Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pier Jumping

"The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea." ~ Isak Dinesen

Hot afternoons we hide under the shelter of the pier, which stretches out over the bay. The jewelled waves are beneath us and the mildly hesitating sky hovers above. There is nothing but listening to time pass and watching people watching you.

It is almost time for my summer break from teaching, and I am off to a different coastline. I hope in my next post to show you where I'm going, but for now I'll just leave you a hint: 

"a far away land which happens to have the largest concentration of Native American place names in the U.S."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Waimea Plantation Cottages

My brother's wedding was held down at Waimea Plantation Cotttages, right on the ocean at Waimea Beach, which is almost-black sand. It's more brown, really. Even though swimming is not a good idea (the dark sand makes the water brown and prone to sharks), it was still lovely to be by the sea. We rented one of the big houses there and had the wedding out on the lawn. 

Walking out on Waimea Pier:

The black (brown) sand beach is littered with stark branches of driftwood:

The lawn was completely shaded by an ancient banyan tree, which looked like a jungle all by itself:

Tables out on the lawn, surrounded by tiki torches:

The inside of our historical house was decorated in Hawaiiana style:

My bedroom window looked out on the Pacific Ocean, and it was so wonderful listening to the waves as I fell asleep:

A cool lamp filled with seashells:

Opening the doors to lanai created a sense of indoor/outdoor living:

The kitchen was sunny and bright:

The setting was just perfect for the wedding:

And when you needed to get away for a bit, relaxing in one of the seaside hammocks was a great idea:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tropical Seaside Wedding

I'm finally getting around to posting pictures from the actual wedding. I didn't take a whole lot, but here are a few to give you a taste of what a wedding by the sea in Hawaii can look like. 

Meticulously pulling apart plumeria petals for the petal circle:

We saved money by picking individual tropical flowers at a florist's shop and arranging them ourselves (note the anthurium and tiny yellow orchids):

Mellow guitar music for the processional:

Waiting outside the house we rented to have the wedding:

Flower girl hiding in the giant banyan:

Photoshoot by the sea:

The wedding cake (which had a coconut filling) was simply decorated with fresh orchids:

The table arrangements were stunning with torch ginger and hibiscus:

More on the location later...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hawaiian Luau

Although I've lived in Hawaii for six years now, I have never been to a luau. Well, up until last month, that is. To be honest, I haven't been all that interested - I try to avoid touristy things in general. But when everyone came out for the wedding, we all went together. 

So here's how the typical luau runs:
When you arrive, your picture is taken and you are given a shell lei which you discreetly hide in your purse.
Everyone gathers around a fire pit where "Hawaiians" dig out the pig which is supposed to have been sitting on embers in the dirt all day. 
Masses of humanity line up for the food line where the pig is waiting, having been magically sliced in record time. 
Everyone stuffs their faces, timidly tasting the poi which they feel is necessary to their Hawaii vacation experience. 
A few carefree volunteers from the crowd get up on the stage to practice hula. 
The mob moves to the bigger stage area where the real show begins. 
Hula dancers attempt to display the multi-cultural influences in Hawaii, starting with blue tinsel and proceeding to grass skirts, coconuts, etc. 

Forgive my cynicism, but I feel like this doesn't portray Hawaiian culture very well. It gives tourists what they're looking for, but to me, it comes across as kitschy. We did have a good time however, all the family together, so I'm not going to complain.

This couple obviously took the luau very seriously:

Excavating the kalua pig:

Peacocks wander the grounds:

Hula attempts:

Blue tinsel to visualize water:

Pele, the volcano goddess erupts:

Fire dancing:


Friday, May 18, 2012

Spa Day at Koloa Town Salon

Having my brother's wedding here in Hawaii was a great idea. They were able to have all the excitement of a Destination Wedding with all the convenience of a wedding near home, since some of us live here. We were able to drive around and find the best place to have a spa day with the girls. As a kind of bachelorette party, we all wanted to have a relaxing day before the wedding. The place we found : Koloa Town Salon

The people there were so sweet and helpful. We were able to get pedicures, manicures, massages, facials, and I even got a henna tattoo. They do hair and makeup as well. All in all we had a great experience. This spa is definitely the coolest I've ever been to. 

The salon was recently converted from a rental property. The building itself is on the national register of historic places, as it was the old telephone/radio building from 1926. The building is right in Old Koloa Town, reminding passersby of the plantation days from the last century. Everything has been updated however, redecorated in a tropical style that is a little more Colonial Caribbean than Plantation Hawaii. White walls and dark wood furniture give the rooms a sense of old elegance. With the morning sunlight streaming through the windows, the space is lit up, resurrected from its long days in darkness. I love how this place was revitalized. The owners have kept its historic charm, while making it still useful today. It was a pleasure to enjoy this little piece of history. 

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