Friday, September 30, 2016

Good-bye Alaska! Hello Hawaii!

Good-bye Alaska, you will be missed.  Well, except for your weather which is slipping slowly into winter. 

Howdy Hawaii!  The trade winds are blowing and the air smells fresh and sweet and oh my its nice and warm.  Our first breath of the Hawaiian air was a big shock.  Not only is it lovely warm soft air, it was filled to the brim with humidity. 

We took a taxi to have dinner, and walked back.   The restaurant was in a huge pricey mall, filled with stores I've only heard of never seen, like Harry Winston and Tiffany's.  The green space was woven into and around the mall and it was lit with dozens of lanterns in the giant trees.

 The sidewalks around 10 pm are packed with shoppers and people coming from restaurants and off to the bars.  I've never seen so many people out and about that late at night.  I found it invigorating but Greg hated being bumped into and being surrounded by clouds of folks. 

The view from our lanai.

I was looking forward to walking a few of the parks and beaches here at Waikiki, however my traitorous body decided to fall head long into the cold I've been fighting.  Tiny tot granddaughter might be adorable but she carried a mighty cold virus.  So, today was spent sleeping and reading, trying to give my body a rest before the big push.  It seems to have worked, I'm feeling better.

Every single Friday night Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki puts on a 10 minute firework display.  Luckily we could see them from our wee lanai.  It's like a mini 4th of July every Friday!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Beginnings, Wherein we find out what makes us tick......

What started as nothing more than a pipe dream and a big idea has become reality.  In six days, SIX DAYS! we are on our way to a dream vacation to Japan! 

Last spring we were sitting on our lanai in Kona Hawaii for our anniversary when the idea of traveling the world tip toed into my head.  Rushing for a pen and paper and my phone's calculator I began crunching and truck payments, insurance for both and units.....COBRA insurance and....a few small credit card payments....hmmm.....hmmm.  Holy Hanover Hampsters that is all we owe!?!  Without a house payment nor an apartment rent and the bills that come with residences we could afford to travel, something I've been wanting to do since as long as I can remember.  Reading  Mary Mapes Dodge's book, "Hans Brinker" made me yearn to visit Holland,  Jack London's "Call of the Wild" made me want to visit Alaska, it was a dream come true after reading Jack London's stories and Robert Service's poems to be able to live in Alaska.  Looking across a valley at thickly forested hills which climbed into rugged mountain ranges and the words of "The Cremation of Sam McGee" would echo in my head,
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.

  I "traveled" the world thru the pages of books always hoping that some day my travels wouldn't be of the paper sort but in actuality.  Watching jets fly overhead would bring dreams and wonder about where they were headed.  My Uncle Choo-choo used to take me out to the airport and we would wander around looking at the gate destinations, bringing thoughts of travel to places that for us was nothing more than a pipe dream. 

TH [the husband] grew up reading animal stories, one of his favorites being the "True Life Adventures by Disney" that were printed in the newspaper. Does anyone remember these?

He devoured tales of mountain men, the hunters and trappers who explored the American West.   Stories about Native Americans and their traditions and skills.  When his family moved to Alaska in 1964 he was beyond excited when they crossed the border from Canada, he instantly felt a bone deep sense of home.  He dove into the Alaskan lifestyle with both Keds, hunting and trapping, fishing and camping, and exploring as far as his bike and feet would carry him. 

In elementary school he began a love affair with Judo that carried him nearly to the Junior Nationals, but due to timing and a birthday that dream wasn't to be.   Judo at this time was taught to respect not only your sensei [teacher] but also the traditions handed down from one master sensei to another.  He came to love the Japanese culture and their traditions.

This trip is a dream come true for both of us.  We leave Fairbanks on the 29th of September to spend a few days in Oahu to recharge from jet-lag and then the push off to Osaka Japan on the October1st.  We spend the night at a hotel at the Kansai airport and then catch the train to Kyoto for the next 4 weeks.  Then its off to a Yokohama for the next part of our trip.  November 6th finds us back at a hotel in Kansai and on the 7th we fly back to the U.S. to Los Angeles.

As we travel around and about hopefully we can keep the blog current with pictures and tales of braving buses [a particular fear of mine!],  temples, ancient dojo's, and maybe if we are lucky we will be able to snap off a picture of a maiko geisha headed off to work in Kyoto.