Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another centipede!

I am sure you all will get a kick out of this...
We were walking home from dinner on Friday night and I saw something on the sidewalk out of the corner of my eye...It was dark and I thought it was a stick...but I also thought it was moving.
Jason was a few steps in front of me and I saw him take a hop. He turned towards me and I knew what he was looking for...he said don't even turn around. Of course, I did.
And there it was...another GIANT centipede.
He hopped because what I thought was a moving stick, had crawled against his foot....he had on flip flops...and he shook his foot to remove it!
So, now I am having flashbacks! YUCK!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Margaritaville here we come!!

We have Jimmy Buffett tickets! The concert was originally sold out, but we went back on last week and there were some tickets available. So, we got them! Neither of us have ever been to a Buffett concert, but we are very excited. Its at the Waikiki Shell. An outdoor venue. I don't think its a huge place, so we are probably in for a treat! Our anniversary is February 24th and the concert is the 28th, so that's our gift to ourselves. :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Its a small world, after all.

Well, another month has come and gone! We have been here almost two months now. Time is such a funny thing. Somedays is flies and then somedays it goes so slow. We have been making the most of our time here.
Jason had a chance meeting with another Kentuckian. This one actually hit closer to home. He had a meeting at work with the Equal Opportunity Program Manager. The guy (LTC Darren "Stacy" Holbrook) mentioned that he was from KY. So, after the meeting was over, Jason asked where exactly in KY he came from...and you will never guess... Whitesburg! Yes, I know. Jason said he couldn't believe it. He went to Whitesburg High and then graduated from Morehead (Jason, too). He also knew some of Jason's friends and Army buddies from the Morehead days. i.e. Tim Blair and Todd McClean.
Its a small world...even this far from home.
We had a nice relaxing day at the beach on Sunday. We rented umbrellas and chairs from a beach vendor. Not a bad deal actually. They set everything up, including a bucket of ice for your drinks. It was just $20.00 for a half day. We ate a simple lunch from a snack bar and just laid around. The water is still a bit too chilly for me...but Jason went in for a dip.
We have really enjoyed the convenience of walking everywhere. In all of our walking, we have found a nice little beachfront bar/restaurant called RumFire. Its in the Sheraton Waikiki. Somewhat upscale dining, but they have Happy Hour every single day from 5-7. This includes great drink specials, pupu specials, and live music. The best part of the whole thing is the view!!! The bar has floor to ceiling windows on three sides. So, when you look out, you feel as if you are actually on the water. Its a perfect spot to watch the surfers at Waikiki and the sunset. We just love it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Our President's Day was spent at the grocery and then down to Waikiki for snacks at the Yard House & a walk on the beach back to Hale Koa. The beach walk was spent looking for sea glass. We found quite a bit and Jason says he waiting for me to make something fabulous out of it. It is definitely pretty...classic colors of beer bottle brown, clear, and light green. We had fun looking for something other than shells. We stayed on the beach and watched the relaxing. We can't wait for all of you to visit and share some of these experiences with us...;-)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Honolulu Screamer & Bob McCowan

On Sunday, we booked a trip with the Honolulu Screamer!!! a roller coaster on the ocean. We were totally soaked by the time it was over. I would highly recommend this anyone visiting in the future.
The highlight for two UK fans was a chance meeting with a former UK Alum. We were strolling along the marina at Kewalo Basin and stopped at a charter fishing booth. We happened to notice several UK stickers among the Polaroids of fishermen with their catch. We were looking around when the Captain stepped off of his boat. He asked if we needed anything and we said that we noticed the UK stickers. He said he graduated from UK in 1973.
So after his introduction, he told us that he used to play basketball for Adolph Rupp. His name is Bob McCowan. He said that he was a starting point guard for UK.
We were totally amazed to have run into him...and then just like any nice fellow, he told us we were welcome on his boat for a visit and conversation anytime. He was happy to see two more UK Alum and offered to introduce us to all of his friends.
We told him we would love to stop back by for a visit. We really enjoyed meeting him and seeing his big BLUE boat.So, hopefully a future blog will be about our trip back down to the Blue Nun Sport Fishing boat to hang with Captain Bob on his sea vessel, the Blue Nun Too.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Well, Jason and I had a great Valentine's Day here in Honolulu. He didn't work Friday and he also has Monday off thanks to President's its doubly great!

Friday night we spent rambling around the Waikiki area. We visited a few restaurants and window shopped. And then on Saturday, Valentine's Day, Jason surprised me with a dinner cruise aboard the Ali'i Kai. We had lots of fun!! We got a new perspective of Honolulu from the water. There were Hula dancers and all!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Home Sweet Hawaii

Ok, so Jason got home from Kansas City a week ago. We were both glad that he was back. I spent my week cleaning, going to the dentist, and I made a trip to the movies.

But everything went well with was really cold. His face was chapped from jogging in the cold air...bless his heart.

We are in the process of buying a car. We found a slightly used Jeep Liberty on Craigs List. After researching it, we think its a really good deal.

If you have noticed, I have a lot of posts on the blog that seem "old". Yes, I wrote them but didn't publish them right away. I was trying to find a good blog site to hopefully this one works out.

We finally bought snorkel sets this week. But we have yet to go out and use them. I have only been in the ocean up to my thighs...its a little chilly right now. And we have been here a month and I still don't have a tan. A little disappointing, I know.

Maybe this weekend we will get a chance to go to the beach again.

The Pro Bowl is here this weekend...We don't have any intentions of going, but its all over the TV and radio. So, I am sure its a good time.

Have a good evening!

The State of the State

Well Jason is off to Kansas City. Three weeks here and he has to go back to the mainland. Its supposed to be super cold there! He isn't really looking forward to it and neither am I. I would prefer to not be alone and he doesn't feel like flying all day again. But, the job is the boss.

On another note, the Governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, gave her State of the State address.

The main topics were about energy consumption and the Ceded Lands. She says that Hawaii is the nation's most oil dependent state...220,000 barrels per year with a cost of 700 Billion dollars. WOW! Could not believe it! But there are tons of cars, trucks, and planes here. Not to mention tiki torches...not just any tiki torches...these are connected to gas lines at nearly every restaurant and bar in view. They just flip a switch and they run much like a gas fireplace. No citronella. The positive here is that there are already windmills, solar, and geothermal power sources in the works. There is a huge wind farm and alot of the houses have two or three solar panels on the roof...and they are investing the geothermal sources. She also talked about Hawaii's food imports. 85% of the food consumed here is imported. She stressed the importance of consuming locally grown food money and sustain local farmers. Then there was the highway modernization plan...there is a huge traffic problem on Oahu. This is a six year plan to update the highways and do more planning. Its a mess at rush hour. It was interesting to see a new state government at work and we find ourselves intrigued at to what is to come. I think the State of the State pertains mostly to Oahu...Honolulu...the most inhabited Hawaiian island. Until we meet again...


The military is everywhere here...not that I mind. I think some people do...but what are ya gonna do?

There is Fort Shafter, Schofield Barracks, and Tripler...all Army. Then we have the Kaneohe Marine Corp Base, Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hickam Airforce Base, and the Coast Guard is here too.

The military is the largest employer in Hawaii, so I guess its not necessarily a bad thing. And then you have to think of all the civilians that work on base too. Pretty widescale.

Did I mention that we feel really safe here?

We do most of our shopping at the Naval Exchange. Its awesome! Cheaper than local grocery stores and tax free. We can't beat it!

So, this is kind of funny...On the TV guide channel there is always some background music playing as the channel listings scroll up...our favorite by far is a Hawaiian version of Country Roads. Jason and I sing the original because we can't really understand the lyrics, but we keep trying...I will google and see if I can find and post the lyrics.

We have been watching all of the people out in the ocean trying to surf. There aren't huge waves on this side of the island right now, but they sit out there all day and wait. Its fun to watch.

Fireworks anyone?

Ok, so we have made our way several times down to the Waikiki area. Mainly because Hale Koa(the military resort) is there. We can't believe the people and shops! All of those fancy stores in the mall have stores at Waikiki...2 miles away! Coach, Verace, Armani, etc. There are so many people there! Just out of curiosity, who has been to Gatlinburg in July? Swarms of people...walking, shopping, eating! Hello, this is a ramped up Gatlinburg. Its beautiful and fancy, but super January. I wonder what the summer will bring.

So, one thing that throws us for a loop is the use and love of fireworks. All of the time! Every Friday night, as a matter of fact. Apparently the Chinese here consider it a cultural thing and they shoot off fireworks all of the time. That's another issue in the news, laws affecting the personal use of fireworks. Chinese influence is big...considering there is a Chinatown here...and they are none too happy with the possibility of not being able to shoot off their fireworks. Of course the laws are only being discussed for the safety and protection of the people.

This leads me to the Wal-Mart ad in the newspaper...Get all of your supplies for Chinese New Year at Wal-Mart. Not used to that, but we are adjusting...but it does explain some things. Aren't most things at Wal-Mart made in China? Teehee...

Fun, Fun, Fun

Well, we finally made to Ala Moana center. Its huge! Apparently its the largest open air mall in the world. Yes, when you are inside the mall, you are still outside! You can see the sky and potentially get rained on. Each store has its own set of, if it rains, they are protected. This mall has super high-end stores. I don't feel worthy of window shopping at some of them. Versace, Ferragamo, Betsey Johnson, Gucci, Coach, Chanel, Armani, etc. I stick to what I know...Macy's, Nordstrom, and Sears...heheh! No, I haven't actually shopped much...just wondered around. The Sears has a whole Hawaiian attire would be equivalent to all of the UK clothes sections in stores back home. Its awesome!

We also made it to the movies. Consolidated Theaters...entertaining Hawaii since 1917. There is a 16 cinema in walking distance from our condo. The cool part is that they sell toasted nuts and fresh fruit in addition to all of the normal movie snacks. When was the last time you went to the movies and ordered warm cinnamon sugar macadamia nuts or a chocolate dipped frozed banana?? OH YUM! Of course, they do have just plain old apples and oranges, but I had to splurge a little on the chocolate banana.

Not far from the movies is a Dave & Busters. For those of you who don't know, its an adult version of Chuck E Cheese.This place is huge...three stories! Hawaii has no legalized gambling, so this is the closest you can get...playing ski ball for a stuffed animal. Did I mention that Hawaiians love to gamble? They consider Las Vegas the 9th Island. We see and hear about this constantly on TV. Its the top travel destination for Hawaiians...Especially a place called The California Hotel. Who knew?

Very Interesting

One thing I have wanted to mention, but have hesitated to, is the number of homeless people here. But I will give them credit, if I were going to be homeless, why not do it paradise...right?The public parks are full of homeless camps and you can spot tents and make-shift shelters along the roads and under the bridges and overpasses. Its frequently discussed on the news...its a big issue. They are constantly making and changing laws that affect the enacting curfews on the parks at night in hopes that they won't camp there...and they have been trying to open more shelters. Its sad but its a fact...

We have been learning about the surf warnings and jellyfish warnings for our area beaches. Apparently jellyfish show up every month without fail, 10-12 days after the full moon. I think they come out for romance. So, the lifeguards automatically post warning signs as soon as the first one is spotted. Great...something else to be scared of...I think I may find a full body chain maille suit. That would protect me from sharks and jellyfish!!

We have also been able to start understanding the peaceful protests that take place here. Native Hawaiians aren't thrilled with being a state and they are very protective of the ceded lands. There are organized protests at the Iolani Palace and at some of the parks nearly every weekend. Its a little unnerving in my mind...a peaceful protest is a protest nonetheless. I feel awkward when I see the Hawaiian flag flying upside down and hear the chants and see the signs. I have been trying to read more about I will fill you in...or you can research it as well.


Out & About

Well, we finally made a trip halfway around the island. It was absolutely beautiful! We are still in shock a bit that such a large city is sitting right on the coast, but as we traveled around the island, it was more residental and less busy.There were so many places to stop and stare. Overlooks and beaches. Beautiful! Getting closer to the North Shore, there were huge mountains and plantation areas. We stopped and had lunch from a shrimp truck. We were thinking fresh caught shrimp, yum!! But they are farm raised...right there next to the coast....big shrimp farms. But they were good nonetheless. We got to see some big pipeline waves...but huge water. We couldn't believe our eyes. Waves crashing one after another, big waves. The bigger the waves, the more the spectators cheered. It was great! There was also a lifeguard with a megaphone telling us to stay back from the shore for our own safety. He said that the water was unpredictable and dangerous...Coming home from our trip, we came through the center of the island on one of the freeways. We passed the turn off for Dole and there were lots of agricultural areas. I was a bit surprised that the freeway was so big! 6 lanes in one direction...what??? I surely wasn't expecting that. Hopefully soon we will get to finish our trip around the island and see the rest of the sights here...but why the rush...we're gonna be here a while.:)

Aloha and Mahalo

Aloha! Did you know that Aloha means "hello" and "goodbye"? Just depends on the context you are using it in. Also, Mahalo, means "thank you". We are slowly but surely learning all of these little things. Like the written Hawaiian alphabet uses only 13 letters...5 vowels and 7 consonants and let's not forget the ( ' ). Native Hawaiians speak Pidgin...we haven't heard much of this, but there are heavy accents around here. Jason and I have had lots of fun learning to properly pronounce street names...we still aren't sure we say things right until we hear someone else say it. How would you pronounce Nuuanu? Well, it goes like this...Nu-oo-ah-nu. Let's try another...Piikoi. Pee-ee-koi Make sure you say the center syllable really fast.

But, you won't believe how many people ask where we are from. They catch a heavy Southern drawl. Some think Alabama and others think North Carolina...but they always give the nod of understanding when we say Kentucky.We have been spending some time getting familiar with our area. We have found several restaurants we really enjoy. Ryan', not the chain restaurant...Wahoo's Fish Tacos...Islands Bar & Grill. We have a pretty good idea of when Happy Hours are at each of these. It makes for much cheaper dining. The "Pupus" are usually half price and there are some drink specials at each, as well. Like I have said earlier, there is a HUGE Asian influence here. So, the appetizers are called pupu and almost every menu has spring rolls, lettuce cups, potstickers, and sushi on it. But there are the old faithful appetizers...onion rings, wings, sliders, and nachos. Something for everyone! We have had some really interesting and delicious food since arriving.

Jason's work is going well. He has a short commute to his office on Ft. Shafter. I think its about 7 miles, but it takes around 30 minutes for him to get there from here during rush hour. Sometimes its a little longer in the evenings. He is still learning his way through his new job, but he is enjoying it. Hope all is well...

So much to see

Well, here I sit again. There are so many things to tell you about I am not sure where to start. Jason and I got all of our things neatly placed into our condo. We were very worried about havingenough room for our furniture, but it is all in with room to spare. We love our condo. Its very convenient to just everything. Shopping, restaurants, movies, the beach...we surelucked out!

We are still learning our way around and we haven't gotten to see alot yet, but hopefully we will venture outsoon. Moving is such a hassle! Especially to a new state...there are so many things to do...change our address, registerthe car, find the grocery stores and gas!

I know most of you are in the midst of winter, but we are here too. The news keeps talking about winter storms. In translation, high winds, cooler temps, and rain! YUCK! Kind of reminds me of spring in Kentucky.

It gets dark about 7 around here and the sun rises somewhere between 6-7AM. But we will eventually get longer days...can't wait for that!

We saw a whale out the front window of our condo the other day. We couldn't believe it! We could see sprays of water coming out of its blow hole and big tail flaps. We confirmed this with our binoculars. Its whale season here...they come to the islands to calve from January to March. I think the other islands get more whale action and other parts of Oahu see more than here where we are.

From the window we can also see the Honolulu shares runways with Hickam Airforce Base. So, we are constantly seeing a mix of commercial airliners and military aircraft taking off. I LOVE watching the military jets take off! They are almost always in pairs and I am totally amazed at their speed and sound. WOW! We see lots of ships and submarines as well. There are cargo/container ships, military ships, military and tourist submarines...and let's not forget all of the personal watercraft...sailboats, speedboats, and canoes.Sometimes I look out and all I can think of is the game of "Battleship". We also love to watch the longboat rowing teams. Its so cool to see them glide through the water...they are out past the surf where its calm.


In the beginning...

So, here we find ourselves in Honolulu, Hawaii. Its definitely a long way from home...and the culture is much different, as well.We arrived safe and sound to this bustling metropolis on the beach, January 2. Jason's boss and his wife (Fred & Donna) met us at the airport with smiles and leis. We got a true Hawaiian welcome. They continued their hospitality throughout our first weekend here.We were treated to a guided tour around base, lunch, and a home-cooked meal at their house. It was a great way to get introduced to our new home.We spent our first few nights on Tripler. The accomodations were a little sub-par and I won't even rehash the experience with the centipede. But we quickly found a beautiful condo overlooking the Ala Moana/Ward area of Honolulu, not to mention panoramic views of the Pacific coast. We can see the airport, several harbors, and as far as the eye can see over the ocean. We learned quickly that there is a huge Asian influence here. Its only polite to take your shoes off at someone's front door and we never go out without seeing a noodle house or sushi restaurant. We are still getting adjusted to our new surroundings, but so far so good.