I returned home with Mom this past Tuesday. It's good to be home, but it's so cold and rainy here! (I know, I was spoiled.) All joking aside, it's very good to be home with my family.
Mom flew to Hawaii to last Friday to spend the weekend there with us. Friday night in Waikiki was our first little adventure while she was there. On Saturday, the fun continued with a trip to Honolulu's Chinatown. Anna had arranged for us to meet a friend of hers there for lunch. We got there early, so we walked around a bit and looked at some of the markets. The markets in Chinatown have all kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as fish and meat. This was pretty authentic Asian groceries. They had everything from brightly colored tropical fish to pig heads available.
The streets were fun to walk around. There's lots of little stores, bakeries, and flower shops in addition to the markets.
The street signs are in English and Chinese.
A cat in front of a street-side bakery.
Nora got an easy ride in her mom's backpack carrier. The Asian people around us gave her lots of attention.
The shops sell all kinds of little trinkets. As you can see, there were various things around that indicated the presence of Asian religions. However, there were also signs for Christian churches in Chinatown.
Mack shows us how to wear a dragon mask.
Mmm... The only thing better than chicken noodle soup is some shark's fin in chicken soup!
This is the restaurant where we had Dim Sum. I had never heard of Dim Sum until Anna told me about. It would describe as a Chinese version of brunch. It's pretty different from your typical American Chinese restaurant. You pick all these different little dishes off a cart--they all cost about $2--and share them around the table. I should have taken pictures of some of the different things we got. Most of them I was not familiar with, but a lot of them tasted pretty good. Chopsticks were were the main utensils provided; if you didn't want to use chopsticks, you had to ask for a fork. We also got to drink tea in traditional Chinese teacups--no handles!
After Dim Sum, we headed up to the Manoa Falls trail. Manoa Falls is up a valley in a rain forest area.
Bird of Paradise flowers near the parking lot for the trail.
You can see how much it rains in that area by the amount of moss covering this sign.
The trail was not particularly challenging, but it was super muddy and in places the rain had caused the trail to erode. Those factors made us go slower.
Manoa Falls itself.
Mack and Sydney at the top of the trail.
Anna, Nora, Sydney, Mom, and Mack near the end of our very muddy trek.
Last night we went to see the fireworks that are set off every Friday night at the Hilton in downtown Waikiki. The fireworks were really big and the sound echoed off the huge hotels behind. After watching them we just walked around the area where the Hilton is. It's a fairly busy place after dark and it looks pretty all lit up. I took the last four pictures on my tripod using a really slow shutter speed.
I mentioned in my last post that I got to do a photo shoot for some of Anna's friends last Saturday. Here are few of my favorite shots from that day. We took the pictures on one of the beaches at the back of the base. It was a perfect background, and the girls looked really cute in their Hawaiian print dresses. It was a fun opportunity.
The weeks have been full, and my time here is quickly coming to a close. One of the things I have enjoyed has been meeting new people. Anna has friends both in the EOD shop (where her husband works) and at church. I've had a good number of opportunities to get to know some of them better over the past week or so, from a Memorial Day barbecue, to a Mary Kay party, to a church potluck.
Saturday I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot for some friends from "the shop" down at the beach. I'm always glad for opportunities to practice taking portraits, and this family was very understanding about me still being new at it. That day I also got to meet a friend of mine from the church at the swap meet. The swap meet is kind of flea market. The locals have little stands there for all kinds of souvenirs and local products. The rows of stands wrap around the sides of a stadium. It's fun, and the deals are good, but it also gets very hot walking around out there.
Sunday Anna's church had their "potluck at the beach" (doesn't every church wish they could have one of those?). It was another nice opportunity to spend time with folks from church. The kids got to play together out on the beach. Here's a couple pics from that.