"This file contains all our newsletters for May 2006 !

Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Hi All Y'All ! We're Baaaack in Myrtle Beach as of today !

    It was a wonderful month and, while we are glad to be back, we could have stayed for another month or two or until the money ran out!

    I'll pick up where I left off back on Sunday, the 21st of May. That evening we got together with Tracey, Alana and Roscoe the Doggy and saw a free movie "Yours, Mine & Ours" on Kuhio Beach. The city sets up a huge screen right on the beach and projects free movies on it for all to see. They also provide free chairs and pre-movie entertainment on a stage. Very nice. Reminds me of the "old days" when we had Drive-In Movie Theaters, and also the campgrounds at Disney World back in the 1980's where they would set up outdoor movie presentations.

    The next day I got word that Larry Suskie, an old friend of mine, was in the hospital so I gave him a call on my cell phone while we were sitting around on the beach. Larry sounded a lot better (upbeat; strong voice) than I had expected and we talked for close to an hour! I shot some photos to show Larry what Waikiki looked like while we were talking. They are posted on our May (Week 3) Latest Photos page. I sat on our 17th floor balcony overlooking Waikiki (sipping Bourbon & cokes ;-) until 2:30AM. I wanted to get those photos (and many more) uploaded in case Larry got a chance to get a laptop and view them from his hospital room.

    The 23rd, Tuesday, Dale and I took Oahu's 'The Bus' system and visited Chinatown and the Aloha Tower complex. The bus costs you $2 each (you can get one transfer) and will take you literally around the island, depending upon which route you take. Lots of bus stop locations so it's very easy, and convenient, to use. The next day, Wednesday the 24th, we had a lazy morning followed by "beach time". The surf was "up" and everyone who wanted to ride a surfboard or boogeyboard was in luck. The waves aren't spectacular but they are large enough to carry you almost all the way in to shore from a few hundred yards out. We topped off the afternoon at the Waikiki Banyon pool and then went to the Royal Hawaiian's Mai Tai Bar where we expected to see/hear Ells playing at 4:15PM. Turns out that he no longer plays on Wednesdays (he was at Duke's) but our friends Dwight and Lawrence were performing so we stayed and had a good time with them. They were followed by a band called "Three Scoops of Aloha". Their hula dancer talked with us later and told us that they were the band for both Moe Keale and "Iz" (Israel Kamakawiwo'ole) when both of them were alive. We recognized her and had seen them the last time we heard Moe perform at the Sheraton Waikiki. They are also blood relatives of both Moe and Iz, and although we knew both of them since about 1989, we didn't know that Moe was Iz's real uncle - a fact that everyone on-island now seems to know. (Every musician seems to call every other musician "Uncle", so it took a while for the fact to sink in that theirs was a blood relation). Anyway, the main singer for Three Scoops of Aloha looks like IZ and sounds like him too. One of Moe Keale's nephews apparently sounds like Moe. The hula girl said his name was Warren, but we haven't been able to find out anything about him yet.

    On Thursday, 25 May, I decided that I wanted to walk all the way around Diamond Head from Tracey's condo. For years I've driven along Diamond Head Road but this time I wanted to be able to simply saunter along at a slow pace, taking the time to study the beautiful (and not so beautiful) homes, the parks, the oceanfront walkways, the small beaches, the Surfer's spots, etc. That's just what I did. I saw Diamond Head from several different perspectives that I had never seen before, and walked down to the beach where all the surfer's go, under the Kuilei Cliffs. Later, as I rounded Diamond Head and came to the road/tunnel entrance I had second thoughts about actually going in to the crater and climbing Diamond Head itself, but what-the-heck. Off I went and climbed up and down Diamond Head for the umpteenth time (great views). My feet were really starting to hurt by this time and I sat down on a bench and aired out my socks ;-) Diamond Head Road turned into Montserrat and as I walked a mile or so I discovered an old military gatehouse near the now-defunct Cannon Club. Access to that part of Diamond Head (Ft Ruger?) must have been restricted in the "old days". A few more miles of walking had me wondering when it would all end when my cell phone rang and Dale wanted to know if I was still alive and where was I. One hundred feet ahead the buildings seemed familiar and - YES - it was Waikiki Elementary School! Only four or five more "blocks" to go! It took me longer to walk them thar blocks than it did for Dale to walk to Tracey's condo from the Waikiki Banyon! Ooch my feets hurt for three days afterwards! My little walk was about 6.4 miles total. Then - that evening - we all (Tracey, Alana, us) met Bev & Dan Heyberger in Kailua and had dinner at Saeng's, a favorite (Thai) restaurant. I loved my "Thai Hot" Evil Prince dinner but Dale says her's wasn't as good as she expected.

    On Friday the 26th I walked over to Tracey's and borrowed her car, and drove over to the Windward Side. I meandered along the Old Pali Road, and then into Maunawili Valley for some spectacular shots of my favorite mountain, Mt Olomana. Then to our former neighbor's house to see Joan Pacheco and fix her toilet (fill valve) while I was there. Joan has limited eyesight but has had a couple of operations these past years which makes it a bit better for her. I hung some flower baskets and inserted some hangers for future baskets for her. Dale and Tracey were off to the Ala Moana Shopping Center for a day of cruising the stores - mostly just "looking" and having fun. (Hey - we save money that way ;-) That evening we old folks struck out at 9:00PM and went to the Chart House at the Ilikai Hotel to see Dean & Dean. Returned at 1:27AM; this time taking a cab (with a Somali driver). These days it is much cheaper to take a cab (including tip) than to park a car at the Ilikai - even with "validation"!

    Saturday is SWAP MEET day at the Aloha Stadium. Five concentric circles of vendors. This is the place to buy T-shirts and other "stuff" to bring back for presents to friends and family. Then it was off to the "99 cent store" (aka the 100 yen store) where you can pick up some very innovative items for 99 cents. They import most of their stuff from Japan so you get an idea of what's "hot" (and cheap) over there. Lunch at the new location for the Kua Aina hamburger joint, just in front of Moca Java - another of Dale's favorite spots. Their old place was bulldozed to make way for lots of high-rise construction going on behind the Ward center all the way to Hebron St near the Discovery Bay condo buildings. Dinner tonight was at the Hau Tree Lanai with Tracey and Mike. VERY expensive! If you're looking for elegance, great food, and great service this is a place to go.

    Sunday the 28th. Only a few more days left on our vacation! So, we walked to the beach and hung around on the sand and in the water until 1:30PM or so. Later that afternoon we walked to the International Marketplace again. Very colorful displays of their wares and the prices aren't bad for being located smack in the middle of Waikiki! Dinner this night was at Chuck's in the Outrigger Waikiki hotel. For value this is the place to go. Moderate prices with very, very good food, outstanding views (Diamond Head, beach, etc) and great service. Then it was back ot the condo (room 1714) to start packing ! Arggg! No! I don't wanna go!

    Monday the 29th. Tracey picked us up and drove us across the island to the Leeward Side just past Makakilo, to the Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park. Very nice. We got the "Senior rate" which cut $20 APIECE off our tickets! Took pictures (see Latest Photos Week 4). Back to Waikiki and dinner at Tiki's Grill & Bar with The Pratts, who had rented our Kailua house some years ago. They now live near us in Florida (small world) and we have friends in common - Bill & Paulette Davis (even SMALLER world)! We'll be seeing them again the end of June in Bradenton/Sarasota! Ellsworth was playing that evening at Tiki's so we got to see him one last time before we left.

    Tuesday, 30 May - we fly to Myrtle Beach today. Finished packing and cleaning the condo. Tracey arrived at 9:20AM and it took us 30 minutes to haul all our "stuff"/luggage from the 17th floor to her car (every tourist in the hotel seemed to be riding up and down the elevators). I had a heart attack because Dale wanted to exchange a dress for Jessie at Hilo Hattie's, right on the busy Nimitz highway. But this time the Nimitz had hardly any traffic at all -- all the way to the airport, so we lucked out. No problems at the airport and we had three good flights (Honolulu - San Francisco; San Francisco - Charlotte, NC; Charlotte - Myrtle Beach). I was able to read about 300 pages of a computer language book (PHP) that I had been trying to "start reading" for many months. We had a three hour layover in each of the airports but surprisingly the time went by quickly. We faded fast on the last flight though. Arrived in Myrtle Beach on the 31st at 10:10AM. Karen picked us up (thank you - thank you ;-). We got a few things at the store and picked up our mail, then off to bed. I got 6 hours sleep, followed by 11 and a half hours that night. We're still "recovering" but now it's time for me to play in the dirt here in Myrtle Beach. I've already done some weeding in my garden. The cat is glad to see us. The birds and squirrels are too (filled up their feeding and water stations). We'll be off to Maryland next wednesday the 7th of June for Robby Peterson's wedding!

Dad & Mom/Barry & Dale

Sunday, 21 May 2006

Howzit? (How... is... it... going?

    Twelve days since my last news posting! At least I've been keeping up with the photos, which I've uploaded every few days or so. I'm now sitting on the balcony of Room 1714 in the Waikiki Banyon Hotel, typing this on Dale's laptop, which is connected directly to the Internet via somebody's free wireless network. It's 1:30PM here, which makes it 4:30PM in Los Angeles (Susan & Dany) and 7:30PM on the East Coast (Kathy & Tom and Karen & Chuck). In a few minutes we're going to walk the two blocks down to Kuhio Beach and sit around on the sand for the afternoon. I'll bring this laptop along and finish my "news" to you all from there.

    Well, here we are at Kuhio Beach, the part of Waikiki that has concrete barrier walls set in the ocean about 50 feet from shore. They create shallow, protected pools for swimming, etc. The surf is high today and the waves are breaking at an angle all along the barrier walls. It looks like some underwater behemoth is racing along the outer (ocean) side of the wall, creating a huge, fast-moving 'rooster tail' and a wall of water, surging from the left to the right, over the 200 yard length of the wall. This scene repeats itself every 15-20 seconds or so, over and over and over. Very pleasant to watch, especially considering the rest of the view: light green sea, blue sky, white sand, palm trees, colors everywhere (bikinis included)!

    It's been a busy 12 days since our last news, so I'll recap some of the highlights! I received an e-mail from cousins Alice & Happy Bourque (Amirault's Hill, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia) that my cousin Roland (Bourque) was a DJ on their local radio station "CIFA", which also puts its broadcast on the Internet! I was able to find the web site and at 11PM Hawaii Time (6AM the next day, Atlantic Time, in Nova Scotia) I listened to Roland's French-Acadian language show. The family speaks english to us when we visit, so we've never heard them speak continuously in that melodic language. Brought back good memories of listening to my Grandfather and Grandmother Amirault speak! Good music too! Lots of fiddles and banjoes, etc. The next evening (morning) Roland broadcast on-the-air greetings in english to us here in Waikiki. It's a small, small world!

    On Wednesday the 10th of May, we drove around the island while Alana was in school. The Kunia entrance looks the same but our communications tower is gone and a large satellite terminal is in its place in the pineapple fields above the "tunnel". My TACSAT antennas are still there! Still saving the world!

    The Dole Plantation is still in business but they've announced their decision to terminate pineapple growing operations on Oahu. It takes something like 18 months to get the first crop of pineapples after planting, and then another long period for the final, second growth and harvest. After their current plantings are fully harvested, that will "be it" for pineapples on Oahu!

    Had lunch on the outdoors porch at Jameson's Restaurant in Haleiwa. Always a nice experience! Then on around the island, past Waimea Bay and Turtle Bay. Of course I telephoned Michael in order to "razz" him, since that's where he and Pei spent their vacation a few months ago! I took lots of pictures of the coast (see the PHOTOS menu). Hauula, Punaluu, Kaaawa and on down to Kaneohe and Kailua, our old home town. Nice!

    On Thursday the 11th we drove to Haunauma Bay, hoping to walk around the bay and photograph the "Toilet Bowl", where water surges in underground via old lava tubes, fills a large and deep rock formation ("bowl") and then flushes itself out through the lava tubes/tunnels. We used to time the water surge so that you would jump in the bowl when it was full, ride the receding water until you touched the sandy floor, then wait for the next blast of rushing water from the tunnel to fill the bowl up again, and ride it to the top! Unfortunately the State of Hawaii has decided that no one is allowed to go back there. Too much "liability". Soon you won't be allowed to walk on sidewalks anymore.

    We then went to the Makapuu Lighthouse Road and hiked to the top of Makapuu Point. For years I had thought that it was off-limits, although we noticed hundreds of people over the years walking up the trail. It's open now, and the State is creating a new parking lot so you don't have to park on the highway. The trail is an old asphalt road, very narrow, which the lighthouse keepers must have used to bring supplies up the mountain. It's about a mile of switchbacks. Michael telephoned when I was about three-quarters of the way up. You get a nice view of the back side of Koko Crater, the "Blowhole", Sandy Beach and a large tract of land where we used to see the locals driving their ATVs and monster trucks. It turns out that that is where Queen's Beach is located and I could see why the locals liked the place. Lots of reefs and surf! When you get to the top of Makapuu Point, the lighthouse is actually a few hundred feet below you. The view of the Windward Side from Makapuu Point is nothing short of spectacular! I'm surprised that postcards aren't available with these views! Sea Life Park, Waimanalu,Kailua/Lanikai and the Marine Corps Base hawaii, jutting out into the ocean. Even Mt. Olomana is clearly visible! Afterwards we drove back to Waikiki by going over the Pali Highway, running into rain at the top, and bright sunshine as we descended!

    On Friday the 12th I was abruptly woken up by Dale, telling me that we had 30 minutes to get to Alana's "May Day" show at Waikiki Elementary School. Of course Alana hadn't mentioned it, and Dale found out only when she brought her to school that morning. We made it with time to spare. Alana's 4th Grade group was the last to perform. They had memorized a couple of chants and songs -- all in Hawaiian! Impressive! In the afternoon we drove over to Kailua and visited our former neighbor, Joan Pacheco. Her granddaughter Melia was there also. She's a young woman now. We hadn't seen her in quite a while. Dropped in at Long's Drugstore in Kailua and found that part of the Kailua parking lot had been turned into a multi-story parking garage. Very nice looking, and shady too! Then it was back to pick up Alana at school. Dale showed me that Roscoe (Alana's little dog) likes to carry part of his leash in his mouth as he prances along on his stubby legs. Very cute. Looks like "he's in charge".

    Saturday and we're off to the Ice Palace, next to the Aloha Stadium, where both Alana and Tracey take ice-skating lessons. Coldest place in Hawaii! Good thing Dale insisted that I bring a jacket along! Afterwards we went to Kahala Mall where "Grandma Dale" just had to buy Alana a present from one of her favorite stores. Later I drove to City Mill hardware store and was amazed at the prices! In subsequent visits to the store I figure that I paid double what I would back on the mainland for the simplest items. Terrible! And the stores seem to hire three times the number of floor-walkers than they need to. They're never there when you need to ask a question but at all other times you have to fight them off!

    Sunday the 14th - Mother's Day (Yes. I did remember to get Dale a card ;-) Went to the "Swap Meet" at Aloha Stadium and walked around. Bought Dale a silver ankle bracelet for Mother's day too. The vendors have returned with a vengeance (several years ago their numbers declined). Also, the inner circles (A & B) also have "garage sale" vendors again. I bought a book on Hawaiian Trees, and later found out that it was a rare, out-of-print book. I just wanted to know what the different hawaiian trees were. I got lucky. Lunch was at Lulu's on Kapahulu, in Waikiki overlooking the concrete pier at Kuhio Beach. Gave Dale her Mother's Day present (the ankle bracelet). Back to Tracey's place and Dale got Alana ready for her school camping trip.

    Monday the 15th: Alana goes off on her camping trip. We drove over to the Windward Side and visited the Byodo-in Temple in Kaneohe's Valley of the Temples. A very pretty setting, under the Ko'olau Mountains. I hefted the log and rang the sacred bell, just a bit too loud, but no one complained. The budda inside the temple is supposed to be the largest figure carved since "ancient times".

    Then it was on to the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe. Gorgeous views of the gardens and also of the surrounding Ko'olau Mountains. Late lunch back in Kailua, at Maui Tacos (Yum!!), then back to Tracey's where I fixed the showerhead, among my many little contributions ;-)

    Tuesday the 16th, we stayed inside and I worked on Tracey's electrical wiring in the kitchen. She's re-doing her kitchen and had a few wires that needed hiding. Since the walls and ceiling are very hard concrete it took a while to drill the holes for screws, even with a special concrete drill bit. I finally got it done, and all the wires are now hidden behind wooden moulding that had channels for the wires underneath. Looks good!

    Wednesday the 17th we picked up Tracey at the airport on her return from Japan. She caught up on her sleep over the next several days! Dale and I walked down Kalakaua as far as the Gateway Hotel (where my mother and Dot stayedback in 1986). We needed the exercise and wanted to see what changes were happenming in Waikiki. Sure enough - lots of them! The Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center looks like it has been gutted and is now being rebuilt. Lewers Street is still a concrete jungle of new buildings, and gutted and rebuilt buildings. It'll be nice someday but presently is a mess.

    Thursday, 18 May: Tracey's fill valve in the bathroom toilet decided to malfunction (it knew I was there), so off I went to the City Mill Hardware store again. Luckily the replacement parts are cheap, but I had to buy some offset wrenches and other materials, so I stand by my comments about the unreasonably high cost of every day items here on Oahu! Somebody is gouging the people out of all their money! Anyway, that afternoon we moved into the Waikiki Banyon again. We're now in room 1714, what we call the "Chinese Room" (we stayed her last summer). The decor is a mix of Chinese, Indian, Hawaiian, etc. Lots of the color "red" too. Great view of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beaches.

    Friday the 19th: a lazy day. Ironed all my clothes so now I can go to the more ritzy hotels and not look like the beach bum I've been since our arrival (shorts and T-shirts only)! In the afternoon we took the local shuttle from Waikiki to Hilo Hatties. Our return trip was unique. Instead of the trolley, a Roberts Hawaii Tour bus showed up. The driver couldn't convince other touists that he was really making a freebie run for Hilo Hatties so we were his only passengers. We talked to the driver about the "old days" and it turns out that we had several acquaintances in common. The driver wouldn't let us out at the regular bus stop -- he drove us directly to our hotel as if the huge bus was our personal limo! Very nice! Mahalo Plenny! Then we went down to the beach and after about 45 minutes of trying to get used to the cool water I finally made the plunge and stayed in for about an hour. I like my water WARM! The water inside the concrete barrier was cool but the incoming tide would bring chilled water in from the Pacific -- right where I was floating! Dinner was at a new italian restaurant called Arancino di Mare (semi-expensive but nice, with italian music piped all around) Then walked over to the Moana Surfrider Hotel, Waikiki's oldest hotel (very elegant). Their inner courtyard has a huge banyon tree in the middle, and they call their wraparound porch the "Banyon Veranda". Free music every night if you want to sit on the outer edges of the courtyard, but it's well worth the money to sit close-up to the stage in the lounge area and pay for your drinks!!

    Saturday the 20th of May. Borrowed Tracey's car and went to the Swap Meet again. In the evening we walked a mile or so, all the way to the Hilton Hawaiian Village, to listen to Jerry Santos and Olomana. Unfortunately Haunani was once again off on OHA business so she wasn't performing tonight (She is the head of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs). The music was great, as per usual, but I think that Jerry is getting bored with his job and his Paradise Lounge setting. He announced a "short break" and then took two 45 minute breaks, leaving all of us sitting around waiting for his return. I remember Moe Keale doing the same thing near the end of his career when he was playing at the Sheraton. Disrespectful of their fans. You don't see anything like that with Dean & Dean!

    So here we are, Sunday the 21st of May, sitting on Kuhio Beach. Dale disappeared on me an hour ago. She's probably on the beach itself (I'm under the palm trees) trying to get some rays! So, I'll close this item for now and go get some color on my skin. I tan easily so Dale will probably give me a hard time about how good I look ;-) (Whoops - found her! Right in front of me, stretched out under a palm tree. How good is THAT)!

Dad & Mom/Barry & Dale

Tuesday, 09 May 2006

AlooooooooooHA from the land of rainbows !!!!!!

    'Plenny Greetings' to All Y'All from gorgeous, sunny Waikiki!

    We took Dale's laptop computer along with us and we found several "Wi-Fi Hot spots" for wireless computer networking here in Waikiki. Lots of them allow free-access to the Internet so I've been able to download my pictures from my digital camera into the laptop, process them (resize, etc.) and then upload them to the web site using these wireless facilities! Best of all I can do it while sitting outside by the pool, or anywhere else for that matter !!

    It's been exactly one week since we arrived and the time is, of course, zipping by much too fast! Karen drove us to the Myrtle Beach Airport last Tuesday morning (02 May) at "Oh-Dark-Thirty" (4:55AM wake up; 5:55AM to the airport; 7:45AM take off; 1:52PM (HST) arrival in Honolulu)! Our flight from Chicago to Honolulu was only one-quarter full so we had plenty of seats to sprawl across. Dale got some sleep, and I nodded off a few times myself. Hawaii Standard Time is six hours behind Eastern Daylight Savings Time, so we had an "extra afternoon and evening in our day" and we didn't feel tired until later that night. Excellent flights. Oh - United now charges $5.00 for meals on the aircraft, something that I didn't notice when we made our reservations. Since we have experienced huge delays while traveling in the past, Dale always makes sandwiches and brings along other snacks with us, so we don't depend on the airline for food anyway, but it was an eye-opener to see that airlines are now like banks - charging for every little thing. I guess they have to, with all the rising costs.

    Anyway, Tracey and Alana picked us up at the airport. Alana has grown at least another 2-3 inches, perhaps more! We arrived 40 minutes early and Alana was still in school, so we just waited at the curb and enjoyed the sunshine! We called Karen & Chuck on our cell phones as we left the airport, to tell them of our safe arrival (and to gloat ;-) Every time we return here it's like we never left. Dropped by Tracey's condo first to see Roscoe the "grand-doggy", who was beside himself with joy at our arrival. Got some groceries and headed for the Waikiki Banyon hotel, where we went to bed around 9:30PM (We're "old guys" now).

    Tracey's friend Sharon manages condos at the Waikiki Banyon hotel and she got us a nice room in Tower 2 (Rm 3005) with a view of the Ko'olau Mountains, Ala Wai canal and golf course, St Louis Heights, Chaminade University, and University of Hawaii at Manoa Valley. We could also see the back end of Diamond Head. Not bad at all! Misty mornings shroud the mountains and valleys (see our photos)! The last time we stayed here we had two different rooms for our split stay (stayed a week; went to Susan's wedding in Maui; then returned) and we had Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach views. We're now in Tracey's condo - she left this morning for Japan. We will return to the Banyon on 18 May - and will probably get a different room with yet another nice/different view!)

    The day of our arrival was also the end of Ho'oilo, the hawaiian rainy season, and at sunset that evening Hawaiians celebrated the end of Ho'oilo and the arrival of Kau (Dry Season) with hula on Kuhio Beach, near the aquarium. Looks like we picked the right time to come, especially after the previous three months broke all records for continuous rain on the islands, with much damage and some loss of life. On Oahu a sewer main broke and the city had to divert millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Ala Wai Canal. Luckily the water has tested okay since our arrival, but I still haven't been in the wtaer at Waikiki yet. Maybe next week!

    Wednesday, 03 May - woke up at 4:00AM or so, but stayed in bed until 7:00AM. Today's the day you "tread lightly" trying to get the body to acclimate itself to the new time zone. We walked along Kuhio Beach in back of the aquarium (never walked that particular piece of the beach park - it's nice and you get a different view of Kuhio and Waikiki Beaches from there). Went to the Cheesburger-in-Paradise on Kalakaua. It's in the Foster Building where Tracey's friend "Sho" let us use his beach-front 12th floor condo a couple of times. I guess Jimmy Buffett threatened legal action if the owners didn't change their name (they own the restaurant in Lahaina, Maui also) and the two women who own the growing chain agreed, but they are allowed to keep the "Cheeseburger-in-Paradise" name for one of the restaurants while all the others must now emphasize that they are simply the "Cheesburger" restaurants. The Waikiki site is spectacular, but frankly their burgers aren't that good at all. They make it THEIR WAY, not your way!

    That afternoon we went with Tracey and Alana to the Ice Palace, situated near the Aloha Stadium. Tracey and Alana both take skating lessons and they both looked very graceful while doing jumps, spins, etc. Future Yamaguchi gold medal winners-in-training! Topped off wednesday's activities by attending a birthday party for one of Tracey's friends, at a local spaghetti restaurant. I should have brought my camera along -a wonderful ethnic mix of hawaiians, japanese, chinese, caucasian, etc. Back to our condo and early to bed (10:30PM or so). The TV news comes on at 10PM here in Hawaii, so it's easier to get to bed earlier than in South Carolina, Maryland, Florida, etc.

    Thursday, 04 May, woke up around 7AM. Clouds over the Ko'olau Mountains again. We've noticed that we have bright sunshine mixed with light rain or mist almost every day. Sometimes it rains heavily at night (YES! what a place)!! Today is the day I noticed all the Wi-Fi computer networks floating around our condo, but I had trouble locating the real hot spots. Went to the pool and found that I could hook up to "shakanet-free". Later I found out that the actual hot spot for shakanet-free was in the Banyon's computer room, where you could sit in nice chairs, plug in your computer to one of the many available sockets, and surf the Internet to your heart's content -- all free. This afternoon we walked along Kuhio Beach and found the Royal Hawaiian Band sitting under a huge banyon tree and about to give a free concert. We stopped and listened and, after the show, Dale took my picture with Miss Hawaii! (Oooh Rah!)We had lunch at Duke's in the Outrigger Waikiki and that evening we returned to the Outrigger to surprise our friend Ellsworth Simeona, who was playing at the Hula Grill. He introduced us to Lawrence Kidder who plays with "Ells" on Thursday nights. We all had a great time after their show, talking about the music and old musicians from when we lived here 1989-1994.

    On Friday, 05 May, we woke up around 7:45AM. Had lunch with Tracey at Lulu's, on the corner of Kapahulu and Kalakaua, directly across from the stone pier jutting out into Kuhio Beach. Lulu's has much better food than Cheeseburger-in-Paradise but the word is that it will be closing. The rumor is that it will become a fine dining restaurant. Later we walked up Waikiki and visited the International Marketplace. I found a camera shop where I bought a universal card reader for Dale's laptop, enabling me to download pictures from my digital camera and then upload them to the web site from here, without having to wait until we get back to Myrtle Beach. Dinner was at the Spaghetti Factory in the Ward Center with Tracey, Alana, Bryndis & Yona (Tracey's friend from Gardabaer, Reykjavik, Iceland)!

    On Saturday, 06 May, Waikiki had a parade to honor our troops (current and veterans). Dale and I took Alana, and her friend Bryndis, to Kuhio Beach where they could not resist jumping in the water with their clothes on! The parade had about 5,000 military participants included old military vehicles and tanks. Apparently every marcher was given tickets for free food and, when we tried to buy our lunch at the Kapiolani Park venue, one of the marchers had a fistfull of tickets and paid for our lunch! Nice! Then the children's area had lots of rides and when I went to pay for the rides the woman asked if I had been in the military (yes). She then just GAVE Bryndis and Alana $15 wristbands, so they were able to ride all afternoon! Walked back to Tracey's condo via Montserrat and Leahi Ave, where I "discovered" a park full of different hibiscus bushes. Very pretty. I took several pictures. Dinner that evening at Tiki's Grill & Bar (we had dinner there with Kathy when she was here last year). Expensive if you don't watch yourself.

    Sunday the 7th we were up at 8:30AM (see? Getting later ;-) Went with Tracey to a Crafts Show at Thomas Square Park but, unfortunately, there weren't many vendors because, we believe, just two blocks away at the Blaisdell Center there was a huge crafts show. We went there too. Very good selections. Tracey gave us her car for the evening and we went to see Dean & Dean at the Chart House (Ilikai Hotel). Another big surprise for our old musician friends when we walked in the door. Dean Lum's son (Renn) was there, and he played along with Dean & Dean on a number of songs. We stayed until almost 1:00AM. The manager deleted all our food from our bill but the parking garage still cost us $18, even with the Chart House validation. It was worth it.

    Monday the 8th; our last day at the Waikiki Banyon (we'll be back on the 18h). Spent the morning cleaning the condo (one of the ways we gets special rates), then stayed at the condo pool until around 4PM or so, when we walked to Tracey's.

    Tuesday, the 9th. Dale and Tracey took Alana to school (Waikiki Elementary). Then we took Tracey to the airport for her 11:50AM flight to Japan. Then to Wal-Mart and Sam's Club for groceries, and back to her condo. It's 4:30PM now and we are off to pick up Alana and bring her to her tutor at The Kalia Apts, where they used to live. We'll even get to her Alana play the piano after her academic lessons. More Later!

Dad & Mom/Barry & Dale