Archive for February, 2009

Maui, Oh Maui

As you may know Keao is from the Big Island but went to school on Oahu. She left Honokaa in the 7th grade and attended Kamehameha Schools until she graduated from High School. This, of course, meant she boarded and live with the other outer island girls. One of her best friends during this time was a sweet Maui girl named Kelii. Kelii has since left the islands and moved to North Carolina but she comes back to visit from time to time. So right after the Great Aloha Run (and I literally mean right after) Keao and I hurried home to shower pack and then head to the airport. We had a 12:44pm flight to catch and we were both exhausted from waking up at 4am, running 8.15 miles and rushing to the airport. We did make our flight pretty easily but by the time we arrived on Maui we were both starving and wanting food badly! Luckily for us there was a Ruby’s Diner in Kahului.

The entrance to our heavenly meal

Ruby’s Diner is a 40’s style diner that specializes in burgers, fries and shakes. They also have the waiters and waitresses dress up like they did back then (or at least what I imagined they wore back then). Because we figured that we ran enough calories off in the morning, we decided to treat ourselves to whatever we wanted to eat.

Keao was so hungry she couldn’t even look at the menu (or camera)

She opted for a peanut butter cup shake which was so huge they brought out the extra in another cup!

I opted for the sliders and rings (which were perfect even though there were only five of them)

After lunch we took a nap and met up with Kelii and her family in Wailuku. We hung out with them for a bit and got ready for our big adventure to the Maui Ocean Center the next day.

The Maui Ocean Center is an aquarium that sits right next to Maalaea Harbor. Probably the thing it’s most famous for is its shark tunnel. That is, there’s a large tunnel in the middle of the tank so you can watch the sharks and rays swim above you. There are also a lot of other fish and mammal displays as well.

The large sign beckons you to come on in

One of the first tanks had a bunch of flounders which was cool because they have both eyes on the same side of their heads

This is what they look like from above

This is me holding the water back (Moses style!)

Although it’s not a petting zoo, the shark lagoon is a popular draw

These are called hammerheads for very obvious reasons

Keao and Kelii before the fun began

There is a section at the center completely devoted to Hawaii’s official marine mammal the Humpback whale. Lahaina used to be the whaling capital of the Pacific because the whales come to give birth right off the shores of Maui every winter. So because of their importance to our history and our tourism industry when the whales come to town people from all over the world come to look and study them.

One of the interactive displays in the center focuses on whalesongs. Keao, ever the scientist, wanted to see if she could one day communicate with the huge beasts. How’d she do? I’ll just let the video explain.

Pretty good eh? After that stunning display of talent, we saw more sharks and a few rays.

These guys had their own special tank

This is a ray swimming away

If you were being eaten by a ray, this would be the last thing you would see

After we left the Maui Ocean Center we were all pretty starving. Of course we looked for some lunch, but dessert called us first and we couldn’t resist.

Hula Cookies and Ice Cream makes an ice cream sandwich with what else but their own cookies and ice cream

Keao and I split a scoop of chocolate between two chocolate chip cookies

After dessert we decided to get some real food and we drove over to Kihei to go to Da Kitchen. This is one of Kelii’s favorite spots and she highly recommended it.

Notice it’s “local and Hawaiian” style food

Who do you think they modeled the wall art after?

Our Hawaiian plate was definitely enough for two

Of course you can’t go to Maui without going to the beach can you? So after lunch we headed down toward Wailea to hit the beach. By hit the beach, I mean Keao and the girls all went into the water while I took a nap on the sand. I could only nap for a few minutes because it was so darn cold. I can’t imagine how crazy those girls were since I was cold on the beach they must have been colder in the water.

See how cold they look?

After the beach we headed back to Wailuku and played a quick game of Farkle (hot dice). Then it was more eating. As this would be our last meal on Maui and no one wanted to make a decision Nani (Kelii’s sister) suggested we eat a food court. Since no one objected we drove down to the food court. Now I’m not saying that Maui doesn’t have good food courts, but this one had four eateries. Yup, four. It had an L & L, a Bale Sandwiches, an Aloha Grill (which served up burgers and whatnot) and Fernando’s (Mexican). Since I had burgers the day before and we have Bale and L & L’s everywhere I opted for the Mexican. I kind of felt like a traitor not eating at La Bamba’s but what are you gonna do?

The Kau Kau Four Court

Fernando’s from a distance

I had the alpastor sandwich

The food was pretty filling and tasty. I had an alpastor sandwich which is kind of like having a Portuguese sausage sandwich except it’s, you know, Mexican. Overall it was really filling considering it came from a fast food Mexican place.

After all that we finished up and headed back to Oahu. It was a short trip, but a fun-filled memorable one nonetheless.

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Top 10,000 Ain’t Bad

Last Monday was President’s Day. For the past 25 years, President’s Day in Hawaii meant the annual Great Aloha Run. The 8.15 mile course starts at Aloha Tower Marketplace and goes along Ala Moana Blvd, under the airport viaduct and finishes at Aloha Stadium.

Keao and I ran (and I use the verb rather loosely) the race a few years ago and a bunch of our friends wanted to run it as well so we decided to put a group together.

Some of us brave the cold, dark morning

The race officially starts at 7:00am, but with some 20,000 runners, walkers, strollers and wheelchairs we didn’t hit the start line until around 25 minutes after 7. Of course this is on top of waking up at 4:30am to get to Aloha Stadium where we parked and caught a ride to Nuuanu. Once we got to Nuuanu we met up with our friend Diedre and her running group to stretch out and get loose. This was at 6:10 an our friend Mr. Sun wasn’t even up yet.

Keao and I inching ever closer to the start line (note we’re still smiling)

Dural’s confused because that couple behind him are running “three-legged” style

Next to the Honolulu Marathon, the Great Aloha Run is Hawaii’s premiere running event. This year being the 25th anniversary made it even more special. They announced that over 20,000 signed up to run (although I’m sure there were drop outs). Of course there was lots of people there and lots of fanfare.

We’re almost to the start line

As you run the route there are people cheering you everywhere. There were a few marching bands, cheerleaders and even a taiko band after mile 5. And as you would expect people run at different paces. That meant that as we were jogging we had to dodge, bob and weave our way through the crowd.

Keao had been running and working out for a few months so understandably she’s in much better shape than I am. My goal was to jog as far as I can and then jog/walk the rest of the way. We decided that we would try to jog two miles first (as I have not really been training too hard). I’m happy to say that I did make it the first two miles and even did one more! Who would’ve thought that I could jog three straight miles?

Of course the first five miles are fairly easy because it’s so flat. The second half of the run is slightly more difficult because there are inclines and declines. Plus, by the time you exit under the airport viaduct the sun is now burning harshly and brightly.

Can you see Aloha Stadium in the background (hint: it’s to the right of those white buildings)?

Still smiling just a little more tired and sweaty!

As you get closer to the stadium everyone gets more excited to be finished. There is cheering and loud music. Kids line the sides with signs meant to encourage the runners. Unfortunately they make you go halfway around the stadium, which seems a little cruel to me, before you run down the tunnel and onto the field. At this point there are tons of people cheering and they put you on the Jumbotron. After that they give you a t-shirt, donuts, bananas and all the water you want. No matter how long it takes you, you’ve just finished the 8.15 mile Great Aloha Run!

I’m still smiling on the outside, but inside I’m exhausted

The different colors indicate where you think you will finish (yellow is faster than green which is faster than pink)

Despite making some of the people in this group wait an hour for us to finish, we’re all still smiling!

So where did we finish? According to the unofficial results Keao and I finished in 9098th and 9097th place respectively. We had the same time of 2:02:41. This was a little disappointing since the last time we ran we finished around 15 minutes faster but it was probably my fault for being lazy and not training. Roughly this equates to 15 minute miles over the course of the run. Not great but not too bad either.

If you’re interested in running with us next year you can sign up at www.greataloharun.com. Hope to see you there!

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Jumbo Deal for Jumbo Men

So last month Jack in the Box had a special meal. Every once in a while Jack in the Box comes out with these ridiculous deals that try to lure weaker-souled men to their stores. Unfortunately for me, I am a sucker for gimmicks (see: weak-soul) and I bit hook, line and sinker.

The premise, according to the commercials, was Jack trying to do his part to help stimulate the economy. He therefore created his “Jumbo Deal”. A Jumbo Deal consists of a Jumbo Jack, a small french fries and 2 tacos. Then to top it all off, it was only $2.99! You read that right, it was under $3. Thus the challenge was born. Who could eat more Jumbo Deals than anyone else?

There it is in all its glory (well, the drink was extra)

So we got in line and took the challenge head on! At first there were only six of us competing. John-John (who initially laid the challenge down) was conveniently absent due to a late night at work. Some of the more ambitious competitors ordered two “deals” right off the bat while other more unsure ones only ordered one hoping they would have enough room for a second (or maybe even a third).

No use in playing around, JC lined his two “deals” up

Everyone who participated had their own strategy and theory. Some felt they should eat the tacos first while others thought the french fries would slow them down so they tackled them first.

If one grease filled taco isn’t enough there are three more waiting for you

Slowly it became evident that this was a lot of food. Your truly was one of those in the game that only managed to finish one “deal”. Of the eventual seven competitors four finished two “deals” and the other three wisely stopped at one. An asterisk may have to go by John-John’s name though since after he finished his two, he also bought an order of the mini-churros (although he did share them with the rest of us).

If that face doesn’t say it all I don’t know what will

JC about half way through and still smiling

Almost done, just a few more fries left

And we’re done…just gotta clean up the mess

So the final results look like this:

1 Jumbo Deal eaten: Scott, Mike and Jasen
2 Jumbo Deals eaten: Mikey, JC, John-John and Dural
Something healthy like a salad: Liz

I think next time we do this we’ll need to add in a speed factor. Join us next time as we see who can eat a dozen Taco Bell tacos the quickest!

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