We have four weeks left here. There’s so much that we’re trying to do before we leave. The last few weeks have been invigorating. K and I want to leave something behind that we can continue to contribute to even after we leave and alot of the pieces have been falling into place, but I’ll leave that for another post.
Four weeks left. Almost 2 years behind us. We’re returning to a place that you rarely see green, you don’t wake up looking at the sky, and mochi is not in abundant supply. So while we were having lunch the other day I brought a notebook with me and we started our Hawaii wish list: all the things that I hope we get to do before we leave. Some of these things we want to do together. Some only one of us wants to do (ie skydiving (eg not me)).
1. Volcanos (Big Island)
2. Black sand beaches (Big Island)
3. Swim with dolphins in the wild (with a life vest)
5. Take a surf lesson ( I don’t swim)
9. Stay on Kauai’s North Shore
10. Old Lahaina Luau 11. Merrie Monarch
These are sort of touristy things. Hopefully more specific ideas will occur to me.
In four weeks we’re back home. I find myself trying to take stock of all kinds of things:
what we want to do before we leave here;
what our new home might look like;
what kind of job I’ll get
K’s friend Rebecca was in town for a couple of days and she wanted to try Nobu in Waikiki for dinner. There was a special menu as it was Restauarant Week in Hawaii. We decided to go with the four course $40 menu. It was pretty good. Though I was still hungry afterwards. And I drank too much sake… but I got to recline in my car seat and drift off into that great kind of sleep that happens when it’s late, someone else is driving, and you’ve had alot to drink but not enough to make you feel dizzy when you close your eyes.
A few days later I went to Town with Ben and Martha and had their Restaurant Week menu. Three courses for $20–an amazing deal. I had the risotto but I had a taste of Martha’s gnocchi and I’m definitely going to get that next time.
In closing here’s a non-related Restaurant Week picture. Pancake special at Cinnamon’s for the month of November, Pumpkin Crunch:
We drive through Waimanalo at least once a week. Our favorite lunch place is there and it’s on the way to my favorite Bikram class.
Our friend Mark invited us out for a hike to the tidepools. We’d never been, so we said yes and followed him right to a spot that we pass every time we go for Keneke’s or I go for yoga. Behind this mountain that we see all the time is a whole swirling scenic world. Not only are there the warm tidepools, but there’s a sweet lighthouse that looks like a pepper mill and Rabbit Island off the coast which is surrounded by water that Mark calls ‘sharky’.
I pulled a muscle on the descent but it was worth it.
It’s pretty easy to catch a BJ Penn pay per view fight at any number of sports bars in Oahu. MMA is huge here. It seemed a no brainer that some place would feature the Pacquiao/Cotto fight. Pacquiao is a Filipino National Treasure and outside of the Philippines I’ve never lived around so many Filipinos! I called every place that people suggested I call with zero luck. No one was showing it. Our house isn’t equipped with a digital box so we couldn’t purchase it to watch at home.
At work, K asked a friend on the crew if they knew who might be showing the fight. He put it out on the walkie and K said suggestions came pouring in. As an aside, I wish this applied to all of life’s issues.
One of the suggestions was Giovanni Pastrami in Waikiki. And thank goodness! They were showing the fight and you could make reservations. Of course K and I ended up paying cover charges for four people just so that we could have a table…but it was worth it! Giovanni Pastrami is awesome. The pizza wasn’t so good but then again, it isn’t called Giovanni Pizza.
The fight was so good. And the place was filled with Pacquaio fans. We whooped and hollered and banged on the table which was so much fun. It wouldn’t have been if we were Cotto fans or if we’d had to watch it in Puerto Rico instead of HI….
K’s friends Paul and Tom came to visit us one weekend from NY via Kauai. We grilled lobster tails on the lanai and had it with rice and poke. The World Series was on and we got to see the Yankees go-ahead run before going down to the beach to watch the full moon.
We spent most of the next day driving all over Oahu. K was working so it was just the three of us. I’ve come to love driving. I marvel at how just a few weeks ago I was terrified of driving on highways. Now, as K predicted, I prefer driving on highways to the stop and go of downtown. I love driving. I actually feel markedly happier when I get into my car to head off somewhere.
I had to parallel park with Paul and Tom in the car. I usually can do it when I’m by myself but if there’s anyone in the car with me I get super self-conscious. I told them this and Tom talked me through it. In two turns of the wheel I was in the spot. Tommy was singing my parking praises and even talked about taking a picture of it because it was such a perfect parking job. I smiled on the outside but on the inside I also did a little dance.
It’s been eons since the Hawaii International Film Festival. Thankfully I was able to see more films than I did last year. Two films that stood out from what I saw were Tze Chun’s Children of Invention and Daniel Lee’s Precious.
Along with bringing boat loads of great videos and films HIff also brought friends from far away. My friend Suzi from way back was here with her lovely film Dear Lemon Lima. Suzi and I had fallen out of touch years ago but fell back into an easy rapport. Maybe it has to do with getting older, but I wondered a few times while we were together, how did we lose touch? It took being thousands of miles from where we met to reconnect.
Cinnamon’s in Kailua was the breakfast place of choice for me and whoever would join me during HIFF. It’s currently my favorite: crab eggs benedict and guava chiffon pancakes.
Another funny thing was that The Chinatown Film Project that Karin and I began at MOCA three years ago had it’s premiere outside of NY at HIFF. Karin couldn’t make it at the last minute so I stepped in to ‘represent’ it. It was the first time I’d seen the result of our efforts. I really didn’t know what to expect. But as we watched Wayne Wang’s contribution to the project, I found myself getting emotional. His scenes of Chinatown swept by like waves. The soundtrack and the images made me feel a longing for NYC Chinatown that I never thought I’d feel. I was really proud to be there and to have had something to do with it.
Last week K and I were judges for Showdown in Chinatown, a monthly 48 hour film shootout in Honolulu. They’re partnering with HIFF and MOCA’s Chinatown Film Project to feature this month’s winner as part of an outdoor screening during the film festival next month. The event was great–well organized and well attended. K and I really loved the film that won.
Afterwards we went with Sarah and Anderson to visit DJ ESKAE who was doing a six hour set at a club called Soho. The theme was Neon and it was PACKED. If I hadn’t seen it I wouldn’t have believed that neon could be such a big draw. I had flashes of being 17 again and partying on Long Island. It was hot, sweaty, and the music was really hard not to dance to.
On a more wholesome note, I started my hula classes last week. So far, it feels like transferring into a school after the year has already started. It’s hard meeting new people when there’s no context for my being there. I haven’t made any friends yet but I love my teacher. She’s a beautiful wacky spirit that dances like an angel. She invited us all to join the more advanced Monday class if we were so inclined. My friend Michelle is in that class and it would be more comfortable for me to know someone but I’m thinking maybe being comfortable isn’t always necessary.
My teacher gave me a pa’u skirt to use for class. Everyone has their own. I tried looking online for a store and one of the first entries was ‘Where to get a pa’u skirt: make it!” Eventually I found an ebay vendor who sold really pretty ones though I think they might be kind of fancy.
This is the dance/song we’re learning. Though obviously this is a professional and I think maybe I’m doing the baby version.
Last Sunday we caught the last two hours of the Made in Hawaii Festival. We’d been moving all weekend and almost forgot it was happening. Our new landlady sent us an email reminding us about the festival. We dashed over there before it closed down and walked through the whole thing.
It was pretty much how I imagined it would be. If there was more time and a little less people I really would have liked to explore each booth. There were so many great things like pidgin t-shirts, roasting pan cozies, straw hats, koa wood jewelry boxes, Hawaiian christmas ornaments, local fruit jams, and on and on.
At first I was dashing around grabbing every business card that I could. And then I realized there’s probably a roster of vendors on their site. Even though we won’t be here for next year’s festival, I figure I’ll look up individual companies and explore their wares over the course of this year. There were lots of people there and it seemed like a lot of the popular vendors had sold out. Like the Made in Hawaii Foods mochi strawberries.
It’s a really great event. We came home with a clay coaster that absorbs water ‘magically’, a Hawaiian crest key chain, and poha jam.
Steven, aka ESKAE , aka Sarah’s boyfriend does a party at thirtyninehotel called Soul Clap every last Friday of the month. FINALLY for the first time K and I went. It was much fun. Particularly because I got to hang out with my most favorite people here in Hawaii and we got to DANCE. I can’t believe it took us this long to go. Great venue, great music. I wanna go again!