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Sunday, July 10, 2016


Saturday started well.  My wife's sister Doris dropped off some flowers, for Pearl's birthdate will be tomorrow:

Then I went down to the lobby, where Irene and Wally were preparing my photos for display as you enter the dining room:

The top panel has me next to the Japan Railway Utashinai Station sign, from where my father's father, Kenjiro, was sent to America in the 1890's.   At one time JR stopped through this town.  Not anymore, as the population precipitously dropped from a prosperous coal town, to now, a boutiqish skiing and wine-making location.  Getting there today is a challenge, for you need to catch the JR train from Sapporo further north to Takikawa, then board a bus to the village.  In April there was snow all over the place.  It even snowed on me.  That photo was taken in the Yumetsumugi Museum where the bus dropped  me off.

Returning to the present, I walked into town for lunch and later planned to take a few shots for the 15 Craigside Photo Club, as the August theme is architecture.  I decided to eat at Grondin, a French-Latin restaurant Chaine des Rotisseurs dined at just about a year ago:

I was very ably attended to by Kayla.  The owners, Jenny Grondin from France and David Segarra from Ecuador, have been opening fine dining establishments in New York--Fatty Crab, Fatty 'Cue and Malaysian--and hired Andrew Pressler (to the left) as chef of their place here.  Basically, what is served is comfort food from their respective countries.  Jennifer's father was a French chef.  The couple actually said that the permitting and liquor license process in Honolulu WAS A BREEZE compared to New York City.   I was planning on a large Japanese steak dinner on my lanai Saturday evening, so I just ordered a smoky Bloody Mary and fries:

The lunch menu focuses on brunch, and the selections were limited.  Just for fun I asked whether the bone marrow appetizer could be made available.  To my surprise, Kayla succeeded, so I had a rose wine with it:

This is one of those victuals you actually need to lick and chew on.  A lot of bread and not much marrow, but I can highly recommend this dish if you ever go there.

It was only around noon when I left, so I decided to take shots of what I consider to be bad architecture in Honolulu:

Note, first, that  the building above is being restored.  Second, the "En Emma Building" sign should read Queen Emma  Building.  I've long considered this to be the ugliest structure in Hawaii, popularly known as the Pimple Building.  At one time this was on track to be a dormitory for Hawaii Pacific University, but was resold to become what I don't know.

Across the street, though, is the historic Cathedral Church of St. Andrews on the grounds of a girls school, St. Andrews Priory, although there is also a boy's elementary preparatory school there.  The church can be traced back to 1867.

Walking mauka after awhile I saw a bus coming, so I thought, for a buck, why not have it take me uphill to Wylie Street so that I can walk down to 15 Craigside.  This was #55 to Kaneohe, or at least that is what it read.  After I sat, I thought, wouldn't it be nice to enjoy the scenery to Kaneohe, then return back to Honolulu.  At most, it would cost another dollar.  VERY BIG MISTAKE.  This three minute ride took more than six hours.

When the bus reached Kaneohe, it just kept going around the island.  When it made a right turn on Kam Highway at the Hygienic Store, I was tempted to jump off and trot across the street to the stop going the other way.  But, then, I thought, hey, a ride to the Turtle Bay Resort would be even better.

Took a photo of Mokolii (little lizard in Hawaiian), more popularly known as Chinaman's Hat.  Located one-third of a mile offshore, no one lives on the 12.5 acre island, except black rats, the yellow crazy ant and 72 species of plants, mostly invasive.

These bus photos are amazing because the windows are dirty and spotted.  Here is one of the Kahuku Wind Farm, 12 wind energy conversion devices rated a total of 30 MW:

So, two hours into my joy ride, the bus reached the Turtle Bay Resort.  I fully expected the bus to turn around and return through Kaneohe and back up the Pali to where I could drop off.  Nope, on Kam Highway it made a right turn and continued on around the island.  Just so you do not make the same mistake, the #55 goes clockwise from Ala Moana Shopping Center, from where the #52 goes counterclockwise to Turtle Bay.  Then at this site, #55 becomes a #52 and continues going counterclockwise, The opposite for the #52.  If you get as confused as I was, enjoy the ride.

This would not have been too bad if I did not have to go to the bathroom.  Unfortunately, we were stalled by a bridge building project where all traffic was contra flowed.  This will continue to bedevil drivers for another few weeks.  It took at least an hour to move a couple of miles.

When you catch a The Bus around the island (not really, as I don't think there is one that passes through Waimanalo for a full circuit):
  • There is an announcement every few seconds as to the location.  Great to learn where you are, but tedious when only Kam Highway addresses are cited, again and again and again.
  • I noticed that there was a lot of vitality around the island.  A lot more shrimp trucks then I imagined and the bus was packed throughout the ride.
  • Then when the #55 bus arrived at Haleiwa, everyone got off, for it went out of service.  There was already a mob waiting, and I didn't think we would all be able to get on the next bus into town.  
  • But, goodie, I saw a McDonald's sign down the road.  So I walked as fast as I could, for I did not want to miss the connection.  It was already 4:30PM, and poker began at 7PM.  I walked in and snuck to the restroom, where I saw a sign that said customers only, and get security details from counter.  Luckily, someone was just coming out of the Men's bathroom, so I got in, did my thing, and got back to the bus stop.  
  • The good news was that the mob was still there.  
  • Then, it began rain. hard.  
  • Luckily, a #52 bus arrived, and I used my age and walking stick, which can pass for one used by a blind person to get reasonably close to the entry.  As it was, I had to sit in the back row to get a seat.  
  • The air conditioner vent is in the back, I was all wet and my teeth actually chattered during the first half an hour.  Thankfully, the engine is also in the rear, and the seat was warm.  
  • Unfortunately, the person sitting next me coughed a lot.
  • From Haleiwa, the bus took forever, to trundle through Wahiawa Town and Mililani Town.

  • But then, on the freeway to Dillingham Boulevard.
  • It was 6PM when I passed Grondin, where I had lunch.
  • I got off to transfer to the #4 bus.
  • The stop is located across the street from Hawaii Theater, which is a worthy piece of architecture.
  • The  crowd from the Miyazaki Ghibli Film Festival of Sprited Away (fabulous 97%/96% ratings from Rotten Tomatoes) was just out.  A middle-age Oriental lady, carrying two large bags, certainly looking like a bag lady, sat next to me waiting for the bus, and she had just came from the film.  She began telling me about the story and began crying.  Then she went on to God and a few other topics that worried my and definitely gave me another reason not to catch a bus again.
  • After an interminable half an hour, the #4 bus came at 6:30PM.  The total cost of my joy ride was $1.
  • I barely got home in time to take a shower.  No great Japanese wagyu steak dinner last night.  
  • On to the poker table at 7PM.
  • But I had that steak meal for brunch today.

There are now three ocean storms far east of Hawaii:


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