Hula dolls, Tiki torches and picture-perfect sunsets – does Hawaii come to mind? That’s where I’ll be in less than two weeks. Ken and I are flying to Maui. We’ll spend some time there and on to Oahu.
Hawaii has been on my radar since I was a teenager. Visions of endless beaches, steep verdant mountains and handsome islanders are some of the images I think of – inspired in part by the original Magnum P.I., not so much by Hawaii Five-0.
But there’s more. About three years ago, on one of our road trips, Ken and I listened to a fascinating book called The Wave by Susan Casey. If you have a chance to get this book, don’t hesitate. Clearly, it’s about waves: ship-destroying 150-foot rogue waves, Tsunamis, climate change and its impact on our oceans. It may sound like a textbook but it reads like a thriller thanks to… surfing. The narrative comes alive as the author follows big-wave surfers who seem more adapted to life on salt water than on land. She explores their intimate relationship with big waves and their adrenaline-fueled passion to surf them.
I’m rereading this fascinating book right now. I’m thrilled that we will be in Hawaii during winter, the big-wave season. It’s when tranquil snorkeling beaches turn into life-threatening no-go zones. It’s the season big-wave surfers thirst after.
So you won’t be surprised to learn that the first thing on my to-do-in-Hawaii list isn’t sipping umbrella drinks under Tiki torches while taking in a spectacular sunset, it’s watching the big-wave surfers – from a safe lookout onshore.
“Have you ever been to New Orleans Café in Thamel?”
“Yes, that’s where we ate last year when my arm was in a cast.”
“I like that place. What about Helena?”
“No, I’ve never eaten there. Have you been to the Garden of Dreams?”
“No, I’ve been coming here for 12 years and I’ve never been to that park.”
“We’ve got to go, you’ll love it.” Continue reading Travels with Lili-Didi
Lillian hails a taxi on the street. Before getting in she leans into the open front window. She tells the driver where we want to go and asks if he’ll take us, because drivers are entitled to refuse the fare. Then she asks how much, because passengers are entitled to refuse the cost, or negotiate a better one. Continue reading Taxi!!!
Bad monkey stole a strip of bags of chips from a sidewalk shop. The chips he stole, 10 bags in all worth 20 Nepalese Rupees each, is a big loss to the merchant but a treasure for the thief. I didn’t see the crime, but I saw the culprit. Continue reading Bad monkey
If you come to Kathmandu, you will no doubt visit Thamel. It’s a warren of alleys lined with hotels, restaurants, bars and shops of all kinds. It’s the main commercial destination for tourists and trekkers. Continue reading Shopping in Thamel
As many of you know, when I was in Kathmandu last year, I broke my right arm so badly it required two surgeries, one here and one back home.
I’ve stayed in touch with Dr. Shriraj Shrestha, the surgeon who performed the first operation. He told me that if I ever returned to Kathmandu, I should let him know. I did and as a result, we were able to meet for diner. Continue reading Supper with my surgeon
Arriving in Kathmandu is always entertaining. The airport’s arrivals hall is dimly lit; the décor is dark wood paneling and deep red bricks over slate flooring. Charcoal-coloured counters worn from long use line one side of the room. On these counters, arriving travelers must fill out their Immigration declaration. The most interesting question on the form, your gender: male, female or other. Continue reading Back in Kathmandu