So This is Christmas, Waikiki

Big bucks are spent to vacation in Hawaii during Christmas. Since it had been two years since I’ve been to Waikiki for the holiday I decided to call my good friend Yvonne to join me for breakfast at the Outrigger Hotel.

Breakfast somehow seems more special when I am  sitting overlooking the pool and ocean and enjoying conversation with my long time crony. The food always seems to taste better when you are looking at such a beautiful site.

But alas it was not to be. That is, sitting overlooking the ocean. Instead, we had to take what was available, a table across from the preferred seating overlooking other people’s heads who were overlooking the pool and ocean.

It seemed from that point on I slowly turned into the Grinch.

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Yvonne was happy to be there and was just fine where we sat. She just ignored me as disappointment and complaints poured out of my mouth. The menu didn’t appeal to me so I ordered a short stack of macadamia nut and banana pancakes. They tasted dry as I tried to look through heads out to the sea. The coffee was bitter as I poured packets of sugar to mask the taste and somehow I only saw the tinsel side of Christmas as I looked around.

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There seemed nothing extraordinary to photograph that represented the holidays. This bar next to the table where we ate seemed to sum up the way I felt. It called to me but unfortunately it was closed. Even if it had been open I am sure they could not have made me a drink that would have made me feel better about my surroundings. So we headed down the stairs. I realized that the food had not changed and we had a wonderful waiter but I am a creature of my surroundings and I don’t choose place to eat for the food but for the ambiance.

 

 

IMG_0892I believe I took this very same photo two years ago for my Christmas blog back then. The Outrigger had very little to show in the way of Christmas decorations and so we didn’t bother to stay to look around.

Is it me or are the hotels losing the spirit like so many other places. Here it is December 16th and I’ve not heard one person say Merry Christmas. It’s as thought they are like the recorded message you always get when calling a business but paraphrased. “Your money is very important to us please take in our token Christmas decorations while you wait to pay the cashier.”

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The Moana Hotel, though their decorations have not changed, still had a beautiful presentation.

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The lei in the tree looked Hawaiian and Chrismasy

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Here we were at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel. This is a portrait of the young princess who was next in line for the throne. She died very young before taking the throne and even had she lived she would not have been able to reign as Queen Liliuokalani the Queen at the time, had been dethroned by big business men from the United States. Her imprisonment marked the end of the Hawaiian Monarchy. Much to the sadness and outcry of the Hawaiian People.

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This carving of a peacock is also a symbol of the Princess. Her home was in Waikiki and it was surrounded by her beloved peacocks. It was said that the peacocks cried through the night as the princess lay on her death bead. But more to reality the reason they may have cried would have been to announce the stream of strangers that were calling throughout the night to pay their last respects to their beloved princess.

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My last Christmas visit to the hotel they had this elaborate ginger bread set up  but it was all Hawaiian. This year they gave a nod to all the foreign visitors who patronize the hotel. This is the London Tower Bridge and to the side is the Eye of London or is it the London Eye?

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And do I really have to say what this represents other than a lot of cookie dough? The Eiffel Tower.

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And this is the rest of the village that looked a little to snowy for me. Yes Christmas can have a lot of snow, but in Hawaii? These are historic sites in Hawaii but it was just cluttered for me to try to single out.

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Now we’re  at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. I did not visit it the last time so it was all new to me and yet the tree pretty much looked like all the other hotel trees.

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But I did like this carousel display. The wind was blowing and the waterfall splashed down and out. Their was a bit of a chill, not much, but still a chill in the air. The bright display attracted the children but the spray of water became more attention-getting then anything else. I expect coming from all over the world and many from cold countries, the spray felt wonderful under the Hawaiian sun.

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So the last Hotel display I took was this one as I really liked the lay that this zebra was wearing. But that was as close to a Hawaiian look as there was going to be for a display in this hotel.

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When all was said and done. This was the real Christmas in Hawaii for those who were checking in to the hotel. From breakfast to the last display, I felt, Christmas had left the building and if there had not been these displays in the hotels you would not have known what time of year it was once you stepped out of your room.

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From street settings such as this along Kalakaua Avenue ,

IMG_0932to Duke Kahanamoku with fists full of leis welcoming all to his island

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This is the real Christmas in Hawaii

 

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Dogs and their “Pets”

 

DSCN0407Ka Mea the pit bull and Kylie the poi dog share the crate

 

Today, Cadie had  been sniffing, and sniffing at the cage and when Kylie went to get into the crate Cadie attacked her which made Max go for Cadie. Thankfully we were able to break it up with out me getting bit again.

IMAG0012Cadie looks so sweet and innocent. When she’s she sleeping.

So I’m thinking the piece of steak I gave Kylie in the crate today must still have a lingering smell. I take the rug under the crate and dump it for wash, I scrub the floor down and pull out the pillow. Low and behold as I pull the bedding out a small, stiff, little bird rolls around in the pillow.

That was the cause of the fight. and I’m sure what was driving Ka Mea to distraction at night.

IMG_0222Max to the risque

Cadie catches lizards and deposits them in the house, Kylie catches rats and this time a bird. I hate it. They kill the lizards that groom my garden, and leave me rat heads in the yard. But let a huge centipede climb into my closet they all run for the hills and leave me to sling the furniture all over the room with a scissors in my hand trying to kill it before it hides and attacks me at night.

Now to teach those darned dogs to make sure to protect the hand that feeds them the next time a centipede enters my house.

 

Capoeira Besouro Hawaii 2012

Capoeira Besouro Hawaii 2012

Capoeira Besouro Hawaii 2012

Here I am back to the second Capoeira exhibition and  to watch my grandson Nico earn his second belt in this martial art. With much more enthusiasm than his first year (Nico’s first belt exhibition)Nico did quite well in this grandmother’s opinion.

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The ceremonies started with a Tahitian dance.

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Nico was all smiles and laughter while getting ready to do a quick performance before their test began.

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Then the serious face showed on all the students as the adults came out and demonstrated. This is the ultimate goal for Nico

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He is not falling backwards he is totally balanced.

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Nico is now doing his polite greeting with the teacher who will run him through his drills

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He is so much more serious this year and more interactive than he was last year.

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There is so much style, grace and balance in this art. The teacher is rolling over him not falling on him

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IMG_0816Nico is doing a head spin here. Notice the balance that the teacher has.

IMG_0817Nico has so much more coordination this year.  No more yawning and speeding through his drills. He has practiced and strengthened his muscles.

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And here is his signature hand stand. each child gets the chance to demonstrate the skill he feels is his best. Nico has mastered his hand stand. Now next will be hopefully the one that his teacher is performing next to him.

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A bow to the audience and it’s over. For this year.

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He is so happy with his new belt. Now to learn how to tie it.

Pearl Harbor, Urban legends and the Facts

How or why do these urban legends get started. Worse yet with the proliferation of stories that are able to travel faster than the speed of light on the internet, it is very easy to get caught up in them. For me, I don’t know why, but I seem to remember hearing this story when visiting the Arizona Memorial several years back.

It was December 6th and the band members from the USS Arizona had just won the The Battle of the Bands in Block Arena in Honolulu. As a reward for their accomplishment the ship’s captain allowed the band to sleep in that fateful morning of December 7th 1941.

What a story that makes. It has been repeated for years and I know I’ve heard it at least 3 times. But as I started to work on this post something nagged at me and so I did some research. It never happened! Oh no! There goes my hook!

I am posting this site for you to go to as it is very interesting but also is a plea to stop repeating this story. If you are so inclined, here is the web site. http://www.ussarizona.org/history/uss-arizona-band/where-they-really-were

Now for a really hard fact. Pearl Harbor was bombed. No urban legend there. So on this anniversary of the bombing I thought maybe you would be interested to see just what it looks like in this day and age. For those of you who have never taken the trip here are a few helpful hints you might want to remember when and if you come to the islands.

  1. The tour of Pearl Harbor is absolutely FREE! Do not pay some tour company for the tour.
  2. No purses, backpacks or any type of carry on is allowed. You must leave them in your car. My advise would be to leave those all back at the hotel as cars do get broken into.
  3. Parking is free
  4. Expect at least a one to two-hour wait before you are able to get out to the memorial
  5. There is a snack bar there if you do need something to curb your appetite.
  6. There is also a small museum and gift shop that you can browse while waiting.
  7. Oh and most important, you can bring your camera. 🙂

So without further delay, here is my little mini tour.

After you get your ticket ( free but you need it to tell you what time you will be starting your tour.) and they call your time ( you get a time not a number) you will be escorted into a movie theater where they will show a movie about the bombing and a history of the war.

After the movie is over you will be taken out  a side door where you will be board the small craft that will motor  you out to the Memorial. I like sitting in the very back so that I can take unobstructed photos.

 

DSC_0081_3This is what the boats look like that takes you out to the Memorial

DSC_0085_2 2Looking towards Honolulu.  Quite busy isn’t it. Not the beach lined resort spot that a lot of people think of when they think of Hawaii.

DSC_0089_3Arizona landing. You will enter the memorial here.

DSC_0103_3 2No I’m not always thinking. Especially when I looked up and saw that the flag was flying half-mast. I had totally forgotten where I was and was trying to think of what important person had just died. Then my friend said to me, “your on the memorial and it’s flying for those who died. I felt awful that I didn’t realize that.

On the MemorialYou can look down into the water and into the sunken boat from all these points

DSC_0096_4Oil slicks still leak from the ship

DSC_0107_3 2Leaving the Arizona as the next batch of people take their turn aboard.

DSC_0109_2Battleship Row

DSC_0113This is ford island. I’m not sure but I believe this is where a lot of the Navel officers live. I know I sure would like to live there. Off to the mountains in the far distance you can see the Waianae mountain range. Below those mountains is the area where I live.

And so folks that’s the tour. I hope I have all the facts straight. If not I had best go check my wallet for wooden nickles.