Thursday, March 24, 2016

Last day on Oahu -- March 23, 2016

A shop for "authentic, pre-owned designer handbags." [This photo wished to be at the top of the page, and I haven't been able to persuade it to stay further down.]

Last day in Hawaii -- We found some off-the-beaten track sights, visited with friends and relatives, and took one last trip to the beach.
We spotted this building that looked like a Japanese temple, but had a cross on it. 

The sign that said that it was built in 1932 as a Christian church that looked like a Japanese castle to represent the belief of Japanese Christians in their God's protection.

We met Cliff and Mary DeVries for lunch at Sistina -- great company and excellent Italian food, 

with copies of Sistine Chapel murals all around. 

Another building with unusual architecture; both of these are a block away from shiny new apartment/hotel towers.

We spent the afternoon with nephew Paul White at the Zoo. At the Komodo Dragon habitat, we met one of the zoo-keepers who was about to give the dragon (named Doc, and 23 years old) some training in following orders given by medical or other personnel. I asked about her trays of small dead white mice, and she chatted with us (and a growing crowd) about how she was going to train him by getting him to touch his nose to an orange Frisbee on a stick; if he did he would get a treat (aka mouse). If not, he would be fed later. He gets about 1,500 grams of protein each week; today's mice represented about 10% of that quota. She talked for a while about how they bite, whether the bites are bad because of bacteria or venom (or both), how the zoo needed a reliable source of money to get its accreditation back (they more than meet all of the requirements for animal care but because they can't guarantee a steady enough income to suit the accreditation people, they lose their accreditation . . .thereby making it much harder to get accredited . . . one of those very sensible things about the way the world works), and more. 

Here is Doc touching his nose to the Frisbee; 

and eating his reward. We were lucky to get all of that information; not sure that it was scheduled.

Also at the zoo -- Galpagos tortoise eating lunch (several small birds came along to share); 

Gharials (crocodilians) with wicked teeth

lazing in a pond with koi and turtles; 

elephants the color of the Oahu red soil; 

a reflected egret; 

peacock in a tree, 

and Paul and Jim waving their arms at it trying to persuade it to display its tail (unsuccessfully); 



a flamingo who started by making some peculiar honks and then danced across the enclosure displaying and honking -- mating behavior, we assumed, but it wasn't clear who the object of his affections was. Maybe he didn't know either. 

A Buddhist statue in an herb and cactus garden; 

the peacock again; 

an exotic plant that looked as if it ought to be an animal; 

a local Cardinal; 

the flamingos in the pond at the front of the zoo who are much brighter orange than those at the back -- more shrimp, maybe?

Paul took us to the restaurant/bar at the top of the Ala Moana Hotel where he is staying before flying back to LA tomorrow (where he will get to see Peg Lazio and Tom and Joseph Lazio and Jen). The view of Waikiki from the 36th floor is different from those we've had before. The Ala Moana Marina, with a hazy horizon and a sailboat out on the water. 

Evening sun, about 5:09 p.m. (sunset at 6:41). 

Orchids and chandelier in the lobby. 

Jim and Paul.

The Sheraton infinity pool and the ocean after sunset.

A couple of other photos:

Orchids at the zoo. 

Bluish flowers on a vine.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Oahu -- to the North Shore and back - March 22, 2016

Today's adventure -- a drive to Oahu's North Shore with college friend Svea Breckberg. Along the way -- the Wahiawa Botanical Gardens, Green World Coffee Farm, Hale'iwa, Sunset Beach, and the resorts at Ko'Olina.

At the Botanical Gardens, the most beautiful tree trunk -- a Eucalypus. 

A bed of "Walking Iris," also known as Apostle Plant -- it spreads by dropping down new stalks from where the flowers were; the new stems send down roots.

Enormous fig trees, with roots that spread for many yards around, 

and with colonies of ferns and other plants growing along their trunks and branches - very Middle Earth. 

The volunteers who were at the reception area were making Ti leaf wreaths for military graves at Pearl Harbor. They have been working on them for a while, and keeping them in a freezer until Memorial Day -- not sure how many they will make -- hundreds, at least.

A building in one of the small towns we passed through -- probably Hale'iwa. It has the worn-out, weather-beaten quality of buildings in the tropics, weary of having to stay alive year-round without a rest. The buildings often appear to have been pieced together out of whatever was handy, with not much thought for the future.

Green World Coffee Farm (owned by a long-time Hawaii lawyer named Howard Green) -- a coffee tree with flowers and berries in various stages of ripeness. The drying is done at another site. 

The manager showed us the computer-run roaster, and talked a bit about the operation -- it's been there about five years. 

They had a fine collection of coffee posters -- two favorites.

We ate lunch in a minimalist local park at Waimea Bay. Not much in the way of waves today, so we enjoyed all of the birds: 

Yellow-billed Cardinal; 

Myna Bird; 

saffron finches; 

not sure what this one is; 

a dove -- bigger and with a browner beast than the ubiquitous little ones that are everywhere.

Some wind turbines; this one on a ridge above a small ranch. They are opposed by the local people who want to keep the North Shore as little developed as it is now (or was twenty years ago). The motto is "Keep the Country Country." 

But it's not country -- even today, on a Tuesday afternoon, cloudy and no surf, traffic on the two-lane road was very bad. Dozens of businesses appeal vigorously to the thousands of tourists.

At Sunset Beach, wild chickens.

At Matsumoto Shave Ice in Hale'iwa, Svea admiring someone's big bowl of sugar, ice, flavoring and coloring. Dozens of people were waiting in line for theirs, and many more were sitting on the ground eating. 

There are at least a couple of large parking lots filled with food trucks and customers, and many shops at which to buy everything Hawaiian. The area is famous for shrimp trucks that serve locally-farmed shrimp in every guise possible.

Heading back toward Honolulu, pineapple fields, and the Waianae Range of mountains --cloudy much of the day, but the thunderstorms in the forecast never showed up. 

A quintessential Hawaiian business, pink, worn, provisional, with a few palm trees for bona fides.

We walked along the beaches at the Ko'Olina resorts at the southwest corner of the island. 

On the beautifully-manicured lawns, a Golden Plover (a fairly common bird here). 

The outer rim of one of the four man-made coves with beaches. 


Doves taking advantage of a water-washed stone wall. 

Tropical fish in an aquarium at the Disney resort; kids could swim and snorkel in this pool (several life guards on duty, about one per kid). 

Koi pond.

Kids with Donald (Duck). 

Native painting, carved wood, and stained glass windows in the Disney resort. 

Feeding the doves -- these resorts were a well-manicured, carefully-presented different side of Hawaii from the North Shore.

Tonight's band and dancers at the Royal Hawaiian Center courtyard, much more jazzy-pop than at the Halekulani. 

The propane torches that light all of the big hotels' patios at night. 

Waves breaking on the sand.

A subtle sunset tonight.

A section of the murals at the Disney hotel.