A Christmas Visitor

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.

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.

 

Christmas in Hawaii at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel

When I first arrived in Hawaii in 1965 you could see the Royal Hawaiian Hotel from Kalakaua Ave. Kalakaua is the main street in Waikiki. You could walk behind the hotel at night sit on the sand as the ocean lapped the shore and listen to Hawaiian music coming from their lanai area.

Now when you walk along Kalakaua you would be hard pressed to see this beauty hidden amongst modern cement building, galleries, and street hawkers. As for the ocean, it’s there but it is hidden behind all building lined streets.

 

If you are so inclined though, take the time to go through the Royal Hawaiian Shopping center and you will see the hotel sitting on well manicured lawns surrounded by palms and plants.

Inside the hotel also known as the “Pink Palace.” You can see why

Detail of the “Pink” ceiling

The decorations were modest by some hotel standards. This was one of two trees in the main lobby

Christmas floral arrangement

Amelia Earhart on board the Lurline

There was an exhibit of photographs of Amelia Earhart found by Matson Navigation. They showed Amelia on board the Lurline and at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Matson had built the Royal Hawaiian so that the people who cruised on their ships would also have a luxurious place to stay when the arrived in Hawaii.

Amelia with Duke Kahanamoku (who won a gold medal for the 100- yard freestyle in 1912 at Stockholm)This painting by Eugene Savage served as model for the Matson lines Menu covers

 

Another painting used for menu covers

Though the tour through the hotel was not full of Christmas it did offer a lot of history, architecture and ambiance. There is much to look at and do if you want to listen to music, take in a Tea, or just enjoy the architecture.

If you would like to see some more of the Matson menu covers here is a site you might want to check out.

Matson Menu covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking A Staycation In Hawaii

Christmas in Hawaii

I’m boycotting air travel.  It’s my little way (very little) of saying I won’t support the airlines as long as the lowly citizen and diplomats are forced to go through airport scanners but not our “servant’s” in Washington. Of course I live on an island and that means if I don’t hop a plane I have no alternative transportation other then a luxury liner and that’s not an option for me.

Having gone into Waikiki this morning, where there is no such thing as free parking. I was upset that I would have to pay $5.00 to park my car. It bothers me that all of the beautiful beaches down there and nice restaurants and entertainment are very accessable to the tourist but local people have to pay to go to the beaches by way of parking meters and lots.

So to keep myself on a happy note I told myself to think of my morning venture as a staycation. People pay thousands to come to Hawaii so what is $5.00 in the scheme of things. I brightened right up and it was all uphill from there.

So to borrow a few lines from the Master Card commercial this is how much my staycation cost me.

Getting off the freeway and into a parking garage: $5.00

 

Breakfast with a view $13.00 including tip

 

Watching Santa arrive by canoe? Priceless

Yes, my original reason for the trip was to get photos of the Grand Old Man as he was paddled in by canoe to meet and greet all the children on the beach.

Dressed in traditional Hawaiian Palaka print.

For years I have watched on the TV as Santa arrived in this manner. I’d get upset as I always missed it. This year I marked it on the calendar and told my grandson I would take him. Of course my grandson did not want to get up at 6AM to see all this so I went with a friend who lives in Waikiki. I think I was just as excited to see Santa as all the tourist and their kids.

The little hula girls practice while waiting for Santa’s arrival

Into one’s life a little sun must shine, and it did, right into my camera

These little dancers were thrilled to be personally greeted by Santa. All the practice and preparation was worth it.  And for me, what can I say? I had a wonderful morning for under $20.00 Cash! Not having to use Master Card? Priceless.