Sunday, September 24, 2006

Visit to Hawaii - Days One, Two and Three


To catch up, on Thursday I got up at 8am New Jersey time, finished packing and hopped on a plane that left more than an hour late at 3pm, and landed in Honolulu only a half hour late at 6:40pm, Hawaii time. Got off the plane, picked up my rental car, and met my friend Dave for supper at Sushi Locomotion in Salt Lake. After supper, Jamie and Todd picked me up and took me out to Honolulu's newest swing dancing venue, Ong King Arts Center in Chinatown. It was a really wonderful and warm welcoming with all kinds of hugs and leis tossed around my neck, followed by lots of dancing that made my jet-lagged and sleep-deprived body feel like it was drunk from the thighs down. :) And as if flying direct from Newark to Hawaii, dinner and dancing were not enough, my gracious hostess, Rebecca, our friend Dave, and Rebecca's security-guard cat, Paco, capped off the day with lychee martinis and talk-story.

I should note that Rebecca's guest bed is the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in. I think it might be one of those memory-foam mattresses or something, though I did not check under the bed sheets to find out. I think her folks bought the bed for her because that's the one they know they will be sleeping in when they come to see her. So my compliments to Mom and Dad Rebecca for a great selection of bed!


Friday morning I woke up early, around 8am and went outside for a nice walk around the neighborhood. I didn't get very far before I got the idea of trading in my rental car, a big and clunky Ford Taurus, for the smaller, economy-class car that I had originally reserved anyway. Am I weird for wanting to down-grade my rental car? I don't care; it took only two miles and one annoying attempt to park in the jam-packed Salt Lake Shopping Center parking lot to convince me that I didn't want to drive a Ford Taurus for the rest of the week. So instead I ended up with a Chevy Aveo, a little $9,000 car whose only frill was the air conditioning. That was the only frill I needed, so I was a happy camper. Or driver.

Since Rebecca works a crazy schedule, she was able to join me and some of the folks from my former workplace, HTDC, for awesome lunch at Asia Manoa. After this, I took a nice walk around Kapiolani Park.

After my nice walk, I fought typical Honolulu traffic to pick up Dave from his workplace in downtown. We went to the not-so-well attended tech trade show at the Neal Blaisdell Center. Between the two of us, we paid $4 to park, and we figure we got enough t-shirts and stress balls out of it to make up for the cost of parking. Oh yeah, there was also a vendor there who's selling a service for sending video email messages. They let us do a demo, so you can see our dorky video if you click here. Please note - I don't think it works in Safari.

Next, we met up with some HTDC and other folks at Longhi's at Ala Moana Shopping Center for "yooj", which is HTDC's term for going out for drinks and pupus after work. :)

Following yooj, I have to thank Vivian for introducing us to Spices, a relatively new restaurant in the University area of town, on King Street, just a few doors up from Kokua Market. Vivian insisted we go try all their ice creams, and I'm glad we did! If I were smart, I would have written down all the flavors we tried - they are so unusual and you're not likely to find them anywhere else. My favorite was the Pineapple-Basil (who would guess that could be good?!?). Dave's favorite was the one with hot pepper in it. Viv likes the Jasmine. No one really liked the Durian, but I was happy to have tried it. I think it is an acquired taste, because I did try several spoonsful of it, and it did become slightly more appealing after each one. I think there was also Lavender, and the other two flavors were not unusual - Chocolate and Banana.

So you'd think that after all this, our day would be over already. But no... Dave and I parted with Viv after our ice cream experience and picked up our fishing buddy, Daniel, for a little night fishing over at the "groin" in Waikiki. Thad joined us too. We didn't catch much, just a few little tiny fish that we threw back.


It's nice to wake up here to the sound of palm trees blowing in the breeze, and look out the window and see sunshine and blue sky.

Today's schedule of activities was not so packed. I met up with Rick, Alicia, Tom/Kevin, Bex, Dave and Jade for Dim Sum at Fook Lam in Chinatown. The food there is always so ono, and
the company a lot of fun. And it seems that this is the first time I bothered to use my camera. And I have to thank Alicia for making me a CD of all the photos she took - I've included some of those here as well. I love the sesame-covered balls that they snip in half with the scissors which makes them look like little fledgling pac-men waiting to be fed tasty ghosts.

For some reason, my friends like to take pictures of their feet. Can you tell which pair of legs belong to me? I'll give you a hint - my legs have seen very little of the New Jersey sun during the last year:

So anyway, following dim sum, I didn't really have any particular plans, other than to go dancing later in the evening. So Dave and I decided to hang out and talk story for a while at the park on Sand Island, then got some Jamba Juice at the new Moanalua Shopping Center. There are no Jamba Juices in New Jersey, at least that I know of. And it's not exactly convenient for me to go to the one that is in NYC.

After a nice little afternoon nap at Rebecca's, my hostess returned from work and we met up with my friend Rob at Spices - this time for dinner, not ice cream. Suffice it to say, dinner was quite yummy, but best of all, Rebecca and I managed to talk Rob into joining us for some dancing over at the Kahala (formerly Mandarin). It was a wonderful night of dancing - so many people there. The large turnout was due to this being the final performance of Betty Loo Taylor's jazz trio at the Kahala. I was just happy to have been there for this one last time.
It seems that after the Kahala changed ownership, some renovations where made to the lounge area. These renovations resulted in hotel guests being able to hear the music from their suites down on the far end of the lounge areas, which in turn restulted in complaints against all that "damn jazz" late at night. Weenies.

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