Category Archives: Travels

Hong Kong

Throughout my life I’ve found myself back in Hong Kong, visiting close family who have lived there since I was wee. I’ve always touted Hong Kong as being my favorite city in the world, and I’d say that the sentiment still stands to this day.

Hong Kong, China

Aside from being one of the most modern cities in the world, Hong Kong is also one of the most photogenic that I’ve ever seen. The city is built on the coastlines of giant mountain peaks that rise up from the water to form islands, towering up from any space that the mountains don’t already own. The resulting skyline is a breathtaking view no matter where you are in the city.

What truly makes Hong Kong unique though is how absolutely globalized it feels, being on the bleeding edge of modern society while still struggling to break any old world shackles, remnants of being owned by two old sovereign countries (Great Britain and China). The resulting culture of Hong Kong is a melting pot, with traditional Chinese butted up against a more transient and international population of Europeans and Asians.

Hong Kong is very much a consumerist culture. Every part of the city has beautiful malls or sprawling markets. The transit system is the most efficient and impressive that I’ve ever seen, and every public utility is wiped down regularly due to fears of viruses, remnants of a bird flu epidemic years ago.

At the time of my visit, Hong Kong was and is going through a major identity crisis, where questions about how the mainland Chinese government rules the city has popped up. This has created an underlying level of dread that purveys everywhere, and local Hong Kongers are rising up in protest against the corruption that has crept into the local government. I wish Hong Kong good luck in their fight, since it’s a fight that everybody seems to be facing these days.

I’m choosing not to gush about the food in Hong Kong, but it’s perhaps my favorite cuisine. For food pictures, feel free to check my Instagram page!

One thing that really strikes me about Hong Kong is how it is one of the few giant cities that has almost no traffic congestion. I believe that this is because their public transportation system is run so meticulously well, so timing your commutes becomes a science. Its really impressive!

I will end this post with an image of dim sum scientists engineering the best food I’ve ever eaten.

Red or Green Chile? (New Mexico)

After a month of procrastinating, I decided that I needed to create a post about my recent trip to New Mexico. The place left such a lasting impression on me that honestly caught me by surprise, since we don’t really hear much chatter about the state over here on the East Coast.

A panorama taken on a random road going nowhere.

New Mexico struck me as a hidden gem of the American southwest, where those who know, know, and those who don’t know are told about it but passively nod off the recommendation for seemingly more exotic travel destinations.

Once you get there though, you realize that you’re in a truly magical place. I felt that the land and the people had this spiritual elevation that was both attractive and strange to my sensibilities.

The tone of the place is set by its terrain, large swaths of flat desert plains interrupted by random plateaus, red cliffs, and mountains. Everything is red and blue. The rusty clay that’s in every rock, the turquoise that they mine from the mountains, the gorgeous clear blue skies that must be quite intense in the summertime.

My pictures might convey a lonely place, there are in fact many, many people that live in New Mexico, strewn across the countryside and living in beautiful adobe homes. There is a large Native American contingent there that have separate tribal reservations, most inaccessible to the general public since they are private territories.

Our trusty steed, who I named Salazar.

Although the food is heavily influenced by the neighboring Mexico, New Mexico’s cuisine is unique in its palette and presentation (sorry I don’t have pictures, but you know, google). The first thing they’ll ask you when you order something is if you’d like red (hatch) chile or green, and they put that stuff on absolutely everything. Delicious but eventually overbearing, since you can’t really get away from it!

They also love their beef since it’s prime cattle country there. I had a burger there that almost moved me to tears.

The people there are so friendly and engaging, and not once did I perceive a negative emotion or sentiment. The roads are very fast, and everybody knows to stay out of the fast lane since the speed limit is 75 on major highways.

I left New Mexico feeling relaxed and peaceful. The big beautiful skies and exciting terrain was such a breath of fresh air to this city slicker. Definitely intending on going back, multiple times.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Just got back from a trip down to Punta Cana. I don’t have much to say since my trip was just straight beach time and I did not get a proper exposure to the culture there, but man is Punta Cana beautiful.  Cheap to get to, cheap to stay in, completely worth it.  We chose to not do the resort route, but instead to get an Airbnb to save some money. Punta Cana is very safe and tourist friendly, so deviating a little bit does no harm.  Don’t be afraid to try the seafood, and make sure you buy a lot of drinking water to keep yourself hydrated!  Also, be aware that there is a problem with coastal seaweed there. Beaches must be cleaned daily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charleston in Charge

I just got back from a trip down to Charleston, South Carolina to visit some good friends who had recently moved there. I’d been hearing some great things about the city; how it’s steeped in history but has become a burgeoning cultural gem in the South (USA).

 

 

 

 

We ran the gamut on that town.  Charleston’s slow paced, Southern culture is being revitalized by an influx of vibrant young transplants.  There are moments where cultures clash, but overall I think that it’s doing wonders for the city.

Right now there is a purity to Charleston, something magical and mythic.  You feel like your imagination could run rampant if you let it.  All that Spanish moss in the trees, man.

 

 

 

 

My photography professor in College was adamant about never taking photos in cemeteries, due to the potential for your photos to be tragically banal.  While I somewhat agree, I couldn’t help but want to capture the beautiful old cemeteries around Charleston.  Most have graves that are 200 years old, beautifully worn into the marshy terrain.

History is very important in Charleston, and its hard to ignore its bloody past as a slave port.  My impression of the locals is that they are in a transition period of remembering the mistakes of the old world, but trying to move forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pace is slow, the people are polite, and the heat is hot.  We encountered mercurial weather, with periods of downpours in between hot sunny days.  I’m told this is normal.  Fortunately I love this kind of weather!

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Alison, Mike, and my Moms for being great travel companions.  We ate too much, and I’m still feeling full!

Takk Fyrir Iceland!

I just returned from a week and a half winter adventure in the beautiful island country of Iceland.  Right now the tickets to fly to Iceland from the East Coast of the United States are averaging around $300-400 RT, so it’s a no brainer for those looking for a spontaneous getaway.  I chose to fly the discount airline WOW Air, which offers you the cheapest flight ticket but charges you for literally everything else.  It’s a good idea until things go wrong, and then you have to deal with their lackluster customer service, which I had to do.

My friend Inna and I flew into Keflavik Airport, which is about a 45 minute drive from the capital of Reykjavik.  We chose to rent a 4×4 vehicle instead of using one of the many bus tours that the country has to offer.  There were upsides and downsides to this, but ultimately we were thankful to have the freedom that renting a car provides you.  We had organized a road trip across the southern part of the island, following the primary highway that circles Iceland, Route 1.

 

 

 

 

 

For those that are unfamiliar, Iceland is full of volcanoes, glaciers, and lakes.  There are dried lava fields randomly peppering the landscape, and the ridiculously majestic mountains pop up across giant fields of flat terrain.  Most of the population lives on the fringes of the island, with 2/3rds living in the capital of Reykjavik.  It’s sparse and extreme country. Inspirational and terrifying at the same time.

Driving in Iceland in the wintertime is challenging. There is no denying it. Your vehicle must be prepared for weather, and you have to be comfortable driving in rough situations.  With that said, it’s completely worth it.  You won’t see this kind of otherworldly terrain anywhere.  The fast island weather just adds to the atmosphere.   My senses were constantly overwhelmed, and I came home with a sense of enlightenment.

Here is Priscilla, our rental.  She ain’t pretty, but she’s stalwart and sure footed.

 

 

 

 

 

The people who live in the countryside are very acclimated, and are undaunted by the vastness that surrounds them.  They are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met while traveling, and are unhesitatingly helpful.  There is a sense of ease that Icelanders carry, something that I am constantly seeking.  Obviously the lack of traffic and noise has its perks!

 

 

 

After reading blogs and write-ups about what time of year is best when exploring Iceland, I felt that winter would offer me a degree of contrast and intensity that could shake some cobwebs from living comfortably in the modern world.  My takeaway is that there are different comforts here.  Aesthetic beauty moves to the forefront.  Nothing is cluttered or crowded. Buildings compliment the landscape instead of dominating it.

 

 

 

 

My favorite thing about this trip was the glaciers.  I’d never seen a glacier in person, and it was beyond what I expected. They are huge oceans of ice that carve through the landscape over thousands of years.  And they’re distinguishable from regular snow and ice by their beautiful blueish hue.

 

 

 

I couldn’t help but be constantly reminded that there is volcanic activity all around me.  From the geothermal hot springs and geysers, to the beautiful black sand beaches that sprinkle the coastline in pockets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other things of note:

  • There are waterfalls everywhere
  • The hot water may smell of the sulfur springs they come from, but the cold water out of the tap is cleaner than the bottled water being sold in stores. You can actually taste how pure it is!
  • If you go there, don’t forget that wintertime means less daylight due to your proximity to the arctic circle. And of course, the complete opposite in the summertime.

 

 

 

 

Bienvenidos A Miami! (and the Keys)

For the holiday season, my mom and I decided that a trip down south would be the perfect respite to the blinding cold that has hit our area.  I had mentioned to her that I haven’t been to Miami in a long time and that it’s one of my favorite cities.  On top of that, I’ve always wanted to drive the Overseas Highway to the Florida Keys. So we threw some flip flops into bags, summoned an uber driver, and jumped on a Southwest flight to Fr. Lauderdale (airport code FLL).

 

 

 

 

Miami always struck me as such a fun and diverse city, a giant bubbling spicy stew of Hispanic, Caribbean, and American culture, with a heavy dose of Cuban flavor.  It makes the culture and vibe interesting and colorful, and you can see that mix of culture infused in the music and art that have come out of the city for decades.  And of course, the food.  If you go there, try to get away from the bland, homogenized areas and get into the weeds a bit.

 

 

 

 

With that said, my mom and I stayed in South Beach for the first few days of our trip.  Although the area is hyper developed and whitewashed, its gorgeous and lively and always a pleasure to revisit.   We took a trip into Little Havana on Christmas Day just to get into the meat of some of that culture. Unfortunately most things were closed for the holiday.

 

 

 

We left Miami in our rental and headed down south towards the Keys, a chain of islands south of Miami that are connected by a (mostly) single lane highway that runs all the way to Key West.  The entire region is still pretty devastated from the hurricanes that hit them in April, with giant piles of debris lining the entire length of the roadway waiting for dump trucks to do the dirty work.  Here are some key points (or should I say, Key points) that I gleaned from this journey:

  • The drive is grueling but worth it.  The single lane highway is not enough to sustain the amount of people traveling on it, but the scenery is gorgeous. If you’re going to do it, perhaps aim for the off season.
  • The hotels are hit or miss. Do your research. We stayed at a beautiful one, and we stayed at a terrible, terrible one.  Both price gouged us.
  • Everything in Key West is meticulous and beautiful, and expensive. Gas up in the run down areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terimah Kasi Bali! (Bali Pt. 1)

I just got back from a two week vacation with my mom to Bali, Indonesia and Seoul, Korea, and I’m still a little euphoric.  I’m dividing my experience up into a number of posts due to the sheer amount of pictures that I brought back with me, as well as a separate section on Seoul.

 

 

So for the uninformed (which was me before this trip), Bali is essentially a paradise island, complete with your standard tropical beaches, rain forests, and magnificent mountains, all packed into an island the size of Delaware.  On top of that, the majority of the population of Bali is Hindu, so there are these gorgeous Hindu temples all over the place.   Every town you drive through has multiple open air temples, and most houses have their own shrines in their gardens so that the people can worship at any point in time.

 

 

 

For anybody that has been to Siem Reap in Cambodia, the vibe is basically the same.  Hindu architecture and worship sites are built to integrate into their surroundings and heighten beauty.  It feels very natural and very spiritual.  Also they have these beautiful statues of their gods and goddesses peppered everywhere, with their daily offerings of flowers and rice.  My mother said it best, that it’s amazing how people will build these magnificent structures in the middle of the jungle.

 

 

 

 

 

So to describe the topography and scenery, Bali is comprised of the peaks of mountains along the edge of the Eurasian plate, which inevitably brought about heavy volcanic activity.  So driving through and around the island, you have expansive plains of rice fields with large forested mountains on the horizon.

 

 

 

Driving into and over the mountains is an adventure.  Fortunately the roads are all paved, but they’re windy and narrow.  The infrastructure of Bali was established with roads that are essentially single laned but eventually split into two lanes.  On top of that, the majority of the locals drive scooters and motorcycles, and there are a lot of them.  So driving requires extreme vigilance.   There are very little rules of the road. You have to carve your way to where you need to go.  Motorcyclists there are bold and reckless, often stacking their entire family of 4 or 5 onto one scooter with no helmets on.

 

 

Denpasar, the capital of Bali, is rapidly becoming gentrified and commercialized due to the heavy tourist population.  Once you get outside of the city though, you can find Bali’s beauty everywhere.

The Balinese are extremely friendly island folk, and are quick to smile if you show them friendliness and amicability.  If you go to Bali, be friendly and kind!

 

 

 

The weather in Bali is tropical.  We visited during their summer, which means a lot of rain.  Since Bali is an island, the weather moves quickly and there is a lot of breeze.  The rain only emphasizes the lush green foliage that is everywhere.  Bali is chock full of beautiful flowers and plants, and there are lovely (and scary) insects everywhere.  If you’re afraid of bugs, you probably shouldn’t go! Lots of mosquitoes, dragonflies, praying mantises, and these stupid annoying things my mom called gamu-gamo , which are apparently large flying termites!!!!  Lots of ants, so you can’t leave any food or crumbs, or you’ll wake up to a sea of ants on the table. There are insect eating geckos all over the walls, which are cute but gross when they fall on you.  Stray dogs are everywhere, crossing the street in front of you on the road, and the island does have its share of cats.

 

 

 

Next week I’ll talk about the food and the must sees.

Seratonin Explosion! (Seattle, Again)

I just got back from my second excursion to the great Northwest city of Seattle, to visit my old friend Peter and his wife Audrey.  My previous layover was not substantial enough of a visit for me to feel satisfied with how much I’d absorbed of the city, so I decided that I had to return! (Read my last Seattle post, Coffee Jitters)

 

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My prior trip was spent exploring the downtown portions of the city.  The financial district, the coffee shops, the tourist traps.  While impressive and seemingly unique, there is just so much more to Seattle.  It has become a mecca for naturalists and creatives because of its immediate proximity to water, forests, and mountains.  I had not fully appreciated the depth of how much nature means to the people there until I experienced it first hand.

 

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Unfortunately we did not have enough time to jaunt into the deep wilderness due to time constraints, but I was able to see enough to be convinced that all modern cities should aspire to be what Seattle has become.  The city is obviously in touch with it’s presence and effect on the surrounding nature.  Public transportation uses green energy to cut down on emissions,  and I often noticed how the streets were absent of garbage and detritus.

 

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The city is built around a series of lakes and bays, so as a result there are breathtaking views everywhere.  I couldn’t help but feel relaxed just sitting in the back seat of Pete’s Subaru as he chauffeured me around town, to music that is so expertly curated by him and is such a reflection of the scene and vibe that is the Pacific Northwest.  I’m pretty sure that I caught Seattle at the best time.  It wasn’t overcast for the majority of my trip (despite how it might appear in these photos), and I can imagine how the winter months might start to feel oppressive to the uninitiated.

 

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The people there are polite but carry an edge that I could best compare with East Coasters, although not as black humored.  I found myself having to second guess my salacious comments for fear of sounding boorish, but Pete and Audrey assured me that I was not offensive 🙂

 

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The tech industry is thriving in Seattle.    I’m told that this is due to the city’s proximity to California, as well as Asia.  Amazon basically owns a portion of downtown Seattle.  Blocks and blocks!  Its pretty scary, actually.

 

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Pete and Audrey’s friend Greg blessed us with a lovely boat ride through the inner lakes of the city.  It was a pleasant surprise, and I’m so thankful that we could get on the water in a place that is so deeply maritime in culture.  We didn’t get to see Bill Gates’ (probably ridiculous) house, but we saw yacht after yacht, basically stacked on each other.  I had to ask them “Where do these people take these things?  Do they just stay docked and look pretty?”.  But of course they take them out, inspiring so many Entourage episodes.

 

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I thought to myself the entire time how its no wonder legendary musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam derived so much inspiration from the city and environment.

Shouts out to my good friend John Dstruct (alias) and his daughter Hannah, who I was fortunate enough to have lunch with after so many years of working on music with him in the supergroup, Robot Death Squad.

 

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Respect the Bagel (Montreal)

Last week my good friends and I took a trip up to Montreal, Quebec for a quick summertime getaway.  We chose Montreal because we’d heard that it’s a great place to experience in the summertime.  That it is!

Montreal is actually built on an island that was apparently formed from a volcano.  At the center of the city is a rather large hill called Mount Royal that offers a great view of the sprawling city below.

 

Montreal

 

Once we arrived in Montreal, my friends and I hiked up the hill after dropping off our gear at our hotel.  The hike itself was fun and challenging, and definitely worth it for the view!  There were people all over it, jogging and cycling up and down the roads and trails.  For us, the hike took about 45 minutes to an hour. I wasn’t exactly timing it because I was blinded by sweat and exertion.

 

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Montreal is very pedestrian friendly, but due to its rather immense sprawl the people have taken to cycling to meet their commuting needs.  There are bikes all over the place.  I was actually really impressed by the city’s cycling accommodations.  Bike lanes get their own curb-isolated partition of the road.

Le Plateau, which is the more hip part of the city, is covered with restaurants, shops, and lovely townhouses with wrought iron staircases.  The city is covered with so much green. There are parks all over the place and lots of old trees, which really complements the beautiful row houses.

 

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After about half a day I really started to notice the street art.  Graffiti is unashamedly present on every street, and its beautiful.  It’s a lovely contrast with the European vibe that you get from the architecture.  The murals that cover entire building sides are so impressive, and its obvious that the city allows their local artists to thrive and expand in their element here.

 

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My friends and I spent a chunk of time downtown in the financial district.  Montreal’s economy is obviously healthy and strong, as there was no shortage of looming skyscrapers to block your sunlight.  The streets are all well manicured and kept tidy, and the indoor public spaces like the Underground City are meticulous and gorgeously lit.

 

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The thing that impressed me the most about Montreal is how friendly and patient the people are.  Even if you’re a tourist or outsider, you’ll be treated with tremendous politeness and grace in every store and eatery.  Every sign in the city is in French and the first thing you’ll hear when you walk into any establishment is a greeting in French.  Of course once they realize you don’t speak French, the English comes at you naturally. My mom said it best, that she’d never been to a city where the people were so fluently bilingual.

 

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I made an effort to smile at everybody, try and dispel the American stigma that I’ve been aware of since I was younger and living overseas.  I did notice that the smile-backs are a little guarded, but there is absolutely no lack of friendly reciprocation.  I don’t think the Montrealites were appreciative of my raucous disposition after a few drinks (our poor Uber driver), but they’ll survive.

 

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I got to spend some time by the water.  Not exactly the best views, but flooded with tourists and their DSLRs.  I felt like I did a tremendous amount of walking to experience what every other big city with a waterfront has to offer.  At least I found a bangin’ pizza spot that appreciated my propensity for tipping.

 

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If you go, don’t forget to try a bagel.  I scoffed, but man…respect to the Montreal bagel.

Also shouts to my buddies’ Hyun and Eric for not throwing their hands up in front of their faces every time I took a picture of them.

Richmond

Just a quick post on some photos I took of Richmond.  This was my first time seeing the city’s core, and I really enjoyed it.  The vibe there is laid back, with lots of breweries and young people bouncing around with their young people enthusiasm.

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My favorite aspect of Richmond is that it’s still in it’s early stages of gentrification, so you have a lot of old industry peppering the city.  Lots of exploration potential!

My good friend Carter, also known as Alcrani in the Drum & Bass community, was gracious enough to host my visit.

Carter Alcrani

 

Carter’s kitten, Funyons, is the sweetest cat I’ve ever experienced.  Such an intuitive little girl.  Something about Drum & Bass producers and their cats.

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Photos taken with:

Sony A7II
Sony Sonnar 55mm/1.8 FE ZA

Beyond the Ripcurl (Hawaii Pt. 2)

(Part 1 of this trip can be found in my prior post, Don’t Be Salty, Brah.)

The Na Pali coast, which is on the north end of Kauai island, is very mountainous and very beautiful.  Tourists just flock to the area for the big waves and the trail hiking.  The hike around the edge of the mountain range right along the coast goes for miles, with many lookouts that pepper the trail.  Initially I had a hard time challenging the trail as I get some vertigo with heights, but after forcing myself to face the problem I was able to get through our hike with some conviction.

 

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It was impossible to not get a good shot in this area.  The waves hit the mountains so aggressively that it created a huge mist spray.  What I failed to capture was some of the more intense parts of the trail, where little mountain streams and dense canopies would sop layers of smooth rock.  Had to channel our inner billy goats for those situations.

 

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Post trail, my buddy took us to an overlook that was much closer to the crags and crashing waves.  We thought that we were at a safe enough height to look over the maelstrom, but soon the waves were kissing our shoes.

You can imagine how dangerous it can be there if you’re not careful.

The picture below is of the bottom of an uprooted tree, with a crashing wave in the background.

 

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This trip would not be complete without some camping.  My friends took me to Waimea on the west side of the island, which is known for it’s giant canyons.  The Waimea canyons are known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.  The canyons were carved into the land through volcanic lava.  That’s a LOT of lava.

 

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As somebody who has never seen the Grand Canyon in person, I was absolutely stunned with how vast the view was.  We spent half of our time at the lookouts trying to spot goats bouncing around, 500 meters below us.

Exposure was tough.  Lots of shadows, lots of light extremes.  I was fortunate enough to nail the panorama above with balanced exposure, sun somewhat behind me.

Camping was another amazing experience.  I was curious at how camping would be on a tropical island.

 

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What I (and perhaps we) didn’t expect were rats and boars. We encountered rats inspecting our food, who were not perturbed by our presence whatsoever.  Once we went to bed, we heard boars roll into our campsite, snorting all around our tent.

 

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The last experience I documented below are from the last day of my visit, where we drove up the east side of the island for one last day trip.  We spent some time at Kalihiwai Beach, which was rather choppy that day.  The waves were so extreme that the tide snuck up on us so quickly that Mike nearly lost his slippers.

 

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Lots of tourists were there with 500mm lenses.  I don’t understand (I don’t think they do either).

Anyways, the atmosphere was very cinematic.  Absolutely one of my favorite parts of the trip.

The shot below is from Tahiti Nui, the famous bar/restaurant that was included in The Descendants with George Clooney.  The Mai Tais ARE amazing.

 

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Don’t Be Salty, Brah (Hawaii Pt. 1)

After a very long year, I decided I needed a vacation to shake off some bad energy.

Some close friends of mine had recently decided that they would relocate themselves to the beautiful island of Kauai, the western most (and least developed) island of Hawaii.  Ali and Mike had moved last summer, so the timing to visit them was perfect since they had had some time to settle in and get the lei of the land (probably not the first to make that joke).

 

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I landed in Lihue Airport, who’s small size is complemented by the friendliest people I’ve ever experienced at an airport.  And after a 12 hour flight from DC, I took what I could get.

After a decent night’s rest, we ventured out to the coast to the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail for a hike and some beach time.  The weather, perfect.  The beer, Hawaiian (I love it).

My pictures really do not do the island justice.  There is a level of grandeur there that is really unmatched by any other location in the world.

 

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For me, Kauai wasn’t about the beaches, which I think is what people might think first when they hear “Hawaii”.  It’s really about the juxtaposition of clear-watered coasts, very lush vegetation, and stark mountains that jut out of no where.  Just think Jurassic Park (which was filmed in Kauai).

 

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The locals there are very adamant about keeping their last semblance of culture and natural environment in tact.  Of course, it’s an island in a US State, so the push to develop over the land is very high.  It’s a sad thing.

I thought to myself how great it was that there was only one or two Mcdonalds across the entire island.

Civilization lies on the fringes of the island, with the majority of the center being nature reserves.  There is one main road that takes you around the perimeter of the island, with beautiful beaches and novel (and old) little towns that have a lot of heart and soul.

 

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My friends took me to a secret beach off of the Manaulepu Trail. It required descending from a gnarly little cliff, which made it all the more worthwhile.

Absolutely nobody around!  Again, such beauty.

After that we decided to head to one of their favorite beaches called Poipu, and its neighboring beach Brennecke.  Although it was populated, it was definitely bearable.  One thing that I have to mention is that the island is full of hens and roosters.

 

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They’ve basically become the island pests.  Of course they’re beautiful, beautiful creatures, but they’ll definitely come right up to you and try to peck food right out of your hands.

Chickens, along with goats and rats, were brought to the islands with Captain Cook and his band of burly buccaneers. Before his untimely demise of course.

I have about 30 shots of just chickens.

My friend Ali also took me to another beach on the southwestern side of the island called Salt Pond, which became my favorite beach both because of the tame surf and beautiful rocky outcroppings,  but also because of the friggin ridiculous caramel salt gelato that they named after it.  I crushed two of those puppies so fast, I nearly bit my hand.

 

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On the fringes of these beaches, one can find tents and little pop up homes.  I guess people don’t really tell you much about the homeless population in Hawaii, but there is definitely a contingent of people without homes.  Well, without solid, immovable structures.

 

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The way of life there is carefree and lackadaisical.  People don’t care about what they’re wearing when they leave their houses.  They are more concerned with other matters, and also, enjoying life around them.  Its a value that many people seem to forget in their bustling city lives. Enjoying what’s around you and not be as concerned about your destination.

 

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There isn’t much of a night life on Kauai.  Everything happens when the sun is up, and people shut down at around 7 pm.  But on some nights, you can hit ol’ Hanapepe for an art walk, which is exactly what we ended up doing.  Food trucks, knick knacks, and art are sold until 9 or 10 in the evening (I think).

 

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It was great to see some live musical performances set up along the road, ranging from traditional to modern.  The island is such a melting pot of cultures that it reflects in absolutely everything.  So although many of the natives are averse to major developmental change, they are at the same time a product of multicultural amalgamation.

 

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My friends were kind enough to drive me around the eastern side of the island to the north shore, which is where more of the tourist traps and affluent mainlanders own houses.  The notable beaches where I captured these shots are Moloa’a Beach, Anini Beach, Hanalei, and Ke’e Beach.

 

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We noticed these really peculiar and interesting spiders at Moloa beach that wove zig-zags into their webs.  They were beautiful and terrifying!  All over the place.

 

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The weather at the north shore is much wetter than the rest of the island.  I believe this is due to the geography and topography, but not sure of why exactly.  Plus, my visit was at a time of year that is particularly tumultuous and rainy.  The waves up there are choppy and can get very large, which draws surfers.

 

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The mountain cliffs at the north shore are very popular for hiking, with a massive (and somewhat dangerous) trail called the Kalalau trail.  Documentation of our hike on that trail will be in the next post. 🙂

The last picture is from Shipwreck Beach, where my friends and I had a bonfire and stared at the beautiful night sky over some beers and tunes.  Unfortunately, that night was the night we heard David Bowie had passed, so the evening ended on a somber note.

 

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More to come in Part 2!!!