Love & Light and everything bright...

02 Mar 2011

Updated January 30, 2011

At the Opera: "Faust"

Our first "opera trip" of 2011: "Faust," Chinatown, Windward Shore and other Oahu delights


(first rainbow of 2011)



Our first "opera trip" of 2011

At the Opera: "Faust"

"Faust," Chinatown, Windward Shore and other Oahu delights

HAIKU, Maui, Jan 30 - One year ago, we were still in Peru.  So we missed the opening performance of the Hawaii Opera Theater's 2010 season.  We did catch up, though, two weeks later in Honolulu with its second opera, Wagner’s "Valkyries" (see Oahu Valentine's/Anniversary Trip (Feb 11-13).

Well, this year, we were there on the opening night of the "Faust" by Charles Gunaud, dressed up for the red carpet occasion. It was a spectacular performance by a "cast of hundreds," as you can see by the shot I took as the final curtain was falling on a glittering night.  Gunaud's "Faust" was like a Superbowl game - exhausting: five acts, two intermissions, over three hours in length.  It took a lot of endurance, both by the audience and the cast.

Gunaud's music did not do much for me, but the plot was captivating. Acts IV and V was the best.  If it were a DVD, I would have fast-forwarded through the first three acts.  I had to marvel, though, at the performers' ability to memorize three hours' of lines in a foreign language (French in this case), along with the accompanying music score.  I have trouble recounting a single verse of a poem.  But then, I can play 3-4 hours of piano without sheet music effortlessly, from memory.  So "vive la difference!" - as the French would say.  Thank God He made us all different so we don't bore each other to death. :-)

Before and after the "Faust," we had a lot of fun just following the wind.  Or was it whim? :-)

Actually, we started the day by chasing rainbows in Maui during our drive to the airport.  It was a marvelous farewell from our home spirits. Never before had we seen early morning rainbows against the backdrop of Puu Kukui volcano (West Maui Mountains).  By the time we were approaching the airport, this became a full rainbow, so big that I could not fit even a fraction of it into a camera shot.  It was as if we were driving through a giant rainbow portal, akin to the Great Arch of St. Louis (right photo - I took there on 4/30/07).

Our first stop in Honolulu was Chinatown (two left shots).  I needed to get some Chinese herbal medicine. Which was an excuse for a nice walk around the old Honolulu downtown (harbor area).  The following day (Saturday), this was to be a mayhem - a food festival as part of the Chinese New Year's celebration (Year of the Rabbit). We were glad to be there the day before.

In the afternoon, we walked around Waikiki area, including a visit to my favorite hotel - The Royal Hawaiian (two right shots).

The next day, after being thoroughly "shopped out" at the Ala Moana Mall (at least this writer was), and sick and tired of urbanization after just 24 hours in a big city, I pointed our white Toyota Camry toward the Windward coast of Oahu and let it choose the sights which would feed our souls.  We ended up at Pali Lookout, overlooking Kaneohe and Kailua, two biggest towns in this part of Oahu (BTW - Obama grew up in this area, we are told.

And feed our souls we did.  Just take a look at this 180-degree panorama shot.  It took six picture frames to splice it together.  Just as I was taking the sixth and final shot, this Japanese tourist walked it and started to film with his camcorder.  So I just left him in the picture. Kaneohe is center left; Kailua to the right of the far hills in the center of the picture.


Here are some more pictures taken from Pali Lookout.  The mountain peak on the left (middle right shot of Elizabeth), reminded us of Iao Needle, a famous peak at Puu Kukui, the "female" volcano that rises above Iao Valley in Maui (right shot - of me there, taken in Dec 2008).

Here are some more individual shots of magnificent Windward Oahu shore vistas.

By mid afternoon, we were back in urbanized setting.

The panorama picture of this Hawaiian air jet is composed of three shots.  It was parked next to our gate, and was about to take off for Papeete, Tahiti.  How exotic, we thought, recalling Jack London's "South Sea Tales."

Alas, there was wild life trapped even in urbanized environments, such as a large international airport. This poor dove was milling around between passengers and gates, having evidently eluded the TSA without a boarding pass.  Oops.. a breach of security.  Maybe that's because the dove knew how to make himself invisible.  Take a look at that rightmost shot.  Where is his head? :-)

As we took off from the Honolulu airport, Elizabeth and I were talking about that volcano spewing rocks and ashes 6,500 feet up in the air in southern Japan (Mount Kirishima).  Even though we did have some snow last week on Haleakala, the photo on the right is a Hawaiian Air flight over some other snow-capped volcanoes.  We did find VOG (volcanic ash clouds), however, when we approached our island of Maui.  The approaching sunset looked hazy, probably from our own Kilauea volcano emissions originating on the Big Island.  Down on the ground, though, the air was clear, as it was atop the 10,000-ft Haleakala. 

So the rainbows saw us off, and a "VOGgy" sunset welcomed us home, both memorable displays of nature.

Meet Otorongo, Our Jaguar Guardian

HAIKU, Maui, Jan 30 - Earlier this week, we brought home a new guardian.  Otorongo, the name I gave him borrowing a Quechua term for Jaguar, an Inca sacred animal, took up his post at our front entrance next to the innocent-looking Eenie, Meenie, Miny and Moe, the names Elizabeth gave to the pink flamingos, and Anuenue (Rainbow in Hawaiian), and in front of our brown foal relaxing on the lawn in the background. 

Such an eclectic collection of home guardians may engender both "start" (surprise) and "proceed if you dare" feelings in any trespasser. Which we hope will give way to a broad smile before if they decide to walk on to our front door cello and Peruvian wind chimes.

And that's all for now from the Rainbow Shower so far in January.

CLICK HERE to go to Hawaii 2011 TOC

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