Thursday, March 27, 2014

Oh, Kauai - You Are Delicious!

Oh, Kauai.

As soon as I step off the plane I can smell your intoxicating scent. You just ooze relaxation and adventure.

At the same time as my entire body starts to rejuvenate from the stress of life, my mouth starts to water...time for some ono grinds!

There is just something about a plate lunch and poke that I crave! And this craving didn't fail me on our recent trip back to Kauai!

Even before landing on the Pacific Island, we had our 'have to eat at' list of restaurants and hole-in-the-wall plate lunches planned.

Once on the island, our food list grew as we decided to follow our digestive systems to new excitement!

Old favorites and new favorites - below is our improved top 3 'have to eat at' locations while visiting Kauai!

(I have to admit, we didn't make it to the North Shore this trip due to the weather, so there may be deliciousness missing on the list below.)

First (and many times after) you have to visit Koloa Fish Market in Koloa (next to Poipu). The plate lunch options always include at least one kind of fish (plus your choice of sauce and a scoop of mac salad and sticky rice), as well as your traditional Hawaiian dishes of Kalua Pig and Chicken Lau Lau. Our favorite is the Ahi plate lunch with the cappers and butter sauce - we share the plate but get an extra scoop of mac salad! They also have five kinds of poke (five kinds!) - two of which we tried and loved (Korean Style and Avocado). But hurry! They sell out fast, with both locals and tourists line up out the door!

Our newest discovery! Hamura Saimin is an even more low key food experience then the Koloa Fish Market. You can honestly get lost trying to find its location in Lihue - a few days before eating here, we literally turned around right next to the restaurant without seeing it! The noodles are cooked right in front of the seating area, with lots of broth and toppings. The setup and taste brought me back to the Thailand noodle stands - I was probably embarrassing my wife as I slurped the food down! Another place with both locals and tourists - don't be afraid if you don't fit in, everyone's there for the food!

And for dessert...try the pastry shop Hanalima Bakery in Lihue. They have a large variety of treats but we continued to make our way there specifically for the Malasada (Portuguese doughnut).  We stopped here three times in our one week trip! P.S. This is another location that sells out fast!

I must add, the prices at these places are unbeatable for Hawaii! Cheap and delicious!

So next time you're in Kauai - try something new! And then let me know about it...I'm always looking!

Yours in exploiting life!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Weekend Hike - Angels Rest, Oregon

We've started to get excited for our upcoming backpacking trip to the West Coast Trail and decided that we'd better get in shape!

As part of our preparation, we're going on at least one hike every weekend!

Here's the first...

The weather in Portland couldn't have been better this past weekend!

I'm still amazed that it's only March!

Taking advantage of the clear skies and sunshine, we headed to Angels Rest for a little hiking and sightseeing.

Angels Rest is a short but steep hike!

4.8 miles round trip but with an elevation increase of 1,450 feet, the crowds on the trail are the least of your worries - catching your breath and not twisting an ankle on the rocky path will keep your mind busy!  (Having a dog pulling on its leash is probably the main reason we were exhausted! Though we did find out that the pup is afraid of crossing boulders...)

Bring your glasses!  At the top of numerous switchbacks is an amazing view!  You can see east up the Columbia River Gorge and west all the way to the Portland city center (if you're lucky enough to be there on a sunny, clear day).  The edge is a straight drop off and had my hard racing a little as I peered over the ledge.

Pictures - at least with our iPhone - couldn't do it justice, as the city skyscrapers wouldn't show up through the lens.  (Another reason to not live your life through the camera - the real world is still more fascinating!)

Would I do it again? Yes!

Another beautiful Northwest day, another beautiful Northwest hike!

Did anyone else take advantage of the weekend?  Any recommendations?

Yours in exploiting life!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Reading: Escape on a Workday

Happy Friday! Below is a quick writing sample from my journal. I'm trying to grab a few minutes (5, 10, 15 minutes) when I can to toss my thoughts onto paper. It's really quite liberating. I will share more as time passes.

After re-reading the below passage, I'm wondering if I'm the only one that thinks like this. So many colleagues go about their daily rituals. Are they wanting to escape like me? Or have they given up the fight? Did they ever want to fight in the first place? The notes end abruptly, but it's given me more thoughts on how I want to approach my life.

Yours in exploiting life!


Do you ever get that sick, nauseous feeling when you think life is passing you by?

I did. Again. Today.

I'm sitting in my office. Surrounded by paper, pens, people, cubes, meetings - and all I want to do is bolt and find something exciting!

I hope it's just that it's Friday. It's been a long week of back to work after vacation.

I can hear the coworker in the next office on a conference call. I can hear both sides of the call. The whole beginning was talking about how many conference calls everyone is on. How do we get anything done if we're always in meetings? Answer: We don't.

We're supposed to delegate, but how do you have time to do this? You work more hours. You work late. You come in early. You work weekends. To get ahead, to be in more conference calls, have more annual reviews (don't get me started on these!), more time in an office.

Life is passing us by! What are we working for? Is it worth it?!

We need money to survive, but at what cost? We go home exhausted, sit on the couch, and watch t.v. Too tired to work on ways to get out of the rat race.

The constant need to do better, for a boss, who is just trying to do better for their boss. So we don't get fired. Because we're worried that we won't be able to pay our bills without the job. The money stops and how do we pay the rent, how do we pay for food, how do we pay for the car?

We're worried, so we work more, harder, digging ourselves in deeper.

Spending more money on entertainment and items that give us pleasure for the few minutes we an enjoy them (before working again). We spend money on a nice house. We spend money on a nice car, we spend money on nice clothes and expensive meals.

We have fleeting minutes of pleasure in exchange for our hard earned money. But then we get caught.

We spend more money to make ourselves happy then we're actually earning!

We put items on credit. We purchase a house/car with big loans. We now have monthly payments for items that are slowing diminishing in their entertainment/'wow' factor. So we need another fix!

But that will cost more money! So we work harder, more hours. Do better. Impress the boss, boss' boss, to get a raise, a promotion - which brings more hours of work/stress. So that we can afford the new, bigger, better, toys!

And we can't lose our jobs, because we wouldn't be able to pay the on-going payments for both our new and our old toys.

We're stuck. A rat in a cage.

We look out our windows into a foreign world, for a few minutes between conference calls.

We look at the hills, the trees, the sun. We wonder what it would feel like to wander those hills, in the trees, under the sun in the middle of a workday. Just a random Wednesday.

We feel guilty just thinking about it. It's not normal, we should be working during a workday. That's what weekdays are for.  Everyone works. You can't wander in the hills during the day. That's for the weekends - between the work you've brought home - to earn money, to pay for the enjoyment of life!

But is this life?

Is this living?

Can it be different?

Break the cycle?

No! That's wrong! Don't think like that!

No one breaks the cycle. This is how the world works!

Really? Yes, you have to earn your money - put in your 'time' to enjoy life once you retire (on a small retirement income).  You'll enjoy life then. Travel the world. Wander those hills, in the trees, under the sun during a random Wednesday.  When you're old. You'll probably need a cane to get up the hill. If the tree root trips you, you'll probably break a bone - since you're old.