Travel Video: Day At The Plymouth Art In The Park

 

Hi, today I have another video. I’m trying to get into these Vlog style posts to keep this blog varied and interesting. Plus, isn’t it about time for you to hear my voice?  In this video I take you along for a walk through the Plymouth Art In The Park, which is an art’s festival held annually. Its actually one of the largest events in Plymouth and its pretty cool. I got to see a lot of different art from around the state. Check it out!

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Travel Log Video: Fun Times In Iowa

Alright, I still haven’t finished my travel log recollections of Hawaii just yet. So those are still coming out.

Today I have a fun little Travel Log Video of a recent trip I had to Iowa. I’ll probably make a longer recount later on. But suffice it to say right now, I met up with old friends and even made new ones. I got to explore caves and even attend a football game in the area. Check out the video below. I’ll be posting more videos like these in the future, enjoy!

If you have a youtube/gmail account please subscribe to my channel for more videos!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0JVFn-fD96BlhRPQnjYm1A

Walking Downtown Honolulu and Meeting Old Friends Finale: Overtime

After I left the guys I started to float around Waikiki towards the hotel. I was tired and thirsty from the day’s events. I remember passing by a lot of stores with a lot of people in them or waiting to get in. I didn’t really stop by anywhere. One of the places I stopped by was an ABC store to get some 32 OZ PowerAde. I really only needed one but they had a buy two for $3 deal that I couldn’t pass up. At the check out they asked if I wanted to get chips to snack on. That’s a pretty peculiar question if you think about it. I said no and went on my way. Outside of ABC I actually found a spot to down half the bottle. I felt a lot better, after that I made my way down towards the hotel. On the way there I stopped by the Kings Village Shopping Center because it looked like they had a Farmer’s Market going on. There was a lot of different food that ranged from Korean BBQ to this table with a lot of different pastries. There were also a lot of vendors selling fruits and vegetables. At this point I was still full from Rainbow Diner so looking at the food kind of made me feel sick. It was nice walking around though. There were still a lot of people at the market looking around. I walked the whole shopping center to see everything. Actually, the actual shopping center itself was nice, it had a historic feeling architecture that made it unique and fun to walk around. After walking around a bit I made my way to the hotel.

When I got back to my room I checked my phone and I got a message back from an old friend that she and her sister can hang out that night. At that moment I knew I was in for a treat and was gonna have to do some overtime lol I called my friend up immediately, her name is Rhed and her sister’s name is Reina. Actually, they are featured in some of my early blog posts here around 2011-2013. Well, when I called up Rhed it was really cool, I never thought I would call her again. Rhed let me know that her sister was just coming home from a portfolio from her school in Kapiolani Community College KCC. Rhed then asked where we should hang out. I was actually so burned out from the day’s events that I couldn’t really think of a place. I just mentioned that we should meet up at a café like place so I could finish some paperwork. I also let Rhed know that I just ate with some of my friends. After this, Rhed said that she would call back with a place to meet up. At this point my head was racing with things I needed to prepare before I went just like my laptop, charging my phone, and making sure I had enough bus fare. Unfortunately, I needed to get change so I had to plan out where to get change in advance. After a little while I got a call from Rhed again and she mentioned that we should meet up at a Milk Tea place near Ala Moana and in my head I immediately thought Taste Tea since it was a Milk Tea place near Ala Moana. Rhed also mentioned the name of the place but in my head I just replaced it as Taste Tea (she was actually saying Tea Boss). I then said, ok I’ll meet up with you guys there and that I’ll be taking the bus that way. I then quickly got all my stuff and got a quick shot of cologne (Boss Bottled Intense) and headed out. On my way out I still needed some change so I headed out to the ABC store next door and got change for the bus fare. I actually asked the girl where the bus stop was and for a bus suggestion. She pointed the direction and suggested the 13 towards Kalihi, the 13 was also the recommendation of Rhed as well. I then headed out to the bus stop. I actually didn’t have to wait long because the 42 was coming by.

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A shot of Waikiki and the area near the bus stop

I got on the 42 and asked the driver if he was headed down towards Ala Moana and he answered to the positive. While I was on the 42 I get a call from Rhed and I let her know that I was going to meet them at Taste Tea and that I was already on the bus. When I told Rhed that I was on the 42 she said oh ok, my sister’s ready so we’ll meet you on the 42. When she said that in my head I was like “whaaaat” and I sort of got nervous, a kind of nervous I have not felt for years. It was the kind of nervous you get when your going to go on your first date kind of thing. I don’t know, it had something to do with the thought that I was going to see Reina again. As the bus approached their apartment it was kind of weird that I knew the stop that they were going to get on. Because of this, I was able to anticipate when they were going to get on. And then it hit, the bus stop said that it was on Hobron Lane and when it did, I knew they were getting on.

When they did all of the apprehension I felt went away and I was just in wonder that I saw them again. After the past three years of my life and everything I’ve been through in that time I never imagined that I would see them again and still feel the same. Back in the day I was always excited to see Rhed and Reina, especially Reina. I had a thing for her back then and to be honest when I saw her again that feeling came back. All of the miles and adventures I’ve been through these past years have changed the feelings in a way that made me second-guessing them. To be honest, I’m not sure how I really feel about Reina now.

When we met up on the bus we quickly caught up on old times. It was kind of weird but cool to do so. From their house to Ala Moana was not far at all. It was about a five minute transit to and fro. It really hit my when we got down on Ala Moana, It was at Ala Mona that I got to hang out with Reina that one night a long time ago. Back in the day Reina used to work at the Coffee Bean inside Foodland. One night I was long boarding in Ala Moana. I was long boarding all around downtown actually but my ride ended at Ala Moana for some reason. While I was long boarding I took a peek inside Foodland and saw Reina at the Coffee Bean. I talked to her for a bit and she said to wait up because she was getting off soon, I was like ok. At that frame of time I didn’t know her to well and just knew her from Church. When she got off we got to talk some more and she actually walked me to the bus stop, which was kind of funny. I thought I was walking her to the bus stop. Actually, it was a good thing that she did, at that point of time I wasn’t familiar with where the bus stops were at Ala Moana. On our walk to the bus stop it was actually up and around Ala Moana, It wasn’t too confusing as I recall but it definitely required some turns. While we were walking to the bus Reina actually gave me a Red Velvet Cupcake. Red Velvet pastries have a sort of sentimental value for me since it was the variety of cupcakes that I had in my go away party in the University of Guam. When she gave me that Red Velvet Cupcake, at the time it hit me and I knew that I liked her for some reason. I actually didn’t want to get on that bus, I wanted to miss it so I could hang out with her longer, but I didn’t want to make it obvious that I liked her but I did. As I was going on the bus I gave her a hug and then headed out.

That particular flashback story above hit me because when Rhed, Reina, and I got out of the bus and walked around Ala Moana, it was that very same bus stop where I left Reina those years ago. The route we walked around Ala Moana to the Milk Tea place was also the same route Reina walked me when I first met her those years ago. It was as if I just came full circle to something that started I would say four or five years ago. While we were walking through Ala Moana Rhed and Reina actually called me out on limping. Throughout the whole day and through the whole day’s events (pt’s 1-finale) I was wearing LL Bean Hunting Boots, which if you tried wearing, are not the most comfortable boots you could wear. After a whole day of wearing the boots started hurting the back of my feet and the only way to alleviate the pain was to do a sort of limp. To be honest, this wasn’t the first time this happened, it happened a few times before. However, it was the first time that someone called me out on limping. Something about Rhed and Reina calling me out on limping really struck a chord with me. It was a deep contrast to the past few years and the people I’ve been in contact with. Rhed and Reina really showed a level of concern that I have not experience in a while. When they did call me out on it I just shrugged it and said “am I limping? I’m not limping, who limps nowadays?” all sarcastically of course.

Our walk ended at Tea Boss. In my head I was like “thank goodness Rhed and Reina got on the bus with me” because if not, I would have went to Taste Tea and waited there and probably even got a drink while waiting. Tea Boss itself was very similar to Taste Tea, just not as big. When you order at Tea Boss and Taste Tea you first order your flavor, then what you want inside (jelly, tapioca balls, etc.), and finally you say what level of sweetness you want. The level of sweetness was kind of weird, It ranged from 0% to 200% sweetness. Before I ordered Reina asked me for my stamp card. You know those stamp cards where every time you buy a drink you get a stamp. Fill the stamp card with stamps and you get your next drink free. I was like “sure you can have it”. When I went up to order, the cashier girl was like “do you need time to order?” for some reason I wanted to be cool so I said something like “no, I’ll decide right now” in a pretty serious tone. In actually when I said that in my head I was like “oh crap I got to choice right away” so I ended up getting a large original Milk Tea flavor with tapioca balls and 50% sweetness. After I made my order I asked to use their bathroom. The cashier girl asked for my license so I could get the key to use the bathroom. As she gave me the key she gave me directions to find the bathroom and to be honest I did not get all of it. I just remembered that I had to go outside and go towards the apartment complex and then go through a gate to find the bathroom. I pretty much got all the directions down besides from where the bathroom actually was.

I’ll describe the area real quick, Tea Boss is basically on the bottom of an apartment complex, next to Tea Boss was a restaurant and next to that restaurant was already the entrance to the apartment complex. When I walked out of the Tea Boss I saw two girls leaving the restaurant next door and asked them where the bathroom was and they said that they had no idea. I was like “it’s alright then” so I walked some and saw a door that also doubled as a gate. I kind of thought that this key would open this door but it didn’t. Since it was kind of like a gate I could easily see through it and on the other side was the mailbox area for the Apartment tenants. I saw a lady checking her mailbox and I really need to use the bathroom. I felt kind of weird but I waited for her to finish checking her mail and walk my direction before I tried to get her attention. I didn’t need to yell or anything so I just sort of said loudly “Hey, could you help me? I’m trying to get inside to use the bathroom”. I then showed her the key I got from Tea Boss. It looked like one of those long stick things that help you put on your shoe with a key attached at the end of it. When she opened the door gate I thanked her and preceded to the bathroom. I’m sure she was watching me the whole time to make sure I wasn’t going to do anything otherwise. What a hassle it was to use the bathroom. How is anyone else supposed to get inside that door gate without a tenant there to open it for you?

Oh well, after using it I went out and met up with Rhed and Reina again at Tea Boss. The seating was pretty limited inside. There’s a counter on the far side and two cocktail tables in the middle. Every chair in the room was those high up chairs so you could sit near the cocktail tables. The chairs actually didn’t feel sturdy, make sure you always have both feet planted on the ground if you can. I also remember that when I went back to return the key and get my license I asked for the stamp card and the cashier girl pointed at Reina and said she got it for you already and Reina raised her hand a bit and gave us a smile. I kind of wish I had that moment recorded, it was almost as if Reina was more than just a friend for a moment, if you know what I mean. When I took a seat with Rhed and Reina it didn’t take long before my tea was ready. I got my tea and headed back, on the way back I saw a guy on his laptop playing a game that looked like World of Warcraft and I asked “Hey bro, you playing World of Warcraft?” He said “Nah, this is such and such” I actually forgot the real name of the game but after some research it’s a Warhammer MMO. He said that he did have a World of Warcraft account though. Throughout the whole time with Rhed and Reina and when they were doing stuff I made some small talk with this dude and found out that he’s from a small town in Alaska that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of. I remember him talking about how the town has a lot of people with Syphilis and because of this they call the town by its real name mixed with the name of Syphilis. Interesting dude fore sure, I feel bad for not getting his name.

By the time Rhed and Reina’s order was ready they actually messed up Reina’s order. I believe she was supposed to get an original Milk Tea flavor but they ended making a Chai Tea flavor. I then remember quipping “Does that mean we get the Milk Tea for free?” And everyone in the store had a laugh about it lol! The workers answered to the positive so we got a Milk Tea for free. After they got their order Rhed mentioned that their friend Samantha was going to join us. Rhed and Reina’s nickname for Samantha was Sasa (Saw-Saw). Apparently Samantha lived in that apartment complex upstairs. While we were waiting, Rhed and Reina got some orders of their egg puffs at Tea Boss. Egg puffs are like these small custard filled pastries that are bite sized. Sometimes they either come as bite sized pieces like the ones here. I’ve also eaten some egg puffs that were really small and connected, meaning that you would have to break them off piece by piece or just eat the whole thing. Reina offered some of her egg puffs and they were very good. From this point itt didn’t take too long before Samantha joined us. We all talked about many things. I learned that Rhed was a Certified Nurses Assistant at one of the hospitals. That was pretty cool, back in the day Rhed was working at the Kapahulu Zippy’s location. Samantha was from New York and for some reason I can’t remember why she was in Hawaii, was it for work or school? I remember that Samantha has an older sister and that her family didn’t visit her in Hawaii yet. Samantha’s actually pretty cool too and easy to hang out with just like Rhed and Reina. Actually when we were hanging out I remember making quite a bit of jokes and Rhed said to Samantha “see, told you he was energetic”. I took as a very good compliment, to be honest I don’t think I’ve been so energetic as I was that night for a while. Also, as for Reina she was doing graphic design, which was cool. Reina told me that when she was doing her portfolio she had people say “hey, aren’t you Reina?” I remember how excitable Reina was as she was telling me her story. Reina also told me that she was joining the Air Guard very soon. Good luck to her and more power to her. I remember while we were talking, Reina mentioned that she was hungry. I felt kind of bad because I mentioned to Rhed that I already ate. We then packed up our things and headed out. We went down the block and towards 7/11. It was really close by to Tea Boss It was interesting going inside the 7/11 mostly because it was cool to see that they bento boxes for sale. Bento boxes are basically boxed lunches, over here it was boxed rice with spam. I don’t remember what Rhed, Reina, and Samantha got over here.

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A shot of our Milk Teas from Tea Boss

Afterwards, we actually headed to Samantha’s apartment. I actually didn’t expect to go there, I was just going with the flow so to speak. It was funny going through that door gate thing for real this time to get into the actual apartment place. It was an interesting place, and definitely a good location to be in to live in downtown Honolulu so close to Waikiki, Ala Moana, and the beaches. When we got to Samantha’s room I remember chilling on the couch. It was a nice room and it was real cool to hang out with them there. After chilling for a bit I got my laptop out to start doing my thesis synopsis that was due that night. I wasn’t in any particular rush but I knew I had to buckle down on it, being in Samantha’s place helped me focus a bit. While, I was doing my synopsis I remember Rhed wanting to read a little bit of my thesis to see if she could “understand it”. I remember her reading the first few sentences out loud. When she did I was laughing in my head out of joy. It was cool to see other people, besides from my professors, read a work I’ve been writing for a very long time. Rhed gave up on it after the first page, but I really appreciated it. While I was writing my synopses I remember Samantha going through Netflix to see what was cool to put on, I remember talking to her about Shaun of the Dead and all that. I asked her to put on Hot Fuzz. I actually really like Hot Fuzz. While we were watching Hot Fuzz, the captions started going on the frizz. It was interesting, when that happened, Samantha restarted the computer. I found it interesting because it helped me remember that English wasn’t the first language of Rhed, Reina, and Samantha. Around this time my mom gave me a call and asked where I was, I let her know that I was with the brethren. Afterwards, my legs actually started cramping up hardcore. When I mean hardcore, I mean super hardcore. Actually, I wanted to yell from all the pain. Instead, I literally got up from the couch and started doing stretches. I even went as far as to go on the floor and do stretches as well. I remember Reina asking “is this normal whenever you do some writing?” I remember half-sarcastically saying “yes, it gets the blood flowing”. I did these stretches probably for a good five-eight minutes until the cramps went away.

After doing these awkward stretches I then went on to sit on the floor with my back against the wall a little behind Reina. There was this one funny point where I put my laptop on the floor and reached over to get a drink of water on the table next to Reina. When I did, Reina said “Hey Levie, are you alright? I could hear you breathing loudly.” That level of concern was the same that caught me off guard earlier when Reina and her sister called me out on limping. At that moment I told Reina something like “oh crap, I didn’t notice that I was breathing loudly.” I really didn’t notice, I was just burned out and it was almost midnight. Actually, when I got back to my laptop Rhed actually said “Hey Levie, It’s almost midnight, I think you should go, your mom’s called to look for you”. I was like “Come on, can we stay, I just need to write a little more”. To be honest, I probably only had a sentence down at this point, I really just wanted to hang out a bit longer. This situation reminds me of that one time when I had to leave Reina for the bus. When I asked to stay a bit longer Rhed actually put her foot down on the matter, which surprised me, and said “no, we got to go.” I actually replied “ok, mom” just for the yuks. Before we headed out, we took some group photos on the couch. After that, I then packed up my things and asked Samantha if I could use her bathroom. It was a bit awkward because I had to use the bathroom and I could really hear the girls outside, I just hope they couldn’t hear me using it on the inside. When I got out I quickly got my stuff and headed out. Rhed, Reina, Samantha, and I then headed out of the apartment.

On the way out I remember Reina commenting on how scary the hallway was. I remember that Reina compared the hallway to The Shining, I was comparing it to The Grudge kind of hallway. It was a creepy hallway because it was narrow, every door was the same and close to the next door, also the hallway was dimly lit. After we left the hallway we went down on the parking floor so Samantha could throw her trash away at the trash disposal. We then headed out of the apartment complex and down to the bus stop close to Samantha’s place. It actually didn’t take long before the bus came, I believe it was the 13. I said farewell to Samantha before I went on. It was cool to meet Samantha actually and she was just as chill as Rhed and Reina. Perhaps some day again I’ll see her.

 

When we got on the 13, it felt a bit solemn. I still had a lot to say to Rhed and Reina and our hang out was way to short. Or perhaps I was being selfish on wanting to hangout longer. I knew I had a lot to say, especially to Reina, I wanted to clear up the air between us. To be honest, I still think about her, even during the past years I haven’t seen her. Back on the bus, our conversation was short, from Samantha’s place to Rhed and Reina’s was not far at all. Perhaps, a five-eight minute transit on bus. While on the bus, I remember soon after we got on Reina said something like “how do you keep your hair perfect like that?” That question caught me off guard and was a bit uncharacteristic of her, not in a bad way of course. I actually got my comb out and showed her and said “with this!” Lol actually the whole night Reina was talking to me a bit differently then what I remember from long ago. Its hard to explain, but it was definitely not a bad thing. Next I remembered that I had Zero bars I brought from Michigan to give out. I had two of them and when I was giving it to them Rhed said “Oh we have pasalubong”. Interestingly pasalubong doesn’t have a direct translation besides gift. A more thorough translation of pasalubong is a gift that came from someone who came back from a travel. When I gave the Zero bars to Rhed and Reina I explained that Zero bars are my favorite chocolate bars in the states. Zero bars are actually not available in Hawaii. The first time I saw Zero bars in the States was in Tennessee and after eating one bar I bought another instantly. Actually, this story is recounted in one of my previous blog posts. When Reina got the Zero bar she said “Thanks Levie, now when I eat this bar (or was it see this bar?) I will think about you”. When Reina said this, it actually caught me off guard and left me speechless. By the time this happened we reached the bus stop for their apartment. I was still a bit speechless from Reina’s response. I saw Rhed and Reina leave the bus and walk away and all I could muster were the words “Bye, hopefully I’ll see you guys soon again”. I really hope I do see them again, I know I will, I just don’t know when.

The rest of the bus ride back to my place was quiet. It hit me hard when I saw them earlier get off of the bus and start walking away. From the bus was when I left Reina those years ago, and from the bus is when I left Reina and Rhed again this time. After I got off the bus it was a quiet walk to the hotel. When I got to the hotel I took a shower and wrote my synopsis. I finished it around 1:30 AM and turned in my final thesis to my professors. All I could say now is that the whole day has been very eventful, successful, and meaningful.

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Group shot! From left: Reina, Samantha, Rhed, Me
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Group shot! From left: Reina, Samantha, Rhed, Me

Walking Downtown Honolulu and Meeting Old Friends Pt. 2

After we finished eating the Volcano Shake we looked around the food court just a little bit more. I remember that we passed by this new bakery place that wasn’t there the last time I was here. The cool thing about this place is that they have cheap baked goods, I mean you get this Cinnabon sized dinner roll for a $1! Actually, if you tell them that you will write them a review on Yelp they will give you a free dinner roll. It was petty cool, I got a roll from them since I actually do Yelp reviews, I’ll probably write a review on them soon. After we left the market place we headed towards the Honolulu Arts Museum. It was the first time any of us actually went there. It’s a bit funny since the art museum is literally about a block away from HPU. I always planned on going there before but never had a chance to until now.

When we went inside we needed to use the bathroom. We had to get the key to use the bathroom from the small café inside. I had to give them my license to get the key. David went on to use it first. Looking around this small cafe area, it was actually pretty nice, it was clean, modern, and hip. There was also quite a bit of people eating there. After some time David came out and I used it next, actually David said that the bathroom was pretty big and that they probably had it closed because of all the homeless people. That’s probably right since the homeless problem was pretty bad in the area. The bathroom itself was a full sized bathroom that you would expect in a restaurant, crazy how you need to give your license to get a key to use it though. After using it I returned the key and got my license. At this time, right when I returned the key AJ said he had to use it too, so he went through the process in getting the key and using the bathroom. In the interim I noticed that had a water tank with ice-cold water flavored with lime. At this point I was parched to an extreme, all that caffeine and sugar from earlier got to me. I filled up my empty bottle of water to the max and drank a bottle and a half before filling it up again for the go. After AJ finished using the bathroom we then preceded to check out the actual art gallery.

Apparently the art gallery was on the second floor of the building. When we went upstairs we saw that we had to check in our bags at the front desk, which was cool with me. They kept track with numbered clothes pins, I remember just pinning that clothes pin on my shirt. The way this second floor gallery was laid out is that when you get to the second floor you get to the middle room. The actual art galleries were to the left and right in separate rooms. We first checked the right room. Inside was a bunch of different art. They were pretty good and I can’t recall any specific ones from memory. But I will post pictures of what I saw below. After looking around this room we then checked the left room. This gallery was actually bigger than the other. I also remember that this gallery had more Hawaiian related art, which was nice and memorable. I remember seeing a painting that was essentially ancient day Waikiki. I remember joking with AJ that the painter painted that painting at Sheraton. It was a reference to a picture I had of the same scenery that AJ correctly guessed that I took it at Sheraton. Another interesting exhibit in this gallery had to do with ancient Hawaiian patterns made with Kakui nut dyes. Apparently, what they would do is get Kakui nuts and then roast them. After that they would smash them for this dye to create patterns from. There was a cool video on this whole process in the exhibit. After looking around this art gallery room for a little longer we then headed out. We got our things from the security guard at the front desk before heading out.

Our next stop was to check out The Fresh Café with the Esao painting on it. It was a fun walk to Fresh Café. When we left the Art Museum we passed by many familiar places. One the stuck out was Iolani Palace. I think both AJ and David checked it out. I haven’t got a chance to yet but perhaps another time. Passing by this area towards Queen St really brought back a lot of memories. I remember walking these same roads long ago and it was just nostalgic walking by them again. It was a hop and a skip to Fresh Café. When we got there I remember having to explain to AJ and David why the place closed down. Apparently, Fresh Café was a joint venture between two people. These two people got into an argument on how things should be running, because of this the owners decided to close down business in the interim. I also remember reading an article that one of the owners said that there is a chance that Fresh Café will return. Its kind of weird that it closed but oh well. At least we could still see the Esao painting on it and it looks amazing. I remember seeing pictures online on it, I never thought I would see it in real life. I got some pictures before heading out. Our next stop was actually to Sports Authority down Ward Avenue. I remember AJ telling me that Sports Authority was actually closing nationwide. I didn’t know about this since I have not seen a Sports Authority for a long time. I remember telling them that all we have are Dick’s Sporting Goods and we all had a good laugh about that. It then hit me that we could play with a Frisbee at Kapiolani Park with everyone time permitting. From Fresh Café Sports Authority wasn’t too far. When we got there we actually checked out Ross first to see if they had any cheap alternatives. Inside I was also looking for a UH quick dry athletic t-shirt. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any. They had a badminton set and I remember AJ saying that he actually had a tennis racket set. I asked him if we could play it at Kapiolani Park later, which he was cool with. Afterwards, we then headed to Sports Authority, at the time there was no liquidation sale going on yet. I remember AJ was looking for long basketball shorts, which he couldn’t find. On the bright side I did find a nice heavy Frisbee, which would be useful since it was super windy. Interestingly, when I checked out I signed up for a membership thing with Sports Authority, I have no idea if I’ll ever use it again lol Afterwards, we then decided to head back to AJ’s place so we can actually use his car to head out to The Tea Room.

The walk back to AJ’s place wasn’t too bad, he actually lived just a few blocks away from Sports Authority. It was pretty cool going back to AJ’s place. I haven’t been here for years. At AJ’s place it was cool to see that they had the Cutco set they got from me, it was in very good condition as well. Its cool to see something years ago affect the present. We chilled for a while, which was nice since we got a bit burned out from walking so much. In the interim I actually got to try and tune AJ’s guitar. I tried tuning it and every time it would de-tune itself lower. I then made a closer look and I saw that the bridge of the guitar was coming off. I then told AJ why the guitar wasn’t tunable. I then decided to de-tune the guitar more to relieve some pressure on the loose bridge. About this time we headed out to the Tea Room.

 

For some reason I couldn’t fix the GPS on to the Tea Room, we would find out later why. So instead I fixed the GPS to Glazer’s Café, which is my absolute favorite café in Oahu. The drive towards the Tea Room wasn’t too bad, I mean AJ was driving, but traffic didn’t really pick up too bad. It was weird on the way to the Tea Room, it was mixed with a sense of familiarity yet unknown. I remembered the streets and the general way to the Tea Room but for some reason I couldn’t recognize some of the turns, which is to be expected for not being in the area for a long time. When we got to the Tea Room area I remember struggling to find the exact spot where the Tea Room was and that gave us some hard time getting a parking. We had to bust a U-Turn to find a parking on the other side. When we got some parking we had some difficulty since there was a lot of fast moving traffic giving us a hard time getting perfect parking. We parked pretty close to Glazer’s Coffee. We then walked towards where The Tea Room would be. We walked to the end of the block and then we realized that The Tea Room probably closed down some time, that was pretty sad. Actually, thinking back on it, I thought The Tea Room was doing pretty well. I still remember seeing people post pictures from inside The Tea Room a year or two ago. Places come and go pretty fast in Hawaii. Fortunately, we had a plan B, which was Glazer’s Café. Glazer’s Café itself was actually full when we got in. Actually when we got in the worker and I think owner cleared out his table so we could use it. I think he might be the owner since I saw him there at Glazer’s years ago and he’s also the guy that does the Latte Art. He is either the owner or a long time skilled employee. I remember David got an Italian soda, to be honest that sounded pretty tempting since I was pretty parched again, AJ and I got some coffee. Around this time I checked my school email and got some feedback from my professors on what they thought about my thesis. It worried me a bit since it sounded like they wanted a lot revised on it. I actually stepped outside to give my professor a call. He let me know that it was good and that I could actually still submit it and pass. He gave me instructions on how to complete it and I let him know that I would have it finished by the morning. I then went back inside to talk to the guys about it, its cool how supportive they were on it too, I felt kind of bad cutting and running in a way but man I got burned out on that thesis, just finishing that took everything in me. We finished our drinks before heading out. Our next location was to Kapiolani Park for some fun in the sun with the Frisbee and Tennis racket set.

It was actually a short drive to Kapiolani Park from Glazer’s Café. When we got there we got very good parking right next to the tennis courts. At the time all of the courts were full of people. So in the interim we played with the Frisbee for a good while. It was actually a lot of fun and more of a workout than I expected. A lot of running involved for sure. I remember trying a lot of different throw styles. AJ and David also did very well. We played Frisbee for quite a while. When we got burned out we actually still went to this gym like area. It had monkey bars and other workout bars, one was actually a small wide ladder that you had to climb and then climb over. It was pretty cool, we actually tried out all of the different bars in the area, it was a total upper body workout for sure. Afterwards we were actually pretty burned out but we were still waiting to use one of the tennis courts. Fortunately for us it didn’t take too long before a court cleared up. AJ’s tennis racket set was actually new. AJ said he had it for a few years but didn’t have a chance to use it until now. It was fun playing Tennis for a while, this was a total aerobic workout. I haven’t actually played Tennis for years too so it was cool to pick it up again, a lot of running involved. I remember AJ hitting the ball a couple times over the fence so I had to run out and get it. That was actually pretty fun. After I got beat I switched out with David, around this time other people started squatting in the tennis court to use it after we finished. AJ and David got to play for a while before they called it a day as well. At this point we were all pretty beat. We were actually waiting for Laurie and Tate to come by as well. We heard back from Laurie and she said she couldn’t make it due to family plans. We heard from Tate as well and he said he would be there soon. In the interim I was even more parched than ever before. I actually started getting dizzy due to dehydration. We were across from the Aquarium so I decided to check if I could go to the guest store to get some water but unfortunately they were closed. So instead I walked around the park a bit to look for a water fountain. The first water fountain I found wasn’t working but thankfully the second one I found worked perfectly. I probably stood there for ten minutes just drinking water and taking moments to breathe lol I felt so much better after getting some water. I felt like Bryan from Family Guy when he was thirsty for water during the hurricane episode. Afterwards, I met up with AJ and David in the car. Inside we were actually talking about Family Guy, no joke. I remember in one instance we talked about the fight between Herbert and the other old guy and how funny that fight was. AJ actually bust out his phone and started playing the fight. Interestingly, right when that finished Tate arrived! It was very cool to see Tate after a very long time. He practically looked the same but with longer hair. We very quickly caught up on old times and he joined us for the last stop.

It was cool catching up with Tate, with Tate, AJ, and David it seriously felt like old times. It felt like we were back in 2013 in a nostalgic sense. It felt just right to be with the guys again. Seriously, in the time from when I left these guys and when I saw them again I went through a lot. This blog is testament to that. A lot of adventures, miles, places, and people I won’t forget. The past three years has been an adventure but it burned me out. I won’t get in too much detail on how awesome it was to be with old friends, I may again in another post, but for now just know that it was uplifting. My last stop with the bros was to Rainbow Diner, a diner I always wanted to go to before so it was a fitting place to have a dinner with all the guys again. When we got there it started getting dark. I squatted a table for us and handed some cash to AJ to order a Loco Moco for me. It was actually pretty fast. David and Tate actually got burgers, while AJ got a hamburger steak meal, which was basically the Loco Moco without the egg on top. While we were eating we chewed the fat and caught up to where we were in our lives. To be honest I wished we all stayed a bit longer at Rainbow Diner, I will always regret never taking a group picture with all of us. David had to leave first since his parents were there to pick him up. Before he headed out I wanted to give him a Michigan Lanyard and two Zero bars, which you cannot find in Hawaii. He thanked me before he headed out. AJ, Tate, and I cleaned up our mess before heading out. When we got back to the car I gave AJ a University of Michigan hat and Tate a Detroit t-shirt. Afterwards, it was a short drive back to Waikiki. AJ asked me where to drop me off and I said, anywhere but you could drop me off near Kevin’s old apartment. After they dropped me off I went on my way.

TO BE CONTINUED

Walking Downtown Honolulu and Meeting Old Friends Pt. 1

Today has been an incredibly long day, but its definitely one of those days I won’t want to forget. Today I woke up early around 7:00 A.M and got dressed before going down to eat breakfast with my mom. Today’s breakfast was especially good since there was Portuguese sausage and Korean rice soup called Juk. I got my fair share of coffee and orange juice as well. After eating we went back to the room to get whatever we needed for the day. For today I was going to meet some of my old friends I haven’t seen for a while. My mom was going to go see her old friends as well in Waipahu. I believe we left the hotel just around 8:00 A.M. We first headed out to downtown Honolulu since I needed to go to the school bookstore that opened at 8:30 A.M. When we got downtown my mom parked at the Long’s drugs that was next to the Safeway. We first went around the Long’s Drugs since it was still pretty early and the bookstore wasn’t going to open for a few more minutes. When I went inside Long’s for some reason I had some idea to look for a Frisbee as a way to spend time with my buddies. I asked one of the workers and they pointed out the aisle. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any Frisbees in store. While I was inside though the smell of Long’s was oddly nostalgic since Long’s has this odd unique smell in it. Kind of like a Walgreens smell mixed with that wet A/C smell, a bit hard to explain but that’s how it smelled like. I also looked around at all the snacks, mostly to survey the prices on them since I was looking for the best deal on those. I also got to see the coffee section and it blew my mind. The real legit Kona blend coffee was on sale for $3.50 per pound! If only they had it at the same price here in the states. I believe my mom got a few pounds of coffee here.

After looking around a bit more I walked out towards the HPU bookstore since it should be open by then. It was an interesting and very nostalgic walk. On my way there I passed by the apartment place where some of my foreign exchange student friends lived in. It’s the apartment place next to the shuttle stop. When I got to HPU at Fort Street a lot of memories came back of hanging out with my friends those many years ago. It was an off day so there wasn’t much people on campus. It was weird seeing the campus empty like this since I was used to always seeing a lot of people there. From the MP building to the Sea Warriors Center it was weird but cool seeing it all again. I then headed into the building where the bookstore should have been, I forgot the official name of the building. When I got inside I saw an empty room where the bookstore should have been. It hit me in many ways seeing the empty room. I remembered a lot of memories of chilling with friends inside that room. Seeing it empty was really weird. I kind of wondered where the new bookstore was but I quickly remembered that HPU was making the Aloha Tower place the new central location for HPU. I then headed out that way. On my way there I made a quick stop at the LB building to ask the security guard where the bookstore was. He confirmed my guess that the bookstore was at the Aloha Tower Marketplace. I then proceeded in that direction. The whole walk that way was nostalgic on its own right. I then got to the Aloha Tower Marketplace. When I got inside the bookstore I noticed that it looked very nice inside. It was much more spacious than the previous bookstore. Inside, I was then greeted by Marianne, I was like “Hey are you Marianne?” and she responded positively and she remembered that I was on the guy on the phone the other day asking about my cap and gown. She went to the back room and looked for my cap and gown. Out came her and her supervisor who showed me the cap and gown. It was kind of funny because they misspelled my name pretty bad, something like Levy Galubon. It was weird, but I was just glad that they had one for me. I didn’t check out right away, I still looked around at all the stuff they had. There was a lot of interesting HPU memorabilia. I wished they had HPU postcards though. I ended up getting two HPU t-shirts, one for me and a medium sized one for my sister. Actually that medium sized shirt will give me some problems later on, more on that in another post. At the check out I got to talk to Marianne a bit. She was a Junior and from Philadelphia. She said she didn’t live in the city of Philadelphia but a small town near it. I can’t remember which town exactly though. At the checkout Marianne also gave me the graduation tickets, which are important so your friends and family can get inside to watch the graduation ceremony.

After checking out I still had some extra time before meeting up with my friends so I walked around a little bit. I saw that the new student center was open. Interestingly, it still required the use of a student ID. Luckily, my student ID still worked and opened the door. It took me two tries since I wasn’t sure how the door would open lol Inside was actually a very modern student center. If I was going to this school at the time I would be chilling here for the most part. After checking out the student center for a bit I checked my phone and I got texts from AJ and he said he got stuck in the UB building staircase since it was locked on both ends, due to it being summer time. I gave him a call to clarify it and it was pretty funny. After three years, the first time seeing AJ would be to help him out of a sticky situation; I wouldn’t of had it any other way. I let my mom know that I was done and ready to get picked up at the Aloha Tower Marketplace. After she picked me up I dropped off the things I didn’t need in the car and my mom dropped me off on Alakea street. I walked quickly to the UB building and it probably took me about 10 minutes after the phone call with AJ to get there. As I suspected the staircase to go up was locked, actually, how did AJ get in there the first place? Oh well, I then took the elevator to go up to the second floor and I immediately checked the first fire escape, no one there. I then checked the other fire escape and there was AJ lol It was cool to meet up again. We then quickly caught up on old times and then headed to the FS building. I wanted to meet Professor Hart to talk about my Thesis. When we got there I went to where Hart’s office was before and talked to the secretary. The secretary said that Hart should be in but his office moved down the hall. I then thanked her and went on my way. Unfortunately, Hart was not there in his office. I then met up with AJ and he said that David was gonna be at HPU in a few minutes. In the mean time AJ and I got some breakfast at Jojo’s Café in front of the Sea Warrior Center. While I was going to HPU Jojo’s Café was the spot to get breakfast for cheap. I got a Portuguese sausage meal with two eggs for $3.25! It’s such a good deal and I’m glad to see that its still cheap. Aj and I then ate our food in front of Fort Street Café. We talked about how some things were the same and how some things changed. The Chinese place where we would always get food before is now a Korean place. Kind of funny how that changed out. It didn’t take too long before David showed up and we also quickly got caught up on old times. After we finished eating we then headed out to the MP building. I wanted to talk to both Asselin and Bratton about my thesis as well. We walked up the fire escape and the smell inside that fire escape and just being in there was nostalgic as well. We walked that fire escape to the fourth floor. I instinctively walked to where Asselin’s office used to be. Now its just an empty room, actually they cleared it out and tore down a wall because the room is a lot wider than it used to be back in the day. Back in the day it was about as big as a small storage room, now it was big enough to be a classroom! I then checked my notes to as where Asselin’s office should have been and we couldn’t find it. We then walked around to the office. On the way to the office we passed by Professor Kubota’s classroom where AJ and I took our foreign language classes. AJ had Kubota for Japanese and I had Kubota for Korean. AJ and David filled me in that Professor Kubota actually retired recently. It was really weird but it made sense, Professor Kubota was an amazing professor and taught those foreign languages very well. I actually had a lot of great memories in her classroom due to all the friends I made and the information I learned. We then got to the student office and asked where Asselin’s office was. They informed us that it was in a certain room on the third floor along with Bratton’s. Aj, David, and I then headed down to the third floor. We went to where Asselin’s office was and unfortunately he wasn’t there. We then checked out where Bratton’s office was as well. Bratton’s office was inside a long corridor in a section of the third floor where only Professor’s offices were. I went into this long corridor section by myself. It was a bit weird since I saw familiar professors, namely Professors Marek and Juarez. I didn’t say hi anymore since I don’t think they recognized me anyways, three years for them is like a lifetime since they saw hundreds of students in the interim. I then got to Bratton’s office and unfortunately he was not there either. I headed out and met up with AJ and David. We then headed out to the Aloha Tower Marketplace (AT) again since I had more business to finish there. When we got to the AT we actually explored the area a bit. We actually got to check out the dorm area and to be honest it was very nice. The students going to HPU now got it good, the old dorms at the Loa campus looked very old. These new dorms at the AT looked so modern and clean it was ridiculous. I actually went through this area before these dorms were made and HPU did a very good job in renovating the area. While we were walking the area we saw a Keurig machine outside of a dorm and automatically you could tell that they had a roach problem with it. Hawaii has a problem with roaches and Keurigs have a problem with being roach dens. Seeing this Keurig machine outside meant that it was either broken, unwanted, or that the owners were trying to flush out the roaches by drying out the Keurig outside. Actually, AJ and I shared stories about how our Keurigs got roaches too. We then checked out the rest of the dorm area before heading downstairs. When we went downstairs we then found the Student Life Office or something like that, I needed to pick up my honors certificate. Inside was a nice small room. We were greeted by the office people and they helped me get my certificate quickly. I read the list of people and the dates on their signatures were way back in March. I was just glad to be able to pick mine up. After this we decided to check out the actual Aloha Tower. We went through the motions of the security guard checking out bags and then we headed up the elevator. When we got to the top we got to check out all of the views. Its worth mentioning that in one of our conversations we brought up Kubota’s retirement again and how it affected HPU. Apparently, since Kubota retired HPU doesn’t offer Korean as a language anymore, which is highly unfortunate and must have been a blow to the school. We also poked fun at the idea that HPU hired an instructor to take over for Japanese.

After checking out the views of the Aloha Tower we actually went to the Computer Room/Aloha Tower Sea Warrior Center. It was cool seeing the new computer center, it was super spacious compared to the old one near the MP building. It’s interesting that they put a game room/Sea Warrior Center in the computer center. The only thing separating the Sea Warrior Center (SWC) from the computer room was literally just a door. Inside the SWC there were two ping pong tables, a pool table, lots of lounge chairs, and a TV on the wall. AJ and I hit up the ping pong tables first, it was pretty cool and we played for a bit, actually at one point we combined the two ping pong tables and tried it out. It didn’t really work out too well of course but it was fun trying it though lol After playing pingpong AJ wanted to hit up the pool table before heading out. As we were leaving the game room/SWC I noticed that the computer room was pretty empty. I also wondered if they heard all the noise we were making in the SWC because of how quiet it was in the computer room.

Afterwards we then headed down to check out Nashville Waikiki and the Palama Express Market. We first saw Nashville Waikiki and it was a bit underwhelming. It was a largely open room with a pool table, bar, and I think tables. The décor was very scant and hardly resembled a honky-tonk in Nashville. The honky-tonks in Nashville were all compact, grimy, full of décor/character, and loud. I can’t blame these guys for trying though. I was talking to my friends and poked fun at Nashville Waikiki, saying that they should hire a group of chain-smokers to fill the room with cigarette smoke to make it more authentic lol Afterwards, we checked out Palama Express. It was interesting to be inside Palama Express, I remember going to the original store up in Pearl City so many years ago. At Palama Express I was looking for things I couldn’t get back in Michigan. For the most part, I could find just about everything back in Michigan, which kind of shows that we do get a lot of imports here. The only thing that really stuck out was this gum called Grenade gum or something like that. AJ and David really hyped it up and convinced me to want to try it out. AJ said it was cheaper at Long’s so I decided to put it off for later. Unfortunately, that later never happened since I kind of forgot about these Grenade gums after we left Palama Express. When we left

Palama Market we actually headed out to Chinatown. At Chinatown we talked a lot about our old memories there. Like how we used to hang out with Vicky at Downbeat Diner. Or that Pho place where Vietnamese Kevin and AJ had to run out on because they forgot to bring money lol While we were walking to the marketplace in Chinatown we actually ran into Volcano Shakes, which was a new place in Chinatown. Before we walked in I quipped that the shakes would be 1 million dollars. I wasn’t far from the mark lol Volcano Shakes was actually a small hole in the wall right next to a lot of other merchants in Chinatown. Actually, it was a very cramped space. They had a lot on their menu but their centerpieces were the Volcano Shakes, which were about $15 a pop. The catch about these shakes was that they were huge and ridiculous. I forgot most of them but their was Smores themed shake and a coffee themed shake as well. We went for the coffee shake and AJ treated, thanks bro! They told us that the wait for the shake was 12 minutes. In the mean time we walked towards the marketplace and it was crowded during the whole walk there. The marketplace itself changed a bit since the last time I was there. My favorite noodle place and shake place were no more. My favorite shake place was this $2 boba place and it got replaced with two other stores. At the marketplace we then got seating and it was about twelve minutes so David got a spot and AJ and I went out to get the shake. When we got there they were actually still making the shake. A cool thing about Volcano Shake is that all the ice cream was made in store. Also, while we were waiting there I told AJ about how we could still eat dessert after a big meal. While I was saying that the guy at the counter was like “that’s interesting I’m listening in”. He was actually a pretty cool guy and easy to converse with. I said that we could eat dessert after a big meal because our bodies take in sugar differently than all the carbs and proteins, because of this we could intake more sugar after we got a fill of food. Afterwards, this Australian couple came in and the counter guy told them about the long wait and the Australian couple were cool about it. Actually, they were about to make an order for a Volcano Shake as well. Interestingly, the counter guy at Volcano Shake said that they were still working out a system for their waiting customers. He said that today he was trying a line system to see if it could generate interest. I wonder how that played out. Afterwards, we eventually got our Volcano Shake, I think the whole wait was probably around the twenty minute mark. The shake itself was pretty big and ridiculous, there were donuts in it, biscotti bread, lots of cream, lots of ice cream, and coffee as well (espresso to be exact). To be honest, it was worth the wait and cost. The Australian couple were also amazed and took pictures of it too lol Seriously, if you are in the area of Chinatown you must check out Volcano Shake! We then got the shake and met up with David at the marketplace. When we got there we tried out the shake and it was amazing. Actually, at the time I wasn’t thinking about the caffeine in it but looking back at it, the caffeine in the shake was pretty potent. Overall the shake was amazing and enough for three people to dive in on.

TO BE CONTINUED

Around The Island of Oahu And Then Some

Today has been a very long day. I woke up very early to start my first day in Hawaii. I was probably up by 7:10 A.M to get ready to eat breakfast around 7:30 A.M. I quickly got ready and headed downstairs with my mom to the breakfast area. At around 7:30 A.M it was pretty crowded at the breakfast area. I have not been here in Hawaii for a while so it was cool to see Asian people everywhere, no joke. After being in the states for so many years I was a bit surprised in a good way. Today Uncle Lito was going to join us for breakfast. He would stop by a little later. In the mean time my mom and I got to eat a lot of breakfast. I got some scrambled eggs, sausage, and pancakes. I also got guava juice to drink alongside my coffee. After eating my plate of food Uncle Lito came by around 8:00 A.M. He was supposed to come earlier but he had work related business to attend to at the office. Uncle also brought some baked goods for the hotel staff. It’s interesting that Uncle Lito is a regular at the hotel and breakfast place. The staff actually had an omelet made to his specifications without him asking. After eating breakfast Uncle Lito brought us over to the airport where we could pick up our rental car. It was a bit confusing to get there because you had to go through the departures of the airport to get there.

When we got to the car rental place we bid farewell to Uncle Lito. We rented with Advantage car rentals, which actually was pretty good despite its negative online reviews. Apparently, people were mostly complaining about the policy to gas up the car after you rent it. There are two options concerning this manner, first you could buy a gas tank insurance, which means that you do not need to put any gas in the tank when you return it. This option is like a flat $45 insurance so you do not need to worry about gassing the vehicle on return. The other option is to fill up the tank yourself and then return it. This option has got people angry because they would fill up the tank at a gas station outside the airport from, say $60, and then upon return they would be charged a penalty of $9.00 due to the gas used to drive to the airport. In other words, just buy that gas insurance.


Oh well, that was a detour in writing, the lady in the front desk of Advantage was cool, we were talking about how nice it was to live in Hawaii and all of the things she did not miss in the states, such as mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, etc. We then got the key and headed up to get the rental car. It was a nice car actually. After we got the car our trip around the island began. Our trip began with a drive towards the West side of Oahu from Honolulu to Wahiawa to get to the Dole Plantation. The drive there was very pleasant and we got to see a lot of familiar sights. It was very nostalgic. When we got to the Dole Plantation it was very odd to be there again after so many years. Throughout the whole time my mom was getting a lot of pictures and so was I. We went inside into the gift shop and looked at all the random souvenirs. Then we headed to the small restaurant where they sold their famous Dole Whip Ice Cream, which was basically pineapple flavored soft serve ice cream. It’s definitely good and well worth its price; you’re probably not going to be able to try it anywhere else in the world. We got a waffle cone of the stuff and it was around $6 I think. We then walked through the back area of the plantation where you could see a small pineapple garden with different varieties of pineapples. We also got to see the koi fish pond, unfortunately at the time there was no koi fish to see. We then got more pictures around the vicinity. We eventually went back inside the gift shop before we headed out. In the gift shop I saw a small pink pineapple doll that my little sister would like and I also got some pineapple hard candy that looked pretty unique. Here’s an interesting part, I then started to think about getting some postcards. I asked the nearest worker on where I can find the postcards and she surprisingly asked “Are you Iglesia?” That question came out of left field and surprised me to the max. It was Wiedelyn! I felt bad I didn’t recognize her instantly; it was mostly because I was in a mindset where I was thinking that I would not bump into anyone I knew. We then quickly caught up on old times. It was surprising and awesome to see her! After catching up we had to head out. I then paid for my things before heading out.

Our next stop was to Waimea Beach, which was actually pretty close. I was thinking that the waters would be calm and that I could just jump off the infamous Jump Rock. When we got to Waimea Beach they actually had the main parking lot closed due to re-pavement or something. So my mom dropped me off across the street and she went to a place up the road where they shot movies, while I went off to the beach. It was probably a ¼-1/2 mile walk away. When I got there, there was barely anyone on the beach and the waves were probably 10-15 feet high. The waves looked very intimidating actually. I had to hype myself up for a while before jumping in because there’s a sort of technique to doing so. I eventually went into the water, it wasn’t too cold but the waves were aggressive. It was fun going in them and brought back some memories, those waves were definitely something you wouldn’t see stateside. I wanted to go on the jump rock but no one else was on it and those warnings about death signs were a bit too intimidating for me to tackle on alone. I probably swam for 20-30 minutes before fatigue started settling in. It was a bit intimidating when I got tired because to get out of those waves took some energy and effort and if you got tired you were done for. If you plan on going into high waves make sure you have enough energy to get back on land or call a lifeguard. Do not cramp up on those big waves.

After some time I met up with my mom back on the other side of the street. From there we drove to Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, which is my personal favorite garlic shrimp in Kahoku. Today at Giovanni’s the line wasn’t too bad. It may seem long but it always goes by very fast. While I was getting the shrimp my mom got a coconut and a table. I think the whole time I waited in line and waited to get the shrimp was actually 15 minutes, very fast for the line. When you look at the price it may seem a bit pricey but its well worth the price, also a tip is to get extra garlic rice since it only costs a cool $1 for an extra two scoops of rice and lots of garlic flavor. The garlic shrimp from Giovanni’s was amazing, I ate it all up and wished I had more as I write this right now lol Well, afterwards, the place where my mom got the coconut actually cut it open so we could eat the meat inside, which was cool.

Afterwards, we drove more towards the Eastern side of the island. From here we passed a lot of green scenery. We passed by the Polynesian Cultural Center and other beaches as well. While on the road we stopped by the park near China Man’s Hat island to get some pictures. It was fairly packed with fishermen and tourists but it was cool. Then we went down to the Macadamia Nut Farm or whatever it was. It was this little side store that specialized in macadamia nut products. What’s cool about this place is that they always have lots of samples to try out. While here I tried a lot of the macadamia, out of all of them the Kona glazed macadamia nuts stood out as my favorite. I also got to try the macadamia nut Kona coffee, which was amazing, think hazelnut coffee but with a stronger nuttier flavor due to the macadamia. While here there was also a local artist selling his glasswork and necklaces. I actually got a necklace to give to a friend from this local artist. We then eventually left the macadamia place.

Our next stop would be in the Kaneohe area, which was Valley of the Temples. This place is actually a graveyard but also a tourist spot as well due to the Buddhist temple in the back. We actually went to this tourist area to get some pictures. While we were here we looked at all the sights in the temple area. I also got to check out the gift shop, which had some interesting things in it. I ended up getting some postcards here.

Afterwards, we had to head back to the hotel to get ready to meet up with Uncle Lito and one of his workers who was graduating named Jarissa. Uncle also wanted me to talk to her about the online program for Master’s that I did. At the hotel we got ready quickly before heading to the Sheraton hotel to meet up at 5:30 P.M. We got there pretty early and got to take some pictures around. By 5:30 P.M everyone started showing up. We then ate at the buffet place at the Sheraton, which was amazing. I remember meeting Jarissa and a few of her relatives. I feel bad for not remembering their names but they were cool kids. The food on the buffet was very good. It was super good actually. I remember there being ahi poke on the buffet line! Also for dessert there was Ted’s Bakery Pies, which is also a specialty in Hawaii. After eating we all went on our separate ways. When my mom and I got back to the hotel we actually went to walk through Waikiki and checked out the tourist trap ally where you can find just about any kind of souvenir. The catch here is that you are probably going to barter if you want a better price. While we were here I remember getting one of those Hawaiian helmets people put on their car mirrors for decorations. Other than that, I decided to get other souvenirs at another time. I then went back to the hotel with my mom.

After we got there I remembered how much food I consumed and decided that I had to exercise. I then changed into my running outfit and started running Waikiki. I actually got pretty far. I went from the hotel all the way passed the Ala Moana Center. The run itself was pretty fun and not too difficult. The only difficult part was this area where they were doing construction on the sidewalk so you had to step on this metal pallets with weird high raised bumps on them, I was using vibrams so I really felt those. Also, doing my run it was pretty depressing running by the Ala Moana Center, at night the Center turns into a de facto homeless shelter due to all the homeless people just congregating there after hours and setting up their canopies and make shift tents and make shift sleeping bags. I then also ran down Kalakaua Blvd towards the event center. I thought I could swing around the event center to get to the Ala Wai Promenade but it actually led me to this residential apartment area that was pretty intimidating at night. I then made my way eventually back to Ala Moana Blvd and headed back to the hotel. I think my whole run was a little over an hour. By the time I got back to the room I took a shower and headed to sleep.

Travel Log: From Oklahoma City, OK to Colorado Springs, CO

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At the Unity Games in Oklahoma City University

Today I woke up fairly early to get ready for the day’s event. After I got ready I headed downstairs to get some breakfast. There were quite a bit of people in the breakfast area. I remember meeting Sis. Risa or atleast I think that’s her name. She was pretty cool. Afterwards, I got some biscuits with gravy and sausage and also a cup of black coffee as well. After eating we then headed out to go to Oklahoma University at Oklahoma City for the Unity Games. The actual University was pretty far from the hotel, perhaps a twenty-thirty minute drive I believe. Before we got to the University I remember that we stopped at a gas station for ice for the cooler. After getting the ice we headed to the University. The campus itself was pretty big, it had a wide area with pretty tall buildings. It reminded me a bit of Colorado College but with more tall buildings. After getting parking I got my camera equipment and headed inside. I remember running into Bro Glenn and Sis Gene again near the entrance. After saying hi to them I already started getting some pictures. At this point there were a lot of brethren coming inside. When I went inside the gym there were a bunch of people everywhere. I remember meeting up with Jared and Pierre, which really surprised me to see them there in Oklahoma. I also remember meeting some other people as well. Later on it was time for the opening prayer and then everyone started gathering up in their locales. The first activity was a small parade march around the gym. It was pretty cool actually, during this march I was able to take a couple of good shots. After this parade the games started, at this point it was getting pretty hectic with everything going on all at once. It was mostly getting hectic because everyone was everywhere and I was trying to get some shots. I remember at one point I helped out Kristen in looking for a spot to set up the INCTV office. I asked one of the gym personnel if we could use one of the rooms as an office and they looked around for us as well but said they couldn’t let us use it. They did offer a suggestion, which was to use the hallway area in the middle of the gym. Instead, we ended up using the hallway area on the side of the gym and it worked pretty well. It was a bit funny since we were sitting on the floor lol.

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Afterwards, I was pretty hungry, I heard about food being outside so I checked that out. It was pretty cool, they set up these canopy tent things and had tables set up with a bunch of food on it. I remember there being sandwiches, hot dogs, and a lot of those bagged chips. I got a sandwich, hot dog, and chips. It didn’t really make me full but it really got me going. At this point I remember bumping into Bro John and Sis Laura, which was cool. We were talking about the board games and she told me that she played Scrabble. I forgot how she did but I think she did good. I said later to both of them and I headed inside. I then remembered that I had a chess game to play as well. I was wondering when it would start and when it did it caught me with my pants down. When they told me it started I ran there and then asked if I could play. They then told me that I had to find an opponent, which I subsequently did. I actually asked a bit of people including PJ and Curtis. Thankfully, Darrell was down to play a game of chess. We then headed to the chess room and got to play a game of chess. Prior to this point I practiced a lot with Neil and even learned a few moves as well. I also learned the mentality you should have if you want a chance to win in a game of chess at the tournament level. Thanks Neil, Neil himself went against a very tough chess player and couldn’t best him at the game. Myself though, I was able to beat Darrell in the game, which was a hard thing to do. I remember seeing Kristen while I was playing my game, she looked pretty as always. Afterwards, while we were waiting for the next game to begin I was taking some shots around the gym. I remember seeing bro Richie and catching up with him there. He asked me how to get upstairs and I showed him the way. At this point he said, whoa this place is awesome, you could get good shots here. I agreed with him, which I remember taking a lot of shots up here earlier. Afterwards, I found out from my sister that we were actually about to head out soon. She then found out that the road was being blocked because of an ambulance, then I was like “an ambulance?” Actually, there was a person who passed out, or at least I heard. I checked out the commotion and saw a lot of people around this kid and I saw some paramedics there too or some sort of emergency officials. I didn’t get to see what happened in the end but I hope the kid was alright. Afterwards, the roads cleared up and it was time to head out. I let Kristen know that we were headed out and then we were on our way.

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The other day I remember telling my parents about a local BBQ place Called Leo’s Barbecue, which was featured on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives (DDD). From the episode it looked very good so we decided to check it out as we left from the Unity Games. My parents thought it was going to be in the downtown area but judging from the episode, I thought it was going to be in the suburbs area. It ended up being in the suburbs area about a fifteen-minute drive from the University. From the outside, it looked super small, the DDD episode made it looked pretty big. The parking was pretty small too and odd, its hard to explain but since it was small it felt smaller since the parking was set up a bit weird, when you see it you’ll know what I mean. However, when you get inside it actually looked a lot bigger than it did from the outside, albeit a bit smaller than how it looked on DDD. The cameramen on DDD should get an award for doing a good job in filming Leo’s Barbecue. When we got inside we were greeted by the very nice workers, they said we could sit anywhere. We choose to sit in the back area, which felt more spacious than the front area. I remember getting the sweet tea, which tasted very good. I liked the ice they used as well, the ice were like small pellets of ice, I even ate a few of them since they soaked up the sweet tea flavor lol. We ordered something called the four slugger meal which consisted of a super hefty portion of pulled pork, sausage, ribs, and surprisingly bologna. This meal fed a family of six and there was still a lot left over as well. The bologna surprised me the most since the only bologna I had before was Oscar Mayer bologna which we all know as cheap luncheon meat. However, Leo’s bologna was more like a blend between hot dog meat and ham, it tasted very good and I wished I could get this kind of bologna anywhere. Everything that was served was very good and the sauce was just amazing too. After the main course they also gave us slices of their super famous strawberry banana cake. This cake was amazing, I remember they made a big deal out of it in the DDD episode and for good reason. I’m not saying this just for the sake of hyping it up but this cake was seriously the best I had of this variety. It was super soft and there was some sort of syrup on it that made it juicy as well. I kind of wished we got a full cake to go but the cake was actually pretty pricey. Afterwards, we headed out and got back on the road to Colorado.

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A shot of Leo’s BBQ from the outside, a lot bigger in the inside
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The slugger meal, incredibly good
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A shot of Leo’s BBQ from the inside, this is the front area
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A signed DDD poster inside Leo’s BBQ

After we left Leo’s we got back on the interstate. I was pretty tired so I took a nap on the road. We then stopped by this small town where the only thing I saw was tall grass a gas station and a few other shops on the same side of the road as the gas station. Inside I remember getting an energy drink, the card reader in that gas station gave me a harder time than necessary. I also remembered that the cashier girl was not proficient in English at all. Afterwards, I drove us up through Oklahoma into Kansas. We then made a stop at Braum’s in Wichita, KS for some ice cream. To be honest, Braum’s is pretty awesome, I kind of wished it was everywhere but unfortunately you could only find Braum’s in the Texas/Oklahoma/Kansas/Missouri area. I’ll tell you why Braum’s is awesome. Braum’s has awesome ice cream and not only that but it’s super cheap. Like a huge two scoop on a cone for $2, which is unheard of. Usually at Baskin Robbins it would be $5 with the cone costing extra! Geez, not only that but Braum’s also serves burgers and fries as well. They had this crazy menu item called “Bag of Burgers”, which as you can imagine is literally a bag full of burgers, five to be exact. The bag of jr. cheeseburgers was $5. My sister was actually so surprised about that she ordered one of them just to see how it was like. Seriously, for a jr cheeseburger it was pretty darn big. After eating our food we checked out the little grocery section to the side of Braum’s. That part was interesting, it’s a pretty small section about the size of a grocery you would see in an airport or something like that. Everything they sold was essentially a Braum’s product or Braum’s related product. I liked the packaging of their products it was vintage looking. Afterwards, we then headed out.

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A shot of the grocery section of Braum’s, this is probably about half of the whole grocery.

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After leaving Braum’s we then headed north through Kansas and then out West towards Colorado. On our way back to Colorado we actually stopped by Hays, KS that is probably one of my favorite small towns in Kansas. It really brought back memories of my previous travel here. Interestingly, we took a different route going into Hays then I took before. This route took us through the suburbs of Hays, which was really cool. I was mostly glad that we got to drive on that brick laid road that was super bumpy. Driving on that brick road really brought back memories. We then went to Gella’s Diner, which was real cool. I even saw that cute blonde girl in the front again. We then got our seats inside, I remember asking the waitress if Samantha was working today but she was off. The waitress said “Is Samantha your usual waitress?” I said “yup”. This waitress, her name is Holly or at least I think so from memory. She was cool too. We got our food and it was very good. We then headed out on the long road back to Colorado. It didn’t feel too long on our drive back though. We got home some time early in the morning, probably around 2 or 3 A.M. It was a very fun time in Oklahoma and the travel back home.

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A shot of Hays, KS, good to be back here again