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Saturday, December 24, 2016

CHRISTMAS EVE IN HAWAII

The First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu produces CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS in the setting of my former golf course, the Koolau Golf Club, once the most difficult in the whole world:


A curious and brilliant partnership happened a decade ago.  A church bought a golf course.  Now, you can attend services and go on to golf.  First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu, with a membership of 1200, calls this the Miracle of Koolau.  Built in 1992 at a cost of $82 million, the 242-acre tropical rain forest is a nature conservancy.  The club had a fabulous onsen (Japanese bath) and Black tees 7310 yards long with a rating of 78.2.  People lost a lot of the best golf balls here--enterprising members, knowing where to look and with the courage to enter Jurassic Park--ended the day with a shopping bag full of them.

Now, the course is open to the general public, still somewhat difficult (only #25 in difficulty at last look), but with reasonable rates.  After 11AM, the cost at the Ala Wai Golf Course (municipally operated, and now my home course, which charges me $90/month for ten rounds) with cart are similar to Koolau for visiting tourists.

For Christmas Eve, the church produces CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS, an annual extravaganza of entertainment and inspiration:


The audience of more than 500/seating sings Christmas Carols, witnesses a child's look at the Greatest Story Ever Told and participates in the potential of untold miracles.  Much of the success can be linked to Pastor Dan Chun, below to the right:


Note the rose in this photo:


If you become part of a miracle, Pastor Chun urged us to return the rose with a short note.  Of course, things like the birth of a child or sunrise qualifies, but I think he was hoping for something more biblical.  

I went with my next door neighbors, Deanna, John and Tom, but we also saw 15 Craigside residents, Pepper, Eric and, here, with Deanna, Henry:


The immediate neighbors then went on to Noboru in Kailua for dinner (John and Deanna below):


We had fried tofu as an appetizer and all ordered sukiyaki (the fourth person is Tom, who lives across the hallway from us):


New to me, but this was Deanna's and John's twentieth dining experience here.  They once lived a short distance away.  The service was not exactly quick, but the cuisine was commendable.  John continues, part-time, as a medical doctor, and Tom, 5-hours/week on his stock broker firm, which once was the largest in Hawaii.

Today, I will be watching the University of Hawaii against Middle Tennessee University in the Hawaii Bowl.  Then, we have our annual 15 Craigside Christmas Eve dinner, where I will be sitting with the family of my fourth neighbor, the Matsudas.  Tomorrow, Christmas at the Lees, another tradition.

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Super Typhoon Nock-ten continues to strengthen, heading for Manila for the Day after Christmas.  Also known as Typhoon Nina in the Philippines, considerable damage is anticipated for the country:


You think we have had a quiet hurricane season?  The Orient has been besieged this year:


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