Monday, October 26, 2015

Adventures in Paradise - Part 2

Rain started on Sunday afternoon, October 4. After lunch, we went back to Suzi’s and took a nap. Loved hearing the rain on the roof and dropping from the eaves.

In the evening, we watched one of our favorite movies, The Princess Bride, while the rain continued. Very cozy.

On Monday, after breakfast, we drove to Kehei to visit the Kalama Heights retirement home. We had mentioned it in our latest Agapé Jones mystery, and Suzi arranged for a meeting with one of the people who works there. It reminded me of Del Obispo Terrace where we do Care and Share with the residents. It is the perfect place for our character to have chosen.

Following our visit, we went to the Five Palms Restaurant to meet the guy who is the inspiration for Agapé Jones. We met him in 2005 at the Maui Writers Conference and immediately decided we had to write a character based on him. Because he is a retired detective, we can’t use his real name, so I’ll call him ‘Agapé.’ We decided early on that we are ‘ohana’ (Hawaiian for ‘family—blood relations or not). Every time we get to Maui, we try to see him. Suzi has read our mysteries and indicated she wanted to meet the ‘real’ Agapé Jones.

We were seated when he arrived. As soon as he spotted Suzi, he said, “Well, hello!” Turns out, they already knew each other. Suzi just hadn’t recognized his name. (I told you, she knows EVERYONE on the island!)

We had a lovely lunch, and enjoyed spending time with our friends, as always.

We returned to Suzi’s early in the afternoon to prepare for the big Celebrity Password party in the evening. She had invited friends (a couple of whom we had met at First Friday or at the show) for the potluck supper and to play the game. What fun!

She told us ahead of time to think up the names of eight famous people ( living or dead, real or fictional, from any sector) whom everyone would recognize. We had noted our choices ahead of time in order to be ready.

Before the party, Suzi heated her main dishes and Larry prepared his famous pineapple boats.

When the others arrived (with their dishes), we all wrote down each of our names on a separate 3x5 card (printed horizontally) and folded them so about ¼ inch of card remained on one side for ease of opening. Then we put them in a big bowl for the game.

We started with the main course and salads, and we got to know our fellow players.

Then we divided into two teams of six each. Larry and I had to be on separate teams so there were ‘newbies’ on each team.

A representative from each team drew a token to see who went first, and one of the players from the starting team grabbed a handful of cards from the bowl. When the timer (from the opposite team) gave them the start, they had one minute to get their team to identify as many names as possible. In the first round, we could use as many words as we wanted to describe the person as long as we didn’t use any part of their name.

As each name was correctly identified, the player threw the cards onto the floor. If they didn’t know the person, they could use charade-style clues to try to get the others to get to the name. When time was called, any remaining cards (including a last one not yet guessed) were returned to the bowl.

The cards on the floor were collected by the team.

The same process was repeated on the other side. Player by player, the cards were opened, clues given, and names identified until the bowl was emptied. Then each team tallied the names they had identified. (My team won the first round.)

Then the second round began, only this time, we were allowed only two words to identify the person. The advantage was we had already heard all the names at least once. (Some were duplicated, so they were even easier.) Gestures became more important in this round, which my team won again.

Then we took a break for dessert. I got the makings for Chiquita Valdez sundaes--a favorite dessert from CF Braun & Co in the '70s and '80s (coffee ice cream with crushed pineapple and chopped bananas, topped with whipped cream). In addition to Larry’s pineapple boats, we had homemade cookies and pie and other goodies.

Thus fortified, we started the last and final round, where we were allowed no words, only gestures. Larry found this round much easier, for some reason, and his team took the round.

It wasn’t about winning or losing. It was about all the laughing and fun.

By the end of the evening, my cough had returned with a vengeance (no doubt, spurred on by all the laughter).

The next morning, I started feeling badly again. We caught a morning flight to Honolulu to meet our friends, Len and Luanna Rugh. By the time the plane landed, I knew I was ill again. Rats!

More about the Honolulu portion of the trip next week.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Adventures in Paradise - Part 1

We returned Tuesday morning from nearly three weeks in Hawaii. 

Paradise is as beautiful as ever—with a few disappointments. (I’ll write about those later.) However, I had been ill for several weeks prior to the trip. My doctor had prescribed an antibiotic. When it didn’t help after two weeks, she prescribed another plus cough medicine (which was useless, BTW).

So I left on the trip confident that I was on the way back to health. Well, I wasfor a few days.

Fortunately, we spent the first five days in Maui with our good friend, Suzi O. She and Larry attended high school together, and I was a couple of years behind them. We have been in touch for many years, and she often makes our house her headquarters when she visits So. Cal. She has been after us to stay with her for several years. This time, it worked out perfectly.

We arrived late on Thursday evening, October 1. Suzi already had a full schedule planned for us.

After breakfast on Friday morning, we took a walk on the boardwalk in Kihei. My knee was feeling better, so I really enjoyed the visit. The walk of about a mile contains information about the local flora and fauna plus a terrific view of the ocean.

We followed the visit with a drive to the end of the road in Wailea with lunch at Cheeseburger at The Shops at Wailea. We had eaten here when we attended the old Maui Writers Conference (sadly, now defunct). The place did not disappoint. Good food at reasonable prices.

We returned to Suzi’s house for a rest before venturing out again to First Friday in Wailuku. Several blocks are reduced to pedestrian traffic for the evening. A great Hawaiian/reggae group played for dancers at one end. In the middle, a combo provided the music, while a rock band accompanied dancing at the other end. In between, lots of vendors had set up stalls. Many of them sold food along with local crafts and other products. After we scoped out the choices, we settled for delicious pork served in soft rice rolls. Then Larry went in search of desserts. He found several—all very good.

It was here that I discovered Suzi knows everyone on the island. She published a newspaper there several years ago, and in the process met lots of people. We couldn’t move three feet without someone greeting her. She’s a very popular lady!

As the evening wore down, we returned for a good night’s sleep in Suzi’s lovely guest room with a great king-size bed.

After breakfast on Saturday, we headed for the Maui Swap Meet at the college.  It was HOT with high humidity and no trade winds. We bought a few t-shirts and I found a really nice long dress. But we spent most of our time getting ice water. Larry bought a couple of fresh juice popsicles to keep cool.

When we left, we drove to Paia to see the big waves, with a stop at Café Mombo for lunch.
Suzi had gotten us tickets to see the play Noises Off at the Iao Theater for our anniversary. We joined several of her friends for dinner at the Arias Restaurant, about a half block from the theater. Good food and delightful company.

The play was wonderful. We had seen it on stage and had also seen the movie version with Carol Burnett. We had thoroughly enjoyed both versions. This was a romp with a great cast. We laughed the entire time.

We discussed going to church on Sunday morning, and Suzi had located several in the area. She said she had attended the Unity church, and we decided to go there with her. What a wonderful morning! The service began with the blowing of the conch shell and a chant. The music was fabulous, and they also had a terrific hula presentation. At the end, Suzi signed “Let There Be Peace On Earth,” and then the whole congregation sang the chorus of “Aloha’Oe” in Hawaiian. The whole experience was absolutely perfect.

We ate lunch at the Kahili Restaurant at the golf course. Gorgeous views of the ocean (between rain showers), and great food. Then we drove by the Frank Lloyd Wright house (also known as the Marilyn Monroe house). Great architecture. It’s a spectacular building, now used as a clubhouse and for civic events.

Monday was party day! More about it next week.