Going West by Mark Powers

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Saying goodbye to Hawaii

Due to work, the time to leave Hawaii has come. I'll be heading to the exotic, international, and leading financial center of Asia, Singapore.

I expect that there will be plenty of things to learn and new experiences. I have some butterflies in my stomach, but at this point, there is no choice but to move forward.

My good friend took me out for a farewell meal. Though I had a choice of a variety of foods, I just wanted a big burger. Who knows the next
time I'll get to eat one of those.

I would have liked a bit more time to swim in the ocean and really soak in the beauty and environment of Hawaii before I go, but time is short and have to move quickly.

At least in Singapore, I should have some interesting and fun things to write about and take pictures of. I have often thought of creating a travel blog, full of wonderful images and interesting articles. I believe that Singapore will offer plenty of opportunities for that.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bugs and blood

Giant green bug in my apartment!

Look at this green-colored monster bug that I found in my room yesterday! He's was just sitting on my rice cooker. I grabbed him and threw him out the window and he flew off.

I signed up to give blood this week.. I have never given blood before, but I heard that you can save three lives everytime you give. On the day you give make sure to:
1) get plenty of rest
2) eat lots of food
3) drink lots of water.
I asked the recruiter if it hurts, she said no.
Whatever happens, have to be brave.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Travel Hawaii, Beaches, Turtles and Pineapples

Hanauma Bay Last weekend some friends and I rented a car and drove around the island. We first went to the east side and looked over Hanauma Bay.

Hanauma Bay to great for snorkeling and watching lots of colorful ocean fish. The beach is clean and the waves are gentle, perfect for swimming around and looking at the fish. The fish usually don't swim away even if you get close.

I was surprised that even it was the weekend, the beach was not crowded.

Kailua BeachWe then drove over to Kailua Beach Park. The view is gorgeous, and the water seemed unreal so blue and clean, the waves were gentle and water temperature was perfect. The water color was amazing, light blue with a green tint, and crystal clear. The sand was so soft too. I think its the best beach I have ever been on.

Turtle feeding on seagrass in Hawaii
Later we drove up to the North Shore. The North Shore is famous for surfing and big waves, but during the summer, the waves are much smaller. The turtles came up on the shore and ate sea grass. People would crowd around the turtles as they came up on shore and watch them feed. You are forbidden from touching the turtles, but some people got awfully close.

Finally, we visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation. I always wanted to see what pineapple plants looked like. I guessed they came from trees or from under the ground. I was so suprised to see the plants. Here is a picture:

They come up from the ground like Aloe Vera plants and the Pineapple grows from a stem that shoots out the top. I was so suprised!

You can get a train ride around plantation ($7 per person), eat pineapple ice cream ($4 a cone but delicious!), and learn how to cut a pineapple from an expert (free!).


Monday, March 17, 2008

Honolulu anti-war protest

Anti-war Protest in Honolulu, Hawaii
Yesterday, I saw a sign saying there would be a Peace March in downtown Honolulu, right along Kalakaua Ave, the main street in Waikiki. I walked around looking for the starting point and finally caught up with the march and just jumped in. I saw lots of signs saying 'Stop the War' and 'Impeach Bush' and 'Stop Torture'. As I jumped in a lady gave me some stuff to show my solidarity, and a girl that was having trouble carrying a giant flag of the Earth, happily let me carry it for her.

There were a bunch of guys beating drums as we marched along, and some people with megaphones repeating different slogans, such as 'Power to people'. I was surprised by crowds, some people gave enthusastic thumbs up of approval, some booed us and yelled '4 more years!'.

As we were marching the girl who gave me the flag and I struck up a conversation. It was very cool because we shared alot of the same value and ideas about what was happening in the world and how strongly we felt about demonstrating. We remembered how several years ago that mentioning you were against the war was considered unpatriotic. However, we agreed its our patriotic duty to stand up and have our voice heard in this democracy.

Anyway, I was very excited to be a part of something bigger than myself and show my support for peace and an end to the war.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Maunawili Falls

Hiking to Maunawili FallsSince the last time I wrote, the NY Giants pulled off one of the biggest upsets in football history by beating the undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Here in Hawaii, my company has moved its office to downtown Honolulu. Walking around downtown Honolulu you will find that people of Asian descent make up a majority of the people here. Caucasians are the minority.
Barack Obama is from Hawaii, and he easliy won the state's primary election.
Last week a friend and I went to the other side of the island to go hiking and visit Kailua beach. Our hiking destination was a waterfall called Maunawili Falls.
I had not left the city limits of Honolulu since arriving in Hawaii last year, and was anxious to visit some other part of the island.
Crossing the streams, lots of mudMy friend and I took the bus over the mountains to get to the other side of the island. We planned to walk or take a bus to the trailhead, but a kind-hearted passerby gave us a ride. We discovered that it had recently rained, and some hikers had turned back because of the mud. But we were determined and went on anyway. Despite the mud, we crossed the stream many times on the way up so we could wash off our shoes and legs. My friend got bitten by insects, but for whatever reason, I was untouched.
At the top, we enjoyed watching the falls, and I swam in the cold water below. It was so nice.
After the hike, we went to Kailua Beach.

Immediately upon arriving I was taken away by the amazing beauty of this beach. the blue water, beautiful sky, white sandy beach. There were few people and we could swim in the ocean as much as we liked.
I saw other people using "boogie boards" to surf on the waves. The waves were just perfect, not too big or small. I wanted to surf so much on a board, but I could just try to body surf. I thought, maybe later I will try to borrow a board from sKailua Beach, Hawaiiomeone.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Japanese student club

Even though I am working full time in Hawaii, I still want to meet people and have fun. However, I have found it hard to make new friends. I feel like there have not been many opportunities. Maybe what I should say is, I don't feel comfortable just talking to people I bump into on the streets of Waikiki. However, even the few people I have talked to are from somewhere else and are just visiting Hawaii.
One way I tried to get around this was by going to a local university and joining student clubs. There was a Japanese student club and I joined. Fortunately, despite the age difference I could still chat with the people there, they have been very welcoming.
Around New Years the Japanese student club had an End of the Year Party at a local Japanese restaurant. It had been a long time since I had been to such a party or ate at an authentic Japanese restaurant. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was distinctly Japanese, the chatter and environment made me think I had returned to Japan again.
My language skills are still good enough that I could still tell jokes and have fun in Japanese. People laughed, and not just to be polite. The food was Japanese "Nabe". The restaurant has paper bowls that are put over a fire, yet don't burn. Water is boiled in the bowls and they put lots of vegtables and meats into them to create a kind of stew. Special sauces and juices make the Nabe super tasty.
You use your chopsticks to take food out of the bowl, dip it into some sesame sauce mixed with egg and onions, and eat!


Monday, December 3, 2007

Life, work, and Thanksgiving

Well, it’s the end of the work night for me. I had to work my butt off last month. But the intensity of the job doesn't seem to get less. However, I like my job, so no complaints.
On Thanksgiving, I ate a couple of pizzas. I called my family and friends and found out how they were doing.
Lately, I finally have made some friends here in Hawaii. Well, maybe I should say I have met some people more than once, so they have become slightly better than acquaintances. It’s hard to make good friends. As I get older I don’t know if I get colder or just don’t feel like opening up to people.
But I have my friends and it seems hard enough just to maintain those good relationships let alone make lots of new ones.
I have lost a lot of weight since coming to Hawaii. But I don't think its because of anything unhealthy, I think its because I play more racquetball. Racquetball is one sport I can play for hours and sweat like crazy and still love it and not want to stop. I usually finally stop from just pure exhaustion. I have lost about 10 pounds since I came to Hawaii.
One thing that bothers me is that I have stopped working on the website like I used to. Before I would work hours and days on the website, but nowadays, I hardly do anything at all for it. The biggest reason is I don't have the Internet at my house. I only use it at work, and that limits the time I have to update the website. But I think once I get Internet in my home, I will write more. Also, I have some big changes in mind for my journal, a way I can write directly onto it online rather than having to download the file, write, and then upload it again. Also, I have been inspired by my friend Jason's short-stories, I decided I want to write some short stories for fun.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

In Hawaii

Hawaii Weather by Mark
Day High Low Conditions
Fri 85 - 76 F Sunny
Sat 87 - 76 F Sunny
Sun 87 - 75 F Sunny
Mon 87 - 76 F Sunny
Tue 87 - 75 F Sunny
Wed 86 - 76 F Sunny

As you can see by this report, the weather is usually warm and sunny in Hawaii. It may take me some time to get used to this again. After living in Beijing, where the weather changes dramatically season to season, I must get used to day after day of warm and sunny days.
I went to the beach the other day. I swam in the ocean at Ala Moana Park. I like that park because the there is an artificial reef that keeps the waves from being very big and you can swim laps and frolic like the ocean was a giant swimming pool.
I like to go to the ocean in the late afternoon, about 5pm or later. That is because the water is much warmer at that hour. If you go in the morning, the water is a little cold. But in the late afternoon, the sun is lower in the horizon, so its not too strong, and its been heating up the water all day, so its pleasant to jump into. I wear some goggles and jump in. I swim back and forth, try to do some handstands, look for fish, and occasionally glance at all the beauties along the shore.
Yet actually, I have only been to the beach a few times since I got to Hawaii. I have been busy with my new job and doing various errands to get settled here: getting a driver's license, library card, open a local bank account, shopping for food and so on.
One thing I love to eat here is called "Poke" pronounced "Poh-Keh". It is fresh fish that has been marinated in some sauces, with some vegetables and spices thrown in. I think the word Poke must be a Hawaiian word, because I have never heard that anywhere else. Hawaiian's have their own native language of course. I understand there are only 8 consonants: h k l m n p w, and one special sound I can't make out (Hawaiian phonology). Anyway, Poke is so good I could eat that everyday, and actually I have. Its not to expensive either, maybe because fish is plentiful here?
The local stores here have lots of my favorite Asian foods as well. I have a rice cooker at home and can steam some up in 20 minutes when I am hungry.
One thing I am disappointed in is the building I am staying in. For whatever reason, the place seems lifeless. Maybe the hours I go in and out of the building are odd hours or there just aren't many people living there. I would like to have more opportunities to bump into people and have chances to talk, but again, there just aren't many people around at the building. I like Waikiki because its more lively and convenient. I think once my lease expires in January I move to another building.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Remembering Hawaii back in 2001...

I still remember the last time I came to Hawaii, September 2, 2001. For a couple of days I lived out of a hotel room, then I picked up my car that I had sent to Hawaii by boat from the mainland. I lived out of that car for a few days until I got an apartment. Sleeping in the car at parks and taking a shower at the beach, avoiding trouble with the police. I had set up some interviews for the coming Tuesday. That early morning I got a call from my Mom, it was still 5 or 6 AM Hawaii time. As soon as I picked up the phone Mom told me to turn on the TV, that each of the World Trade Center buildings had been struck by planes flown by suicide terrorists. Mom said even the Pentagon had been struck.

It was only a year and a few months earlier that I had been at the World Trade Center getting training for the company I worked for. I knew the buildings, they were huge. I knew some people who worked there. I had eaten a hot dog at the foot of the buildings and had a drink on the bar at the the top of one of the buildings, called the highest bar in world. From the windows of the WTC even the Statue of Liberty was the size of a paper clip in my outstretched hand.

Then on TV, to see the buildings collapse in front of my eyes was more like watching a Hollywood movie than a real life event. I couldn't swallow what was happening.

Airplanes all over the US were forced down, including Hawaii. The Hawaiian economy which relies heavily on tourism nose-dived. Fortunately, I was able to get a job, but the general mood was grim. Surprisingly though, tourism from the US eventually increased as Americans felt safer traveling to the west than the east.

Now, back in Hawaii 6 years later after September 11th 2001, the feeling is different, the mood more lively.

On a lighter note, today I went to the store to buy groceries. I was at the check-out line and said to the clerk, "Wow, what a beautiful day it is!" Then I said, "Just like yesterday, and the day before that too!" The joke was that its beautiful here everyday, so I don't think people around here often say, oh what a beautiful day, because its always nice!


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Getting ready to move to HI

I will be flying to Hawaii this weekend. Fortunately, I was able to set up an apartment in advance, so I don't have to live in a hotel when I get there and search for a place. I will have a place to live as soon as I get there. The agent who helped me get the apartment knew me from last time I was in Hawaii, so there was some trust established, which really helped.

I also got a new mobile phone called an iPhone, which allows me to use the Internet, play music, send e-mail, videos, weather, stock quotes etc, as well as phone calls, all in one nice looking unit. I am very happy with it. It was not cheap, but I love all these easy-to-use features. I really like being able to get my e-mail while I am on the go. I don't have to run home, turn on my computer, log in to the Internet, and log-in to my e-mail. I can just access it immediately anytime with my phone!

Plus, I can access the Internet. I can visit web pages almost like they were on my computer screen. Did I mention this phone also has a camera, and I can send pictures to anyone right from my phone.

This phone will be very convenient when I first get to Hawaii because I can use the net and communicate with everyone without having to set up Internet access in my home right away.


Links Visits: Free Web Site Counter

Pick my brain

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner