Tag Archives: Travel

How Do You Pronounce Hali’imaile?

Pineapples Galore! Maui Pineapple Tour at the Maui Gold Pineapple Farm near Hali’imaile, Hawaii

At first glance, Hawaiian words, especially names, can be difficult to grasp. I’m still no expert, but it’s actually pretty easy when you pay attention. All of the letters are pronounced, and the vowels are pronounced only one way. The hardest part was parsing out a name like “Alanui Ke’ali’i” (ala-NEW-e kay-ah-LI-i) or “Upper Hamakuapoko Road” (hama-kua-PO-ko) in the 5 seconds between when you could read it on the road sign and when you passed it!

Maui Pineapple Tour at the Maui Gold Pineapple Farm near Hali’imaile, Hawaii

When we first started planning our trip, we knew that there were several places we wanted to visit around a place called Hali’imaile. We jokingly referred to it as “Holy Moly,” but not wanting to sound like ignorant tourists we decided to make an effort to learn how to pronounce the words property. Of course most of these Hawaiian words also have significant meaning, but we weren’t prepared to figure that out. When it mattered, a driver or guide would tell us the meaning!

So what is in Hali’imaile? First, it is the home of Maui Gold Pineapple Company. They are very proud of their home-grown pineapple in Maui, to the extent that they generally don’t sell beyond the island. Their fruit is sold all over the island, and wherever someone served pineapple, it was likely Maui Gold. But their picking method requires that the fruit be sold and used within 5 days for optimum freshness. Beyond that it gets turned into juice and used at the distillery that is conveniently right across the street! Ever had pineapple vodka? It’s pretty good!

We did a tour of the Maui Gold Pineapple Farm with a guide named Mo, who has lived in Maui for about 20 years, moving from California. A lot of people in Hawaii are from elsewhere, and now we know why! Mo talked with a confidence that sounded like he could be one of the owners, but I suspect that he is just a knowledgeable and enthusiastic employee. He did a nice tour, showing us pineapples in various stages of growth, how to make new plants from old pineapples, and slicing a fresh picked pineapple for us to taste.  Yummy! After the tour, we were all offered pre-boxed pineapples that were carry-on friendly. We declined since we weren’t leaving for over a week. And we got plenty of already-cut pineapple in other places!

Pineapples Galore! Maui Pineapple Tour at the Maui Gold Pineapple Farm near Hali’imaile, Hawaii
Maui Pineapple Tour at the Maui Gold Pineapple Farm near Hali’imaile, Hawaii
Maui Pineapple Tour at the Maui Gold Pineapple Farm near Hali’imaile, Hawaii
Mo, our tour guide, slicing a fresh pineapple for tasting. Maui Gold Pineapple Farm near Hali’imaile, Hawaii
Pineapples Galore! Maui Pineapple Tour at the Maui Gold Pineapple Farm near Hali’imaile, Hawaii, Hawaii

After the pineapple farm tour we visited the Hali’imaile Distilling Company. Their main product is vodka made from pineapple juice. Because vodka is generally odorless with a neutral flavor, it can be hard to distinguish tastes, but the Pau Vodka had just a hint of pineapple sweetness. Even the Bourbon Girl liked it! They also make a flavored rum using local ingredients including Kona coffee, a whiskey that is made from blending Kentucky Bourbon with some local hooch, and a gin made with Hawaiian botanicals. We didn’t bring home any of their souvenirs, although we did make a point of seeking out cocktails made from their spirits!

Maui Pineapple Tour at the Maui Gold Pineapple Farm near Hali’imaile, Hawaii
Hali’imaile Distilling Company near Hali’imaile, Hawaii
Hali’imaile Distilling Company near Hali’imaile, Hawaii
Hali’imaile Distilling Company near Hali’imaile, Hawaii
Hali’imaile Distilling Company near Hali’imaile, Hawaii

Also in Hali’imaile is the Hali’imaile General Store. No longer an actual store, it is the name of a restaurant owned by James Beard Award recipient and celebrity chef Bev Gannon. We had lunch there and the poke’ was excellent! 😉

Hali’imaile General Store restaurant near Hali’imaile, Hawaii
Hali’imaile General Store restaurant near Hali’imaile, Hawaii
Hali’imaile General Store restaurant near Hali’imaile, Hawaii
Hali’imaile General Store restaurant near Hali’imaile, Hawaii

So how do you say Hali’imaile? Sound it out: holly-e-ma-EE-lay. Now you know Hawaiian! 🙂

Former Wells Fargo Bank at the Maui Gold Pineapple Farm near Hali’imaile, Hawaii
Former gas station at the Maui Gold Pineapple Farm near Hali’imaile, Hawaii

The Myths of Maui Luau

Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii

We had 5 specific things we wanted to do in Maui, besides lounge by the pool and have Tiki drinks. 😉 We wanted to go to a Luau, see sunset on Haleakala, go on a whale watch, drive (ride!) the Road to Hana, and see the big waves on the North Coast. Anything else we did would be a bonus. We did a lot!

Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii
Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii
Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii

Luaus are very popular with tourists to Hawaii, and there are many to choose from. Our travel agent recommended the Myths of Maui Luau, which from what I could gather is a smaller event, but still very good. We heard lots of comments from folks on our other tours, and of course everyone chose the one they chose for some reason, and generally thought theirs was the best. But I’m pretty sure they are all good!

Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii
Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii
Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii

All luaus will have food, and although the authenticity of the food may vary a bit, it is all pretty good. The pork that was served at our dinner was pit cooked, as they do in Hawaii. The fish, though, was not local. It was some kind of Asian fish that is common to the island, but it was not caught off the shores of any Hawaiian island. Oh, well.

Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii. Yes, it’s a little noisy – ISO 12800!

The performers were excellent. There were only a dozen or so, and with costume and prop changes that managed to tell a number of the stories that make up the history and culture of Maui. The narrator explained what they were doing and why, and that made it very interesting.

Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii
Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii

We had sprung for ‘VIP’ seating, which gave us a table that was literally ‘front and center.’ It was a perfect spot to photograph the performers, although there were times when I could have used a wider lens – they were that close!

Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii
Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii
Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii

We really enjoyed the show. I took lots of pictures, especially at the end with the fire performance. It was quite impressive – we could feel the heat coming off the torches – I can only imagine how hot they would have been to hold. I have no idea how one would learn to do that, but am certain that it involves lots of practice, and more than a few burned limbs!

Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii
Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii
Myths of Maui Luau in Lahaina, Hawaii

Big Waves!

Big waves along the north coast of Maui from the Ho’okipa Lookout near Paia, Hawaii

We’re home again and doing all of our usual “just got home stuff.” I’ll be working on photos over the coming weeks but have a small collection that I worked on but hadn’t posted yet.

Big waves along the north coast of Maui from the Ho’okipa Lookout near Paia, Hawaii
Big waves along the north coast of Maui from the Ho’okipa Lookout near Paia, Hawaii

This series is from time we spent at Ho’okipa Lookout near Paia, Hawaii. The waves there are often huge, and as large as they were on the day we visited, there are times when we can’t stand where we were standing. As it was, our sunglasses and my camera were covered in fine salt spray by the time we got back to the car.

Big waves along the north coast of Maui from the Ho’okipa Lookout near Paia, Hawaii

I don’t know for sure, but would estimate some of the waves at 20-30 feet high! And if you look closely on some of the photos you will see windsurfers and parasailers on the water.

Big waves along the north coast of Maui from the Ho’okipa Lookout near Paia, Hawaii
Big waves along the north coast of Maui from the Ho’okipa Lookout near Paia, Hawaii
Big waves along the north coast of Maui from the Ho’okipa Lookout near Paia, Hawaii
Big waves along the north coast of Maui from the Ho’okipa Lookout near Paia, Hawaii
Big waves along the north coast of Maui from the Ho’okipa Lookout near Paia, Hawaii
Big waves along the north coast of Maui from the Ho’okipa Lookout near Paia, Hawaii
Big waves along the north coast of Maui from the Ho’okipa Lookout near Paia, Hawaii
Big waves along the north coast of Maui from the Ho’okipa Lookout near Paia, Hawaii

Hawaii Five-Oh!

Early morning light at the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, Maui

Well, we made it! Kathy & I arrived on Maui this past Tuesday, and that marks our 50th state visited. We’ll be here about 10 days, home on Friday, March 4.

We’ve got a pretty busy schedule and I’ve been taking a lot of photos. But I don’t think I’m going to spend much of my time at the computer, so here are a few shots from our first evening and first morning to give you all something to look at.

The scenery here is amazing, the people are terrific, the weather is beautiful and we are eating lots of fish. I love Poke, and like lobster in Maine, Hawaii is the place for Poke! 😉

Early morning light on the beach near the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, Maui
Early morning light on the beach near the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, Maui
Early morning light on the beach near the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, Maui
Early morning light on the Maui shoreline near Wailea
Early morning light on the Maui shoreline near Wailea

“Big Daddy” Don Garlits’ Museum of Drag Racing

“Big Daddy” Don Garlits himself! Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida

Whew! After the (not) overwhelming response from my last post I needed a break. Actually, I just kind of got distracted and forgot that I hadn’t finished the series from our Florida trip.

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida

If I had any boyhood heroes that weren’t astronauts, one of them would certainly be drag racing legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits.  Garlits’ name is to drag racing fans what Richard Petty’s or Mario Andretti’s names are to stock car and Indy car racing.  Old fans, at least. 😉

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida

As we were driving past Ocala, FL on I-75, I saw a sign that said “Drag Racing Museum Next Exit.” Then I saw whose museum it was! We didn’t have time to stop on our way south, but made a point to visit on the way back home from St. Petersburg. Yes, it was another museum, and art of a different kind than painting and glass! And of course Kathy was thrilled to have something else to look at besides airplanes. 🙂

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida

Here are way too many photos from our visit. But there were way too many cars, and even this is a small sliver of what we saw.  Highlight of our visit, of course, was that “Big Daddy” himself was there, giving a personal tour to a small group of fans. We listened to a few stories before they disappeared behind a door that said “Employees Only.”

Garlits has assembled an impressive collection of not only his own cars, but cars from the history of drag racing.  And that is just in one building! A second building houses hundreds of mostly stock cars from the 30s forward. A few even older than that. Many of the cars are from Garlits’ personal collection, but a lot of them have been donated over the years by thoughtful and generous owners. We spent a couple of hours there. I could have spent longer, but we needed to move on up the road. So we could get home just in time for a winter storm!

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida

Enjoy the photos!

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida

Doing The Bada Bing Thing

When a restaurant bills itself as “The Best Italian Restaurant in St. Petersburg” and is walking distance from your motel, you need to go, right?  Such was the case with Gratzzi Grille.  Yeah, maybe the name isn’t spelled ‘correctly’ but I’ll bet it gets pronounced correctly!

One of the items on their menu is what they call ‘Cavatelli Bada Bing.’  It’s prepared tableside by one of the owners, and uses a lot of flaming vodka to prepare a very cheesy, very delicious cavatelli dish.  I had to try it! It’s a bit more of a show than it is an example of fine Italian cuisine, but it was fun.

I didn’t take photos or videos, because I just wanted to watch.  But the video below shows it better than anything I could have shot anyway.  And the guy doing the cooking is the guy who did mine.

And that’s the Bada Bing! 🙂

YouTube player

A Visit To The Dali’ Museum – St. Petersburg

The Helical Staircase in The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida

Despite being a photographer for years, I’ve never had much more than a passing interest in art, and artists, in general.  Sure, I’m aware of a lot of the famous names.  We’ve attended galleries and shows, and even a few art auctions on cruise ships.

The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida
The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida

After visiting The Dali’ – the museum dedicated to art by Salvador Dali’ – I now know that Dali’ was much more than the guy with the weird mustache that painted even weirder pictures.  After reading and learning about the surrealist movement and the motivations and inspirations behind it, it starts – starts – to make a bit more sense.  I have to believe that substances of some kind must have been involved.

“The Hallucinogenic Toreador” The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida
The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida
The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida
“The Ecumenical Council” The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida

Admittedly, though, seeing Dali’s art in person doesn’t really make it easier to understand or explain the imagination that must have been crucial to developing the ideas and concepts that resulted in this work.  But that is what genius is.

We missed by a week being able to see work by another famous artist – Picasso.  A Picasso exhibition was opening the week after our visit.  That would also have been interesting, but will have to wait for another time.

Dali’s Galacidalacidesoxiribunucleicacid (Homage to Crick and Watson). The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida

Visiting both the Dali’ and the Chihuly museums is a strong reminder that there are lots of fine and worthy galleries everywhere.  Charlotte even has a number of them, and we need to keep that in mind as we think about things to do and places to go.

“The Ecumenical Council” The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida

One of the other positive things I found in both museums is that in each of them, signs said that “Photography is encouraged!”  Of course they want you to tag them on social media, but that’s OK.  It was a welcome approach in this age of restrictions and paranoia.

The Helical Staircase in The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida

Dale Chihuly: A Master Of Glass

Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida

One of the highlights of our visit to St. Petersburg was The Chihuly Collection, part of the Morean Arts Center.  I’ve been familiar with Chihuly’s works for years, of course, having seen pieces in several locations throughout the country.  There was an exhibit in Asheville some time ago, but we didn’t make it to that one.  Our most familiar example is the ceiling in the visitor center at Makers Mark Distillery in Kentucky.

Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida

I suppose all of Chihuly’s works are portable in some way, although the large chandeliers and huge static pieces would require a bit of planning, effort and logistics.  It was nice to see such a nice selection all in one place.

Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida

One tip I learned at the Dali’ museum (which we visited before this but I’m going out of order) was to be sure and watch the video presentations.  Although the video room at The Chihuly Collection comes near the end of the exhibit, it is still worth taking the time to learn more about the person and the process, both the artistic process as well as the actual making of the art.  Quite the place!

Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida