Author Archives: caroline

Ohaiyo Tokyo Part 2

Day 2 was a magical day filled with childlike wonder because… we were at Disneysea! I’ve always been a huge fan of Disney having grown up watching all the movies and knowing most of the songs by heart. I think Disney is a special place and no matter your age, you always feel like a child there.

I particularly love Tokyo’s Disneyland and Disneysea because even though the rides aren’t as thrilling as the USA ones, I think the people there really make the effort to dress up (everyone is carrying a Duffy bear and wearing silly Disney head gear, walking around like it is the most normal thing in the world) and they go all out to immerse themselves in the Disney dream. I’ve never heard more enthusiastic screams to ‘Minnie-chan!’ or to see vigorous hand clapping and participation in shows from the audience. The atmosphere is electric! The Disney staff are also incredibly enthusiastic and you really feel their deep love and belief and they really go above and beyond what’s necessary to do their job well. I think all this contributes to a very unique and special experience.

Disneysea Getting There
Taking a train to Disneysea is kind of cumbersome. It takes about an hour from Shinjuku and you have to change trains at Tokyo, Maihama and then from Maihama, take the Disney Resort Line. But all this is worth it because the train is so cute! Mickey Mouse handles and windows, and of course once you step into the place, you feel that magical spirit fill the air!
Disneysea
Some things that you should definitely do in Disneysea? Eat Mickey-shaped churros, sit the Tower of Terror ride (not as frightening as the California version), eat the multi-flavored popcorn (I tried Strawberry, Black Pepper, Curry and Soy Sauce but there are others like Milk Tea, Apple Cinnamon etc!) and buy a silly hat! I love this Cheshire cat one cos it is a hat, scarf and mittens all in one! Clever!

And if you have money to spare (S$40), then go for a good 3-course meal and dine with your favourite Disney characters! The food is really quite good especially the desserts!

DisneySea Character Dining
And be sure to catch some of the shows! We watched three of them: The Table is Waiting, The Legend of Mythica (which in my opinion is a definite must-watch because it is so good!) and the Christmas show and fireworks at the very end of the night. You have to plan the schedule of the showtimes and coordinate it with your fast passes well. With good planning, you can actually watch all the shows and go for all the rides!
A Table is Waiting

legend of mythica

Fireworks

Of course the show that is not to be missed is the fireworks display. It is really gorgeous but in order to get a good view and good pictures, be sure to go 20minutes early. Usually, everyone stays to watch the fireworks go off at 8.30pm then they start making their way out. So if there are very popular rides that you haven’t gone for yet like Journey to the Centre of the Earth, then you could leave it till after the fireworks. Besides, the park usually closes late. When we were there, it closed at 10.30pm so it makes alot of sense to hang around till just about closing time.

And that’s what we did with the Toy Story ride. We couldn’t take it in the day time because it was too crowded but we managed to get on it after the fireworks display. And if there is only one ride to take, then I suggest that you take this one. It was so much fun!

Toy Story 3D

I love Mr Pricklepants!!! So this rounds up day 2. It was very tiring to last an entire 12 hours in Disneysea, fighting the crowds and the cold but it was really, so much fun. And of course, I did not leave empty handed. Along the way I picked up multiple tins of biscuits to give away as souvenirs and got myself my very own Duffy Bear.

I suggest that gift shopping be done midday instead of the end of the day because it is literally a zombie apocalypse in the gift stores with Duffy merchandise flying off the shelves every couple of seconds. I exaggerate not. So do your shopping early. There are lockers to store your purchases so you can shop, drop it in the lockers and go for your rides/shows and come back to pick it all up later as you head back to the train station. It is very convenient and efficient. I love how the Japanese think of everything.

Go Green This Christmas!

The terms “Eco-Friendly” and “Go Green” have been tossed around alot especially since these ideas are now currently in vogue. But what do these terms really mean?

Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment. This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy. Eco-friendly products also prevent contributions to air, water and land pollution. You can engage in eco-friendly habits or practices by being more conscious of how you use resources.

National Geographic

I’ve been a firm believer in the Go Green movement for quite awhile now not because it is growing in its popularity in recent years but because it is a real and pressing issue. I think we all know that the Earth’s resources are scarce and we are in short supply of natural resources like oil and precious metals. And with a growing population, that only exacerbates the issue, leading to great wastage and even pollution such as accumulation of waste in landfills that take years and years to decompose.

I guess being a nature lover, it just pains me to see the Earth slowly disintegrating and becoming a wasteland. I can’t say that I am an eco-saint but I do what I can to reduce wastage by using eco-bags instead of plastic bags and turning off all electronic devices and light switches when not in use so as to conserve electricity. Also, as far as possible, I would buy/use products that are organic and biodegradable with recyclable paper packaging or no packaging at all. It is heartening to know that skincare brands like Lush and The Body Shop as well as fashion brands like Free Fish JapanMelissa and homegrown brand Zhai  are offering viable eco-friendly products.

So this Christmas, kick start your eco-friendly lifestyle through gifting! We’ve narrowed down 3 local brands that offer eco-friendly products that are perfect for stocking stuffers and presents for friends and loved ones!

1. tango Chocolat

tangoChocolat strives to improve the planet and believes in the mission “people before self”. Our multi-label store serves as a product showcase and has knick-knacks and items that range from gifts, skincare/perfume and reusable eco-friendly tote bags.

tangoChocolat carries several specialised brands of Go Green products like Australia’s SAKitToME’s eco-bags and PAKitToMe’s backpacks. These bags are lightweight, portable because they can be folded into a tiny little square and it is made of durable polyester that can carry up to 20kg worth of goods! So really, there’s no reason to go back to plastic bags anymore! And, they come in all sorts of cute designs with a very affordable price tag!

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Shop online here or visit their shop:

Parco Millenia Walk #01-60 P101/101 (next to Cortina Watch)

2. Fair and Square artisan gallery

I know this doesn’t exactly fall under the domain of going green but I think ethical, fair trade practices are equally important. After all, the point is to make the world a better place and sometimes, that starts with people and our interaction with others.

Fair trade is a global movement aimed at alleviating poverty, protecting art and craft traditions and promoting the self-sufficiency and sustainability of workers in developing communities.

397140_10150501510212453_58510554_n15768_210973367452_8099909_nPicture Credits: Fair & Square

Fair & Square’s fabulous, funky and fair trade products are designed and produced in partnership with skilled, disadvantaged artisans in developing communities throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

So, every item that you purchase helps to show support for disadvantaged artisans as well as to support the traditional arts and crafts in these developing communities. It is like killing two birds with one stone. And these gifts range from soaps to handcrafted purses which are great gifts for stocking stuffers or even as a corporate gift for official functions or even weddings!

Read more on their website here, visit their Facebook page to see their gallery or make purchases at:

Chinatown SE Shop

80 Eu Tong Sen Street

The Majestic, Singapore

3. Bud Cosmetics

And if you are looking for ethical and organic skincare then look no further because Bud Cosmetics has the answer. Bud Cosmetics is so serious about its mission to bring guilt-free beauty to this world that it offers the following promises:

  • ALL products are made from premium natural, certified organic, bio-dynamic and/or plant derived ingredients only
  • NO harsh synthetic chemicals and detergents
  • NO artificial fragrances, no thickeners, no emulsifiers
  • NO petrochemicals and mineral oils
  • NOthing to hide policy: ALL ingredients are listed on all products and communicated in-store or online so that you know what you are putting on your skin!
  • NO animal testing

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And if you actually look at the product list, the number of offered items is staggering! Anywhere from skincare to a full makeup line to hair, bath and body products. There’s even organic perfumes and if you enjoy being pampered, there’s a spa service available too!

But what I love most of all is that the products look really pretty but its packaging is entirely recyclable and reusable and like I said before, because its organic, no pesticides or herbicides are used so this reduces the amount of chemical pollutants fed into the soil, water and air which upset the ecological balance. Beauty without guilt or destruction? Yes please!

You can shop online here (there’s free shipping with $60 spent) or visit the physical stores:

333 Orchard Road
#03-32 Mandarin Gallery
(Meritus Mandarin Hotel)
Singapore 307506

10 Sinaran Drive
#01-66 Square 2 (Novena Medical Centre)
(above Novena MRT station)
Singapore 307506

So this Christmas, think about taking the first step to going green and commit to making it an integral part of your lifestyle.

Caroline will be away from the 16th to the 23rd of December. In the meantime, let Ruth enthrall you with her adventures in Amsterdam and Italy. 

Movie Review: Rise of the Guardians

One of the few things that I look forward to in December aside from traveling (yay long school holidays!) is actually to hit the theatres to catch the latest Christmas movie. From years past, clear favourites have emerged such as Home Alone, Jingle All The Way and Love Actually. But while these movies remain as firm holiday classics, it is nice to see what new Christmas movie is in store.

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Have you been naughty or nice?

This year, that move is Rise of the Guardians. The title doesn’t sound like a typical movie that is bursting with holiday spirit but I have to say that it is a movie that has alot of heart. So the story goes like this. The Boogie Man is slowly gaining back his power and he intends to wreck havoc on the human world by instilling fear through nightmares to children. In doing so, he weakens the children’s belief in wonder, hope and innocence and in turn, this diminishes the power of the guardians: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sand Man. So the Man in the Moon (who rules them all) summons a new guardian, Jack Frost, a wayward troublemaker who has issues of his own (think: low self-esteem, fears that he is invisible and insignificant) so they can all join forces to defeat the forces of evil.

APphoto_Film Review The Rise of the Guardians

Behold, the Guardians gather…

Not exactly revolutionary in terms of its storyline since the main plot structure is similar to all movies that pit Good against Evil, but the animation and illustration was pretty awesome. Sandy the Sand Man is simply adorable despite the fact that he doesn’t utter a single word, the Yetis who help assemble the toys are huge burly furry blobs that are too cute and the tiny little elves will crack you up because of their little quirks and mischievous antics.

APphoto_Film Review Rise of the Guardians

Cute furry Yetis!!!

The Boogie Man was sufficiently scary especially as he launches a huge brood of black stallions (nightmares geddit?) against Sandy’s unicorns and even the Easter Bunny has a great deal of personality (loving that Aussie accent!) with his witty banter with Jack Frost. The fight scenes between the characters were pretty riveting though I thought Santa lacked pizzazz. I mean, since when does Santa fight with a sword? That’s just wrong and most of the time, he needs the other characters to win. Frost and Sandy being the strongest.

All in all, a great feel-good movie. Okay storyline, very respectable if not impressive animation and a good message that resonates rather convincingly: hold on to that childlike wonder, do not be afraid to hope and dream because that belief and that step of faith is very powerful.

Aloha Hawaii Day 7

Final Day in Hawaii started with a hike up Diamond Head at… 4.30am all in a bid to catch the sunrise. And because we couldn’t get a bus charter so early in the morning, we had to walk 7km from our hotel all the way to the top of Diamond Head and we had to do it fast because we were racing with the sun.

Well, the huffing and puffing was all worth it because the sight was simply glorious.

Diamond Head

After all that walking, we all got hungry and tired so we went to Denny’s a local diner for an all-American breakfast. Think bacon, eggs, the works! And then it is off to Waikele Premium Outlets for more shopping. Now I’ve experienced Premium Outlet shopping in California and it was seriously awesome. Admittedly Waikele didn’t even come close in terms of size nor variety of offerings but the deals were still quite amazing.

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I managed to get USD14 Levis black skinny jeans and Ralph Lauren Polo Tees for around USD35 each. I know some girls went crazy in Coach because there was an additional discount of 40% that day so a coach wristlet can go as low as USD38 which is rather incredible and unbelievable if you ask me. Other shops that are offering great discounts are Vans (shoes can be found at USD20), Charlotte Russe (tops start from USD10) and Godiva (chocolates available from USD9.90). You can check out the store directory and find the centre map.

After shopping, we had dinner at Morton’s back at Ala Moana and it was so good. And much cheaper than Singapore too. I had a special set meal that comprised of a cut of steak and lobster and it came to about USD70 though I’m pretty sure the same would cost around 90 or more here in Singapore. I guess it’s because of the air flown beef? A cost that doesn’t need to be incurred in the States? But whatever it is, best meal I’ve had the whole trip.

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And because I am a sweet tooth, I couldn’t say no to The Cheesecake Factory’s delectable offerings. Middle photo is their original cheesecake and to the right is the Red Velvet cheesecake. I would suggest that you share because the portion is huge. There’s just no way one can finish one whole slice right after dinner. But they were both so good and so rich. I also had a bite of the Godiva chocolate cake and I think I will never have a chocolate craving again. It was potent to say the least.

After dinner, we strolled along Waikiki beach one last time. Somehow it just feels right to see the sunrise and the sunset of the same day. It’s like completing the cycle and finding some closure before going to bed. And the next day, we flew 18 hours all the way back to Singapore.

sunset_original

It’s been a wonderful trip, one that I won’t soon forget. I really do believe Hawaii is a magical place. It’s so spiritual and so special. I think the word, Ohana is best to describe it. Hawaii is like family. Everyone is friendly, warm and inviting and the best part of it is that it all feels genuine and sincere. Just thinking about my experience makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

As cousin Dwight, our bus driver said so meaningfully to us when he first met us, “we are Ohana and that means no one on this bus gets forgotten or left behind.”

 

Aloha Hawaii Day 6

We have come to the second last installment of my trip recap. Day 6 started out with a boat ride out on Ko’olina Lagoon to see dolphins! And as luck would have it, we didn’t see a single dolphin. Not even a flipper of one. AT ALL.

But nonetheless, the cruise was so enjoyable that I forgot that it was supposed to be a dolphin cruise in the first place and here’s why…

Catamaran

We were on a Catamaran!!!

Yet another first for me. The captain was so nice. He let me steer the boat and have absolutely power over the lives of everyone on board for like, 10 minutes. Yes, cheap thrill I know. But still, I was so excited. And just when I thought the waters cannot get any beautiful than Hanauma Bay, well, nature has a way of proving me wrong. The waters are so blue and so crystal clear that you can see fish! Everywhere!

Our skipper tried to catch us some fish but most of them were unicorn fish and we had to throw them back. This in his hand right now, is an ahi which is edible so he proceeded to ice it down so he can serve it up as sashimi! The ahi are actually really clever and they don’t take the bait as easily as the other fishes do so it was quite the feat to be able to catch this one.

Oh yes and there goes another turtle. We seem to have lots of turtle power on this trip. I know I’ve said this before but these marine life come so close to the water surface! Snorkeling here is a dream.

fishing_original

 

After a long day out at sea, we decided to head back to civilization and do alittle bit of retail therapy at Ala Moana. Now, we’ve all up to this point been absolutely starved of any form of retail therapy which is so terrible because we are in the USA! So to suddenly be thrown into Ala Moana, the largest mall in Honolulu for three hours, well, let’s just say that the time wasn’t enough. A&F, Forever21, Hollister, American Eagle, Victoria’s Secret, Neiman Marcus, Nordstorm, Bath and Body Works, Tory Burch… pretty much every brand possible is available. It’s an impossible task to see everything so it is wise to pick and choose.

ala_moana_center_04

In true Singaporean fashion, my colleagues have gotten a map beforehand and circled shops they wanted to visit, as well as planned a detailed route to take. Alittle hardcore and intense but it worked really well given the time constraint. And at the end of the day, everyone went away feeling very happy with their purchases.

Jason Wu for Melissa

Oh with Christmas hot on our heels, it is time to dress up your pretty feet and this latest collaboration between Jason Wu and Melissa Jelly Shoes has just the thing. I’ve raved about my Free Fish Japan shoes because of their style, comfort and functionality (especially in wet weather. See post here.) but of course, Melissa has got to get ahead of the curve and with its numerous collaborations with top fashion designers like Vivienne Westwood, Alexandre Herchcovitch and the Campana Brothers, this is an achievable goal.

It’s latest collaboration with Jason Wu just blew me away. It’s a simple modification of the Ultragirl shoe but it is so chic. I mean, cute little owl motifs? And bows? Yes. I think you got me good. I’m pretty sure this is something Blair Waldorf will approve. I especially love the shoe in burgundy. It’s festive and appropriate for the season.

jason wu melissa
“It’s a pleasure to work with plastic in an innovative way, exploring different possibilities with a company that has the most expertise in the subject.” – Jason Wu
But the real kicker for me? The sandals. Melissa doesn’t conventionally do sandals. The focus has always been covered shoes, flats and with the Vivienne Westwood collection, some pretty pixie heels. But this, I love the minimalist design and I think it pretty much matches everything. This is definitely penciled in on my wish list for Christmas!
And for those of us who haven’t quite gotten over our Cinderella dream, well, J Maskrey has designed the perfect shoe for you. Make Christmas a star studded affair with a shoe that’s blinged out in Swarovski crystals! It reminds me alittle of Black Swan and ballet for some reason but gorgeous nonetheless.
J maskrey

 

“Since I moved to Paris at the beginning of this year, romaticism took over me and my thoughts … so I decided to create a line both feminine and modern … beautiful shoes covered with crystals that will illuminate the steps of Melissa’s customers” – J Maskrey.

You can see the full Melissa collection here!

Yikes with all these pretty shoes in the market, this cannot be good for the wallet. Need. To. Avoid. Going. To. Town. I hope this is just a shoe infatuation and that it will pass over soon. AHHHH….

Aloha Hawaii Day 5

And so the suspense is lifted today as turtles weren’t the only thing that we saw at North Shore but coincidentally and through the work of Fate, we were there on the second day of the Vans Surfing World Cup. So not only did we see huge waves, but we also saw surfers who rode them spectacularly!

Surfing North Shore

North Shore is the mecca for surfers all over the world because in winter, Oahu’s North Shore serves up one of the largest and most imposing ocean waves in the world! The reason for this? Giant, storm-generated swells make their long trek across the northern Pacific to batter reef breaks and the area’s shoreline generating 40-foot waves.

This could explain why surfers like Eddie Aikau and Andy Irons who were born and bred in Hawaii became surf legends because clearly, surfing in North Shore is a definite challenge. And even today, the most prestigious surf competitions are held here. For example, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing which includes the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Ali’i Beach Park in Hale’iwa; the O’Neill World Cup at Sunset Beach; and the Billabong Pipeline Masters at Ehukai Beach are like the Grand Slams in Tennis terms. Only the best of the best compete here which explains my bubbling excitement.

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I think all my dreams came true today. I even bought the Vans event T-shirt to commemorate the day. That and a Billabong for Andy Irons t-shirt for Mark. I have to say though that the turnout was fantastic. There was even a traffic jam leading up to the competition venue which really shows you how passionate the Hawaiians are about surfing. A chat with the bus driver also shed light on how valued a sport it is; school children can actually take surfing as part of their curriculum for Physical Education. That was just mindblowing news to me. Way to keep the spirit and the essence of Hawaii alive.

And speaking of essence, we next proceeded to the Polynesian Cultural Centre to get to know some of the ethnic cultures native to the island.

Polynesian Cultural Centre

The Polynesian Cultural Centre feels to me like a themepark where different areas are segmented for different ethnic groups namely, Samoa, Aotearoa, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, Marquesas and Hawaii. In each area you can learn about the different practices of each tribe eg. learn basic hula dance moves in Hawaii, toss a tolo spear in Tonga and try some coconut bread in Tahiti.

There are also shows and demonstrations to watch. We only had time to see the Samoan one which was really enjoyable. The demonstrator had a wonderful sense of humour and we were laughing the whole way even as he made a fire, made coconut milk and climbed a tree with his bare hands and feet. The most wonderful thing I’ve learnt about the Samoan culture? Well, women are treasured and so all the chores and household duties are all done by the men. Hear hear!

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And at night, there’s a show that combines all the various ethnicities together in a spectacular show. The plot is pretty much like Lion King just with more dancing and stunts that involve fire. Admittedly tourist-y and some might find it contrived and inauthentic, but it is good fun nonetheless. What I also like about the concept is that it is a non-profit initiative. All ticket proceeds go towards funding an education for 250 Brigham Young University students who work at the Polynesian Cultural Centre even as they study. You can read more about this here.

So they are essentially promoting and keeping the culture alive while also helping disadvantaged students at the same time. A win-win situation without profit motivation. An intriguing concept but one that seems to work well for them which gets me thinking about how we could similarly implement this in Singapore…

Well, I’m almost done with my Hawaii Adventures recap! I’m only left with Ko’olina Lagoon and Diamond Head!

Aloha Hawaii Day 4

Our last night in Hilo was spent rather slowly and languorously mostly because it is a small little town and there aren’t our usual amenities available. Just a few little coffee joints, some little shops selling handicrafts and knick knacks and farmer’s markets that showcase a wide range of fruits and vegetables.

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We made a stop at the Pacific Tsunami Museum as well, looking around at the exhibits and reading the stories of brave rescues. I particularly loved the story of how David Cook rescued Yoshikazu Murakami who was then just a small boy. And both rescued and rescuer were reunited 57 years later at the Pacific Tsunami Museum. You can read the full story here. It was just absolutely incredible.

Mauna Kea Stargazing

After that, we made our way to Mauna Kea to see the stars. Mauna Kea is regarded as the best site in the world to view the stars because of its high altitude, dry environment and seemingly stable airflow. And because it is also the highest peak in the state of Hawaii, you can just imagine how cold it is. Hence you see me here all bundled up in a parka. I guess that’s what makes Hawaii so special. Despite the stereotypical sunny and beach-y image that Hawaii has, in actuality, Hawaii is home to 11 out of 13 climatic zones in the world! That’s why the flora and fauna are so rich here and that’s also why the weather is so changeable all the time depending on which part of the island you are at.

Stargazing calls for extreme patience. I mean, I don’t know how these astronomy enthusiasts do it. You sit and watch and wait, hoping to see some stars align in the sky but it is never actually guaranteed whether or not you will actually see anything at all. And that’s really the case for us. The skies were too cloudy that night and we couldn’t see any stars at all. All we saw was the moon…

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It was very pretty still, it’s like a scene right out of a Vampire movie. But I was no doubt disappointed. Well, I guess this gives me a reason to return and REALLY tick this off the bucket list. Till next time Mauna Kea!

Well, as they say, when a door closes, a window opens. And the next day when we flew back to Honolulu and travelled along North Shore, we spotted…

Waimea Bay Turtles

TURTLES!

Yes, we missed them when we were at Hanauma Bay but here they are at Waimea Bay! I’ve never actually been this close to a turtle before so this was really cool. (The weather was absolutely fabulous. It was so sunny and breezy and all the photos have no filter! There was absolutely no need to tweak them at all!)

But turtles weren’t the only thing that we spotted along North Shore… to find out more, stay tuned!

Aloha Hawaii Day 3

Day 3 marks our first day out in Hilo and if you think things can’t get any more chill, then you are so wrong. Hilo is even more laid back than Honolulu and I found myself doing the shaka sign more than usual. The shaka sign means ‘hang loose’ and people in Hawaii use it as a form of greeting as you cross the street or bump into people. There are apparently many variations to the shaka and you can read more about it on the urban dictionary here.

Our first stop in Hilo is actually the Volcano National Park. There we were introduced to Mt. Kilauea. Kilauea is an active shield volcano that’s at least 300,000 years old and it continues to spew lava today. As of January 2011, it has produced 3.5 cubic kilometres of lava and created 123.2 square miles of land! Volcanoes in Hawaiian mythology are extremely sacred and they associate it with the goddess Pele. It is only when Thomas Jagger installed the Volcano Observatory in 1912 that volcanoes were studied in a scientific fashion. Today, the Volcanoes National Park is recognized as a World Heritage Site and approximately 2.6 million people visit it yearly.

Volcano Hilo

So being abit of a geography geek, I was pretty stoked about coming so close to a volcano and being able to trek across the crater that it created but nothing, and I do mean NOTHING comes close to my next experience of being able to roast (well, steam is more like it) a marshmallow over the hot steaming vent-like geysers formed from the cracked earth! At first I was apprehensive about even walking across volcanic ash because I was so afraid of it caving in under me but apparently this section that I’m at has been solidified and hardened for over 75 years already. What’s more, the layers have been piling up over the years so it’s actually a THICK layer that is a few feet deep so it is absolutely safe to walk over it. The fumes however… I’m not too sure how toxic the sulphur dioxide was that day but according to the measurements taken, it was of safe amounts.

Hilo Volcano

So yes, a steamed marshmallow was super tasty and the steam was HOT. My glasses and camera lens fogged up pretty bad. But the true beauty of the volcano is best seen at night when the warm glow of the lava is set against the dark night sky. It was entirely surreal watching this happen before my very eyes.

Our lodging that night was at this quaint little bed and breakfast place called the Volcano Guest House and Bonnie, our host was so sweet and so hospitable. It was a beautiful home away from home with a personal touch. I found it very hard to go back to staying in a cold, clinical hotel afterwards.

Ecolodge

The amazing thing about this lodge is that it is eco-friendly. Solar panels are used to power the heaters, there’s a water filtration and purification system that utilises UV rays and organic waste is channelled back to fertilise the crops. It is incredibly ingenious and I truly admire the attempt made to make as little an impact on the environment. I guess that’s something that I became mindful of and something I want to do back in Singapore too.

We spent the morning of the next day shadowing Bonnie as she goes about her daily chores and tells us her stories. It’s amazing how a city planner can quit her job, leave the city and start a farm and a B&B because she’s always wanted to. Really shows you how it is so important to follow your dreams and to believe that it will one day be realised.

For more Hawaiian Adventures, stay tuned! I will be spamming photos this week!

Aloha Hawaii Day 2

Day 2 in Honolulu was actually a pretty power packed day because helped out with a stream restoration project. So we basically became Tarzan and tore off and hacked away at non-native plants that were leaching and polluting the stream. We worked up quite a sweat and it was a welcome relief to plunge into the waters of Hanauma Bay to snorkel right after. As you can see from the photos, it is just unbelievable just how blue the waters are. You can just peer in and see the coral and all the fish and aquatic life that lie beneath. It’s really quite an awesome sight.

hanauma bay snorkeling

Before you venture into the water, you are made to watch a video about the bay and how it is a nature reserve so visitors are instructed to see but not touch the coral and the fish because it can harm them. Also, prior to entering the water, you are given a chart that shows you the different kinds of fish that you are able to see so you can spot them underwater. It is quite amazing how fearless the fish are. They swim up close and they don’t shun you whatsoever. We didn’t get to see the turtles though. They were in hiding that day. As you can see, the bay is pretty popular and many people come here to suntan and to laze around at the beach. There are various demarcation zones in the water to dissect the zone of activities to prevent mishaps. So it is a family friendly place to be in cos snorkelers will not find themselves in danger of jet-skiers or vice versa.

After snorkeling, we all dressed up in green to go to support Hawaii at the football game! It was Hawaii vs. University of Las Vegas and of course because it was a home game, the entire stadium turned up in full force to cheer Hawaii on.

Football Game

The game was everything I expected it to be. The hotdog stands, the enthusiastic crowd, the half time show that features the band and cheerleaders with 10 different routines, the patriotic singing of ‘God Bless America’, the kiss cam… everything was this huge mega spectacle that thoroughly entertained and engaged the audience. There was never a dull moment. My favourite part aside from the touchdowns was actually the half time show. It was Thanksgiving weekend and they were honoring the military so I felt so overwhelmed and awed being in a stadium where everyone voluntarily stood up to sing patriotically. You could see the deep love and loyalty that the Hawaiians have for their country (I always thought that their affinity to Hawaii would come first because they are so far away and different from the mainland) and that was something beautiful to see.

Football Hawaii

The match turned out to be rather lopsided with Hawaii winning with a very respectable score of 48-10! And this victory was made even sweeter because they lost like, 5-6 matches consecutively before this! Seems like we brought the luck with us to Hawaii! Game highlights video below…

So indeed, the day ended on a high and first thing in the morning, we took a flight out to Hilo!

For more Hawaii Adventures, stay tuned! I will be spamming photos over the next week!

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