That seemed to be the question after a Hawai‘i law passed requiring all passengers in a motor vehicle to wear a seat belt. Confusion and misinformation jammed the roadway of laws for a bit, leaving cab companies wondering if this also included their customers.
Turns out, passengers sitting in the back of a cab must click it, but it's the driver that will get hit with the ticket. That means a $92 citation for each passenger not wearing a seat belt. For those curious, the driver doesn't have to wear a seat belt when there are passengers in the back but will have to wear one when there are no passengers.
Confused yet? It's OK. Just stick to what you really need to know, and that is to buckle up in the back of any vehicle in Hawai‘i (including taxis). The law doesn't address tour buses or city buses, but I'm guessing if there are seat belts available, then wear them! (more…)
June 3rd, 2013
Bathing suits, sand-covered feet and flip flops seem to be the dress code at Ala Moana's food court, which makes sense, since the shopping center is right across from a beach. Customers walk in, parched and hungry after a day in the sun, to grab a quick bite to eat. Now that's what you call convenience.
This food court, though, is much more than convenient. It's a mishmash of foods to fit any craving. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's one of the only places in Hawai‘i that you can sample Hawaiian, Mexican, Chinese, Italian and Thai cuisine all in one stop. With that said, it's guaranteed you'll find something to tickle your taste buds.
I debated on whether a post about the food court would be worth my time. When you think "food court," you think fast foods (a.k.a. junk food). But the Makai Market Food Court goes against this stereotype by not having any type of fast food, like McDonald's or Burger King. There are actually some pretty healthy choices, like a huge salad bar and freshly-made sandwiches. It's also one of the bigger food courts I've seen. (more…)
June 3rd, 2013
It's hard to believe that the house pictured below is part of an upscale community at the base of Diamond Head Crater. Kahala has been called the Rodeo of the islands, with beautiful multimillion (billion) dollar mansions that line the perfectly-manicured streets and oceanfront views that are seemingly worth a pretty penny.
But this mansion is nowhere near that level of luxury; at least not any more. Since Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto purchased the property several years ago, it has quickly been downgraded to a shanty, if that, with its boarded up walls and shattered glass-pane windows.
Sadly, the story is the same for more than two dozen other properties in Kahala. Kawamoto went on a shopping frenzy for mansions a while back, making a spectacle in the community when he gave a few of those properties to low-income families. Since then, the only spectacle that remains are the dilapidated mansions plagued by graffiti and squatters. (more…)
June 2nd, 2013
Splashing sounds of kids jumping into Hanalei Bay means the historic pier is back in business. It underwent a major facelift that closed the pier for several months. Now with a brand-new canopy covering, beach-goers can enjoy this part of the bay once again.
Because of the salt air and surf, the canopy had deteriorated over time and became a major safety hazard for visitors. I went to the pier a few years ago and already noticed the rusty spots in the tin roof and gaping holes in the concrete pillars. It looked like the shack could collapse with the next gust of wind. Thankfully, it never did, and the community was able to pull together its resources for a major repair project. (more…)
June 1st, 2013
A magical moon lit up waters off of Diamond Head, sending slivers of silver across the sheet of black ocean. We had front row seats to yet another full moon spectacle in the sky, from the vistas at Diamond Head Beach.
And it was surely a spectacle, both on land and in the sky. I don't think I've ever seen a moon as big and bright as that night. It reminded me of the sun at high noon; the chilly ocean breeze, not so much, but boy, was it a sight to see.
On land, the lookout areas were unusually crowded for nine o'clock at night. People came and they went, but only after enjoying the night show. Some perched up on the rock wall, dangling their feet over the edge, while others popped their heads out of their cars to get a better look. (more…)
June 1st, 2013
While June 1 kicks off the hurricane season in Hawai‘i, it's also the launch of o-bon season. The Japanese community starts prepping for this summertime tradition – filled with dance, music and cultural foods – several months in advance to honor the spirits of family members who have passed away.
In Hawai‘i, there's usually a bon dance every weekend till August. The glow of colorful lanterns and steady beat of the taiko drum fill the night skies, while mixed crowds of old and young, Japanese and non trickle into hongwanji missions and temples.
If you're looking to attend a bon dance this summer, check out some of these events happening in and around the Honolulu area, as well as on neighbor islands: (more…)
May 31st, 2013
Restaurant Row used to have all the right ingredients as a dining and entertainment mecca of Honolulu. During its glory days, the complex was a hot spot for young and old – thanks to a movie theatre, nightclubs and pau hana hangouts.
But it just couldn't seem to compete with Ala Moana Shopping Center and other Waikīkī businesses. Then when Aloha Tower opened up across the street, Restaurant Row lost even more of its potential customers. Those once-popular businesses shut down, including the theatre, which was first downgraded to a $1-movie complex for several years before closing for good.
It seemed to be the sad trend for all businesses at Restaurant (Death) Row, which was the unfortunate nickname it earned. The turnover for businesses capped off at about a year, if they were lucky – leaving yet another vacant hole in the Ala Moana Boulevard and Punchbowl Street complex. (more…)
May 31st, 2013
Think twice before splashing into a pool while on vacation. A study found that more than half of the pools tested had evidence of poop.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected samples from filters at 161pools in the metro-Atlanta area. They tested public and private pools and pools that were in water parks. The samples showed that 58-percent of it contained E. coli, a major indicator of fecal matter.
Yuck!!! It's likely the poop got there because swimmers failed to take a thorough shower before getting into the pool. Or, get this, someone made diarrhea in the water. Ewwww!!! E. coli, according to the report, can cause skin rashes and ear infections.
Of course, the study does not draw conclusions for all pools in the United States, but it does make us more aware of the possible contaminations found in any pool. Also, it reminds us to shower before getting in the water and to be more vigilant about checking the little ones' diaper. (more…)
May 30th, 2013
Lanikai Juice has always been our go-to spot after spending the day in the sun, sand and surf. Just minutes from Lanikai Beach, the shop is known for its high-quality smoothies and fresh acai bowls.
They've gotten so popular that, at almost any time of day, the small shop will be packed with thirsty customers. Most just came from the beach, as apparent by the sand on their feet, while others might have hiked the Lanikai Pill Boxes just down the road. Either way, they're eager to quench their thirst.
I have several favorite smoothies, depending on my mood, but it seems the Strawberry Shaka never fails to satisfy my cravings. It's made with fresh strawberries, banana, pineapple juice, yogurt and honey. If I'm in the mood for something "sinful," well as sinful as a smoothie can get, I order the Choco Loco. That one's made with Nutella, soy milk, banana, granola and chocolate whey protein. (more…)
May 30th, 2013
The hike at Mariner's Ridge is the most accessible peak in the Ko‘olau mountain range. Everyday, dozens of hikers trek through the trail for stunning views of O‘ahu's south and east shores and, not to mention, a quick, butt-burning workout as well.
But because Mariner's is not an official hike sanctioned by the state, hikers are warned to proceed at their own risk. Normally, I try to stay away from writing about unsanctioned hikes. This one in Hawaii Kai, however, is no secret to the public. Visitors and locals (and family pets) of all ages frequent this well-traveled path.
What prompted me to write a post about Mariner's, however, were the chain and notice put up recently at the start of the hike. The notice reminds hikers that use of the area will be considered trespassing on private property and that violators will be prosecuted. The landowners posted both the notice and chain at the beginning of April; however, that hasn't stopped hikers from ducking under the chain and continuing their trek along the ridge. (more…)
May 29th, 2013