Monday, April 26, 2010

Another Random Mix

A friend of mine wanted to take me to lunch at this place. When we arrived, we discovered that they aren't open for lunch, just dinner, and there was a wedding reception taking place.

We were allowed to walk around the garden and outdoor reception area though. This tree was on the grounds and I thought it was really interesting. I didn't have my wide angle lens with me, so this was the best I could do--my back was up against the building as it was, so I couldn't get any further away. You can see that it's magnificent.

The building in the distance is the restaurant where the wedding reception was taking place.

A sculpture gracing the entrance to the restaurant.

They surprised me with a "flat Linda". I'll be tagging along, in Hawaii, with anyone who wishes to take me with them while I'm in NY. It will be interesting to see where I wind up.

One of the ladies threw a baby shower for her daughter. Just a couple of images from that event.

Julie, the hostess, made this cake with the help of her younger daughter. I see a profession in the future for these two. It was a nice morning and the food was fantastic! And Doug, Julie's husband, made us some awesome smoothies--they rival any I've had anywhere. Move over Jamba Juice!! (and I got to spend some more time in the beautiful basketball court! see the post from March 29)

Leah's birthday is May 4. I'll be in NY by then, so I made her a cake and we wished her happy birthday at Bible Study last night.

This last image was a recreation, but I absolutely love it. I think it's my favorite--I love the expression on her face. Sometimes the most spontaneous shots are the best.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Eating at the Commissary

I was out with my friend the other day and she had to do some grocery shopping on the way home. We stopped at the Commissary, where there is also a food court. Well, she and I have never met a food court we didn't stop and eat at, so before shopping we indulged ourselves. The neat thing about this one is that since it's on one of the military bases, it's populated mostly by military personnel. Yeah for our troops.

So you know how I love funky signs and license plates. On the way out I noticed the following three signs and couldn't resist recording them. I think this first one should be posted in every public eating place...

I really dropped the ball on photographing this last sign so it would be clear enough to read. But under the image is the translation.

You can have things your way and pull if you want,
but this door is pretty stubborn.
Okay, maybe these signs haven't made you laugh out loud,
but I still think they're pretty clever...

Another day I was at a friend's house and her daughter showed me some of the artwork she's been doing. She's very talented and her artwork is truly beautiful. She also makes custom crafted jewelry with gemstones. Once she gets her blog up and running, I'll post a link to it so you can see her creations--and maybe buy some for yourselves or for gifts.

This is my favorite. If you enlarge the image, you'll see that there will eventually be a border which will act as a frame.

Okay, now it's off to the North Shore (possibly a Shave Ice), where I hear the surf is pretty high. The sun is shining, the wind is just a breeze and I have hours to enjoy one of my last days on Oahua.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 20th

Only 8 days left. Sigh!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

There Are Times...

The other day when I went to the office, I found this is my mailbox. I don't normally wave my own flag, but there are times when a little affirmation for hard work is encouraging.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Wai'oli Tea Room

Yesterday two friends and I went to the Wai'oli Tea Room for lunch. It's in the suburbs of Honolulu. Very sweet place. Very green and lush environment. These images were made with my point and shoot, so they're not spectacular--mostly just-for-the-record.

One of the ladies ordered quiche. It was so amazingly good that she asked the waitress if she knew how it was made. The waitress said she'd ask the chef and the next thing we knew, the chef was sitting at our table giving us the low-down on how he created the quiche.

Then he shared this note with us about an up-coming lunch request.

Later in the day I was running some errands and came across this license plate. It says it all!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Good Day in Paradise

Today I finally got the chance to go to the Macadamia Nut Farm. It's pretty much the best kept secret on Oahu. I've been hearing about it for three years now, and I decided I'd try my best to get there this time. So glad I did.

Getting there requires a drive up the windward side of the island--an awesome drive, to be sure, so there's no sacrifice involved in the trip.

Upon arriving, you pull into a dinky, dirt parking lot, and if you're lucky, you can find a spot to park... Then you enter through a gift shop where you can purchase Hawaiian memorabilia, sample and/or buy Macadamia Nuts with all varieties of coatings, taste varieties of flavored coffee, also available for sale, and purchase tickets for the "tour".

Betty has been there several times before, so she led me quickly to the tour ticket booth. As luck (although I don't believe in luck) would have it, the tour bus was just about ready to pull out, so we were ushered onto it post haste.

I use the term "bus" very loosely.

Last winter my daughter was in the Peace Corps in Kenya. Several times she wrote in her blog about the most common and practically only mode of public transportation--the matatu: a bus-like vehicle which is usually crammed overly full of riders, which often breaks down during transit, and which doesn't have windows or air-conditioning.

Although our conditions today in Hawaii nowhere mimicked those my daughter described about Kenya, for a split second I felt a little like I had been transported to Africa. It's a neat feeling to get a small sense of what someone you love has experienced.

But I digress!

As the bus began, the driver described the vegetation we passed and gave a little history about the area. He occasionally disembarked to grab a piece of fruit, cut it up with a machete type instrument, and share it with us, his riders.

When we got off the bus, we were led to a dock where we stepped onto a boat of some type.

We stopped out in the water and the guide proceeded to tell us about all the movies/tv shows that had been filmed in this location. The mountain behind the trio being photographed is the location where part of Jurassic Park was filmed. The opening scene from Gilligan's Island took place to the rear of the direction we were facing. Part of 50 First Dates, Along Came Polly, ER, Lost, Fantasy Island, Tears of the Sun, the new TV version of Hawaii 5-0 and just recently, scenes from upcoming movie about Bethany Hamilton (the young surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack) took place in this beautiful location.

Okay, enough name-dropping.

After the little boat excursion, we settled into a small outdoor amphitheater for a show. The chief, and main entertainer, was very good (if not a little bawdy) and had us laughing inbetween serious stories about the history of starting fire, surviving on coconuts and twirling flaming batons.

After his presentation, they offered to take photos of the people/families in the audience with each one's cameras, and they also took photos with their cameras to sell to us when we returned to the main visitor's site. Betty and I didn't take them up on this offer, although I did manage to talk her into having our photo taken with the chief while we were on the boat. (Being the good tourist, I purchased that photo as a momento)

My friend, Betty.

Some final goodies. We were told that the taping of the last episode of Lost had already taken place and that the crew and cast of the show were having their farewell Picnic at Kualoa Ranch, just up the road from the Nut Farm. Betty, being obsessed with the show, wanted to stop to see what she could see. So we did, but we didn't. Didn't see much, that is. We did see some canopys set up under which she thinks the crew was picnicking, but no cast was in sight. She took a photo of what was there though, and we left with her being a happy camper.

Then we headed over to the Hukilau Cafe and had lunch. I'm liking that place more and more--too bad it's so far away, not easy to get to for breakfast or lunch, but definitely worth it if in the area. AND , I got the scoop on the movie version of the Hukilau Cafe. So when we left there, I was the happy camper.

So....we got to hang out with half-naked men, we tasted freshly cut coconut, we rode in a matatu type bus, we sampled a variety of macadamia nuts, saw the crew from Lost (maybe), had a great lunch & got the scoop on the Hukilau Cafe, rode around the island up windward and across the north shore (my favorite place on the planet earth), saw the sun shine all day and took a lot of photos.

Yeah, I guess I'd have to say it was a good day in Paradise!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Lunch at the Cafe

So we finally made it to the Hukilau Cafe this morning. We missed breakfast, but were able to order lunch. It's a cute little place--only 9 tables, a place you'd expect to see in rural upstate NY. The food was good, the prices were good, the service was good...

On the way home, driving along the coast only feet from the beaches, we screeched to a stop when we saw a monk seal basking on one of the beaches. This one hadn't been reported to the authorities yet, so there were no guardians or red ropes in sight. That meant we could all get a little closer than usually allowed. Although I took many close-ups, I chose to post this image because of the way it shows the beach and the environment around the seal.

It was a beautiful morning as we drove along the coast. Later in the day, however, it turned cloudy and threatened rain. Last night it rained about 8 inches in one of the areas on the island, with flood warnings in effect practically all night.

Flash flood warnings were issued again late this afternoon.

But we enjoyed the morning at the Hukilau and the beach visiting with Mr. Monk Seal.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Welcome Home

My host family celebrated the homecoming of their son, Yuji, today. He's been deployed for the past 8 months, serving in Kuwait. The Welcome Home Ceremony was scheduled to begin at 4 pm. I was blessed to be able to share in welcoming him home.

When we first arrived on base, I was overwhelmed not only with the concept of what was happening, but also with the photo opportunities.

Many of these images are of random people at the event. Although there are many images in this post, they represent just a fraction of the total that I shot.

There were some people in an auxiliary of some sort who were handing out lei to the visitors to give to their returning military friends and family. Betty had already purchased some beautiful lei, along with some balloons, with which to greet Yuji.

At 4 pm SHARP,(gotta love the military sense of time) the returning soldiers began their march into the reception area. With my back to the crowd and some awesome marching music playing I photographed this group with the sounds of shouting, cheering and clapping coming from the crowd behind me. It was very moving...

Once the short & sweet ceremony ended, the soldiers greeted their friends and family. This little girl was just waiting while her mom was taking photos.

Yuji greeted his parents and then moved on to hug his sister. They really like each other and it's a sweet sight to see.

Some more random people.

We stopped at a sushi place on the way home. Very interesting. I didn't each sushi, but I did manage to eat my entire meal with chopsticks.

The finale of The Welcome Home!