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Maui and Kaua’i Day 4: Tricks and Treats

all seasons in one day 91 °F

We got up and went straight to Julia’s Best Banana Bread stand. Last time we were here we loved their bread, and we had to go back. The man at the stand told us he was going to show us “a trick and a treat.” The treat was banana bread samples.
The trick was that he yells “hup hup hup” and throws pieces of bread, which causes a mongoose feeding frenzy. One of our fellow customers at the stand had never seen a mongoose, and thought they were rats. The man at the stand explained that they’re “like Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.” We bought two loaves of banana bread, some passionfruit lemonade, some passionfruit butter, and some dried mango slices with li hing mui powder. Then we headed for the blowhole.
We went a bit too far, and saw some beautiful places beyond the blowhole.
Our Jeep.
The wind at the blowhole is always incredible, and so are the views. We didn’t stay too long, having seen it before, but we were glad we went.
Next we went to Honolua Bay, where after a short hike through the forest we arrived...
...at the most amazing snorkeling location we’ve found. There were three diving boats in the bay, and lots of people snorkeling from the shore. We saw a lot of fish and, most amazingly, a small sea turtle! We’ve never snorkeled here without seeing a turtle.
We went back to our room and had lunch after snorkeling. We had our leftover musubi, chips, some Julia’s banana bread, and the passionfruit lemonade. After that we headed to Upcountry!
We stopped at Maui Wine for wine tasting and admiring the beautiful views from the cottage where King Kalakaua stayed. While there we had a nice conversation with a couple who had moved to Maui from Chicago, as well as an employee who was studying to become a teacher. Catherine recognized his surname as a Portuguese name, and he said his ancestors were from Madeira. We talked a bit with him and then headed back to Ka’anapali.
Some Upcountry Maui views. It looks a lot like the Azores, and in fact many of the Portuguese people who came to Hawaii seem to have settled in this area.
As we drove we talked to Catherine’s parents and got an update on Flora, who is doing very well and playing happily at their house like she does at ours.
On our way back we stopped at the Maui Pineapple Store in Lahaina. Catherine went in, and the cashier asked her if, in addition to the pineapples we were buying we would like some fresh cut pineapple. Catherine accepted the offer, and we ate this delicious pineapple. After that, we went to have dessert at our hotel.

Posted by danielcatherine 01:25 Archived in USA Tagged turtles king wine pineapples snorkeling lahaina honolua bread portuguese kalakaua upcountry julia’s Comments (4)

Portugal Day 11: Hoje, Ananáses!

(Today, Pineapples!)

semi-overcast 74 °F

Today we flew from Lisbon to São Miguel we were all on the same flight, so we had to try to trade seats to sit together. We were able to, but Katie and Anthony were not.
Catherine happily using the people mover while we trudge along on the ground.
Adeus, Lisboa!
Olá, Açores!
Catherine and Anthony minutes after setting foot for the first time in their ancestral islands (although Anthony’s grandparents were really from Faial, not São Miguel.)
Some pictures of the plants around the house where we are staying. There’s even a banana field in the back yard, but none of them seem to be ripe right now.
The Casa de Fruta Empire is vast indeed.
Actually, we are at the Arruda pineapple plantation.
The pineapples are grown in whitewashed greenhouses.


Some pictures of the pineapples at their various stages of growth.
A statue of the founder of the plantation, and one of some kind of allegorical bromeliad royalty...
There are fish in the water tanks, probably to fight off mosquitos.
A pineapple cat, most likely named Ana. It’s even orange like an ananás.
Some pictures of the snack stand, where you can get all kinds of pineapple treats. We got pineapple juice, pineapple cake, pineapple liqueur, pineapple white snow, and of course, cut pineapple.
We went back to the house, then walked to the restaurant where our reservation was already made. Some pictures of the streets of Ponta Delgada as we walked to the restaurant.
Anthony, his brother Gary, and his brother Joe.
The first course: lapas (limpets). Neither of us really care for sea food, but we resolved to at least try it. It wasn’t too bad: very lemony and garlicky (probably due to the large amount of lemon and garlic on them).
We did skip the octopus, leading to the charge that Catherine says she’s adventurous but she’s not.
Pineapple cake was less difficult to eat.
Catherine’s brother, Fr. Michael, and their Uncle Gary.
Catherine’s cousin Justin and his girlfriend Madeline.
Catherine’s Uncle John and Aunt Terri.
Catherine’s cousins Ryan and Nicole.
Ryan’s father-in-law Manny, and Manny’s daughter Jill. Manny was born on Faial.


The entire group.
The streets at night.

Posted by danielcatherine 03:15 Archived in Portugal Tagged family dinner pineapples azores ananás lapas limpets ponta_delgada you_say_you’re_adventurous_but_ Comments (4)

Portugal Day 9: Fátima, Nazaré, and a Princess of Óbidos

sunny 79 °F

We had a quick breakfast at the hotel before going out on our bus tour to Fátima.
Our first stop was the “factory” which was really a large store with a lot of religious and secular souvenirs. Apparently everything was made in Portugal, although most of it looked exactly like the souvenirs available at other shops. Catherine’s dad joked about turning over the tables like Jesus in the Temple.
The beautiful older basilica and the square at Fatima. We had somewhat limited time, and the group wanted to go to Mass. There was a mass celebrated in Portuguese in “the basilica” which we hoped would be this one.
Instead, it was this one. It was still inspiring to see how many people were at Mass and touring Fátima.
The Apparition Chapel where the children first saw Our Lady. When we went by there was a mass going on outside the chapel.
Some more pictures of the outside of the older basilica, where the visionaries are buried. They have a large area surrounded by walkways with statues of saints at the top, similar to the one at the Vatican.
Inside the older basilica, where there seemed to be a wedding or renewal of vows going on. There is a strange, peaceful but momentous feeling inside this building.
Catherine’s Aunt Teri and Uncle John in Fatima.
Next, we went to Batalha, where we had lunch and saw the monastery. There is an equestrian statue of St. Nuno Álvares Pereira, who commanded some of the Portuguese forces in the war with Castile in the fourteenth century. Batalha was founded to commemorate the battle.
Our tour guide suggested that we didn’t need to see the inside, that the outside was sufficient.
We went in anyway. It was really beautiful. Catherine loved the gothic architecture, and it was interesting to see the tombs of kings.
Next, Nazaré, where we just looked around at the ocean. It is a very pretty spot, and is famous for surfing. The world record for surfing a single wave was set here by Garrett McNamara (not, as our tour guide told us, by Robert McNamara).
Berlim pastries (essentially filled doughnuts). We go a pineapple filled one.
Next, we stopped at the beautiful walled city of Óbidos. The only small inconvenience was that it was extremely crowded due to a medieval fair going on throughout July. There were people in costume, mostly as medieval lords and ladies, but some barbarians and other characters from the past. There was a costume rental, but we didn’t elect to dress up.
Catherine’s Aunt Teri did take a picture with Tree Man, however.
More pictures of the beautiful walled city.
One of the major attractions in Óbidos is trying their famous sour cherry liqueur, called ginja. It is served here out of chocolate cups which you can then eat.
The Princess of Óbidos. Flower crowns were readily available throughout the city. They are made from real flowers, including lavender, and smell very nice.
Back in Lisbon for dinner. We went with Catherine’s parents and her Aunt Teri. We went to a delicious Italian restaurant.

Posted by danielcatherine 02:01 Archived in Portugal Tagged basilica cherry pineapples john anthony katie walled_city princess lavender teri fatima óbidos ginja berlim mass nazare mcnamara flower_crown Comments (3)

Hawaii Day 4: Pineapple Princess and the House of the Sun

sunny 86 °F

This morning we got ready (with delicious banana bread from the luau for breakfast) and drove to Hali'imaile for the Maui Pineapple Tour. The Maui Gold Pineapple is grown on Maui, and the growers are the last pineapple plantation in Hawaii, and thus the United States (since pineapples aren't grown commercially in other states). While people often associate Dole with Hawaii, in fact Dole pineapples come from Dole's plantation in Costa Rica. The company that is currently growing Maui Gold mostly supplies the market in Hawaii (in fact, we've hardly seen any pineapples that aren't Maui Gold), but they do send twenty percent of their pineapples to the mainland, especially the West Coast.
The tour guide (one of the two best pineapple plantation tour guides in America, as he pointed out...they have two guides...) drove us over from the distillery (more on that later) to the pineapple packing house. These two pineapples were the first harvested pineapples we saw, although many more were to come.
Crates of pineapples. These are shipped by boat to the mainland or to other islands, or by truck around Maui.
Putting on our hairnets to tour the packing house, which was made harder by the fiercly-blowing trade winds.
Pineapples rolling down the line to be washed and inspected. It was amazing to see the process.
Fashionable hairnets!
They sort the pineapples by size and by color. Fully golden pineapples are too ripe for transportation, so they go to the distillery and the winery to make wine, vodka, and gin. Small ones are separated from the crowns and softened in the sun to feed to livestock. The crowns are used to plant new pineapples! The fully green ones that are large enough go to the mainland, and the half-green half-gold ones stay in Hawaii (they are the ripest and best tasting, but are too ripe to make it to the mainland). The company only wastes a tiny percentage of pineapples: they don't harvest unless they already have a buyer for the batch they are harvesting.
The sorting chart that they use to determine where each pineapple ends up.
Every person on the tour received a box of carryon luggage-approved pineapples. They last a week, so we will have to eat ours before we leave. We'll buy more to take home with us.
The cold storage room where the pineapples are kept. The different labels show where they are bound. There is even some pineapple mash fermenting for use in the distillery across the street (the tour guide said a person with a straw could have "a good time" in the cold storage area.)
Daniel in the cold storage area.
The tour guide, Steve, drove us through the pineapple fields. The pineapple did not originate in Hawaii, but rather in Brazil. It's natural pollinator is the hummingbird, but there are no hummingbirds in Hawaii which allows the plants to develop seedless fruit. It takes eighteen months to two years for one pineapple to grow. They have fields at all levels of ripeness, to keep up supply for year-round demand. However, he did mention that there are upswings in demand around holidays, especially summer holidays like Fourth of July. Sometimes weather conditions result in the early or late ripening of some pineapples: it is typically not worth re-harvesting a field to look for these, although he said that they sometimes have volunteers glean for leftover pineapples for shelters and other care facilities. The fields are beautiful and unique-looking: they look like absolute chaos, but Steve insisted that they are in perfect rows when planted, and that it is the subsequent growth that leads to the chaos. He also said that the workers can plant thousands in a day and get paid a piece rate. Most of the workers are Filipino-American, and are rather elderly. However, he did say that with the piece rate they are some of the best-paid agricultural workers, so it is conceivable that they will be able to replace these workers when they retire.
As we drove through the fields Steve taught us this song, and had us sing it along with the CD he had. Catherine loved it.
Pineapple Princess (pineapple shirt, earrings, and necklace, and holding a pineapple.)
Steve showed us how pineapples are picked and cut a few to show us what the different ripeness levels taste like. He described the riper ones that are sold in the Hawaii market as tasting a little bit like coconut, and having a "piña colada" flavor. He kept opening pineapples and letting us taste a wide variety. Eventually he started back to the bus. We still wanted to taste pineapples, and he handed us the one he was holding.
Preparing pineapples...
...and enjoying them!
Among the pineapples.
The tour guide suggested a restaurant...the restaurant affiliated with the company! It was actually delicious, and a beautiful setting across from our next tour. The restaurant is in what was once the general store for the area. It is still called the general store, but is a restaurant.
We split a kalua pork enchilada pie with mole sauce. It was absolutely delicious.
Next, we visited Hali'imaile Distilling Company. Their most famous product is Pau Vodka, which is made from Maui Gold pineapples but doesn't have any pineapple flavor (it is not a flavored vodka--although they do sell those--but a pure vodka made from fermented pineapples. These barrels are full of their Paniolo Whiskey (a paniolo is a cowboy, thus the elaborate cowboy-style mustaches on the barrels).
The Quonset hut where the distilling takes place.
Some of the operations inside of the distillery.
The glass stills where they are distilling the fermented pineapple into pure alcohol to make the vodka. They water it down to 40% before bottling.
More of the distillery. The second picture shows the fermenting pineapple juice.
The tanks of Pau Vodka and Sammy's Beach Bar Rum (which is owned by Sammy Hagar and made from Maui sugarcane. The only problem is that the only company still making sugarcane on Maui just closed down their operations). After the tour we had a tasting. Because the distillery was not a bar they were only allowed to give us each three small taste. They had many options: oak-aged vodka, flavored vodka, vodka mixed with cognac, gin, whiskey, various rums, etc. We each tried a variety. After the tour, we drove up to the town of Makawao, which is famous for its cowboy history. Catherine's dad wondered how far we were from the road to the top of Haleakala. As it happened, we were quite near, and so we started up the mountain.
Some views as we drove up the mountain.
The drive up the mountain is somewhat nerve-wracking for the driver. The passengers can see how the mountain slopes down into the clouds, but from the driver's perspective it looks like a sheer drop from the side of the cliff. Also, as we got higher and higher the air became noticeably thinner. We stopped at this pull-out to look at the view and feel the cool air. It was almost cold, and extremely windy.
Some pictures of us at the pullout.
The top of Haleakala. This structure is at the summit and provides amazing views and shelter from the wind. It is a beautiful place to see the crater and over the water.
There is an observatory near the summit that is operated by the military in conjunction with the University of Hawaii. The top of Haleakala is one of the best places for astronomical observation in the world.
Can you believe we were all the way up there?
From the summit you can see the Island of Hawaii, the Big Island. If you measure from the bottom of the ocean, Haleakala itself is larger than Mt. Everest, and Mauna Kea on the Big Island is the largest mountain in the world.
The crater of the volcano. Haleakala means "house of the sun" and there are legends about the sun living or being imprisoned in this crater.
More views from the summit.
Anthony and Daniel on top of the mountain.
We then drove down. The top of the mountain seemed so far away. We headed back to the hotel and had dinner by the poolside, played cards with Katie and Anthony. It was a wonderful day.

Posted by danielcatherine 02:14 Archived in USA Tagged sun pineapples vodka observatory rum princess distillery whiskey haleakala hali'imaile makawao Comments (1)

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