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Afternoon at Waikiki Beach from Moana Lani Spa in Honolulu.
Waikiki Beach from Moana Lani Spa, Honolulu

After a brief moment in the sand with eyes closed and legs crossed, we step away from the chanting and let the froth wash over our feet. It’s dawn and serene in Waikiki; the perfect environment for a Ho’ala sunrise ceremony. Or, at least it was. As the sun floats up to illuminate Diamond Head, Waikiki again becomes the bustling, selfie-stick wielding destination that attracts more than 9 million visitors annually to the Hawaiian Islands. Of them, and according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority 6 million arrive in Oahu. And since all visitors land or port in Honolulu, Waikiki––Hawaii’s most storied tourist district––is a natural stopover.

This is the Waikiki I’ve always known (though selfie-sticks weren’t yet a thing). I grew up in Kaua’i which lacks the urban density of Honolulu, so a 20-minute flight to Oahu was the closest thing for a taste of city life. At the same time, Waikiki draws huge crowds to its powdery shores. Several underground, freshwater streams flow from the mountains, under some of Waikiki’s most-loved hotels and into the bay. The mix of freshwater with ocean helped create the bay’s sandy bottom, making the area a forgiving place to surf. It’s also a coveted place to sunbathe, jump on a catamaran and people watch.

Ho’ala morning ritual in Waikiki

Where to Get a Massage in Waikiki

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In honor of the storm cells passing through San Diego region this weekend, I’m plugging my recent piece published on Medium. It’s a beginner’s guide to visiting an art museum, which is a practical activity to do on a rainy day in San Diego given we’re blessed with more than 300 days of sun a year.

Not only that, but immersing oneself in art may help refine those soft skills too. Skills like critical thinking and empathy.

“It’s good to stretch ourselves,” by working through our discomfort with a work of art we don’t quite understand, notes Anita Feldman from the San Diego Museum of Art.

Art also gives voice to things that are hard to articulate. “An emotion, idea, experience,” says Katherine Hall of the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. “Art can succeed in this space.”

Read the entire story on Medium here.


Pro tip for San Diego residents: Did you know you can get in free to many museums at Balboa Park? Make sure to bring your ID and check this link to participate in Residents Day at museums including Fleet Science Center, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego Museum of Art and more. I’d recommend going early to beat the crowds (learned my lesson at the Japanese Friendship Garden a few years ago!)

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Lisbon

A literary thank you letter to Ana, my Airbnb host during my summer in Lisbon last year, who did so much more for me than provide me with a comfortable stay just steps from Parque Eduardo VII. It turns out, I’d be one of her last guests, and I’m glad I made the cut.

I grew up in your kitchen, though we were acquaintances at best. I fumbled to light your gas stove, rummaged for the appropriate pots and pans to perform my pedestrian alchemy, burned my toast and attempted what you would characterize as a winter stew. It was the middle of summer in Lisbon, but it was one of the few things I could make by memory.

The sound of your espresso machine punctuated the a new day. Your ritual; two shakes of cinnamon and espresso downed in two gulps.

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