Friday, February 25, 2011

Tim Minchin vs. the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Tonight I met up with Tash, her sister Jessie and Jessie's boyfriend Heath for dinner at Republica in the St Kilda Sea Baths before walking over to the Palais Theatre to see Tim Minchin versus the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.  Tim is traveling around the country and battling the local symphony orchestra in each city he plays (okay, it's not really a battle but they are playing along with him).

Tim started the evening with a big rock number about being in a cage (which he was), complete with an industrial strength fan and guitar solo.  The show itself featured both old and new material as well as funny stories and intros in between songs.  It was really good to hear old favorites such as "Rock 'n' Roll Nerd," "If I Didn't Have You" and "Prejudice."  He covered the topic of religion with "The Pope Song" and a song about God curing Sam's mom's cataracts.  Of the new stuff, "Content" was quite amusing as he clarified the half covered up lyrics he sang in the first go around, and "Lullaby" was a twisted take on getting your baby to sleep.  The final song of the main set was a big production of the ever popular "Dark Side," and then Tim came back on to do an encore of my favorite song of his "Not Perfect."  It's so exciting to see how successful Tim has become over the past few years and all the recognition he is receiving both in Australia and the UK.

Here is Tim performing "Lullaby" with the MSO on Ben Elton's recently cancelled show.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Up in the Air

We left the hotel bright and early on Friday morning and watched the sunrise on our way to the airport. The first of my three flights was from Maui to Oahu, and thankfully Hawaiian Airlines checked my bags through to Sydney.  In Honolulu, my flight was the first one to leave so my parents waited with me at the gate until it was time to go into the boarding area.  It was so nice to be able to spend time with them this week.  We said our goodbyes and they headed to their gate for the flight back to San Francisco.

Thankfully on my flight to Sydney I had no one sitting next to me so I was able to stretch out.  After landing I got through customs pretty quickly and in fact spent longer waiting for the bus to get to the domestic terminal.  I checked in at the Virgin Blue counter and then headed to the gate, but not before getting swabbed for explosives once again.  This time I actually had a false positive, but they let me through after a second swabbing.  The flight to Melbourne was non-eventful and after picking up my bag at baggage claim I was in a taxi and heading for home.  It's been a very long day of flying, but at least I have tomorrow to recover before heading back to work on Monday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Finally a Sunset

Today was our last full day in Maui.  We drove down to Kihei to wander around, and in order to satisfy my ongoing desire for decent Mexican food had lunch at Fred's Mexican Cafe, which was quite yummy and filling.  We also stopped briefly at Maalaea Harbor before driving back to the resort.

Mom and I went to down to Ka'anapali Beach and finally got to watch a sunset, which has been impossible up until now because of the clouds at night the whole trip.  The waves were strong along the beach and surfers were out in the water.  Once the sun set I went for a quick swim in the pool before we headed back to our suite with dinner.  All that's left to do is pack our bags as we will be off early in the morning for the airport.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Birthday Luau

Happy birthday to me!  Mom and I left Dad behind to relax at the resort while we went to Whalers Village to do some shopping.  Mom wanted to pick up some souvenirs and gifts for family back home, and I finally found something to buy- a retro Pan Am Honolulu t-shirt from Malibu Shirts.  We also checked out the whaling museum, which was quite informative about the whaling industry in the 1800s and the very hard life sailors faced on the ships.

In the evening we headed down to Lahaina to attend the Feast at Lele luau. We got a lei and mai tai cocktail as we entered the venue and had sit down table service by the beach for the entire night.  Unfortunately it was cloudy once again, so we didn't get the sunset we were hoping for.  There was Polynesian dancing from four islands to go along with each of the themed courses from Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti and Samoa. The food was really good and since drinks were included in the price I took advantage and sampled various cocktails including a pina colada and blue Hawaii.  For the dessert course they wrote happy birthday in chocolate on my plate and had a lit candle in one of the tarts.  It was a great way to spend my birthday evening and we were very full by the end of it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chillaxing and Burning

Today was finally a day of relaxation- our first since arriving in Hawaii.  We headed down to the beach at midday and after a half hour came back up and found some lounge chairs and a bit of shade around one of the many pools on the grounds.  I really like the design of the resort and the pool we were at flowed around in a bit of a circle and even had a little waterfall.  We took turns going into the water and I also had a couple of stints in the hot tub.  Although I did slather myself in sunblock and had a hat on I still got a bit sunburned.  Around mid-afternoon we started to get hungry so we bought some lunch at the gourmet market and headed back to the suite to eat.  I took a shower and moisturized my skin like crazy to hopefully prevent it from peeling in a few days.

We had dinner reservations at Duke's Beach House, which is the only restaurant located at the resort. The place was packed and we ended up with a waiter originally from the Bay Area.  I ordered the ocean mile cocktail, which may have been the strongest drink I've ever had in my life (lots of rum and vodka).  The food was good but not great and I found some of the dishes to be a bit heavy and fried.  We were so full from dinner that we didn't even attempt dessert.  The walk back to the suite was nice with the pathways being illuminated by flaming tiki torches.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Today we were up bright and early to get to the airport for our flight to Maui.  Since the flight was only 30 minutes long we were up in the air and then heading in for a landing soon after.  It has been a bit of a driving day as we went from the airport in Kahului across the island and up the West Coast through towns along the Honoapiilani Highway.

Since we couldn't check in until later in the afternoon we had lunch in Lahaina and then drove along Front Street to check it out. We also headed further up the coast and stopped at lookout over Honolua Bay to see the view and watch the surfers in the water.

We are staying at the Honua Kai Resort and Spa at Kaanapali Beach in a one bedroom suite that's probably bigger than my apartment.  I thought I would be on the sofa bed in the living room, but there is a second sofa bed in a little alcove area.  My mom and I took a walk around the grounds at sunset before stopping at the gourmet market to pick up some dinner (and a couple organic cupcakes which were yummy).  Tomorrow we plan to relax and lounge around poolside.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pearl Harbor and the Krishnas

This morning we drove out to Pearl Harbor to visit the USS Arizona Memorial.  First we walked around grounds of the museum and visitor center, which had exhibits, outdoor displays and reflection areas about the lead up to the war and bombing at Pearl Harbor. When it was our time for the tour we went into the theater to watch a film on the history of the Pearl Harbor attack before taking the boat ride out to the memorial.  The memorial is built over the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona, which is the final resting place for many of the 1,177 crewmen killed on December 7, 1941 when their ship was bombed by Japanese Naval Forces.  The memorial is very well done and quite peaceful.

After coming back to shore we made a quick stop at the gift shop before heading back to Honolulu.  Mom and I dropped Dad off at the hotel and then went shopping for a couple hours at the Ala Moana Center.  Surprisingly I didn't find anything to buy, although I did take advantage of the free wi-fi at the Apple Store. 

For dinner we drove out to the Hare Krishna Temple to visit my aunt.  She gave us a tour of the grounds while others were at Sunday service and then we joined everyone for the vegetarian feast dinner.  It was nice to catch up with her and she gave us each beautiful leis that had been on the deities during the service (which smelled amazing).  Here's a video of the Ratha Yatra they did in Honolulu a few weeks ago.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Longest Day Ever

After having no real breaks over the past year I decided to take my birthday week off and head to Hawaii for a vacation.  I picked Hawaii because I've never been there before and it would allow people from home to potentially join me, which in this case was my parents.  I spent Saturday finishing up my packing and then headed to the airport mid-afternoon for my flights to Sydney and then Honolulu.  After flying all night I landed in Honolulu around 10 am on Saturday.  My day had just begun (again).  A couple hours later my parents' flight arrived and I met them in baggage claim.  It was really nice to see them again as it had been over a year since my last visit home.

We picked up the rental car and then drove into Honolulu.  We are staying at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa, which is pretty nice.  After taking a shower I headed out for a walk along Kalakaua Avenue to have a look at Kuhio Beach and Waikiki Beach as well as all the shops along the strip.  I didn't really find anything to buy, but did have a peppermint bark ice cream cone from Haagen-Dazs, which was amazing.

I returned to the hotel to get dressed for our dinner at a the very upscale French restaurant Michel's at the Colony Surf.  We met up with a friend of my parents who had chosen this place as it's one of his favorites.  We had a table overlooking the beach as well as a view of downtown.  The food and service were excellent and they had a special menu since it was Valentine's Day weekend.  It was a very enjoyable evening and a great finish to our first day in Honolulu.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Flash Flooding Fun

Australia has really been getting hit by the natural disasters lately- flooding in Queensland and other states and Far North Queensland getting hit by Cyclone Yasi earlier in the week.  Today Melbourne was once again hot and very humid throughout the day.  Chantal and I headed out to dinner and grabbed a table outside under an umbrella.  I had a feeling it would rain and boy was I right.  What started as a downpour turned into a complete deluge as it just bucketed down and everyone ran for cover.  There were huge flows of water down Bourke Street as the CBD got 17mm/0.7 inches of rain in 20 minutes from the remnants of Cyclones Anthony and Yasi.  Of course this resulted in flash flooding throughout the city.  What's scary is that this weather is scheduled to continue and could be worse tomorrow.
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