Hawaiian Road Trip, 2014

My bestie’s sister Janeen was tour organiser extraordinaire and had many activities planned for us all while were in Hawaii for my bestie’s wedding. A girl after my own heart, she wanted to see as much of the big island as she could, so I was happy to tag along with the family and other assorted American and Australian wedding guests.

On my first day we headed straight to Kona Brewing Company for a morning beer tasting. In Kona town we checked out Mokuaikaua Church, Hulihe’e Palace and the harbour. We also found pearls in oysters at a local jewellery shop and some cocktails in a bar with a sea view. For lunch, we went to for a real soft shell taco Mexican lunch- very tasty.

The next day, a van of 11 of us went on a road trip to Umauma Falls to go zip lining. I was excited for the road trip and the opportunity to see more of the island, but not so much the zip lining. While everyone was busy doing flips as they zipped along I was apparently gripping onto my line “like a koala bear.”

The green countryside, the river and the waterfalls were beautiful though, and worth my discomfort. I also enjoyed the less adrenalin pumping activity of walking across a suspension bridge to a viewpoint of the falls.

On the way back we stopped at Akaka Falls State Park for a pleasant stroll through the forest to one of the highest waterfalls in the world- Akaka Falls- that drops into a crater.

Back in the van, we drove on the Saddle Road from Hilo through the middle of the island in volcanic fog- a gentle reminder that we were living on an island with an active volcano. I had seen some amazing pictures of lava flowing into the sea at an art gallery in town and wish that I had more time to travel over to the other side of the island to see that.

We stopped an the infamous Fish & Hog café for dinner which had great American diner style food, including the biggest slice of lemon meringue pie I have ever seen in my life.

The day before the wedding Janeen and I donned our custom made bridesmaid t-shirts and took the bride for a manicure and pedicure in her matching bride t-shirt. In an impromptu hen’s night, we decided to go to the luau at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel for a dinner and show with my bestie’s cousin Lyle as the honorary male bodyguard.

We got seashell necklaces, tried to dance the hula and twirl balls on string. Dinner was a traditional pig dug out if the underground oven and as much punch as you could drink. The show started with the shell trumpeter of the royal procession and there were dances from all the islands of the South Pacific including fire dancers. On the way back to the car we met a man with a macaw.

Related posts: Solo trip to Hawaii, 2014, USA, 1990, It’s a South Pacific Thing

Solo trip to Hawaii, 2014

My first solo trip in many years was when my bestie got married in Hawaii and asked me to be a bridesmaid. Leaving my one year old at home with my husband for 8 days, I flew to Kona on the big island of Hawaii via Oahu.

Most of the wedding party was staying in a few private bungalows on the property where the event itself was to be held. It was strange to be travelling alone again and it took me a while to get used to only having to feed and cloth myself again. But before long I fell back into old habits, heading to my bestie’s parents house every morning to be fed breakfast. Unfortunately I never really got out of the habit of waking up early.

The bride and groom to be were staying in the main bungalow with large living areas, a pond with koi and a pool with spa. Most importantly, the house backed onto the ocean with a sea wall separating the garden from the rocks and waves. This is where both the ceremony and reception was to be held.

My bestie is a master of décor having renovated many houses around the world as they moved around for work; so the main house was also being utilised as decoration making central. Everything from the hair pieces to the table settings was made with the love and care of many helping hands.

The verandah off the main bungalow was utilised for social gatherings and sunset watching and what beautiful sunsets they were. Living on the east coast of Australia, I relished the opportunity to see the sun dipping into the water just as it should be.

There were some small markets across the road from the bungalows where you could buy food for lunches and souvenirs. I purchased a t-shirt for my husband and the cutest little blue Hawaiian dress for my daughter, with a matching flower bracelet of course.

After the sunset on my first night, a few of us walked to the Royal Kona Beach Resort for dinner. The hotel looked like a cruise ship pointing out to the ocean, affording fabulous ocean views from Don the Beachcomber Restaurant which specialised in Mai Tai’s.

With only 30 or so guests attending the wedding and everyone arriving a week or more earlier, it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with some like the groom, my bestie’s sister Janeen and her boyfriend; and meet others like my bestie’s brother Chris’s new girlfriend and the groom’s best friends who would make up the other half of the bridal party.

Related posts: USA, 1990It’s a South Pacific Thing, The Seven Year Itch

Perception is reality

What is real and what is not?

Often people perceive that your life is prefect, especially when Facebook only records the good times. But in reality, all is not always as it seems.

But does that even matter?

Is someone perceives that things are all rosy, then it must be the truth right? There is no point asking questions, when everything seems fine and would you even want the real answer anyway? People believe what they want to believe after all.

I’m all for focussing on the positive things in life, and a lot of being on social media is about big noting yourself so that people think that you are awesome/want to be your friend/want to give you that next job.

We all do it. No pictures of tired eyes as you have been up since 3am looking after a baby, instead there is the picture of your bundle of joy smiling and laughing. It doesn’t matter if this only happens 10% of the time.

No pictures of Saturday night at home in your tracky dacks on the couch, instead a picture of you and your girlfriends having cocktails at the latest cool bar. It doesn’t matter if this only happens one night of the year.

No pictures of the dusty motel you stayed in on holiday, instead Instagram pictures of the gorgeous beach that was a half a day drive away. It doesn’t matter if you never even had time to set foot on the sand.

No job title of blogger on LinkedIn, instead you are an award winning published author. It doesn’t matter if you’ve actually only ever been paid once in all those times you have been published.

So should we all just be more honest? Or is it easier to just go on through life thinking everyone has perfect lives with adorable kids that never cry, a hectic social life, fabulous holidays and the best job in the world?

If perception is reality, then maybe we are all better off with the perception and after long enough, perhaps this will become your reality anyway. It’s all about positive thinking right?

Or perhaps the key is finding out who you can be honest with and choosing who you want to let into your reality. Otherwise aren’t we all just living a lie?

Related posts: Dreams vs Reality, I’m happy for you, Having it all?

Singapore, 2013: Part 3

On the way back home from Europe, my husband, daughter and I stopped in Singapore for a couple of nights mainly to see friends, and to shop of course.

We went shopping on Orchard Rd and saw the colourful statues on the steps of ION Orchard. The usual suspects were visited- H&M, Uniqlo, New Look, Marks and Spencers, Mango and Zara. And as usual, our bags required much repacking to fit in the purchases. I’m not sure it would be very healthy for my bank balance to live in Singapore.

After our day of shopping, we caught up with Cynthia and Tony plus my husband’s friend Drew for dinner at Din Tai Fung. The matching kids cutlery was very cute and the food was good as always. Cynthia and Tony had left their daughter at home with their helper Rosie so they came back to our hotel on Orchard Rd for an after dinner drink before it was bedtime for my little one.

The next day we went to visit Cynthia and Tony and meet up with their daughter. Our daughters seemed to like playing together and were more curious about each other this time. It was nice to see them everyone here again six months after my solo trip here with my daughter.

We went to the local roti house for lunch, which was ridiculously cheap and packed with school kids. The little ones had to sit next to each other of course and it was amusing to watch them copying each other.

After lunch, we went back to Cynthia and Tony’s place for a nap and a swim in the lovely pool in their apartment complex courtyard. The little ones enjoyed splashing around with a novelty turtle pool toy and it was a great place to rest while we waited for our evening flight back to Sydney.

As always, the visit was not long enough, and there was barely time for a quick after swim shower before heading to the airport. Until next time…

Related posts: Singapore, 2013: Part 2, Singapore, 2013: Part 1, Javea, 2013, Barcelona, 2013, Versailles, 2013, Paris, 2013, Belgium, 2013: The Place, Belgium, 2013: The People, Hong Kong, 2013: Part 2, Hong Kong, 2013: Part 1, Fiji, 2013

Holidays are…

Preparing and researching

Booking and planning

Packing

Excitement

Waiting impatiently

Airports and QANTAS club

Arriving in your new temporary home

Unpacking

New places and new things to see

First experiences

Navigating a new city

Temples and churches

Old towns

Landmarks and lookout points

Road trips

Landscapes

Having fun

Swimming

Walking

Enjoying the sunshine

Not letting the rain stop you

Watching shows

New food to try

Markets

Bars and restaurants

Having the time to enjoy a meal

Not cooking or washing up

Meeting new people

Sitting and people watching

Quality time with the little one

Catching up with friends

Cocktail hour

Uninterrupted conversations

Laughing

Pampering

Having the time to shop

New clothes from your new favorite shop

Souvenirs to take home

Photos and memories to keep

Not worrying

Thinking

Having the time to notice rainbows

Watching old movies

Card games

Finishing a book

Sitting and doing nothing

Napping

Drifting

Not wanting it to end

Booking the next holiday.

Related posts: Happy Holidays, Random Public Holiday Ramblings,  Kid at Heart

Javea, 2013

My husband, daughter and I left Barcelona the next day for a road trip down south to Javea. Our Belgian friend Bill owned a holiday house there are we were to meet up with his parents and brother Ben with his partner and baby son.

The house was an authentic white washed villa on the hill of Balcon al Mar and was a great place to call home for the week.

We hit the beach straight away and went to Granadella beach. The white rocks contrasted beautifully with the blue water and it was everything a Spanish beach should be. The weather was nice, the sea sparkled and there was a sailing boat moored in the bay.

When we had had enough fun in the water and of sitting under the blue and white stripped umbrella on the beach, we went to the restaurant overlooking the beach for a tasty seafood lunch.

Unfortunately, my husband got an ear infection from swimming that day, so the rest our time in Javea was not to be the active beach holiday we envisioned, but was still a restful time.

I woke with my daughter most mornings with only the dog Coco and the BBC news channel for company. Sunrises were colourful, but late here. French lunches with the family were had on the outdoor balcony and afternoon drinks on the terrace by the pool.

My daughter liked the hammock in the garden and Baby Bjorn walks around the neighbourhood. We also tagged along on a few of the shorter dog walks into cactus laden plains.

My husband got enough energy together to head into Javea old town with us all one day. The streets were lined with balconied houses, old wooden doors and wall murals. The fort/church in the middle of the town was huge and there was both an indoor and outdoor market with colourful red Spanish dresses for little girls.

One day we also managed a driving tour of the surrounding area. The most beautiful sight was the lookout point at Cap de la Nau. It was ocean as far as the eye could see, punctuated by rugged cliffs and islands. We also saw the white washed lighthouse and went to the rock shelves of Calla Barraca Beach.

We visited the main beach at L’Arenal where the sandy beach was lined with palm trees and restaurants. We had a nice lunch and bought our daughter her first pair of sunglasses. On our last day we returned to a glass fronted restaurant for paella.

It was a fitting end to our Spanish beach holiday, before we drove back to Madrid for an overnight stay near the airport. The hotel was hard to find with all the surrounding ring roads around, but after a few double paid tolls, we made it in the end.

Related posts: Barcelona, 2013, It’s a Spanish Thing, Spain, 1997, Part 2: Beyond Barcelona

Misogyny

This week, a guest post from my uncle Bernard Mendis written in Marcoola, November 2015.

Contact me on roshan@roshansramblings.com if you wish to submit a guest post of your own.

Misogyny…It’s still a man’s world

I don’t write in defence of or in deference to women

Yet I cannot help but muse about the all too unsubtle pejoratives used

To describe and differentiate but not distinguish males from females

Applied rigourously by males in a variety of our world’s societies and cultures

Corporate structures large and small, bureaucracies and political parties and …

Organised, established religions and sects perpetuate the problems

Of servitude and sexual submission, discrimination and diminution

Faced by women on a daily basis on our crowded planet

Whether it be on a suburban train in Cairo, a boardroom in Brisbane

Opening a bank account in Lagos or drawing the dole in Santiago

Becoming a futures dealer in Wall St, New York or a pilot with China Airlines

There are slightly more females than males in the world right now

Yet, males dominate in a preponderance that is illogical and perverse

Women – it seems – just can’t win … former PM Gillard being an example ..

If you complain, you are playing the victim

And if you don’t, you are the victim

If a man has many women, he is admired as being ‘lusty’ and libidinous

(and if he’s a Muslim or a Mormon, all the more strength to his…)

A woman is variously described as lewd, vulgar, a strumpet, wanton, a vixen, loose

Licentious, transient, indiscriminate, casual but most commonly promiscuous

Polygamy is okay, polyandry isn’t … yet males ignore the double-standard

Domestic violence is raging in our own society at the moment

Tocsin’s are being rung … hands are being wrung … in anguish for each new victim

76 women have died at the hands of their male spouses as of this year

Despite the best efforts of the protectionists, the perpetrations persist

Female genital mutilation occurs worldwide in Muslim societies and the world over

Aided and abetted by older women, ignorant and steeped in religious custom and culture

Amnesty International highlights the plight of Asian women rapaciously plundered of …

Their basic human rights, their virginity, their dignity by cruel Saudi male (and female) employers

Mothers’ in Buenos Aires contemptuously disregarded or threatened by lawless junta’s …

For daring to ask about their ‘disappeared’ husband, son or daughter thirty years ago

Chinese women forced into unsafe abortions or sterilisation for exceeding their baby quota

Women in India immolated by their husband’s family for not providing enough of a dowry

A Nigerian woman under a Sharia sentence of death for converting to Christianity

Pakistani aid workers innocently innoculating infants against polio being killed by Taliban militants

By subtle or brutal means, women are penalized for the biological state of being women the world over

Surely, that’s inhumane and has to be a crime against humanity …

Regardless of how, why, where or when it begins, whether it’s in a home, a culture or a country

I agree enlightenment and emancipation can be achieved by education rather than empathy

But are males prepared to share their selfish, spoils with their female counterparts?

I’m sanguine that the more males, who set an example to their male progeny, will rectify this problem

That has beset and robbed the planet of more than half of its logical and intellectual might

And that this first century of this new millennium will see a vast shift from wrong to right

Where misogyny dwindles into being the exception rather than the rule