October 8, 2011

Hawaii 2011, Day 7

We're getting into the final stretch, here!
On Tuesday we went to Kailua via Waimanalo. We made our pilgrimage to the Akebono statue. Then we went to the nuts and ukulele store next door. The sweet guy who owned it wasn't there, and it just didn't have the same vibe. I don't need to go back (except to see the statue).

Then we went to Kailua Beach Park, which we'd been hoping to do for years. It was lovely. We found some shade in an area that had a minimum number of screaming children and relaxed for a bit. It was sooo beautiful.

They also use a beautiful font to mark the women's room:

Hunger overtook us, so we went into town to look for Ba-Le, the Vietnamese sandwich shop that we had loved so much last time. Waaaah! Not only closed, but also fenced off.

Reaching into his new/old book on okazuya, mrguy decided we needed to go to an okazuya in Kailua. It was in a strip mall far away from town. It was just empty store fronts, the place where you go to get your vehicle registered, the okazuya and a bakery. We went into the okazuya and they hardly had any food left. Just some oden items bobbing around in broth. Clearly it was going to take us a while to find something to eat, so I suggested we go to the nearby Nene Goose Bakery for a beverage. mrguy noticed this review that said that their specialty was mochi anpan. No idea what that was, so we bought some.

We took a seat outside a salon on some plastic chairs. And then the ladies who were ahead of us at the bakery struck up a conversation.

Roughly 40 minutes later we parted after having had the BEST conversation of our trip. They were very surprised to see us in this out of the way spot eating mochi anpan, and extra surprised when they figured out that we were tourists. One of the women was from Waimanalo, so I mentioned that we had just made our pilgrimage to the Akebono statue. Then we explained that we were big sumo fans. Turns out that this woman is Konishiki's sister-in-law, so that started a long conversation about Hawaiians in sumo (one of my favorite topics), Jesse's (Takamiyama's) entry into sumo, how much this woman thought of Chiyonofuji, and the kindness and smarts of the local guys who went to Japan to enter sumo. I can barely have a conversation about sumo anywhere I go, so it was a real pleasure to hang out with these ladies and talk about sumo and local goodness. We asked them what they like to do when they're on vacation and the woman from Waimanalo went into a hilarious monologue about booking a hotel room in Waikiki for her family, using every amenity and never leaving the hotel.

They were curious about the other kinds of stuff we do when we're on the island, so we talked about music. Turns out that one of the new joints next to the Akebono statue in Waimanalo is owned by the family of one of these ladies. It is a bar with live music and we have their blessing that we'd fit in o.k. This will be on our list for next time.

Our ladies also knew where Ba-Le had gone. It's one of their favorite places to eat also, which further blew their minds. With their help we found it and had a yummy lunch. Coconut taro tapioca? Yum.

Then we went to Hungry Ear Records, always great, and the antique stores. I never need to go to those stores again. Happy to sit in the car while someone else does it. That one guy is still extra grumpy and the lady who owns his place and the other place has TOO MUCH STUFF!

Later that afternoon, the farmer's daughter met us over at the Ilikai Bar & Grill for a few sets of Waipuna. They have been joined by David Kamakahi in this incarnation, and were really great. Much better in person because they're so dialed into each other and you get Kale Hannah's dry wit. He's the bass player from Project Kalo Patch who, at the end of their set at Aku Bone last visit, heckled us from the stage, saying "We played an extra twenty minutes because you was late". This time his between-song banter included trying to auction off young David Kamakahi. Funny.

We felt inspired after seeing Waipuna. Can't wait to see them again, and hope to catch the farmer's daughter the next time as well.

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