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14 Feb 2010

Updated Feb 14, 2010

Oahu Valentine/Anniversary Weekend

Stretching One-Day Holiday into Three-Day Celebration


Oahu Valentine/Anniversary Weekend

Stretching One-Day Holiday into Three-Day Celebration

HAIKU, Maui, Feb 14 - Happy Valentine's Day!  Normally, it is a one-day holiday.  But since Feb 14 is also our anniversary, we stretched it this year into a three-day celebration that started in Honolulu on Thursday, and is ending this evening at home in Maui.

Come to think of it, we actually started the anniversary week with a dinner at Paia's Fish Market restaurant last Sunday.  Elizabeth dressed up for it as it were a ball, including the new Inca ladies hat that I bought for her in Cusco.  I jokingly told her she was ready for Ascot (an annual upscale British horse racing event that is also a fashion opportunity for hatted English ladies).  Our special week continued the next day with an impromptu outing to Iao Valley, a magical place within the Puu Kukui volcano on the west side of our island.  No, Elizabeth was not panning for gold down by the stream.  She was fishing for flat rocks to they use in her hula dancing class as Hawaiian "castanets" - percussion instruments.

When we left home from the Kahului airport, it was raining.  It was the first time ever that we have experienced rain in that normally dry part of the island.  After two months of a virtual drought in the middle of the normally rainy season, rain was more than welcome. In fact, I had prayed for it the night before, after having to water by hand the flowers and Elizabeth's garden down in the gulch.

It was also raining when we got to Honolulu (left).  But the rain did nor last long.  It turned into a drizzle and then sunshine by the middle of the afternoon that lit up the beautiful Hawaiian artwork and the pond in which flamingos were frolicking within our hotel grounds.  Right after Elizabeth remarked how we had not seen any weddings this time, as we usually do when we travel, both to Honolulu and overseas, I went for a walk in a park...

... and lo and behold, came across a wedding.  It was an Asian couple with only a couple of relatives attending.  Right after I took these pictures, a dragon lady who acted like a wedding planner, came over and tried to kick me out of the church.  Too late.  Anyway, the tradition of running into weddings wherever we travel continues...

Back at our hotel, we checked out a local lagoon (left), before going off on a sunset walk on Waikiki beach.  There were several luaus in progress as we passed by.  As we stopped to watch one of them, Elizabeth started to dance alongside the Hawaiian woman who was performing on stage.  At the end, she drew applause from some Japanese tourists who were enjoying a double show

Later that evening, we walked to a dinner at Hy's, a wonderful Canadian restaurant where we also dined in late November 2008, on our first joint visit to Honolulu.  They treated us royally at the restaurant, including a complimentary anniversary cake and candle, along with a photographed, that they handed us at the end of the evening, enclosed in a frame with Hy's name on it.  Since that photo was not of best quality (second from right), I doctored up the one from my camera (middle) to include the anniversary cake and candle, and then framed it over top of the original Hy's picture.  You can see the final result at our dinner table at home (right).

We finished the dinner with a Cherry Jubilee.  It was a spectacular dessert, both visually and and in terms of taste.  Troy, the waiter who so artfully prepared it for us, also gave us some tips for how to make it at home.

North Shore Tour

On our second day in Oahu, we rented a car and took ourselves on a tour of the island's north shore, famous for its high surf and pretty beaches.  But we also ended up doing some other fun things that we had not planned on.  In fact, as usual, we had no plan at all except to head north and maybe find the Pipeline, the famous surfing spot known for its high waves.

We stopped at a couple of other beaches, before we finally found the Pipeline on Sunset Beach at Waimea Bay.  Rain, which followed us most of the way to the north shore, had started to ease up and turn into a drizzle at the Pipeline.

I had to laugh when I saw what Elizabeth started to do as soon as we got to the Pipeline beach: She was mooning the big waves (middle left).  Like a sandpiper (bird) looking for clams, everywhere we go Elizabeth looks for shells.  Since shells are quite rare on Hawaiian beaches, that's usually a challenge.  Yet here, at the Pipeline, she found many of them.  Eventually, they may find their place at a piece of jewelry that she makes.

Elizabeth was so busy "shelling" that she even passed up a photo op which I offered her.  "Okay, so I'll take a picture of another woman then," I said and pointed the camera down the beach (left).  "No, no, no... take me, take me," Elizabeth shrieked, suddenly awakened from her shelling endeavor by a competitive female instinct (middle left). :-) 

The Pipeline surf was fairly high, maybe 15-20 feet, but nothing like the 30-40 ft waves we saw at "our" Jaws, Maui's famous surfing spot near our property (see Benched! Also, some Jaws, Wailea scenes, Jan 16).  So it made us feel good by comparison that only four miles downhill from where we live we have one of the world's greatest surfing spots.

Eventually, even Elizabeth, who is not normally a friend of the ocean or of cold weather, got into the spirit of things, and waded into the Pipeline waves. But she also quickly retreated to shore, after being clobbered by a couple of them.

As we drove on the north shore, heading east, we saw an artist's roadside stand which made us stop (see above map).  I ended up buying this wonderful sculpture of a wale and her calf, made out of Milo wood (three left shots).  We also stopped to sample some local corn on the cob, freshly cooked, as well as Chico, a wonderful fruit akin to Kiwi, but much better and sweeter.  After we rounded the bend at the northeast peninsula (see above map), we came across a shrimp farm (right).  Even though we normally don't eat lunch, the place was too good to pass up.  So we enjoyed some coconut shrimp and a salad in a natural setting.

Laie Peninsula

Not far from Fumi's shrimp place, we ended up at one of the most enchanting spots of our tour of Oahu's north shore.  And as usual in our case, it happened by chance.  We found it by ignoring a "No Outlet" traffic sign.  Take a look at this magical spot that has also figured in Hawaiian mythology and history (see the plaque, third frame).

A plaque describing Hawiian mythology related to this spot

Elizabeth sporting her new Pipeline T-shirt

We returned to Honolulu via Kaneohe Bay...

... where we also drove through another Haiku, the name of our hometown in Maui.

At the Opera

We finished the evening by walking 2.5 miles each way to and from the Honolulu Concert Hall.  We did not know it would be that long.  The distance looked a lot shorter on the map.

In between the two long walks, we attended a performance of the three-hour Wagner’s "Valkyries" opera.  I enclose below a couple of artistic impressions of the valkyries (from Old Norse valkyrja "chooser of the slain") female figures, daughters of God Wotan, who decide who will die in battle.  I liked the first one (bluish - left) better than the ferocious female body-builders depicted in the golden rendition (right).  It was the first time I have seen a Wagner opera live.  I enjoyed it, but Elizabeth liked it even more.  The performance brought her to tears in the final act.  The fact that we lasted all three hours is also a kudo, both to Wagner and to Honolulu cast.

Meanwhile, before we got there, we had to mingle with a much larger crowd heading for a Bon Jovi concert that was taking place at the nearby Ward Arena.

The opera provided another dress-up opportunity even though hiking outfits may have been more appropriate, given the five-mile distance we had covered. :-)

Valentine/Anniversary Back Home

For me, the best part of any trip is coming back home.  We were both glad to be at the Rainbow Shower again, with no trips planned in the immediate future.

This morning, we exchanged cards and flower gifts for our anniversary and Valentine's Day.  Elizabeth gave me two Anthuriums while I bought her red/hot pink Tulips.  We plan to plant them around the house.  And tonight we are going to conclude our nearly weeklong celebration with a dinner at Cafe O'Lei in Kihei.

Here's Elizabeth, in her Valentine's Day finery, at home (three left shots) and at the restaurant (right).

I did not quite match up to all her Valentine's reds, but I did put on at least a little bit of it for the occasion. :-)

And that's all she wrote on this Valentine Day 2010.

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