Aloha from Hilo, everyone!

We arrived in Hilo yesterday morning and guess what … it wasn’t raining! Hilo not raining?! Ya gotta be kidding! Anyway, went to get the car from Hertz and they upgraded me to a 4-door Jeep Wrangler – what a piece of junk! There’s nothing automatic and everything is manual – door locks, side mirrors, windows … WTF?!! It was like driving my uncle’s old WW II jeep with a car body …

Last night’s Miss Aloha Hula competition at Merrie Monarch was absolutely fantastic! Being a rookie, I was totally mesmerized by the hula of all the contestants. But I was there for one thing, and that was to cheer on Sarah and Alx … Sarah was representing her Halau I Ka Wekiu and Alx sang with her kumu. I purposely skipped the rehearsals and stuff because I wanted to experience the full impact of her performance … and boy, was I totally blown away! I can’t even begin to describe how emotional it was to watch Sarah glide across the stage as Alx sang! It must have been truly magical because I was the only one standing during the entire hula with a huge dumb-ass grin on my face and tears in my eyes … and I can only imagine what our families must have been feeling at that moment! Sarah placed fourth out of the twelve contestants which was really awesome! I’m so proud of these kids ….

I have to send a big mahalo out to Amy & Glenn Miyao of Hilo for their wonderful hospitality and for tirelessly shuttling our crew to and from the festival last night. The Hilo hospitality is indeed alive and well … Glenn prepared some ono kimchee soup and smoke pork with kimchee (can you tell he likes kimchee?) and Amy prepared her special namasu (pickled vegetables) made from fern shoots which was a first for me. Of course their were several types of poke and steamed edamame (soybeans), and Hilo boiled peanuts, all washed down with ice cold Heineken Light.

And finally, I just got back after joining Nick, Andie, and Alex for a late breakfast at Ken’s Pancake House this morning. They have a huge menu of local offerings and I ordered the grilled mahi loco moco – a grilled mahimahi filet on top of two big scoops of rice, topped off with two over-easy eggs, then smothered in gravy. Mmmmm … delicious! The only downer was the service – we got seated and then had to wait over 15 minutes before someone came to take our order. And that was only after I went and complained to the hostess. After that, it was as if we couldn’t eat fast enough – everything came at us like a rush! Don’t know if I want to go back there again …

More to come tomorrow ….

Aloha, “Dad”