Thursday, June 30, 2016

Blogging -Do Not Do This!

I enjoy blogging and reading other people's blogs.  In fact, I subscribe to several and take time to read the updates.  I subscribe to a variety of blogs.  Some are on blogging, some are on domestic topics, some are on the latest in educational technology but they are all blogs that interest me.

Iphone, 6S, Plus, Apple, White, ScreenThere is one blog I subscribed to I enjoyed up until recently. the owner did something that totally turned me off and I unsubscribed.  I know you are wondering what it was so you do not make the same mistake.

I enjoy reading about travel and other people's trips.  It could be because at this point in time I have too many responsibilities to just quit my job and travel the world.  Or it could be there will always be places I do not want to go but I don't mind learning about.

I love checking out the entries but please do not turn your blog into something resembling Aunt Tildy's recent rip to Genoa with pictures and information on every place she visited, everything she ate and every strange thing she ran across.  I do not need a 5 hour show of a 7 day trip!

Where is this going?  Its going to the concept of do I really need to receive 3 to 8 updates a day from your latest trip?  Do I need a picture from the airplane showing me a piece of land that looks like every other place from the same altitude?  I really don't care about all the chips, fish or whatever else you ate for dinner.

I think for me, its receiving multiple e-mails in one day that bugs me.  Its like when you child keeps asking you the same questions multiple times in same day and you've answered it multiple times.  It just gets on your nerves.  I admit, it could be that I grew up in a household where we didn't share everything in our lives but had boundaries that included keeping certain things private. 

So please do not start sending me multiple e-mail updates ever day or I will unsubscribe to your blog.  I do not have time to read all of those updates. 

Thank you for your kind attention.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Ursa Major

Great Bear, Ursa Major, Sky, Star I bet when you hear the words "Ursa Major"  you think of the constellation with the North Star.  In most cases, you'd be exactly right but not in this case.

The other night, out on my bike ride, I finally made a stop at a local place of business.  It hasn't been there long but it is taking its place among the local producers of fine alcohol.

Ursa Major is a distillery located on the Parks Highway, south of Fairbanks,  between the gas station and the bottom of the hill, near the water wagon.

It hasn't been open very long.  I think it opened over the winter because I don't remember seeing it last summer. It used to be a place for artists to sell their work.

This distillery makes vodka, gin, and rum in a uniquely Alaskan Way. Instead of using potatoes or sugar cane, they base their products on barley from Delta Junction. 

Ursa Major Distillery
They are the only distillery in the area but there is a fairly large brewery that produces a wide variety of ales, lagers, and beers.  Since its difficult to fill a growler to take out of state, Silver Gulch has a branch in the Anchorage Airport so you can get some to take with you.

A couple years ago, I had the pleasure of drinking a wonderful Alaskan blueberry soda they made.  It was not overly sweet but was excellent.  Unfortunately, the soda is seasonal and runs out quickly.

So if you get to Fairbanks some time and you enjoy alcohol, you can check either of these places out.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Farmers Market.

I spend the summer in Fairbanks which is in the center of Alaska.  It is a hilly forested area with lots of spruce, aspen, bird cherries, birch, willow, alder, and a few others.  This region has areas of permafrost but you look for black spruce to see if it might be there.  If the black spruce is short, there is a good chance there is permafrost under the ground.

Fairbanks has a farmers market that runs from early May till late September because by the beginning of September, the countryside is being hit with frosts.  Many years ago, the farmers market shared space with the fairgrounds.  They had one corner but too many events were held there and parking dropped so people had trouble getting in. So about they moved about 6 years ago to their own place and brought the main building with them.

At the beginning of the season you see mostly starter plants, food, and crafts but as the season progresses, the vegetables make an appearance.  Most of the vegetables are the standard ones like radishes, greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and potatoes but sometimes we get exotic things.

One year, someone managed to grow corn and sold the corn for $1.00 an ear.  yes, I know its a lot more than you pay in the supermarket but it was fresh!  Picked that morning!  We seldom see corn so for anyone up here, that was an absolute treat.

Saturdays, a lady drives in from Manley Hot Springs with oriental eggplant!  Right now she has tomatoes and eggplant but hopefully later in the year she'll offer cantaloupe.  Yes many of the vegetables are more expensive than the store because people have to use greenhouses, coverings, and other things to get the crops started early enough to have spring vegetables ready to sell by the beginning of June.

There is a row of food vendors who sell everything from Vietnamese or French crepes, to hot dogs (regular or reindeer), Mexican food including tamales, tacos, and Middle Eastern.  My favorite tea lady is there with her tea, bubble tea, steamed buns, and Vietnamese sandwiches.  Her stall is always my first stop so I can enjoy my stroll around.  Next to her, is the crepes with a variety of fillings including one with Nutella, bananas, coconut, and almond - my favorite.  She also has a lovely salmon with dill sauce one.

Today I stopped by the Middle Eastern stand for Falafel and it was really good.  Since the farmers market is open Saturdays and Wednesdays for farmers, I stop through the Mexican place on Wednesdays for some freshly cooked tamales.  Just before I head out to work, I order like 30 to go with me.  I freeze them and then eat them with I'm in the mood.

You have a few salsa makers hidden throughout including the lady with an absolutely delicious Pineapple Mango salsa of a medium spice.  There are bakers scattered here and there.  As far as I can tell only one has a great supply of Gluten Free and/or Vegan so she meets the needs of many people with dietary restrictions. Her gluten free vegan peanut butter cookie was excellent.  Then there are the purely Alaskan things like birch or spruce syrup or finely crafted mustard.

Lastly, you have the hand made jewelry, goat's milk soap, wooden furniture or plaques, wooden pens, jams, and other locally produced items.  Often times, hidden between two vendors is the masseuse who will give you a great back rub.

I try to visit most Saturday's and have some to now the vendors who come back year after year.  If you are ever in Fairbanks in the summer, check it out because it is one of those places that will make you feel right at home.

Monday, June 27, 2016

When Is Hot Too Hot?

Sun, Clouds, Weather, Cloudy, SymbolI think it was Friday I heard a blip about something that I had never thought about concerning hot weather.  Its well known that during heat waves more people end up in the hospital with heat related ailments.

Brown outs roll across the countryside because people are using their air conditioning and fans more so the demand for electricity escalates to the point that power plants can barely stay up with the demand.

People often say it is hot enough to cook eggs on the sidewalk during these heat waves.   Public safety often recommends that people stay home or at least hang out somewhere in the neighborhood.l  I usually head over to the mall and sit in Barnes and Nobel for several hours to use their internet and air conditioning.

This past Friday, on the news at the top of the hour, I heard a blurb about an airplane that ended up returning to its origination point because it was too hot to land.  I did know that planes do not fly once it gets below a certain temperature but apparently, they have an upper cut off too.

The temperature at the Phoenix airport was 117 degrees at the time.  The FAA has an upper limit of 120 degrees. Anything above that and planes cannot land.  This has to do with the engines and their operational limits .

In addition, the tarmac often begins softening at too high a temperature which makes it much more difficult for planes to land and take off.  I suspect the plane turned around because they were afraid they were not going to be able to take off again if they landed.  Imagine, the temperature being too hot for planes to land.  Unless the heatwave breaks, it appears more flights will be cancelled in the future.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Soda Fountains!

Soda Jerk, Black And White, FountainI am signed up with a service called BookBub. It sends out daily lists of books in the genres you are interested in that are on sale for free, 99 cents, $1.99 or $2.99.  Since I checked cookbooks, there was one this morning on drinks, etc from a Soda Fountain.

I don't remember every having a soda fountain in the neighborhood growing up but I do remember seeing them in the movies.  According to the book, soda fountains were a social center for people.  The book is based on a soda fountain that opened a few years ago in New York and is doing well.

So what do you know about soda fountains?  I don't know much but I learned so much about them.  I learned some things I never knew before looking them up.

1.  Originally soda fountains  in the 1850's were used to dispense tonics to help people's health.  Many of these early concoctions contained cocaine and caffeine which caused soda fountains to earn a bad reputation for having drinks that were addicting. 

2.  The predecessor of the soda fountain was the ice cream parlor which came into popularity in the 1880's.  These establishments sold ice cream and phosphate sodas.  Phosphate sodas were made of fruit flavorings with acid phosphate.  The original one was a mixture of calcium, magnesium, and potassium phosphate salts with a bit of phosphoric acid.  They tasted sour or tangy.

3. In 1888, a pharmacist began bottling liquid carbon dioxide and he sold it so anyone could purchase a set up a soda fountain.  He marketed it as the Liquid Carbonic Company.  Around the turn of the century, soda fountains began gaining in popularity.  The slogan of the Liquid Carbonic Company stated it the product was not addicting, it was just plain good.  This refers back to the earlier reputation of soda fountains.

4. Prior to the bottled liquid carbon dioxide, many soda fountains produced their own carbon dioxide by mixing sulfur acid and calcium carbonate to produce the carbon dioxide needed for carbonated drinks.  Unfortunately, this was an extremely dangerous job because if mixed at the wrong rate, explosions resulted.

5. Soda fountains flourished between the 1900's and the 1950's when pharmacists operated their own drug stores and soda fountains.  It was a one stop deal.

6. The prohibition is credited with increasing the demand for soda fountains because it was a much easier drink to drink soda than obtain alcohol and it was safer. 

7.   Important inventions leading up to the creation of soda fountains.
a. 1810. the first U.S. patent was filed to manufacture imitation mineral waters on a mass scale.
b. 1819, the first patent for the soda fountain was granted.  Around the same time the first siphon  was created so only a part of the carbonation was used.
c. 1863, the first marble soda fountain was patented by its inventor.  This was a machine that mixed the calcium carbonate with the sulfuric acid.
d.  Other people improved on the machine itself over the following years.

8.  The soda fountain fell out of favor when fast food became popular.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gross Alcoholic Drinks

A Glass Of Wine, Wine, Alcohol, Glass  Many people enjoy a nice glass of wine with their meal, a beer when they are watching a football game on the television, or a shot of scotch to celebrate Robert Burns birthday.  Most of the wine, beer, or scotch is very mundane but there are a few varieties out there that grossed me out just looking at them.

I suppose some of these are no worse than the worm in the bottom of your bottle of tequila but personally some of these are way grosser than that worm.  Just to be up front, I don't drink wine, beer, scotch or other alcoholic beverage but everyone else in the family does.  I've never liked the flavor of it.

I stumbled across these drinks while researching weird drinks in general.  I did not include the flavored beers from yesterday.  These are ones that are so far out you'd never know about them. I realize that many of these are appreciated by others but not me.  So on to the list of drinks.

1. Snake, scorpion, and lizard wine.  Its a wine with all three creatures in the wine.

2.Vermont White Vodka distilled from milk, sugar, and water.

3. Rice wine with baby mice in the bottle.

4. Mekong River  Eel wine has ginseng, herbs, and eels in the wine.

5. Reindeer Horn Whiskey is a Laotian white whiskey flavored that is fermented over a year and infused with reindeer horn and herbs.

6. Giant Centipede Whiskey, a nice clear whiskey with a giant centipede in it.

7. Sea Gull wine a home made variety of wine made from dead sea gull and water fermented till done.

8. Scorpion vodka with a farm raised edible Chinese scorpion.

9.  Ttongsul which is a Korean wine made out of fermented poop from young children. 

10.  Squirrel Beer which is a dead stuffed squirrel with a bottle of beer in its body with the head in its mouth.  It is 55% alcohol and costs over $700 per bottle.

11. Thai Spider Whiskey - A clear whiskey infused with spider and has a spider in it.

I will admit that none of these appeal to me.  They are strange and not my cup of tea.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

14 Weird Flavors Beer Flavors

Beer, Oktoberfest, Beer Glass  Most people I knew enjoy a glass or bottle of beer to relax with.  They might even enjoy a bottle or two while watching the Super Bowl.  I know about Bud vs Miller and I've listened people arguing over which brand is best.  Me?  I have no idea as it works better than prune juice so I don't drink it.

My parents tend to drink Fosters Ale from Australia.  It is their treat for the week.  Even growing up, they were more likely to drink wine than beer but my brothers enjoy their beer.

Until I read an article on strange drinks, I didn't realize there was such a variety of beer flavors.  Flavors I've never hear of or seen before. Check these flavors out!

1.  Mama Mia Pizza Beer made out of hops and Margaurite pizza.

2.  Bacon Maple Ale with apple smoked bacon and maple flavoring.

3. Prickly Pear Lager made out of the fruit of the prickly pear cactus.

4. Noble Rot, a beer made from two different types of  wine grapes.

5. Oatmeal Stout made from English roasted barley, Belgian chocolate, and oats.

6. Banana Bread beer is classified as a sweet dessert beer.

7.  Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter infused with the flavors of peanut butter and coffee.

8. Chipolte Ale is nice and spicy.

9. Daiquiri flavored beer. I assume it is a straight daiquiri flavor rather than something like strawberry.

10. Banana Split Chocolate Stout for those who prefer to drink their desserts.

11. Coconut Curry Beer - this sounds like a perfect pairing for spicy foods.

12.  Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout - no comment.

13.  Slippery Pig Pickle Sour or pickle flavored beer.

14.  Dragon Fruit Peach Beer a nice light beer that doesn't taste like beer.

I suspect some of these flavors are for the more adventurous drinkers.   I'll stick to my hot tea but I'm sure there are some that appeal to you the reader.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Magic Number - 10,000

I don't like "exercising".  I am not going to spend hours at the gym huffing and puffing because the closest gym is a couple hours away from the gym.  Instead, I try to take 10,000 steps every day.  10,000 steps is the magic number.  So many walking videos and articles I read state you should take 10,000 steps per day.  Do I make it?  Not every day but I try.

Running Shoe, Luminous, Bright, YellowThis goal makes me choose ways to walk just a bit more so  I rack up the steps.  At work I walk over to someones office rather than call.   The other night, I walked over to the gas station to pick up some ice cream but I "forgot" my money.  Yes, I purposely forgot my money but it was such a lovely night that it was enjoyable.

Another way to up the steps is to park in the back of the lot or in the middle of an area so you walk to the various stores rather than moving the car each time.  Saturday, I parked over at Walmart before shopping there, then I walked over past Lowes to Barns and Nobel where I checked out some books on mathematics and programming before stopping at AT&T to learn more about breakeven points.  When I finished, I headed back to the car. 

Earlier on Saturday, I visited the local farmers market.  While I stood in line there was a nurse behind me who had just gotten off of duty.  We spoke of health and fitness and we compared notes on our goals.  She uses an app on her phone to track steps while I use a simple inexpensive pedometer.

If I'm at a multilevel shopping mall or building I'll often take the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator.  No, I don't do stairs for more than two or possibly three stories but its a good way to get some aerobics in without much effort and contributes to the 10,000 steps per day.  I would love to say that I spring up the stairs but the reality is I climb them at a steady pace.  I'm always afraid I'll fall flat on my face if I try to go too fast.

Think about it.  You only have to do the 10,000 steps over your whole day.  If you work out at the gym, you might make your goal in one hour.  If you don't, it might take take you longer.  My trip to the farmers market, grocery store, bookstore, Walmart, and the phone place racked up almost 5000 steps.  That was half my goal!  Just from running errands.  The other half was earned by taking a walk to the gas station from my house.

Remember you don't have to live in the gym to stay healthy.  The only thing I do through the day is make sure that when I walk a distance, I do it briskly so I can get my heart pumping some.  Just to let you know, I got a small pedometer for around $20.00 from REI.  In addition, I went through a drug store that had a clearance on some fitness stuff including a walking kit with weighted gloves and a pedometer.  Got it all for about $4.00.

If you aren't able to do 10,000 steps at first, set a smaller goal like 2000 steps to start with and work you way up.  The idea is just to move and keep moving. To quote Nike "Just Do It!"

Have a good day.

Monday, June 20, 2016

HIstory of Father's Day

Father, Daughter, Beach, Sea, FamilyMy father went into teaching so he could spend time with us in the summer.  He also supported us through our girl scout and boy scout activities.  I was the only girl in my troop who could tie all the knots at the local scout games.  I could create a shelter out of sticks, rope, and a tarp. 

We all have memories of our father be they good or bad but I don't recall celebrating Father's day growing up.  My curiosity won out yesterday so I searched for information..  Did you know that Father's day as a nationally recognized day is quite recent?  It was nationally recognized 58 years after Woodrow Wilson declared Mother's day an official event. 

The very first wide spread Father's day took place on June 19, 1910 in Washington State after a campaign by Sonora Smart Dodd who wanted to have an official day recognizing male parents.  She was raised by a single father.  Although Calvin Coolidge urged all states to observe Father's day, it didn't happen.  It was thought that men didn't need a day with sentimental flowers, etc.

In fact, there was movement in the 1920's and 30's to scrap both Mother's and Father's day for a single Parent's day. The depression derailed this movement but retailers and advertisers promoted buying ties, socks, hats, etc because Father's day was like a "second Christmas" for fathers.  World War two helped establish Father's day because advertisers argued that Father's day was a way of honoring the troops and supporting the war effort.  By the end of the war it was a national institution.

It wasn't until 1972 that Father's day became a national holiday when Richard M. Nixon signed the official proclamation.  Now it has made its way into our culture to the point, we are unaware that it is a fairly recent event.

I hope you had a good father's day.  I called my father and wished him a wonderful day.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Summer Time

It is summer time and the season goes too fast.  Enjoy it and have fun. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

North Into Daylight

I flew back to Fairbanks the other night.  I left Seattle around 11:45 p.m. where it was completely dark and most people were in bed, dreaming of wonderful things.  I arrived at 2:00 a.m. to a place that was so light, it looked like the middle of the day.
It was strange flying north passing from darkness to daylight.  At one point on the right side of the plane, I saw a reddish band peeking up above the cloud layer.  It was like the sun was trying to rise.  On the left side of the plane, a half moon shone in the dark night making a beautiful sight.

As we progressed north, the sky began lightening until it was day time.  The only reason, I knew the time?  A flight attendant announced the time so everyone could turn their watches one hour earlier.

Fairbanks is far enough north that even with the sun setting, it does not get particularly dark because the sun does not get far enough below the horizon.  The sun sets around 1 a.m. and rises by 3:30 on the longest "day" of the year! which is not enough time for darkness to happen.   It is easy to start doing something outside at 7 p.m. and in no time, its 2 a.m!  I loose track of the passage of time most nights during summer.  I've even gotten calls from friends at 2 a.m. to meet at an all night diner for a quick snack.

My Window Shade
Imagine driving around in the middle of the night as if it were the middle of the day!  Many people have black out curtains or quilted shades fit in the window so the room gets some what dark.  I have a quilted roller curtain on my window to darken the room.  It does not get dark dark but it cuts enough light for me to sleep most nights.

 Honestly, most nights, I sleep a few hours but I usually end up taking a nap in the middle of the day so I get enough sleep.  It funny but even with the blackout curtains, my body knows its light outside.  It knows!

In a few days, the most famous event of summer happens.   Every year, the local minor league team "The Gold Panners" will have a game that starts around 10:30 or 11:00 and ends past midnight.  The field will not be artificially lit because its so light at that time of the night.

Alaskans both enjoy and appreciate the long days of summer.  It is fun to be out doing something in the middle of the night that is so light its as if its the middle of the day. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

9 Strange Drinks

Glass, Water, Ice Cubes, Drink, Cold  While researching soda pop, I ran across some really strange flavors of drinks that are not carbonated.  I'm not talking about the ones that are usually found in any stores including Kiefer or Kombucha.  I've had both and they are pretty good but the ones I found are really unique and popular in other countries.

A couple of these are considered soda pop but they fall into a strange category so I'm including them anyway because they don't seem like regular soda pop.  I put

Enjoy reading the list.
1.  Yogurt Soda from Pepsi in Japan.  I have trouble with yogurt that is commercially carbonated.

2. Kim Chi Drink from Korea.  It is the liquid from making Kim Chi and its sold.  It seems to be quite popular.

3. A Garlic Drink again from Korea.  Its just garlic juice you can drink all day long.

4. Needs Cheese Drink from Japan.  It is actually liquid cheese that has a slightly salty taste and it advertises that it could also be used as a salad dressing.

5. Eel Soda from Japan that contains actual extract of eel in it.  Its designed for the male population.

6. Gau Jal is still in the development stage in India but its made from Cow Urine.

7. Bilk from Japan that is a combination of beer and milk.  Its ratio is 1/3rd milk and 2/3 beer.  Due to its sweeter taste, it appeals more to women.

8. Salad Flavored Water - from Japan and comes in 6 different flavors.

9. Melon Milk - a mixture of melon juice and milk from Japan.

At the end of the list is a normal drink but the way it named and advertised made me laugh, so I'm sharing it with you.   My favorite - Diet Water - with half the calories of regular water.  Enjoy your day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

11 More Strange Flavors of Soda Pop

Bottle, Coke, Drink, Soda  Yesterday I looked at unusual flavors that could be found in the United States, but what about flavors that fall under the category of just down right strange. It is interesting to see what odd flavors are found around the world and even in the united states.

I know someone who loves those Milk Sodas from Japan.  Yes, they have milk in them and are opaque.  They don't taste bad but they still have more sugar than I like.  I admit that most of the flavors on the list do not appeal to me but I'm sure there are people out there who will find some of these flavors to be quite appealing. 

Now for the list.

1. Curry Soda - created in Japan.

2. Cucumber Soda - made in Japan but may not be available now.

3. Black Garlic Soda from Switzerland.  It has the flavor without the smell.

4. Onion Soda from Korea is marketed as a being good for your health.

5. White Fungus Birds Nest Soda is from Vietnam. 

6. Celery Flavored Soda from the United States.

7. Turkey and Gravy Soda from the United States.  I wonder if this is drunk on Thanksgiving with the meal?

9. Brussel Sprouts Soda - Is this a way to get kids to drink their veggies?

10. Red Bean Flavored Pepsi - From Japan.

11. Cannibis Soda Pop - From where else?  Another name for this line is California Pot Pop.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

11 unusual flavors of Soda Pop

Bottle, Coke, Drink, Soda  I don't usually watch television unless I'm traveling.  I'm not due home for a couple more days so I have access to shows.  Last night, one of the shows I watched mentioned unusual flavors of soda pop. These flavors are not the usual ones you find in the store but are created by smaller artisan companies.

It seems bacon is a popular flavor for just about anything.  Who was it who said "You can never have enough bacon.  Yes there is a bacon flavored soda out there.  In fact, I found plain bacon, bacon with chocolate and bacon with maple syrup flavored sodas. Some of the weird flavors are just renamed so it appears more exotic but others are just plain weird.

I will share a secret with you.  I do not drink much soda pop.  I don't like it and anything too sugary makes me too hyper and I'm hyper enough.  So I am assuming these taste as advertised.  I also found a list of soda pop not found in the United States which I'll share tomorrow.

Ta Da - The list

1. Teriyaki Beef Jerky Soda Pop - When you open the top, the soy sauce aroma comes out.

2. Grass Soda - Supposed to start out well but then the taste goes down hill.

3. Dirt Soda - This is supposed to taste better than the Grass soda but its not supposed to be that good.

4. Buffalo Wings Soda - Starts out with an orangy taste before the Buffalo Wings flavor takes over.

5.  Sweet Corn Soda - It advertises that it tastes like sweet corn.

6. Peanut Butter and Jelly Soda - for those who never really grew up.

7. Ranch Dressing Soda - Need I say more?

8. Key Lime Pie Soda - Have this for dessert.

9. Green Apple Jalapeno - Perks up a standard flavor.

10 S'Mores - For those who want to relive childhood memories.

11. Watermelon - Imagine having this on a hot summer day.

Such crazy flavors.  What do you think of these?

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Entrance to the museum.
I adore visiting museums because there are so many out there filled with everything from history to culture to science.  When I visit a place I try to check out some of the local museums.  In Hawaii, a good one to check out is the Bishop Museum, named after the man who founded it and who was the husband to one of the royal princesses.

The museum has displays that cover everything from Hawaiian and Polynesian history and culture to science.  The museum has its own planetarium where they have all sorts of shows.  I saw one years ago about how the stars have changed since Galileo's time to now.  They also have a science exploratory place had a series of mural on tsunami's, various skeletons, volcanoes and more.  I love seeing that one.

Here are a few pictures taken of various displays.

Polynesian boats


Polynesian Model Boat


Kangaroo Skeleton

When I visit, I always plan to spend the day there because they always have so much to see.  One year, they had a visiting dinosaur exhibit that I had to go visit.  Although it was designed for children, I had to experience and enjoy it.  If you get over there, so check it out.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Trolley Cars and Buses

Ziu, Mtb, Trolley Bus, Electric Motor  As you know, I've been visiting Hawaii recently.  It gave my father a chance to share some of his early memories of moving to Hawaii in 1938.

Today, he was talking about the electric trolley's that ran around Waikiki and Oahu in the 1930's.  It appears this was the main form of transportation at the time.

Dad talks about riding it one day back in the late 1930's.  The trolley made a stop and started off again but someone came running down yelling.  The trolley stopped and backed up a block to pick the person up before continuing on its way.  He smiled as he told the story.

Oahu has always had some sort of public transportation when I lived there but I wondered when it all started.  The very first transit system, the Honolulu Tramway, ran from downtown to Waikiki using mule powered trams.  In 1898, it was taken over by the Honolulu Rapid Transit and Land company.  This company started operations on the day the islands were annexed by the United States Government.

The Honolulu Rapid  Transit and Land Company started service with street cars in 1901.  In 1925, they switched to motor buses and from 1937 to 1957 they operated electric trolley's. This means that my father rode the trolleys shortly after they started!  From what he indicated, he used the public transit system a lot in his youth.

Turn in to Waikiki Aquarium.
The Honolulu Rapid Transit and Land Company as a way of creating interest in riding the streetcars to the end of the line, built the Waikiki Aquarium in 1904 which makes it the second oldest aquarium in the United States. At the time it opened it had 35 tanks with 400 marine organisms and it was declared the aquarium had the best display in the world.

Over the years, the transit system expanded and flourished.  Today, you can hop the bus and go anywhere on the island for $2.50 or $1.00 if you are a senior citizen.  The bus system is well used by visitors and residents alike.  It also means you do not have to fight island traffic which is considered as bad as the traffic in Los Angeles.
Modern Tourist Trolley

Should you want the experience of riding an old fashioned trolley, Waikiki has all sorts of trolleys you can get passes for to ride all day long.  Many are geared for the Japanese and others are hop on and off so you can stop as much as you want.  In fact, one of the shopping places has a trolley you can hop on to get there.

Check it out and enjoy.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Its All Over The Place

 Hawaii and hula go together.  It is hard to think about the state without picturing young ladies dancing on the beach.

If you visit Waikiki, you can always catch one of the three weekly shows down on the hula mound.  The photo to the left was taken last year during the Pan Pacific festival when many dancer came from Japan to share in their love of Hula.  The festival happens in early June every year and is huge.
The photo to the right was taken a few days ago at the hula mound.  What set this group apart from others is that one of the ladies in the picture shared the stories being danced.  This group performed both traditional and modern types of hula.

Different groups perform throughout the month so they all get equal exposure.
Many of the hotels provide entertainment or lessons.  I stay at a lovely hotel that has a nice intimate family type night where the musicians are all local and drop in on Monday's to play. 

The dancers are folks who drop by to have fun dancing.  I love it because each dancer has learned from a different teacher so their version may be quite different from another.

They even have a teaching session where one of the ladies teaches people in the audience to do one or two simple songs.  Its fun and she is great at it.  some nights there is mostly music with a few hula numbers while other nights you might get about half music and half dance.  It is wonderful and so much fun.  Its like attending a family party, especially if you come regularly to the hotel.  I love it.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Ways To Travel

 If you are ever in Waikiki, there are tons of places that rent all sorts of transportation from cars to motorcycles to bicycles.  The other day, I went over to get breakfast and found this really neat motorized vehicle parked in front of the restaurant. 

It looks like a motorized tricycle with a small body over the three wheel chassis.  I have no idea what the top speed is but I can say with full certainty that if it rains, the people are going to get wet.

My mother described it as cute.  Personally, I call it a possible accordion because if it got hit by anything bigger, it will crumble.   My father laughed when he caught site of it.

For going out to see, people enjoy going out on the ocean, the outrigger is a good choice.  It is traditional and gives you a workout, especially if you go out at high tide. 

The other weekend it was really crowded out on the ocean with the surfers, the outriggers, the catamarans, and the swimmers.  The only thing missing were all the paragliders.

These outriggers are parked on the beach in front of the Royal Hawaiian Village.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Leonards Bakery

Original Art Work
 Sunday morning, I got up nice and early and decided to walk from the hotel to Leonards and back.  Its a little over 1.5 miles each way.  I wanted to make the walk before it got too warm. 

On the way there, I found this wonderfully decorated building on the corner, surrounded by apartments.  The area is one of the older ones in town.
Leonards Baker has been in the same location since 1952.  They are famous for their hot Malasadas.  For those who don't know, they are Portuguese sweet donuts without the holes.  When you get there, you go to the cash register and place your order.  The order goes back into the kitchen and they are made on the spot so when you get your box, the delights are still nice and warm.

Berliner, Breakfast, Bun, Cake, DessertThey come in original (with plain sugar), cinnamon and sugar, or covered with a great Li Hing powder so you get salty with sweet.  They
come stuffed with Halpia or coconut pudding, mango or guava fillings.

When you say Leonards, people know you mean malasadas.  When I was growing up, my grandmother always took us there over on the way home from church to pick them up. A few years ago when I headed over there, I was stopped by a little Chinese lady stopped me to ask "Are you lost?"  I said I was going to Leonards and she smiled and let me go. 

Diamond Head.

On the way back, I got a great view of Diamond Head, an extinct volcano which helped create the island of Oahu.  The sky was so clear, its blue was great.

I love walking because I can see so much. If something is too far, I hop a bus because I can go anywhere for $2.50.  
Library and Ala Wai Canal.

 The picture to the right is taken just on the other side of the Library heading back to the hotel. Off in the distance, is the beginning of the Ala Wai canal which goes from here, behind Waikiki to Ala Moana when it empties out into the sea.
Fountain near elementary school

The whole trip took just under an hour.  I got my morning exercise before breakfast and I enjoyed a fruit salad and one malasada for breakfast.  It was a good trip and well worth it.

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, Diamond Head  Waikiki is the name of the area on Oahu where most of the hotels are located.  Its the main tourist area and is filled with hotels, condos, apartments, and tons of shopping places.

The beach is composed of white sand with a nice shallow swimming area and gentle waves even at high tide.  Yes it is crowed and very very developed but it didn't always look this way.

Originally the area served as a retreat for the royal family where the families had their own residences and had fun. The beach was actually a thin strip of sand located between wetlands, mudflats, duck ponds, fish ponds, and a gentle slope under the ocean.

Moana Surfrider Hotel.
Beginning in 1830, Waikiki became a destination for foreign visitors. In 1860 a road was built followed by a tramway in 1880 or so.  The first hotel, The Moana Surfrider  was built in 1901 as a place for wealthy European visitors.  This hotel had 75 rooms, offered many luxuries such as a pool room, telephones, library, etc In addition, it had the first electrical elevators in the territory.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel from the beach
Beginning in 1907, the Waikiki Reclamation Commission went in and widened roads, built bridges, and drained the duck ponds, rice paddies and taro paddies in preparation for increased tourism. In early 1920, the wetlands were declared a health hazard and the government built the Ala Wai canal to drain the wet areas.  When it was completed in 1928 the area was subdivided into 5000 square foot lots sold to the public changing rural Waikiki into a suburb.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Front
As a way of creating new recreational activities, they built a massive Olympic sized pool (the Natatorium) and the Honolulu zoo in 1927.  The pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel with its Moorish style was also built that year adding another resort hotel to the Moana Surfrider.  Tourism continued to grow until 1941 with the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Waikiki became the destination for soldiers who were on R & R.  In fact the Moana hotel transformed itself offering respite for soldier heading off to the unknown.  Once the war was over, tourism once more took off with the advent of regular air service to the islands.

What most histories of Waikiki do not tell you is that the sand found on the beach is not native to Hawaii.  In the 1920's and 30's it is said they barged sand in from Manhattan Beach California but they quit importing sand in the 1970's.  Now they bring the sand in from 2000 feet off shore because one foot a year is eroding from the beach and it has to be replenished some way.

Today, many of the older places are being replaced with more hotels, restaurants, and other name brand stores for tourism.  Its slowly loosing its charm as quaint gives way to modern. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A Father's Memories

Saturday morning,  I went down to the beach with my parents.  We sat on a rock wall located under a huge Banyan tree looking out at all the surfers in and on the water.  We got there in time for some sort of surfing competition.  The beach was fairly busy but it was fun watching the surfers compete with the folks in outrigger canoes, catamarans, paddle boards and swimmers.  Although the beach has a nice safe walled area off to the side, most people prefer swimming in the ocean.

My father is old enough to remember moving to Hawaii back in 1938.  He was much older when he met and married my mother because he fought in both World War II and the Korean War.  He took time to tell me a little bit of what Waikiki looked like way back then.

At the time he came over, there were only four real hotels in Waikiki.  The Royal Hawaiian which is a bright pink building over near the yacht club side of the area, The Moana which is closer to where I'm staying, a place with lots of cottages, and one other place.  He's getting old enough that many of his long term memories are fading.

Ship, Sun, Water, Lake, ShippingThey arrived via ship because that was the standard method of travel back then.  He said that his mother (my grandmother) had made reservations for them to stay at the Moana Surfrider Hotel but there was no representative at the dock when they arrived so she decided not to go there.  Instead she found an apartment near Punahou school where my father went for a while.

I know they left the Islands on December 25, 1941 via ship to head back to Corvallis Oregon.  I remember my father had a copy of the December 7th paper which talked about the bombing at Pearl Harbor.  I am not sure if they stayed there between 1938 and 1941 or if they moved back to the mainland and back in that three year time period.  I'm going to have to ask later on. I do know that as soon as he graduated from high school in June of 1942, he enlisted in the Navy and spent the rest of the war working on board ship as an orderly.

I love when he talks about his personal history because he never spoke about it much as we were growing up. As he speaks of his life, I'll share some tidbits but more tomorrow on Waikiki Beach itself.