting outside we saw a female peacock with her chick. It wandered over towards us and the baby followed. The baby kept falling asleep and taking short naps as the mommy preened and kept watch.
The mom was eyeing us sharply and then they got spotted by some kids. For a few seconds I was worried that she was going to get started and peck me in the leg. Soon after that we finied the loop around the pond, picked up our pictures, and headed out.
We went straight over to the beach. The water was slightly colder than the previous beaches but it was still nice.  The water was very calm and fairly clear. Some little fishes swam around us and one hung out over my floating legs for a few minutes.
Around 3 we headed out and were very hungry. We dropped the car off at home and walked to an Israeli restaurant: ShAloha. It was very tasty. Everything was made fresh on site: pitas, hummus, salad, chicken, etc.
After that we were glad to scrub off the sand and salt and relax for the rest of the day. (Excepting our amazing and long suffering host who cooked me latkes.)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pearl Harbor and Morimoto

Online ticketing was sold out through September. So, waking up this morning, our first order of business was to get out to the site and try and get tickets. We thought it would already be booked up, but we got two tickets for the 12:45 tour.
Since we had gotten there at 9 we had plenty of time to walk around and see other things. We didn't stand in line to get tickets for the submarine or battleship, and we didn't want to pay admission to the larger museum. We walked through the bookstore plotting our future purchases. We looked through the periscopes and went in the conning tower. We went through the gift shop and found a signed copy of an interesting book from the bookstore. We walked around the monuments and read all of the signed outside. The views were nice. We went through the free museum and looked at the ship's bell.
Then we were finished, and it was only 11. We hadn't had much in the way of breakfast, so we headed back over to the submarine side of the park and got some hot dogs and water. It was pleasant to sit at the tables and just rest. We probably sat there for over an hour enjoying the shade and breezes, and watching the birds.
Before going out to the Arizona Memorial we sat for a short film. The film was really interesting because of how much old footage was used. Everything they showed when they were talking about that time period was either film or photography from the era. The only modern footage was when  they were talking about the opening of the memorial and the ceremony they perform on December 7th.    They opened it in 1984 so the footage was full of 80's fashions.
After the memorial we bought our souvenirs and scampered off to the stadium for the flea market. (A hot and strenuous hike, but it only actually took us about 10 minutes.) We got some shaved ice - strawberry lime - and looked at the stalls. We bought some bread, gifts, and things for ourselves.
Then we went home and chatted until our dinner reservation. At 6:45 we went to Morimoto Waikiki. Amazing. Delicious. Scrumptious. Fantastic. I had a Wild Blueberry Manhattan to drink. For appetizers we had sushi. I tried some that had sweet gourd inside, that was really nice. I had some that were avacado and cucumber (my favorite) and they were incredible. For my main course I had Angy Chicken. It had masala spices, fried noodles, and peppers. Somehow, they had removed all of the bones except the large ones at the ends. I even ate the dark meat. For dessert, the molten chocolate almond cake. It had red wine ice cream and raspberries. The ice cream perched on dehydrated chocolate mousse. The cake was gooey and perfect, oddly light. It was the best meal I have ever eaten.

Snorkeling and luau

I have never snorkled before. We were worried because it was raining in the morning, but it cleared up nicely. Actually, the passing clouds provided a welcome respite from the sun. Still, I got a bit burned.
The snorkeling website implied that there would be showers and lockers. Not true. But it worked out. We checked in, then were given chips and drinks as we waited for the boat. Our captain was a bit worrisome at first, but he grew on us as the tour progressed, in part due to his excellent musical taste.
The first mate was a nice man with long dreads; he told us a lot about fish and dolphins. There was also an adorable photographer on board. He dove strait down to the bottom to get some great shots.
The first stop was a place that turtles like to go. We saw one. It was on the bottom, very large, and moving slowly. At first I kept smiling and laughing, letting water in to my mask. The fish that were swimming around were very pretty.
On the way we spotted some Hawaiian Spinnaker Dolphins. They were adorable. There was a baby one and some juveniles in the pod. We almost got in the water with them, but lost the pod.
Our next snorkeling spot was very pretty, all fish. On the way back in the captain took us way out to sea to see some bottlenose dolphins. We saw a couple fins, circles around a bit to see of they would surf the waves behind the boat (no) then headed in to shore really quickly.
They gave us sandwiches and chips for lunch. We were out from 11 till 3:30.
Tired and wet after that.
We headed over to the luau - still wet and in swimsuits.
There were fun activities. I made a headband/crown, a bracelet, and got a tribal tattoo. They did the tattoos with China markers. They went on well, but were prone to smudging.
There were a couple demonstrations before the official start: tying the sarong-thing, hula, languauge, fishing, climbing coconut trees, digging up the pig...
We sat for the luau and they pulled us up by table to go through the buffet. Salad, pasta, delicious pork, taro rolls, dessert... Such goodness. I also drank a couple of Blue Hawaiians.
He show was lots of fun. There was a fire dancer. They did a wedding song where a female dancer danced, and the male dancer just stared at her awkwardly.
We chatted with a couple of nice strangers. The sunset was gorgeous. The stars came out and were unfamiliar to me.
We got photos.
I am so tired, but still filthy from the day.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Goat Island, wild boar and Fine Ass

Driving down Likelike. Through the mountains and past the oceanview. The Jurassic Park mountains are on our left.
Stopped at a drug store for a few things and then was quickly at La'ie point. Magical, peaceful, surreal, and beautiful. We watched a guy jump off a rock. I've been told it's the rock they jumped off in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The rock was jagged and full of holes. It was filled with depressions that look like they get filled at high tide. There were rays swimming off to one side of the rock.
After a couple of wrong turns we made it to the Malaekahona beach. It was fairly deserted. We dropped our stuff at a shady spot and waded across the water to Goat Island. It was a challenging wade, but worth it. The island is a bird sanctuary and we walked around the perimeter. Amazing scenery. We waded back and played in the waves for a while, then laid in the sand to dry off.
We popped into the bathroom to clean our feet - 2 of 3 stalls didn't have doors! I don't get it. Neither did the showers.
On the drive back we stoped at an excellent taco place. Yummmmm. I had shredded beef tacos and ginger lemonade. Never heard of that before - now I need to learn to make it.
Then we stopped at a little store called Fine Ass Coffee, Chocolate, and Gifts. The packages look very nice, but the names have the implication of scandal. Also, there was a big inflatable thingy out front with a ball in its hand and a sign that said "We have donkey balls!"
And I saw a wild boar on the side of the road. It was little, black, and had a mohawk. So cute. Also, there are many chickens just wandering around.
The mountains are pointy and wrinkly and sharp looking, and are also very tall. The tops were wreathed in fog as we drove home.
We are wiped out. We were planning to go the the fireworks display tonight, but none of us had the energy to get up and out. Nicely, someone is bringing us food. Gyro and fries.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Palace, Church, Mission House, Chinatown

Don't knock on the window and tell us to get out of the crosswalk. Our car doesn't go any further forward. Just walk around.
Also, Good Eats- truth in advertising.
I saw the only palace I will be able to see without leaving the US. Gorgeous.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Well, that was rockier than I expected. However, I am now the proud owner of water shoes. That should help the next couple trips.
It was gorgeous. The water was warm. It was amazing.
We had shaved ice, I had strawberry and lemon lime.
We ran into our awesome stewardess on the beach.
I failed to climb a banyan tree.
I bought a charm for my charm bracelet from a sketchy jewelry store where we got an amazing deal but had to pay cash.
Then we went to Safeway and acquired provisions. Our host made us stir fry with noodles, bell peppers, pineapple, water chestnuts, shiitake, and teriyaki sauce.
We had delicious puffed donut things for breakfast. My favorite was the cinnamon dusted.
Achy, sore, full, and happy.

Lots of travel!

Yesterday I got on a plane around 12:30. I got off a different plane around 6:30. I spent 12 hours (almost) in the air.
I'm not bad at math. I flew from the east coast over to Hawaii. The time zone change kept messing with me. It was bright for a really long time. I didn't get why I was hungry, then realized I should have had lunch 4 hours previously.
The first plane, BWI to ORD, was a tiny little puddle jumper. I kept hitting my head on the ceiling when I was trying to walk down it. I had to check my carry on planeside. Mercifully, we were only on that plane for 2 hours. It was so small and uncomfortable.
We landed plenty early, but they didn't let us taxi in for a while because there was a different plane at our gate. So, by the time I was waiting in the jet bridge for my carry on it was already the time when our connecting flight was supposed to board.
We ran through the airport quite a long way. We had to go from the tail end of one spoke in to the center, and way out to the very end of another spoke. But, luckily, it seemed as if our next plane was not boarding on time, even though the information board said otherwise. Did we have time for the restrooms? To get food? I scampered up to the desk to ask. At first the guy seemed to expect that I was going to yell at him or something, he seemed a bit astonished that I was happy. 10 minutes! Restroom, sandwich, chips and sodas to eat as soon as we were allowed to sit on the plane. We were so hungry!
We boarded and waited. Ate our chips. Finally, we were off. The first four hours of the trip we didn't really get bored; we spent the time looking out at the scenery. We figured out where we were by comparing big landmarks to a small map. We saw gorgeous mountains and big rivers. The coastline was hugged by clouds. And then we were over the ocean. Initially, that was exciting. Then we realized we had 5 more hours of flying and no more scenery. Sometimes the clouds were pretty, but it was mostly just a vast expanse of sameness.
The more tired we got the more we realized that our day had been bloated with daylight. Our bodies wanted sunset, but we kept flying towards the sunny afternoon.  We were too excited and uncomfortable to sleep.
Towards the end of the flight, hunger won out against sticker shock, and our wonderful flight attendant gave us a sandwich and chips and then she didn't even charge us. Such nice people on that flight.
And then we were in Hawaii.
The airport, so cool. The scenery, so pretty.
We met our friend and she took us home.
We went out for great Indian food. Our bodies thought it was 3am. We finally saw the sun set. Drunk with tiredness, I fell into bed at 10 and slept (mostly) through until morning.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Pasta bake

1 bag of egg noodles
1 stick of margarine
Minced garlic
Tbl of milk
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup wheat germ.

Melt margarine and stir in garlic, rosemary, sage and thyme. Cool slightly, stir in milk.
Boil pasta.
Put in baking dish.
Stir in butter sauce and a handful of cheese.
Top with remaining cheese and wheat germ.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes (until cheese is melted and top is lightly browned.


Thursday, August 1, 2013