Saturday, April 26, 2008

Weekend in Waikiki

Sailing Sunny Seas
Waikiki, Hawaii

The golden sands I stood upon to snap this gorgeous photo were imported from the "poor" side of the island -- and so was I.

My favorite part of my weekend in Waikiki should have been the women's conference, but actually it was lunch with my friend. We picked an upscale restaurant with tables on the lanai and a salad to die for. We ordered. We chatted. We sipped our beverages. We asked the waiter questions. (1. Was the canoe being used as a buffet table ever an actual working boat? Yes, and it was hand carved. 2.) We just saw -- and heard -- you blowing that conch shell. Is it hard to learn? No. Are there any tricks to blowing it you could teach us? Not really. Keep your lips taut. Don't blow too hard. Blow in one long breath.) We asked him a couple more things -- then we asked him for the check. As he waited for me to sign the charge slip he said, "You two are locals aren't you?"

Maura and I were very surprised. We aren't locals. She's been here for just over a year. I have been here about six months. Just long enough for us both to clearly understand that we have years to go before we're considered "local". I answered cautiously, "We live on the island."

Our waiter nodded his head and smiled. "I thought so. I can always tell. You weren't all wide-eyed and gah gah. And neither of you said "aloha" or "mahalo" (words not said outside the tourist joints unless they are meant). And your questions didn't start with, how do I get to, or is it true that."

So, in the tourist district we are considered, locals, but in the neighborhoods, we're still haole (pronounced how-lee).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Waikiki at Night

We walked in the sands of Waikiki hand-in-hand. We sat on a park bench side-by-side and watched white-capped waves roll in. We strolled out to the end of the peer and stood side-by-side gazing out to sea -- while he took a business call and I took some photos.

This shot was taken while sitting on a bench in the park.

This shot was taken from the gazebo at the end of the peer.

And I turned the camera just a bit, widened the angle and .... my favorite photo of the evening.

Sailing Waikiki

Sailing Waikiki

The beach is much more crowded than this photo might lead you to believe, because I took it with the zoom feature on my camera. Even so, I have been very surprised each time I have visited Waikiki, that there are plenty of spaces on the sane left for new comers to drop their towels and head for the waves.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Makaha Peacocks

If you decide to visit Oahu and want to stay where life is quiet and slow -- some place with less glitz and glitter and a more mellow pace -- you'll want to look at the Makaha Valley Plantation, or The Makaha Valley Towers. The area is home to several flocks of peafowl who add their beauty to an already majestic landscape.

Theis photo op came my way when I was driving in Makaha. I slammed on my brakes and grabbed my camera -- right there, stopped dead, in the middle of the road. I snapped a half-dozen pics. A car approached. I had to move. No choice. The opportunity of a lifetime thwarted by some fool who wanted to drive on the road. Some people are so nervy!

(Look closely at the photo above. See the drop of water hanging from the peacock's beak?)

I hurriedly parked my car in a space beside the mail kiosk, and bailed out to discover -- the peacock still preening. A light rain was falling and it was obvious that he was engaged in grooming. In fact, he was so engaged he let me get closer than I would have dared hope! (Don't tell O'Ceallaigh. He keeps insisting that they are wild animals and that I need to be careful.)

When the peacock did notice my presence, he favored me with his mating call and fluffed a bit. He stayed and posed and postured through 351 photos. I have no idea how many shots my media card will hold, but I do know that is the greatest amount of photos I've ever taken in one session. Because my camera is a cheap point and shoot, because it was a gray rainy day, because the peacock was never still, most of the photos did not come out well. These are the best of the lot.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Keiki Zoo

The petting zoo is a big hit with both little and big kids. This Spring our students especially enjoyed the time we spent in the goat pen -- except David who took exception to one of the goats nibbling on the front of his shirt, which still had a bit of his breakfast on it.

Cass captured the heart of yet another fella.

Candy has such a great ear scratching technique that this little one followed her around for a bit after she got up and walked away.

And this fella snuggled really friendly-like and told me he loved me, then he tried to steal my purse. We had quite a tug-of-war. I finally convinced him that pink and purple geometrics weren't a proper match for his coat.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Country Club Bum

OC and I went to lunch Sunday and had lunch on the lanai of the Makaha Resort Golf Club. It has a lovely view with all the flowering trees in bloom, the emerald green manicured lawns and the azure sea beyond. I took my camera to capture the view, but company came and took much of my attention.

The company was uninvited. He slowly sidled up to the table and helped himself ...

He approached us with an innocent, "don't mind me" air.

He casually strolled closer, looking everywhere but at us.

He nonchalantly took a seat at our table.

Scooted up close.

Stepped on up to the plate ...

Gave it a thorough inspection.

Then admonished us. "Okay you two, perhaps you didn't get the memo. All guests are required to leave a bite or two for me!"

He tried valiantly to convince us that our callous disregard of his dietary wishes had put him in eminent peril. In other words, he insisted he was starving. He might have made better headway if he'd sucked in his gut.

By the way, the chocolate Lava Cake was yummy. I highly reccommend it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Honey & the Honu

I was sitting on a lava outcropping focusing my camera on a sea bird when O'Ceallaigh said, "Hon, turn around and look behind you."

I turned and looked. There was a lady sitting at the edge of the beach with her feet inches above the water. Her two sons stood beside her. "What?" I said. I quickly scanned the rest of the beach and the nearby inlet. "I don't see anything." I turned back to my camera.

"Hon, look where the kids are pointing."

I looked at the lady again. Her kids were on the other side of her. I couldn't tell if they were pointing or not. I looked down the beach for signs of excitement or gathering crowds. None. "I don't see anything," I repeated and turned back to my camera. The bird, picking snails and teeny crabs from the rocks, had moved on. I folded the tripod.

"Look here, in the channel," O'Ceallaigh sounded a bit more insistent. I stood up, turned around and walked over to him. "Where?" I queried, with just the tiniest hint of impatience in my voice.

O'Ceallaigh pointed, and I saw a rock. The rock moved. I took a step closer. The rock moved again. I fumbled for my camera and tripod.

For the next half hour I sat enthralled, watching Honu graze. I attempted some video, but it was very disappointing. Only the surface of the water is visible.

My next ordeal was trying to get a good shot of the turtle's head. Turtles cannot breathe under water. Every five minutes or so they come up for air. Trouble is, they are up and down faster than my finger can move and my shutter can flash!

I didn't realize I had the above photo (enlarge) until I was home and sorting through/cataloging the over 400 shots I took on Kona. Just once I must have been a little faster with the reflexes then I thought.

The turtle swam up and down the little channel between the lava rocks. It was grazing and pretty much let the gentle waves determine where it was going to eat and which way it was going to face.

The tide was coming in, and along with it, more honu, however the deepening water made them more difficult to watch. We decided to move on in to Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park and look at the replica of the ancient Hawaiian sacred village which was the home of generations of priests and kings. As we moved through the park we came to a sandy beach.

Approaching the beach, O'Ceallaigh -- who was reading the guide map from the visitor's center -- told me to look for sunning turtles. Once again I told him there was nothing to be seen but rocks.

Then we got a bit closer ...

And closer -- though it is illegal to come within 15 feet of a green sea turtle, so this last bit of close was done with the telephoto lens.

If you'd like to get closer to this fella, click here.


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