Beaches and Biking MasterClass

We explored Honalulu on Biki bikes, which are heavy bikes you can rent with stations all around Honalulu.  We walked around Waikiki, and saw quite a bit of the super touristy stuff.  My favorite thing here was this tree.

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After hiking to see a small waterfall behind a cemetery, we went to Pali lookout, where the rain and fog made for a beautiful view.

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I didn’t get a lot of photos today, as much of it was spent relaxing on the beach, but here are a few more that I liked from yesterday.

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Hawaii and photo bootcamp

Today was my first full day in Hawaii.  I felt very fortunate to have my cousin Kurt and his girlfriend Helena as tour guides.  They went all out to make my first day on the island a spectacular one. We spent the morning hanging out on the beach just outside his and Helena’s apartment.  While snorkeling, we saw a rad turtle who wanted nothing more than to be left alone.  After the swim, Kurt gave me some lessons on photography, and we made challenges to try to best capture certain subjects.

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Kurt took me all around the island today to visit many of the famous beaches, as well as give me some greatly appreciated photography lessons.  The island itself is indescribably beautiful.  It has misty, green mountains, white sand beaches, and colors that have to be seen to be believed.  I can see why it draws so many people to move here.  The most popular beach we saw today was Lanikai.

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Kurt and I also drove to quite a few scenic overlooks on the east side of the island.  This was my favorite shot of the day, utilizing some of the techniques he taught me a few hours earlier.  It was fun to spend the day getting to know my cousin, as well as seeing his passion for both Hawaii and photography.IMG_20180922_170831-01.jpeg

Kurt and Helena have been very welcoming and wonderful hosts.  I feel lucky to have them as family.  I learned some new Brazilian songs, I ate a great breakfast burrito on the beach, and I gave a two-year-old named Noah a cracker.  What else could you want from life?

Up a Creek

Literally, not figuratively.

Yesterday morning I left Florida to head to Texas for three days.  I met my friend Idalia at Torchy’s Tacos in Houston.  It had been three years since we last saw each other, so we had quite a bit to catch up on.

Today I went climbing and ran some errands down in Austin.

I got a backpack to use for my trip to New Zealand, and took care of a few last minute things.  I also took the opportunity to walk around the town of Salado.  Salado is a quaint town in Texas with very many friendly people and a beautiful creek.  They also have quite a few interesting shops.

I will be getting ready for the next six months, so I won’t be writing too much over the next few days.  In the mean time, here are some neat pictures.

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The creek

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The view from the other side of the creek.

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A cool horse (probably not real).

Big Fun in Little Haiti

Today we headed up to Little Haiti in Miami.  The area itself is pretty rough, but within its boundaries lies an oasis.

J is a friend of the head guy, and my understanding of the place is that it is part animal sanctuary, part AirBnb, part vegan farm, and part hang-out spot for anyone who wants to be there.

The people who run the place were very laid-back, good people.

They had pigs, tortoises, an emu, and a variety of birds.  All of the animals were rescued and rehabilitated, and are allowed to live out their remaining days peacefully on the farm.

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We played four games of volleyball, and although we lost all four games, it was one of my favorite evenings of the year.  The games were not super serious, and any mistakes were met with good old-fashioned ribbing with no malice.  Everyone was just there to have a good time.IMG_20180916_183658.jpg

I am glad that places like this exist in the world.

Everglades

Today was my second day in Florida visiting my friend J.  We spent a few hours in the Everglades, hoping to get a glimpse of an alligator.  We biked to the observation deck and hung out for about fifteen minutes, before doing the eight mile trek back to the beginning.

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We didn’t see an alligator, which is apparently much more difficult than seeing one.  It was a fun trip and good exercise, so I wasn’t upset.

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J also took me on a three-mile run around his neighborhood.  I’m more out of shape than I thought, but I made it.

We also spent a good part of the day playing with his almost seven-month old daughter.  She is fascinated by beatboxing and the baby in the mirror.