Another Day in Honolulu

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/2500 sec, ISO32
“Hawaii Scene” Honolulu, 2022

This morning, I went for another run. This time I headed west, along the beach path that we walked on the night before, and ended up at Ala Moana Beach Park. It was fun to stop and watch the surfers and also the canoe teams heading out. A classic Hawaiian scene. I then retraced my steps back to the hotel, satisfied that I burned some calories and could eat like a king once again. 🙂

Speaking of eating, we went back to Halekalani for breakfast today, but instead of the buffet, we went to the Orchids restaurant. It was also very nice, but I think I preferred the buffet since the menu options in our package didn’t include the fancy a la carte items like eggs benedict as we expected. However, they did have a haupia French toast that was pretty good.

Next, we hopped on the City Bus and headed over to the Kaka’ako farmers market. We spent a fair amount of time there shopping, but the sun was very hot so we needed to cool down. And hey, we were within walking distance of Hana Koa Brewery again, so why not get some beers we didn’t try the day before? 🙂

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/5300 sec, ISO32
“Farmers Market” Honolulu, 2022
Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/60 sec, ISO80
“Have a Nice Flight” Honolulu, 2022

Across the alleyway from the brewery is The Rice Factory, a specialty shop which sells the best rice on the islands. I’ll have to see for myself after we get home, because we bought a couple of pounds of rice to try. Will our two carry-on roller bags be enough for the trip home? Who knows…

By this time, we had to get back to the hotel and get our bags since we were moving to a different (and cheaper) hotel. But along the way, we stopped at a ukulele store to check out the instruments. There were a ton of different models, of all prices… from the cheap Kalas to the high-end Kamakas and KoAlohas. We were the only ones in the store besides the shop attendant, who was fast asleep behind the counter. I guess he was out late last night, or up early hitting the waves. The whole time we were there, he didn’t move a muscle. Good thing for him, we aren’t thieves, 🙂

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 1.55mm, f/2.4, 1/100 sec, ISO80
“Lots of Ukuleles” Honolulu, 2022

We picked up our luggage and took a Lyft to the Park Shore Waikiki Hotel. It’s at the eastern end of the Waikiki hotels and we had a great view of the water. It’s an older hotel, but the location is excellent. Like the Halepuna Hotel, there’s filtered water in the lobby to fill up your bottles and free beach towels to borrow.

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 1.55mm, f/2.4, 1/2500 sec, ISO25
“The View” Honolulu, 2022

After checking out the beach for.a bit, we caught the bus and went to Izakaya Chiba-ken. It’s a fun, inexpensive place for drinks and Japanese food and we enjoyed some beer and yakitori. But this was just the warmup before we headed to another izakaya where we had reservations at the sushi bar. Sushi Izakaya Gaku is quite a bit pricier than Chiba-ken, but the food is sooo good! Everything we ordered was amazing… from the mentaiko potatoes, to the matsutake mushroom tempura… and the sushi… wow! Everyone we talked to had the same thing to say about Izakaya Gaku: it’s expensive, but excellent.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 34.3mm, f/3.6, 1/105 sec, ISO3200
“Rice Beer” Honolulu, 2022
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 32.9mm, f/3.6, 1/100 sec, ISO1250
“Oysters” Honolulu, 2022

After that, we caught the bus back to the hotel and drifted off to dreamland 🙂

Busy Day in Honolulu

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 1.55mm, f/2.4, 1/60 sec, ISO250
“Waikiki Sunrise” Honolulu. 2022

I started the day off with an early-morning run along Kalākaua Ave east, passing by shops and other tourists who were also jetlagged. On the flight over, I watched the documentary Waterman – Duke: Ambassador of Aloha, which was the story of Duke Kahanamoku, so I had to stop by his statue and take a photo. I then continued running past the zoo and then looped around Kapi’olani Park and made my way back to the hotel.

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/120 sec, ISO64
“Duke Statue” Honolulu, 2022

After cleaning up, we went to Halepuna’s sister hotel, Halekulani, and enjoyed a yummy breakfast at the House Without a Key buffet, then bought a couple of Holo cards so we could buy daily bus passes. For this trip to Oahu, we decided not to rent a car and just get around by bus. Fare costs $3.00 for one ride, but if you buy a Holo card (for $2 at an ABC Store) you can add day passes which is a great value. It’s $7.00 for unlimited rides per day, and I think you can get a small discount if you buy multiple days.

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/250 sec, ISO32
“Breakfast” Honolulu, 2022

Riding the bus is super-easy. We just used Google Maps and chose bus instead of car. It tells you walking directions to the bus stop, which bus to take, what stop to get off at, and then walking directions to your destination. It also has information such as if the bus is on-time or late, how many stops the bus will make, and any alternate routes or transfers. It’s really easy!

For our first ride, we went to Ala Moana Shopping Center to check out my favorite store, Uniqlo. This particular Uniqlo had some really cool tshirt designs featuring local brands like Hawaiian Sun and Leonard’s Bakery. I ended up getting a Hawaiian Host shirt since my grandpa drew the original tiki design that is featured on many of their boxes. And I also got a nice button-up shirt, and two pairs of nice shorts, which meant I could finally replace my very old shorts. In fact, later that afternoon, I changed into the new pair of shorts and threw away my old ones in a hotel restroom.

After Uniqlo, we shared a spicy ramen from Ramen Bario. It was yummy! We were still kind of full from the breakfast buffet, but we’re on vacation, which means try all the delicious foods. 🙂

Next on the agenda was another one of my stops: a visit to Kamaka Ukulele. Kamaka is the grandfather of all ukulele companies, so it was really cool to visit their store. It’s actually very small, but I got to try out a couple of nice models including this long-neck soprano pineapple. It was a beauty! I’m thinking of getting a nice ukulele, and Kamaka is on the list. My dad has a Kamaka at his house, so it would be neat to get one too. I’ll think about it!

Photo info: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, 5.7mm, f/1.5, 1/110 sec, ISO64
“Kamaka Pineapple” Honolulu, 2022

Two very nice vacation destinations down, and it’s still early afternoon. Now it was time for one of Mariko’s stops, which was for a foot massage. We went to Dynasty Foot Massage and I ended up getting one too. Why not, right? It was my first foot massage, and I really enjoyed it. Maybe it will help me run faster. 🙂

As I mentioned in one of my Indy blog posts, Mariko and I really like visiting local breweries. And there are several in Honolulu to try. The first brewery we went to was Lokahi Brewing Company. I really liked the location and the beer, but the selection was a bit small, which is understandable because it’s a small brewery. Worth a visit, though.

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/350 sec, ISO32
“Flight” Honolulu, 2022

After that, we hopped on the bus for a short ride down to Hana Koa for a couple of flights and pupus. The selection was large and varied, and it was lively but not too crowded. Just right!

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/60 sec, ISO250
“Beers” Honolulu, 2022

Mariko had an appointment at Soho Hair Salon for a cut so we took the bus again back to Waikiki. While she was at the salon, I listened to some live music at the Ilikai Hotel patio and enjoyed the view of the marina. When she was finished, we watched the sunset while we waited for our dinner reservation at Pesca.

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/60 sec, ISO250
“Sunset” Honolulu, 2022

The restaurant is on the top floor of the hotel, and Mariko reserved a table so we could watch the Friday fireworks. It was a pretty show, and paired with the yummy seafood, made for a memorable dinner.

After that, we walked along the beach path back to our hotel, and retired for the evening. What a long day!

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/7 sec, ISO1600
“Friday Fireworks” Honolulu, 2022

Austin to Honolulu

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/4300 sec, ISO32
“Our Plane” Austin, 2022

Today we began our Hawaiian vacation! It’s so nice that Hawaiian Airlines has a non-stop flight between Austin and Honolulu. It’s 8 hours and 20 minutes, but it actually goes by quickly, especially with plenty of movies to watch.

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/900 sec, ISO32
“Vacation Begins” Austin, 2022

After we landed, we took a Lyft to our hotel, unpacked and then headed out for a walk around Waikiki. It was so much fun to be back in Honolulu! I loved seeing all the yummy treats in the convenience stores, like local brews and musubi. Yummm.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/3.2, 1/105 sec, ISO320
“Convenience Goodies” Honolulu, 2022

We had a nice dinner of katsu, then caught the amazing sunset from the beach. It was a long, but amazing day. 🌴

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO800
“Twilight” Honolulu, 2022

Bringing Home Food from Vacation

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 30.2mm, f/3.6, 1/100 sec, ISO1000
“Beer from Indy” Cedar Park, 2022

I never used to bring home food from vacation, except for maybe omiyage (gifts) for others. However, Mariko always does lots of shopping for local foods, and bring them home to enjoy and now I am starting to really appreciate that.

So, packing light in order to have more space in the luggage for goodies is a thing for me. On the latest trip, I brought back several cans of local beer. And let me tell you, the extra effort in bringing it home made it made it much tastier!

Championship Day

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/1800 sec, ISO32
“White River Pedestrian Bridge” Indianapolis, 2022

It’s the big day today! Koa’s Blue Devils will compete for the the top prize at the DCI Championship Finals!

But first, I started the day with a nice run around the canal area of Indianapolis. The 60°F / 16°C morning was too nice to sleep through! After that, Mariko and I did a bit of sightseeing at the Indiana War Memorial and Museum, which had an amazing exhibit of all the wars that Indiana citizens had taken part in… from the Revolution up to present day. I really liked seeing the old uniforms and shoes that they used to wear.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/4.5, 1/2500 sec, ISO320
“Indiana War Memorial and Museum” Indianapolis, 2022

At the top of the building is a shrine. Very solemn and meaningful. Even though I am not from Indiana, I felt a sense of patriotism when standing in this room.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/4.5, 1/60 sec, ISO6400
“Shrine” Indianapolis, 2022

After sightseeing, we went for lunch, then some adult beverages at Metazoa Brewing Co. The beer was great, and it was fun to see so many dogs at this dog-friendly brewery. After that, we delivered some sushi rolls to Koa and the other Japanese kids who are in the Blue Devils. When they were in San Antonio, Mariko made bento and we dropped the food off for them. She knew that they would be craving Japanese food!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 28.9mm, f/3.2, 1/950 sec, ISO320
“Mezatoa Brewing Co.” Indianapolis, 2022

We went back to the hotel for a bit and then it was back to Lucas Oil Stadium for the finals competition. The Blue Devils were the favorite to win (I think all 22,000 attendees knew they would win), but the silver medal was up for grabs between The Boston Crusaders and The Blue Coats, who had tied in the semi-finals last night. Who would take the silver?

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 55mm, f/4, 1/160 sec, ISO1000
“Blue Devils” Indianapolis, 2022

And guess what? The two drum corps tied again, and they were both awarded silver medals! It was a crazy moment. But I think they were both happy. And then, The Blue Devils received the gold, to no one’s surprise. Even so, I was so nervous for them!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 55mm, f/4, 1/160 sec, ISO800
“Blue Devils” Indianapolis, 2022
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO400
“Breaking Ranks” Indianapolis, 2022

After the ceremony, the field was cleared and The Blue Devils performed their encore “Victory Run”. The kids had so much fun during the last-ever performance of Tempus Blue. And the friends and family in the stands went nuts too! It was really fun! For this performance, the musicians were allowed to wear GoPros so Koa used ours to record his marimba playing, and a multi-cam view was put together as well. Check the bottom of this post for both videos.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 55mm, f/4, 1/160 sec, ISO500
“Victory Run” Indianapolis, 2022

It was a fun night, and then end of a memorable summer for Koa. Until next year!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 34.3mm, f/3.6, 1/105 sec, ISO500
“Champion Photo” Indianapolis, 2022