Saturday 30 April 2011

Road Trip – “BEEP-BEEP”

I got a call from my buddy, Ken, yesterday asking if I was interested in a road trip. Since all I had to look forward to was doing work around the house I immediately agreed.

“Sure, but where to?” I figured that I could still back out if I needed to.

He said that he needed to go to Acme to pick up a trailer and then drop it off in Strathmore. This sounds kind of fun. Not only didn’t I know that Acme was relatively close by, but to find out that the Coyote actually lived in Strathmore was pretty cool. Throughout most of my childhood and really up until yesterday I thought that the Coyote lived in Arizona. I was going to ask Ken what we were going to deliver to the Coyote but decided it would be best if it were a surprise.

He picked me up and we started out, only to find that the road we planned to take was getting a manicure of some kind. Thank God for GPS. Turn that baby on and Ba-Boom! You have an alternate route in minutes. We talked of hawks that were flying and all of the water that is still in the fields while we drove through a beautiful southern Alberta day. I could barely contain myself! In fact I guess in retrospect I should have gone potty before getting in the truck. Control! Control! Control!

I see the sign that says Acme and feel a little let down that it looks just like any other small Alberta town. We pull into the storage yard and wait for the Jay to come meet us with the trailer. I’m thinking blue Jay. After a phone call and a ten minute wait the gate to the storage yard opens up and a van comes out. It is Jay’s wife (not a bird) and she tells us to go through the gate. Yeah, when you want to meet someone the best way is to be hiding behind a locked gate. I’m not feeling the love!.

The trailer is just that, an old, rusty trailer. No big boxes or crates with the ACME label. WTF? Ok, so I still get to meet the Coyote when we drop off the trailer. We drove back through the same beautiful southern Alberta day, with the same hawks and ditches filled with water. This is beginning to remind me of the whole Tooth Fairy fiasco.

Here is Strathmore coming up and there is no “Welcome To The Home Of The Coyote” on the town sign. Hmmmm!

We go to this nondescript warehouse and walk in. This is it, this is where he makes all of those fantastic machines! Kind of like a back stage pass to the North Pole. Nope. Just some bald guy and his son who will let us store the trailer in his compound. Ken backs the trailer in and asks me to find a rock so that he can block the wheels. I was looking for a rock already, but it wasn’t for the wheels.

Lesson learned, you will probably never meet your heros.

Just so the day wasn’t a total waste we went to the Strathmore Tim’s for a coffee. Now, let’s put a little icing on the cake. The woman in line behind us had just filled her gas tank with diesel and couldn’t carry on back to Saskatchewan until the tank was drained. I put a concerned look on my face and discussed with her what her options were. I didn’t laugh at her once! Just goes to prove, you can make lemonade out of lemons but you can’t cure stupid.

Thursday 28 April 2011

Mother Nature is a Cow!

I was going to talk about Man’s best friend, but that will wait until tomorrow or some other more appropriate time.

Today I need to vent about Mother Nature. Efffing cow! Here we are April 28th and should be enjoying temperatures somewhere around 15º C or so. Are we? Are we hell! Right now it is Oº with a light snow. Hell, I can deal with a light spring snow, you know the kind that melts when it hits the ground and is really nothing more than solid…ish rain. We have an accumulation of about two inches, with conditions like this for the next day or so. In effect it could snow all night and into tomorrow.

Oh, I don’t take comfort in the fact that it won’t stay around for very long. IT’S FREAKIN’ SPRINGTIME!!! It shouldn’t be here at all!

So, why are we having this? Could it be payback for my actually enjoying myself in Hawaii? Is Nature pissed off about the Tar Sands? Global warming? Is this a manifestation of a bleak, cold and gray attitude brought on by the impending Canadian election? Let’s discuss this.

We should start with the whole payback for my having a good time in Paradise. I didn’t even want to go! Louise made me, and being the glass is half full kind of guy I thought that I should make the best of it. So I was laughing on the outside, but inside where it counts I really wanted to be back in the cold and snowy land that I love.

This Nature being pissed off thing is really nothing to do with me. I like to ride my bike! Well, I would if the damned snow would disappear. I can’t even picture what Tar Sand looks like. I have seen tar and I have seen sand, most recently in Hawaii and I can say that if tar and sand got together it would be pavement. Pavement isn’t bad. Is it? I promise to write a letter to the robber barons that are sucking the life out of our province and try to convince them to go and rape some other province.

Global warming? Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit! Prove it! I am sure that we as humans have had a detrimental effect on this planet. We have turned it into a garbage dump, a toxic waste dump, we have polluted our waterways, irradiated the land, sea and creatures and we really don’t get along with each other very well either. The only warming that I see are the heated debates about who is to blame.

Personally, I am leaning towards the manifestation of a bleak, cold and gray attitude brought on by the impending Canadian election? Do you think it is possible for thirty million people to suicide at the same time? That's what is happening, just a slow death no matter which party is elected. I’ve had a good life. Well, it hasn’t been entirely good, but that is what makes it good. If there is a Heaven and Hell it might be a coin toss for me. Up would be great, and down?

Well, I would then at least be warm!

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Yoshi and Kazuo

We decided yesterday that we have had enough “reminders” that our Echo needed its regular maintenance. I was expecting Vito and Guido or their Japanese counterparts Yoshi and Kazuo to pay us a visit any day now. We called to arrange an appointment and was asked when we would like to bring it in. I had them now, “Tomorrow?” I asked coyly. This way I can put it off indefinitely. “What time?” the smarmy swine asked. I countered with “!”. “Will you need the shuttle sir?” 

OK, so now I had to make sure that I got the car there on time. There was a time in ‘the good old days’ when you could count on things never changing. If you needed construction work done quickly, two Italian guys with a wheel barrow would never let you down. Anything and everything from Japan was crap! You can always trust the mailman. Dentists usually died early by their own hand. Police kept the peace by just being there. Oh, and anyone to do with car sales and repair were slimy, cheating bastards.     

Louise and I showed up on time and were greeted by Jason the service rep who seems to be one of the nicest, most agreeable, clean cut and sympathetic young men I have ever met. He “facilitated” our “experience”, printing up the work order and getting us to sign it  and out of the service check in area, before we knew we had been in. Hey, that was pretty painless! Just an oil change and fluid level check, my kind of service.

A couple of hours later I get a call and a sinking feeling from Jason. It turns out that the transmission fluid needs to be replaced. Hmmmm. “How much?” (WHAT?) “OK”. “Great”  Jason says. “That is just about it except for the front brakes, which need new pads and the drums need to be turned. Oh and the rear brakes pads are in great shape but there is scoring which needs to be attended to . Once this is done you are good for years.” I could see his smile hanging in the air in front of me. “Oh…so…how much?” It is a good thing we keep smelling salts in the house.

Well, I guess that’s what money is for, and it costs for the convenience of a vehicle. Yadada, yadada! I am sure that if there is Karma in this world there will be a special kind of Hell for all of the people that are so very nice while they are bending you over and doing a not so delicate surgery on your wallet.

You know, I’m a nice guy. There must be a million people out there that I can screw over with a smile.

What’s in your wallet????

Monday 25 April 2011

City Workers?

When I looked out of my front window this morning, I couldn’t help but notice what a beautiful day it was. Oh, and the two front end loaders, three trucks with trailers, a man trailer for planning, breaks and I guess alcohol and drug storage, and of course an assortment of city workers in varying degrees of not working. I was surprised because somehow they had appeared without making any noise. It is nice to know that they do at least one thing very well.

The guy in one of the front end loaders had to have been 350 pounds, and not all of it muscle. I looked but couldn’t see anything that resembled a man sized shoe horn or 50 gallon barrel of grease which would have been needed to wedge him into the cab. He seemed comfortable though, what with the rhythmic breathing, closed eyes and a hint of drool slowly making a pool underneath the backhoe. Maybe that is the leak.

Two or three hours later I went out to see what they had accomplished and wasn’t terribly surprised to see the equipment and men in pretty much the same state as they had been. Tax dollars well spent. I learned that there was a leak somewhere around the corner, but because of a faulty valve in front of my house they were unable to find it until the valve gets repaired. Due to cost cutting measures the workers that at one time did maintenance are no longer doing that job, which means that these problems come as a big surprise to everyone. Score one for the bean counters!

When work eventually commenced there was a whirlwind of activity. Back hoes were digging, dump trucks were loading, three or four guys and one token woman were leaning on shovels, brooms or whatever happened to be handy and the right height. The result is a big hole surrounded by plastic fencing, a large pile of dirt, flashing lights and the afore mentioned backhoe. The only time these guys were working quickly was quitting time.

The good news is that for whatever reason, the pipe in front of my house doesn’t service my house, so my neighbours on the other side of the road should start to smell badly really quickly. OK, most of them already stink, but now they do have an excuse. It should be interesting to see how far the work progresses tomorrow. Actually it will be interesting to see how many tomorrows pass before any work gets done.

Friday 22 April 2011

Nature or Nurture

I haven’t been feeling 100% since returning from vacation, which is probably a combination of jet lag and my ability or should I say lack of ability to deal with it. Not to mention that the temperature is about 30º colder here. I had almost forgotten what cold felt like. Yep, now I remember and it isn’t even what I would consider cold. Back to the real world.

On a happier note I think I killed a few baby birds yesterday. Now, before you get all teary and start talking about Earth Day and baby seals, these weren’t birds that anyone likes. I didn’t really kill any birds, just some future birds. Not birds from the future, which would be weird and exciting at the same time, but rather potential birds. You see a before we went away I noticed a couple of magpies ( ) talking to a developer Crow and putting a down payment on the tree in my front yard. It is actually Arwen’s Arbour Day tree from grade three which like many of her things, is still at my place.

I knew I had to nip this in the bud since I was going to be away for a while, so I got out the ladder and a big stick and knocked down their construction. Job done!   

Fast forward a few weeks and the first time I look out the window at the tree I see a two or three story home in Arwen’s tree built of mud and sticks. I guess these particular Magpies never read about the Three Little Pigs and the moral of the story. I‘ll play the big, bad Wolf. Heh, heh, heh! They should have built with bricks.

Now, after I had put the ladder away and was looking at the heap of mud and sticks in the front yard I see the two magpies. I can hear the conversation now.

“Well, this isn’t our tree!” she said.
“Of course it’s our tree. Don’t you think I would recognise our tree when I see it?” he blustered.
She flapped her wings and said, “If this is our tree, then where is the house? You never pay attention to the map or ask for directions. Now we are lost and can’t find our house.”  
“Well, I know it’s around here somewhere. A house doesn’t just get up and fly away.” He countered.
“ I think it’s over there. You can sit here until the tree grows into your ass, but I’m going to find our house!”

I don’t speak bird, but I have been in the middle of a similar conversation myself and I don’t envy that poor slob.

Well, another day... another life crushed!

Thursday 21 April 2011


I suppose that I should do some kind of a synopsis of our trip to Paradise. My impressions if you will. All in all it was a very enjoyable time.

Now, as you may imagine there is a but. Lots of butts, but far too many to mention, except for that one on Waikiki Beach on April the 8th at about 1:41 PM. You know who you are, I mentioned that I thought that you had your bikini bottom on backwards. Talk about a fashion faux pas!

We spent the first three days in Honolulu, about four blocks from Waikiki Beach. Our room was tiny and we were right beside the elevator so we could keep track of all the comings and goings throughout the night. We climbed Diamondhead which is a must and had the first of many shaved ice’s. The main drag kind of reminded me of the Vegas strip without casinos and clothing. Fair trade off I would say. Lots of tourist shopping and dining. Three days was plenty for us. We met a couple that own a hotel room (they do that there) and if you need a reasonable place to stay in Honolulu here is their website. .It was fun waving to the people in Canada from in front of Duke Kahanamoku’s statue . We looked pretty odd, but it was cool. I also walked down to another web cam at The Moana Surfrider Hotel which I had been visiting for years after spending very cold days delivering mail. Pretty neat!

The next week we stayed at a million dollar home in Kailua with five other people. We were walking distance to the beach in one direction and a nice sized town with all of the amenities in the opposite direction. We made use of the pool and the back yard. Oh to be one of the idle rich instead of just being idle. Louise took her paddling course and although a little nervous at first she enjoyed herself immensely and hit a few milestones in her paddling career. Paddling a single and double outrigger in the ocean and paddling from Waikiki to Diamondhead in a six man outrigger and surfing the waves. Pretty cool! She learned a lot about technique and gained confidence in her ability.

I spent my time soaking up the rays, beach walking and gawking as well as talking to any who would listen to me. I learned a lot about Hawaiian people and the melting pot that is Hawaii.

For our final week we moved on to the North shore which is where they have those huge waves that Oahu is famous for. Yeah, not this week! Our  apartment was somewhat less than the million dollar home of last week, but after the initial shock it was quite nice. Oh well. We went to the Dole Plantation , the Macadamian Nut Farm , Turtle Beach (which is awesome by the way), Waimea Valley , Shark Cove, a huge swap meet, The Hukilau Café (which is a dump, but has great food). We actually drove back to Kailua twice to enjoy the beach there as it was more to our liking. The North Shore is more of a surfer paradise and attracts a younger more hippie type crowd.

Would I go again? You bet! I would take a lot less clothing and wouldn’t let Louise have any money or charge cards. I would plan the trip to stay in Kailua and do day trips from there as it is a small island and nowhere is more than an hour away. If anyone is going and wants a sulky, grumpy somewhat boring tour guide, just let me know.

 Aloha and Mahalo

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Paradise Gone...- Ken

No problem getting up at 3:30 AM and I got the car loaded ( after I walked way down the street) and we were on the road by .

I guess it isn’t terribly surprising that we beat the rush hour to Honolulu. We turned in the car and were dropped at the airport before the employees arrived at . What airport closes? Honolulu!

All passengers have to first put their luggage through a large scanner manned by the Agriculture Dept. Don’t know what they were looking for, but I pretty much keep my smart ass comments to myself in any airport situation. Those people have zero sense of humour. Then we got in line and went to a self serve check in machine that was staffed by airline representatives, not very smart ones it turned out. Anyway, bags checked and on to security. I got to go through the full body scanner for the first time. She insisted that I remove my belt, but was very gentle with me. You always remember your first!

Now, for breakfast our choices were Burger King. After much debate, we decided on Burger King. We shared our meal with a couple of birds which is what happens when you don’t have walls. We killed a couple of hours and finally were allowed to board our Alaska Air flight. Louise took the window which is her seat preference, while mine is the aisle so I took the middle seat and an older woman sat in the aisle seat. She was flying with her husband who sat about four rows away and for some reason he was always smiling when I saw him. I said “Hello, and did you have a nice time.” and “Where are you from? Oh Seattle, I have always wanted to visit, but as yet have not had the opportunity.” She then asked where we stayed and I told her. At this point Louise nudges me and tells me to ask her where she stayed. I am not terribly shy when it comes to talking to strangers, but I really didn’t give a shit where she stayed and just wanted to stop talking to her. Now, however, I had to ask because I think that her hearing is just fine. Blah, blah, blah, me, we, yadda-yadda-yah.

Thank God that is over with! Normally you can’t get me to shut up, but on a plane I like to keep conversation to a bare minimum. There is a very small chance that the person sitting next to you is an interesting, captivating conversationalist that will remember for the rest of your life. More often than not they will start talking about their health issues and the problems caused by liberal minded politicians and their gun laws. But that is to be expected because they are all foreigners that are stealing our jobs and planning to cut our throats while we sleep. For the first hour you have to smile, nod and keep looking longingly at your book/TV/ pen and unsolved puzzle book and eventually pretend to be asleep or cry out to Louise, “ What is a duck doing flying at 30,000 feet?”

If you are lucky enough to have that captivating person beside you, you eventually notice that he/she is just smiling, nodding and keeps looking longingly at their book/TV/ pen and unsolved puzzle book and eventually pretend to be asleep or cry out to their neighbour, “ What is a duck doing flying at 30,000 feet?”  Too many times…too many times.

We had a layover in Seattle of three hours before boarding our Horizon Air plane to Calgary. Seattle has a nice airport and the time went by nicely. When it came time to board we walked down a hall and down some stairs, along another hall and out onto the tarmac. I’ve never done this before, neat! Up a short stair to the airplane and into Munchkin Air.

I know that I need to lose weight , but these seats would be small for anorexics. At least there isn’t anyone beside me because there are two rows of two seats each. Louise took a picture out the window of a propeller plane beside us.

Then the engine started and we knew from the sound and vibration that we were on the quaint plane from yesteryear. Picture if you will, being inside of a very small, very angry bee. I can’t think of why air travel continued if this was the way that it began. The pilot came on after the safety announcements and warned us of the dangers of congregating in one place. I guess the one bathroom. We wouldn’t want the plane to be uncomfortable.

Somehow we landed in Calgary and the stewardess said “ Well, at least the brakes work!” I didn’t know that the brakes working or not was a concern. Yes there is snow on the ground. We pulled a fast one on the Customs folks who believed the amount that we told them is what we bought. Ken Brown picked us up as promised, (thanks Ken) and dropped us off at home.

So ends our stay in Paradise

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Hippie, Dippy and a Nutbar(me) - Ken

So begins the final day in Paradise. The plan, or should I say my plan, is to have a quiet laid back day of sun, surf and introspection.

I begin with a cup or two of the finest 100% Kona coffee. Life is good! We walked up the shore to Sharks Cove hoping for a photo Opp or some other stunning visual display. They call it Turtle Beach because there are lots of Turtles. I was kind of hoping that with all of the snorkelers in Sharks Cove we might get a real interesting show. Nope, just people face down in the water and still breathing. Could it be that paradise has let me down or have I come to expect too much?

We went to Foodland and got a couple of drinks and pastries which we took to the beach to enjoy while watching the ocean. Nope, I haven’t been let down. What a nice way to begin a lazy day.

We went back to the apartment I saw a local hippie hanging out the wash. After lunch we went back to the beach, but this time to frolic in the surf and soak up some rays. The waves were the largest we had seen, and were a lot of fun to play in.

Now, after a while everyone started to leave the beach and we did too thinking that it was or . Turns out that it was . Oh well, good time to shower and stress about the flight tomorrow. I know, nothing to stress about.
OK, the last one is wrong.

Louise thought that it would be a good idea to go to Jameson’s for a nice last dinner in Hawaii. I don’t know, we could lose our street parking spot. One look from Louise told me that wasn’t really a concern. Hmmmm…

We had a wonderful dinner on the patio, watching the sunset over the ocean. Picture perfect! Great idea Louise!

I know that you are wondering, we did lose our prime street parking. Just sayin’
I went to bed early () after we packed, because comes early, and lay awake until about . Pretty smart.

Sunday 17 April 2011

Tufts of hair, Samoa and Vitamin D - Ken

I’m definitely on the wind down part of the vacation. Most of the things that we had planned to do have been done or scratched off of the list. For the rest of our time in paradise it will be sun and surf.

Today we decided to drive to Kailua one last time. It has the beaches that we like and it feels like home away from home. Minus the snow of course. 

This being a Saturday there was more activity on the beach than during the week. From four PM till noon the next day the parking lot will be closed due to a triatholon. There was also a large group of Hawaiians having a first birthday party, with an inflatable castle slide, large event tent and tons of food. I asked if a big first birthday party was a Hawaiian tradition. One guy looked at me and said in an ice cold voice, “It’s Samoan.” Of course I apologized while I wet myself and backed away very slowly.

Now, after my near death experience the rest of the day fell together nicely. We took a dip in the ocean and stored up more than our quota of vitamin D. I talked to a woman about the Kobo reader and it’s good and bad traits and the new Jean Auel book. Her husband and herself came from Oregon this year because the husband worked for Coke and could get a transfer. They felt that they had come home the first time they came to Hawaii in ‘98 and had been trying to move here since. They asked if we were interested in a home in Oregon. We solved some of the world’s problems and then went back to the sun tan.

It was fascinating watching everyone walking by and playing in the surf . Now I am not a runway model, but some of these Humma-hungas made me feel positively petite. They had hair, oh my God they had hair! Some seemed to drag it in the sand. Funny thing about hair, on some people, or should I say most people what they have on their heads and face suit them. It is the tufts of hair sticking out willy-nilly from the oddest places that had my lunch parked midway between stomach and mouth. I made sure that I had a Brazilian before I came to Paradise. I am that thoughtful!

We drove back and miracle of miracles there was a spot for the car in front of the house. Life gets better I am sure, I just don’t know how…

One more day of wallowing on the beach in paradise and then back to the snow shovel and Tim’s coffee…Yea????

Saturday 16 April 2011

Mock Turtle - Not Likely - Ken

Where to begin? Where to begin?

No rooster this morning, so I expect that there was a BBQ last night. I wish I had been invited. 

Today’s journey involves finding Turtle Beach. Turns out that The Turtle Beach Resort is actually The Turtle Bay Resort. Still a turd hole if you ask me. We know that it is somewhere between here and Hale’iwa, so we have driven past it numerous times in the past few days without seeing it. We checked out our hard copy maps, studied the satellite view on Google Maps and I sacrificed an ant to Lono the Hawaiian God of learning. No stone unturned and no leaf…unleafed (?).The guide book said to look for a lot of cars parked at the side of the road and pull in there. Pretty simple really. Yep, found it.

Normally, whenever you hear about a place like Turtle Beach it is a place where sometime in the distant past someone had seen a turtle. Not so for Turtle Beach! The place is fully stocked with turtles large and small. They swim right where the surf breaks which makes for some wonderful photo opportunities. They also let the waves bring them up on the beach and then reverse surf back into the ocean. Pretty impressive all in all. We spent quite some time being entertained by Toby turtle and friends and afterwards we spent an hour or so sitting on the beach watching  homo sapiens in their natural habitat. Strange creatures!

I can only go so long before I need a re-fueling stop. I am pretty sure that the engine isn’t working at peak performance anymore, it comes from years of neglect and abuse. There is reincarnation in my future, so I get a new body and new life to try not to screw up. We stopped at a place called Jameson’s Pub and I ordered a Reuben while Louise opted for the Veggie burger. Both were very nice. You know, this place should go into the tourist business, they would make a fortune. For desert (yes, we felt we needed desert) we had a macadamian nut ice cream pie with an oreo crust. Yep, it was just as awful as you might think.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t sleep well last night so it is off to the room for a well earned nap.

Life in paradise…

Thursday 14 April 2011

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining - Ken

Cock-a-doodle-doo, cock-a-doodle-doo, cock-a-doodle-doo. 

I know why farmers tend to make an early start to their days. It takes time to wring the bird’s neck, pluck the feathers off and then gut it so that it will be ready for dinner later that day. Why not just knock on the front door and ask to be eaten? I am guessing that is why we refer to the dim witted as bird-brained. Or supervisors.

We heard that Calgary had about a foot or 20 centimeters of snow overnight. That really drives home the fact that every cloud has a silver lining. Well, not for anyone in Calgary.

Today Arwen told us of a place she saw on Man vs. Food and really it was a dare that we had to take up. The place was in a town called Laia. It is the home of Brigham Young University Hawaii chapter. Kind of the opposite of the Hawaiian Chapter of the Hell’s Angels. So, the place is called The Hukilau Café and is home to the famous Hukilau burger. We had the steak sandwich and it was exceptional! The prices were very reasonable and the service was…well, we were served. The gentleman at the next table had the burger and he assured us that it was more than fantastic. Mind you, his opinion might not count since he was an American and a diver.

We went across the street from the café and sprawled out on Laia beach. Louise was driven to walk almost to the horizon along the beach while I was stuck guarding the stuff. Never you mind what stuff! It is important stuff that we can’t afford to lose. It was a very quiet beach, with virtually no Mormons at all. It is hard to tell there were no Mormons because they tend to blend into most situations but I think I would have noticed two guys with black pants with a white shirt and tie on bicycles pestering people on the beach. There was a guy  from Brazil or Equator or Chile, but he was older, in a bathing suit and I didn’t see a bicycle anywhere.

Our next and last stop was at The Turdhole Beach Resort. It was very nice, having a golf course, condos, a hotel and what else???…hmmmm…oh yeah, a beach. We had the bar and restaurant recommended to us, but since it was $5 to park for over ½ hour we decided to leave. Strange name though? You would think that a name like that would drive people away. Oh, Louise informs me that it is called The “Turtle” Beach Resort. That makes more sense. My bad.  Just between us, it did seem to be a bit of a turd hole.

We went back to the room and sat around sweating for a while. I know how to have fun! For dinner we walked over to an old bus that serves up fresh shrimp. How can this go wrong? Luckily, I will be eaten by shrimp before I eat a shrimp. Hot dogs deluxe for me! How can this go wrong?

We sat and watched the sun set. No wonder the water is so warm. Every night the sun takes a dip. 

Well, another day in paradise.

Say goodnight Gracie…

Beaches and Wind and Nuts...Oh My! - Ken

So, today we decided that it is time to explore the North Shore. We loaded the trunk with the necessities of  life and set out. The idea is to stop at a lot of the beaches big and small that dot the coastline working on our tans. There was a wind farm on the way, but I guess they ran out of gas to run it. We were driving mainly south and the ocean is on the other side of the road, so of course we decided to drive down to Kailua for lunch and a shaved ice and of course a walk on the beach. 

On the way down we found the Macadamian Nut Farm and went in for a sociable visit. It was founded by a couple of brothers that picked nuts off of the ground and sold them at the side of the road in baggies. It is a pretty big business now. We had a good time and spent a few Hawaiian dollars there before we left.

The beach at Kailua is perfect for walking as opposed to the ones that we have checked out at the North Shore which are made of soft, deep sand. We ended up spending the afternoon there and having supper there. We met Rob  and Micky at the burger place we went to for dinner and had a nice visit with them and caught up on what they had been doing this week so far. 

We ended up driving home in the dark along a winding two lane road in on and off rain. It was a pretty good day.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Grass skirts, ukuleles and surfboards. - Ken

Can you believe that I woke up this morning listening to the cock crow? However, unlike yesterday, rather than listen to them for over an hour I simply closed the window. Yes, I should have done that yesterday. Live and learn. I also woke up with a sore throat. Perfect! 

We have decided that after breakfast we will go to explore the mysteries of the Waimea Valley. I stopped at a grocery store for cough drops to soothe  my throat. What kind of a backward, third world country doesn’t sell cough drops in a grocery store? Oh, they have one and a half aisles of beer, wine and assorted liquors, but not one little slot near the checkouts for a cough drop. I guess they don’t get sick.

Well, never let it be said that I can’t power through adversity!

Back to the Chrysler 300 and power up the highway for a trip back in time. In the parking lot there is a reminder to respect the Hawaiian culture and heritage. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Grass skirts, ukuleles and surfboards. 

Luckily we had a half off coupon so I didn’t have to suffer too much going in. The valley is really quite beautiful! Filled with trees and flowers of all shapes and sizes. My favourite is the cannonball tree that grows gourd shaped like…well, canonballs. I can’t help but think it had a different name before my ancestors paid them a visit.

We ran into a lovely older woman working in the hibiscus area who although originally from BC is now a Hawaiian. She has studied Hawaiian healing and culture and feels that it is the time of the world for grandmothers to have some influence in the world. I nodded at the appropriate times and pretended to pay attention to her, but I was really looking over her shoulder and haven’t a clue. NO, she was a pretty interesting lady. Louise is going to be pissed at this, but I don’t think that she is reading it anyway.

We continued on to the advertised waterfalls where a few years ago they had divers that would regularly dive off a cliff into the pool. This has been discontinued due to insurance reasons. Who would have thought that jumping off of a cliff into a shallow pool was dangerous and not just stupid? You can swim in the pool and we thought about it but it didn’t look to be the clear blue water I had hoped for. We did get our picture taken there though. We retraced our steps and went back to the apartment. 

The only other thing of note today is that we went to the beach and watched the sunset. It might have been ho-hum to Hawaii standards, but we just loved it. One thing I noted, was that there were a number of people that were doing the same as we were and they appeared to be locals. Pretty romantic! Thinking back on it, the others might have been homeless people and they were waiting for us to go so they could go to sleep.

Well, aloha from paradise.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

I Guess Everything Tastes Salty To A Shark - Ken

Why did the chicken cross the road?

I guess it is because they came from all over to wake me up at 5:00 AM. Who the hell keeps roosters? There are chickens all over the place. Forget the wild pigs, I am getting concerned about poultry. So you think there are feral chickens? Should I be worried? I am sleeping with one eye open, well, only till 5:00 AM of course.

We drove into town after a leisurely breakfast and checked out the typical tourist shops. I bought a great Quicksilver fall/spring jacket at the Northshore Boardriders store. Eat your heart out Chris. 

I met a US Postal worker named Daniel and had a nice chat with him. I always like to talk to one who understands that the struggle continues when I go to strange places. Only one in uniform understands the pain and suffering we go through to keep people informed. I did that all with a straight face.

We had lunch at a place called Konos. Grilled pastrami and a chocolate shake. Mmmmm…mmmmm good.
Just a little more shopping and then back to the room for a power nap.

We went to the beach for the rest of the afternoon and I was mesmerized by the waves. They are very impressive here. The beach wasn’t terribly crowded, but very nice. The ocean is really salty here. I wonder if there is an ocean that tastes of pepper? There was a bit of a problem however. I heard some yahoo yell out “Hey, look at that whale and his blowhole!” I had him facedown eating sand before I realized that he was talking about a whale in the ocean and not me. Pretty cool to see that massive thing. 

That’s what she said.

Back to the apartment for supper and a shower. Another good, relaxing day in Paradise.…

Just saw a Gecko in the room. I don't hang out in his place, why is he here?

Monday 11 April 2011

Hot bod and Dreads - Ken

In this life we see some beautiful things.
In this life we see some ugly things.
In this life we see some strange things. 

Today I saw a guy about my age with a comb over using one to two inch dreads.
I’m not saying this is wrong..ahhh…yes I am. What is this guy thinking?

Today we bid goodbye to our house in Kailua and hello to our place in Waimea Bay.
The new place is very nice except that there is no air conditioning. I guess we are going to experience the real Hawaii and when we do go home it will be doubly cold.

We are now on the North Shore that is where the pictures of those huge waves with guys and gals surfing inside the curl come from. We didn’t get a chance today to spend much time at the beach, but we will rectify that tomorrow.

I guess there are about eight days left to us in Hawaii and it is time to get down to some serious relaxing. Even the birds don’t fly here. Oh, they can fly, but for some reason they would rather walk. Perhaps there are no natural predators. Whenever I see them I just picture them with a tiny surfboard under their arms and a pair of near worn out flip flops (the locals call them slippahs) strolling to catch the waves. 

Hopefully the fan will keep us cool tonight, if not I might just get a little ugly tomorrow. 

OK, uglier…