Thursday, December 19, 2013

Neighborhood Christmas Lights

Over the past few years I've always been on the hunt for Christmas lights around neighborhoods.  Every year I always seem to take new people trying to perpetuate the feel of the Christmas spirit through going to see Christmas lights. 

It's not your ordinary Honolulu Downtown Christmas light show.  I like to take in the views created by everyday people trying to stand out and be creative with their own homes.  Two homes had lights synchronized to the music!  It was amazing!  The usual happened at Hanapa'a St.  This year was a little dumbed down though... they didn't go all out like the past years... hopefully they put up the rest of the decorations before Christmas ends.  The houses in Kaneohe near Castle high school had their usual stuff up.  If anyone has anywhere special they'd like to share please let me know!  Would love to check it out before the year ends!  Merry Christmas!

You'd be able to see this tree from miles away.  They decorate their tree every year in Kahala.

One of the more impressive displays which often gets overlooked.  This display is in one of the valley's in East Honolulu. 

Katie accompanied me this year.  She was impressed with the Christmas spirit people have here. 

Several houses behind the mall in Kaneohe had inflatables and lights adorning their yard.

The entire front side of the house was covered in lights.  The driveway on the right side of the house (not shown) has a canoe with lights strung up.  Check out the grinch on the boat being pulled by dolphins!

People let us on their property to take a picture in their gazebo.  Such aloha spirit in the community!

The next few shots were on Hanapaa St. in Kapolei! 

The famous Heineken tree!

The same house with the Heineken tree had a driveway down the length of the house adorned with Christmas decorations. 

The other half of the driveway looked like this!

This was probably my favorite decorated house.  It had music and a station to tune into to listen to.  Cars were stopped on the road just to watch.  We were there for a good half hour!

There is a street in Waikele just like the one in Kaneohe.  I think next year if they keep it up they might be one of the more popular streets.

This one is pretty original.  A fully lit up mustang with santa and rudolph in it! 

This last house also had an electronics show with music!  This house actually coordinated with neighbors and the neighbors houses were in sync as well!  At least four houses were in sync and also that street light was in sync as well!

Mele Kalikimaka 2013 from Ryan Chang on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Big Island 2013

I've only been to the Big Island twice.  This would be the third time visiting the island.  This time around I wanted to get a grasp on what is in and around town. 

Thanksgiving was spent with Katie's mom down in Puna, just south of Hilo.  Just south of Hilo means forty five minutes away!  I had to get a grasp on how "big" Big Island is.  Everything was at least and hour away for us, what we wanted to explore was volcano, Kalapana, Kohala and south point just to name a few places. 

Katie and I flew in Tuesday night to Hilo airport.  Right as we were getting on the escalator Katie's mom Carol was down there waiting for us.  We drove with her and her boyfriend Jim down to grab a bite.  I decided on Panda's for something quick and Katie and mom went to Jamba Juice.  After dinner we headed to target for some groceries and supplies for the weekend. 

It was a really long drive back to the house.  When we got home all I could hear was coqui frogs, something I might not ever get used to.  They are so loud and it's hard to sleep with them blaring throughout the night. 

The next morning we took a drive down to Pohoiki to check out the surf.  It wasn't happening so Katie and I decided to hit up Volcano National Park.  We got to check out Halemaumau crater from the Jagger museum and we took a drive down to chain of craters road.  It was unbelievably hot.  At the end of the road we took a 15 minute walk down the road to meet where the lava met the road and closed it off.  For miles all we saw was hot rugged coast line.  Because of the extreme heat and hazy conditions I vowed never to come back!  I don't get how people would wanna do Halape, I give them credit for backpacking such a long distance in the blazing sun. 

We made our way back up to the mountain and took a quick hike on the Kilauea Iki trail just to see the crater from a different view.  It was nice to hear so many songs from the native birds, something you don't hear on Oahu very much.  After that we headed to Thurston lava tube.  It was dark and damp.  It's a pretty cool feature if you want to do touristy things. 

After volcano we went back to the house to spend time with mama Ersbak.  She got us some fresh lau lau for dinner and we watched black fish.  Black fish was a good documentary on how orca whales are kept at sea world. 

Next morning was Thanksgiving!  We had a quick bite to eat and headed out the door.  The first thing we did was check out lava tree state park.  The park had cool features where the trees were burned from the inside out.  The landscape was nice like a park but had weird black rock formations where lava had burnt the trees.  After the park we headed to Hilo town to pick up Jenny and Christian at two but we had lots of time to kill.  I had brought my bodyboard over so I wanted to check out a local break.  We headed to Honoli'i beach.  It was breaking small but really clean.  I jumped in anyways because this was the only day I would get to surf.  After a quick surf session we headed up a little ways to Akaka falls.  It was really sunny already so I couldn't get good pictures.  Maybe next time I come back I'll hike to the base of the falls. 

We picked up Jenny and Christian and headed back home for the Thanksgiving festivities.  Mama Ersbak had a bunch of friends over helping her cook and prepare.  We had a turkey dinner with stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad, yams, and apple cobbler.  It was delicious and reminded me of home.  After dinner the tryptophan in the turkey made me kanak!  I was feeling so drowsy but stayed up to watch some chasing mavericks with the family. 

The next morning we woke a little late and ate some left overs.  The plan was to head up to Waimea to check out a hike.  We drove up the coast for hours and finally hit the trail head.  The trail is closed because of the earthquake that damaged the trail and made it dangerous.  On the trail though there were many hikers we ran into.  Our goal was to hit a water slide made by the people that made the flumes in the mountains.  We hiked for a half hour and were rewarded with an amazing vista.  We followed the trail on a contour that was cut in the mountain.  After following that for a while we dropped down into a flume and walked through the tunnel.  We hit the slide and there were a few locals there chilling.  Christian and I slid down the slide a few times.  There is nothing like it on any of the other islands besides wet n' wild but you didn't have to pay $50 to have fun on a water slide.  After hiking we hit up a little strip mall in Waimea to eat some burgers for dinner. 

We decided to hit saddle road and try make it up to Mauna Kea for sunset but it was too late in the day that when we got to the visitor center it was night already.  Unfortunately it wasn't cloudless so we couldn't see any stars.  We headed off the mountain and back home.  We all were very tired and we knocked out pretty early. 

Saturday morning was mine and Katie's last day.  We wanted to explore down south.  Before going out and exploring mama Ersbak and Jim treated us to breakfast down in Kalapana.  We ate a big breakfast and checked out Kalapana.  We walked down to the new black sand beach.  I really wanted to jump in because there were waves there but I didn't know how the rip and current was.  There was no one out so I decided on not going in the water and taking pictures.  After breakfast we headed up to volcano and down south.  We stopped in Punalu'u and checked out some turtles.  We hit up south point after where Christian jumped off a 35 ft cliff.  It was nuts because it was pretty high but safe kind of jump because it was over hanging the ocean.  There was a ladder to aid in climbing back up too!  I decided not to jump because I didn't feel well.  I think the vog was affecting me and making me feel a little weird.  After that we headed back home.  Mama Ersbak made us a really delicious chicken fajita.  It was so good I passed out second night in a row! 

Sunday morning came too fast and we had to leave already.  I enjoyed my stay there, next time more exploring or maybe backpacking Waimanu again.  Till next time!

Looked at Pohoiki and the surf. 

Up at volcano national park we checked out some steam vents. 

We took a drive down to chain of craters road where the lava met the road. 

We got to see some cool lava formations and plants growing out of the rock. 

The strange black formation that Katie is sitting in used to be a tree.  This was at lava tree state park.

The closed hike we decided to do.

Forty five minutes into the hike we were greeted with this vista. 

The trail goes onto this contour.

Sliding down this flume was a real treat after the hike. 

The last day we hit up south point. 

Big Island 2013 from Ryan Chang on Vimeo.