Weekend with the girls

I got to spend a weekend with the girls, High School friends, some of them I have known since first grade, on a staycation in Honolulu. It’s been a while since going on a vacation for many of us in the group. I was looking forward to being away from folks and not having my daily chores. No guilt, I would be only half-hour away, and my Mom knew that she could call anytime they needed me. And yes, I think they were happy to have a break from me.

I didn’t do my best at taking pictures. There are lots of picture-takers in the group. Here’s what I got.

Friday Night’s Adventures

A scavenger Hunt to get to our first destination of the weekend. These are our challenges to the hunt.

  1. Find a store that begins with the first letter of your first name
  2. Find Keeuamoku Seafood to pick up pupus
  3. Find the statues of Kamehameha and Queen Lili’uokalani and take a group picture of ourselves in front of the statues
  4. Find Skull & Crown, take a picture with the sign. 
  5. Skull & Crown is your final destination.
This was one of the only photo we remember to take our mask off. With the Kamehameha statue. Photo credits: Stephanie Takehara

I thought it was funny that the girl that lived on the mainland for 35 years was the driver of the scavenger hunt. Thank goodness I had great navigators, or we would be still on the search for these items.

Once all of us got to Friday’s final destination, Skull & Crown, it was time for pupus (appetizers) and drinks. Here’s all of us eating, drinking, and talking way too much. Cathy asked to bring her husband Allen along as it’s been a long, challenging year without a vacation. He was a trooper and didn’t get annoyed with all our jabbering. Group shot photo credit: Allen Takayama


Saturday’s Adventures

Oh my! What a day. We packed it like we weren’t going to have another chance: Afternoon tea at 11:00, Raku Ceramics event, roaming around Chinatown, shopping, getting ice cream, dinner in Waikiki, and more talking, drinking, and laughing at the end. I hope I’ll survive this weekend.

Tea at 1024 is a cute tea shop across the street from the Downtown Art Center (more about this location later) in Chinatown. We each picked our tea and teacup. I chose Vanilla Rooibus because I’ve been trying to eliminate caffeine from my life and like the taste. Here’s what we had. Everything was delicious, especially the scones and clotted cream.


Before we went to Tea at 1024, we found our way to Downtown Art Center to see what was showing. They had an annual Raku glazing/firing event. You could purchase a hand-thrown bowl, and you got to glaze it, and the raku team would fire for us. Several of us decided to to do it. We hurry to get into the last firing.

Meanwhile as the pots were fired we roam chinatown for interesting shops to browse and take advantage of their AC. We ended up making our way to Wing Ice Cream for a cool snack. This ice cream shop has unique flavors (pizza, we weren’t brave enough). I got a double scoop of “The Haole” and black sesame (I shouldn’t have done that).

Melt-y mess of goodness. Photo credits: Stephanie Takehara

We had dinner at Taormina in Waikiki. Taormina is a Sicilian restaurant with a Japanese Chef. Cathy and Allen have been there before and gave it a glowing review. We hopped in the minibus we rented for the evening. My disclaimer for the evening was that I wasn’t feeling great by the time we got back to the hotel. My choice for dinner may have been different if I felt better. I chose the Sea urchin “Ricci di mare,” Spaghetti sautéed with fresh sea urchin, light salt, and garlic. It was a creamy sauce from the sea urchin but a little bland. Maybe a little more salt or sea urchin. I think the duck, Pesci Misti, grilled mixed seafood, and Sarde e Finochetti, Spaghettini with sautéed sardine, fennel, anchovy, olive, caper, tomato paste and bread crumbs, were the winners tonight.

After dinner, we hung out in one of our rooms for more eating, drinking, and laughing.

Sunday Winddown

We had an early Dim Sum reservation at Jade Dynasty. We decided to sleep in (no 6:00 am walking), pack up, and move the car for the rest of the day’s events. Since coming back to Hawaii three years ago, I realize people in Hawaii like to stand in line for things. We got to the restaurant about 10:00, and people lined up already. Well, I survived dim sum without bursting, then off to the Van Gogh exhibit. Great use of fantastic artwork (wow, I still can’t believe they were allowed to do it), animation, projections, and ample space.

Well, I say we sure planned a jam-packed weekend and had a blast. I’m looking forward to the next event. Maybe a little less packed.

Hawaii 2017

UPDATE: Not sure why this went back to draft. I had to republish this to get it out of my draft folder. Sorry to repost. Still learning WordPress.

I’m back from my trip to Hawaii to see my folks, family, friends and Oat’s send off (Next steps: part 1 and part 2). Wanted to share photos of what I did. It was a great trip. Thought it would be hard without Oat but I had a really nice time family and friends beside being very hot.

Morning walks

I tried my best to keep up my walking when I was back. Not as early, no cats to nudge me awake. But I should start walking at 6 but never was out that early. So hot, what a sweaty mess.

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Waipahu Gym

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Waikele Golf Course

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White egret by side of the road

Food

Doing too many things, not too many shots. I’m surprised I don’t have all shave ice and popsicle images because they were my major food group on this visit.

Flora and Fauna

Most of my shots are from my parents’ yard or their neighbors.

Places

Hung out with folks most days with the last week being a whirlwind of events. Wasn’t the greatest of documenting things this trip.

Marukai

Went with my cousin and her family to Marukai. It’s like a Costco for all things Japanese. Love their candy and pickle section but this time I didn’t go crazy, instead I could watch 3 little girls go crazy. Picking up every cute and proclaiming, “This is soooooo cute!!!!! Can I get it, pleazzzzzze! I’m so glad I’m just a cousin.

Okinawan Festival

The Okinawan Festival is annual event that is held at Kapiolani Park that is getting bigger and bigger every year according to my friends. There was food, plants and craft/dry goods tents with a Bon Dance in the evening.

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View from the Okinawan Festival–Diamond Head

Bon Dance is summer tradition in Hawaii. It is usually connected with a Buddhist temple/church and it is when you go and pay your respects to your ancestors. There is usually live drumming and singing. They perform at top of the a center tower and everyone dance around it.

I was hoping I go get out to a Bon Dance. Something I miss living in NJ. I know there is on in South Jersey but never made it there. Here’s a short video of the Bon Dance that my friend Allyn shot. I’m in there some where, look for blue dress.

Ko Hana Rum

I found out rum was being made near where my parents live, on the outskirts of Waipahu, the cane fields in Kunia.

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from the KoHana Tour

My friend, Jan told me her daughter’s boyfriend works there giving tours. And I asked her if she want to go with me for a visit. I needed to get a special gift and I thought Rum distilled in Hawaii sounded good.

Though not, a drinker–a glass or two of a nice red wine is my limit, the tasting w

Next Steps: part 2

I didn’t want to make a big thing of it. I wanted to find a place that wasn’t crammed with people. Then I thought about the west-side beach and Kaena Point. When I mentioned this to my friend, Janice who has been in a halau for the longest time and is my Hawaiian culture expert, she said that Kaena Point is a place where the spirit jumps or travels to the other side. So that was my ocean spot.

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The start of the trail

Oat and I have been to Kaena Point a couple of times but we did it from the North side/Mokuleia. It was usually the the first hike we did when we got in. It was flatish, no giant uphills, great for the jet lag travelers. And you get to see so many monk seals, albatross and the beautiful coastline

I picked Tuesday, September 5 to go out because it was after the holiday weekend. I figure it would be less crowded then. I wasn’t going to ask anyone. I thought people were busy and I figure I could walk it on my own. But a couple of friends asked when I was doing it and that they wanted to come along with me.

I had no plans how to do this. But luckily, the great friends that I have knew what to do. My friend Allyn, the engineer and project manager of the group, had a plan. She had picked ti leaf from her yard to make leis and Janice showed us but basically made them for us because she was so good at it.  Allyn also picked plumeria and puakenikeni from her yard.

The Plan

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The crew L to R: Jan, Alan, and Allyn

Meet at my parent’s house at 7am, Jan, my friend from 1st grade, to pick up Allyn and Alan, her handy husband  (he also came to check out my parents bathroom–need a small fix. See how handy).

We packed up the van and off we went to the west side of the island, past Yokohama Beach–such beautiful under used beach–to the end of the road.

Walk/hike is on the flat side. You walk along the coast with beautiful views of the westside of Oahu. The trail is on the old railroad and you still can see some of the wooden ties on the trail. I can only imagine what it was like riding the train back then. What a view it would have.

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the coastline

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natural arch

My cousin told about the tidal pools and we could go swimming them but to watch for the wana (sea urchins). Allyn said underneath where the wana, that where the opihi (limpets) are. No wonder they are so expensive.

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tidal pools (with lots of wana (sea urchins) and opihi (limpets)

A portion of the trail had washed out or eroded away and there was an slight detour that lead us up the side of the mountain for a bit (not so bad). Then you have to pass through a gated area. At this point, it is a Nature reserve.

The Spot

We were trying to be inconspicuous but 4 old people, looking hot and sweating, one with a big blue umbrella, that hope kind of was dashed. There wasn’t a lot of people walking around. In the meantime, we I looked around looking for there right spot, there were monk seals lazying around in the sun.

 

Allyn suggested to build a cairn (stacks of rock) with the white stones. I googled cairn to see what it really meant and one of the meaning was:

“a mound of rough stones built as a memorial or landmark, typically on a hilltop or skyline.”

Alan climbed up the rocky outcrop that had a view of the point. Haha, we all could have gone around the back of the rock to get to the top. That’s what happens when you are looking at the beautiful pacific ocean instead of the mountains. Once it was built, he added a ti leave lei and I added some ashes, thought it would be nice place for Oat. The view from the top of the rock was of the point and the pacific ocean.

 

Alan and I found a spot where we could stand on the rock as the wave came in. Alan toss in the ti leave lie and flowers and I did Oat’s ashes. I wasn’t as graceful as I picture in my head at least I didn’t fall in while I was doing it. It was nice and I’m glad there were people with to share in the moment. I know he would love the cairn, flowers and the leis. It’s really beautiful spot and I’m sure I’ll be back again for visit.

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the cove

We were on the left side because we needed stay clear of the seal on the right. There was a video of the me spreading the ashes but I can’t find it. If I do, I’ll update the post with it. Here’s a video of the cove from almost where I was standing. You can here the wave crashing and you can see the seal.

 

I know Oat would be happy with his ashes being spread here. I still have a bit more  that I will spread on hikes and places we loved in our travels. Thank you everyone for your support throughout this time of my life. I really appreciated and don’t know what I would have done without it. Thanks again.

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Aloha Oe Oat

 

Next Steps: part 1

Been thinking a lot of where I would spread Oat’s ashes when I get to Hawaii. His mom said in Thai culture the ashes should be spread in the ocean.

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rocky shoreline on the trail to Kaena Point, more to come in part 2

I thought of having a get-together with friends and family at the beach then asking someone with a surfboard or kayak to take his ashes out.

Or going on a hike–maybe the one that we got lost on last time were there. . .

Well. . . things just fell into place.

The hike came first

Asked my cousins if they like to go on the hike we got lost on to spread Oat’s ashes. So he could finally see where were suppose to go.  But my cousin’s hiking friend offer to get a permit for Poamoho Trail. Top 5 of hikes in Hawaii according to one of my cousins. So that was set, just wishing for good weather so we didn’t have hike in the mud.

Poamoho Trail is permit only. It takes around 10 days to get the permit and only 5 people per permit. They allow only 100 people per day on the trail. I’m so grateful for Livia (my cousins’ friend) for getting the permit for this hike and her awesome Subaru that got us up to the trail head. Our crew: Macy,  Eunice (my cousins and sisters), Jodie and Livia (part of my cousin’s hike crew)

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Front L to R: Macy, Eunice; Back L to R: me, Livia and Jodie at the trail head.

[One little hiccup to the day. I left my phone in my dad’s car when I went to my cousin’s house. (I think seeing my aunt and uncle and delivering a pie a I bake made me forget). I didn’t realize I forgot it on the car until we met up with Livia and Jodie. All photos by Macy, Eunice and Jodie. Thanks all for sharing.]

Getting to the trail head

Thanks to Livia and her awesome Subaru we got up the crazy rutted dirt road to the trail head. The trail head was a 45 minutes drive with the excellent navigational and driving skills from everyone else except me (not too many off road experiences here in NJ). Thank goodness for dry weather or we would have been slipping and sliding along bouncing through the ruts.

Because they only allow 100 people on trail per day, the trail was so quiet. All you could hear was the birds, our chatter, an occasional hunters and their friendly dogs and hikers coming back down from the cabin.

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Ohia trees

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rest stop to cool off

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the trail (notice no mud!)

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wild orchid

To get to the summit, I was told by everyone that we needed to go through an unmaintained part of the trail. But Iguess there has been some trail maintenance because the unmaintained trail was the most beautiful unmaintained trail I ever been on. A few muddy spots and a river crossing, then you arrive to the grassy area with incredible views of the north shore and beyond. It was pretty gusty and it cooled you right down from all the hiking upwards (a good thing for Princesshotflash).

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by the river crossing

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The summit

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at the monument 1–L to R: Macy, Eunice, Jodie and me

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at the monument 2–L to R: Jodie, Eunice, me and Livia

I wanted to spread Oat’s ashes at the summit but was quite sure where. My cousins suggested by the monument so I’ll remembered where it was. It’s a place with such a beautiful view. I think he would have loved this hike. Will have to come on this hike again for a visit.

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Daredevil Macy

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sign from the monument

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our view (we think that’s Molokai in the distance)

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Well worn shoes from the trail

Here a link of a little video by my cousin Macy from the summit. You can hear the gusty winds: https://www.facebook.com/macytadena.massey/videos/pcb.10213885944758872/10213885933118581/?type=3&theater

Back down

You alway think going up is hard but really going down is harder. Your legs are tired and you’re sweaty and somewhat muddy and not as fresh as at the start.

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Macy and me (of course, I’m sweaty and flush as always)

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Eunice

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Macy, me and Jodie walking the trail

Awww! We finally made it down. What a beautiful trail. So worth the effort.

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Getting hydrated at the end of the trail