At Kailua Beach Park, people are enjoying the last minutes of daylight before the sun sets and it’s time to get ready for the upcoming week. This has got to be one of the most laid-bak places on earth.
We see a man who has birds everywhere. Clearly, the birds know him, they are flocking to him. He has some kind of food for them, and they sit on his arms, they sit on his head, they love this guy!
The locals know him, and these little boys brought him a sick bird to take home to heal.
Back at home, the light dims and a full moon rises. Life doesn’t get any sweeter.
Our flight back is late in the day. We spend the morning walking the beach, down to the Marine Base, past the Obama house, the waves are high and eating away at the beach. We pack, we drink more coffee. I’ve only shown you the fun day trips, but the meat of this trip, the finest part of this trip has been the conversations, the laughter, and the deepening of a life-long friendship.
I no longer have negative feelings about Hawaii. 🙂 We hit the local drugstore to pick up some great Kona coffee and bags of Japanese rice crackers in a million varieties, which we love. It’s been a great trip.
Our last night in Kailua, and we are on our way to Buzz’s, a Kailua institution, where the wait staff greet our friend by her first name and show her to a table.
This is our table. It is right next to the President’s table. We are sitting where the Secret Service bodyguards probably sit when Presidents dine there.
We speculate what would happen if the reality-star Republican were elected, would he sit at that table or buy the restaurant and tear the plaque down? It’s a glorious night, we drink our drinks, look at the menu and we all decide, after our huge ramen lunch, we are ready for Buzz’s famous salad bar. Buzz’s is also famous for fabulous steak and even better local fish, but we just aren’t hungry enough.
It’s a grand night, we visit the beach, we take a drive and we head back home, where we have the best time of all.
AdventureMan and my friend left early, early in the morning to see Pearl Harbor, and come home full of their adventure, all the things they saw and did. A helicopter had gone down the day before they were scheduled to tour the site, and it wasn’t clear it would open again in time for AdventureMan to visit. There were few people, early in the morning, and they could go and see everything. They were pumped – and hungry.
We knew where we were going to eat until we got there only to discover it was closed! Next door was a noodle house, Daiichi Ramen, so we gave it a try. Wow. Totally different cuisine, delicious and filling, and as exotic as anything we have ever eaten with a full range of additions to the ramen or udon noodles. Along with each order came gyozo, like a Chinese crescent dumpling, but . . . different 🙂
Even the side of rice was delicious. We ate too much!
Months in advance, my friend said “You’ll really want to see Shangri-La,” and I had never heard of it, but I looked online, and it looked beautiful. Doris Duke, one of the richest women ever to live, could buy anything she wanted. She had a good eye for art, good timing, and she bought much of what is in Shangri-La and her other residences at bargain prices after WWII. The value of her art holdings increased dramatically, and she ended up with an even bigger fortune than that with which she started.
How do I know? I am in the middle of my third book, reading about Doris Duke. The books are pretty bad. Each author seems to have an axe to grind, and one author took very little information and used it to speculate endlessly, full of gossip and mean-spirit. Altogether, Duke does not come off as a very kind person, but who can say which version of this very private person is the “real” Doris Duke?
To visit Shangri-La, you must go through the Honolulu Museum of Art. They have an online reservation system – the next two weeks are already fully booked. My friend booked months in advance so that we could attend. We got to the Museum, found a good parking place, entered the museum, receiving a lapel sticker and a wristband which later allowed us to visit the museum for as long as we liked.
We boarded a bus and watched a very romanticized movie about the life of Doris Duke, and then we were there! We were warned we could take no photos inside. What a pity! The interiors are magnificent, all marble, and tiles, gorgeous woodwork, and all kinds of Islamic Art that looks like it would go well in the Qatar Museum of Islamic Art. I couldn’t help but wonder if the newly rich aren’t trying to buy some of their cultural objects back?
Our guide ushered us into a beautiful entry, with meshribiyya and tiles and beautiful light fixtures inside. I wish I could show you.
About half way through the tour, we had a break on a terrace from which we had this spectacular view. I read in one of the books that Duke built this rock harbor without asking permission from the Hawaii government, just did it. It is lovely. The terrace also has gorgeous Persian tiles, the interior tiles are Persian and Iznik.
After visiting the Damascus Room and the Syrian Room and the Mogul Room, we visited Doris Duke’s bedroom, bare but for a couple couches. Then, out to the gardens.
We were allowed to take photos in the gardens 🙂
This is a tree at the entry to the house; the tree sends down those shoots that form new roots and new trees. It is magnificent!
After our visit to Shangri-La, we returned to the Honolulu Museum of Art, and had lunch. This is the market salad with salmon – Yumm.
As we lunched, a character went around taking selfies. I think this is a performance artist, and I think it may have been a guy.
Being three very independent kind of folk, we split up to see what we wanted to see at the museum. There was a special temporary exhibit on Japanese street fashion which I found fascinating. I loved some of these street fashions, which strike me as very imaginative. When I got to the Lolita section, however, little girl dresses for grown women, I found it too creepy and strange to photograph.
There is a section on Islamic Art with beautiful tiles and examples of several genres of art objects.
Out on one of the patios, I found this screen which reminded me of a very modern sort of tree-of-life.
Altogether, a grand day. My friend was right – we really enjoyed seeing this.
In one of my Baptist-oriented bible study classes, one of my classmates once said “You don’t make converts by running after people and hitting them over the head with a bible!” As People of the Book, we struggle to find ways to carry the message without bludgeoning our intended recipient with it.
Have you ever been on the receiving end? I lived for so many years in the Middle East, where my truly believing Moslem friends would tell me about the Prophet Mohammed and all the good he did, and would look at me expectantly, hoping I would have that blinding flash that Paul experienced on the road to Damascus, and come over from the dark side to the one true religion. It made a believer out of me, not a Moslem, but a believer in the goodness and sincerity of all who are holy, and of the near impossibility of convincing anyone with words.
So this morning, the reading in the Lectionary from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians sings to my soul:
2 Corinthians 2:14-3:6
14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. 15For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17For we are not peddlers of God’s word like so many;* but in Christ we speak as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God and standing in his presence.
3Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Surely we do not need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you, do we? 2You yourselves are our letter, written on our* hearts, to be known and read by all; 3and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ towards God. 5Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, 6who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
We carry the Spirit, and our lives are the message.
I used to have a spectacular view of the sun rising over the Arabian Gulf every morning. It made getting up worth while, just to see that view, different every day.
My friend has the same experience in Kailua; the joy of the glorious sunrise, different every day, and every day glorious.
I’ve been doing reviews on Trip Advisor for ten years, starting with out trips into Zambia, and the Robin Pope Camps. From time to time, when I give a restaurant five stars, Trip Advisor asks me “Is this one of the best meals you have ever eaten?”
We’ve eaten some fine meals in our lives and travels, memorable meals, in Monterey/Carmel, in Germany and France, in the Middle East. Some stand out. Maybe only once or twice have I said “Yes” that this is one of the best meals I have ever eaten.
At the Kona Brewing Company, in a little marina on the back side of Diamond Head, I had one of the best meals I have ever eaten.
It started with a ginger lemonade. Have I ever mentioned how much I love ginger beer? This was one of the strongest gingery drinks I have ever had, and it was magnificent.
My lunch was Shoyu Chicken, with spinach and carrots. The chicken was divine, with a teriyaki marinade and sauce. The spinach was equally wonderful, very garlicky. The rice was rice, but I was so far gone over the chicken and spinach that it just wouldn’t matter.
My Kailua friend had a root beer.
With Shrimp Tacos
And a mango slaw, which she said was surprising and also, wonderful.
AdventureMan had fish tacos, which he thought very good.
We left very happy people. It was one of the most delicious meals I have ever eaten.
We suddenly leave the noise and traffic of late afternoon Honolulu and head uphill on a narrow road, with trees creating a tunnel in places, and wild vines twining up into the trees to create walls of foliage.
“There’s something you have to see,” my friend tells us, and we head into this amazing canyon, sort of valley place, alternately dark with shadow and glowing with green light. “We hike up here all the time.”
She takes another tack, and we reach the top of a hill; she parks and we get out. It says we have to pay but she just laughs and says locals don’t have to pay. It’s late in the day and there is no problem finding a place to park, and the light is wonderful. There are more wild chickens, a strutting rooster, and lots of new chicks.
This is the story of Nuuanu Pali, and the great king, Kamehameha, who united the Hawaiian Islanders. He had to fight, he had to do terrible things to accomplish his goal. This was his last fight, where he forced 400 battling warriors off a cliff to their deaths.
And this is the view, late in the day with the sun behind us. Kailua, where we are staying in my friend’s beautiful happy place, is to our right, down on the coast.
I have never seen a “Beware of Bees” sign before.
We are all early risers, and we are off on a great adventure today, seeing the island as our friend sees it. One of her favorite places is Bellows Beach, next to the Air Force Base. We loved it, too, for its beauty and for its seclusion. The parking lot was full of cars that seemed to be doing business with one another, so we made sure to take our wallets and cameras with us.
And then, the brides started arriving. We had no idea that this was a “destination.” We stayed far back, not wanting to intrude, and watched them arrive, marry and depart. The limos were lined up as we left, with bridal parties waiting their turn.
This was a day when we were in and out of the car constantly, each sight more beautiful than the other.
At one of my favorite places, the waves crashed against the lava rocks, so beautiful. We would have stayed longer but we were choking from the smell of weed coming out of the surrounding cars.
In the Kona Crater, the plumeria are beginning to bloom.
And the bougainvillea provided a riot of color.
Diamond Head lighthouse from Diamond Head road.
Foster Botanical Garden was a pool of serenity in the middle of the chaos of Honolulu:
I loved that they had an Alaskan totem; the Alaskans and the Hawaiians are related.
I had asked my friend if we could eat “really good” Chinese food at some point while I was visiting, and she knew just the place.
My friend is a very laid back driver, but she is puzzled, she has never seen the parking lot so full before. It is so full we have to park across the busy street and walk across. The lot is full of small busses, and vans, and there isn’t a parking space to be had. Even all the illegal spaces are taken!
When we walk inside, we are filled with horror. There is an event going on at Pah Ke’s. Does this mean we won’t be able to eat there? There are about thirty very large tables, ten or twelve people at each table, eating some of the most delicious looking food I have ever seen. The waitress ushers us to a table over at the side; there are maybe three or four tables for people not in this large group.
“What’s going on?” we ask the waitress.
“Special celebration for this retired group; Chinese New Years,” the waitress replied.
The place was packed, many of the Chinese women in traditional bright red silk.
“It doesn’t look like much,” my friend said, “but everyone who loves Chinese food eats here. We have to start with their special salad”
The food came quickly, in spite of the large crowd. We got to watch the crowd depart as we savored our own delicacies.
I had never heard of a special Chinese salad before, but this salad is special Chinese-in-Hawaii salad, with tropical fruits and a sweet dressing, and watermelon. It is fabulous.
Scallops and asparagus on a bed of spinach. Great!
Our very favorite: Szechuan Eggplant and pork
Huge shrimp with walnuts
We ate it all. We didn’t take home a drop. We ate at Pah Ke’s again, on our way to the airport the day we left, and it was just as good. What a treat.
This is where we spent the rest of the day . . . 🙂