August 31, 2014

Kauai Am I Still Writing This Blog?

Good morning and greetings, Labor Day fans. For some, the first Monday in September celebrates the American labor movement, a tribute to the contributions American workers have made to the prosperity of our nation. For others, it symbolizes the end of our summer dreams, when life is good and the living is easy.

But for the rest, it’s just another three-day holiday weekend, because as soon as Tuesday rolls in, it’s like we never skipped a beat. I believe it was either the Reverend Al Sharpton or Aristotle who said, “The end of labor is to gain leisure.” But I prefer to quote from the Talmud, where it is written, “No labor, however humble, is dishonoring, with the exception of blogging.”

So when we left off last week, I had just arrived at our oceanfront rental in Anahola. I knew we were going to a place of extreme beauty, but I was still overwhelmed when we entered the premises. The color of the water looked fantastic, and there wasn’t a drop of kelp or seaweed for thousands of miles.

I thought to myself, “Hemolele i ka mâlie,maika`i nô Kaua`i,” which means, so perfect is the calm, so beautiful is Kaua’i. I was ready for a week in paradise, to be surrounded by the ocean, the trade winds and the gentle sounds of my neighbors partying from the house next store.

Yes, lo and behold, there was some festivities going on, as preparations were in place for some impending nuptials the following day.

It turned out being a beautiful ceremony, and afterwards I congratulated the happy couple and left them with this thought. The only dreams that matter are the ones you have when you’re awake, so recycle your damn beer cans and get the hell out of here.

And just like the gigantic butterfly tattoo on the bride’s shoulder, they flew off, never to be seen again.
So the first couple of days we just hung around our Hawaiian hacienda, enjoying the beachfront experience. Fortunately, we had all brought water shoes with us, as the beach out in front is on a coral reef, which is a little rough on the feet. But with the water temperature a delicious 81 degrees, it was all good, as I spent time trying to perfect my dead man’s float.

The next day my daughter wanted to go to her favorite beach, so we drove west through Princeville and Hanalei before reaching Lumahai Beach. There are no signs marking this spot, you just park on the road and hike down through an exotic tropical jungle. There’s no lifeguards, just signs warning you about strong rip tides, powerful backwash, and treacherous shorebreak waves. Perfect for families with young children.

This beach is exotically beautiful, as when you enter you see black lava rock along with crystal clear blue water and golden sand. The beach is very swimmable in the summer time, and if you get their early, you can have a slice of tropical paradise all to yourself.

Kauai gets a lot of precipitation, as these frequent rain showers make the north shore is as lush as on any island on the planet. Fragrant plumeria flowers bloom all year round, and walking through a tropical rain forest after a liquid shower is a frenzy of excitement for the olfactory senses.

We stopped for lunch in the lovely little town of Hanalei on the way back. When off the mainland, we only dine in the finest establishments, so we hit L & L Hawaiian Barbecue for the traditional plate lunch of two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad and a hot entree, which included teriyaki chicken, barbecued beef, short ribs and enough chicken katsu to feed Detective Steve McGarrett and cast and crew of the new “Hawaii Five-O.”

A couple of days later, we hit the road again, this time to Tunnels Beach on the north shore. We arrived at 10 o’clock and the parking lot was overflowing. When on vacation, I need to be quarantined from other tourists, so although the beach is snorkel gorgeous, it was not a memorable trip, except for this shot of a local holding his board while checking out the surf. I spoke to him briefly and he said he was due for a light trim.

On the way home we stopped at the magnificent St. Regis Princeville Resort, where the rock lobster entree will run you $63 in the Terrace Restaurant. It comes a la carte, but with a tremendous view of Hanalei Bay.

Overlooking the majestic Hanalei mountains, the scenery is nothing short of spectacular. The St. Regis introduces an unparalleled level of sophistication and serene luxury to one of the most remarkable destinations in the world. And that’s the way I roll.

Now one afternoon, my daughter’s friend came running in yelling,”Geoff, get your camera, there are turtles hatching down the beach.” Well, before you could say “Jacques Cousteau,” I was watching baby sea turtles crack out of their shells, hit the water, and then take their first strokes before heading out to sea.

It was an amazing sight, as there must have been sixty eggs shells scattered around. There were another thirty eggs buried in the sand, but they were just empty shells the following morning. It was one of those Animal Planet/National Geographic moments, but with no commercial interruptions.

So our week in paradise went by quickly. One of our neighbors on Aliomanu Road gave me a bunch of mangos plucked right off her trees, along with papayas and lychee fruit, which I hadn’t sampled before. The downing of those juicy mangos was a religious experience, something I wished at I had at my bar mitzvah alongside the gefilte fish.

Mount Waialeale on Kauai is the second rainiest spot on Earth, averaging 440 inches per year. It’s where umbrellas go to die. The constant rain showers on this Garden Island produce fantastic waterfalls. So on the way back to the airport we dropped in to see Wailua Falls. On the way there we ran across a wild boar and her piglets, which made me feel a lot better about not ordering the baby back ribs special the night before.

Moving on to the photos. The first shot is Lumahai Beach, where they filmed “South Pacific”, and then on to Tunnels Beach, where I ran into my dreadlocked friend. Then it’s the view of Hanalei Bay from the St. Regis Resort.

The next photo is one of our neighbor’s papaya trees, before moving on to the baby sea turtle exiting his shell, and then what this bad boy is going to look like when he’s a bit older. We then finish up with the majestic Wailua Falls, where you can just drive up and shoot from the roadside. Now that’s the aloha spirit.

Next week, sunrises and more, so stay tuned.

Now here is comedian David Cross’ favorite joke. So a guy’s walking down the street. He sees a friend approaching him, and his friend has a Band-Aid on his forehead. And the guy says, “What happened?” The friend says, Oh, my God, this was f**king nuts, man!

I was at this rooftop party on the 12th floor, sitting on the edge, and a gust of wind blows me off the building. Twelve stories up. Unbelievably, there are these to clotheslines about three stories down that break my fall. I sort of bounce over them, and end up hitting this awing, and then I bounce off the awning into the pile of mattresses.

And then I bounce off the pile of mattresses and get flung up another 20 feet in the air, ‘I’m dead,” but then I land on this open truck hauling marshmallows. And you know, I scratched my forehead with my finger at one point.

And the guy’s like, “Holy sh**t! You must be the luckiest man alive.” And his friend says, “No, no, no. That’s Jim Belushi.”

So that’s part two of my Kauai adventure. Next week you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know and more about this lovely Garden Isle.

We’ll catch you two making the sequel to one of the great comedy movies of my generation. Aloha, mahalo and later, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels fans.

August 24, 2014

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Anahola I Go

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 10:05 am

Good morning and greetings, summer vacation fans. Yes, I have returned refreshed, rejuvenated and almost fully resuscitated from a much needed sojourn to the South Pacific. While off the continent, I tend to live the simple life and take relaxation to new heights. Or as writer Robert Orben so aptly put it, “A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it.”

So despite the threats of Hurricane Julio threatening to blow our Hawaiian holiday out of the water, we forged ahead. I tend not to sleep well the night before a flight, so it wasn’t unusual when I awoke at 12:50, fully rested for our 7 am departure out of San Jose. I figured I’d catch up on my sleep during the halftime ceremonies at our kosher kalua pig luau party.

We boarded our Alaska Airlines flight, and I was hoping to be seated next to a super model, as my wife was sitting up in first class. When I laid eyes on my newest possible best friend for the next five hours, I asked the flight attendant if I could sit in the emergency row seats, which were as empty as my pockets after being stripped search by a TSA agent.

After raising my right hand and swearing that I would open the door during an emergency landing, I now had junior air marshall status and all the leg room in the world. To quote the great Dr. Martin Luther King, I was “Free at last free at last, God almighty, free at last” from mindless chatter.

Well, that lasted about one minute, because the woman sitting behind me was a blabbermouth. Yes, a blabbermouth. It was bad enough that I had to hear her life story, as she had a voice that boomed out like a megaphone on steroids. Fortunately, I brought along author John Grisham’s first non-fiction book to read, and this and 35 cups of orange passion guava juice carried me the 2,200 nautical miles over the water.

We landed at 9:30 Kauai time and picked up our rental car, before heading over to a sacred landmark on the Garden Isle, the Costco in Lihue. We just needed to pick up some essentials for the trip, which included a two pound container of Grade A, 100% Hawaiian grown Macadamia nuts. These gourmet kernels were planted on the slopes of Mauna Kea on the Big Island and were hand picked on the beautiful Island Princess Orchard Estate. They were like my skin tone after a day in the tropical sun-dry roasted, lightly salted and deliciously smooth.

Macadamia nuts were first grown in Australia and are one of Australia’s few contributions to the world’s food plants, along with dingos ate my baby and shrimp on the barbie. These sweet, buttery nuts are essential for a healthy, nutritious, well-balanced diet, so we picked up a bowling bowl bag size of Mauna Loa Premium roasted macadamia nuts covered in creamy white chocolate, sweet shredded coconut and luscious milk chocolate, just to play if safe.

I then hand picked out a half dozen, beautiful yellow skinned papayas. This “Fruit of the Angels” is a true taste of the tropics, and the first thing that smacks my vacation taste buds each morning. Hawaiian papayas, like a sunny August morning in Santa Cruz, are rarely seen on the mainland. As my Swedish nanny always used to say, “Forbidden fruit always tastes the best.”

Another island essential is the Extra Sweet Maui gold pineapples, which were glowing with an exotic rust color that I had rarely seen before. These babies take 18 months to grow, and were so juicy that I needed to wear a lobster bib while cutting them up.

But on vacation, man cannot live by food alone, so there must be tropical beverages. Now I’m not talking Hawaiian margaritas, mai tais, pina coladas or Molokai milkshakes, but the Aloha Made Guava, Passion, Strawberry and Pineapple Orange drink. They are formulated in the islands and are 100% All Natural, made with natural cane sugar and containing enough fruit juice in each can to fill up a tsetse fly.

Oh, did I mention that I ran into the megaphone women and her entourage in Costco? It was like a mini reunion, as a few tears were shed as we swapped phone numbers and exchanged air hugs.

We then packed up the car we headed north to Kapaa, where we stopped at Foodland for a few more essentials before heading north again to our final destination, Anahola.

Now when people talk about places in Kauai, names come up like Princeville, Hanalei or Poipu Beach. Anahola is rarely mentioned in the guide books, as it consists of a post office, convenience store and an overpriced hamburger stand. It’s an old native Hawaiian village were pineapple and sugar plantations once thrived. Now it’s home to mainly the trade winds, native Hawaiian and a some lucky vacationers.

If you prefer seclusion, or for me, near total isolation, then you’ve come to the right place, because Anahola Bay is a hidden secret. A large stream flows into the ocean, and the golden sand beach is mostly deserted, except for sand crabs, pieces of the coral reef and locals fishing for dinner.

So we arrived at our oceanfront rental, and were thrilled at first sight. I had driven by the house before, but hadn’t been inside. Well, after entering, all I could see was water, as the view was real and spectacular.

There was a breeze blowing through the house 24/7, so the air was delightful and the view consistently fantastic. The ocean was 30 feet from the living room, and with the water temperature a pleasant 81 degrees, we were set for a week in paradise.

So that’s part one of what I did on my summer vacation. Coming up next week in part two, I’ll discuss sunrises, sea turtles, wild boars, fresh mangos, spear fishing and University of Hawaii’s Rainbow Wahine volleyball program.

So for today’s photo party, we’re staying local and taking a general look around Anahola. The first shot is the view looking west out of our living room. The next shot is Anahola Bay, followed by our favorite beach, with a rainbow over the stream that feeds into the ocean.

Next is a photo of another stream along the beach, followed by some early morning light on Kalalea Mountain, which from a side view bears a striking resemblance to King Kong. We then look upon some fragrant plumeria flowers that are used to make leis, and then it’s on to one of the locals I shot climbing in a banana palm plant. More photos to follow.

On to some late night humor. “SeaWorld just announced that it will soon double the size of its killer whale habitats. The whales say it’s almost as good as their previous tank — the ocean. Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian have ended their so-called feud after eight years. Then John Kerry said, “Man, that was rough. Now on to the Middle East. – Jimmy Fallon

“Whole Foods has started selling rabbit meat. They’re killing them humanely. They’re using only rabbits that died of shock after seeing the prices at Whole Foods. The man who created the first Internet pop-up ad now says he’s sorry. The man also says that a 15-minute call to Geico could save you 15 percent on car insurance. The U.S. Postal service has lost $2 billion this spring. Postal officials are busy emailing each other wondering how this could happen. – Conan O’Brien

“President Obama announced last Thursday night that the U.S. would begin air strikes in Iraq. So in a way, it was the ultimate throwback Thursday. Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner is planning to open a new farm-to-table restaurant in Queens. So, whatever you do, don’t ask to see the special. According to a new study, men over 5’10″ are twice as likely to cheat on their partners. And men under 5’10″ are twice as likely to cheat on forms where you have to enter your height.- Seth Meyers

So that’s my first Hawaii blast. We’ll catch you having the quickest comedy mind in show business but leaving this planet much too soon. Aloha, mahalo and later, Robin Williams fans.

August 3, 2014

Summer-Don’t Leave Home With It

Good morning and greetings, August fans. Now what red and white blood celled American doesn’t look forward to a summer vacation? Whether it’s renting a cabin on Mosquito Lake, visiting Yosemite or the Grand Canyon or just sitting around in your backyard relaxing like a mental patient, everyone loves a summer sabbatical.

For our nation’s students, it means two to three months weeks away from the grind and pressure of homework, tests, incessant bullying and the cafeteria’s salisbury steak.

But it wasn’t always like this. According to the folks at tidbit.com, back in the early 1800s, around the birth of John McCain’s babysitters, schools went year-round as the National Lampoon and summer vacation had not yet been invented.

Then along came a spider and Horace Mann, the great education reformer, who worried that overstimulating the minds of children could lead to mental breakdowns, insanity and worst of all, low SAT scores. Educators worried that if there were no breaks to take children away from schools, the insane asylums would be filled with teachers. Or in the words of Woody Allen, “Those who can’t do, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach gym.”

So in the 1840s, the summer break was created. Everyone was now happy as a clam, as teachers and students got that much needed break from one another. Meanwhile, doctors no longer had to be concerned about children spreading disease while packed in like sardines inside sweltering classrooms.

As the sign reads at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., “There are three good reasons to be a teacher-June, July and August.”

Now transitioning into August, it tis the season when the Gilbert Family Robinson takes their annual trip to the South Pacific. It is a time for relaxation, rejuvenation, reincarnation and macadamia nut elation, in a land filled with aloha spirit, fresh papayas and angry Hawaiians.

Unfortunately, our son Jason will not be going to the islands, as he’s in Santa Barbara taking an organic chemistry lab class, which I never had the pleasure of partaking in as a sociology major. It’s the first time the four of us will not be together enjoying chicken katsu and macaroni salad in this tropical paradise. But we’re taking our daughter’s friend along because we like even numbers.

So we are heading over to Anahola Bay, on the northeast shore on the Garden Island of Kauai. We rented a house right on the water, so life shouldn’t be too stressful. I’ve been looking forward to it all year, and can’t wait to feel the trade winds and the sand beneath my feet while exploring the Napili coast and the food aisles at the Costco in Lihue.

So I’m taking a two week break from the blog, and shall return to these pages on August 25. So let me say to all of you aloha kakou, which translated means may there be love between us and don’t bother texting me.

So for today’s photo conference, we are heading down to West Cliff Drive on the morning of February 18. It wasn’t a spectacular sunrise by any means, but the sky lit up with some gentle red clouds which turned into a light orange sherbert sundae float. And then the sun rose up through the lighthouse and all was good on a winter’s morning.

On to some late night humor. “According to French officials, the gardens at the Louvre have become overrun with rats. Officials later apologized and promised to refer to us as Americans in the future. Wikipedia is now accepting donations using the online currency Bitcoin. So now you can support information you’re not sure is true with currency you’re not sure is money.” – Seth Meyers”

Seventeen siblings from New Jersey just won $20 million in the lottery. When asked how they plan to spend the money, they said, “Remodeling the shoe we grew up in.” The TSA is offering a $5,000 reward for the best idea on how to speed up airport security lines. So far the best idea is making a line for people who know what they’re doing and another line for people who have never been to an airport before.” – Jimmy Fallon

Actor Orlando Bloom threw a punch at Justin Bieber last night during an argument at a night club in Spain. Orlando’s hand was pretty sore today, you know, from all the high-fives he got. A new study found that having a sense of purpose can actually help you live longer — While having a sense of porpoise can help you swim longer. – Jimmy Fallon

So birthday wishes go out this week to my daughter Aimee, who is turning sweet 17 on Thursday. She’s beautiful and ambitious, and I am very proud of her and the rabbit ranch she’s currently running out of her bedroom.

Also celebrating his birth on this date is my old Hermose Beach pal and financial consigliere Bruce Meyers, who smiles every time he hears the word “strand.”

So that’s my story. We’ll catch you making blockbuster trades as GM of the Oakland A’s, as you’re going for it all this baseball season. Aloha, mahalo and later, Billy Beane fans.


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