Monday, July 18, 2011

Where is Jenny from San Francisco?

Here's a Facebook entry from a friend in San Francisco. He's looking for a girl he met 7 or 8 years ago. The romantic in me hopes he finds her and all ends happily, but even if it doesn't, I hope he hears from her. Here it is:

Jennie, it's been about 7 or 8 years since we met in The Dubliner Bar on 24th Street in San Francisco. You had more than a passing resemblance to the actress Amy Brenneman. We hit it off, we had good laughs, good chemistry and calm moments at a time when we were both going through some stormy moments in our own personal lives--or, maybe that was just me. But circumstances then did prohibit us from... getting to know each other better.

And I always thought I'd run into you again, and obviously I haven't. Where are you, what are you doing? I'd love to say HELLO! one more time, even if only to say goodbye. Too much, perhaps, to offer to take you out on that date you asked me to ask you out on--and I couldn't then as I was involved in a disaster, but committed in my own way to doing what was right at the time.

But the fact is that you lingered enough in my heart and mind for me to try to find you. A pity I never asked your full name, it simply never crossed my mind, and there is an infinity of Jennies, Jennys, Jennifers, Gennys and other spellings on Facebook and elsewhere online, profile photos are tiny, some are of flowers or logos and I just can't see you-- so this is my attempt to be seen by you and let you know that I did like you: A lot!

...And perhaps you are just a pleasant little daydream in this dreamer's little world...

Whatever your status, single, married, in a relationship, whatever it is, hope you are happy and hope this makes its way somehow to your online network and perhaps you can say hi.

Derek from Ireland, still in San Francisco.

The Facebook page is titled, Jenny. (Or was it Jennie?) Where art thou?

Monday, July 11, 2011

So Far Away

Last week I had three friends who suddenly had their worlds turned upside down. All involved being in the hospital with major health issues. Hawaii felt very far from friends and family. There wasn't much I could do from 2,500 miles away. I wish I could have at least sat with them and held their hands, but phone calls, e-mails and prayer had to suffice.

I had an amazing 4th of July. We watched a parade, we went to Hickam Air Force Base to see Plain White T's in concert and followed up with fireworks. The weather was perfect and I was feeling great.

Surprisingly, the 4th of July here was the most patriotic 4th I've seen since I lived in Washington D.C. in the early 90's. Women and children donned in red, white and blue, and stars and stripes, shouted greetings of "Happy 4th Of July". During the parade, people waved American flags. The color guards marched. The VFW, American Legion and Vets of the Korean War, Vietnam and one Pearl Harbor survivor all paraded. I haven't seen Americans stand up, clap and cheer for Veterans in a long, long time. It never happened in San Francisco. But, then, there's no Independence Day parade in San Francisco.

I felt American again, here in Hawaii. Then the phone calls and e-mails happened from my friends in California telling me about their, or their spouses injuries/illnesses. I imagined them stuck in industrial-looking hospital buildings, smelling those horrible hospital smells and watching machines and waiting for doctors, while I was looking out at steep green cliffs and rainbows, feeling warm tradewinds blow past me carrying the scent of tropical flowers.

So, here I sit in Hawaii, feeling like it's another country and realizing how important my friends are. These three friends span my lifetime; one from nursery school, one from high school and another from college. They represent different times in my life, different experiences I had while growing up. They are important.

I think of friends and loved ones back on the mainland. SFO airport used to carry me to them within a few hours, or I could drive to them on a moment's notice. Now I'm 2,500 miles away at closest.

But Hawaii has an airport. A big one, where American Airlines will fly me to Georgia this October so I can visit one of my best friends from high school and watch his sons play in their football games.
I'll make time to see the people who are important to me and I will find time to visit those three friends I've been thinking about all week.

See y'all in October.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tsunami Damage

Our last day in Kona, we stopped at the King Kamehameha Hotel which suffered extensive damage from the March 11th tsunami. Here are photos from the hotel lobby and the exterior.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Going Back In Time

After touring The City of Refuge, we drove to our hotel to find dinner. If you're ever in Kona, stop at the Royal Kona Resort to be transported to the past. Here are photos from the bar and Don The Beachcomber restaurant. At times, I thought I was in Disneyland. You can feel how the place used to be the IN spot, probably in the 1950's and 1960's.

The next day we drove to Hilo, which reminded us of the city of Petaluma in Northern California. A small town feel, but not much to do there. Well, okay, we did go to Big Island Candies and the Mauna Loa macadamia nut factory. The weather driving out there was foggy, cold, and rainy. It was 63 degrees at one point near the town of Waimeia. We passed the Hamakua region, known for growing flowers, vegetables and, um, "other" famous Hawaiian crops. (We figured those crops were growing behind the fences that said, "Keep Out".)

Parker Ranch, a working cattle ranch, owns most of the land around Waimea. (Also known as Kamuela.) I thought the stop signs in the shopping center were a kick. "Whoa".

Our day ended at the Four Seasons Hotel, just to see what it's all about. With Balinese-style decor, it is stunningly gorgeous and the sunset was amazing. We wished we could sit on one of the lounge chairs on the beach, but they were for hotel guests only.

We left the Four Seasons and dined at the Kona Inn Restaurant, with its delicious mahi-mahi and super friendly staff. A walk along the bay, back to our hotel, ended our night.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

City Of Refuge

After visiting the coffee region of Kona, Mark and I drove to Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau, also known as the City of Refuge.

A reconstructed temple called the Hale o Keawe Heiau sits on the edge of the bay. Back in the 1500-1600's if someone broke a law (kapu) they could seek refuge here. The photo with the carved statues is the reconstructed heiau.

Next to the heiau is the former palace grounds. Reconstructed huts, games made out of stone, and fishing ponds were built for posterity to get a sense of how royalty lived back then.

As we walked out of the grounds, feeling like we could sense Ali'i from centuries ago, paddlers entered the bay. Were they seeking a sort of refuge in the water?

Kona Coffee

We took another three day trip to the Big Island. This time, we stayed in Kona and went sightseeing over the entire island.

Our first stop was to the Kona coffee region and Kona Joe's coffee. "Joe" is an orthopedic surgeon from California and friends with my podiatrist in San Francisco. Kona Joe's closes up early. After leaving the rental car place at Kona airport we arrived at Kona Joe's at 2:30. No more tour and they were out of free coffee samples.

I bought a few small bags of their Trellis grown reserve. Oh, my. Coffee never tasted so good.

Since we missed out on the tour, we drove on to Greenwell Farms. There is a reason for everything, because the tour at Greenwell Farms was fantastic. Everyone was friendly. The tour guide was local and shared with us his personal coffee experiences from growing up. I'm a coffee fan and I learned much.

Their farm dog came on the tour with us. She laid down when we stopped and walked alongside us when we toured.

After the tour, we sampled 10 different coffee types and two chocolate covered coffee beans. Oh, maybe that's why the tours end early, otherwise people will stay awake from all the caffeine.

Greenwell is the place to go for a Kona coffee tour.

Photos are of a coffee tree, an apple-banana tree, the farm cat and local coffee growers dropping off coffee beans.