Archive for the ‘trips’ Tag

Croatia Cruise   4 comments

I found a wonderful cruise on Travel Zoo in Sept 2021. It was good for the whole 2022 season on a luxury yacht, that holds only 30-36 passengers, for one week sailing between Split and Dubrovnik. I had been to Croatia in 2005 and always wanted to return to the islands so this was perfect. Zantium Travel is a Croatian Travel company and their prices are great! Website: https://www.zantium-travel.com/en/cruises/
Cliff and I planned our cruise from Split to Dubrovnik on Sept 17-24. We flew to New York and stayed with Yvette, Erik and Marlowe for one night. (Noakai started college at UCI).

The next afternoon we flew from New York to Dubrovnik. We had a cab take us from the airport to Dubrovnik Old Town. We had a little apartment rented but it was up several stairs to get there and up on the 4th floor, so more stairs. We walked around the Old Town for 2 days and on the second day, we walked The Wall. Dubrovnik is an ancient walled city and one of the most popular things to do there is to walk around the old city high up on the wall. On Saturday, we took a 4-hour bus to Split and found our yacht. Our cabin was below deck at the front of the ship. We rested, and got ready for the Welcome Dinner. Ines, our cruise director, introduced the crew. We had a lovely dinner with 2 couples from Louisiana: Tony & Shannon and Minnesota: Paul&Sandi. We hung out in the dining room with Phil & Jan (Melbourne) joining us. The 8 of us hit it off and spent much time together. Every night after dinner we stayed up in the dining room chatting, laughing and drinking.

Two meals a day were included -every morning a buffet breakfast is served from 8am to 9:30am and lunch around 12:30 or 1pm. The cruise included 3 dinners and the rest were on our own to try at different ports. There was swimming almost every day in the clear, clean Adriatic Sea. The food was delicious and the service crew were excellent. Our waiter Neno was my favorite. At every port, there were many other yachts and many sailboats. On the island of Hvar, we had a lovely peka dinner at a farm with olive trees, lavender and wine grapes. The island of Vis had many military bunkers, tunnels all over the island. That evening we took a cab to Konoba Jastozera in Komiza for a fabulous lobster dinner. We also stopped on Hvar, Korcula, Mljet and Slano. Each island is unique and beautiful. Korcula has a walled city similar to Dubrovnik. Mljet was a national park and we walked around the little lake to ride a boat to Angel island in the big lake. One night we took a small ferry to an oyster farm and tasted fresh oysters and mussels. The Captain’s Dinner was special with 4 courses and a party with dancing after dinner.

The beautiful scenery, the friendly people and our cruise crew as well as our travel friends made this trip so wonderful. After the cruise, we spent 3 more days in Dubrovnik and signed up for two all-day tours… one to Montenegro and the other to Mostar, Bosnia and Kravice Falls. This time, we had a much better, more convenient apartment rental that was close to the Stradum (main street) and no stairs to climb except one floor up to our room. Sadly, I caught a cold and missed the last two tours that we had booked. Cliff got to go and enjoy them while I rested in bed. But we did go by ferry to the nearby island of Lokrum where we walked around and saw a salt water pool called the Dead Sea. The flight home was quick and easy, Dubrovnik to Newark. Overnight near the Newark airport and home to Honolulu on the nonstop the next morning.

Post cruise, Cliff worked on his photos and posted them on his Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ctkhi/albums/with/72177720302708185
He separated the photos into several albums for you to enjoy.

Posted October 9, 2022 by lariyasui in Europe

Tagged with , , , ,

Cliff & Lari to Arizona   2 comments

Trip to AZ

April 24 to May 2, 2022

Cliff & I have friends in Arizona and we had planned to visit them in Feb, but changed our plans and went to Tasmania instead. This time we actually did go to AZ. First to Prescott to visit my friends, Derrill & Sandy Fulkerson and then to Phoenix to visit Cliff’s friends Steve Hood & Alise. In all we were gone for a week.

Fulkerson’s live out in the countryside of Prescott, where the lots are large and neighbors are far apart. An ideal location with no light pollution, for Cliff to take evening photos of the milky way, which he did every night, just stepping out the front door. They had dinners reserved for every night at really great places with great food. First day, we went to downtown Prescott where we walked on Whiskey Row that has many historical saloons. The most famous is the Palace Saloon, where we sat at the bar and enjoyed a beer and crispy french fries. That evening they took us to a wonderful restaurant called Essence where they serve all kinds of fish. 

The next day, we drove to Sedona and saw many views of the red rocks. We went to the Chapel of the Holy Cross on a hill surrounded with great views of red rocks. That evening we enjoyed a tapas dinner at El Gato Azul. On our last day in Prescott, Derrill took us around their neighborhood to visit friends with fancy cars, like Bentleys and Rolls. That evening we enjoyed Thai dinner with their son John, grandson Tyler and daughter Cindy. 

They drove us to Phoenix where we met Steve & Alise at Mountauk restaurant in Scottsdale. We switched our luggage to Steve’s car and they drove us to Desert Botanical Garden to see Chihuly in the Desert. We loved the Chihuly sculptures all through the gardens and had dinner at Gertrudes with delicious offerings. We saw more Chihuly sculptures in a building and at dark we revisited the outdoor sculptures which were lit up and glorious to see. The next day we went to Tempe Marketplace mall to see Ken Koshio’s taiko group perform. We had a Japanese lunch and went to shop at Trader Joes before heading home to relax in the pool. Steve made huge margaritas along with guacamole & chips. The third day, we had a leisurely breakfast and drove out to Queen Olive Mill. We looked at all the various olive oils and flavored balsamic vinegars. We had lunch there and shopped. 

We are so grateful for wonderful friends who hosted us and drove us around their areas. Cliff and I flew home via San Francisco and were lucky to participate in the United 75th Anniversary of flying to Hawaii. There were festivities at the SFO gate, on the plane and at the HNL gate. There was Hawaiian music and hulas, gifts for us, free beer to toast on the plane and much more! 

Posted May 18, 2022 by lariyasui in USA

Tagged with ,

2022 Trip to Australia   11 comments

As soon as Australia opened up for travelers on Feb 21, 2022, Cliff contacted his Tasmanian friend, Gillian and texted with her to make plans to visit her. He has known her over 20 years and has been there many times to visit her family. He has seen her sons grow up from little boys to big men. We already had plans to fly to Phoenix and Santa Rosa to visit friends but we had to cancel those plans when our Tasmania plans firmed up.

Since United does not fly to Australia from Hawaii, we had to fly to San Francisco and on to Sydney then to Hobart, Tasmania. Tasmania is about the size of Lake Huron or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Many drives were 2 hours long to get to places. The weather there is similar to the California coast… cool and comfortable.

Gill and hubby Ian met us at the airport and drove us everywhere this entire trip. They reserved 4 nights accommodations in Hobart and up the east coast where we enjoyed many wonderful sights. First they took us to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary where we held a wombat, fed kangaroos and saw many species unique to Australia, like the Tasmanian Devil and koala bear. They drove us up Mount Wellington for views of Hobart below. They took us to Port Arthur, a former prison compound and many strange and unusual natural formations such as Tesselated rocks & blow hole. On Bruny Island we went on a hike and ran into a wild kangaroo on our trail and to chocolate house, honey shop, whiskey place and had lunch at a beer & cheese place. We went to a few wineries.

They drove us home to Launceston, in northern Tasmania where they have a huge home. We stayed in a guest cottage back of the main house. Gill has many fruit trees in her garden and I got to taste delicious plums, strawberries, blackberries, tomatoes and more. Every day they drove us far way to some caves, waterfalls, platypus in the wild, Platypus House to see them up close, Seahorse World, and Cataract Gorge right in Launceston. We met their grown children and grandchildren. Their son Adam owns a distillery making whiskey and gin and he took us riding on his 3-wheeled Harley Davidson. They cooked fabulous breakfasts and dinners and the wine, beer, or other spirits flowed freely. Australia is known for meat pies, sausage rolls that are found at bakeries everywhere. The delicious fish n chips are made with flaky shark meat.

After 2 weeks in Tasmania, we flew to Sydney where we stayed for 2 nights and had a full day to visit sites there. We were lucky to enjoy a wonderful Italian dinner right next door to our hotel and a delicious breakfast across the street. It was raining hard when we arrived, but the rain stopped on the one day we had to tour the city on our own. We walked to the Opera House and took a ferry ride to view the Opera House from Sydney Harbor with a good view of Harbor Bridge. The second night, we had a lovely dinner with the Lastro family, whom I had met in New York a few years ago when they lived in the same condo as my daughter Yvette. This was our first long, international trip together and we hope to travel to many more places in the coming months and years. 

Please enjoy the slide show below by clicking on the right arrow:

Posted March 15, 2022 by lariyasui in Pacific

Tagged with , , ,

2021 November Trip to Big Island   1 comment

November 2021 Big Island

         My nephew Kazu Hernandez reserved Kilauea Military Camp for 7 of us: Claudine & Chloe, Cliff & I and Kazu’s 2 younger daughters, Ailah & Aulia for Veteran’s Day weekend. 

         We left on the morning flight to Hilo and headed directly to Ken’s Pancake House for breakfast. We did some shopping in Hilo at 2 Ladies Kitchen for mochi and Sig Zane for some designer clothing. We shopped for our provisions at KTA and met cousin Elvis Kimura, who works there. We drove to Pahoa town and I was amazed at all the changes there. We drove to Volcano National Park and checked in at KMC. We found out that our 4-bedroom cottage had no kitchen, so we couldn’t cook spaghetti, ramen and other planned meals. We ate dinner at the bowling alley. 

         That evening we drove a short way to a parking lot at Devastation Trail and walked a mile on a paved road and a short way on a dirt path to the lookout area. We had an amazing view of the eruption from the lookout point. The moon and stars were shining and the red/orange lava was spewing. We got there around 9:30 pm and there were several people at the lookout, but we had no trouble getting a good view and taking photos there. Cliff was especially enjoying photographing his first in-person view of an eruption. 

         The next day was Friday and we decided to drive around the south point of the island to Kona. Our first stop was at Punaluu beach where we saw one sea turtle in the shallows. We stopped at the famous Punaluu Bakery and bought all kinds of goodies there to snack on. Onward to Captain Cook, Kona where we had lunch at the Manago Hotel, famous for their pork chops. Right next door we shopped at Kona Chips. We visited my cousins Brian and Winifred Kimura at H Kimura fabric shop in Kainaliu. Also visited cousin Rene at the Y Kimura lauhala shop in Holualoa. I have tons of Kimura cousins in Kona, which is where my Dad was born and raised. We drove to Hapuna beach to enjoy the Kona sunset, and we weren’t disappointed! We drove to Kamuela for dinner and found delicious Chinese food at Jade Palace. We drove back to KMC via the Saddle Road or Daniel K Inouye highway. That night we all went to sleep except for Cliff, who went by himself at midnight for another photo shoot of the eruption. 

         Saturday was a rainy day, so everyone stayed in to rest while Cliff and I drove to Hilo to purchase mochi from 2 Ladies Kitchen (Closed on Sundays) to take home on Sunday. I stood in a long line and waited a total of an hour before I got my orders of mochi. While we were gone, Kazu found a grill to make burgers for lunch. That evening, he made steaks on the grill. After dinner, we played games like charades and jun ken po. 

         Sunday we packed up, checked out and filled gas. Then we drove to Kalapana to visit my friends David Jones and Robert LaMont who have a lovely vacation home there. We drove to Hilo, shopped at Big Island Candies and returned our rental car and flew back to Honolulu. We had a most enjoyable and fun time together on the Big Island! 

Posted December 23, 2021 by lariyasui in family, Pacific, USA

Tagged with , , ,

2021 Trip to New York City and Kansas City   1 comment

October 2021 NY & KC

Cliff wanted to see an exhibit by Yayoi Kusama in NY Botanical Garden. It was on for several months and ended in October. But circumstances with his rental units, prevented him from traveling in September and October. He encouraged me to go by myself, so I could visit my daughter in NYC. I decided to visit Marcus Dowty and Linda Burgher in Kansas City on my way home from New York.
It was my first time traveling alone on standby. Cliff chose flights for me that had ample open seats, so I didn’t have any problems getting on the flights. My first flight was a 10-hr non-stop to Newark. Luckily, I had a whole row to myself near the back of the plane, so I could sleep.
On Friday evening, Erik and Yvette left for a romantic weekend getaway in the Catskills. I took the 2 kids on an East Village Crawl. We ate small bites at 4 different restaurants, including Moroccan & Japanese.
On Saturday, I taught them how to sew by hand with a needle and thread. They sewed their journals to bind them and wrote in their journals. After lunch Noakai had to leave for a track meet and Marlowe and I had the whole afternoon to ourselves. She showed me how to make bracelets with colorful rubber bands. We got dressed and took a Lyft car to the theater to see Lion King. That evening after Noakai returned from his track meet, we ordered take-out for dinner and watched Avatar for movie night.
The family Sunday morning routine is to take the PATH train to NJ across the Hudson River and have a wonderful Indian brunch at Sapthagiri. That afternoon, Noakai had to study and I took Marlowe to a Halloween party sponsored by their building. Later, Erik and Yvette came home & we had pizza rolls for dinner.
Monday, Erik went to work & both kids went to school. Yvette and I had time to pamper ourselves by going to Chinatown for massages followed by lunch. My last day in NY, Yvette & I met her friends Anisha & Tara for tea next door at the Winter Garden.
Wednesday morning I took the PATH to Newark and a Lyft to the airport to catch my flight to Kansas City to visit my friends, Marcus & Linda. It was rainy in Kansas City. The next day, they took me to the Johnson County Museum. That evening Linda and I had dinner with my other KC friends, Anna & Lynn.
Friday was still rainy, so we went to 2 art museums. I loved both the Kemper & the Nelson Atkins museums. I learned the history of the N-A: Mary Atkins donated money to build an art museum and William Nelson donated money to purchase art from all over the world. The result is that N-A Museum has one of the most extensive Asian art in the country. That evening, after we enjoyed famous KC BBQ dinner at home, Marcus & Linda took me to the lovely KC Concert Hall for an amazing Symphony Concert featuring a gifted young violinist.
The sun finally came out on my last day there and we drove to some lovely parks in the neighborhood: Parkville, Kaw Point & Wyandotte Co Lake. We hunted fall colors & found a few trees here and there, but they said in a week, everything will be in full color, so I missed the full glory of fall colors by a week.
I am so fortunate to travel on standby thanks to Cliff’s generosity.



Posted December 22, 2021 by lariyasui in family, USA

Tagged with , , , ,

2021 Summer Trip to LA-Den   Leave a comment

August 2021 Trip to LA & Denver

         Cliff and I went on our first trip together on standby. He worked for United Airlines for 43 years starting part-time during college and retired in 2015. His last job was in Operations. Before we fly, he checks which flights have many open seats for us to have a better chance of getting on. All his adult life, he has flown standby and before covid, he traveled about 17 times a year, sometimes going to Japan twice a month. This was my first time flying standby, so I learned not to expect anything but to make it on the flights we chose. 

         Due to the pandemic, my daughter Yvette and her family, who live in NYC, had not traveled for almost 2 years. They decided to visit her hubby Erik’s parents in Manhattan Beach in LA for a few weeks in August. I asked Cliff if we could visit her while they were in LA. He agreed and we made plans to go. We rented a car from Turo and found a motel in Manhattan Beach. We also made plans to fly from LA to Denver to visit my sister Christine in Boulder. 

         We took a red-eye flight to LA and our friend, Elbert picked us up with his fancy Tesla and took us to breakfast in El Segundo. He dropped us off at the Aronesty’s home in Manhattan Beach and we got to see Yvette, Erik, Noakai & Marlowe along with Joe & Diane Aronesty, Erik’s parents. That night our whole gang went to FishBar for dinner.

         The next day, Cliff drove me around LA to show me his old stomping grounds of when he lived in LA from the mid-seventies to mid-eighties. We drove to his friend Beverly McAllister’s home for Mexican lunch in her back yard. She is a wonderful gardener and a baker of cookies. She sent some cookies home with us. We had pizza & kale salad for take-out dinner at the Aronesty’s. The next day we all went to breakfast at Two Guns, where we sat outside to eat. We took the kids to Seaside Lagoon at Redondo Beach where they swam. We walked to the Manhattan Beach pier and checked out the small aquarium at the end of the pier. For dinner, Cliff and I took Noakai to Sushi Bei, which was Cliff’s hangout when he lived in LA. 

         Erik took us to the airport & we flew to Denver and took a bus from DIA to Boulder and Chris picked us up at the bus terminal. Chris cooked dinner for us and Desmonne, Brian & Coen joined us. 

         Chris drove us to Westminster Denver to take Shirley Stokoe for lunch at Cava where we enjoyed Mediterranean bowls. Back in Boulder, we shopped at Trader Joe’s. We met Tom & Tyke Wortman, who drove in from Ft Collins for dinner at Chez Thuy. After dinner, Chris drove us up to Flagstaff for the view of Boulder from the mountain.

         The next day, Chris drove us to Red Rock. We hung out at the amphitheater and had lunch at Golden Diner. Back at home, we walked down to Boulder Creek from their house and watched all the picnickers and swimmers floating downriver. That evening, Chris cooked a delicious dinner and Desmonne, Brian & Coen joined us before we left the next morning.

         On our non-stop flight back home to Honolulu, we were lucky to be upgraded to Polaris first class seats! Yay! It was a wonderful trip and I was glad that Cliff got to meet my mainland families and they all got to meet him.

Posted December 22, 2021 by lariyasui in family, USA

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Roger & Lari’s South Africa & Belgium Trip   3 comments

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

ROGER AND LARI’S 2012 FALL VACATION

Presenting the latest episode of Roger and Lari’s Travels

“South Africa & Belgium”

September 6 to 28, 2012

It was a wonderful adventure to go on safari in South Africa! I hesitated booking a safari trip for years because of the high prices. Just the airfare alone, is costly. Early this year, my sister Christine, went to a silent auction at a fundraiser for a local hospital in Boulder, Colorado where she lives. She was able to purchase a 6-day safari package for two for $2,200 at Zulu Nyala Lodge in South Africa, which includes lodging, 3 meals a day, and two safaris per day. And she offered me the same deal, which is good anytime in 2012 or 2013. So I immediately said yes, and bought the certificate for the safari package. I decided to go this year, and she is going next year. We were gone for 3 weeks because we went to Cape Town on our own after the safari and then to Brussels for a week to visit family, who live near Brussels.

It took us 3 gruelling red eye flights to reach Durban S. Africa, where a shuttle picked us up to drive us to Zulu Nyala. Our lodge was beautiful with a swimming pool and large dining room and our room was lovely with a large bathroom and comfortable beds. They even had wifi so my iphone and ipad worked! Amazing! We were assigned to Chris for our driver guide who took us out each morning and each afternoon with 6 other people. 4 times, he drove into the mud and we had to push our vehicle out of the mud. On our last day the mud was so deep, and there were only 4 of us, so we could not push him out. Chris had to walk us out to a main road where another guide picked us up, and he waited for a tractor to rescue his vehicle. We saw rhino, impala, nyala, warthog, giraffe, zebra, cheetah, cape buffalo, vulture, and more. The daily routine was to have breakfast, go out for a morning drive, come back for lunch and rest, go out for afternoon drive, come back to relax and have dinner. Once, we went out for a night drive and once on an early morning drive before breakfast. The most exciting sight was watching a male cheetah feeding on his kill-a nyala. We were able to walk up as close as 6 feet away from him while he was eating.

Most of the guests were there through silent or live auctions, and everyone paid a different price depending on the highest bid at their respective auctions. In our group, there was one couple that paid less than us, ($1800) and everyone else paid more than us, the highest being $7000. Trevor Shaw is one of South Africa’s most reputable diamond dealers. A lover of African bush and wildlife, Trevor acquired a small private game lodge and reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal, naming it Zulu Nyala. It started out as a place for his family and friends, then it was used for filming movies. Eventually, he started giving travel packages to Zulu Nyala as donations to help raise funds for charities in the United States, which bring many Americans to this beautiful country.

We had to pay extra to go to other reserves. Our reserve has 3 elephants, which we could see on a ridge from our swimming pool, but we could not see them up close. One day we went to a neighboring reserve, called Phinda Private Reserve, hoping to see lions and elephants. We went in their vehicle, which has a ranger/driver and a tracker who sits up front looking for animal tracks. Although we did not spot a single elephant, we saw a pride of lions twice. Once we saw them on the road, and when we stopped our vehicle, they walked right past us! Later, we saw them resting, so our ranger drove up close to them so we could all snap photos in awe.

On our last day, we went to Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park. We were lucky to see wild dogs, hyena, baboon, rhino, a dung beetle rolling a ball of dung, and finally, we saw elephants. Several of them crossed the road right in front of us, with their babies. We were satisfied after seeing the elephants. So we got to see 4 of the Big 5: Rhino, elephant, cape buffalo, and lion. We did not see leopard since it is nocturnal, although there was one on our reserve and some of our friends saw it.

We flew to Cape Town, located at the tip of South Africa. We hired a driver to take us on tours, since we did not feel comfortable driving on the left side. Our first tour was a beautiful drive down to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point. We saw ostrich, penguins, had lunch at a seafood restaurant by the sea, toured one winery and went up Table Mountain overlooking the city of Cape Town.  The next day we had a winery tour, and stopped at two wineries and had lunch at Moyo restaurant, where we sat up in a tree and had South African buffet. We stayed at a B&B in Sea Point, a lovely part of the city.

Then we flew to Brussels, and stayed for 2 days where we drank Belgian beer, ate Belgian waffles, decadent chocolates, had mussels in Brussels, and other delicious French food, such as frog legs, escargot and onion soup. Belgium is a unique country without a language of its own. They speak French in the western part of the country close to France and Dutch on the eastern part close to Netherlands. In Brussels, we visited the Royal Palace and Grand Place-the main town square with outstanding architecture. We visited the Atomium, which was built for the World Fair in 1958 and is still a popular attraction, just outside of Brussels. We rode the elevator to the top sphere, with views all around.

We drove to La Louviere and visited with Sharmaine, my cousin Brian Kimura’s daughter and her husband David and two children, Collin and Addison. David is in the Navy and works at SHAPE-Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. The children are learning French at school. Sharmaine volunteers at a little shop that recycles household goods on the Army Base, called Grandma’s Attic, selling her crafts.  We spent the weekend with them. On Saturday, we went to SHAPE and the Army Base to shop for our omiyage. On Sunday, we drove to Liege, a city on the other side of Brussels to the famous Sunday Market, with vendors along the river for a mile, selling everything you can think of. On Monday, Sharmaine left her family for 2 days and went with us to Venlo, Netherlands to Floriade, a special exposition that is held every 10 years. Many countries have display tents/buildings and one large building has fabulous flower displays. We stayed overnight in Venlo and walked around the huge Floriade grounds for 2 days. They have entertainment, food, and many display buildings.

We had a wonderful trip!

Lari’s Top Favorites:

8         The delicious food in Belgium: beer, waffles, onion soup, frog legs and more

7         Brussels is a very easy city to get around in with lots of culture and history

6         Visiting with Sharmaine’s family in Belgium

5         Beautiful Cape Town and environs, especially Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope

4         The pride of lions walking right next to our vehicle

3         The elephant sighting on the last day of our safari

2         I loved seeing the female cheetah with her 3 cubs up close

1         Safari experience: having to drive around the game reserves searching for different animals and watching the male cheetah eating his kill, a nyala.

Roger’s favorites:

At Zulu Nyala Safari we saw, from only 6 feet away, a cheetah grinding a nyala he downed . He was cool and never let us bother him, while he dined-such a pussy cat! We saw a mama cheetah and her 3 cubs. Was pretty tough because they took about 50 shots and never flinched-camera shots az why. After searching for 2 days, we finally saw about 2 dozen elephants crossing the road in front of us. Just like the rhino, when the big bull buggah looks at you, you get this creepy feeling and wonder why the driver doesn’t reverse and haul ass.

We saw warthogs, wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, wild dogs, hyenas, impalas, hippos, baboons, monkeys, buffalos, vultures, eagles, cervals, and more. As for the animals, last, but not least, a pride of lions walked right by our vehicle as if they own the jungle. I could have reached out to pet them as they passed our vehicle, but the law says no feeding.

Cape Town is a beautiful city, and very clean and modern. We had a nice view of the city from Table Mountain, with a gondola which turns 360º as it goes up and down. It was the first spinning gondola I ever rode. Wine tasting was okay and lunch of African food up in a tree house was a farce. We ate in the tree house, but had to climb down to get our buffet lunch.

Brussels is a beautiful city with a lot of green parks, a palace, many churches, and old hotels. Their city square (Grand Place) is really a rectangle, but the nicest one I’ve seen.          The Belgian waffles are so crispy they broke your mouth. Coffee and beer are all 5 stars. Mussels in Brussels is true, but Uncle Bo’s clams are mo betah by far.  One negative thing about Belgium, is that you gotta pay 25 to 60 cents to use the facilities. For toilet services, South Africa is the best. In Belgium, the homes no mo water pipes outside for water the yard. The farm and garden irrigation comes from the sky – – get so much rain, it’s super green. Brussels is a typical European city with lots of beautiful architecture old buildings and a lot of statues.

Posted November 4, 2012 by lariyasui in Africa, Europe

Tagged with , , , , ,

Roger & Lari’s 3 Winter Trips   Leave a comment

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Roger & Lari’s Three Winter Trips

We took a trip to Vancouver in November, to Durham in February and to Denver in March. All were off-season with cheap fares to visit friends and family. Roger says why go on so many “little” trips? Why not go on one “big” one? My idea is to rack up miles on cheap fares so we can use our miles on long and expensive trips, like going to Europe and Africa in September, our next “big” trip.

It was rather relaxing to travel this way… no big plans, no “must sees” or touring around. We just go to visit friends and family to hang out, so I didn’t have to do much research. And even Roger claims that it was relaxing for him, not having to drive long distances or visit museums, cathedrals or other touristy things.

Image

Autumn in Stanley Park

We’d been to Vancouver a few times before, and love the city. We stayed at Maple House B&B in Kitsilano, which was very conveniently located. We went to Encore! an improve theater show in Granville Island and to Science World, a fun museum. In Stanley Park, we enjoyed the fall colors and Vancouver Aquarium. We took the ferry to Victoria and enjoyed the Royal Museum and the Parliament, before driving north to Chemainus, a town filled with murals on many of their buildings. We ended up in Nanaimo, where we visited Bill & Diane and Bev & Jan, whom we had met on our Galapagos trip. Bev is the only one of the four who is not working, so she showed us around town and nearby sites.

In Durham, we stayed at Taki Scoville’s home. She has a huge collection of Japanese kimonos, dishes and artifacts. And her back yard has vegetable gardens, fruit trees and chickens. We visited Noaka’s school where he shared us and where I taught the hukilau hula to his classmates. Yvette took us to Nasher Art museum to see Alex Calder’s work, to NC Botanical Garden, to Duke Lemur Center, to the Durham Farmers’ Market and to the Roller Derby in Raleigh. We had so much fun hanging out with Noakai.

Then we drove to Laurel, Maryland to visit cousin Gary and Sally. They are both retired now, so we spent time just hanging out with them and got to see their daughter Kat& her hubby Billy.

After being home for a week, we flew off to Denver to visit my sister Christine in Boulder. We had to check out their new restaurant, Riffs, and it was divine. We ate there 3 times! Everything is delicious! Again, since we had no special plans or things to do we mostly hung out. We did check out the Boulder History Museum, shopped at thrift stores and went to Kirkland Museum in Denver. It was restaurant week in Denver and Boulder, so we got 2 three-course meals for $52.80.

We drove to Ft Collins to visit Tom&Tyke, whom we met on our Croatia tour. Again, we just hung out. But they did take us downtown for lunch and to the Art Museum to see Chihuly blown glass exhibit, which was exquisite. They also took us to Estes Park for an afternoon drive into the mountains.

Our last stop was to stay with Shirley Stokoe in Denver. We mostly stayed home and talked stories with her. We drove downtown one morning to meet Amy Ogawa for breakfast. She is a  pharmacist for Walgreens in Denver. On our last night, we had dinner at Shirley’s son Rick & Jeanne’s lovely home in Northglenn. Sarah and Robbie are both in high school and all grown up from when I last saw them.

Posted March 22, 2012 by lariyasui in Canada, USA

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

Roger & Lari’s Chicago Trip   Leave a comment

ROG AND LARI’S CHICAGO TRIP

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

ROG AND LARI’S CHICAGO TRIP

“Hawaiians in Chicago”

September 13 to 22, 2011

Once again cheap airfares prompted us to go somewhere… this time to return to Chicago after a 25-year absence. There is so much to see and do in the Windy City, that we couldn’t do it all in 9 days. We used the CTA trains and buses to get around while we were there and saved time and money getting around. The weather was nippy at 50’s and 60’s and mostly sunny with light showers for a couple days. We also got the City Pass, which includes 4 museums and Sears Tower at a huge discount.

I used VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) and found a wonderful apartment in the very nice Lincoln Park neighborhood right next to De Paul University and Fullerton stop on the red line. The owner, Fran, was very helpful and suggested some great shows and restaurants in the neighborhood. We had a completely furnished apartment, like a B&B without the breakfast. Our ground floor apartment could sleep five and has a washer dryer, full kitchen, living room, dining room, study, and a full bath. We loved our home away from home, with wifi for my ipad and cable TV for Roger.

We enjoyed the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum of Natural History, Museum of Science and Industry, and the Art Institute.

Navy Pier was fun1 We rode the huge ferris wheel, took in a play and loved the free Stained Glass display.

With the City Pass, we could bypass the long lines, and our tickets included some extras like the

At the Sears Tower, now renameWillis Tower, at the 103rd floor, they have The Ledge, where you can go out into a glass enclosed deck looking down and around. We also went to Chicago History Museum, which tells about the Great Chicago Fire, and the resulting city plan after the fire. We did the architectural boat ride up the Chicago River where we could see all famous buildings.Imax movie at science/industry, the trained sea mammal show at the aquarium, and headphones at the art museum.

We went to Cellular Field to watch the White Sox play the Tigers and also to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs beat the Brewers. Wrigley Field was built in 1914 and only played day games until 1988 when lights were installed. What is unique about this ballpark is that the houses outside right and left field are taller than the field fence and they have bleachers on top of their houses.

We saw 3 plays. The first one at Shakespeare Theater in Navy Pier, called Murder by Two. One night, we had to rent a car to drive out to Aurora because I bought tickets to My Fair Lady, but didn’t realize that Paramount Theater in Aurora was so far from Chicago. We also loved Million Dollar Quartet, about Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins all at the same place and singing their music. Great rock n roll on our 46th anniversary.

We visited Harpo Studios, Garfield Conservatory, Lincoln Park, Millenium Park with Crown Fountain and Cloud Gate sculpture nicknamed “The Bean”. We went on a boat ride on the Chicago River and saw all the wonderful architecture. We went to Navy Pier and rode the giant ferris wheel and enjoyed the free stained glass museum. We shopped at Trader Joe’s. We had deep dish pizza at Pequod’s, Italian at Mia Francesca and at Rose Angeli’s both near our apartment, and wonderful steaks at Select Cut also nearby. All in all, we had a great time in the Windy City, and highly recommend it to those who have never been there.

Roger’s Top:

9.          I had such delicious meat. A pork chop over an inch thick that you could shred with your fork and it almost melted in your mouth. Plus we had salad and dessert for only $6.50. On this trip, I had steak 3 times. All were excellent but the one at Rose Angeli’s was one pound, dry aged, and just broke the mouth for only $18.00. I’d go back to Chicago just to eat! (Like Japan, Paris, New Orleans and London-NOT!)

8.         Chicago has great museums. Interesting and all, but for me, too big and my mind already has so much knowledge accumulated that I could not take in too much more.

7.         My Fair Lady. You know, “the rain in Spain”. Excellent play in Aurora, 50 miles outside of Chicago and no train, so we had to rent a car.

6.         Museum of Science and Industry. From anatomy to xdqoartuztomy (whatever) for us kids and intelligent adults. Interesting to see how things work. My best museum.

5.         Shedd Aquarium was neat and I liked it better than the museums cuz everything was alive and moving.

4.         Wrigley Field built in 1914 and the Chicago Cubs. They win less than the White Sox but they won. It’s an old field but very comfortable and easy access to all facilities.

3.         White Sox baseball. They don’t win so much, but we saw them winning. They were ahead 5-2 over Detroit Tigers. In the top of the 9th, we figured no sweat, so we left only to find out that they lost in the 10th inning 6-5. What a bummer. At least we never watch them lose.

2.         The CTA bus rides. Why? No need walk.

1.         By far, the L (elevated train) rides. Why? No need walk.

Lari’s Top:

10.  2 baseball games… especially the historic Wrigley Field

9.  All the museums… terrific!

8. The Bean and other public art around the city

7.  Our comfy apartment, so convenient

6.  The convenient CTA system of the L train and bus system.

5.  Theater plays… we saw 3…

4.  The delicious meals we enjoyed mostly right in our neighborhood

3.  The friendly and helpful people who work at CTA and the general public

2.  The Architectural boat ride

1.  The Stained Glass Museum in Navy Pier

Posted September 30, 2011 by lariyasui in USA

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , ,

Lari’s Trip to Germany & Italy with Sisters   Leave a comment

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

LARI’S 2011 SPRING VACATION

“GERMANY AND ITALY”

With my sisters, Karen and Chris

APRIL 26 TO MAY 11, 2011

My sister Christine, who lives in Boulder, CO invited me and my sister Karen to go to Spoleto, Italy to stay with her in her apartment that she owns with 3 other couples. So Karen and I used our miles and booked our flights to Rome. Karen also wanted us to go to Germany to see Mother Meera, a spiritual leader from India who lives in Germany, where hundreds go to be blessed by her. So we flew to Frankfurt, rented a car and stayed in a small guest house/hotel in Balduinstein, spending our days walking and relaxing and 3 evenings receiving Darshan from Mother Meera. We found a wonderful little restaurant Lahn Blick, owned by Jessica across the river from our guest house, where the food was delicious and cheap.

Then we flew back to Rome and took a train to Spoleto, a lovely hill town about an hour or two east of Rome in the hilly countryside of Umbria. Since we had no car, we walked everywhere, and since it’s a hill town, we walked up and down stairs and cobblestone streets. The old town has a castle on the top, a large duomo (cathedral) and the modern part of Spoleto outside the ancient city walls. Chris’s apartment was near the duomo and just a few steps away was the Mercato Piazza, a small plaza with an ancient Roman fountain, gelato shops, restaurants, salami/cheese shops and our favorite bar, Café Artiste. We hung out there every day because they had free wi -fi for my iphone and ipad. They serve coffee, tea, wine, beer, gelato and various light fare such as pizza. Salvatore, our waiter, and owner, Mauro became my friends. Every afternoon a bunch of men hang out and play Italian cards in foursomes. I would watch them play between checking my email and facebook. We also made friends with Elcinio, who owns a little produce shop in the piazza. He always gives us a little fruit to eat.

Chris’s place was very comfy, with a living-room, kitchen/dining-room, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. Chris cooked risotto with porcini mushrooms one night and another night cooked pasta. We got fresh salad greens from a truck farmer who came to our piazza every morning next to the roast pork truck. We walked down to the super market, Maxi Tigre, just outside the village walls and walked back up with our loads of wine, pasta, cheese, and fixings for dinner. Most nights we ate out, but many of the restaurants open late at 8 pm. So we’d go to Artiste for free pupus and wine or beer before dinner.

Cafe Artiste my hangout in Spoleto

Inside Spoleto Cathedral

We spent the days looking for different churches, museums and shops in town. One day we decided to hike up the mountain of Monteluco next to our village, and it took us two hours to get to the convent and hotel at the top. We walked through the little convent where St. Francis had a sanctuary and had lunch at Hotel Ferretti where the salad and pasta were very delicious! Then we hitched a ride back to Spoleto, because I refused to walk back down the steep trail.

Every Friday is market day in Spoleto. We were excited to see what would be sold there. So on Friday morning, we walked down to Garibaldi Piazza, and right outside the village wall was the market. It is sort of like our swap meet where vendors set up their tents. We found farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, underwear and socks, scarves, cookware, tableware, shoes, clothing and much more. One vendor had piles of clothes on a huge table for 2 pieces for 5 euro so I got 4 pieces (blouse, slacks, skirt, and sweater) for 10 euro! Another table had leather jackets for 10 euro so Karen and I each bought a leather jacket. Great deals! Good fun!

Mother’s Day, was my birthday and the monthly market came to Spoleto. On the second Sunday of each month, vendors come to set up their tents/tables right in Mercato Piazza, down the street to the next piazza. Most of the vendors sold antiques, but there was jewelry, spices, honey, truffles, and more. We had fun shopping again! That evening we walked down to a Church where they had a free choir concert. It was divine with the wonderful acoustics in the old Church. Then we went down the street to Chris’s favorite pizza shop, where her hubby Phil, who just drove in from Rome, met us for dinner.

Our last day was spent with Phil driving us to neighboring villages. We took a wrong turn and got lost on our way to Assisi where the magnificent St. Francis Basilica has 3 levels: two cathedrals, one on top of the other, and St. Francis’ tomb in the bottom level. We also went to the villages of Spello and Montefalco. The countryside drive was so beautiful with olive trees and vineyards as far as your eyes could see on the rolling hillsides.

Phil and Chris took us to the train station where they saw us off to Rome. We caught a flight to London, where we stayed overnight near Heathrow, before flying home the next day via Los Angeles.

Lari’s Top Seven:

7.  In Spoleto, no need stairmaster or treadmills, we just lived without a car and walked everywhere, and we could eat all the pasta and never gain weight

6. Ohh, the wine! We got the cheapest wine at the supermarket and house wine in a carafe at restaurants, and it always tasted so good!

5. Ancient Roman architecture still standing after thousands of years- the teatro, the arches, the cobblestones, the fountains, and more

4. The food! So ono! Love the fresh, non-processed food. Italian food is the best! We even had great pasta in Germany.

3. Not being on a tour, and spending time with my sisters

2. Experiencing darshan from Mother Meera

1. Hanging out at Artiste Café every day, like a local

Posted May 25, 2011 by lariyasui in Europe

Tagged with , , , ,