This morning started off great but ended up worrisome. I ran up Diamond Head, something I haven’t done since about 1981. From 1977 to 1981 I attended the Honolulu Marathon Clinics on Sundays in Kapiolani Park at the base of Diamond Head. I probably ran Diamond Head 30+ times a year for five years and finished six marathons in that time. Now I’m back. I walked it a few times in prep last week and ran it today. God, it felt good to run it. The shot of Koko Head was taken from the top near the lighthouse.
This morning I had an ukulele class at Ukulele Hale in Kaimuki. I’ve been struggling to find lessons since we’ve been here, but, because of covid, many are shut down. I have four more lessons at Ukulele Hale before we head to Maui for the Kahumoku workshop.
Today, the governor of Hawaii imposed restrictions on gatherings because of covid. They had been loosening up, but cases have been on the rise (though not rising as fast as Texas.) The new order resticts public gatherings to 25 or fewer. We actually learned about this order while watching performers at Waikiki Beachwalk. They have been performing every Tuesday night, but they announced that this is their last performance for the immediate future, because gatherings have to be limited to 25 or fewer.
My worry, of course, is that the new restrictions will result in the Kahumoku workshop to be canceled or severely curtailed. This pisses me off. Warning—rant coming. This virus is deadly. People need to care for each other and protect each other because, in a close society, failing to protect one is failing to protect all. We have the means to combat this virus. Vaccines stop the virus from reproducing. If the virus can’t reproduce, it can’t spread, and , more importantly, it can’t evolve into more dangerous forms. We are seeing it evolve. Those of you who refuse the vaccine on any grounds—freedom of choice or whatever bullshit you throw up—are killers, just as someone who runs a red ight, or fires a weapon into a crowd are killers. By refusing the vaccine, you are endangering me, my family, my children and grandchildren, and for that I cannot forgive you. We have freedom only as long as we have life. It is absolutely false to refuse a vaccine in the name of freedom, because vaccine refusal leads to death, not life, not freedom.
Okay, I’ve mentioned poke before, so I won’t go into that. Last week we went to Helena’s Hawaiian Food. Helena’s is a local favorite going back to 1946. They are located in Kalihi, a blue-collar neighborhood west of downtown, down the hill from Kamehameha Schools. The bus ride took an hour. The wait in line was 45 minutes. Helena’s hasn’t changed much since we were last there 35 years ago. They have painted the walls inside and have replaced the furniture (I think). It is still small and the menu is the same. We had poi, lomi-lomi salmon, kalua pork (imu baked pig), pipi kaula (beef short ribs), and squid luau. Squid luau is a mush of taro leaves, squid, and coconut milk. I had forgotten how good it tastes. The meal was served with sliced Maui onions and sea salt for the side. For dessert we had haupia, a coconut custard. The ride, the wait, were all worth it. Helena’s is, was, and always will be, the best in Hawaiian food. Well, we will try Da Ono soon and see if that still stacks up to what we remember.
After my uke lesson, we went around the corner to Nood’s Ramen Noodle shop on Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki. Ramen shops have popped up everywhere since we left. They seem to have taken the place of saimin. I had the August special. Curry ramen with chicken katsu (chicken cutlet.) Besides the ramen noodles, it had bamboo shoots, green onions, a shoyu egg (semi-hardboiled in shoyu), seaweed, and the cutlet on top. The broth was curry and shoyu. Fantastic! Broke da mout’ as Hawaiians say. Mary Fran had miso ramen with char siu and a shoyu egg. Also excellent. We also had their kimchee pot stickers.
Following the performance at Waikiki Beachwalk, we went for mai tais at the Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai Bar.They pride themselves on having the best mai tais. Their’s is a modification of Vic Bergeron’s original recipe. The only difference is that they add pineapple juice to the mix of orgeat, orange curacao, lime juice, and two rums. Where Vic used light and dark Caribbean rums, the Mai Tai Bar uses Lahaina rums.
In making a mai tai, the light rum and other juices are mixed and the dark rum is floated on top to produce the two-layer effect.There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who stir their mai tai and those who don’t. I’m one of the latter. I like to sip the dark rum from the top and, alternately, dip a straw into the light part. Eventually, everything gets mixed, of course, until then, I get a varied taste sensation.