Does Your Giraffe Have Termites?

Aloha!

We recently attended the Schaeffer International Gallery at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center (www.mauiarts.org) to see an art show. One of the centerpieces was a larger-than-life-sized giraffe and her baby, made entirely from driftwood by artist Steve Turnbull. I was in awe as I stood craning my neck up and up.

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http://www.turnbullstudios.org/steve.html

But then I got to hear a funny story about it while at a party. Apparently, the show was all set up and the docents were manning the door, when someone looked up and said, “Excuse me, but are those termites flying out of that giraffe?” Oh, this couldn’t be good. The docents went into high gear…there were other pieces of art made of wood on display. The termites might decide to move on, and those buggers work fast.
The story goes that the artist had to hire a crane to come in and take the piece down, haul it to a place where they could put it in a box and pump it full of termite poison, then haul it back to the gallery.

A similar thing happened to friends. A wood artist carved them a headboard and nightstands out of earpod, a beautiful wood similar to monkeypod. It was delivered to their house and they found that it had some type of beetle boring into it. It, too, had to be hauled and put into its own special box and pumped full of poison.

I’m telling you, there’s just never a dull moment here in Paradise.

Some days, I find myself pining for a dull moment. Or two.

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

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Now THAT’S a Papaya

Aloha!
When was the last time you saw a papaya the size of a man’s head? These Tahitian papayas were grown by Mike, from seeds he got from a Tahitian neighbor.

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Here they are in close-up on the tree:

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And here they are in the kitchen. As you can see, they are the size of a butcher knife.
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The taste test? Juicy, and a bit like a cantaloupe. Paradise!
In an upcoming post, I will share a video of Mike stunting a papaya tree, which makes it bear fruit earlier. This was a secret technique he learned from a wizened Japanese gardener on the North Shore, Oahu. Stay tuned…

Hope you have a great weekend! Mahalo for reading along.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Jumping the Shark

**Spoiler Alert** If you haven’t yet watched the season premiere of Mad Men and intend to do so, wait to read this. The premiere had 3.4 million viewers. Mad Men swept the best drama category at the Primetime Emmy Awards four
four years running.

Aloha!

Last night’s season premiere of Mad Men opened in Hawaii, so of course it had my full attention. Thanks to Elvis movies (and Bing Crosby’s before him), Hawaii tourism was treated to a perfect storm in the late 1960’s of tourists arriving by droves in ships and planes to spend their hard-earned vacation dollars, and often, to get out of the cold of a mainland winter.

In this season’s opener, Don Draper and wife Megan do just that, as they are in Hawaii checking out a hotel property (Marriott) on Oahu as a possible new client for the ad agency.  Back in New York, Don presents his ad campaign to the guys from Marriott.

(So, I am wondering if you agree with Don’s take on Hawaii….?)

DON: I’ve just come back…and there’s a feeling that’s stayed with me…

MARRIOTT GUY: I’ve been there in the winter–its quite a shock coming back.

DON: Well put, but that could be any vacation. This was very, very different. I think we’re not selling a geographic location–we’re selling an experience. It’s not just a different place–YOU are different. You’d think there’d be an unsettling feeling about something so drastically different, but there’s something else…you don’t miss anything. You’re not homesick.

It puts you in this…state. The air and the water are all the same temperature as your body. It’s sensory. The music, the fragrance, the breeze and the blue…Hawaiian legend has it that the soul can go in and out of the body, but that it usually leaves from a leeward point. (Don shows a sketch of a suit coat, tie, and an abandoned pair of shoes, with bare footprints leading away.) The copy reads:

Hawaii…the jumping-off point.

MARRIOTT: What happened to him?

DON: He got off the plane, took a deep breath, shed his skin and–jumped off.

MARRIOTT (considers this): I think people might think that he died.

DON: Maybe he did, and he went to heaven. Maybe that’s what this feels like.

Okay…so what did you think? Many people seem to feel that being in Hawaii is like dying and going to heaven (albeit without the existential overtones that Don Draper brought to this scene.) When I worked as a concierge and saw hundreds of tourists a month, they would all get the same moony look on their faces in describing coming to Hawaii, or being back in Hawaii.

What do you think that “state” of being is, that Don descibes? Do you think, as he said, that you are different in Hawaii?

Oh, and as far as the title of this post, “Jumping the Shark”…that refers to a Hollywood term (created by Jon Heim) that describes the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins to decline in quality that is beyond recovery, which is usually a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of gimmick in a desperate attempt to keep viewers’ interest.

The phrase “jump the shark” comes from a scene in the fifth season premiere of the TV series Happy Days (Sept. 20, 1977) in which the central characters visit Los Angeles and a water-skiing Fonzie (Henry Winkler) answers a challenge by wearing swim trunks and his trademark leather jacket, and jumps over a confined shark. It is commonly believed that the show began a creative decline as the writers ran out of ideas and Happy Days became a caricature of itself (Wikipedia, Jumping the Shark.)

To me, Mad Men just jumped the shark when Don ended up in bed, yet again, with a woman who was not his wife. Seems to me that Matthew Weiner had himself a boring episode (who IS Sandy, the girl with the violin? And why should we care?) so gave it a jolt at the end to wake us all up after two hours of saying “huh?”

Even paradise couldn’t resuscitate this snooze fest for me. So did you see it? What did you think?

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Baby Dolphin Birth (Video)

Baby Dolphin Birth (Video)

Aloha!

Dophin Quest on the Big Island http://www.dolphinquest.com/index.php/dgh-2012contest recorded the live birth of their newest baby dophin in a man-made lagoon at the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort, where visitors are encouraged to touch and swim with the dolphins. The female baby was born to Keo, a 12-year-old first-time mother. The video shows the tail emerging first and then the baby popping out. She goes to the surface for air before swimming with her mother. You can view it here on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYcBJnbpqo8. Dolphin Quest officials said that in the wild the survival rate of babies born to first-time mothers is about 50 percent. The new baby appears to be thriving.

Dolphin Quest is holding a contest to name the little one, along with two others born recently, one to a 27-year- old named Pele and the other to a 28-year-old named Kona. Submissions for names should be Hawaiian words. The contest runs through Dec. 14th. Submissions can be made in person or online , and winners will get a swim for two with the dolphins and a photo CD.

Sounds like a good excuse for a trip to the Big Island!

Did you ever swim  with the dolphins? What was is it like?

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Be Safe

Be Safe

Aloha!
To all of my readers on the East Coast, I send out a heartfelt wish for your safety and a swift return to normalcy. I hope you are not without power. Be safe!

To those who have opened up a discussion about the tsunami warning in Hawaii, I offer the following thoughts. One reader, TC, happened to be on Maui during the tsunami warning and asked if the level of panic observed is normal here.

When you live on Maui for a while, the enormity of being a spec in the middle of the ocean grows. It feels a bit like being a flea on an elephant. We are the farthest from any landmass of any Archipelago. (Not just Hawaii, but Maui.) For those who have lived through dock strikes, or a hurricane, or a tsunami, it becomes readily apparent how dependent we are on the outside world for absolutely everything, from toilet paper to rice, to bottled water.

A fire alone can shut down the whole west part of the island. I’ve seen it happen. There is no getting in or out, because there is only one road in, and they now close down the northern route so it will not become clogged with people and cut off emergency vehicle access. More than once I had to get a hotel room and sleep on the west side when I couldn’t get home from work, due to a disaster.

People are very attuned to this when authorities say a tsunami is coming. They immediately picture no electricity, no food, no ships getting in with supplies for God knows how long. The thing about a tsunami is that there is essentially no warning. An hour or two maybe, and then it’s a call to evacuate. Tsunamis travel at 500 mph plus-the same speed as a jet. There is little response time, no planning ahead.

Mike was a fireman on Oahu for 12 years and amazingly, spent less time fighting fires than he he did rescuing people from the ocean, and on occasion, from big waves washing over people’s houses. That’s just what the North Shore is like in the winter time. He says the level of panic of people fleeing during a tsunami warning also has to do with responsibility. Responsible people realize that if they don’t act, they are jeopardizing the life of someone else (such as Mike) who must then come in and rescue them.

One disconcerting fact that came out during the news reports on television for this tsunami warning: there are no buoys between Hawaii and the mainland. None. So when the earthquake struck Canada and reverberated out, they had nothing to look at to check the rising tide between us and them. So we had to prepare for the worst.

The following facts are from this good website: http://ptwc.weather.gov/faq.php#6

1. How fast do tsunamis travel?
Tsunami wave speed is controlled by water depth. Where the ocean is over 6,000 meters (3.7 miles) deep, unnoticed tsunami waves can travel at the speed of a commercial jet plane, over 800 km per hour (500 miles per hour). Tsunamis travel much slower in shallower coastal waters where their wave heights begin to increase dramatically.

2. What does a tsunami look like when it reaches the shore?
As the leading edge of a tsunami wave approaches shore, it slows dramatically due to the shallower water. However, the trailing p art of the wave can still be moving rapidly in the deeper water. This results in a “piling up” of the tsunami energy, and the tsunami wave height grows. The wave looks and acts like giant river of water on top of the ocean that floods the shore.

3. Where and how often do tsunamis usually occur?
Major tsunamis occur about once per decade. Based on historical data, about 59% of the world’s tsunamis have occurred in the Pacific Ocean, 25% in the Mediterranean Sea, 12% in the Atlantic Ocean, and 4% in the Indian Ocean.

Stay safe, and treasure each day. If you are a reader on the East Coast, please let me know you’re okay!

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Alan Kay

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Fall for Maui

Fall for Maui

Aloha!

It doesn’t seem like there would be much change in seasons in Hawaii, and it’s very subtle, but it is there. Especially in Upcountry Maui. On the mainland I always enjoyed the change of seasons… Getting out all of the fall decorations, the Halloween decorations, the Thanksgiving decorations… And the places to buy them were of course, endless.

Not so on Maui. Stores such as Walmart or Kmart only bring so much in to the island per season, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. So if you go to Ben Franklin Crafts and see something you like, you’d better buy it now. You also learn to improvise with what nature provides on Maui. In the same way that I might have gathered Fall-colored leaves in California, here I gather Fall-colored shells to make my dining room table centerpiece:

Our mango tree in the backyard also provides a clue that fall is here on Maui. If you look closely in this photo you’ll see that we have older yellow leaves dropping, healthy older dark green leaves, light green brand-new leaves coming in, and to top it all off: it’s flowering with new fruit (that’s the brown  fuzzy-stuff).

Mango Tree on Maui

What this means is there’s never a good time to prune a tree in Hawaii. Our citrus tree in the front yard does the same thing. It’s a tree that’s been grafted with tangerines, tangelos, and oranges on the same tree. The tree has become enormous because there is constantly a cycle of new leaves and new fruit. When the heck do you prune, without losing fruit?

It’s also a season of harvest here. We have more apple bananas (the very sweet ones that taste more like a pear) than we know what to do with. This morning I grilled bananas on the griddle when I made the french toast. Every morning we have smoothies with two bananas in them. We hang the bunch from a rafter in the garage to keep the rats out of them:

And why yes, that IS a surfboard hanging there in the rafters too. Thanks for asking. And that second refrigerator in the background is not a “beer frig”, because in Maui almost all dry goods have to be refrigerated or use lose them to bugs. So that frig has flour, sugar, bread crumbs, bread, cornmeal, etc. in it. If you don’t refrigerate your bread, it can mold in a day or two.

The other bounty we can barely keep up with is the lilikois (also known as passion fruit). Here is a few days’ worth that have been gathered:

It doesn’t help to call my friends and ask if they’d like some fruit, because they have the same problem. So I’ve taken to hauling fruit to Kahului when I go down the hill, and giving it away. Yesterday a doctor got eight apple bananas in a brown bag. He is a fierce Korean guy who pretty much scares me spitless. I gave him the bananas and he lit up. As he was leaving the room he said “This will be my lunch” and I teased him and said, “Hey, I know you have children!” and he just laughed, because those kids weren’t getting any of those bananas. That’s the first time I’ve heard him laugh! Food, the universal language.

Here’s a recipe for Lilikoi Martinis. My thanks to Shel and Clay Simpson for turning us on to these intoxicating gems.

Lilikoi Martini

1 ounce (a shot-glass) of lilikoi juice

1 ounce of Vanilla Vodka (I’m a wuss and use half that amount)

Fill a glass with ice. Shake the above two ingredients together, add to glass, then top it off with ice-cold water.

I get creative and substitute out recipes that involve lemon juice, such as a Lemontini or Lemon Drop. So, to the above recipe I will also add a little St. Germain (YUM) and substitute club soda or seltzer water for the plain water.

Next time you get your hands on some lilikoi juice, enjoy a martini. You can possibly find the Perfect Puree of Napa Valley lilkoi puree in your gourmet grocer’s freezer section. And if anyone has figured out a fool-proof method for pruning the ever-flowering fruit trees in Hawaii, give a shout.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Luau Feet

Luau Feet

Aloha!

Do you know what luau feet are? It’s the term used in Hawaii to describe flat feet caused from wearing rubber slippers (“rubbah slippahs” in pidgin, thongs or flip-flops on the mainland.) Mike has flat feet. Until he saw my feet with their impossibly high arch, he didn’t even know feet were supposed to have an arch. And the first time I heard someone local refer to slippahs, I was confused and thought they meant house shoes. Slippers. This gives you just a tiny peek into the confusion that reigns supreme in our household.

Right now I am in mourning. I lost one of my best rubbah slippahs. And I had only worn them twice! I had been looking for this pair for about five years. “Reef” makes a certain type of very cushioned flip-flop with a soft fabric band between the toes. They became very hard to find… and I was even more specifically looking for BROWN ones. I finally found them in a tiny shop on the North Shore of Oahu. I was as excited as if someone had given me a diamond ring. Then the proprietor told me the bad news: Reef was discontinuing these! How could this be? They’re so comfortable.

I read that podiatrists say if you’re going to wear rubber slippers, that it should be these cushioned Reefs. I could walk all day in them and my feet don’t hurt. Podiatrists are not fans of flip-flops. Besides leaving your feet vulnerable to injury from stepping on sharp objects or getting stepped on themselves, flip-flops offers little support, slip off easily while walking, and can actually affect your gait–making you vulnerable to potential heel, arch, and back pain, plus putting you at higher risk for fractures. If you’re going to wear them at all, foot doctors caution, you should not wear flip-flops for long periods of time.

Like Jimmy Buffett mourning his blown-out flip-flop in “Margaritaville”, I feel the loss of my brown Reef. The crazy thing is, I cleaned out my closet and suddenly it was gone. Just ONE of them! (Another instance of getting organized and then not being able to find anything. Does this happen to you, too?) Reefs aren’t cheap, plus now these are discontinued. I don’t know how I’m going to replace this thing.

There was a time in my life when I would’ve been coveting the latest fall shoes in October. Instead here I am, just wanting a good rubber slipper.

Some funny stories we have had with rubber slippers: I always take my shoes off in the car. One time we got to a store and when I looked on the floor, one of my slippers was missing. They’re so light, I must’ve kicked it out at the last stop. So back we drove to the Ross parking lot, circled around a couple of times, and there it was. Mike stopped, and I jumped out and retrieved my rubber slipper. This explains why you see so many orphaned rubber slippers in the road and on the sidewalks in Hawaii.

Another time Mike was surfing in Lahaina and left his slippers on the shore as he paddled out. When he came back in, his nice rubber slippers were missing and had been replaced with a pair of “Locals” a very cheap rubber slipper from Longs. To add insult to injury, the end of the slipper had been chopped off with a pair of scissors, like it had been too big for the wearer. Possibly a hand-me-down from an older brother! Mike was not a happy camper.

Then we were at a party on Oahu, and the people had a new dog. Out of the whole pile of slippahs left by the door (removed when entering the house, local-style),the dog chose to chew Mike’s rubber slipper, which happened to be new. But what can you do, besides laugh!

So, how often do you wear flip-flops? Have you had foot problems related to them? Let us know in the comments section.

A hui hou! If you’d like to have this blog delivered to your in-box, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica