Been taking it easy in Hawaii. The weather's been great. I've worn shorts and flip flops everyday. I have many thanks to go out to people who have thrown some extra funds my way to help ease the pain of spending real American currency. Let me tell you, it's shocking to hand over the greenbacks after playing with the 'Monopoly money' that is foreign currency for the past ten months. I feel like the cashiers at the ABC store have to pry the bills from my hands sometimes.
First big thanks goes to Erica and Anton for my sunset dinner at Longhi's in the Ala Moana Center. I ate at this restaurant with my friend Manash when I was in Honolulu two years ago for the Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival. Back then, I tried the Longhi's Shrimp and Scallops. I'd been dreaming of having it again ever since I left two years ago. This time around I started with an artichoke appetizer. I don't remember the last time I had a whole artichoke but it reminded me of eating them with my parents when I was a kid. Mmm, butter. Anyhoo, it was a nice meal even though I had to dine alone this time.
Yesterday, I went to do the touristy Polynesian Cultural Center museum and Lu'au. Mahalo to my brother Walt for helping to fund the full day of exploring Tahiti, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Aoteroa, Hawaii, and Marquesas cultures. I saw traditional dances, listened to music, learned how to throw a Tongan spear (my favorite part), and sampled coconut bread cooked in the ground. In the evening I got lei'd on my way to my first luau. There I watched more performances, including one guy's amazing jam session on the ukelele, and feasted on a massive meal of fish, chicken, taro, roast pork, rice, salads, and four types of dessert. I had to fight a food coma on the bus ride back to the hotel.
And today, I did some scuba diving with Dive Oahu, a great dive shop here in Honolulu where Captain Dave and Hector, my dive guide, took really good care of me. This trip came courtesy of Carol and John who've urged me to enjoy these dive opportunities whenever I can. I'm glad I did because this wreck dive down to a ship called Sea Tiger was one of my favorite dives. About 100 feet deep, the ship was a really cool sight. The most thrilling bit was when I turned to point out a spotted ray to my fellow divers and just as I turned back to look at it again, a sea turtle swam right up to me. I flipped around backwards and watched it glide right over me. Later, the guide took us into the ship where we found another turtle hiding out in the dark. Fun stuff.
Exhausted from waking up early and getting on a boat, I checked into the YHA hostel and took an afternoon nap. For dinner, Tristan's cash went towards a Mexican dinner at Senor Frog's. I'd been craving Mexican food for months and I was going to wait til I got back to California but a coupon lured me to this funny joint. I had tortilla soup and chicken enchiladas, oh, and a crazy full stomach afterwards. To ease the pain I went for a post-dinner walk along the beach at sunset.
One more full day to enjoy paradise. I'm back in the Bay Area on Saturday night. I'll be in town for a few days and then I'm running down to LA for a two day film gig. Gotta go where the money is. But no worries, I will be around Cali to see all of my friends and family before some employer slaps the shackles back on my wrists.
Check out Azad's latest photoblog from Iran, Germany, and Spain at LifeGoesOnInTehran.com Wish him a happy birthday, too (because I forgot to!)