Chinatown SF

If you ever visit San Francisco and want to stay in a centrally located hotel try the Royal Pacific right on Broadway. It is one block down from Stockton street and right in the heart of Chinatown SF. This city is a walking city. If you can dump your car and walk, do it. From the RP you get easy access to everything Chinese. Right across Broadway is North Beach and little Italy. You will never need to worry about where to eat. There are great restaurants to choose from. Try the Stinking Rose if you get a chance. Everything is made of garlic or has garlic in it. It's highly recommended but admittedly, you will reek afterwards.

Today, it's off to explore the shops around North Beach. Lots of funky shops line the streets. Although I am seeing a lot more empty store space, the area still hasn't lost its charm. It's easy to wish there were places like this in Hawaii but the dynamic back home is very different. People here are walking the streets well after midnight. I'd guess, just from listening to them, many are from Europe or somewhere USA. The tourists here are looking for an experience that is vastly different than Hawaii. In addition the locals are also looking for diversity. It certainly makes for great exploration.

Native Hawaiian Trademark

Over the weekend I got a chance to do a short presentation to Native Hawaiian artisans and craftsperson about the Internet. This was in conjuction with Hale Ku`ai and the Native Hawaiian Producers workshop. My talk was about Internet infrastructor and web sites. It's amazing what we take for granted here in Hawaii. The native Hawaiian producers are putting out some quality stuff and we need to make sure it gets recognized as such. There are apparently a lot of rip offs coming in from who knows where. The tourists end up buying the stuff thinking its made in Hawaii by native craftpeople.

There were a number of other presentations from pricing product to marketing product in stores. One topic which got a lot of attention was on a native Hawaiian trademark. Maile Andrade, a professor from UH Art School gave examples of how the Maori in Aotearoa developed a trademark to designate quality native made products. This Scoop article describes the trademark and purpose.

I think this is a great idea and will give an authenticity and recognition to the products made by native Hawaiians. It is reminiscent of the Indian Market in Santa Fe or the Hospital Auxiliary Craft Shop in the Alaska Native Medical Center. The process to develop a native Hawaiian trademark is at its early stages. It is not certain how much it will cost or who will be the judge or enforcer of the trademark.

As a preparation for criticism, here is an article commenting on the excessive use of taxpayer dollar on the Maori trademark. I think it's bunk but everyone is entitled to an opinion. I am sure we will have our share in Hawaii.

Speeding Time

Time continues to speed by. Keeping up a blog accentuates this phenomenon. If I don't mention something about my recent trip to Kaho`olawe, it will be months gone by and I would feel remiss for not being more timely. I've been going to Kaho`olawe since 1992 and have been fully engaged in the Protect Kaho`olawe `Ohana. This past week's access was part of the regularly scheduled monthly access for work projects. We were on island from July 10 to 13. One day I am sure there will be 802.11 Internet access from Maui so I could sit in Hakioawa with my PDA and post messages to my blog. But to be honest, it just does seem relevant when on island. Sunrise

Touching the earth is something I need to do. The more I get to do this the better I feel. Kaho`olawe is a pu`u honua where the Hawaiian culture can be practiced in ways unencumbered by our modern society. I am not one to reject modern society but there are times when I feel that living in cities can detach us from the land. We then take for granted the air, water and natural resources thinking they will always be there. Even a short trip to Kaho`olawe will remind you of the value of fresh water. The ocean resources are abundant only because it is respected and not fished out. There's a harmony there that we each need to synch up with. Life in Hawai`i would be so much more enriching if everyone could spend a short amount of time on Kaho`olawe.

Whale Rider

Whale Rider is going to be on top of my list of best movies seen in 2003. Set in New Zealand, its a story about leadership, preserving traditional culture, passing the torch, coming of age, connection with ancestors and nature, breaking with tradition, adapting, and more. Keisha Castle-Hughes is the would be heir apparent to tribal leader. But there is one problem, her grandfather, Paka expected a boy. That is all I will say, probably too much already. Go see the movie.

I was fortunate to go to Aotearoa (New Zealand) once and am dying to go back again. The Maori culture is deep and intact. I kept seeing similarities between the Maori and Hawaiian cultures. I saw Hawaii in the `a`ali`i and `ohia tress there. Sites like that kept me connected and reminded me that we are all connected to one another. Not only in the present but also in the past, to our ancestors.

Tech Doldrums

Things are in a funk. I've been keeping my fingers on the pulse of technology in Hawaii and I can barely feel a heartbeat. This week has been especially listless. John Duchemin's articles in the Honolulu Advertiser bring to light how uneventful things are. His article on Tuesday, 6/17 about Landmark Ventures makes them sound about as exciting as dirt. In today's Advertiser, he writes about the biotech companies and the challenges they face to turn a profit. Biotech is supposed to be the hot topic amongst venture capitalist but if this article is any indication, it looks to me like it's pretty cold and stiff.

In another article in today's Advertiser, Ray Kamikawa, former state tax director defends Act 221. This is the Act that allow investors to put money into tech companies and get an equal credit on their State tax return. It was a controversial topic in this year's legislative session as the administration wanted to modify it quite drastically. Suffice it to say articles are still being written about how it should stay unchanged, which it is, unchanged. So where are the articles about money going into companies as a result of Act 221? Where are the hot prospects? Please don't tell me it's Landmark.

Personally, I don't think anything is happening. If the articles this week are any indication, things are pretty flat. I had a heck of a lot more fun watching the 10+ foot waves off of Ala Moana.

Herb `Aina

Almost 10 years ago I produced a couple of videos that ran on Olelo television. They were short pieces with the primary purpose of filling time between shows. I did this series of videos on native Hawaiian plants and called myself Herb `Aina. When I get around to it I might stream those on the Net.

So on Sat. 6/14 I had to attend an herb workshop at the Univ. of Hawaii - Leisure Program. I believe you can never do with enough leisure. Just smelling all those dried herbs is heaven for your sense of smell. The workshop was conducted by Thauna Abrin and Monique Yuen both Naturopathic Physicians. They covered topics like making teas and preparing a poultice. Both useful topics whether at home or in the outdoors.

One of these days maybe I put a herb page together. Most of the herbs covered in class were from the Western US where through years of traditional native American and European practice turned it into a science. The selection of all the right herbs to brew a tea for a particular ailment took years of developing. We're finally seeing the art move from folklore to clinical practice. And gaining acceptance.

So I went home with a couple of bags of tea, one a calming tea with lemon balm, oatstraw, chamomile and skullcap, the other an alterative tea for cleansing. Stay tuned, next week is the art of making tinctures and oils.

Fiji Photos

I finally got around to sorting through my digital photos. Sure beats waiting for the slides to come back from the processor. Selecting which ones get put in the gallery is a weeding out process. It's amazing how many shots need to be taken to get one decent one. If you are interested in checking out a few from Fiji go to the Gallery.

I still got Fiji on my mind. Today is Kamehameha Day and a friend and I ended up at Zaffron's in downtown Honolulu for lunch. Great Indian food and it turns out the owners are from Fiji. Nadi to be precise.

It was like eating in Fiji. There are some great Indian restaurants in Fiji. In Suva I ate at this place called Hare Krishna's where they made an assortment of vegetarian selections. Very ono. They also specialized in sweets which I highly recommend.

When I wasn't eating Indian food, I was eating Fijian. There are some striking similarities to Hawaiian food. They make a taro leaf that is like lu`au leaf. Taro slices, cook banana, clams, fish or chicken round out the meal. Their imu is called a lovo. I asked a few of the Fijians I met if they every pound the taro to make poi. Based on the look I got, apparently not. So far I've only found poi in Hawai`i. I wonder if poi is unique to the Hawaiian diet? I'll need to research that.

Fiji – cont.

I tried getting back to an internet cafe but only got one more chance while in Suva. One hour of time was just enough to go through 800+ email messages over a span of a couple of days. Most of it was spam. Going through spam nowadays is like data mining. Only its the human is doing the data mining.

The long ride to the Fijian Resort was well worth it. We stopped in on Robert Stone in Pacific Harbour. It's a beautiful spot, truly an island paradise. Every morning Robert goes papio fishing in a canoe from a launching deck. Unbelieveable.

The Shangra-La Fijian is five star resort which I would highly recommend for anyone looking for some R&R time. Solitary walks along the beach are great therapy for the mind. If you take a moment to look at your feet you might find some cool shells. I would head back in a heartbeat. I know exactly what room I would request.

Fiji

It's June 1st in Hawai`i and June 2nd in Fiji. Sounds like a good enough time for me to start my weblog. The flight to Nadi, Fiji from Hawai`i was pretty smooth except for a couple of bumps here and there. We stopped in Apia, Western Samoa for a quick refueling and continued our flight to Fiji. From Nadi, I caught a puddle jumper across the island to Suva. Lucky I brought my ear plugs cuz the props would have blown out my eardrums. I just happen to carry a spare in my fanny pack from helo flights to Kaho`olawe.

Suva is the same as I left it last year. The trouble with coming in on a Sunday is that everything is closed. It was a challenge finding a place to grab some lunch. A friendly Fijian policeman pointed a decent food court that served up a variety of choices, from Chinese to Fijian cooking. I chose Fijian which consisted of some taro leaf (cooked up like luau leaf) some taro, cooked bananas and ono clams. Believe or not this cost a total of $4.50 Fijian which equivalent to a little more than $2.25 US. Of course I went there again today.

It turns out today (June 2nd) is some sort of National holiday in Fiji but unlike Sunday, several businesses are open. Lucky for me I found this Internet cafe right on the main street not far from the hotel I am staying at. The cost for Internet time is $5.00 Fijian per hour. Beats the Holiday Inn which was kind of an rip off at $30.00 per hour. Unbelievable. I gotta find out how late these folks stay open. The only thing is, walking around at night here is not recommended. The crime rate is up and I don't need to deal with that.

My hour is almost up here but I will try to log in again when I get a chance. I start up my class tomorrow so I suspect I will be preoccupied. Stay tuned as this adventure continues to unfold.

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