Sunday, December 23, 2007

Travel: Kauai vacation photos from September 2007

This post took a bit longer to get around to. But, at last, below are photos and travelogue of my most recent travels.

To see two YouTube videos about Kauai go here. One of the videos is mine. The other is put out by people on Kauai concerned about overdevelopment.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Arrived in Honolulu!

The last time I was in Honolulu was as a teenager many decades ago!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My uncle took me to Pearl Harbor to see the Arizona Memorial. The lines were long so we didn't make the trip to the site.

Nonetheless, reading the various interpretive displays was very moving even though the attack occurred 66 years ago. I'm sure it really impacts some of the older visitors who have memories of the actual event or knew people who were there.

Our next stop was the Punchbowl Memorial Cemetery.

There are murals that recap the Battle for the Pacific during World War II. The number of battles is unimaginable.

The visiting side of the trip came to an end and I donned my "business" hat by attending the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research and participating in a poster session for the evening.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The ASBMR conference was held at the Honolulu Convention Center.

It was a good workout to make the trek between the Convention Center and the Princess Kaiulani hotel.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

One of the mornings I decided to walk on the sands of Waikiki en route to the Convention Center.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Figuring I don't know when I'd be back to this part of the world again, I planned for a short island hop to Kauai!

The view from the airplane window!

On the ground!

My rental car was obtained through Priceline which was somewhat below the published rates since it was "shoulder" season between the summer travelers and the late fall/early winter escapees from elsewhere's cold weather.

I stayed at the Kauai Sands which was the lowest priced hotel on Yahoo! Travel.

Beautiful beach at the Kauai Sands but a tad windy!

The Kauai Sands is next to the Coconut Marketplace shopping center.

Kauai Tourism Tip: There is pretty heavy traffic between Kapaa and Lihue during morning and late afternoon rush hour. Also, if you are on the road after sunset, be aware it is very dark as there are very few street lights on the roads between towns! I discovered this because I figured, oh, take a little drive around the island before calling it a night. The sun went down and it was dark!

I wound up driving all the way up to Hanalei but it was completely dark so I didn't get to see the beautiful views I would two days later. I ended up having dinner at Bubba's Burgers in Hanalei.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Good morning Kapaa!

I rolled out of bed to watch the sunrise over the ocean!

There were other guests at the hotel with the same idea.

For the day, I headed toward the west side of the island to get to Waimea Canyon.

Even with the late morning haze, it is still quite a view though I would imagine would have been very spectacular in the golden sunrise/sunset hours.

The windy road eventually reaches Kalalau Lookout.

What a view!

Weather changes quickly on the islands! The rain swept in yielding the gorgeous rainbow!

If you have time, be sure to check out Hanapepe. There are some neat art galleries there which I got to check out a few that were open. The Cafe in the town is a top destination that is only open limited hours and requires reservations.

I then headed off to the Spouting Horn.

For dinner, I went to Brennecke's Beach Broiler.

Did you like the view from my dining table?

I had Opah and Ono for dinner. I liked the Ono better.

To work off some calories, I walked around Poipu beach to wait for the sunset!

Friday, September 21, 2007

I had made a reservation while I was in Los Angeles for a Na Pali Coast Catamaran tour through Captain Sundown. However, they contacted me with news on Thursday that the swell conditions were too rough to sail so I had to change my plans. I booked a kayak trip for Friday with Kayak Wailua.

We paddled up to Uluwehi Falls. It was quite a workout but lots of fun!

The falls wasn't very spectacular because the amount of rainfall had been low lately.

Nonetheless, had to take a picture in the water. It is cold as the water runs down from the top of Kauai!

I showered off back at the Kauai Sands and then hit the road to the Kapaa local products fair.

I had driven up to Hanalai on my first evening and had no idea how beautiful it was!

Here is one of the lookout points on the side of the road.

As a photographer, the golden hours are right around sunrise and sunset. What a view in Hanalei bay!

Waikiki back in Honolulu is like Rodeo Drive but with lots of big hotels. It is a district that probably never sleeps. But I've never been much of a night life person and truth be told there probably isn't a lot of nightlife in Kauai. I heard there are a few bars with music and such.

However, when I can, I like to get a feel for the local flavor. I saw in the local paper that Waimea was playing Kapaa in high school football at Kapaa which is the town right next to the Kauai Sands.

I was pretty tired from the kayak tour and the drive up to Hanalai but I figured what the heck, I'll go see the football game after a hearty meal. I went the Wailua Family Restaurant which was across the street from where I had met up for the kayak tour. I'd agree with the description of this place being like a Sizzler. Fancy dining it is not. But a decent amount of food at a reasonable price is good enough for me. I had a steak and Mahi Mahi platter. But most importantly, I got information about the football game! The man behind the counter said his daughter would be one of the cheerleaders at the game. The woman at the cash register drew a simple map to the stadium.

In the white jersey's were the visiting Waimea Menehune. In the green was the home team the Kapaa Warriors!

In the first half, I was amidst some Kapaa fans. One lady with a video camera explained to me her son was one of the players and her daughter was one of the cheerleaders. She pointed out various other relatives in the stands. It truly is a family event.

In the second half, I was amidst some Waimea fans. A couple noticed I didn't seem like a local and asked me what my story was. I explained I was a mainlander on vacation after business. They seemed happy to see a tourist at the game. They pointed out various family members in the stands and told me their son was a running back on the Menehune. They explained to me that there are three high schools on the island. They also told me that the Menehune were the legendary miniature men of Hawaii.

In case you were curious: Menehune 21 Warriors 7.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My last day on Kauai ...

One of the signature sights was Wailua Falls.

Since I had a few more hours before the flight back to Honolulu, I drove down toward the south side.

I stopped at Old Koloa Town. There are some cute little shops on the old historic street.

I had to visit beautiful Poipu beach one last time.

The sleeping Monk Seal got a lot of attention!

Flew back to Honolulu and had a get together with various relatives.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I had a few hours before my flight back to LAX. My uncle drove me to a few more sights on Oahu.

We went to Pali Lookout ...

Went to one of the surfing spots to see if anyone was out there ...

Saw a rower ...

Had lunch at the Ala Moana Shopping Center and saw some Hulu dancing ...



Thursday, December 20, 2007

Life: Maybe a new Christmas tradition for me

There was the periodic rattling of carts as two young employees of Ralphs after rounding them up pushed them back to the store.

Airplanes came in for landings every minute or so.

Cars trundled up and down the parking lot.

There was the quiet tinkle of a bell.

Yup, it is Christmas in the city and I manned the kettle and rang the bell in front of the Ralphs for two hours this evening.

It was neat to see parents give their kids some change or a dollar bill to put into the kettle.

"Thanks for your contribution!"

I smiled inside myself contemplating the internal dialog of people who walked past the kettle, stopped, walked back and placed in a contribution. What might have prompted a change of heart? Perhaps a recognition that came from gratitude? Or maybe a memory of someone who got help from the Salvation Army or someone who didn't?

Whether people gave or not, I did try to give them a smile and offer some holiday cheer with a hearty, "Have a good Christmas holiday!"

A few chatted briefly with me about nothing in particular as they placed some coins or bills in the kettle.

Some people had a grim look about them set upon their grocery shopping task, I wonder what was on their minds and how they felt to hear someone say, "Have a great evening."

Some thanked me as I thanked them for making a donation.

I could see some choose a path to enter the Ralphs that kept them from making eye contact with me.

One mom told her kids a nursery rhyme:

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man's hat ...

She said the kettle is the old man's hat ... and her two kids each dropped in a few coins.

Definitely made it a point to give a smile for the kids and a big "Thanks!" for each one who dropped in coins!

One lady walked past me going in and going out and came back and placed a dime in the kettle saying, that was all I could find in my car.

"Thank you every little bit helps!"

Another lady, looking a bit worn down from life dropped in a few coins and said, I'm sorry I can't give more, I'm just a poor old lady.

I had to say, "God bless you for her effort!"

Please consider making a contribution when you see a red kettle.

Or go ahead and contact your nearest Salvation Army and volunteer to be a bell ringer.

If I haven't convinced you, check out the web page for Salvation Army and see if Kelly Clarkson can encourage you to help out in some way.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sports: game day USC vs. UCLA

Can UCLA win?

If the special teams steals a TD and gives UCLA good field position and puts USC in bad field position.

If the defense comes up with an unbelievable game like last year.

If the offense can keep the QB from getting hit. Why did UCLA have their 2 QBs injured this season? The OL didn't protect them.

If all three happen then maybe UCLA is still in the game late in the fourth quarter with a miracle shot at pulling off the upset.

Otherwise, the game could be over like other years by half-time or sooner.

Go Bruins!

UPDATE: USC 24 UCLA 7. What can you say? No surprises today. Congratulations to USC for their 6th Pac10 title.