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Sunday, September 25, 2016

MY LATEST WAIKIKI VACATION: Day 2

My day began with breakfast in the executive lounge, and there was something I've never seen before, a miso soup dispenser:


Then I went out to participate in the Aloha Festivals event of the day,   In 1946 the local Junior Chamber of Commerce founded Aloha Week, ostensibly to celebrate Hawaiian culture, but this turned out to be a big boost for tourism.  It worked so well that in 1991 the effort was expanded into four events during the month of September.  Interestingly enough, this is the only statewide cultural festival in the nation, and everything is sort of free. 30,000 volunteers help out to entertain a million participants.

Last week was the Waikiki Hoolaulea, and today is the Floral Parade, which has been going on now for 70 years.  Beginning at 9AM from Ala Moana Park, this event ends up at Kapiolani Park three hours later.

I really don't like parades, and the only one I remember attending was many decades ago in Pasadena for the Rose Bowl Parade.  I only remember that it was freezing.

I scouted Kalakaua Avenue and found a spot where I could sit in the shade on a concrete wall.  While the wait was long, at least I had a good view of the surfers off Waikiki Beach:


Then they came:


Above, Mayor Caldwell, but the Pa'u Riders were the stars.  Pau means finished or something similar, while pa'u refers to women riding a horse.  They are dressed in a color symbolizing each island.


Then I noticed something very interesting.  Each island group had a small float with up to a dozen similarly dressed individuals.  These are the maintenance people to scoop up horse poop:


See that colorful float on the right?  Well, I thought these were worthy of photographing:


You can almost guess the island:  from the bottom, see those Niihau shell leis?  The one above is Kahoolawe, and I guess they need to be represented, but the one above that is clearly Lanai because of the pineapple.

Of course there were floats, high school marching bands, the military and beauty queens:


After an hour of this music, color, glamour and scoopers, I began to fall asleep and could only barely tolerate the concrete seat.  However, I hung in there and made it to the end just about at noon. 

So, lunch.  Purchased a can of Pabst from ABC then two chicken breasts from Kentucky Fried Chicken, which I had in room while watching LSU lose to Auburn:


For dinner I went to my favorite Japanese restaurant in Hawaii, Suntory:



I ordered their Miyazaki Wagyu Beef Shabu Shabu:



I have had two bottles of alcohol for more than a third of a century.





Incidentally, that person in the background to the right is George Benson, who just performed a couple days ago at the Neil Blaisdell Center.  How those liquor bottles work in some Japanese restaurants is that you purchase the bottle, typically from $100 to $1000, or more, then they store it until your next use, where they provide ice, etc.  I have a Johnny Walker Blue Label in the Westin Chosen Seoul and a 20-year old Nikka Yoichi in the Compass Rose of the Tokyo Westin.

This was the most satisfying meal I've had in a long time, and I paid less, in fact, way less than half what it cost me the previous night at Stripsteak.  Suntory once had these restaurants throughout the world, but they mostly all closed down.  Of course, this is the company that has cracked the Scotland single malt dominance with Hibiki and Yamasaki, and has also developed a blue rose in Australia.  Frankly, though, the hue seems more lavender.  But I guess they have varying varieties, for this photo below came from Hypography:



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Typhoon Megi is already at 105 MPH and will strengthen into a Category 3 before making landfall over Taiwan:


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