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Aloha World

Honolulu, Hawaii

Hello all,

After a few technical hiccups my blog is working at last thanks largely to my friend Oliver. If you are interested in building a website and populating it with some apps written in Python check out the tutorials at his website: http://www.oliverelliott.org/. His blog is far superior to mine. Unfortunately, although the infrastructure for posting images exists, there are still issues with making them visible to the public, so I will post select pics to Flickr for now. My apologies for all the hiccups but I put all this together while in the midst of moving out of my apartment, going to graduation ceremonies, partaking in celebrations and farewells, wrapping up remaining research work, and finalizing the travel plans; so, please forgive the simplicity. I hope you enjoy the content.

Now for the fun stuff!

I am starting my month of adventures in Hawaii. Day 1: After eleven hours on an airplane I arrived mid afternoon and was graciously picked up at the airport by my host. It was too late to do any nature walks or visit the museums, but I was excited to make the most of my time here, so I quickly changed into shorts, grabbed my camera and went to downtown Waikiki. There I walked along the boardwalk at Waikiki Bay taking endless photos of the palm trees, the ocean, and all the people relaxing on the beach and doing watersports. I stayed there until sunset taking in the beauty, snapping photos, all while a light rain started to come down and just as suddenly passed. When it became dark I walked around the downtown, passing through streets filled palm trees and lit with torches, bustling with people from all over the world, not unlike a busy street in New York City. Hawaii is a melting pot of American and East Asian cultures!

Finally, I stopped at the International Marketplace went to the food court and settled down with a big bowl of pho. After eating I began to feel the six-hour time difference between here and the Big Apple, and it was time to go home and pass out. Maybe I had a kanack attack.

Day 2:
I took the bus to the Koko Crater Trail and went on a hike. It was not a very long trail but it went directly up a tuff cone along abandoned railroad tracks. Imagine climbing up the stairs of the Empire State Building … it was hot and physically demanding. But then it was no Masada. Now that was a tough climb! As with any difficult trek up a small mountain the views at the top were breathtaking. I could even see some of the other Hawaiian Islands from the top. Once again I sat down and took in the beauty. I did not have my DSLR as I decided carrying it was too much of a hassle, but many a cellphone photo was taken.

Next, I went to Haunama Bay and snorkeled for the first time. The people at the rental stand assured me it was easy to pick up, but a high tide was coming in and I was worried. I started carefully near the shoreline trying to figure out how to use the gear and avoid taking in big gulps of water. After about ten minutes I had the hang of it, but there were no fish. For a while I thought I would have to tell people I went snorkeling and saw nothing. I wondered if I had gotten the wrong prescription for my goggles. Then I found the other snorkelers further out in the water away from shore. Not very far away (mom and dad!) but I had been practicing close to the shore and there were no rocks for the fish to inhabit. I began to see a few fish, followed by more, and more, and suddenly all I could do was look. There were fish of every size, shape, pattern and color imaginable. I saw schools of fish swimming together, and individual larger fish picking food off rocks. They were in every corner, moving effortlessly through the water, sometimes letting the tide move them forward, sometimes swimming against it. What I saw is beyond words. I suddenly wished I knew more about fish so that I could know what I was seeing. If wishes were fishes, right? And there were corals as well. Two to be exact, and I couldn’t find them again after that first time, but they were there, different in both color and shape. Very quickly I forgot all about my fear and let fascination carry me through the water, coming up only on occasion to make sure I hadn’t been carried too far from land. I did not leave until my mouth had become tired from holding the mouthpiece, and even then with reluctance. I can get used to looking at fish all day.

Finally, exhausted from hiking, swimming, and being baked by the sun all day I took the bus to the Ala Moana shopping center to get some grinds. On recommendation from Mary, an expert on all things Oahu, I picked up a poke bowl with ahi and scallops from Hokkaido, Japan, and some mochi ice cream for dessert. It was ono! Tired, full, and happy I made my way to the bus stop and returned home.

Tomorrow’s adventure – the Polynesian Cultural Center! Stay tuned.



PS: Link to Flickr pics coming soon. Need sleep now.

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