A Christmas Visitor

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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

 

Christmas in Kapolei Hawaii

The flowers are as close to Hawaii as the Christmas trees got

It seems I just posted a blog about Christmas in Waikiki 2010. I got up to get a cup of coffee and sat down and low and behold it is Christmas 2011.

Since I covered Waikiki I thought I would look elsewhere for a Hawaiian Christmas.  I headed out to Kapolei, just west of where I live.

English: Photo of Kapolei City Center taken 11...

Kapolei from Wikipedia

Kapolei is a new town that has popped up to add to the traffic stream in what used to be a quiet, small, and kind of boring part of Oahu. Now it is pock-marked with shopping malls, hardware warehouses that you need a car to get around in and to put the stamp of approval on it all, a Wal-Mart that is a block long, is now being completed.

So I thought I would check out there city hall Christmas lights. Actually I was hoping for something unique only to Hawaii on display but found only a few things.

Well for sure Coconut trees are certainly part of Hawaii

A ukulele and a uli uli ( rattle with feathers used by hula dancers)

A pahu drum ( the real drum is made from the trunk of a coconut tree and the top is covered with shark skin)

Ipu Heke (gourd drum)in the back of the uli uli

And this is what the instruments looked like as part of the Christmas display

Here are a few drawings by the local school kids depicting their view of what a Hawaiian Christmas is like.Now these look more like the blog I wrote about last Christmas on taking a Staycation in Hawaii

In case I don’t get another Christmas blog posted I will end this post with this photo. A very Mele Kalikimaka to all of you until I post again

Let the season begin, Hula, Christmas Shoppers and Pearlridge Hawaii

Pearlridge Shopping Center is gearing up for shoppers

I’m no fool. I don’t go near shopping centers during the holiday season. I get my shopping done early or on-line. But this year I had to do some unexpected purchasing and so headed into the fray. “Just take it minute by minute” I told myself as I drove into Pearlridge parking lot.

“You always find a space” I repeated as I went up the down staircase, totally mixed up as to what way to go. But I did find a space as a man signaled to me that he was pulling out and for me to wait. After getting out of the car I headed toward the center, through the maze of drivers still going in circles.

“I’m crazy” I thought as I headed down the escalator.  “I should be at home with the dogs and a good book.” But I took a deep breath and just as I got to the bottom of the second floor I forgot all about the crowds, parking, my dogs and books as I took in all of the action going on.

Only in Hawaii of course. I doubt you would see this anywhere else during this manic shopping season. Quickly I pulled out my handy, dandy camera and started taking photos to share. I’ve been so busy this past two months I’ve neglected my blog for which I’m sorry. But I knew everyone would enjoy seeing these.

Waiting her turn to entertain the crowds. Calm and composed.

The colors are rich and the children are adorable

Taking photos was very difficult as kids were moving every which way. They were practicing their hula and so bodies were swaying and of course I could not get my camera to work properly. At least that is my excuse. It sounds better than the truth which is I don’t know how to adjust it.

This young girl was practicing her Tahitian as can be seen by the blurring

  Some were still adjusting their outfits

Calm, a real professional

Traditional Hula and updated Christmas trees

After my photo session I felt elated. I was energized. Heading into the crowd with a smile on my face  I thought, boy it’s nice to live in Hawaii. Let the season begin.

Getting What You Want For Christmas

My computer is allergic to milkshakes. It went from computer to compuker in a matter of minutes. It refused to talk to me and would only spit up dots. It had lost all it’s letters. My fault. I was upset because I did not read the fine print on a warranty for my pocket camera I ordered from Amazon. It was supposed to cost $6.00. The postage turned out to be $20.00.

After reading the bill I went in to a rage and pulled  my milkshake off the table and it dropped out of my hand and on to my computer. Yes, I know. Don’t have any liquids  anywhere near your computer. But like many who have gone before me I thought I was invincible.

So what could I do? I calmed down after an hour or two and a night of no sleep. Went to see my friend who repairs computers and found out that I could replace the keyboard and all would be fine.

The next few days I thought about it. How much could I accomplish if I had no computer at all? It turned out I had a lot of time on my hands. Enough time to do more photography, sewing and gardening and yes, cleaning the house, cooking and dog care.

As I took out my new camera to experiment with it, suddenly a light went on in my head. Where was I going to put all the photos? Both my cameras are digital and I like to manipulate the end product on my computer!

So I bought myself a very nice Christmas present. Yes, a new computer. I must admit I never thought buying myself something for Christmas would be so rewarding. I was actually gitty about it. How is that? I knew what the present was but getting something that I really want and a camera to boot was almost euphoric.

I found myself so happy with my present that I’ve actually been thinking what will I get myself next Christmas?  Oh the possibilities.

But I have to say, getting what you want for Christmas is priceless. At least until the bill arrives in January.

I am including the photos I took of the gingerbread house that was built at the Princess Kaiulani hotel. I know it is late and just about out of season but, hey, my computer was sick. This is more a village then a house and quite elaborate.

You can click on the photo if you want a closer look at this village. It is not a likeness of Honolulu that I could tell but it does have some of Hawaii’s buildings.

 

Just think, no one will ever eat any of these houses though they are all made of gingerbread.

Iolani Palace

This is a likeness of the only palace in the United States. It was where the Americans imprisoned the last reigning monarch of Hawaii. Queen Liliuokalani.

 

 

 

Christmas at the Moana Surfrider Hotel in Waikiki

December in Waikiki

The rain is shining  the leaves with small crystal drops. The temperiture is probably down in the low 60’s and I’m sitting in my yard with my sweat jacket and shorts on. Ka Mea is wrapped in a blanket and Max has his fur to keep him warm. After all he is a sheep dog and Quite comfortable in this cooler climate.

It was uncomfortably warm last week when I went to Waikiki to take these photos. More of a typical winter day. So I continue on with Christmas in Paradise and how some of the hotels put on their displays or lack there of.

The Moana Hotel

The Moana Surfrider and the Royal Hawaiian are really the only two hotels that have any beauty to them from the outside. They are the oldest hotels in Waikiki also and were built before the cement jungle set in.

This tree is in the main lobby right as you walk in. It did not seem to have a Hawaiian theme to it. I went in surch of more Holiday decorations but only found a Palm tree.

This was their Hawaiian theme. A palm tree Christmas tree.

As I searched around for more Christmas decorations this is what I saw. A closet where they hang the leis to greet the guest. Hopefully they are from the islands but most of the orchids now used in leis come from Thailand . (http://www.amysorchids.com/) The flowers are to expensive here. But somehow that just does not seem right to me. Plumeria leis which have a wonderful scent to them grow so easily here and really seem more Hawaiian would make a nice alternative and support the local growers. Why do they use orchids?

But then I guess orchids are synonymous with Hawaii too. But none of it is Hawaiian anyway. You might want to try a Maile lei or for your head put on a Haku. Now those are Hawaiian. Maile Lei or Haku Head Bands

And once again I find the obligatory Hawaiian real or fake artifacts on display in the Moana’s lobby. I tried to find the information on what they had here but I must have missed it. From appearances it looks like a gourd, an Umeke and a piece of Kapa. If you want to know all about these items you should try to take a trip to the Bishop Museum where they have many on display and tell you all about their uses and how they were made. An Umeke is a bowl that is made of wood and Kapa is the cloth that the Hawaiians made from the bark of trees. Gourds were more commonly used by the everyday Hawaiian for carrying things in or maybe for bowls for food or to eat out of. The umeke would more likely be used by the upper class or Alii.

 

If you are fortunate enough to be able to stay at the Moana this is a fine way to spend a winters day thinking about all your pals back home fighting the elements as you dream away in the 80 degree weather.

As we leave the Moana Hotel I head down Kalakaua Ave. This is the main drag in Waikiki and is more what Waikiki looks like. No ocean view, all the Palms and beaches have  been dug up to put in imported trees and brick sidewalks to try to fancy up the place and detract from all the cement buildings  that surround you. However their still is the nice weather.

My next post will be at the Princess Kaiulani where they put up a huge display of gingerbread. I think it is time I get back to posting about the museum. Very little Christmas there but lots of the real thing as far as Hawaii goes.