O'ahu: Day 1

When you step out of the terminal at Honolulu International Airport to walk along the elevated roadway that leads to the baggage claim area, the balmy breeze practically lulls you to sleep within a couple of steps. It is almost impossible not to feel your muscles relax with each easy inhalation of that sweet humidity; and even though you are in the middle of a thriving city, hints of tropical greenery and the faint, ever-present scent of ginger and gardenia blossoms remind you that, no Toto, we ain't in Kansas no mo'.

We hopped on the SuperShuttle at about 6:30 am and made it to the SFO with little trouble or excitement. Our flight on Hawaiian Airlines was uneventful and we lucked out with "Blades of Glory" with Will Farrell, John Heder, Wil Arnett (a personal fave), his wife Amy Poehler and "The Office" receptionist, Jenna Fischer. Funny movie, but the video picture had this fun habit of cutting out about avery 7 minutes. We made it to Hawaii in good time, aided by a strong tail wind.

This is my ninth trip to Oahu, and it has become the place I come to recharge, take stock, and let go of whatever is bothering me. Nicole's parents live in Kane'ohe, on the windward side of the island on sheltered Kane'ohe Bay. They live adjacent to one of the main filming locations for "Lost", so that will let you know what the environs are like.

My mother-in-law Betsy picked us up at the airport and took us to Dr. T's dental practice in Kane'ohe, where we ate a delicious lunch of manapua (or char siu bao, as the white, steamed chinese pork buns are known to us San Franciscans) and shumai (shrimp pork dumplings, like one would get at Dum Sum) with my father-in-law Dr. Jerry Takesono, my mother-in-law, and their dental staff. Also with us, was Tama, the Takesono's Pomeranian, or, Nicole's blonde sister.

We then headed over to Kaimana's, our favorite locals beach on the Diamond Head side of Waikiki, near the defunct War Memorial Natatorium. We soaked up the sun and I read my book, "Surgeon's Mate" by Patrick O'Brien". Good times. The weather is perfect right now, just hot enough with a gentle breeze provided by the Trade Winds. After sufficient beach time, we drove to Kapahulu Street for our favorite Shave Ice provisioner, Waiola's. I had a large in a cup with ice cream, azuki beans, mochi, sweet Li Hing Mui, Lychee and topped with Lilikoi Cream. If you have never been to Hawaii, you have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, but, trust me, it's delicious!

After getting back home and showering, the four of us drove back into town and enjoyed drinks, pupus (appetizers) and great Jazz at the Honolulu Club. Under-rated tenor sax man Gabe Baltazar burned up the set with his ensemble. We then headed back over the Pali to home and sleep.

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