July, late 29th to early 31st

My big sister Lona and her husband Hartley live in LA. They have one son, Trevor, and he lives in Hawaii with his wife Beth and their three children, Christa, Caleb and Charis. Trevor and Beth's home is on Oahu between Diamond Head and Waikiki. I am now returning the children - LA to Honolulu.

L&H bought me the ticket. That makes me the big fat Winner! I get to go And I get a free ticket.

Here we are settled in to our happy campground to wait the sixty minutes for our flight. And then, Oh No! Delay! The delay adds up - forty-five more minutes, then an hour, then More...
...but no worries. Other kids arrive and sign up for campLax and soon the participants number seven in waves that come and go. They all know the drill and the time passes gently with giggles and games.
The next day we are Out and About. Flying kites, eating of course, chores, and a rousing board game to end the day.
Beth, lovely as always. I dragged her into the shade after a while of watching the kite flying.

It is utterly as gorgeous here as you always image Hawaii to be. Yes, it's swelteringly blazingly hot. What did I expect?
The family getting ready to head off to church. There's a big Ukulele festival down by the beach and I'll be walking there for what I'm hoping will be lively entertainment and a uniquely Hawaiian PhotoOp!

Ok ok this pic's fuzzy. Someone should do the arithmatic as to how many shots are required to get five people with good expressions And in focus!
July 31

The family went off to church and I took a walk down to the beach to enjoy some swingin' ukulele tunes.

This is a view to a small part of Diamond Head crater, a few blocks away from T&B's back yard.
There were a series of professional entertainers on stage...
...and crowds of uke teams all wearing the festival's souvenir shirt.
More. These guys are lined up waiting their turn to go up front. Everybody plays ukulele!
These gals were seated with the spectators. You go!
Hawaii, where, across all age, culture and economic divides spam is a universally favored part of daily life.

You've got your spam burger of course, served at every McDonald's, your spam and eggs of course, served at every coffee shop, your spam burrito, teriyaki spam, spam foo young, and your all time favorite, spam musubi.
Another entertainment venue.

It was hot. I know it's hot in Hawaii but these last two days have been reeealy hot. Janice, who lives here, says even she noticed that it was hot. So far I have managed to stay out of the emergency room.
Late in the day we all went down to Waikiki beach.
The couple in the foreground are friends of T&B's who used to live here and are now visiting from Michigan.
Boogie Boarding! Check it out! That's not yet 5 year old Charis on the green board, Caleb is on the left, one of the Michigan kids is in the center and the rest of the crowd are scattered around behind them.
Beach Babe...
August 2

Caleb and I are having Our Day. First we are going to enjoy the outrigger canoe, then we are going to enjoy the beach and then we are going to enjoy chocolate ice cream until we can't eat another bite no matter What, and then we'll come home on the bus in time for gymnastics.

Caleb got the lead seat on the canoe! The Leader! Here he is intently studying the captain's instructions.
I am positioned in what the captain called The Queen's Seat meaning I'm in the middle and I don't row. You heard no complaints out of me.

There's Caleb up front, taking the lead strokes and following the commands to 'switch!' and 'rest!' and 'power Now!'.
We're on! Notice our fearless leader's position in the wave...
A nifty ride all the way back to the beach.
And out again for another catch. The captain gave us a real treat of an extra run so we got to do this drill four times. It was massively fun.

These pictures are from the professional photographer who was surfing along beside us snapping away. And they call it work...
August 3

Janice and I had a lovely outing to the Moana Surfrider Hotel where we enjoyed an informative and amusing tour of this historic property followed by High Tea on the veranda.

We were ladies of leisure... Ladies who lunch!
A patch of surfers waiting for a ride. You are probably thinking 'that looks Terrible. Who would want to be out there in a crowd like that?'

The thing is, LOTS of people want to be out there and they put up with the crowd. The water is warm and clear and easily accessible, the shoreline is gorgeous, and the surf is so perfectly ridable you can just go and go.
Here's another shot of this spot on Waikiki. You can see one of the outrigger canoes coming in on the upper right.

Since Sunday's handshake with heat stroke I have managed quite well by simply taking eveeerything reeealy sloooow. And we know that's the way, and why tiiiime stretches ooooout in hot places.
August 5

The last couple of days I've had more outings with the kids.

Here's Charis who wanted to get dressed up and go out for a fancy dinner. And so we did. We went to The Top of Waikiki, one of those revolving restaurants with a magnificent 360 view.

Charis's dinner was spaghetti and red sauce with meatballs, hold the red sauce, hold the meatballs, cheese on the side, shrimp cocktail, all ingredients separated, catsup on the side. And then because when we get a chance once a year to go on our outing we are always celebrating a birthday...
...Charis got a surprise ice cream and a coconut cake with a Candle! Everyone was saying how lovely Charis looked all dressed up and wishing her a very Happy Birthday.
One of the ordinary sunset views from T&B's front porch.
This looks posed but it was not. Lawyer at work, lawyer yellow pad at the ready.
We then took a tour of their new office suite. They are scheduled to move in next week.

This is Trevor and his secretary in Trevor's new office, the secretary having been newly placed in front of an office five down the hall from Trevor's. And the data port in Trevor's office is on the opposite wall from where his computer station is designed. And etc.. And None of it is my problem!
Chista's Day!

We went to the Equestrian Center where Christa will be attending Horse Camp next week and met the director, a few of the staff, a bunch of the horses, and signed up for a lesson that afternoon.

The idea was to give Christa a chance to get acquainted with their way of doing things and to feel more comfortable in an English saddle.

This is the most adorable pony named Sugar and she was indeed sweet as sugar candy. All she wanted to do was nuzzle and lick our hands.
Because the lesson wouldn't be until late in the afternoon we went to the mall for lunch and to get Christa a horse charm for her bracelet.

Lunch. Known throughout the islands, served in every Japanese restaurant, Christa is enjoying Spam Roll. It is one of her very most favorite foods. They also, everywhere, serve Spam sushi which is a Full slab of spam right out of the can placed on a palm sized bed of rice with a fat seaweed belt wrapped 'round.
Back to the center here the teacher is helping Christa bring her horse down from the stables.
While Christa was tacking up her horse a new friend came by to hang out.
You go!

After all this we went out to a lively dinner at a brand new restaurant down the road a piece from Christa's house, followed by a nice slice of her favorite cake, a fitting end to Our Day.
August 7

You can't stay even five minutes in Hawaii and not be struck by the sight and smell of flowers. Even the trees bloom.
More beach. It's all about the aloha.
People just go to the beach like valley folk might go out to the back yard, to visit, get a little hit of nature, eat, enjoy, but notice - sand.

That's the thing about the beach. Sand. That's our food sitting on the sandy boogie board. People who live in Hawaii are inured to sand. I just look at that pile and my teeth feel gritty and I want to scratch my groin.
August 9

Yesterday I walked down to Waikiki and spent the entire day moving from hotel lobby to hotel lounge to hotel patio finding a good chair with a good view and reading my book.

I roused myself every hour or so to settle in a new location and that was it. A Great day!
Today I went to The United Chinese Society, Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii for a culinary tour of Chinatown. It was excellent.

The tour group gathers.
I was crazy for the guide. He was knowledgable, charming, and one of those cheery folk who puts everyone in respect of a good mood.

We're in a bank looking at this drawing of early Honolulu. The order of the tour was as follows: from a large map in the Chamber of Commerce we learned about the history and migration of the Chinese in Hawaii, then we had a brief overview of the history of Honolulu...
...and the military's central role, evidenced here by the Huba Huba Cafe and Live Nude Shows.

We saw restaurants of every type, learned the difference between dim sum and maunapua, studied various noodle styles and preparations, visited a fish market, a grocery store, a shop of dried fruits, a Chinese apothecary and some jewelry shops.
And we visited with this guy who carves chops and who played this instrument for our amusement. Chinese people, it seems, stereotypically, have a good time wherever they are. I will add that Hawaiian people manage to have a mighty good time wherever they are too.

This could be a shot from my recent trip to China. Yup, just goes to show, you take you with you wherever you are.
We stopped off in a couple of places for a taste, here at a noodle factory and more from a smoked meat shop.

All in all, a very fine way to spend the morning.
August 11

A daily sight in Hawaii. I'm packing up to go and already planning my return.

Beth will be sendng me a nice group shot we took this morning for a closing memory of our delightful time together - and I'll put it right here.
And here it is! Chrita, Caleb, Charis, Granty (and that would be me), Trevor and Beth.
Last night we did a picnic at the zoo with evening entertainment. Half the people there were T&B's old friends and the other half were soon to be new friends.
The previous night - Movie Night at the Browns' shot with Beth's new camera.

A nice way to end the story. Beth at her computer where we spent much of this visit installing software and Beth settling herself in all the features of Outlook and getting a taste of digital photography with Elements. Good and good for you.
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