Safari luck in Hawaii…Today’s flights to Maui cancelled…Luckily we made it to Maui yesterday…Love the new place! Here comes Hurricane Ana!

The clouds have begun to roll in as Hurricane Ana makes her way to the islands.  View from our lanai.

Thursday afternoon we arrived in Maui after a relatively painless 39-minute flight along with the usual two hours of waiting time at the airport in Honolulu. 

For once, we weren’t charged for excess fees for overweight baggage, although, we were assessed $120 for the four checked bags, two large, two small. For the first time in a long time, curbside check-in was available, allowing us to avoid the long lines of travelers trying to get out of Hawaii before the arrival of Hurricane Ana.

Last night, we heard that all flights to Maui are all being canceled started today. Had we not left Honolulu on Thursday, we’ve been stranded with no place to stay other than moving to a pricey hotel. Safari luck prevails. Now let’s see how it does when the storm hits tonight.

View of Maui taken during the 39-minute flight from Honolulu.

As soon as we picked up the rental car we were relieved to be on our way with the good directions the property owner provided for our new home over the next six weeks.

View from our lanai.

As we pulled out of the Enterprise lot we noticed a long line of traffic moving in and out of what appeared to be a Costco parking lot. The car was loaded with our luggage but how convenient it would be to shop for food and supplies.

We decided to change it and shop for bottled water, non-perishable foods, and a small number of perishable items (in the event the power doesn’t go out after all). An hour later we were shocked by the $604 we’d spent and challenged as to how we’d fit it all in the car.

Surely, we’ll be spending time by the pool as soon as the storm is over.

Somehow, with the utmost creativity, we managed to fit every last item, including huge bundles of toilet paper and paper towels, into the luggage jammed vehicle.

A pretty flower in the yard.

In no time at all we arrived and couldn’t have been more thrilled with the first-floor ocean view condo. Not only does it have virtually everything we could possibly need or want, but it’s also appealing, spotless, and exceedingly comfortable.

The grills at our disposal in the yard.  What a view while flipping a burger!

The thoughtful owners left a gift bag for us filled with macadamia nuts, a lovely bottle of white wine, chips, and cookies. What a pleasant surprise. We’ve been lucky with property owners in our travels, seldom having any type of issue often overjoyed with their kindness.

The grounds at the condo complex. We’ll take more photos soon.

This condo is roomy, and much-appreciated after having lived in the most recent tiny studio, hotel rooms, and cruise ship cabins. 

Our digital equipment was quickly set up with a good WiFi signal, each with our own plugin which was quite a novelty. The furniture is very comfortable.

Since July 31st each property in which we’ve stayed has been less than 200 square feet. We’veve eaten every meal out hoping that after the huge food purchase at Costco, we’d feel up to preparing dinner. 

Beach Bum BBQ & Grill where we dined last night.

After hauling everything inside, putting everything away, unpacking our luggage, and getting settled, we were too pooped to cook. Also, I’m still a bit under the weather with a recent virus.

Tom finally ordered a beer to celebrate our first night in Maui.

Dining out one more night was fine with us. We took off at 7:00 pm for Beach Bum’s BBQ & Grill for a great dinner, a mere two-minute drive from our condo. If we weren’t so tired, we could easily have walked. The food was great and worked well for my way of eating. Finally, we both felt as if we really were in  Hawaii, dining outdoors on a quiet evening in a more remote location.

My dinner, barbecue chicken, and ribs made without sauce but seasoned well. Tom helped me eat the ribs while I ate the dark meat of the chicken, bringing the chicken breast home in a doggy bag.

Today is a new day and we’ll enjoy chopping and dicing once again to make our favorite bread-free sandwiches and coleslaw, a dinner we both have missed. Plus, with a washer and dryer in the condo, I’m actually looking forward to our first load.

Tom’s dinner, pulled pork sandwich, fries, coleslaw, and cornbread. The bill for the dinner including one beer, tax, and tip was a total of $53 which we thought was reasonable.

With the news on constantly, we’re carefully watching for hurricane updates. As soon as we know something, we’ll add a note here to keep our readers well informed.

Stay tuned.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, October 17, 2013:

As our days at Camp Olonana came to a close, we attended a dinner in the bush, presented by our hosts. Again, a fabulous evening. For details of that day, please click here.

Hurricane Ana on its way to Hawaiian Island…Lava, hurricane…Oh, my!…Final expenses for Honolulu! One year ago photo with Chief Richard…

Sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

Today, we’re on our way to the island of Maui where we’ll spend six weeks in a first-floor condo on the beach.  With more space than we’ll have had since July 31st when we lived in Madeira, Portugal in a three-bedroom house. With closer proximity to the sea than in Honolulu, we’re excited to move on.

We’re grateful our flight is today as opposed to Friday or Saturday when Hurricane Ana is on her way to the Hawaii Island expected to reach landfall over the weekend.

Another evening’s sunset over the beach.

Although the news is reporting that the Big Island will be hit first, the other islands including Maui is in her path. Between the lava flowing to the neighborhood of the houses we rented on the Big Island and this hurricane, the adventure has picked up the pace.

Who knows what will transpire over the next several days?  With Hawaiian residents “batten down the hatches” in preparation for the hurricane, our plan is to pick up the rental car at the airport, drop off our luggage at the condo, and head directly to the grocery store.  Will it already be low on food when area residents are preparing for the hurricane?

The dilemma is, do we buy lots of food to see us through or a small amount?  If the power goes out, we’d lose the perishable food. After careful consideration, we’ve decided to be optimistic and purchase enough groceries to last for a few weeks, much of which will be non-perishable which we’ll use in six weeks in any case.

Sunset Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii.

We don’t eat processed foods. Once we’re situated in a vacation home doing our own cooking we usually don’t have to be concerned about keeping non-perishable foods on hand in case of an emergency. 

We discussed the possibility of a power outage in Maui and came up with the following items for meals which can be prepared without power. When we shop today, we’ll be purchasing these:

1. Canned ham (small sizes) with canned veggies
2. Canned tuna with celery, onions, and mayo (we’ll purchase several small jars of mayo since it won’t keep without refrigeration once opened) and canned veggies
3.  Herring in a jar with canned veggies
4.  Nuts and salmon, beef and turkey jerky
5.  Bottled water

We had all of these sunset photos in Oahu accumulating, deciding to share them on our last day on this island.

We’ll purchase enough of the above to get us through two weeks without power. At this point, we’re not worried. We continue to watch news updates on the progression of Hurricane Ana.

We aren’t thinking beyond two weeks without power. Of course, if the power is out, the WiFi won’t work and we won’t be able to post. 

Cloudy evening sunset Waikiki Beach.

If you don’t see a new post for Saturday, Sunday, or Monday one can assume that we’re unable to post. Please keep checking back. As soon as the power and WiFi are working again, we’ll immediately post an update with our hurricane experiences and photos. 

Our three camera batteries will be fully charged, easily lasting for a week or more. And yes, if the hurricane hits, we’ll be taking many photos. If it doesn’t make landfall,  we’ll still be taking many photos in our new location, the beautiful island of Maui.

The sky looked as if lights were turned on.

Yesterday, we did the laundry and packed, leaving out clothing and toiletries for the morning. At 10:30 am, we’ll grab a taxi to head to the airport. We’ve weighed all of our bags and they comply with the maximum 50-pound weight. We’ll see how that goes.

Of course, this sky was more unreal in person.

As for our final Honolulu expenses, here are the total expenses:

Vacation rental:  $2,137.00
Airfare to Maui:       218.58
Taxi fares:                55.00
Tours:                    165.74
Laundry:                   19.74
Meals & Groceries     598.99 

Total:                $3,195.06

Waikiki Beach on a cloudy evening.

The average cost per day (11 days) was $290.46. When looking at these numbers it’s important to consider the reasons why our cost per day may be less than the average tourist visiting Hawaii:

1.  Low airfare – We’ve only included our cost to fly from Oahu to Maui since we arrived by cruise ship.  Most tourists would be flying in and out from much further away increasing airfare costs considerably.
2.  Low taxi fares – We only dined in restaurants we could reach on foot and explored the general area.
3.  Low sightseeing costs – With the upcoming family reunion in December, we chose to keep our costs to a minimum.
4.  Meals and groceries – Here again, with a goal of eating in restaurants that work for my way of eating. When we found one, particularly, Cheeseburger in Paradise, we stuck with it for over half of our dinners when they have the best Cobb Salad and bacon cheeseburgers on the planet which we each enjoyed. Also, we only eat one meal a day and don’t order appetizers, beverages, or desserts with our meals, keeping the cost as much as 50% less. If a couple were to eat three meals a day, with beverages and an occasional appetizer of desserts, they’d easily spent a minimum of $150 a day, dining in the most economical restaurants.

Although the sun wasn’t visible its impact on the clouds was breathtaking.

We’d estimate that the average couple would spend no less than $7,000 for 11 nights in Honolulu (depending on their selected hotel), including extra airfare, tours, shopping, and dining expenses.  A Hawaiian vacation/holiday is definitely expensive.

Washington Place, the Governor of Hawaii’s residence.  For details, please click here.

In no way did our budget impede the quality of the experience for us. Other than being sick for four days (during which time we continued to go out for dinner each night), we’ve had an excellent time in Oahu, easily anticipating our return in May to be equally pleasurable.

Iolani Palace, the only palace now a part of the United States.  Click here for details.

Look for us tomorrow with Maui photos, the results of our first trip to the grocery store, our new accommodations, and of course, updates on the hurricane.

                                                 Photo from one year ago today, October 16, 2013:

We were inside one of the mud huts in Chief Richard’s Maasai village. It was really hot that day.  We were wearing our BugsAway clothing when the mosquitoes and flies were heavy in the village with the abundance of livestock. For details on the peculiar diet of these healthy people and more information about their lifestyle, please click here.

Pearl Harbor presented in movies and video over the years…Today’s post is #800!…One year ago, a mating lion…

Gun turrets aboard the USS Missouri.

Tom was moved by the reverence, respect and attention to detail presented at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. 

This is the armor piercing shell weighing over one ton.  To the right, is two of three packs of gunpowder wrapped in silk to avoid sparks.

Gun turrets.

Standing atop the memorial of the sunken battleship USS Arizona, the final resting place for many of the 1177 crewmen killed on December 7, 1941 when their ship was bombed by Japanese Naval Forces.

The Captain’s dining hall aboard the USS Missouri.

Captain’s dining hall seating area.

In all, the Japanese attack killed a total of 2390 people; 1990 sailors, 233 soldiers and airmen, 109 marines and 49 civilians.  Of the eight battleships in the harbor, five were sunk.  In all, 21 vessels were sunk or heavily damaged.

Shells to be shot from smaller gun turrets.
Officer’s mess hall.

After the attack, the Navy undertook a massive salvage operation and all but three vessels were returned to service; the USS Arizona, the USS Oklahoma and the USS Utah. The attackers destroyed 164 aircraft , damaging 159.

Junior officer’s sleeping quarters.
Junior officer’s lounge.

The Japanese Navy lost 55 airmen and 29 planes.  Of the five midget two-man submarines launched, four were lost and one was captured which was America’s first prisoner of war.

Junior officer’s bunks.
Officer’s mess hall.

Millions of people from all over the world come to the majestic setting to see the location where World War II  began for the United States.  It is currently the number one visitor destination in Hawaii.

Junior officer’s mess hall.
Vegetable prep area.

Having an opportunity to board “Mighty Mo,” the USS Missouri, only added to the significance and depth of his experience.  Of course, it was important that visitors take extra precautions to avoid “knee knockers” and “head bangers” when most visitors have no experience or knowledge in boarding a battleship with its many ladders and small spaces.  Tom exited unscathed.

Kitchen baked goods area.
Marine’s are on board the USS Missouri as ship’s security.  These are their sleeping quarters.

As we discussed his experience, it came to mind that there has been movies, videos, and even songs, attributed to the memory of Pearl Harbor and its tragic loss of life.  Today, we share some of those here with the following video links and a short description:

Mail room.
Executive officer bedroom.

For those World War II aficionados, you may enjoy clicking on the above links.  On YouTube some of theses movies are offered in their entirety by simply typing in  the name of the movies on their site.

Executive Officer lounge area.
View from the USS Missouri’s bridge to the memorial.

Thanks to all of our readers for sharing this powerful experience with Tom.  Although, I wasn’t in attendance on the tour, I feel the significance and powerful message portrayed in this magnificent memorial along with him as we share these details with you.

Various US military flags.
View of the port side of the USS Missouri.

Tomorrow, is our flight from Oahu to Maui at 12:45 with Hawaiian Air.  The flight time is only 39 minutes.  We’re going to love that!

The monument at the Punchbowl, which is the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

The grounds of National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific where the memorial for Hawaiian born Astronaut,  Ellison Onizuka, is located, who was killed on the Challenger in 1986.

We’ll end on a happy note with this fabulous World War II Christmas music video by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, “Christmas Without You.”

Statue of the classic Tim magazine shot of a nurse and sailor kissing at the end of
World War II.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 15, 2013:

Contented male lion during a short break in the mating ritual.  For more photo and details, please click here.

Pearl Harbor from Tom’s perspective…He took great photos!…A year ago…The tail end of the Great Migration…

USS Missouri as taken from the launch on the way to World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

After a fitful night of coughing, at 6:00 am yesterday morning, I decided I was unable to join Tom in the tour of Pearl Harbor. Unable to recover the portion of the fee for my attendance, I resigned myself that taking care of my health and avoiding getting others sick was more important than $89.

This is the remains of Gun Turret #3 above the water of the sunken memorial of the USS Arizona.

Disappointed, I awoke Tom in plenty of time for him to get out the door by 6:40 am for his 6:55 pick up next door at the Waikiki Aston Hotel, a less than five-minute walk from our hotel. He loaded up the cloth bag we purchase in Kenya, with the newer camera and an extra battery, his binoculars, and sunglasses.

Memorial plaque to the shipmates of the USS Arizona.

Tom has had little interest in taking photos these past few years. When he’s had to do it, he has, as in an excellent job at Pearl harbor, taking over 100 photos many of which we’ll share over the next few days.

While on the National Monument, from the opposite side, including memorials/markings for other ships that were moored during the attacks. The USS Missouri is at a distance.

With over 1.5 million websites with historical data dedicated to the tragic loss of life at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, we’ve gleaned a few facts to share with our readers. If you’re seeking additional information, if you’ll type “Pearl Harbor” into any search engine, you could easily spend years reading the most pertinent information.

From the launch, on the way to the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

To avoid redundancy, today we’re sharing information from from this specific link. We’ve used quotation marks to indicate their content which includes two photos. (The remaining photos presented both today and tomorrow in our posts, were taken by Tom on Monday’s tour of the historic site).

Inside the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument above the sunken USS Arizona, where visitors gathered to read the memorials and take photos.
“5 Facts About Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona

At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time (12:55 p.m. EST) on December 7, 1941, Japanese fighter planes attacked the U.S. Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, launching one of the deadliest attacks in American history. The assault, which lasted less than two hours, claimed the lives of more than 2,500 people, wounded 1,000 more, and damaged or destroyed 18 American ships and nearly 300 airplanes. Almost half of the casualties at Pearl Harbor occurred on the naval battleship USS Arizona, which was hit four times by Japanese bombers. As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of this “date which will live in infamy,” as President Franklin D. Roosevelt described it on December 8, 1941, explore five little-known facts about the USS Arizona and the attack that plunged America into war.

1. Twenty-three sets of brothers died aboard the USS Arizona.
There were 37 confirmed pairs or trios of brothers assigned to the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941. Of these 77 men, 62 were killed, and 23 sets of brothers died. Only one full set of brothers, Kenneth and Russell Warriner, survived the attack; Kenneth was away at flight school in San Diego on that day and Russell was badly wounded but recovered. Both members of the ship’s only father-and-son pair, Thomas Augusta Free and his son William Thomas Free were killed in action.
Though family members often served on the same ship before World War II, U.S. officials attempted to discourage the practice after Pearl Harbor. However, no official regulations were established, and by the end of the war hundreds of brothers had fought—and died¬—together. The five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, Iowa, for instance, jointly enlisted after learning that a friend, Bill Ball, had died aboard the USS Arizona; Their only condition upon enlistment was that they be assigned to the same ship. In November 1942, all five siblings were killed in action when their light cruiser, the USS Juneau, was sunk during the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
2. The USS Arizona’s entire band was lost in the attack.
Almost half of the casualties at Pearl Harbor occurred on the naval battleship USS Arizona, which was hit four times by Japanese bombers and eventually sank. Among the 1,177 crewmen killed were all 21 members of the Arizona’s band, known as U.S. Navy Band Unit (NBU) 22. Most of its members were up on deck preparing to play music for the daily flag-raising ceremony when the attack began. They instantly moved to man their battle positions beneath the ship’s gun turret. At no other time in American history has an entire military band died in action.
The night before the attack, NBU 22 had attended the latest round of the annual “Battle of Music” competition between military bands from U.S. ships based at Pearl Harbor. Contrary to some reports, NBU 22 did not perform, having already qualified for the finals set to be held on December 20, 1941. Following the assault, the unit was unanimously declared the winner of that year’s contest, and the award was permanently renamed the USS Arizona Band Trophy.
3. Fuel continues to leak from the USS Arizona’s wreckage.
On December 6, 1941, the USS Arizona took on a full load of fuel—nearly 1.5 million gallons—in preparation for its scheduled trip to the mainland later that month. The next day, much of it fed the explosion and subsequent fires that destroyed the ship following its attack by Japanese bombers. However, despite the raging fire and ravages of time, some 500,000 gallons are still slowly seeping out of the ship’s submerged wreckage: Nearly 70 years after its demise, the USS Arizona continues to spill up to 9 quarts of oil into the harbor each day. In the mid-1990s, environmental concerns led the National Park Service to commission a series of site studies to determine the long-term effects of the oil leakage.
Some scientists have warned of a possible “catastrophic” eruption of oil from the wreckage, which they believe would cause extensive damage to the Hawaiian shoreline and disrupt U.S. naval functions in the area. The NPS and other governmental agencies continue to monitor the deterioration of the wreck site but are reluctant to perform extensive repairs or modifications due to the Arizona’s role as a “war grave.” In fact, the oil that often coats the surface of the water surrounding the ship has added an emotional gravity for many who visit the memorial and is sometimes referred to as the “tears of the Arizona,” or “black tears.”
4. Some former crewmembers have chosen the USS Arizona as their final resting place.
The bonds between the crewmembers of the USS Arizona have lasted far beyond the ship’s loss on December 7, 1941. Since 1982, the U.S. Navy has allowed survivors of the USS Arizona to be interred in the ship’s wreckage upon their deaths. Following a full military funeral at the Arizona memorial, the cremated remains are placed in an urn and then deposited by divers beneath one of the Arizona’s gun turrets. To date, more than 30 Arizona crewmen who survived Pearl Harbor have chosen the ship as their final resting place. Crewmembers who served on the ship prior to the attack may have their ashes scattered above the wreck site, and those who served on other vessels stationed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, may have their ashes scattered above their former ships. As of November 2011, only 18 of the 355 crewmen who survived the bombing of the USS Arizona are known to be alive.

5. A memorial was built at the USS Arizona site, thanks in part to Elvis Presley.

After the USS Arizona sank, its superstructure and main armament were salvaged and reused to support the war effort, leaving its hull, two gun turrets and the remains of more than 1,000 crewmen submerged in less than 40 feet of water. In 1949 the Pacific War Memorial Commission was established to create a permanent tribute to those who had lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor, but it wasn’t until 1958 that President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation to create a national memorial. The funds to build it came from both the public sector and private donors, including one unlikely source. In March 1961, entertainer Elvis Presley, who had recently finished a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, performed a benefit concert at Pearl Harbor’s Block Arena that raised over $50,000—more than 10 percent of the USS Arizona Memorial’s final cost. The monument was officially dedicated on May 30, 1962, and attracts more than 1 million visitors each year.”
This is the entrance and exit to the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, closed off while tourists were inside the building. (Good photo, Tom!)

Tom explained the details of the tour with me which consisted of:
1.  An 90 minute period to tour on his own to see the vast displays on the USS Arizona Memorial located at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, National Park Service

Gangways the visitors walked to get to and from the USS Missouri.

2.  Next, he was directed to another building where a theater was located to see a documentary as to the history of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Three navy sailors aboard the launch assisted in transporting the tourists to and from USS Arizona.

3.  After the movie, the tourists exited to a launch waiting to transport tourists to the site of the sunken USS Arizona. No photos were allowed from exiting the launch until entering the memorial in order to expedite the flow of tourists. Once inside the memorial, there were no restrictions on photos.

Oil continues to leak from the USS Arizona, 73 years later. See item #3 for details on the leak in the above “5 Facts About Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona.”

4.  Returning to the launch, after a five-minute boat ride they were back at World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

Tom walked the grounds and spotted this anti-aircraft platform.

5.  Tourists were allowed to freely roam the grounds to see other buildings, the Bowfin submarine, visit the shops and visitors centers. With time at a premium, the tour of the Bowfin wasn’t included.

Tom took this photo from the deck of the USS Missouri illustrating the USS Arizona memorial.

At this point, they returned to the bus for the 15-minute ride to the battleship USS Missouri. No photos were allowed from the bus upon entering the naval base until exiting the bus. They boarded the ship with the option of joining a tour (every 10 minutes) or exploring on a self-tour. Tom explained how he was able to imagine how life is lived in the tight quarters of a battleship.

Standing on the shore at the Pacific Historic Parks, Tom took this photo of the Bowfin submarine.

Tomorrow, we’ll share photos and videos of the USS Missouri and how it has been used over the years in movies, videos, and promotions.

Please check back tomorrow for Tom’s remaining photos of his Pearl Harbor tour.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, October 14, 2013:

Anderson, our safari guide, drove us a long way to Tanzania to see the tail end of the Great Migration, our original intent in going to the Maasai Mara in Kenya. When we’d missed the migration of over two million wildebeest by over a week, this day trip was our only alternative. Once we arrived, the flies were so bad after the dung millions of wildebeest littered the plains, we weren’t disappointed we missed the migration. The flies we flying in our mouths, noses, and eyes. For details of the wild ride to Tanzania, please click here.

Exciting photos!…Under the otherwise perfect weather in Hawaii…A year ago photo of a lion is a pecular spot…

We waited for this sailboat to cross this sunset in Waikiki Beach before taking this shot.

It’s frustrating to be sick. We both started coughing a few days ago. With the window AC blowing non-stop in this studio condo in Waikiki, being unsure how often the filter is cleaned, it was inevitable a cold or cough could kick in.

View from our lanai.

In reading this article, it’s easy to imagine how we both occasionally fall prey to colds, coughs, respiratory infections, and intestinal disorders. Since leaving Madeira, Portugal two and a half months ago, we’ve been on the move in close proximity with others, at times in unsanitary conditions.

With the arrival of the trade winds, the surf picked up.

Although we frequently wash our hands and run from anyone coughing or sneezing, we still fall prey to illness every six months or so. The last time we were sick was in Morocco from March 1 to May 15, 2014, during which time Tom was ill with a respiratory virus and I became ill with both a respiratory virus and an intestinal virus, one month apart.

Then, the surf picked up.

We were exposed to a hotbed of germs in Morocco when we walked through the souk most days, dining out two or three times per week. I got the intestinal bug from dining in a restaurant the first day we arrived, foolishly eating a seafood salad in a restaurant. I knew better. Lesson learned, no raw veggies or seafood in many countries.

Vendors selling their locally inspired wares along Kalakaua Avenue at night in Waikiki.

We aren’t certain that we picked up this recent virus from the air conditioning or if when out and about in crowds and dining out. Dining out every night adds to the risk of picking up germs and getting sick.

We didn’t know whether to laugh or be sad when we saw this cute guinea pig holding this Aloha sign as we walked along Kalakaua Avenue at night. Tom dropped a $1 in the vendor’s bucket. What a way to make a living!

Fortunately, Tom has quickly recovered, left with an occasional bout of horrible sounding coughing. Often, I’ll end up with a sinus infection after a virus and a lasting cough, that may continue for weeks. My voice sounds like Minnie Mouse and the bouts of dry coughing leave me exhausted.

A fountain display at the beach.

Last night, I decided to go out to dinner, although Tom offered to get carryout from our favorite restaurant.  Needing to get out in an effort to try to feel better, I wanted to see how I’ll do walking around in preparation for tomorrow’s Pearl Harbor tour.

Plumerias are used in the making of leis.

On Sunday as I prepared today’s post, I’m still unsure if I’ll be able to join him for the tour at 6:55 am. I’m planning on it as long as I have no fever. After four days I’m no longer contagious.

Not Tom’s burger. At Cheeseburger in Paradise, there’s this $30 burger on the menu which is free if eaten in its entirety within 20 minutes. Last night, a guy behind us ordered this but was unable to eat it in the designated time. The manager told us that approximately 20 diners each week try to eat it but usually only one is successful.

If I’m not well enough to go, Tom will go without me, taking the old smaller camera with him. I’ll be disappointed if I can’t go on the tour but, if I’ve had a good night’s sleep I may be feeling well enough to go.

Wrapping up yet another exquisite sunset on the beach.

It was two years ago this month on October 27, 2012, that we had Tom’s retirement party. We were four days away from leaving Minnesota to begin our journey, spending two months in Scottsdale, Arizona finishing up our legal, accounting, and digital requirements in order to leave the US.

It was during that retirement party that I struggled to talk to our family and friends while then too I’d lost my voice from a similar virus, again sounding like Minnie Mouse. Here’s the link to the day of Tom’s retirement party in 2012.

Hopefully, in the next few days, we’ll both be on the mend and ready to tackle the next leg of our travels. Tomorrow, we’ll be back with photos of Pearl Harbor.  

Please stay tuned.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, October 13, 2013:

In the Maasai Mara, Lions seldom climb trees. Anderson, our guide, spotted this lion sleeping n a tree with his keen eye and binoculars. Driving over rough terrain, we were able to get close enough to get several great shots. To see more, please click here.

Five days until we’re off to Maui…Two days until Pearl Harbor tour…Shopping online…A year ago…Close up Lion photos…

We walk along the busy streets of Waikiki seeking shade from time to time.

We’re excited about moving to Maui, more than we anticipated. Without a car in Honolulu, unable to cook meals with no nearby grocery store and longing for more space to maneuver, we’re anticipating the six weeks in Maui with much enthusiasm.

This is the cutest store!  They custom make flip flops while the customer waits.

As we mentioned in several past posts, it will have been 77 days that we haven’t cooked a single meal.  Honestly, I’m chomping at the bit for some home cooking. Tom is also looking forward to our favorite meals, although he’ll be joining me in my usual restrictive diet. 

The Pualeilani Atrium Shops at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort.

We’ve learned to make fabulous dinners and the planning, grocery shopping and even putting the food away, are tasks that we both enjoy. Learning a new grocery store is not difficult. Usually, within a week or two, we’ll breeze through with ease finding all the items on our list.

Beautiful gardens and fountains at the Hyatt mall.

We’re especially intrigued by food prices in Hawaii wondering if, in fact, they’ll be as high as others have reported. Last night, we purchased a four-pack of toilet paper at a local ABC convenience store for $2.86 which didn’t seem higher than we often pay. Of course, once we shop in Maui next Thursday or Friday, we’ll certainly share the prices we discover. 

Entrance to the King’s Village Shopping Center in Waikiki.

Often, we’ve heard others say they’d love to live in Hawaii wondering if it’s possible with the higher cost of living. After all, it is rated with the most expensive cost of living than any other state in the US. We shall see how that rolls out for us over the next several months.

The clock tower at the King’s Village Shopping Center. Once inside this boutique type mall, we walked along with an upper-level hearing someone calling out to us. It was a couple we’d met on the slot pull on the most recent cruise, dining in a sidewalk café in the mall. We sat with them for quite a while engaged in an interesting conversation.

On Monday morning at 6:55 am, we’re scheduled to be picked up outside the Aston Waikiki for the seven-hour Pearl Harbor tour. Tom’s been chomping at the bit for the opportunity to see this historic site. 

Pearl Harbor, not unlike Normandy, with its powerful and emotional significance, no doubt will be meaningful for both of us, taking photos every step of the way which we’ll share the photos the next day or at the latest on Wednesday.

We would have tried this scale if we hadn’t used all of our change doing laundry which, by the way, was only $7 for two loads in the coin-operated laundry in the hotel as opposed to $28 for the same amount in Paris and London.

As for my shopping online…oh, it would be nice if I could walk into a shop and find things that fit me, that were practical, durable, and cool in hot climates, I’d be thrilled. But, it’s not the case. Plus, the thought of browsing through numerous stores at the largest mall in Honolulu, the Ala Moana Mall, looking for these specific items is pointless. 

This was my Cobb salad at our new favorite restaurant, Cheeseburger Paradise in Waikiki. We love this very busy place serving over 1400 guests per day, planning to return again tonight. It’s imperative to arrive by 6 pm to ensure getting a table. I ordered extra avocado for $2 and loved the Blue Cheese dressing which they assured me was gluten, sugar, and starch free.

I prefer tee shirts that are made with 5% spandex for durability (they don’t get stretched out) that are somewhat fitted. Wearing more fitted tees appears more dressed up (to me) than a typical baggy tee shirt. This way if I add a skirt, a pair of jeans, or longer shorts, I feel acceptable in public.

Currently, I own only one pair of shorts which just won’t cut it for a long-term stay in Hawaii. I’d intended to “cut off” two of the last three pairs of jeans I ordered, received in a box of supplies in Madeira five months ago.  But, having worn those three pairs of jeans so often these past several months, I realized that I didn’t want to reduce my inventory down to one pair of jeans.

Tom was smiling when he read the menu with multiple options appealing to him. There were 16 TV screens in the sports bar area of Cheeseburger Paradise.  I offered to sit where he was sitting so he could watch the screen but if it’s not the Minnesota Vikings he has no interest.

Yesterday, I placed an order for six tee shirts and two pairs of 11″ long shorts also with 5% spandex for comfort from two of my favorite online stores, knowing their sizes will fit me without trying them on. 

With free shipping, I had them sent to our mailing service, where they’ll box them up and ship them and a few other supplies to a local UPS store in Maui that I noticed on google maps is not far from our condo. 

Tom ordered a Reuben Sandwich on white rye with onion rings.

Now, that I know these items will be on their way to Maui within a few weeks, I’ll throw away the old worn-out tee shirts that these new items will replace. “Buy new, throw away old.” No room in our luggage for added weight. 

In an effort to save on spending in Honolulu we’d decided to avoid the high cost of taxis and walk everywhere.  There are numerous buses and trolleys that run along the boulevard but, with endless restaurants and points of interest in Waikiki Beach, we’ve been content traveling on foot.

Hibiscus in the mall.

When we return to Oahu for nine days at the end of May, we’ll stay in Honolulu to have an opportunity to explore that end of the city and to be near the pier for the upcoming cruise to Sydney, Australia on May 24th. At this point, that seems long away. In no time, it will be here. 

Time flies when we’re having fun.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, October 11, 2013:

This male lion was waiting for a meal of baby warthogs which he hoped the nearby female lion would capture from a nearby hole where their mother placed them when she spotted the lions. For more details on this story and many more of our close up lion photos, please click here.

Honolulu and Waikiki Beach is a photographer’s dream…Photo of our tent, one year ago…

Last night’s sunset at 6:15 pm.

I’ll never profess to be an experienced photographer. After less than two years of passionately taking photos, I still have a lot to learn. Perhaps, in another two years, I’ll be able to consider myself in a class of an experienced amateur photographer. 

The Waikiki Trolley.

For now, I’m reveling in the pure joy of capturing moments as we see them, Tom with his keen eye for the perfect scene, sunset or moon, and me, with my curiosity for the less common scenes. Together, we find ourselves constantly holding a camera when out and about, scanning our surroundings for the next shot.

A fountain and surfer statue at Waikiki Beach.

Based on our current equipment and my inability to hold a heavy SLR camera, we make do with the camera we recently purchased, an inexpensive Canon SX50 HS. As mentioned in an earlier post, if this camera lasts for two years, we’ll be thrilled. By that time, newer technology will aid my accumulated skills.

Another surfer statue at the beach.

Some of our distant photos aren’t as clear as we’d like. Although at times, we choose to share them for their content, as opposed to their acuity. I can’t imagine hauling a tripod and multiple lenses around the world with us. The weight restrictions are a constant source of concern.

A sign describing the beaches at Waikiki.

Each night on our way to dinner, we head out early to ensure we have a chance to capture the sunset in Waikiki from the perfect location across the street from our condo-hotel. Each night is different.

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel.  Long BT (before Tom) I stayed at this hotel on a few occasions.  Now, the rooms start at over $400 a night

Other than a daily walk in the area and again going out at 5:30 for the evening, we’ve tended to stay inside the little condo in air-conditioned comfort. Each sunny day we head up to the 10th-floor veranda where there are chaise lounges for a quick 40-minute dose of Vitamin D and a little tanning.

The breakwaters at Waikiki to protect the bathers.

There’s a pool on the property but, it’s entirely shaded by trees making it useless for our occasional sun tanning. What do we do for the remainder of our time? We do what others do in their homes; laundry, cleaning up, checking Facebook and our email, banking, and financial tasks, talking and laughing. Tom often listens to his favorite radio podcast, Garage Logic, using his earpieces while I listen to the news in the background.

The surf at the breakwater should be increasing with the upcoming trade winds.

Also, we spend considerable time each day taking and preparing our photos and stories which easily fill a morning or afternoon. Preferably, the next day’s post is completed by late afternoon, leaving our evenings free to go to dinner and later relax watching a movie or favorite TV show. 

Tom thought that Spam was a popular item in Hawaii which was confirmed by this Spam sandwiches to go display at an ABC store, of which there is one at almost every block.

In many ways, it’s a simple life when one is free of “stuff,” household maintenance, and social obligations. We do miss the social interactions but after two fabulously social cruises, we’re good for a while. 

On the pier in Waikiki Beach.

In six days, we’ll leave Honolulu, heading to Maui for a six-week stay in a condo with more space where we’ll feel more comfortable. Our 40-minute flight is booked and we’ve checked our baggage restrictions consisting of a maximum of 50 pounds per bag at $35 per bag. We’ll use our travel scale to get this right hopefully, avoiding excess baggage fees.

Have a wonderful weekend, whatever you may do. We plan to.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, October 10, 2013:

This was the interior of our tent at Sanctuary Retreat’s Camp Olonana in the Masai Mara where we went on safari. It was quite a tent with AC, indoor plumbing, and electrical. The WiFi didn’t work in the tent requiring us to work in the lobby of the main building. We were so happy to be there, we didn’t mind a bit. Plus, they turned off the electrical power during the day to save on power. But, they left ours on to recharge our equipment. For details of that post with more photos of the camp, please click here.

The peculiar Hawaiian Banyan tree…The magic of coconut oil…One year ago…An injured Hippo…

Tom, standing by only a portion of the branches that grow downward from the Banyan Tree.

Over the past few days, it has been hot, humid, and challenging spending time outdoors in Honolulu during the daylight hours. Everyone is talking about the trade winds arriving soon which hopefully will cool it off. As I write this, it’s 90F, 32C, with the weather report stating it feels as if it’s 93F, 34C.

The first Banyan Tree we discovered on a walk.

This is far from the hottest climate, we’ve experienced in our travels. Dubai, UAE was the hottest and most unbearable when we visited for 13 nights in May 2013. Although Dubai is a dry desert climate, 105F, 40C was difficult to endure.

This Banyan tree either fell victim to graffiti or is dated for some unknown reason.

Hawaii is known for its year-round tropical climate that drives many retirees and vacationers to visit for both short and extended periods. Add the beauty of the volcanic created scenery, exquisite vegetation, clear blue waters, and friendly people results in Hawaii being one of the most desired places to visit in the world.

Unusual vines fall from the tree and attach themselves building a new root system.

Some have criticized Honolulu for its hustle and bustle lifestyle, the constant stream of tourists, and high prices.  For us, we’re enjoying every moment. Much to our surprise, we’ve run into three couples we’d met on the cruise as we wandered about the streets of Waikiki, including one couple from Australia while we investigated a shopping mall off a side street. What a coincidence!

The vines before attaching to the ground.

We’ve had nothing but great dining experiences, spending an average of $57 per day including the purchase of nuts and a new plastic jar of coconut oil from a GNC store (for our teeth). Near the end of the most recent cruise, I dropped and broke a glass bottle of oil in the bathroom in our cabin. Luckily, the oil was solid due to the cool temperature in the cabin, making cleanup easier which I did myself, rather than ask the cabin steward.

Impressive tree.

In each country we’ve visited we’ve searched for organic, extra virgin coconut oil, hard to find in many locations. The 16 oz. weight prevents us from stocking up. In Hawaii, we’ll have no trouble finding it when there are GNC stores on each island which we stumbled upon yesterday. We continue to use coconut oil for keeping our mouths and teeth clean reducing tarter and bacteria. Here’s a video from Dr. Bruce Fife regarding the use of coconut oil that may inspire others to try it.

An exquisite simple yellow Hibiscus.

Tom and I have used coconut oil since the onset of our travels and during both recent cruises never becoming ill aboard ship. (We’d contracted the “cruise cough” on three past cruises). Whether it was the coconut oil or the obsessive hand washing that benefitted us, we’ll never know for sure. Perhaps, the combination of the two added another layer of protection. Coconut palms are grown in all eight of the Hawaiian islands as explained in this article

The ever-popular common Hibiscus in beautiful shades of orange and pink.

Speaking of vegetation, a few days ago while on a walk on the grounds outside the Honolulu Zoo (we don’t visit zoos often, preferring animals in the wild) which is next door to our hotel, we were in awe of one of the most interesting trees we’ve ever seen, the Banyan Tree as shown in today’s photos. Many tourists make a special trip to this area to see these unbelievable trees. Please click here for information on the Banyan Tree and its origins.

After looking at hundreds of flower photos online, we’ve yet to find the name of these flowers.

Needless to say, vegetation in the Hawaiian Islands is like none other we’ve seen anywhere in the world. As it cools off over the next several days due to the trade winds, we’ll further explore in hopes of finding more interesting and unusual vegetation on the island of Oahu.

Nonflowering plants may be colorful in Hawaii.

The flower growing seasons of spring and summer in Hawaii have long since passed, although we continue to find many common beautiful flowers, as we walk the busy streets in Waikiki as shown in our photos. 

We’ll be back tomorrow with many more new photos we’re anxious to share with our readers. Please stay tuned.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, October 9, 2013:

This hippo we spotted appeared to have an injury on her left shoulder. For details from that date, please click here.

Video and photo of an breathtaking sky over Hawaii…And a year ago sky in Kenya…

This sky captured our attention for a short period
before darkness fell. 
There are times that nature presents us with such profound beauty that it’s difficult to take our eyes away. The above video we took on Friday evening from the balcony on the ship was exactly one of those situations. 
Taken aboard the ship, this intrigued us when the long narrow line along the horizon added considerable appeal to the scene.
I was inside the cabin struggling to upload a photo for the next day’s post while Tom was on “sunset watch” on the veranda in our cabin. As soon as he said, “Hurry, bring the camera. We’ve got to do a video!” I jumped up dashing outside with the camera.
The protrusion in the upper left is the ship’s bridge which was impossible to avoid in taking this shot to illustrate the beautiful coloration.

Gasping in wonder as to this exquisite sky, I couldn’t get the video going fast enough. It was so beautiful that I had trouble speaking into the microphone on the camera. I apologize for the choppy dialogue.

The reflection of the sun peeking through the clouds created quite the scene.

As passionate observers of nature, we’ve found that each area of the world that we’ve visited thus far, has its own unique signature in the sky, whether it’s a sunrise, a sunset, a full moon and a cloudy day, or night. We love it all.

We refer to these scenes with holes through the cloud with the sun filtering through as “the eyes of God.”
Months ago in Madeira, we were enthralled with the clouds and fog rolling in from the sea creating a mysterious ambiance. In early 2013, we were captivated by the sunset and moonlight in Belize and later over the Indian Ocean in Kenya. 

Today, we’re sharing more new sunset photos in Hawaii that we were unable to post while on the ship.  With all the horrible news throughout the world, it’s a welcome relief to revel in nature’s boundless beauty.

We hope many of our readers were able to see last night’s lunar eclipse.
                                            Photo from one year ago today, October 8, 2013:
Ironically, it was a year today, that we took this photo at dusk in the Masai Mara while in Kenya on safari.  Appropriately befitting today’s story and photos.  For details from that date, please click here.

Links for tonight’s times for lunar eclipse. Waikiki, a busy place…Dining out…Not as pricey as we thought…A year ago…a favorite safari photo…

Please click here for worldwide times of upcoming lunar eclipse.

Sunday night’s waning sun on a overcast evening; a sailboat and a glimpse of the sun in the horizon.

We took off on foot to find a restaurant for our first dinner out in Waikiki. After checking Trip Advisor, we gave up trying for top rated restaurants, many of which required a cab ride.

Waikiki Beach on a sunny day.

With many popular establishments within walking distance, we decided to wing it for this short period in Waikiki when preferring to walk as opposed to taking taxis. Why pay an extra $25 a night for a round trip taxi fare when many good restaurants are nearby?

The clouds rolled in quickly for a stormy night.

After an amazing dinner on Sunday night in a popular hotel’s restaurant, Kuhio Beach Grill, we look forward to trying it another night. Each evening, this restaurant, located in the Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, has a varying buffet theme for $29.95 on Monday through Thursday and for $37.95 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with a 20% discount for early birds between 5 and 6 pm.

We had no expectations of good food in Waikiki but the experience at Kuhio Beach Grill gave us hope, especially when the chef visited our table to discuss my dietary concerns. He made a fabulous dinner salad with grilled chicken, avocado, and veggies, adding freshly made fresh blue cheese dressing. We were impressed, to say the least.

Although at quite a distance, it was fun to see flamingos.

Tom, not a fan of salads and various side dishes, stuck to the prime rib and mashed potatoes, going back for seconds along with a few pieces of cake for dessert. He didn’t take another item off of the buffet. With crab legs, shrimp, and fabulous sides, he stuck with the meat and potatoes forgoing any of the wide selections of bread and rolls.

Once we land in Maui in nine days, our first outing will be the grocery store to buy items for preparing our own meals. Tom will then join me in eating “my way” hopefully losing a few of those “cruise food” pounds he picked up while out to sea. 

Again at quite a distance, we spotted this bird.  If you know the name of this bird, please comment. 

There are reports that claim that the average cruiser gains six pounds on a 14-night cruise. I can easily imagine how that transpires with the readily available eye-catching foods at any time of the day, including mountains of sweets and baked goods. Surely, without my restrictions, I would definitely have gained weight as well when it would’ve been difficult to resist some of the temptations. 

We’re getting used to this modest one-room condo and are doing well, especially after making the few modifications we mentioned in yesterday’s post. Neither of us feels we could live here for an extended period but with only nine days remaining, we’ll be fine.

Busy Waikiki Beach at dusk.

Walking the streets of Waikiki Beach is entertaining, to say the least. Tourists line the streets as well as the locals appearing happy to be living in Hawaii hopefully having figured out how to manage with the high cost of living. 

Yesterday, while on a walk, we stopped to read a menu at the top of a flight of stairs of a local restaurant, running into a couple we’d met on the cruise, as they exited the restaurant after breakfast. We all giggled at the irony of running into them in this busy area. They are staying at a hotel, next to ours. Small world.

The menu at the Kuhio Beach Grill as opposed to choosing the $37.95 buffet. The chef made a special chicken and avocado salad for me along with special salad dressing.

From what we’ve seen, it’s certainly no more expensive in Hawaii than in Paris, London, or any other big cities we’ve visited in our travels, including Boston and Vancouver. Urban Honolulu is rated among the most expensive cities in the US, based on varying reports online.

But, like everywhere, one can learn to adapt.  We’ve been able to dine out the past two nights for around $65 including a 15% tip, with no cocktails or beverages. We’ve found that by avoiding the added cost of beverages to our bill we’re able to keep our dining out costs under control. 

My main meal chicken and avocado salad with special bleu cheese dressing were delicious.

It’s easy to see how adding a few glasses of wine or cocktails for each of two diners, can easily shoot the bill upwards of $100. We’ve budgeted $100 a day for our meals while in Honolulu and are certain we’ll be able to stay within this amount.

As always, it’s about trade-offs. Tom purchased a bottle of brandy, duty-free, on the ship before we disembarked. If he decides to have a cocktail or two before dining out, he usually has no interest in ordering another in the restaurant, preferring tap water with his meal. I only drink water and tea rarely bothering to order bottled water with a meal providing that the water is safe to drink.  

Tom’s prime rib and mashed potatoes from the buffet at Kuhio Beach Grill. He went back for an identical second serving when the meat was so tender he cut it with a butter knife.

It’s these simple steps that ultimately save us $100’s when dining out for extended periods such as the most recent 77 days in a row.

The sunsets over Waikiki beach are amazing although we missed Sunday night’s sky clouded over. While we dined it was raining in buckets. Our server gave us a plastic bag to cover the camera, making running back in the rain to our condo less worrisome. 

Clouds rolling in.

On the return run in the rain, we stopped at a local grocer to buy creamer for Tom’s morning coffee and of course, Macadamia nuts for me. After all, we are in the land of Macadamias. Who knew that Macadamia nuts originated in Australia? Here’s a link to some interesting facts about the production of the nuts.

Honolulu/Waikiki Beach is an interesting place to visit. It’s hot, humid, and crowded and surely, we look forward to the less hurried pace of islands to come. In the interim, we’re living in the moment, reveling in every bit of our surroundings.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, October 7, 2013:

This photo was posted one year ago today from our safari in the Maasai Mara. Using no zoom on the camera, we got this photo that clearly illustrates the bugs on his nose. We were very close, keeping our arms inside the vehicle. Notice the zebra carcass behind him. He seemed relatively uninterested in us as we sat there for quite some time, watching him. This is the photo I currently use for a screensaver on my laptop which so bespeaks the extraordinary experience we had, never to be forgotten. For more photos and details from that date, please click here.