Aloha Festival 1999!

On September 9, 1999 Kalina and I boarded TWA's flight 1 to Honolulu.  We were meeting our friends, Del and Patricia (Paka), and Andy and Bobbie.  They were flying a different airline and arrived about an hour before our flight.  It was great to be going back to Paradise.  It was even better to be greeted by friends when we got there.  Sure enough, as we made our way through the jetway into the terminal there they were waiting with orchid leis for us.  After greeting one another, we made our way to baggage claim to collect our luggage.  We gathered all our baggage together then I went to pick up our rental van.  Kalina and I had brought our Talkman radios, so I radioed them when I left the car rental place.  By the time I returned with the van the others had brought the luggage out to the curbside.  It was a pretty impressive pile of luggage.  Six of us had brought clothes for 10 days.  It was a challenge getting it all into a minivan along with us 6, but we finally made it, and set off to find our condo, the Aston Pacific Monarch.

After checking in and quickly unpacking, we met in the downstairs lobby to head out on our first adventure.  We ate a great dinner at Smorgy's on Kuhio Ave., then walked down Kalakaua Ave. to the Sheraton Wakikik Poolside Terrace.  It was Thursday evening and The Moe Keale trio was performing from 6 to 8 pm.  Moe Keale is a living legend in Hawaii.  He has appeared in numerous movies, in the TV series "Hawaii Five-0," has sung with the Sons of Hawaii, as well as having his own solo career.  His musical acomplishments are too numerous to mention.  What was cool was that the year before, Del & Paka, Andy & Bobbie had gotten to know Moe during their 10-day Hawaiian cruise onboard Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas.  Moe entertainmed during  the entire cruise and they had gotten to know him well.  They ate breakfast and lunch with him several times and spent time lounging on the lido deck together. 

We got to the Sheraton right before he started playing.  We found a great table and sat down.  Just before they started, the hostess introduced Moe and his group.  His bass player was Analu Aina and his guitar player was Mel Amina.  I just about went ballistic!  These were the guys who played with the great Israel Kamakawiwo'ole until his death in 1997.  He was one of my favorite singers.  I knew who his group was, but didn't know what they looked like.  I had been listening to these guys play for years on the radio and on cd's.  I had admired their work and couldn't believe I was really seeing them in person.  What a great, unexpected surprise!  During his first song Moe looked out and recognized our friends and dedicated a song to them.

What a great way to spend an evening.  The beautiful view of Diamondhead, the ocean waves, the swaying palm trees, the balmy trade winds, and the music all conspire to make this one of the best places I know to unwind from a long flight and watch the sunset. What could be better?

How about a visit from Aloha Joe!!!  Hawaii Magazine says is "one of the world's most influential Hawaiian websites"  (See my links page).  I had been listening to his weekly broadcasts and knew he was coming to Oahu for the Aloha Festival.  He had said that he would be at the Sheraton Thursday evening so I watched for him and sure enough, before too long, he walked right by our table.  I spoke to him and it was like meeting an old friend.  In fact he was so friendly and outgoing some of our friends thought Joe and I knew each other.  !

Kalina (L) & Lokela at Makapu'u

Mel Amina (guitar), Moe Keale (ukulele), Analu Aina (bass)

Our table: Del, Paka, Lokela's bald spot, Bobbie, Andy (photo by Kalina)