Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Majestic Haleakala Sunset

I left the ziplining, and had tea and lunch in Hula, before driving to Haleakala State Park, for hiking and the sunset. Hiking fairly easily at 8000 feet -- and, for me, it was easier going up than down -- I was given another reminder of the blessings of the weight loss.

The first part of my journey in Haleakala was amazing! Here are the sites of the cinder cones and crater views I had on my journey on the Halemau'u Trail, as well as other spectacular sites:

In the parking lot, I realize I will be hiking above the clouds!:

The views of the clouds are visible throughout the hike:

I've reached the point where I can view the craters and cinder cones:

More clouds below:

And the sunset from the summit later:

The sun is saying goodbye :( :

A couple of warnings about this hike -- this was the first experience I had on Hawaii of several where it was important to have done my own research beforehand, because the assistance that I got from staff and fellow hikers -- which was significant -- was not always sufficient to prepare one for the journey. I still had trouble with another planned hike, having trouble reading their signs, and not all directions from staff were completely clear to me when I arrived at the park.

Next, even with fair warning from staff, I was friggin' COLD up there at 11,000 feet, even though I had a sweater and jacket on. Now, remember, I am 140 pounds lighter than I was 19 or 20 months ago, so that played a factor, but not everyone was as prepared as I was. This is important. Temperatures dipped to the low 50s on this summer day. Be prepared to be cold, but the sunset is worth it.

Finally -- and this is no one's fault but my own -- I only recently decided I don't want to be sunburned anymore, and was wearing sunscreen on this hike. The problem was, I didn't know if you put it above your eyes, then exercise as I was during the hike, it would get into your eyes. Oops! I would make this mistake the next day, too, as I'll describe. So it was tough for me to see, and the sun was GLARING!

There was also the steep descent down by car -- quite a travel for which I have no pictures -- I was driving.

All things considered, I have some great memories, and wouldn't have missed it for the world. You live and learn. Here is the link to the park, with information on the hikes:

I had a lot of difficulty driving with the pain in my eyes. I stopped by the airport for my final meal of the day, finding a highly recommended restaurant, Marco's Grill and Deli, which was fortunately open until just a half hour after my arrival:

My waitress, Chantal,was wonderful! She took time to answer all my dietary questions, and made sure to be clear that her most recommended sandwich -- The Meatball Parmigiano Italiano -- was too big for my diet, as good as it might have been. No matter -- the pastrami sandwich with salad below was quite sufficient and excellent!:

I highly recommend the restaurant. Here is a link with their menu, without the prices:

The drive to my accommodations from the restaurant was difficult, as my eyes were still in pain, but I look back fondly. Haleakala provided me with great memories I will never forget, and I thank Chantal for her excellent service at Marco's Grill and Deli during a tough time for me physically! Hopefully, your trip to Halekala is even better!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Zipping" Through Maui

On July 3, I awoke and jogged, then had breakfast at CJs Diner and Deli, where I had my first "Loco-Moco" -- Hamburger meat with eggs, a local favorite. Yummy, with the gravy! Here are some pics:

The restaurant itself...:

The scrumptious loco-moco!...:

And the friendly couple, Mack and Christine, who invited me to join them for breakfast:

Mack and Christine -- I lost my cell phone, and all the numbers in it later in the trip! If you read this, please contact me! You can contact me here, or via facebook. I also gave you my cell phone number, which is still my cell phone number. You guys were awesome, and I'd love to hear from you!

Here is the link to the restaurant:

I left the awesome breakfast at the local joint to drive to the Maui Tropical Plantation, for my zipline adventure! The day was a lot of fun, and, as it was geared towards beginners as I was that day, piqued my interest for more challenging zipline courses. We had five zipline opportunities, as well as the first of many opportunities to learn about the lay of the Maui agricultural land -- plants, mountains, etc. I haven't included that, because I wanted to zip line!!!!!

Here are some pics of the highlights:

This is Avocado, one of the instructors. Despite his goofiness, which is why he is featured on my blog, he was as safety conscious as all the instructors, and very good, as they all were:

Here I am on one of the "freelance" lines -- I am going hands-free only at the okay of the instructors...:

The final zipline, where I am yelling "40 = 50!"

And a picture of the name of the site, with phone number and fortuitous!...:

Just in case, here is the link:

Of note, I had to be weighed for this experience. I weighed in at 125! Ziplining has a weight restriction -- 250 pounds at this company. Guess who couldn't go ziplining a couple years back?

Be that as it may, the Maui Zipline company provided an awesome, fun, informative introduction to ziplining. I want to do more because of it. You can't ask for anything more as the novice that I was! Highly recommended, especially if you haven't done ziplining before. And ask for Avocado, and not just for lunch (just don't mention guacamole, he hates that :) )!

Monday, July 18, 2011

An Amazing Sunset

After washing up after the surf, I had lunch at Leilani's on the Beach, in Whaler's Villae. I was introduced to a very kind staff, live music, and fish tacos in an outdoor setting, my favorite. The fish was Ono, a new fish for my taste buds when the trip began, but hardly by the time I returned home! Here are some pics, along with a link to the restaurant:

I found it frustrating finding restaurants open "late" for breakfast and dinner -- I had this meal maybe at 2:30 P. M.! But Leilani's was great, and hit the spot!

After some tea at the Wharf, I went on a sunset cruise. I shared my table with an elderly couple, from whom I learned a lot about what Hawaii had to offer. I also enjoyed the scenery:

The sunset was majestic:

And I could't resist taking a picture of the moon, to complement that of the rainbow I had taken earlier in the day, and the sunset:

The company that offered this cruise is the Lahaina Cruise Company. I highly recommend them for a number of reasons. Most importantly, they offer a great, relaxing sunset cruise, which really hit the spot for this tense New Yorker! Second, they catered to my dietary needs, packing up my meal -- scrumptious Macadamia Nut Encrusted Mahi Mahi, with salad and dinner rolls, includin the local taro rolls -- so I could eat it back in my accommodations. Third, their staff took the time to take pictures and talk to the patrons -- very friendly. Everything you could possible want from a sunset cruise! Their cruise provided the perfect end to a very nice first day in paradise!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

And the link...

The link to the Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy:

Give 'em a call :).

Almost forgot

Oh, and I probably couldn't have surfed if I had still weighed 265 -- I was told how difficult that could be by Mikey, and believe me, knowing how difficult it is to learn any task at any weight, especially new physical tasks, and given the amount of falling I did, I am very happy I had about 140 pounds less to lift up each time I fell. One of several experiences I had in Hawaii which I could not have had four years ago, or even two years ago! I truly was blessed with my surfing experience, among others.

Getting "On the Board" With The Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy

My first non-food activity was learning to surf. It was the first time I ever tried this, on the morning of July 2, 2011. I had modest goals, which I met -- I just wanted the experience of being on the board for a few seconds. I should say I exceeded those goals, though that is a bit misleading -- I fell quite a bit too! Here are some pics, most of which were taken by the staff photographer:

Getting on the board...

I'm surfing! :)

I'm surfing!

And I'm down...but....

It's all good! :)

One pic from my own camera...Here I am afterwards, with Mikey the instructor...

It was fun, an experience I wouldn't trade for the world -- New York City boy celebrates 40th birthday by surfing in Hawaii, among other things. Mikey was great, and he made sure we were all safe surfers, and that we all had a good time. He was very encouraging, and made the experience great.

Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy is a good choice for the novice surfer like myself, and it piqued my interest for further surfing experiences in the future.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hawaii Begins With Food -- An Unfortunate, but Yummy! :) Trend

Food, unfortunately, was a difficult issue throughout my Hawaiian adventure. Unfortunately, I didn't know how difficult it would be throughout the trip. It wasn't the food, however, and the issues that would plague me -- namely, early closing restaurants that made sticking to my diet of six hours between ending one vacation meal and beginning another -- were non-issues for the first two meals of my trip.

I asked a friend to drive me from my apartment at 6:30 A. M. on Friday. He said he could do it at 6:00 A. M. I was up by 4:00 A. M., doing last minute packing. I had breakfast at JFK airport, and lunch at the Phoenix airport, and my second flight from Phoenix to Hawaii lasted over seven hours. I was dead tired and very hungry when I landed in Hawaii, and my first experience, after getting luggage and obtaining the rental car, was to eat. Taking a tip from the rental car staff, I went to Da Kitchen, a local restaurant near the airport, which provided access to a quick, Hawaiian cuisine!

Here are some pics, along with the "hang loose" sign, which the waitress insisted I display!

Not sure what the fish was that I ate there, but it is yummy! Came with the green salad, too!

Here is the link to the restaurant, which is a Hawaiian chain:

A nice opening act!

I was up early the next morning, in time to jog, and arrive early at my next stop, The Gazebo restaurant, the typical restaurant with the line out the door, so it has to be good! While I waited in line -- nearly an hour -- for the restaurant to open, I got the chance to photograph this natural beauty!

Here are some pics of the restaurant -- I am seen there with the Big Kahuna Omelet, which contained my first taste of scruptious Portugese sausage.

Below is the view of the island of Molokini -- from the seat the waitress gave me after I asked for the "best avaiable seat."

A picture of the line, along with umbrellas handed to patrons to protect them from the rain, and showing the gazebo giving the restaurant its namesake.

Here is a link to the restaurant:

Looking back on experiences I would not yet have on this morning, July 2, 2011, I am sorry that my Hawaiian experience centered so much around food. That is not healthy for me, and I will describe it better later. That said, Da Kitchen and The Gazebo provided exactly what I wanted -- Hawaiian cuisine (because I was in Hawaii), and yummy food. They are definitely worth the patronage, even with the long wait at The Gazebo.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fiber One -- Cardboard No -- Delicious -- and Life-Changing -- Yes!

One person I met on my travels reviewed my blog after she heard my story. She noted I have not credited Fiber One with their role in my massive weight loss. Their cereal -- more specifically, their raisin bran crunch -- with 11 grams of delicious fiber per bowl -- has been a big part of my weight loss! Prior to my weight loss -- about nine or ten months prior -- I read about the benefits of a diet consisting of high protein during early meal, followed by a high-fiber carbohydrate at night. I have religiously eaten four meals per day during the week, the first three of which consist of a protein -- veal, fish, sausage -- on a high fiber piece of bread. The first meal only adds a vegetable with mustard. The fourth meal, I religiously eat Fiber One Raisin Bran Clusters, along with a fruit or vegetable. They have been part of my weight loss, which, after a week of vacation meals (sans the Fiber One cereal, though I eagerly resumed eating it upon my return from Hawaii), stands at 138 pounds of maintained loss! My philosophy is, if it ain't broke, don't fix it! I will eat this cereal every night! It is as delicious as it is healthy.

It is only one part of a balanced diet, and a plan that includes exercise, jogging and lifting. But it is a big, contributing part. As my doctor told me, the most important three parts of a diet are fiber, fiber, and fiber. Fiber One has me looking forward to my final meal of the day, every day, for a healthy, sweet treat!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

40 = 50!

Hello loyal followers:

It has been awhile since my last reason...I was planning for my trip to Hawaii. And guess what? I did it! All 50 states, my last in celebration of birthday number 40!

I just arrived back home yesterday, July 11, at around 6:30 P. M., after leaving Hawaii at 10:00 P. M. local time on July 10. Having awoken early on the 10th to make full use of my final day, and having gotten only minimal sleep on the plane, I was exceptionally tired when I arrived home. I will get to blogging about this trip shortly, but, for several reasons, I am giving myself some time to process it.

Truth be told, Hawaii "kicked" my behind, both literally and figuratively. It was not my favorite state, not by a long shot, and some of the activities I had planned were far more strenuous than either I had read about or been told about. I had some experiences that were very disappointing. As for the literal part, I fell on my behind during a tricky hike, and I am still feeling it. The negatives are kind of depressing, and overshadow a number of wonderful things that happened on the trip, including things related to maintaining my food abstinence (in an essential, if not perfect, manner), and experiencing only minimal weight gain after the 11 days.

I want to present a balanced point of view on the trip. I have dedicated myself to providing only positive feedback on this site. After my trip to Hawaii, I am not sure I can do that. Some experiences were so negative, I think potential travelers need to be aware of them. Right now, with my final experience on the trip being one of the negatives, I am depressed, and see only negatives of my trip. Whether or not I chose to discuss the negative experiences I have had, seeing only negatives is not balanced. Much of what I did not enjoy is personal, and no reflection on Hawaii. Some parts of the trip are reflections on the experiences, and not about me. I have to tease all of this out.

But the most important thing to mention here is that I'm back, and I did it! I accomplished my 40th birthday goal. I am proud of that, and will do my best to present information to allow those who travel where I went to avoid the pitfalls I experienced, while taking advantages of the highlights I did enjoy.