Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hawaii: The Final Days

Day 6: Up too early again, do some ineffective pic blogging, coffee and cereal, go back to bed (it’s very overcast and humid, so no early snorkel). KBM and EBM head off to do some island touring.

DB and THB head down even though gloomy, then magically it starts to clear up and it is our best snorkel yet. We get out, and LB shows up, so THB goes out, THIS is the best snorkel yet.

Lunch on the lanai, and then a bit after 2pm, THB and DB head out for another snorkel, excellent. We get out and KBM and EBM show up, so THB heads out for his 4th snorkel of the day: 3 different partners, one gigantic turtle, 3 large schools and one humongous school of different fish, many individual large fish, great clarity, and even some very vibrant fish that have escaped from aquarium hunters, plus 2 redlegs. Somehow, after spending several hours a day in the water, THB gets a bit sunburned on the back of his legs today...

Dinner of pupus and drinks, plus desserts and wine sourced by our island tourers.

No pictures taken today!!! Phew, that solves the potential pic posting problem…

Book Review: The Queen of the Tambourine, Jane Gardam (novel): Unfinished. Silly. Not near as good as the Old Filth trilogy (though there are incredulous moments in Old Filth, they have some character basis). Letters from the same demented woman about her neighbors. Not recommended

Day 7:  As usual, up early, and snorkel early. Huge turtle within 10 feet of shore, in about 3 feet of water. Lunch of grilled sausages back at the condo.

Three of our five in the water on Day One; the water is actually very warm

Another snorkel in the afternoon, very short: THB has finally hit the snorkel wall. 

And, for something adventurous we take a sunset cruise. 
The Hula Girl

The giant cataraman is over half empty, we have plenty of room to roam; a round of drinks, a pretty sunset 

and after attempting to eat dinner at these huge Lahaina restaurants, we decide instead of waiting we’ll drive back to  Montages (they manage the residences in place of Ritz-Carlton, who gave up around 6 months ago) and have pupus and drinks in the bar.

Packing and organizing: tomorrow we head home, however briefly, so packing and organizing is the new theme for the next few days.

Book Review: Silence Once Begun, Jesse Ball (novel): the author, in the guise of a journalist, tells a fable within a fable, set in Japan. The story of a man who manipulates others into a series of actions in order to make fools of society. The actions take place in th 1970s, the story is being told much later. Neutral

Day 8: THB practically sleeps in, up at 6am, to enjoy one last sunrise. Actually, we can’t see the sun rise, we’re a bit below the main building. Second breakfast at Leoda’s (KBM and EBM scouted this place earlier in the week) for a berry cobbler (individual size, excellent) and some to-go biscuits and muffins for THB.

Drop off of rental cars, through security, and only two hours until boarding. One of our ground rules for the week: whomever wants to leave earliest, that’s when we go  and no complaining from anyone else (at least, not out loud). We’ve used it on other trips, works very well.
You can't tell we're celebrating our 175th, can you?

Day 9: Earthquake at 3:20am local time in Emeryville (12:20am THB body clock time?), and THB tries to sleep through, DB awakens him to give the news, and the concrete above us is rolling from east to west and back again. Fortunately, the structure holds (or how else would THB be adding another day onto this blog?) and nothing is amiss.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hawaii: two more days

Day 4: KBM and THB go for an early morning walk and get caught in a light rain. Later in the morning there is an even more substantial rain. Not to worry: beautiful clear skies, puffy clouds, spectacular water colors. Finish up the last of the Arizmendi pastries, share a very good omelet prepped by KBM, and rest up for a late morning snorkel. We try another extremely pretty beach (Napili): very few, small fish and no schools. Water is getting clearer every day, making the absence of fish more noticeable. Another tortuga spotted (that means we've all seen one)

What do THB and family do on vacation? Mah Jongg! Complete with drinks and pupus. EBM has the hand of his life, and we are happy to concede victory after one round (at least the losers don't have to keep buying the winner drinks)

Dinner (grilled as usual) on the lanai, and early to bed.

Day 5: Today the kids are in charge. Wake up to decorations: fish and streamers.

After breakfast (cereal and fruit) we have been booked on a Kapalua shuttle to take us to base of a hike, and there is another family of four heading to the same trailhead. They plunge ahead, we follow, and both end up turning around because part of the banyan tree loop has washed out. Still, plenty of exercise (fortunately we’re in the shade of the trees and periodically the sun is hidden behind clouds).

Lunch back at the condo, a rest up, and the LB and THB go snorkeling at our nearby beach; it’s the best so far, and we even end up going around the point and into the cove in front of our unit. (we see boats bringing lots of snorkelers; we can’t access it from above, there are no stairs or trails).

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Back to shower up, then drive back past airport (over an hour) to a very nice meal at the General Store: fish curry for THB, assorted appetizers and desserts, drinks, and the kids pick up the tab. The trip is a combo for THB and DB: 65th b’days and 45th anniversary extravaganza, so this is a very nice thank you for including KBM, EBM and LB in the celebration.

Book Review: Life Is a Wheel: Love, Death, etc., and a Bike Ride Across America, Bruce Weber. One of the obit writers for the NYT decides to ride from Portland to NYC in 2011, blogging the trip as he goes. Many meditations about his life and the changes from a similar trip in 1993 as well as snippets of other bike rides he’s taken, eulogies he’s delivered, etc. A bit melancholy, slightly philosophical,  the new love of his life (not his bike), Recommended (THB is a bit jealous, the riding through America is a bit like visiting a lot of national parks)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hawaii: First half, multiple days

Aug 9: A visit to the Presidio and another Andy Goldsworthy installation for M, DB and THB

Aug 16, Day 1: Starbucks and Arizmendi ar the airport, a fast flight to Maui (we landed 40 minutes early), shopping at Costco and Whole Foods, check-in at a huge condo in Kapalua, a swim and snorkel on a lovely beach (crowded, complete with a small wedding), bbq dinner, and to bed too early (3 hour time difference). Warm and windy.

The condo is immense and provides all with much privacy; it’s like three apartments in one, with a gigantic common area. And very modern: electric blinds, two dishwashers (stacked), fancy coffee maker/foamer, etc.

Book Review: Inside a Pearl, My Years in Paris, Edmund White. Frank Langella wrote  a book on “famous men  and women” he knew, which THB liked a lot. This is similar, though with a lot of famous gay and French people that White knew; THB did not know pretty much all the French folks yet the style and gossipy nature was very appealing. Set mostly in the 80s, in the midst of the AIDS crisis, by a guy who slept with thousands and thousands of men and wrote about it a lot, this might be his third memoir and there’s at least one biography. Recommended

Day 2: Up way too early. Bumped someone else  out of living room who was also up way way too early. Then someone else up too early turned the light on in living room. They have a slick mochachino (see pic) built into a coffee machine and THB has brought Pete’s french decaf from home; went well with warmed up Arizmendi pastry. Early snorkeling, cereal and fruit on the deck, more snorkeling, burritos on the deck, A’s Sunday night game in afternoon, and a nice dinner at Merriman’s across the cove. Drinks, pupus, more drinks, salad, soup, main courses, 3 desserts, one cappuccino, a great view of Molokai, a sunset, $485.

Day 3: Back on a regular schedule (7.5 hours of sleep, up around 5), toast, coffee, cereal and fruit, and then Lauren and THB go to the Honoloa Preserve, about 5 miles northeast, to snorkel. A bit better maintained that oh those many years ago, and a guy who greets you with instructions (no suntan lotion, and a comment about he is the owner of the place...THB thinks maybe co-owner would be a better over-exaggeration). It is also murky and not that many fish. We do see an eel cooperating with another fish: hunting?

DB and THB go snorkeling at Kapalua in afternoon and get the lay of the land, er, ocean from locals: no more big schools of tropical fish, some belief that the fish are now in aquariums around the world, and the recent storm may have a small impact on murkiness. Kapalua much clearer than yesterday (phew) and we see a bit bigger diversity of fish.

Lunch and pre-dinner drinks on the lanai. A nice sunset, and a kids movie is playing outdoors by the hotel pool (not the owners pool, that’s around the corner from our building and right next to another bar) so we move dinner inside to the huge dining room table. Grill is getting lots of use, though smoke tends to be hemmed in on the lanai by tradewinds. Needs a big fan!

Book Review: The Leftovers, Tom Perrotta (novel): the basis for the new TV show. Well conceived, and a decent story driving the reader through the 4th year after 2% of the world population suddenly disappears. While not a comedy (as some reviewers claim), the book is still not quite as melancholy and depressing as the TV series. Recommended