Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Almost back to the real world.

I am having a lovely time right now. I am at a resort in Kaapaa Kuai. It is gorgeous, the company has pulled out all of the stops for our last two nights on the islands. Until now the accomodations have been budget. Not bad or anything but not luxurious. This however is off the hook. Spacious rooms, pools with pool bars, saunas, amazing gardens and a private beach. I spent today just swimming in the surf and lounging by the pool. I really want to stay forever. OK not really I am glad to be going home to the wife and kids but I am going to miss Hawaii.

I am already plotting how I am going to bring them here for vacation. Maybe next April when the humpbacks are here, bring my little girl to swim with me in the sea, my son to explore the volcanoes and lava caves, and my wife to romance in the warm tropical nights. I so badly want to share all of the adventures and experiences I have had here with them.

I am going to miss so many of the things that have become staples of my life while I have been here. Lions blend coffee, Rice with every breakfast (although that is something I will start doing at home.) Plate lunches, the fresh fruit, being able to buy liquor at Seven Eleven which is like a dream of my youth come true, it is so satisfying to be able to buy a Slurpee and a little bottle of rum to put in it. Swimming in the ocean before breakfast, convenience store musubu, (musubu is a dish something like sushi, rice rolled in nori but without the vinegar and spam or teriaki chicken instead of fish, it is so good and is in every convenience store like breakfast burritos are around my home.) I am going to miss poke, I had never had poke before and am now an adict. I am a big raw fish eater anyway sushi, sashimi and carpachio, but they pale before poke. It is the king of fish dishes. Tonight I had Ahi/Wasabi poke and fresh papaya for dinner, with lemon squeezed over both and a little ice cold white wine. Absolutely nuts and under ten bucks

I am going to miss the birds flying in every building because nowhere bothers with doors, I am going to miss the peacefull tranquility of the nights which exists even in the middle of crowded Waikiki.

I have one more day of work tomorrow and one more night here then I fly home. I will be glad to see the family and share my pictures and stories, and remind my wife how much I love her, sadly I only have two days to catch up before I am off again for a week in eastern Washington. After that however I have a week off, I will be home in time for my sons birthday and then have ten days before I travel again. To Idaho this time I think.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

City Mouse/Country Mouse

I have always thought of Hawaii as being a single place. Intellectually I knew that it had regions and variations just like everywhere else, but emotionally I thought it was just one homogenous paradise. I have learned otherwise, each island and even diffferent parts of each island has its own character, also it is a personal distinction as well because the things I experienced on those islands has influenced my opinion.

The Big Island is very much a paradise, it is guiet and relaxing especially the Hilo side. Even the tourist areas on the Kona side seemed laid back and mellow. It is the kind of place where you want to sip Mai Tais and listen to Reggae. Mauii is also pastoral but higher energy. It is such a beautiful place, the prettiest island I have seen so far and it seems to call out to me to surf and hike and swim and experience. Now I am in Oahu and it is very urban. City with the capital C. Here in Honolulu it is a tourist city like Vegas and it is full of energy, bars, shops, dance clubs,resteraunts, theme parks, museums, malls, strippers, hookers, drug dealers and all of the other trappings of a tourist economy. By day the beaches are crowded but fun, by night it is an open party.

It is also expensive. My first week here I was wondering why people said Hawaii was expensive. I was eating great food and doing as I pleased for next to nothing, easily staying under my per diem. Now I know what they are talking about Waikiki beach is one pricey outing after another. There are good deals if you look and placs where you can haggle, but still not affordable overall, at least if you are looking for adventure.

To show you what I mean about the difference between city and country Hawaii here are two pictures the first is a beach in Mauii the second is Waikiki beach in Honolulu.



These two pictures sum how I feel about the two different experiences. Of course other people may have entirely different observations.

Sunday, August 16, 2009



I am sorry for not having posted lately. I have been both busy and without internet access. The hotels my company has set me up in while nice enough do not have free Wi-Fi and access is on the order of twelve bucks a day. I am finally in Honolulu and in a hotel with free internet so I will be posting when I can.

The picture above is of a place called Huggos on the Rocks. My co workers and I went on a bit of a pub crawl in Kona and this was one of the places we ended up in. I watched a Luau at the King Kamehameha hotel and swam in the Hawaiian end of the Pacific for the first time. I also found some excellent live blues.

This trip was my first time flying over the ocean and it was also the largest jet I have ever been on. I love to fly and every time I do I am impressed with the ability of this little tube with wings to hold itself aloft. Intellectually I understand it very well but I am still awestruck. I find that I do have the capacity for faith. When I fly I never worry that the plane will crash or that something will not work. I have complete faith in the technology and its implementation. Not that I think it can not fail, just that knowing how it works and seeing it work fills me with confidence. Were I ignorant of physics or engineering I could see myself being afraid of flying. Were I from a primitive culture that had never seen such things I could see myself cowering in fear of this terrible thing and the mysterious magic that made it fly. It seems that I can easily put faith in something I can see and describe. It is only those things that can not be seen or described that defy my ability to have faith.

After leaving the big island we travelled to Mauii. We did a few days work and then had a few days off. Yesterday a group of co-workers and I went out seeking adventure and adventure is what we found. First we took a snorkeling cruise to the Molokini crater. It was insanely fun. The seas were calm and the weather amazing. The crew provided us with an excellent lunch and an open bar making it a happy sail in and of itself, but the best part was the snorkeling. The reef was full of brightly colored fish yellow tang, parrot fish and many others. I was chasing a parrot fish about when a large shape caught my eye. I turned and saw a large knifelike fish swimming back and forth about ten feet down. I looked closer and realized I was swimming with a shark. A whitetip, they are not known to be aggressive towards humans but I was still impressed with its appearence of grace and power. After snorkeling we returned to Mauii and on the way we saw a gian sea turtle off the bow of the ship. I was too slow to get a picture, sadly.

Then we went to big beach right at high tide. At first we just played in the surf getting tossed around but after a time we got more seriouse. One of my team has done some surfing and she taught us how to paddle in to the crest of the wave and body surf in. THAT WAS AMAZING. Sooon we were perfecting our skills and riding high. One wave a very big one caught me up and I was right on the crest. Having taken a beating on a few other big waves I thought I would protect my limbs and tuck into a ball. DON"T EVER DO THIS! The wave sent me spinning exactly as if I were a beach ball and tossed me shoulder first into the beach very hard. I got up holding my bruised ribs and saw some perfectly stereotypical Japanese tourists pointing at me and taking pictures.

We decided that now we wanted some nightlife. After returning to the hotel for changes and showers the ladies decided they wanted to Kareoke. We asked the lady at the hotel and got directions to what was supposed to be a good place but when we arrived they had a band that evening. We set out exploring to find another. Shortly after we saw a little bar in an overpark with a big sign advertising Kareoke night. "Yeah!" we thought and went in. It took me all of two seconds to realize we had found ourselves in a hostess bar, and not a discrete gentelmans club either but basically a house of prostitution. My co workers being all in their early twenties were not so astute. The girls figured it out first after noticing all of the unattached women who were not pleased to see them. The guys were obliviouse until the girls explained it to them. I bought our girls some drinks because they weren't allowed to stay if they weren't drinking and then put my very limited Japanese language skills to work explaining that we really just wanted to sing. This was not very welcome news to the hostesses and one made it very clear that for twenty dollars I could have oral sex in the back room. I politely declined but that made us even less welcome and we were starting to think we should leave. Fortunately our songs cued up. I won us some goodwill and applause with a pretty decent and over the top rendition of heartbreak hotel. When I was finished we had gone from unwelcome to tolerated. The rest of the team took their turns and we were having a good time but the clincher, that made friends of our hostesses was when one of the women on my team took the mike. She had the voice of a goddesss. It was as if the simple little kareoke tune sprang to life and grew wings. The whole club including the other patrons were struck dumb and enraptured. When the song ended the applause was overwhelming and we were no longer ignorant gaijin intruders but welcome guests.

Yesterday was one of the best days of my life. adventure, friendship, beauty and comedy all in one wonderful day. Each island has brought new sorts of experiences and I still have two weeks and two islands to go. I can't wait to see what else awaits me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Lately I have been engaging in several discussions about why the Christian god is evil and offends my sense of morality. The Yahwheh of the old testament is an easy mark, clearly a wicked, petty, tantrum throwing, weasel. However it is harder to explain what is wrong with the new testament with its message of forgiveness and salvation. On the surface it seems nice enough. I have talked about it before many times but few Christians seem to get the point I am trying to make about why salvation through grace is an evil doctrine.

Dark Matter has a new video which may explain it better than words can. This is how Christian justice appears to many of us who do not practice the religion. Despite all of the apologetics and scripture quoting I have been subjected to I have yet to hear anything that contradicts this portrayal.