Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hawaiian Rain

Oahu often has her head in the clouds, which cling to her cliffs and slowly dissolve, dropping rain into the valleys below.

This is the view from Nu'uanu Pali (pali means cliff) looking northwest. The sun was shining bright on me and the town of Kaneohe as I took this picture but one ridge over it was raining on Ahuimanu. It is not unusual here to be in one place while watching a whole different weather phenomenom in another.

However, the rain is usually soft and warm, and it seldom lasts long. Then after the rain passes the air smells fresh, earthy and flower sweet. Some places on Oahu get 125 inches of rain per year while others get no more then 25 inches of rain per year. Those spots receiving only 25 inches of rain per year are considered "dry".

On an average day the temperature stays right around 80 degrees Fahrenheit while the humidity varies from between 70 to 100%. On some days it doesn't seem to matter which side of the shoreline I stand on because no matter where I go, I'm still under water. However, having just moved here from Las Vegas, Nevada, it will likely be a very long time before I complain about the rain.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Shower Tree

As I said before, much of the flora on Oahu is breathtaking. The Shower Tree is three of my favorites. (Don't get out your grammar checker, I wrote that correctly -- mostly.)

The Golden Shower Tree, [Cassia fistula], came to Hawaii via Indonesia. It produces huge clusters of bright yellow flowers. It is vibrant and captivating.

Pink Shower Tree [Cassia javanica], sometimes called the Coral Shower Tree, also came from Indonesia. This tree produces blossom clusters of soft pink to bright white flowers. It is an elegant and stately tree.

Rainbow Shower Tree [Cassia fistula x C. javanica], a sterile hybrid, originated in Hawaii from the cross pollination of it's Asian ancestors, Golden Shower Tree and Pink Shower Tree. The Rainbow Tree is bright, beautiful and elegant. It's blossoms range in hue from deep pink, to soft yellow, to snowy white.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The University of Hawaii at Manoa

I went to the UH campus at Manoa as a tourist, so I can only tell you what I saw:

If chestnuts ....

Cultural Diversity: the campus is a mixing place. I saw a full palette of skin tones and heard a wide range of accents. In fact, I understand that the variety of language classes available on this campus exceeds all other public U.S. educational campuses. In addition, student apparel had more variety then most major department stores, and hair seemed to come in more colors then one finds in a crayon box.

. . . grow on Chestnut trees;

Architecture: like most campuses that have been around for awhile (UH@Manoa was founded in 1907) the buildings are a mix of old and new, but that is not the only difference in style. As is befitting such a diverse campus, the architecture of the buildings, plazas, gardens and statuary reflects the many cultures that converge here.

And olives . . .

Flora: there are no words that can describe the wonderful trees and plants growing on the Manoa campus. I ate a tangerine warm from the sun picked from a campus tree. I saw plants (including the Bird of Paradise above) with as great a diversity of nationality and color as the students. The heady fragrance of all the different blossoms had me running from one plant to another to sniff.

. . . grow on Olive Trees;

Fauna: birds and cats co-exist on the campus. Most of the birds are tame. Most of the cats are not. (The links provide eloquent descriptions of each.)

Then what grows on Money Trees?

Parking: there is none. Security guards man the entrances. They will be happy to sell you a $3.00 pass to the guest parking lot, but as a friend told me, "It is only a license to hunt, not the guarantee of a parking place." On the plus side, if you give up searching for a parking place in less then 15 minutes and leave the campus, they will give you your money back. However, if you should park even half-an-inch from a designated guest parking place, you will receive a $15.00 ticket. Btw, the guest parking lot will hold maybe 50 cars and it is FULL from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ha! You wish! Not even in paradise.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Defining Aloha

Most likely you have been told that aloha means both hello and good-bye. That is a culturally limited misconception, and whomever started it robbed the word of much of it's depth and splendor. Aloha cannot be translated with words. As a haole (foreigner), I really have no business trying to convey this word, either; but I think I can do a better job of it then white-European history did.

My suspicion that aloha meant more then hello and good-bye was born on the flight to Hawaii. I was reading the airline magazine (hey, it's a long flight!) and there was an article on adoption Hawaiian- or aloha-style. The woman in the article said that she raised her adopted son "with aloha". That made no sense in light of what I thought I knew of the word. I kept reading.

From what I could gather from the article, the word aloha conveys love, acceptance, honor, eternal welcome .... and more. I came to realize that aloha is not a casual word, but one with great emotional significance. Still, I had only clues, and no real definition.

Over the next several days I heard "the spirit of aloha" referred to in many different, welcoming contexts. A commercial promised, "you will find aloha here." I have yet to visit the establishment which made the promise so I don't know if their statement is true, but somehow I doubt it. From what I have gathered, aloha is a feeling that emanates from one's heart. It is an expression of love, acceptance and belonging. It is personal, and cannot be packaged for sale and that means -- no matter what language we speak -- it is impossible to translate with words.

Further resources:

The Coconut Boyz Hawaiian (online) Dictionary


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Breakfast On The Lanai

We ate many of our meals at the Makaha Resort. I especially enjoyed breakfast on the lanai. My favorite breakfast consisted of fruit juice, Portuguese sausage, pancakes, warm coconut syrup -- and Brazilian Cardinals.

No, the cardinals weren't for eating, they were for feeding -- or at least that's what they wanted us to believe.

This one came right to the table and sat down with us. It hopped from the back of the chair, to the table, to the top of the teapot. It had it's eye on the Portuguese sausage, but settled for a bit of pancake eaten from my partner's hand.

The cardinal wasn't in the least bit shy about asking for seconds -- and thirds. And he was quite spunky about letting his preferences be known.

"Hey, big guy, you're a bit stingy there with that coconut syrup, aren't you?"

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Makaha Resort

The Makaha Resort Golf Club labels itself, "Oahu's Hidden Secret", but this is a secret too good to keep quiet. The staff is efficient, courteous and unobtrusive. They materialize when you need them and disappear when you don't.

We found the resort through our favorite online travel site, and I would encourage you to do the same, however, before you book give the resort a call. You may be surprised by an even lower price. Remember that travel site has to make money, too. Sometimes their price is the lowest, but on average I save between $10.00 and $50.00 per reservation by bypassing the travel site and booking my own stays. (The advantage to the travel site is their guarantee that you will be housed should something go wrong. When you book your own stays you do not have that protection.)

Coming soon ... Breakfast on The Lanai.


Blue sky.

Blue water.

Golden sand.

Oahu awaits.


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