Sunday, February 24, 2013

Trader Joe's and Short Pump Park

It got up to 60 degrees today, not bad for February in Richmond and we were going to Trader Joe's a half mile away so we decided to stop at the park and have a picnic. Short Pump Park is next to the old one room Short Pump schoolhouse which is in immaculate condition. 

There is a soccer and baseball field. There are some open picnic tables and a covered area as well. The bathrooms were clean and in good working order. Considering that it is in the middle of one of the busiest parts of Richmond, this is a nice spot to visit on a Sunday and enjoy a Trader Joe's Brown Rice Bread and Uncured Pastrami sandwich.

Atlanta to Richmond

One of the facts about travel is that eventually your luck is going to run out. I got cleared for Pre, but Kathy did not know if she was cleared so we took the regular line. Kathy packed the bags while I was finishing with the National Science Foundation meeting and there was a full thermos in the bag which they confiscated. Sigh.

The first flight was Atlanta to Chicago. We found a United Club and I read the Financial Times, our plane, United 3487, was running an hour late and Kathy was a bit stressed we would miss our connection. I told her not to worry, when one plane runs late, the odds are that many planes are running late. Boy was that correct.

We made it to our gate area and found another United Club, I think this one must be either new or freshly remodeled. Found a USA Today and an Investor's Business Daily. United 5965 was originally scheduled to leave at 4:55 PM, but the dreaded "Awaiting Aircraft" sign was on, then it was 5:30, 6:30, 7:00 and finally 7:30. We boarded at 7:45, and finally left around 9:00 PM. Kathy and I got to the Richmond House at a bit past midnight and stayed up talking with Hunter till 3:30 AM. Long day.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Holiday Inn Express Atlanta Camp Creek

This is a new facility and that is great. They are just trying to get their act together to be a meeting space, no flip charts etc.

Rooms are spacious and ours was clean and they accepted early checkin, which was deeply appreciated since we flew in from Kauai.

The serve breakfast in the morning. It is adequate, not great, no fruit, but plenty of everything else.

Warning: their shuttle service is widely know as very slow. If you have an important connection either book early or take a cab.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Last day on Kauai

It has been a great time on Kauai, only two weeks, but an incredible two weeks. I would have expected rain, but we have had incredible weather. I got to swim almost every day and packed a hotel shampoo and shower gel and used the beach shower instead of the one I have off my bedroom; not being cheap, but I get tired of squeegeeing the shower.

Kauai to Atlanta

We took Hawaiian Airlines 240 to Honolulu. The flight was on time and there was only one problem, even though we booked through United they charged us for our bags and it was 85.00. I asked United customer service and the United people at the gate in Honolulu and they said call the 1k desk, not sure that is going to work. But will let you know.
Update Feb 20, 2013. I have now made four calls to United. They have a webform, There is a category for baggage charges, but it is not accepting the baggage document number. Ready for call #5. He suggested that I try contacting the web development team and forwarded me and after being on hold for five minutes, United hung up on me. Call #6, this guy is really trying, not sure what will come of it, but it is nice to see someone try. Funny thing though, he put me on hold to  and I finally got a baggage document number.

We had some time in the airport on Kauai and I had brought healthy food so we ate at our gate till it was time to board. Somehow we scored exit rows. They even had time to serve drinks, a pretty good trick on a 20 minute flight.

United 140 Honolulu to Houston was a great flight. It was a 767, we scored first class and they had lay flat seats. I am too tall for the lay down seats, but they certainly recline. I watched movies, I really enjoyed Chasing Mavericks, I was crying like a baby at the end. Then I watched Grease, gosh it has been a long time since I have seen that. After that, I could not keep my eyes open and crashed for a while. I woke up in the last hour of the flight and could not go back to sleep so I watched a bit of Liz & Dick, the story of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Not sure what I think about it, but, it was interesting and brought back some memories.

Our final flight, United 5208, was also on time making us three for three. It was a puddle jumper so we had to check our main carryon bags.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Viliage Snack and Bakery - Hanalei Kauai

Yesterday the weather was Epic here on Kauai and as luck would have it, we had scheduled time off. A friend had recommended this as a lunch place and told me to get the Chili Pepper Chicken Plate and the Chocolate Haupia. Turns out you can get it with brown rice, which is a plus. I am not much of a fried chicken kind of guy and Kathy won't touch it, but I did eat one piece, it was fresh out of the fryer, we I ate some of their rice until it cooled to the point I could handle it. It is crispy, in fact the crispiest fried chicken I have eaten ( though keep in mind that is probably three pieces in the past ten years) and the spice does come through nicely. If you are in a hurry call ahead, this is a favorite with the locals so you may have to wait a while if you just walk in.

After we ate, we took a walk through the Ching Young shopping center where the bakery is located to see what has changed. Was I ever surprised to see there is a full on huge Chicken and Barrel restaurant; good on you Pierce family. Next day off, if the weather is good we want to go back to Hanalei and we will have lunch there for sure. By the way, parking is tight at Ching Young in the front, but if you look at a map you can see there is a gravel road behind. That is where the locals park, hint, hint.

After lunch we parked at Black Pot beach and took a walk on the incredibly fine Hanalei sand beach. I have fairly tender feet and am selective about when I walk on the beach, but this is bar none my favorite. And they have a foot washing station to get cleaned up afterwards. Tip, if you have an extra hotel size body wash gel stick it in your pocket, it helps to really clean your feet up, that fine sand tends to stick.

Then we drove pack to Waipouli, grabbed our beach cart and walked to our favorite swimming beach, Perfects, located behind Pono Kai.

We finished the day with a homemade gluten free English Muffin topped with some cheese and a locally made Taro burger from Hoku Foods. A perfect day.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Oasis - Kapaa Kauai

After work yesterday, Kathy and I took a walk to the Kukui Heiau. I guess we have not been walking as much, we both got a bit stiff so we decided to rest and pulled into the Oasis Bar and Grill at the Waipouli resort on the way back.

It was happy hour, I had the two beers for three dollars and Kathy had a vodka tonic for four dollars. They were setting up a live band, it was standing room only, so to stretch our time at the bar we ordered the truffle fried rice which was seven dollars. That is really good, I think I am going to try to duplicate it. This was some of the better guitar playing I have ever heard, so it was an enjoyable experience. I would have been happy to stay longer, but needed to walk home before dark because it was very low tide and we wanted to walk on top of the dead reef to get back home instead of along the highway.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Rainbow Living Foods - Kapaa Kauai

Kathy and I needed to do some banking so we walked along the beach path to the Kapaa branch of Bank of Hawaii. I noticed a sign on a building, Rainbow Living Foods and after we deposited the checks, we went there.

I was surprised to see Patricia ( the "Hare Krishna" lady ) waiting tables, but it was good to see her. Very creative interesting menu. Kathy had the kale salad and I got the special of the day, which was a wrap, but they used a collard green leaf instead of a flour tortilla ( they are gluten free). Tasty food and I enjoyed the atmosphere.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Chicken in a Barrel - Kapaa Kauai

It is great to be back on Kauai. Today was a bit chilly, but with a wetsuit top, it was possible to get in the ocean. We came back, dried off and then put on walking shoes to take a walk down the bike path (Ke Ala Hele Makalae). This is such a blessing for the community. We ran in Paul Deharnis who probably walked two hours. Then we saw our friends at Chicken in a Barrel; I ordered the Sampler which is enough food for three days or so, Kathy ordered a couple of sides. Then we took our food to a Kauai county picnic table right by the ocean. Life is good!

There were some guys cutting coconuts, so Kathy bought one. On the way back we ran into Ryan El who told us about Art Night in Kapaa. So we plan to walk back down in a half hour. Next we ran into Radia, and chatted with her. Fun afternoon.