California – Last Day of Trip – Part II

los-angeles-a1

We are now heading up to Los Angeles, for a short look around before heading off to dinner.  Here is downtown as we approach on the freeway.

los-angeles-a2

Ahh, the old Transamerica building no longer has the T but USC on the side.

los-angeles-a3

My office was on the second floor – it was fun when they were making movies or tv shows below on the first floor.  I remember them standing on this balcony shaking shaved plastic down on Cagney and Lacy with them standing in winter coats in the middle of summer in the heat.  How did they not sweat?

An interesting structure – los-angeles-a4

We parked and walked in and around Union Station.

los-angeles-a5

los-angeles-a6

los-angeles-a7

los-angeles-a8

los-angeles-a9

los-angeles-a9a

los-angeles-a10

And a piano for you to play – remember I said you not me…..

los-angeles-a11

And a chair to rest waiting for your train.

los-angeles-a12

los-angeles-a13

los-angeles-a14

On to Olvera Street –

los-angeles-15

Yes it did sort of move on the street – not in my camera.

los-angeles-16

Becky was surprised to hear that all the time I lived in LA, I never went to Olvera Street.

los-angeles-17

Lots of stuff to buy …..

los-angeles-18

los-angeles-19

And restaurants

los-angeles-20

los-angeles-21

Becky told me stories about driving down here and letting someone out of the car to place and get the order from this stand while they drove around the block.  Must have been good.

los-angeles-22

los-angeles-23

los-angeles-24

Becky hanging out with the guys again….

los-angeles-25

and kitties galore for me

los-angeles-26

And we must include the statue of Antonio Aguilar before leaving Olvera street. The 18-foot, bronze statue of Aguilar features him sitting on a horse — a fitting depiction of the performer who died in 2007, and was known as “El Charro de Mexico” (the Mexican Cowboy).

Now on to Chinatown and one of my favorite restaurants – Hop Li.

But we parked next to this temple which I don’t remember from years ago when I lived here.

los-angeles-28

Living in Florida, I do so miss certain foods that I enjoyed living in Los Angeles.  Squid with Spicy Salt, Hop Li Beef, wonderful green beans with garlic, etc.

los-angeles-30

los-angeles-29

Of course, we had to introduce Bear and Bearbette to Hop Li

los-angeles-27

We had a wonderful meal and grand conversations. It was so much fun to be with my friends – my travel buddies, my best friends.

Becky, Carol, Gloria, and Lloyd.  los-angeles-31

Thank you Carol, to you and your family, for taking me around Hawaii. and Thank you Besties – for the nicest ending for this trip.

Til our next trip together…….Much Love

 

 

 

 

California – Last Day of Trip – Part I

This was basically the last day of the trip as the Los Angeles weather decided I needed to remember how it is out there when it rains, and I mean really rains.  But we did manage to get in a drive to San Pedro Ports o Call, and to dinner in Chinatown before the sky opened on us. I am breaking this into two posts so you can see the fun we had in San Pedro.

san-pedro-15-aa1

Bear and Bearbette in the car making sure they have some water before walking around.

san-pedro-15-a1

san-pedro-15-a2

Becky and Carol checking out the fresh fish.

san-pedro-15-a3

san-pedro-15-a4

san-pedro-15-a5

san-pedro-15-a6

san-pedro-15-a7

And just next door is another fish market.

san-pedro-15-a8

And games for the little ones – or maybe the big ones.

san-pedro-15-a9

Here I am “Grabbing the Bull by the Horns”

san-pedro-15-a10a

And Becky – well she is hugging it.

san-pedro-15-a11a

Here are the Brigantine Irving Johnson and the Brigantine Exy Johnson.  They are training ships, with a length of 111′ ft, they can hold 30 people.  The twin Brigantines and their youth crews are  “The Official Tall Ships and Maritime Ambassadors of the City of Los Angeles”.

And of course, Carol found flowers.

san-pedro-15-a12

and we were in Los Angeles’ port.

san-pedro-15-a13

And another fish market/restaurant.

san-pedro-15-a14

san-pedro-15-a15

san-pedro-15-a16

san-pedro-15-a17

san-pedro-15-a18

san-pedro-15-a19

san-pedro-15-a20

and the kids must play….

san-pedro-15-a21

san-pedro-15-a22

san-pedro-15-a23

san-pedro-15-a24

They are supposed to be fixing the area up, and there were some quaint little shops at the end of the walk.

san-pedro-15-a25

san-pedro-15-a26

Where of course, Becky had to propose. Hmm what does Louie have to say about this?

san-pedro-15-a27

san-pedro-15-a28

san-pedro-15-a29

Nothing like a best friend.

san-pedro-15-a30

And more flowers for Carol

san-pedro-15-a31

san-pedro-15-a32

san-pedro-15-a33

Now we see the Welcome sign.

san-pedro-15-a34

And the squirrel welcomed us

san-pedro-15-a35

rubbing his paws together – “Oh my lovely”

san-pedro-15-a36

And Bear and Bearbette were feeling left out – so here are some pictures of them posing by a couple of places.

san-pedro-15-a37

san-pedro-15-a38

san-pedro-15-a40 san-pedro-15-a41

san-pedro-15-a42

Back into the backpack for our trip to Los Angeles.

 

 

Hawai’i – Last Day #14

Whaaaaaa!

And so soon it is over.  For our last full day, we are heading over to see if the Hawaiian Green Sea turtles are on the beach.  We were told to look for them at Richardson beach.

hawaii-14-1

Also known as Richardson Ocean Center, Natural seawalls made out of lava create natural pools and coves, which keeps the water calm. The park is named for George Richardson, a former Chief Detective of the county of Hawaii.  He received the land as a gift from the Malo family.  In 1920, the Malo family were stricken with typhoid fever. A daughter who though afflicted, walked to the home of George Richardson to seek help.  Richardson, took the young girl on his boat, and returned to the Malo home, where he gathered up the rest of the family and headed for hospital in Hilo.  Unfortunately, two of the children did not survive, but his efforts saved the rest of the family. The Malo family offered the land to Richardson because of his efforts. The house was built with large doors at the front and back of the house to provide a corridor for the periodic inundations by high surf and tsunami.  This actually saved the house a number of times.  The Richardson Ocean Center is now located in the house.  This beach is the only beach in the Hilo area with black sand and green sand.

hawaii-14-2

hawaii-14-3

Black sand makes my sandal look blue.

hawaii-14-4

Can see a little of the big mountain with snow yet.

hawaii-14-5

Lots of rocks to negotiate. I walked out to the area where the turtles were supposed to be, but none today so far.

hawaii-14-6

Lovely pools

hawaii-14-7

From here we drove to Onekahakaha Beach Park.  This is the beach that Carol used to go to as a child to swim.

hawaii-14-8

Here we saw a Hawaii Amakihi, a little green honey creeper.

hawaii-14-9

From here we drove over to the Mauna Loa Factory to see how those wonderful chocolates were made.

hawaii-14-10

And we walked around their nature walk, but after all the botanical gardens, we had seen most of these plants already.

hawaii-14-11

But for Carol – here is a flower.hawaii-14-12

hawaii-14-13

We did some shopping and then had some ice cream with macadamia nut. Yum.

Not enough sugar yet – now it is on to Big Island Candies . Oh my.

hawaii-14-14

It was almost Valentines Day after all – with Love in the air.

hawaii-14-15

And Little Kitty standing on shortbread cookies –

hawaii-14-16

hawaii-14-17

And we watched them making some of the wonderful treats.

hawaii-14-18

And if you are like me and never saw a macadamia nut in the tree – hawaii-14-20

And after they are ready to drop –

hawaii-14-19

OK my chocolate fix has been satiated for now…. (give me 5 minutes), now unfortunately it is time to go pack and get ready for our flights back to the mainland. WHHAAAAAAAAAAAA!

 

 

 

Hawai’i – Laupahoehoe Point and Waipio Lookout – Day 13

The trip is winding down. We are going to two places today – Laupahoehoe and Waipio Lookout.

Laupahoehoe Point is the location of a devastating tsunami back on April 1, 1946.  This beach park is situated on a peninsula of lava that just out from the northern coastline creating a very scenic area that is well worth the drive off the main thoroughfare.  The giant waves rose to 56 feet above sea level sweeping away a schoolhouse on the point along with 21 school children. The name of the area comes from the word describing the type of lava (pahoehoe) that formed this peninsula which is shaped like a giant leaf, or lau. If the wave had come just a few minutes later, they would have been in their classroom which was higher in elevation and would have survived.

hawaii-13-9

hawaii-13-1

hawaii-13-2

hawaii-13-7

hawaii-13-5

People leave things in memory of those lost.

hawaii-13-3

this is the remains of a pier and you can see how it tossed around the supports.

hawaii-13-4

It is beautiful but rough.

hawaii-13-8

Here you can see some of the effects of the VOG – making it hard to see clear as it hugs the coastline.

hawaii-13-10

hawaii-13-11

hawaii-13-6

Carol found a spot for Bear and Bearbette with some flowers.

hawaii-13-12

hawaii-13-13

and then a short drive up the coast to Waipio Lookout.

hawaii-13-14

Wow what a drop off – and what a view!

hawaii-13-15

hawaii-13-16

A black lava beach – but it is not easy to get there.

hawaii-13-17

and a valley that they farm taro.

hawaii-13-18

hawaii-13-19

hawaii-13-20

hawaii-13-21

Now when I said it is not easy to get down to the beach – this is what I mean –

hawaii-13-23

hawaii-13-22

yes – it says 25% grade.

Now even walking down to the lookout is a drop.  And we have earned our lunch.

Off to Tex Drive in – in Honoka’a – for some lunch and some Malasadas.

hawaii-13-24

What is a Malasadas you ask –

Malasadas, as they are known in Hawaii, are a yeast-leavened doughnut enriched with eggs, butter, and sometimes evaporated or fresh milk. They fry them, and roll them in sugar.  Some will have a filling but normally they are just plain.  I had apple filling.  Well, I shared mine with Carol as these are not small – half is more than enough.  Yum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hawai’i – Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden – Day 12

Yes, you guessed it – another botanical garden. What this doesn’t tell you is that this one is a walk down a hillside to the ocean.  The builder spent years cutting into the hillside to create the paths and discovered the waterfalls in the process.  The land was filled with debris and overgrown.  The last time Carol was here, it was not paved paths which has been a great improvement.  The garden’s  collection of tropical plants is international in scope. Over 2,000 species, representing more than 125 families and 750 genera, are found in this one-of-a-kind garden.

Now with that said, I am not going to name all the plants/flowers.  But do scroll to the end – to see the two images of the Hawaiian State bird – Nene.

hawaii-12-1

hawaii-12-2

hawaii-12-3

hawaii-12-4

hawaii-12-5

hawaii-12-6

hawaii-12-7

Be careful where you put your hands or your feet.  These little guys are everywhere.

hawaii-12-8

hawaii-12-9

hawaii-12-10

Who says its bigger in Texas?

hawaii-12-11

hawaii-12-12

this is the flower that will make it rain if you pick it.

hawaii-12-13

hawaii-12-14

hawaii-12-15

hawaii-12-16

no really Texas? HA. Hawai’i has the award for tall palm trees.

hawaii-12-17

Cat’s Whiskers

hawaii-12-18

hawaii-12-19

hawaii-12-20

hawaii-12-21

hawaii-12-22

Yes they have these too –  it is Hawai’i after all.

hawaii-12-23

and waterfall or two.

hawaii-12-24

and more orchids

hawaii-12-25

hawaii-12-26

hawaii-12-27

hawaii-12-28

hawaii-12-29

hawaii-12-30

well now, its Carol posing with an Ki’i.

hawaii-12-31

hawaii-12-32

hawaii-12-33

hawaii-12-34

Oh and I am not posting but maybe a tenth of the orchid types. This well was surrounded by all kinds of orchids.

hawaii-12-35

hawaii-12-36

hawaii-12-37

hawaii-12-38

hawaii-12-39

hawaii-12-40

this was way, way up in that tree.

hawaii-12-41

Nice pattern in that tree top.

hawaii-12-42

hawaii-12-43

And we finally made it to the ocean at the bottom

hawaii-12-44

And look a little crab.

hawaii-12-45

Now its time to head back up.  Oh my knees.

And its time – Bear and Bearbette have been waiting patiently for their photo ops.

hawaii-12-46

hawaii-12-47

hawaii-12-48

hawaii-12-49

hawaii-12-50

and they had some birds in the cage, but Bearbette was afraid they would try to steal her hair ribbon.

hawaii-12-51

How big are those leaves?

hawaii-12-52

Ahh – but no picking flowers now Bear…..

hawaii-12-53

hawaii-12-54

and finally we drove down into Hilo to a park where some Nene were found.

hawaii-12-56 hawaii-12-55

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hawai’i – Kona – Day 11

Today was our trip up to Kona.  We were planning on staying up there overnight, but too many snowbirds (yes, they call them snowbirds too) were on the island and the hotels in Kona were full.  No room at the inns. So this was going to be a shorter day than planned, and it also meant we would not be in Kona for sunset.  I was batting a thousand for sunrises and sunsets on this trip.  Oh well. Be Happy.

With all the volcanic activity, we experienced a lot of haziness, also called VOG.  I learned a new term – VOG,  is a form of air pollution that results when sulfur dioxide and other gases and particles emitted by an erupting volcano react with oxygen and moisture in the presence of sunlight. The word is a portmanteau of the words “volcanic”, “smog”, and “fog”.   Another well.  Either I get to see lava and at least some sputtering of the volcano or I get clear skies.  Hmmm.  Guess this trip meant I got to see volcanic activity.  The VOG carried all the way over to Oah’u. I had heard the local new mentioning Vog, but didn’t really pay any attention to it.  It was hazy over there too.  Now I know why.

But this morning, I was given the chance to see Moano Kea – with snow on top, even with the haze you can see the observatories on the left side.hawaii-11-1

We never attempted to go up to the summit as Maunakea is one of the only places in the world where you can drive from sea level to 14,000 feet in about 2 hours, so altitude sickness is a high possibility.  At 14,000 feet, there is 40% less oxygen than at sea level, so visitors should acclimatize to the altitude before proceeding further up the mountain.  And that is only part of it. At the Visitor Information Station, located at about 9,000 ft, after you get used to that altitude, you then also need to make sure you have a true 4 wheel drive vehicle. About 200 yards beyond the station, the pavement ends and the next five miles are a steep graded-gravel road.  They warn you that most rental car companies do not allow their vehicles to go to the summit.  Not to mention, if your vehicle breaks down, it would be very expensive to get it repaired, not to mention, I can’t imagine towing fees off a mountain top. lol.  Ok, enough on the big mountain, since we weren’t going to attempt it. On to Kona.

But we stopped in Waimea – as they just had a cherry blossom festival (a couple weeks earlier)

hawaii-11-2

Since we couldn’t stay, we went to the National Park  (another one to tick off my list) – Pu’uhonua O Honaunau. hawaii-11-25

This place was known as the city of refuge until its name was restored to the original Hawaiian name.  Imagine you had just broken the sacred laws, the kapu, and the only punishment was death. Your only chance of survival is to elude your pursuers and reach the Pu’uhonua, a place of refuge. The Pu’uhonua protected the kapu breaker, defeated warriors, as well as civilians during the time of battle. No physical harm could come to those who reached the boundaries of the Pu’uhonua.  Now to really understand what that means – you first need to understand that the King’s royal grounds were right next door, and it was Kapu to step on the King’s royal  grounds. So if you did break a kapu, whoever saw you break the Kapu was bound to enforce the law, including your spouse.  They would pursue you.  So you needed to get around the royal grounds, and reach the boundary of Pu’uhonua, by swimming. This was a long distance, with coral and lava reefs, not to mention sharks.  Once you reached the rocks, you still needed to climb over them to reach the beach to be safe.  If you managed to do that, you would spend a couple of days, and then you would be forgiven and could return to your village.  Another example would be if there was a war.  The winning side did not take prisoners, so you would try to make it here, so that you could live.

There is a few things to see at the visitor center, including some art work – and a turtle from the reeds of the palm. hawaii-11-3 I recommend that you stop and listen to the lecture by the park rangers.  It was very interesting to here the whole history of this area.  Then take the walk. You can do this with a ranger or follow the path with the sites numbered on the handout.

hawaii-11-4 There are  many ki’i (carved wooden images) around the grounds.

hawaii-11-5

hawaii-11-6 This is a model of the Hale o Keawe, showing the detail of the construction..

hawaii-11-7

hawaii-11-8

Bear and Bearbette getting ready to play the ancient game – Konane.  It is a strategy game played with black and white pieces on a papamu (stone playing surface- carved into a lava surface.)

hawaii-11-9

The Hale o Keawe.

hawaii-11-10

hawaii-11-11

Bear and Bearbette climbed a coconut tree.

hawaii-11-17

hawaii-11-13

Two Guardian Ki’i stand on shore to alert everyone of the great mana here.

hawaii-11-15

hawaii-11-14

The heiau was a royal mausoleum housing bones of 23 ali’i, including Keawe-i-kekahi-ali’i-o-ka-moku, Kamehameha’s great grandfather.  These bones give the heiau immense mana.

hawaii-11-12

The great wall up to 12 feet tall and 18 feet wide and over 950 feet long. marking the royal grounds.  This wall was constructed over 400 years ago using dry set masonry.

hawaii-11-16

A bit of the rocks you would have had to scramble over in the surf to reach this place of refuge.

hawaii-11-19

hawaii-11-18

One of the fishing ponds for the King.

hawaii-11-20

And to protect the canoes  today, before it was an ancient shelter for working.

hawaii-11-21

hawaii-11-22

hawaii-11-23

another wonderful day sight seeing –

Be Happy – from the visitor center as we were leaving.

hawaii-11-24

 

sorry I am so far behind.  I am trying to catch up – but with another trip starting in the morning, I will not finish the posts for this trip until I return, though I might get a couple more days posted tonight.  This is what happens when you are without the internet for the first week of a trip. Hang in there, I will get it posted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hawai’i – Hilo – Day 10

We started our day heading over to Akaka Falls State Park.  Bear and Bearbette posed by the sign.day-10-1

Here is the view from the parking lot

day-10-2

It looks like a ways off – gonna be a long walk I think – little did I know that it wasn’t a exceptionally long walk but it was definitely a major up or down trek.  They fortunately made the trail with stair steps and railings which made the going a lot easier.

I zoomed in to see the falls from here.

day-10-3

The park is about 11 miles (18 km) north from Hilo. There are two falls in this park –  ʻAkaka Falls and Kahūnā Falls.  The pleasant 0.4-mile downhill and uphill hike will take you through a lush rainforest filled with wild orchids, bamboo groves and draping ferns. You have a choice to go left to Akaka Falls or to the right to the Kahūnā Falls.

day-10-4Going to the right is the easiest as the steep trail descends at a good clip but we found the walk back up from Akaka Falls was not as steep which made the trip easier.

You know I am with Carol – so if there are flowers …..

day-10-5 day-10-6 day-10-7 day-10-8 day-10-9 day-10-10 day-10-11

As you follow the paved footpath, you’ll first see 100-foot Kahuna Falls.

day-10-13Continue to follow the loop around the bend,

day-10-14 day-10-15 day-10-16

day-10-18

In the southern US, we have vines that cover trees – but those choke out the tree killing it.  – In Hawaii – this is their version though the tree is not killed, though it seems like it completely is completely covered.

day-10-17and you’ll discover towering Akaka Falls which plummets 442-feet into a stream-eroded gorge.

day-10-19 day-10-20 day-10-21They tell me that the beautiful Akaka Falls is perhaps Hawaii Island’s most famous waterfall. As we continue our walk now back up to the parking lot, we see more lush plants.

day-10-22

day-10-27gold dust day gecko (phelsuma laticauda)

day-10-26 day-10-25 day-10-24

and bananas.

day-10-23

we crossed over part of a stream with a small waterfall – day-10-28

day-10-29

me trying to get those waterfall shots.

As we drove back from Akaka Falls, we went through a quaint little town – Honomu

day-10-31

day-10-32

and of course, Carol found some flowers for Bear and Bearbette.

day-10-30

day-10-33 day-10-34 day-10-35

Along the main road from where Carol’s brothers live, there are a number of waterfalls visible from the road.  We crossed one bridge and there was a place to pull the car off to the side so that we could walk back on the bridge.

day-10-36

day-10-37

day-10-38

Carol and Bears posing while I squat down on the opposite side of the roadway so that I can see the waterfall between the rails on the side next to Carol.

We then headed to a place where Carol’s brother used to surf.  It was down a winding back road which lead to a park, which no one that doesn’t live here would ever find. day-10-39

But there was a cool bridge – I just didn’t like the vines hanging down. Oh well, here is the bridge.

day-10-40

Yes we are deep in the woods. But there is light around the corner –

day-10-41

Here Bear and Bearbette stopped to put on bug spray before venturing further as the mosquitoes were biting. That is the roadway bridge in the background.

But there is a waterfall – really – no kidding and bear and bearbette rested on a log on this side.

day-10-42

day-10-43

day-10-45

The surf wasn’t up only the waves coming in to the park – day-10-44

It was time to go back to the house to rest as we were going back up to the volcano as they said the sunsets were great up there.

Later, we headed back to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park to see the sunset – but…. no, it was cloudy and rainy. The clouds were on top of us, but there was a ring just on the horizon with no clouds.  So hopeful, we proceeded on.  The lava lake surface on this day was higher than what we saw yesterday.  It was less than 75 ft  below the rim of the Overlook Vent.

day-10-47 day-10-48 day-10-49

day-10-51 day-10-52

No sunset. Now it was raining and very windy.  We donned our plastic ponchos trying to last out til it got dark as they saw the crater glows.  Well, we didn’t make it.  We lasted for 45 minutes after sunset but it was getting cold and we were trying to protect our cameras. So we gave up, but not before we got these

day-10-54 day-10-57 day-10-56 day-10-55

And – please bear with me – as I don’t do video very much and with the wind and no tripod – here is a short video of what we were seeing –