Once the wedding was over, I felt like I was able to enjoy myself. The reception took place at the Nehelani Banquet Centre at the Schofield Barracks. That was a nice reception. The food was great. Let's see ... salads, the wonderful Hawaiian-style macaroni salad (I can eat that all day), a really nice spicy and sweet calamari salad, and a wonderful seaweed and tuna sashimi. There was also fresh pineapple slices (and considering we were in Wahiawa, near the Dole plantation, you have to know that the pineapple was amazingly good, the best I've ever had) and poi. At first I thought it was some sort of blueberry yoghurt, but upon tasting it, I realised it had to be poi. There was also Okinawan Sweet Potato (purple fleshed sweet potatoes. I know it as ube), Jasmine rice, Hawaiian-style pulled pork, lemon fish, and a couple of other things I don't remember any more. Dessert consisted of haupia, which I initially mistook for almond jelly, and a lovely coconut cake. The wedding cake tasted like it had elements of Kona coffee in it. That was nice also.
It was a short reception because the Nehelani Banquet Centre had other parties to prepare for. Initially, another party was supposed to have started at 9.00 pm, but they cancelled, giving the staff ample time to prepare for a midnight party for a group of high school graduates (they'll start off with a night of bowling, followed by their midnight breakfast). That got Iris and me reminiscing about our own high school celebrations - mine took place at Disneyland, where we went for the traditional "Grad Night," and were joined by high school graduates from all over the state of California for an all-night party there.
Sunday morning saw us having a brunch at the lovely Wai'oli Tea Room. We had atrium seating and were treated to wonderful food (Guava French Toast, amazing stuff), exquisite views of the lovely gardens (mango and macademia nut trees, amongst others), and wonderful company.
Once we finished brunch, a group of us went on to the Obispo's old house in Mililani. They sold it to a friend once Iris' father received his transfer orders to an air force base in Virginia. It ended up being a reunion of sorts for the Girl Scout mothers. Quite a few of them apparently stayed in Mililani, and so this was the first time Lori had seen them for at least 15 years. We had wonderful views of the mountains and the ocean. We were able to see the mango trees that Rudy had planted when they lived there, and appreciate how much fruit it bore today. The next door neighbour brought over these wonderful pickled green mangoes and even provided the recipe for it. I'll provide that recipe in another post.
Once we bade good bye to Leilani (the current owner of the house), we headed off to Costco to look for flowers to place on Rudy's father's grave (we were going to pay a visit as we found out the area cemetaries will be choc-a-bloc full of people for Memorial Day). Amazingly enough, Costco was sold out of their flowers, but it was really neat to find some Hawaiian-specific items there. I came away with a 3-lb bag of haupia mix and a 5-lb bag of Hawaiian salt. Why the salt? Why not? I wanted to try to make that wonderful pickled green mango.
We then visited the gravesite of Rudy's father, Severo, who died February 1983. I noted that next year will be the 100th anniversary of his birth. We arranged the flowers and greeneries from Iris' and Jared’s wedding around the graves of Severo and his friend, Charles Sims, who is buried next to him. They both served in the Air Force during WWII together. We then said a prayer over the gravesite, then left in search of dinner.
Before that, we went to a shopping outlet - the girls (Elena and Lourdes) wanted to find some Coach bags, so we dropped them off at the Coach outlet, and then Lori and I sat and cooled our heels (and our parched throats) at McDonald's. After being rejoined by Rudy, who dropped off his mum and his uncle and aunt back at his mum's house in Wahiawa after our Mililani trip, we then collected the girls from the outlet shops, and then went to a Malasadamobile. Rudy and Lori wanted us to sample some Malasadas, which is a Hawaiian fried dough. My impression: it's better than Krispy Kreme! We then finally found dinner at Zippy's, which is another Hawaiian fast-food joint. I had an abfab plate lunch with chili and chicken. Their chili apparently is quite famous, and I can understand why. It was excellent. Their fried chicken, apparently done Korean style, was quite good also.
After returning to the hotel, I spent the time packing as I would be leaving Monday evening back to the Mainland.
Monday morning, we had an early start - 8.00 am, we were to hike at Diamond Head. It was a bit challenging for me, I will admit that - winding, uneven paths, lots of stairs (271 I'm told) ... but the breathtaking views at the top made it all worthwhile.After we finished our hike, our sweet reward was a visit to Leonard's Bakery for more malasadas. I had two: one filled with mango custard, and the other filled with haupia. The stuff is amazing, and it only confirmed in my mind that it was far far superior to anything Krispy Kreme could ever hope to put out.
We then visited the Pali Highway, to Pali Lookout, in the Nu'uanu Valley. It was quite windy, but picturesque. I'll have to admit to being quite winded still from the Diamond Head hike, but still appreciative of the wonderful view.
Our last stop was the Valley of the Temples on the Windward side of Oahu. It includes the Byodo-In Temple, which is a replica of one that is in Japan. It was built in the 1960s in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to settle in the Hawaiian Islands.
On the way back to Waikiki, we travelled along the Likelike Highway. At the top of a hill was located the Kamehameha Schools, which includes a Hawaiian curriculum to ensure perpetuation of the Hawaiian language and culture.
After that, it was back to the hotel to clean myself up in preparation for my return to the Mainland.
In closing, I'd like to thank Rudy and Lori Obispo, Iris' parents, for their wonderful hospitality and their care of me during my stay in Waikiki. Thanks also go to Iris and Jared Peak for their warm welcome, and also for their friendship. I also enjoyed spending time with Elena and Lourdes, sisters from Vancouver, B.C. It all made for a wonderful and unforgettable time in Oahu.