Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day, 2016

Man!  Does time ever fly when you're old!  Can't believe it's Memorial Day again!  A foursome of F-22 Raptors got our attention this morning as they performed a missing man formation flyover above the ceremonies at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.   It's located only about a mile from our building, in an extinct volcanic crater known as the Punchbowl, so the low altitude flyover rocked the downtown Honolulu area.

Another annual Memorial Day event is the lantern float, held at Ala Moana Beach Park at dusk.  Officials expect fifty-thousand attendees this year.  I've posted about this event previously, so if you're interested in seeing those photos, just enter the words, lantern float, in the search box.

About noon today, with camera in-hand, I made my annual jog up the very steep streets to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific to reflect on the sacrifices of those buried there and take some photos to share with you.

The goal:  the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.  Visitors are greeted by this gigantic flag located at the beginning of a beautiful avenue lined with giant shade trees.

Just outside punchbowl, several enterprising people had set-up flower stands to serve visitors.

Flags line the drive up to the cemetery.  That's Waikiki in the lower left background.

Made it!  The run up here is taxing to put it mildly.  My normal jogging route is basically flat, so this is a challenge.

Scenes like this really tug on the old heart strings.  Wives, husbands, kids and grand kids honoring their fallen loved ones.  I've said many times how serene and restful this place is, even with huge crowds on special days.

Walking among the endless graves, sometimes I'm stopped in my tracks.  Such was the case here.  Made me think about where we are, and the drastic event that changed the world that fateful day.

Another couple placing flowers on a grave.  I often wonder how are visitors are related, or connected to the person they are honoring.  The stories must be endlessly interesting, but I've always respected their privacy.

Those who died so close to the end of the war really get to me.  In this case, roughly three months prior to the end of the war in the Pacific.  I cannot imagine how devastating this must have been to this young man's family and friends.

View of the main tree-lined boulevard, looking toward the entrance.  Today's ceremony was held beneath that canopy in the foreground.  Flags from every state line the staircase.

A gigantic statue of Columbia watches over the cemetery.  The halls to the left and right hold large mosaic maps of every major campaign of the Pacific theater of war.

At the beginning of the staircase leading to the Columbia statue, this plaque is located. 

Courtesy of KITV Channel 4 news, a Navy bugler plays taps during the ceremony this morning.

Not far outside the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, on the north slope of punchbowl crater, this cemetery can be found.  What a contrast!  Several cemeteries on O'ahu are in similar condition.  I have no info on how old this is, or the name, however several graves had fresh flowers so it is still visited.

On my way down the crater, I was struck by the tenacity with which this huge tree clings to the edge of the slope.

A tall papaya tree living between homes on the slope, loaded with fruit, caught my eye on the way home.  Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

Bougainvillea and plumeria growing together.

Finally, a panorama of the lanai view taken this morning.  You've gotta click on this! 

Hope you all had a nice weekend and Memorial Day holiday.


Monday, May 23, 2016

The Early Bird Catches The Full Moon

It's true.  I awoke just before five AM a few days ago and as this tired old fellow staggered toward the kitchen, a spectacular view of the full moon and it's reflection across the ocean stopped me cold.  Wel-l-l, "cold" isn't a particularly accurate term, so let me say I was stunned.  Yeah, that's better.

Back in "older posts" I'm pretty sure there are photos documenting another such occurrence, but I'll spare you the effort finding it.  So, here's what I saw, and to prove how "not cold" it was, the photos were taken on the lanai in my night shirt and boxer shorts.  Okay, probably too much information, but I cannot adequately describe how nice it is to walk out on a lanai before dawn, nearly four hundred feet above the ground, and be perfectly comfortable . :)  Take a look:

Wow!  The full moon was so bright, it looked like day on the lanai.  The light on the harbor and ocean beyond was equally impressive.

Same scene, zoomed-out to get that bright moon in the image.

Zoomed back in, you can see an aircraft approaching the airport.  It's the white line, caused by the longer exposure time to get the photo.  The ship anchored off Sand Island is the tanker, Libya.

The moon that morning.  Click on this image for a closer look at the curious crater located lower left center.  To this observer, that crater makes the moon look like an orange or clementine without the color.

On a more colorful note...Last Friday, we spent the sunset hour enjoying the company of friends, Sally and Merrilee, while sipping drinks at the Halekulani "House Without A Key".  The occasion was Merrilee's return to her former home for a five-week visit.  The beach-side setting, the view of  Diamond Head, the trio playing classic Hawaiian songs and best of all, lovely Kanoe Miller performing her elegant hula dances combine to makes this place extra-special.

Our view from the 39th-floor elevator lobby that late afternoon as we headed out.  A rainbow over the Ko'olau Range to our northeast was a good omen of things to come!

Our friend and long-time resident of Hawaii, Ms Sally Stevens, enjoys the show.

Merrilee and Kanoe.  Merrilee and her husband loved sunset at the Halekulani during their twenty-five years living here, and Kanoe made a point of stopping by to chat with her.  Merrilee was overwhelmed with wonderful memories and teared-up with joy.

Kanoe performing.  She has a one-of-a-kind personality and stage presence which has never lost it's magic and appeal.  The crowd is filled with people who have been enthralled with her for many years, including us!  She's simply The Best!

Kanoe and Merrilee enjoying memories.  Between dances, Kanoe circulates among the adoring crowd, making each of us feel special.  It's her most special talent, among many.

A costume change and the show continues.

Is it just me, or does this cloud look like a giant surfboard?

A catamaran filled with visitors on a sunset cruise off Waikiki Beach came by to enjoy the music and dancing.

Thanks, Kanoe! 

That's it for today.  Have a good week everyone!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Laundry Day And A Sunset

A socially-conscious post today.  Most cities in the U.S. are facing an extremely challenging problem, namely, homelessness.  Honolulu is not immune to this problem, despite being located in "paradise".  In fact, Hawaii has the nation's highest per-capita number of homeless people. 

Yesterday, while taking the sunset photos you'll see later, I looked down on the park across the street and noticed a homeless woman doing her family's laundry in a couple of plastic buckets.  There are two families living in the park by day, packing-up all their belongings and moving onto the nearby sidewalk for the night.  They have young children, too.  The kids are not in any kind of school and can be seen sleeping or playing during the day.

Since I have no "magic bullet" solution to this chronic problem, there will be no sermon today.  I just wanted to share a glimpse into the world of families living on our streets.  Hope you're lucky enough to have a home of some kind and have, at least a bit of empathy for those not so lucky.

This is the public park across Beretania Street from our building.  You can see the two encampments of homeless families on each end of the basketball court.  Clicking on the image will allow you to have a closer look at their world.

A homeless woman does the laundry on Monday.  I have no idea why Monday was laundry day in Battle Creek, Michigan, but as a kid, I took for granted that the whole world did laundry on Monday.  You can see the two plastic buckets she's using:  one for "wash", the other for "rinse".  The fence is her clothesline and the trade winds her dryer.

Believe it or not, before park closing time, this family will pack-up everything, clean the area and move to the sidewalk to spend the night.  It's no wonder we see homeless people sleeping during the day.  I'm sure they're awake much of the night, keeping watch over their belongings and each other until another dawn breaks.  Imagine having to go to work, or school, after nights like that.

From our perch in the sky, it sure does look like paradise, especially at sunset.

What can I say.  How 'bout--how lucky we are to be here, instead of in the park.  Luck, hard work, fate, whimsy...At my advanced age, I still have no real idea why, or how, we end-up as we do.  That uncertainty keeps me humble, sympathetic and understanding of those without a place to call home.

The sun is about to dip beneath the crest of the Waianae Range. 

Have a nice evening everybody, and count your blessings each-and-every day!


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Photos Of The Day

Time for a bit of beauty!  The always beautiful Pacific Ocean was particularly gorgeous this morning, as were the clouds at sunset yesterday.  Take a look:

The late morning sun highlighted the turquoise-colored water not far off Sand Island.  The tall ship in the lower foreground is the Japanese training ship, Kaiwo Maru.  She arrived a couple days ago for a short visit to Honolulu.  The student-trainees, as well as, the instructors and seasoned crew members are probably having a wonderful liberty on the town.  For additional photos of the ship, just type "Kaiwo Maru" in the search box.  If it works correctly, you should be able to see posts covering her previous visits.

A sailboat enjoys a leisurely Sunday at sea.  And what a spectacular sea it is!

A zoomed photo of the ship.

The clouds illuminated by the setting sun yesterday evening.  You know how some photos make the sky seem BIG.  This image--and seeing it in person--seemed like that--REALLY BIG.

The golden clouds turned pink as evening fell over Honolulu.

Hope you all had a good weekend and may the coming week treat you kindly.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Just Two Blocks Away

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's that time of year again, when the world-famous, Corpse Flower, decides to bloom.  The giant, smelly plant specimen is located a mere two blocks from our building, at the Foster Botanical Garden, which we visited during a vacation back in 2011.  That blog post can be found by typing the garden name in the search window.

Lucky for us, it wasn't in bloom during our visit.  A plant with a flower described as smelling, "like rotting flesh", doesn't make us want to rush out to see, or sniff it.  Happily, local TV channel 8, featured a story on the flower and since our TV doesn't have "smell-o-vision", it was safe to watch.

My thanks to "Hawaii News Now", which gets total credit for the story and video:

Funny how we are drawn to something we may find revolting.

Another brave young woman samples the "perfume".  If you click on the link above, among other things you'll learn about this most curious plant, is that the "aroma" helps attract a beetle which dines on dead animals and flesh flies, also carrion eaters.  Both of these visitors pollinate the plant searching for that tasty rotting flesh! 

Stinky, but spectacular.

This gentleman spoke to an interviewer after sampling the scent, saying, "It didn't smell too bad.".  "Sort of like a wet fern", was how he described it.  I wonder if he was having some fun with viewers who may now visit the garden and be in for a bad surprise.

I should mention that the trade winds don't bring the aroma our way.  We got lucky living on the ocean side of the building!

That's if for now.  Hope you all have a nice, fragrant weekend! :)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Quick Post

Having guests for dinner soon, so not a lot of time to babble on about the portrait of Mr. Parviz Samiee. 

It's still oil on canvas, 14 x 11-inches and "almost" finished.  I'll let it rest for a couple of days and see if any glaring errors jump out at me.

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Something You Don't See Every Day

Besides my paintings. :)  We watched a fairly large cargo ship moving to Pier-10 on April 29th, and a closer look with binoculars revealed the deck was crammed with other boats!  This was a first for us since moving here and we were eager to see what happened next.

Almost immediately after tying-up, the crew began preparing to crane one of the larger vessels into the water.  What fun to watch this slow and careful process.  As you would expect, I grabbed the camera to record and share this most interesting experience.  Take a look, and click on any of the photos for a zoomed view.

This is the Chipolbrok Cosmos being nudged up the pier by two tugs.  That big, red crane in the lower right is working on pier restoration and construction and NOT there to off-load the ship's cargo.

At first look, it's a bit difficult to make out the various ships secured to the deck.  With the binoculars, and after two were craned to the water, we determined there were seven vessels on board.  What a skillful parking job by the crew!

Here, the dock workers and ship's crew are working to secure the ship.

Showtime!  You can see the first off-load is underway with the ship supported by two slings and off the deck.  The process seemed painstakingly slow, which, in this case, is a very good thing.

In this image, you can get a sense of just how many of those yellow straps were used to secure the blue fishing boat to the deck.

Workers (in orange) in this photo helped us realize the first off-load was no toy boat.

Just about at touchdown.  That yellow zodiac-style boat is one of two used by Harbor Pilots.  Our guess was one or more of the pilots came over to have a look at the lifts.

The lift straps are free, the ship isn't taking on any water and soon was moving under its own power to a berth close by.  The crew did off-load a smaller vessel next, and before we knew it, the "mother ship" was gone.  Like the title says, it's not something you see every day!

Hope you're all having an excellent weekend!