Waikiki Hula on the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound

Watching graceful hula dancers is one of my favorite activities during visits to Honolulu on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Many nights during the week you can watch a hula show for free at Kuhio Beach Hula Mound on Waikiki Beach. Located just east of the famous Duke Kahanamoku statue, you won’t miss the crowds filling in just before show time. The Hawaiian hula is a living record of the island’s history and legends of the Hawaiian people. The dancers’ movements, music and chanting combine to tell the stories of their forefathers.

The show starts after the tiki torch lighting which adds to the festive atmosphere. The outdoor shows feature local hula dancers ranging from novice keiki (children) to aunties (adults). I like to go to the show multiple nights to watch different halau (dance groups) perform. Each group has its own repertoire of songs, costumes and instruments.

Hula Kuhio Mound Waikiki

If you are anywhere along the beach, you will know the show is about to begin when you hear the traditional blowing of the conch shell. Sometimes a torch lighter joins them as they make their way along the beach. This alerts vacationers to get their spot so as not to miss the start of the show. Bring a beach chair or pick up an inexpensive beach mat from any of the local quick marts and grab a spot near the mound.

Usually a narrator will introduce the history of Hawaiian culture and language to the group. Before the dancers begin, you will learn about each song’s message and the story it tells.

These dancers may wear traditional hula attire or more modern dress. To make the time-honored hula skirts, the dancers harvest and treat the long flat leaves of the green ti plant. Colorful tropical flowers are fashioned into beautiful, fragrant leis. A variety of nuts grown in the islands are strung together as necklaces.

Dancers share the mound with vocalists who chant and sing the traditional stories. Musicians join in with their mix of modern and traditional instruments to make each tale come alive. The large drums made of gourds or tree trunks have a full sound which carries along the beach.

Weather-permitting, you can catch these hula shows Tues., Thurs. and Sat. at 6:30-7:30 p.m. (6:00-7:00 Nov.-Jan). These hula shows are one of my favorite stops on trips to Waikiki. Check out these shows often to learn more about the people and culture of the Hawaiian island. Aloha…

Snowing in Chicago

It is snowing in the Chicago area for this Where Are You Today?” episode. It is almost St. Patrick’s day and spring is just around the corner. Finally! Winter seems to last longer each year. Chicago is getting ready to dye the Chicago River emerald green. They use orange dye to do so. The river scenes and parade bring tourists and locals downtown.

In the Northwest suburbs, we have our own parades.

According to the National Weather Service we can see snow through May. In 1940 2.2 inches on the white stuff came down.

Here is a reminder of what a typical snowy day looks like in McHenry County. Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Snowing in Chicago and Hutto Texas

More snow in Chicago. We just returned from Hutto and Padre Island, Texas where the temps were unseasonably cool. The snow storm due to hit Chicago just grazed the city and left three inches of heavy, wet snow for our arrival.

This morning, large flakes began falling. A pretty sight for sure. Pictures from Hutto, Texas show 2 inches of snow on the ground. We left town just in time.

Winterfest Lake Snow Scuplting in Geneva Wisconsin

Today we hopped across the state line for the 15th annual Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Winterfest. The event includes helicopter rides, ice fishing derby, food, drink and shopping at local merchants. On frozen Lake Geneva cars, ice fishermen, cars, ATVs and motorcycles, skaters, walkers and dogs intermixed. A few swans patrolled the only unfrozen section of the lake.

The big draw for us is the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championships. This year 15 teams from across the country competed for the title. Earlier in the week I watched as they prepared the first snow mold. A 6 foot wide by 9 foot tall cylinder is packed with snow. Rumor has it that this snow is gathered from the Rockford Airport runway as they clear the path for airplanes. Once the cylinder is partially filled with snow, people stomp on the snow till it is packed solid. These steps are repeated until the cylinder is full. The sculptors use hand tools to create their artwork.

Take a look at a few of the statues and the scene at the festival. Check out the hog on the Harley motorcycle. Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Making it Through Winter Weather in Chicago

Chicago winters are brutal. Cold, wet, slippery, windy. When we reach winter solstice the days are so short, many of us go to work in the dark and return home without seeing daylight. The cold, dark days take a toll on us Midwesterners. Some of us are affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which impacts our mood and ability to function.

When we do catch a break and temps reach 30 and the sun comes out, I appreciate the reprieve. Winter does have beautiful moments. Enjoy a few of the scenes from my neck of the woods.

Winter Solstice Sunset in McHenry County

Winter Solstice Sunset in McHenry County

Naturally Flocked Christmas Trees in McHenry County

Naturally Flocked Christmas Trees in McHenry County

Ice Covered Scene in McHenry County

Ice Covered Scene in McHenry County

Winter Driving in Chicagoland

Winter in Chicagoland and the weather is predictably unpredictable. Snow fell for most of the last three days leaving trees dusted with a white coating. Yards and streets are blanketed with a thick layer of snow.

Not bad driving today in McHenry County. Yesterday snow fell faster than plows could clear. Spun out cars and trucks lined the roads. We shoveled multiple times before the storm let up.

Here’s what it looks like today a day after the multiple day storm.

%d bloggers like this: