Saturday, February 5, 2011

Wetting a line….

Wilf has been wanting to catch a fish on a fly line in Hawaii. Neither Kauai nor the Big Island presented appropriate conditions for fly fishing from shore. But Wilf had heard rumour that on Oahu there were flats where bonefish could be found. In fact, he got talking to Lester at the Lakestream Fly Fishing shop in Whitefish,Montana, and discovered that there were bonefish to be caught right in Honolulu.

Armed with advice from Lester we set out to find the beach on the back side of Diamond Head. It turns out that the main beach bus from Waikiki delivered us to the beach we were looking for. It is not a swimming beach, but there were spear fishers and divers poking around in the shallows. Out near the surf break we could see a man casting – was it Lester? A few exchanges of phone calls and we had a date with Lester, who spends his winters here in Hawaii.

Yesterday we went for a test – it was a lovely calm day and Wilf got himself ready to go:


He spent several hours wading and casting, but no fish put in an appearance.

And not to worry about me- I’ve got a great spot to watch from, along with my book and my knitting!


This morning Lester met us at the park and the guys set out to see what they could find:

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Notice Diamond Head in the background!

Wilf had a bonefish on the line but lost it in the coral – but he did catch a mongoose fish. All in all it was a fun introduction to Hawaiian bonefishig.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chasing the Lion

Its Chinese New Year! We only realized this last night. We were walking back from dinner and saw a large group of people in matching red t-shirts in front of a Chinese restaurant. They were standing around a pickup truck, and as we passed we saw that they had the head pieces of two lion dance costumes in the truck – they were there to bless the restaurant.

Back at our hotel I was talking to the desk clerk and saw a red envelope on the counter. I asked and he confirmed that not only was it New Year’s but that the lion would be coming to the hotel presently. He would come to the three hotels on our block. Soon we could hear the drums next door, so we settled into the lobby. People with red t-shirts began to arrive and discussions with the front desk ensued. Soon they began to head upstairs, which led the guy sitting next to me to say ‘Oh, they’re going to do Hula’s. We should go up there.’

And here is where I have to interrupt my story to tell you about Hula’s. We knew there was a bar on the second floor of our hotel – when we walk on the street we can hear people talking upstairs – but we hadn’t been up. We walked up – the doors were wide open, so in we went. A pool table by the front. Television screens all over, all tuned to the same station, sound off, commercial running. I figured it would be some sports event, but when the program came back it was ‘American Idol’. The volume came up and people were actually paying attention. Looking around – the clientele was mostly very fit, perfectly groomed young men. Yes, it turns out that the anonymous bar in our hotel is the gay friendly bar in Waikiki. So – what the heck, we ordered a drink and settled in to wait for the lion.



The lions are gorgeous with crazy LED lit eyes. They can blink their eyes and open and close the mouth, which is convenient because one must, of course, feed the lion for good luck in the coming year:


Yeah – like that!


Hah – that lion looks like he’s about to drink my gin and tonic!

There were two lions and they were very thorough – all through the bar, the kitchen, the office, everywhere.

So – that was an interesting way to bring in the Chinese New Year! Tonight we met up with another crew working their way through the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Shopping concourse – they were very busy in the food court, shaking their heads and winking their eyes and ‘eating’ red envelopes presented by the proprietors . In some cases a red envelope was taped above the door- to attract the lion’s attention?  Presented a bit of a challenge for the guy wearing the head, but he managed to pluck it down!

So - Gong Xi Fa Cai! and all the best for the Year of the Rabbit!

A tale of two islands…..

After two weeks on the Big Island we’ve moved over to Honolulu. And things are different here – this is the big city. But before we turn to Waikiki, a few more pictures from Waikoloa. Our family friends Mike and Betty arrived in Kona last week – here we are all at the Island Lava Java on Ali’i drive in Kona, enjoying the coffee and the ocean view:


The night before we left we joined a group of the folks from Vista Waikoloa for a sunset party on A Bay. We took our beach chairs, wine and beer and joined the gang:


But this is what we were there for:


A little cloud, so no dramatic drop into the ocean.

We were last in Waikiki two years ago. And frankly, things were not great. There were some tourists, but clearly not nearly the numbers as usual and not much shopping was going on. Lets just say – things are different this time around! The day before we arrived the first charter flight direct from mainland China had arrived (previous tour groups had come via South Korea or Japan), which had the local tourist board pretty excited.

On our first night we noticed the difference – it wasn’t just that there were more people on the street. After dinner we walked up the street and there was lots going on- the Waikiki Shopping Center had a show going on:


In addition to the guys blowing on shells there were musicians and lady dancers. Huge crowd. Out on the street there were musicians on every block. And it seemed like every hotel we went by had music and dancers. I don’t remember any of that  from two years ago.

The high end stores are all still here – the only people I see carrying Louis Vuitton shopping bags, though,  are pretty young  Japanese ladies. The western crowd is mainly carrying bags from the ABC Store.